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Why the Historic Women’s March Was Controversial for Some Black Women – Atlanta Black Star

NB Commentary: Sharing this article from Atlanta Black Star. A must read speaks to the disparity between the needs that vary between White and Black Feminism movements.

Why the Historic Women’s March Was Controversial for Some Black Women – Atlanta Black Star

By Tanasia Kenney  – January 24, 2017

Just one day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, an estimated 470,000 people (and millions more across the United States and the world) flooded the streets of Washington, D.C., for the first Women’s March on Washington.

Men, women and children — but mostly women — turned out for the historic march on Saturday, Jan. 21, to stand up for women’s rights but also to protest against newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, who made a series of overtly misogynistic remarks during his campaign.

Millions ultimately gathered to unify under the umbrella of feminism, civil rights, immigration and environmental activism, among other issues. However, many Black female organizers and intellectuals had their doubts about the march meeting the needs and concerns of Black women.

Old rifts between Black women organizers and the white feminist movement began to arise soon after the idea for the Women’s March on Washington was announced. The New Yorker reported that the idea for the march was credited to Teresa Shook, a retired white lawyer who resides in Hawaii. After Trump’s surprising presidential win, Shook launched a Facebook event page suggesting a protest. Word of her anti-Trump idea quickly spread, garnering more than 10,000 supporters overnight.

Shook initially called her event the Million Woman March, a moniker originally attributed to a massive protest for Black sisterhood and self-determination held in Philadelphia in 1997. The retired attorney eventually changed the name of her rally, but some Black women still weren’t convinced and accused white women’s rights advocates of appropriating movements started by Black women.

MWM 10-25-1997 Philadelphia, PA
“The many mistakes inherent at all levels of organizing the Women’s March event from very early on demonstrate the very problematic nature of  ‘white feminism,’ ” Jalessah Jackson, a Gender and Cultural Studies major working on her master’s at Simmons College in Boston told Atlanta Black Star. “That is, white feminists’ tendency [historically] to align themselves with white supremacy to achieve their own goals.”
“What we see happening is white women tokenizing and using women of color to advance their own agenda,” Jackson continued. “I don’t think that’s genuinely intersectional. I’m not interested in faux solidarity or intersectionality being merely an afterthought.”

The “intersectionality” Jackson spoke of is a term coined by African-American feminist and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 and is the concept of inextricably linked facets of race, sex, gender identity and economic status.

The galvanizing issue behind the march was the election of President Trump, who walked to victory with 53 percent of the white female vote. But could white women who couldn’t convince other white women to vote against Trump now center themselves in the “resistance” against his policies?

Many African-American women questioned why they should respond to white women’s call for human rights when they felt their own calls had gone unanswered. Historically, African-American women’s rights advocates have taken issue with the feminist movement overall, highlighting its sometimes racist and exclusionary practices. Was this present-day equality march tumbling down the same rabbit hole? Was it catering to the anxiety of white women over Trump’s victory, while bypassing the real concerns Black women (and communities) have been organizing around for centuries without the resources or support from the people now jumping in front of the line?

Lastly, if Hillary Clinton had won the election and broken the glass ceiling, would there still not be a need for a march to make sure Clinton was clued in that women, particularly Black women, would still be facing income and wealth gabs, police and incarceration issues, terrible public education policies, as well as reproductive rights issues?

Columnist Jamilah Lemieux addressed these concerns in an op-ed piece for ColorLines on Tuesday, Jan. 17. In it, Lemieux explained that she wouldn’t be participating in the Women’s March because she didn’t see the point in “putting my body on the line to feign solidarity with women who, by and large, didn’t have my back prior to November.”

“When I learned that some of those women had decided to channel their disappointment into a ‘Million Women March,’ my twisted moment of pleasure quickly gave way to a familiar sense of annoyance,” she wrote. “Once again, the labors of Black folks (in this case, the 1995 Million Man March and the 1997 Million Woman March organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam) were being co-opted and erased by clueless White ones.

