Excerpt from Real Men, Real Choices by Robert Jensen

http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/realmenrealchoices.htm

The pornographers and their apologists have done a masterful job of focusing the debate on the choices of women who participate in the industry. If women choose to perform in pornography, who are we to condemn them? I agree; I have never condemned the women in pornography, nor has anyone in the feminist anti-pornography movement. Many complex questions arise from women’s participation in pornography, none of which are my subject today. Instead, I want to refocus on men and our choices. The questions I want to ask are not about why women choose to perform in pornography, but why men choose to masturbate to pornography. What does that choice that a man makes to masturbate to pornography mean for women, and what does it mean for the man?

My argument is simple: When men choose to spend their money on pornography, they are (1) contributing to the subordination of women in the sexual exploitation industries; and (2) robbing themselves of the possibility of being fully human.

On (1): For the sake of argument, let’s assume that some women who perform in pornography make completely free choices to participate, as women in the industry often assert that they do, with absolutely no constraints or limitations on them. That could be the case, though it doesn’t alter the unavoidable conclusion that some number of women in the industry — likely a majority, and quite possibly a significant majority — choose under conditions that make choice much more complex (histories of sexual abuse, economic hardship, perceived and/or actual lack of opportunities, within a culture that glamorizes the sex industry).

In most cases, the consumer has no reliable way to judge which women are participating in the industry as a result of a meaningfully free choice. When a consumer plays a DVD at home, he has no information that could help him make such a judgment. Therefore, he likely is using a woman whose choice to perform was not meaningfully free.

But what if he had that information about the nature of the conditions, objective and subjective, under which the women made that choice? Even that is not so simple. So long as the industry is profitable and a large number of women are needed to make such films, it is certain that some number of those women will be choosing under conditions that render the concept of “free choice” virtually meaningless. When a man buys or rents a DVD, he is creating the demand for pornography that will lead to some number of women being used — that is, being hurt in some fashion, psychologically and/or physically — no matter what he knows or thinks he knows about a specific woman. [For a cogent discussion of this argument in the context of prostitution, see M. Madden Dempsey, “Rethinking Wolfenden: Prostitute-Use, Criminal Law, and Remote Harm,” Criminal Law Review (2005): 444-455. ]

So, men’s choices to buy or rent pornography are complicated by two realities. First, he likely can’t know the conditions under which women made their choices, and hence can’t know how meaningful the choices were. And second, even if he could make such a determination about specific women in a specific film he watches, the demand for pornography that his purchase helps create ensures that some other women will be hurt.

On (2): During a discussion of negative sexual experiences, I once heard a man say, “There’s no such thing as a bad orgasm.” I assume that he meant getting off was getting off — no matter what the circumstances or methods, it was always good. But there are, of course, bad orgasms. There are orgasms that hurt people, mostly women and children. And there are orgasms that keep men cut off from ourselves.

In using pornography, we men not only objectify women but also objectify ourselves. In my experience, which is also the experience of many men I’ve talked to over the years, we feel ourselves go emotionally numb when viewing pornography and masturbating, a state of being “checked out” emotionally. To enter into the pornographic world and experience that intense sexual rush, many men have to turn off some of the emotional reactions that typically are connected to sexual experience with a real person — a sense of the other’s humanity, an awareness of being present with another person, the recognition of something outside our own bodies. For me, while watching pornography over the past decade as a researcher, I could feel it happen, that emotional numbness, that objectifying of self.

Meg Baldwin, a feminist law professor at Florida State University who left academic life to run a women’s center, once gave me more insight into this process. Baldwin, who has worked for years with women who are prostituted, said one of the common experiences of those women is coping with the unprovoked rage and violence that johns will direct at them. Baldwin told me that after hearing countless stories about this reaction by men, she concluded the rage was rooted in this self-objectification. She sketched this process:

Men typically go to prostitutes to have a sexual experience without having to engage emotionally. Yet when they are in the sexual situation, they sometimes find themselves having those very same emotional reactions they wanted to avoid, simply because our emotional lives cannot be completely controlled. When they feel those things they wanted to suppress, the johns lash out at the most convenient target — the women who they believe caused them to feel what they didn’t want to feel.