CorrectionThe Million Women’s March grassroots approach to organizing involved Black women sharing information through groups such as Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black media and word of mouth. Organized by Phile Chionesu and Asia Coney, that march focused on the idea of Black women supporting each other. Speakers had included Jada Pinkett Smith, Sistah Souljah and the daughters of Malcolm X. Assata Shakur also read a message from Cuba. People marching held signs that read “I am one in a million,” and “Black Women: No more AIDS, abuse, addiction,” according to CNN. http://www.phillytrib.com/news/local-women-to-rally-for-women-s-march-in-d/article_850a3906-51da-53cc-84de-93fed0a4587e.html

“Will the Women’s March on Washington be a space filled primarily with participants who believe that Black lives matter?” Lemieux added. “I’m not sure.”
Black women’s rights advocates like Lemieux and others who spoke out against the march’s lack of intersectionality and called for more inclusivity were quickly deemed “divisive” and destructive to the vision of feminist solidarity. White feminists condemned African-American, LGBTQ, and Muslim activists who dared to speak up when their interests were forgotten or ignored, creating what critics called “conflict.”

“The attempted hijacking of the march’s agenda and all the nasty tit-for-tat between white vs. black/queer/Muslim/trans and other identities tells a very disturbing story about the divided state of feminism today,” contributor Emma-Kate Symons wrote in an opinion piece for Women in the World. “It saddens me to see the inclusive liberal feminism I grew up with reduced to a grab bag of competing victimhood narratives and individualist identities jostling for most oppressed status.”

Jackson countered Symons’ argument, however, by pointing out how white feminists who supposedly care about the rights of ALL women failed to rally behind Black female victims of police brutality. She added that white women’s rights advocates have a tendency to pick and choose whose female rights they care about.

“Most of the women who marched pat themselves on the back and go back to ignoring women who reside at the intersections of multiple identities,” Jackson told ABS. “Identifying these issues is not being divisive. I believe that in order to affect social change, we must identify what hasn’t been working in order to fix it.”
Some of these issues were resolved or at least finagled by including experienced nonwhite women organizers and activists in the writing of the guiding vision of the march, including them in the list of speakers and having them help lead the organizing process after the rocky start.
The Women’s March was a historic success in bringing out the masses, with far more people turning out for the protest than for Trump’s inauguration, according to The New York Times. But as the feminist movement struggles to become more diverse and open, many concerns need to be addressed, such as leadership, resources and the next steps in creating a viable “resistance” to Trump’s agenda. Moreover, there’s a need to tackle the liberalism of the historic feminist movement, which has too often fought for a place for white women at the expense of Black ones.

The original women’s march took place in Philly 20 years ago
Hundreds of thousands took to the Parkway
BY MELISSA ROMERO  JAN 19, 2017, 10:30AM EST

Two years after the Million Man March, two grassroots activists organized the Million Woman March in Philadelphia for black women to come together and address the ills in their communities. They walked for two miles past symbolic settings, including the Liberty Bell and City Hall, spilling onto the sidewalks of Benjamin Franklin Parkway and up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Some also took issue with the name Shook had proposed, the Million Woman March, which was the name of a 1997 black women’s march in Philadelphia. The racial concerns set off a heated conversation on the group’s main Facebook page, with some African-American women especially taking umbrage.
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Whatever Happened to the Boycott? No Justice, No Profit!

JUSTICE OR ELSE?

In reality if there is no serious response from our people after all that marching in the streets and demanding justice, etc. Then we will not be a force to be reckoned with. The police will continue to assassinate our people with impunity and nobody should say nuffin no more.

How can we make any kind of impact or change if we are too weak, brainwashed and conditioned to stop participating in their holidays? I always say that this time of year is the most blatant celebration of white supremacy ever! White Jesus, white Christmas and giving all your money to the white man, going into debt for a capitalistic economy and it’s banksters who could care less about you or anyone in your family who suffered under police brutality. 

Marches keep them going. T-shirts give them a spike in sales. Magic markers and poster boards ring their cash registers. George Soros can bank roll it and profit from it, but does it change anything? NO! We have to hit them in their pockets. But if we are too dumbed down to do it, well, ain’t no need to be griping about how racist this country is.

#BlackLivesMatter: Chat Partners with Hilllary


Nana’s Commentary:
“George Soros and his NGO, Black Lives Matter. The Open Society Foundations does exactly what it has done in its world wide infiltration of progressive movements. The infiltration is designed to undermine, redirect and take over the movement, codifying them into controlled opposition that subsequently becomes part of the mainstream. #Occupy Wall Street for starters. It should be clear that any funding coming in from the elite spells the inevitable demise of the original movement.”
    THE LEADER IN BLACK WORLD NEWS!
    WE should all be reminded that the group that call itself, {black lives matter} is funded by the GEORGE SOROS,organization who is known world wide for funding social movements to destabilize nations for the purpose of over throwing their governments, in fact he and his organizations  were  just kicked out of RUSSIA for this same reason.
    WE black AMERICANS are now being faced with whole manufactured black movements that claim to speak in our name for our cause and are nothing more than movie productions from JEWISH billionaires wishing to exploit our legitimate grievances.
    LET’S pass the word on these people so we’re not played as useful idiots serving a cause unknown to us .
    THIS website has numerous articles on SOROS  and black lives matter in it’s archive but the article below is from THE DAILY MAIL , dated 1/16/15 and more updated video’s on the most recent protest.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The #BlackLivesMatter organization is now part of the 2016 Democratic Party election machinery, assuming its role as a power broker on behalf of Black people. It’s a familiar historical pattern, except for the speed with which the transition has taken place. “The #BLM philosophy is that therapeutic dialogue with members of the power elite is politically more effective than the presentation of core demands.”
#BlackLivesMatter: Chat Partners with Hilllary
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“When #BLM folks claim they have ‘lots’ of demands, it actually means they have no core demands, at all.”
The best thing that could be said about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign Zero team is that they are an embarrassment, political tourists in the halls of empire. The truth is, however, much worse. In two meetings with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, they have offered no demands worthy of the name, choosing instead to imagine that they are “pushing” Clinton and the Democratic Party into some stance advantageous to Black people. In reality, the #BlackLivesMatter clique has dissipated the energy – and threat – of angry Black bodies, hands and missiles in motion in Ferguson and Baltimore. Quickly fading is the specter of a Black movement from down below that struck real fear in the Obama administration and much of the U.S. power structure. Instead, #BlackLivesMatter provides harmless chat partners for Hillary and the other presidential hopefuls.
The #BLM operatives claim they “spent months” studying Clinton’s positions on the issues, in preparation for the meeting. Why? To gauge how far they could “move” the war criminal and corporate thief? Move her towards what? Campaign Zero’s “demands” are an eclectic assortment of criminal justice reform ideas and recommendations, many of them straight out of Obama’s presidential task force on policing, and borrowed “best-practice” police procedures (Seattle is their favorite department). When #BLM folks claim they have “lots” of demands, it actually means they have no core demands, at all.  
“#BlackLivesMatter provides harmless chat partners for Hillary and the other presidential hopefuls.”
The Democrats scoped them as political assets, early on: that’s why the Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly voted to “endorse [3]” #BlackLivesMatter back in August. The trio of #BLM founders, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza, formally rejected [4] the official DNC embrace, but the #BLM’s chat-and-tweet-squads have continued to make the Democrats look good by pretending to hold them accountable through meaningless, meandering, demand-less meetings.
DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, Johnetta Elzie, Cherno Biko and Samuel Sinyangwe provided Hillary Clinton with another useful backdrop [5], last week. They appear to believe their mission was to “educate” Clinton (although they would have done far better to have educated themselves on political movement history, practice and theory). “This was an opportunity to get input from black people, who are experts of their own lives, solutions to dismantling anti-black racist institutions and policies,” Johnetta Elzie told reporters. #BLM thinks that relaying the recommendations of an Obama task force to a former Obama Secretary of State equals providing “solutions to dismantling anti-black racist institutions and policies.”
“They appear to believe their mission was to ‘educate’ Clinton.”
Actually, the #BLM crew’s primary mission was to force Clinton to mentally grapple with white privilege, and to grasp how Black people “feel.” #BLM’s aim is to assure that the next president has a deeper understanding of the workings of racism – presumably, deeper than the current, Black one. In the course of the conversation, Elzie said Clinton “…would listen and acknowledge that her experience was totally different than any of the black people at this table. It took her awhile to get there, but she got there. So I’m hopeful that she will continue to have this educational conversation with herself to acknowledge her privilege. You saying that you know that you’re white, you know that you have power, and you know that you are wealthy is not the same as seeing it and knowing that the way that police interact with you is completely different than how they will ever interact with us.”