If Baldwin is right — and, based on my own experience, I believe she is — we could say that men turn women into objects in order to turn ourselves into objects, so that we can split off emotion from body during sex, in search of a sexual experience in which we don’t have to feel. But because sex is always more than a physical act, men seeking this split-off state often find themselves having strong emotional reactions, which can get channeled into violence and cruelty.

Again, the women in those situations endure the violence connected to men’s inability to be fully human. But this system also doesn’t produce truly healthy lives for men. Is an orgasm really worth all that? I think there are lots of bad orgasms in a world in which men are socialized to suppress the complex emotional realities involved in sex. Women suffer the consequences in dramatic ways. Men often suffer quietly, until they lash out. When men can’t face our own pain, what are the changes we can empathize with women’s pain?

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Adrienne Rich on Class Reductionist Marxism

In the late sixties and early seventies many U.S. feminists, myself included, voiced frustration and disillusionment with the Marxist Left, which seemed incapable of recognizing and addressing women’s oppression as women. We insisted that our chains were not only economic but mental, embedded in that domestic or “private” sphere where men of all classes dominate women. I believe we were right: no ideology which reduces women simply to members of the working class or bourgeoisie, which does not recognize how central feminism must be to the revolutionary process, can be taken seriously any longer.

– Adrienne Rich in Blood Bread, and Poetry

For those of you concerned about the rights of women in Syria if the FSA wins

NOMAS branch of Aleppo

The Aleppo branch of NOMAS

The ISO tells us that fighting in a NATO/GCC-backed rebellion will lead to people gaining a class essentialist anti-sexist political stance

http://socialistworker.org/2011/07/14/womens-liberation-and-socialism

So in Egypt, Syria, Greece and other recent sites of revolt and rebellion, women and men mobilized and organized together in unprecedented ways. During struggles on this scale, workers’ ideas change–men’s ideas about women, and women’s ideas about men and also about themselves. In the process of confronting their shared and powerful enemy, such as the state and its police, men and women workers come to see their potential power as a united force.

Ideas like sexism are exposed for what they are–useless and destructive–not only because they are wrong, like misconceptions about what women are capable of, but because they divide the working class. They are exposed for their real purpose–to keep those at the top in power by dividing the masses below.

Libya was just a fluke, right?

JMP demolished this kind of vulgar class essentialism in a fantastic post everyone should read

How Afghanistan’s Radicals Became Moderates

I deleted my tumblr a couple days ago, I’ve been dealing with some offline stuff so I’m taking some time to do some self-care. I’m still following a handful of people’s tumblrs on rss, thanks for everyone’s kind and funny words.

With over a decade being spent in Afghanistan, the Obama administration’s policy has been to reach out to so-called moderates within the Taliban. However, who is a moderate and who is a radical is decided by their level of opposition to US occupation rather than their views on women, religion, and law. Often, it is the most socially reactionary leaders who are willing to compromise on foreign occupation in order to achieve their social goals.

What is the “Taliban”?

In the US media, anyone who fights back against the NATO occupation is a member of the Taliban. This has the effect of making the entire anti-occupation effort in Afghanistan seem less organic and disguises the true nature of the anti-imperialist resistance. Most of the resistance isn’t being coordinated by the Taliban organization, it is locally-organized militias which oppose foreign occupation. These anti-occupation fighters are the radicals to the Obama administration, they’re not taking orders from the Taliban leadership but are instead dedicated to opposing the Karzai puppet government and neocolonialism. James Petras, in a fantastic article, said:

http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=1812

On the military front, the Pentagon launches one “offensive” after another, announcing one success after another, followed by a retreat and return of the Resistance fighters. The US campaigns disrupt trade, agricultural harvests and markets, while the air assaults targeting “Taliban” and militants, more frequently than not end up killing more civilians celebrating weddings, religious holidays and shoppers at markets than combatants. The reason for the high percentage of civilian killings is clear to everyone except the US Generals: there are no distinctions between “militants” and millions of Afghan civilians since the former are an integral part of their communities.