The #BLM philosophy is that therapeutic dialogue with members of the power elite is politically more effective than the presentation of core demands. (Certainly, it is better for the future careers of the #BLM interlocutors.)
When it came to actually doing something about the Black condition, Clinton was less forthcoming. “I think she can take a harder stance on how she understands the role of the federal government in protecting the rights of people of color and pushing and modeling for local and state governments,” said DeRay Mckesson. “She kind of downplayed the role of the federal government and placed it all on state and local government,” said Johnetta Elzie.
Clinton used the meeting to announce her opposition to private prisons – which may have come as a shock to her campaign contributors from Wall Street’s corporate incarceration firms.
Elzie offered that Bernie Sanders has a better understanding of Black people’s justifiable fears of police. She and McKesson told the press they would wait to see more specifics from Clinton before deciding who to support. Cherno Biko said Clinton “hasn’t earned my endorsement yet, but I’m looking forward to her releasing a racial justice platform in the coming weeks.” Brittany Packnett emerged from the meeting “still thinking about where I will put my vote and not yet having an answer.”
“The #BLM crowd milked the incipient movement for all it was worth.”
They will all endorse one of the Democrats, sooner rather than later. The #BlackLivesMatter tent has already been folded up inside the Democratic Party, where slick Black “activists” on the make go to catch the express elevator to the executive suites. In less than a year, the #BLM crowd milked the incipient movement for all it was worth, presenting themselves as the interlocutors between the streets and Power. It’s been one hell of a journey – a great hustle. They have arrived at where they wanted to be: part of the age-old Black Petit Bourgeois Shuffle, dancing to the Master’s tune, while complaining that their pale partners still don’t have the right rhythm.
The demand from the streets remains the same as it has been since the imposition of the modern Black mass incarceration regime, two generations ago: Black community control of the police – by any means necessary. The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice [6], Peace and Reparations will rally and march on the White House onSaturday, November 7 [6] – as it has every year since 2009 – under the banner “Black Power Matters.”
The demand for Black community control of police is called forth by both the principle of self-determination and the facts of Black existence in the United States. But self-determination does not exist in the practice of #BlackLivesMatter, which has squandered Black people’s dignity and the momentum of an emerging movement.
We wish them a swift and complete assimilation into the corridors of Power – which was their mission, all along.
BAR executive editor GlenFord can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com [7].

Published on Black Agenda Report (http://blackagendareport.com)
Home > #BlackLivesMatter: Chat Partners with Hillary
Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 10/14/2015 – 10:26

Links

Russia Shoots Down “US Stealth Coup”: Tough Times for America’s “Color Revolution” industry.

    Global Research, July 31, 2015
    New Eastern Outlook 31 July 2015
     
    Times are tough for America’s “color revolution” industry. Perfected in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union, and honed during the so-called “Arab Spring,” the process of backing subversion in a targeted country and overthrowing a sitting government under the cover of staged mass protests appears to be finally at the end of running its course.
    That is because the United States can no longer hide the fact that it is behind these protests and often, even hide their role in the armed elements that are brought in covertly to give targeted governments their final push out the door. Nations have learned to identify, expose, and resist this tactic, and like Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime’s tactic of Blitzkrieg or “lighting war,” once appropriate countermeasures are found, the effectiveness of lighting fast, overwhelming force be it military or political, is rendered impotent.
    This was most recently observed in Armenia during the so-called “Electric Yerevan” protests – Yerevan being the capital of Armenia, and “electric” in reference to the alleged motivation of protesters – rising electric prices.
    American-backed “color revolutions” always start out with a seemingly legitimate motivation, but soon quickly become political in nature, sidestepping many of the legitimate, practical demands first made, and focusing almost entirely on “regime change.” For the Armenian agitators leading the “Electric Yerevan,” they didn’t even make it that far and spent most of their initial momentum attempting to convince the world they were not just another US-backed mob.
    The Stealth Coup 
    Nikol Pashinyan and his “Civic Contract” party are transparently US-backed. So many found it suspicious that he was the most prominent voice insisting that the “Electric Yerevan” was not political and by no means a US-backed movement.
    Verelq, an Armenian-based news website which inexplicably links to the US State Department’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian site, would report in their article, “Nikol Pashinyan: Protest actions in Yerevan are of exclusively social nature,” that:
    “Even if you look at the ongoing processes through the microscope, you cannot see any foreign political or domestic political components in the demonstrations. People do not want electricity to grow in price. That’s all,” said Pashinyan. He said electric power is first of all a product: the Electric Networks sells it and the citizens buy it. “The protest actions should be considered as protection of consumers’ rights. Politics is nowhere near,” he said.
    But politics were very near, including politicians like Pashinyan himself, who made it a point to visit jailed protesters throughout the failed uprising and even at one point called for the construction of a “human wall” of prominent Armenian personalities between protesters and police. US State Department-funded Armenia Now (of the New Times Journalist Training Center) reported in their article, “Politics in the Middle: Lawmakers, public figures form “human wall” between police, protesters,” that:
    The appeal to create a human wall was made by opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan late on Tuesday as he urged all former and current MPs, scholars, show-biz representatives, lawyers, reporters, religious representatives and other public figures to visit the standoff site in order to ensure no force is applied against the protesters.
    Other obvious ties between the protests, Pashinyan, and US-backed NGOs have been laid out by geopolitical analyst Andrew Korybko in his article, “‘Electric Yerevan’ is Sliding Out of Control.”
    Despite these links, some have attempted to claim Pashinyan was merely an opportunist and that his US-backing, and attempts by US NGOs to manipulate the protests had little to do with the protests themselves. But nothing could be further from the truth.
    Stealth Agitators
     America’s next generation of “color revolutions” attempt to obfuscate all possible ties between themselves and their agitators in an attempt to take back the strategic initiative by maintaining maximum plausible deniability. But if one knows where to look, they will find that no amount of obfuscation and subterfuge can cover the links between the US State Department and its mobs.
    The protests were the work of  the “No To Plunder” group, led by lawyers and activists emanating from the US State Department National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID, and Open Society-funded Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA) and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office who openly coordinated efforts with “No To Plunder” to pressure the government on a number of issues.
    At least 2 members of AYLA, Ara Gharagyozyan and Arthur Kocharyan, were identified as core members of “No To Plunder.”  AYLA’s news website “Iravaban” would list a number of young lawyers and activists attending one of its internship programs in 2014. Iravaban would also cover the protests in intricate detail from start to end, as well as report on activities AYLA and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office undertook to support the protests.
    A number of other pro-protest “news sites” included Hetq, which while it admits it is funded by convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, does not list the US NED as a sponsor – NED however does list Hetq. There is also Media.am, funded by USAID as well as the European Endowment for Democracy. All of this adds up to a large network of locally-based but foreign funded and directed media outlets that help add the illusion of consensus to disinformation spread regarding the protests.
    Together with US-funded training programs indoctrinating students and training lawyers and activists in the finer arts of sedition, then allowing them to go off on their own to lead mobs, the US believes sufficient plausible deniability has been created to hide ties between themselves and protest leaders. Similar efforts have been made in both Hong Kong and more recently in Thailand, where overtly US-backed mobs have been replaced by students trained, then unleashed by US-proxies.
    Despite this careful arrangement, the “Electric Yerevan” protests never reached critical mass. The reason for this is simple – they were suspected of being US-backed and the more overt US assets that would eventually need to move in to lead the protests were unable to, lest they confirmed that suspicion and undermined the entire effort. Without these more mainstream assets moving in and providing support, larger protests are logistically and politically impossible.
    How to Shoot Down a Stealth Coup
    Russia’s emerging media influence on the world stage played an essential role in unmasking and disrupting America’s efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government in Armenia. The ability to be one step ahead of the Western-narrative and expose the players before they even take to the stage, meant that people already knew what to look for.
    When the protesters hit the streets, and as the protests dragged on, US NGOs and Western media reports supporting the protests confirmed initial Russian warnings. When clumsy, overt assets like Pashinyan began getting involved, there was little doubt that electrical prices, while a real point of contention, were being used as a means to create a larger, more disruptive, and ultimately dangerous attempt at foreign-backed regime change.
    In the future, the government of Armenia should be careful about giving such points of contention for foreign interests to use in the first place – meaning that dedication to economic and social progress cannot be ignored, even if one is confident they can tamp down potential protests.
    Other nations around the world have a lot to learn from how Russia disrupted this latest attempt by America to project power beyond its shores and disrupt the lives of a sovereign people thousands of miles away. By simply informing people of what is really going on, following the money, and exposing the players involved, people in Armenia were able to assess for themselves whether or not to support the mobs – they chose wisely not to. Were Armenia to adopt similar laws as Russia’s regarding NGOs – mandating that they declare openly and often their foreign funding – people can better assess whether or not mobs these NGOs are supporting are truly marching for their interests, or Wall Street and Washington’s.
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