The key and ultimately decisive problem facing the US occupation is that it is a colonial enclave in the midst of a colonized people. The US, its local puppets and its NATO allies are a foreign colonial army and its Afghan military and police recruits are seen as mere instruments perpetuating illegitimate rule. Every action, whether violent or benign, is perceived and interpreted as transgressing the norms and historical legacies of a proud and independent people. In everyday life, every move by the occupation is disruptive; nothing moves except by command of the foreign directed military and police. Under threat of force, people fake co-operation and then provide assistance to their fathers, brothers and sons in the Resistance. The recruits take the money and turn their arms over to the Resistance. The paid village informants are double agents or identified by their neighbors and targeted by insurgents.

The outcome of making a power-sharing deal with the most socially reactionary has very clear effects, it shifts the war from being between occupiers and nationalists to being against women.

http://www.thenation.com/article/157713/why-peace-business-men-shouldnt-be#

Most hot wars of recent memory, little and big, have been resolved or nudged into remission through what is called a power-sharing agreement. The big men from most or all of the warring parties—and war is basically a guy thing, in case you hadn’t noticed—shoulder in to the negotiating table and carve up a country’s or region’s military, political, and financial pie. Then they proclaim the resulting deal “peace.”

But as I learned firsthand as an aid worker in one so-called post-conflict country after another, when the men in power stop shooting at each other, they often escalate the war against civilians—especially women and girls. It seems to be hard for men to switch off violence, once they’ve gotten the hang of it. From Liberia to Myanmar, rape, torture, mutilation and murder continue unabated or even increase in frequency. In other words, from the standpoint of civilians, war is often not over when it’s “over,” and the “peace” is no real peace at all. Think of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the notorious “rape capital of the world,” where thousands upon thousands of women are gang-raped again and again, although the country has officially been at “peace” since 2003.

[…]

And what has President Karzai done for the rest of the women of Afghanistan? Not a thing.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report issued by the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium (HRRAC), an association of prominent aid and independent research groups in Afghanistan, including such highly respected non-governmental organizations as Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children. The Afghan researchers who did the study conducted extensive interviews with prominent male religious scholars, male political leaders, and female leaders locally, provincially, and nationally.

The report notes that President Karzai has supported increasingly repressive laws against women, most notoriously the “Taliban-style” Shia Personal Status Law, enacted in 2009, which not only legitimizes marital rape but “prevents women from stepping out of their homes” without their husband’s consent, in effect depriving them of the right to make any decisions about their own lives. The report points out that this law denies women even the basic freedoms guaranteed to all citizens in the Afghan Constitution, which was passed in 2004 as part of a flurry of democratic reforms marking the start of Karzai’s first term as elected president. The democratizing spasm passed and President Karzai, sworn to defend that constitution, failed to do the job.

In fact, Karzai’s record on human rights, as the HRRAC report documents, is chiefly remarkable for what he has not done. He holds extraordinary power to make political appointments—another indicator of the peculiar nature of this Afghan “democracy” our troops are fighting for—and he has now had almost ten years in office, ample time to lead even the most reluctant traditional society toward more equitable social arrangements. Yet today, but one cabinet ministry is held by a woman, the Ministry for Women’s Affairs, which incidentally is the sole government ministry that possesses only advisory powers. Karzai has appointed just one female provincial governor, and thirty-three men. (Is it by chance that Bamyan—the province run by that woman—is generally viewed as the most peaceful in the country?) To head city governments nationwide, he has named only one female mayor. And to the Supreme Court High Council he has appointed no woman at all.Karzai’s claim that he can’t find qualified women is a flimsy—and traditional—excuse. Many of his highest-ranking appointees to government offices are notorious war criminals, men considered by the great majority of Afghan citizens to have disqualified themselves from public office. The failure of many of his male appointees to govern honestly and justly, or even to show up for work at all, is a rising complaint of NATO commanders who find upon delivery of “government in a box” that the box is pretty much empty.

The current plan from the Obama administration is to start substantially reducing the number of foreign occupation soldiers in 2014, and with the Afghan National Army and police in total shambles, bigger and bigger concessions to the most socially reactionary segments of Afghanistan will be given. Imperialism is inherently antithetical to women’s rights and dignity, its goal is subjugation, not empowerment. The economic and political subjugation of imperialism meshes perfectly with the desires to subjugate women.

Prostitution is capitalism-induced rape

Sorry, those figures are reality.

http://www.feminisms.org/3265/the-myths-of-bedford-v-canada-why-decriminalizing-prostitution-won%E2%80%99t-help/

In a study submitted at trial with 854 women in 9 countries, including Canada, 89% of women interviewed said they wanted out of prostitution. In another study submitted at trial conducted in the downtown eastside of Vancouver, 95% of prostituted women interviewed said they wanted out of prostitution

The institution of prostitution functions only because capitalism forces people to have sex or be homeless, hungry, or go through withdrawals. For 90-95% of prostituted women, this is rape. I’m not comparing it to rape, it is rape.

Who is the one actually disregarding experiences here? You just called the experiences of 95% of prostituted women unrealistic, and you defend the systems that oppress them.

This isn’t just a case of a job being a good fit for someone like a cashier, this is 95% of women experiencing prostitution as capitalism-induced rape and 5% not experiencing it that way. This is what individualism does to you, you completely ignore the social reality of prostitution because it is empowering for you.

Empowerment used to be a collective term, it was something that increased the power and stature of all people. Neoliberal marketing played a huge role in this to get the ex-hippies into corporate jobs and get them back into the system. Their advertising shifted to pound this message into people’s brains: Empowerment is about a personal car, speakers, a good job, and 2 kids. Empowerment is personal wealth. Empowerment is collaboration.

I’m really sorry you feel like your story, as one of the 5% of prostitutes who isn’t forced to be raped by capitalism, is getting ignored. The very fact that you consider the experiences of everyone else to be “unrealistic” shows just how silenced these women are. Their stories aren’t posted on tumblr, the sex-poz blogs, or even mainstream feminist websites. Its the stories of people like you, the ones who are privileged enough to be able to get their voice out, that people hear. I’ll stand on the side of the oppressed and exploited, especially when they outnumber people like you by such a huge amount.

Marxism and Feminism: The Synthesis for Radical Social Change

Marxism, at the most basic level, is an analysis of the opposing forces within and the connections between capitalism and the sociopolitical system. Feminists and pro-feminists can gain a huge amount from an understanding of Marx’s criticism of capitalism.  This post isn’t a primer on Marxism or feminism, but is intended to show some of the practical ways a Marxist analysis adds to feminist theory and practice.

Patriarchy and capitalism are separate, but connected, oppressive social systems. Patriarchal oppression often relies on the logic and needs of capitalism, especially the need to maximize profits and the accumulation of investment funds. Women are denied jobs and promotions under “neutral” market forces, it becomes easier to justify misogyny when someone can blame the lower productivity from a potential pregnancy and kids for denying someone a promotion. These same “neutral” market forces are used to justify gender wage gaps.

Capitalism thus has a strong interest in preserving patriarchy, since women make up such an important part in recreating daily life. Women, regardless of whether they work or not, are almost mandated to bear the majority of the burden of housework and child care. The role of women in creating the necessary social conditions for the continuation of capitalism makes them not only important, it makes their oppression beneficial to the stability of capitalism.

A Marxist analysis adds depth to feminist analysis of world events, one of the most important is economic and military imperialism.

Many liberal feminist groups supported the war against Afghanistan, one group that still supports escalation is the Feminist Majority Foundation:

it was so discouraging to learn that the Feminist Majority Foundation has lent its good name — and the good name of feminism in general — to advocate for further troop escalation and war.

On its foundation Web site, the first stated objective of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls” is to “expand peacekeeping forces.”

However, any serious analysis of patriarchy can understand why this is neoliberal bullshit

http://www.thenation.com/article/157713/why-peace-business-men-shouldnt-be#

Most hot wars of recent memory, little and big, have been resolved or nudged into remission through what is called a power-sharing agreement. The big men from most or all of the warring parties—and war is basically a guy thing, in case you hadn’t noticed—shoulder in to the negotiating table and carve up a country’s or region’s military, political, and financial pie. Then they proclaim the resulting deal “peace.”

But as I learned firsthand as an aid worker in one so-called post-conflict country after another, when the men in power stop shooting at each other, they often escalate the war against civilians—especially women and girls. It seems to be hard for men to switch off violence, once they’ve gotten the hang of it. From Liberia to Myanmar, rape, torture, mutilation and murder continue unabated or even increase in frequency. In other words, from the standpoint of civilians, war is often not over when it’s “over,” and the “peace” is no real peace at all. Think of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the notorious “rape capital of the world,” where thousands upon thousands of women are gang-raped again and again, although the country has officially been at “peace” since 2003.

An analysis based on class power and structure brings a greater understanding to these conflicts. If we take the DRC as an example:

http://www2.pslweb.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5191

The Congo was among the most brutally oppressed of the African colonies. It was also one of the richest, abounding with mineral wealth like diamonds and copper.

Belgian King Leopold II’s colonial rule of the Congo, from 1885 to 1909, was infamous for its brutality. Belgian troops massacred whole villages. Workers’ hands were cut off for “stealing” that which belonged to their land or not reaching work quotas. An estimated 10 million people were killed during Leopold’s reign.

Following World War II, countries under the yoke of imperialism struggled for independence. This was the setting in which Patrice Lumumba began political organizing. Beginning as a trade union leader in 1955, he helped found the Congolese National Movement (MNC) in 1958, which became a leading force for independence from Belgian rule. The MNC won elections in December 1959 with a plurality of the votes. Running on a non-regional, non-tribal platform for a unified Congo, the MNC emerged ahead of the middle-class-based Abako party of Joseph Kasavubu. Lumumba became the first prime minister.

Lumumba’s main contribution to the Congolese struggle was his articulation of the idea of a united Congo. This vision sought to build a united nation across all ethnic and tribal divisions, despite fierce European opposition. Lumumba’s national vision paralleled his Pan-African sentiment of African unity. Both ideals were unacceptable to the imperialist powers, which sought a Congo and Africa riven with internal strife in order to be held in submission.

[…]

On Sept. 5, the pro-imperialist president, Kasavubu, illegally removed Lumumba from office. Lumumba brought his case directly to the parliament, which reaffirmed his post. In response, Kasavubu dismissed the parliament.

UN General Secretary Dag Hammarskjold publicly endorsed Kasavubu’s move. UN forces had earlier hampered Lumumba by closing a radio station he was using to plead his case with the people.

Amid the struggle, Col. Joseph Mobutu took power in a CIA-backed coup d’etat on the side of Kasavubu and the United States. Lumumba was placed under house arrest, “protected” by UN troops actively intervening against his rule.

We can clearly see the ways that transnational corporate interests are protected by governments and international bodies. Due to the logic of capitalism, these transnational corporations benefit most from a weak, destabilized government where transnational corporations can have the most influence.

http://www2.pslweb.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11845&news_iv_ctrl=1801

The price of gold recently rose to over $1,000 per ounce. Yet in the super-rich goldmines of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1.5 million workers, including young children, trudge through chemical-infested soil for little or no pay. They are subjected to tuberculosis epidemics.

The miners receive no pay, only a daily pail of toxic sludge, the contents of which they may keep. On a good day, a pail may contain $30 worth of gold. On most days, it contains none.

As expected whenever the capitalist game of stocks and bonds implodes, speculators have turned to gold—the “safe” commodity. The profiteers are capitalists in imperialist countries, who benefit by exploiting the mine workers. The mines of the DRC are run by U.S., British, Canadian, Australian and South African companies.

“We are working so hard. … But who is really winning? We are not profiting. The real money is being made by other people outside this country,” stated Luc Likambo, a union leader.

An analysis of class power and structure is useful for examining issues in our communities, like prostitution. A radical feminist analysis recognizes that 90-95% of prostituted women in canada and the US would get out if they could, and that this is rape on a massive scale. When we use a Marxist analysis, then we recognize that the capitalist system itself brings about the conditions for this atrocity.

http://votepsl.tumblr.com/post/25932443990/great-infographic-from-the-latest-issue-of

It needs to be emphasized that white supremacy runs through all of these issues. What we face is not just a capitalist patriarchy, but an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. White supremacy eases liberal support for “civilizing” Afghanistan, it ensures that liberal feminists will overlook the fact that 92% of Native American prostituted women are raped, and it encourages liberal feminists to attack anyone who criticizes the white supremacy of Slutwalk.

If you want to learn more about Marxism:

http://davidharvey.org/ – a guided reading of capital vol 1 with David Harvey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e8rt8RGjCM – a quick rundown of marxism and economic crisis

http://www.youtube.com/user/brendanmcooney – he has a bunch of cool videos on marxist stuff

The Programs of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords

The 10 point program of the Black Panther Party was influential in the creation of the Young Lords’ 13 point program. However, there were important differences in the intent of the programs and their role in the respective organizations.

The program of the Black Panthers was primarily a “survival program”, as Huey P Newton wrote in “Black Capitalism re-analyzed I”:

All these programs satisfy the deep needs of the community but they are not solutions to our problems. That is why we call them sur­vival programs, meaning survival pending revolution. We say that the survival program of the Black Panther Party is like the survival kit of a sailor stranded on a raft. It helps him to sustain himself until he can get completely out of that situation. So the survival programs are
not answers or solutions, but they will help us to organize the com­munity around a true analysis and understanding of their situation. When consciousness and understanding is raised to a high level then the community will seize the time and deliver themselves from the boot of their oppressors.

Compare this to the program of the Young Lords:

13 Point Program of the Young Lords (1970 revised)

1. We want self-determination for Puerto Ricans–Liberation of the Island and inside the United States.For 500 years, first spain and then united states have colonized our country. Billions of dollars in profits leave our country for the united states every year. In every way we are slaves of the gringo. We want liberation and the Power in the hands of the People, not Puerto Rican exploiters. Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

2. We want self-determination for all Latinos. Our Latin Brothers and Sisters, inside and outside the united states, are oppressed by amerikkkan business. The Chicano people built the Southwest, and we support their right to control their lives and their land. The people of Santo Domingo continue to fight against gringo domination and its puppet generals. The armed liberation struggles in Latin America are part of the war of Latinos against imperialism. Que Viva La Raza!

3. We want liberation of all third world people. Just as Latins first slaved under spain and the yanquis, Black people, Indians, and Asians slaved to build the wealth of this country. For 400 years they have fought for freedom and dignity against racist Babylon (decadent empire). Third World people have led the fight for freedom. All the colored and oppressed peoples of the world are one nation under oppression. No Puerto Rican Is Free Until All People Are Free!

4. We are revolutionary nationalists and oppose racism. The Latin, Black, Indian and Asian people inside the u.s. are colonies fighting for liberation. We know that washington, wall street and city hall will try to make our nationalism into racism; but Puerto Ricans are of all colors and we resist racism. Millions of poor white people are rising up to demand freedom and we support them. These are the ones in the u.s. that are stepped on by the rules and the government. We each organize our people, but our fights are against the same oppression and we will defeat it together. Power To All Oppressed People!

5. We want equality for women. Down with machismo and male chauvinism. Under capitalism, women have been oppressed by both society and our men.  The doctrine of machismo has been used by men to take out their frustration on wives, sisters, mothers, and children.  Men must fight along with sisters i the struggle for economic and social equality and must recognize that sisters make up over half of the revolutionary army: sister and brothers are equals fighting for our people.  Forward Sisters in the Struggle!

6. We want community control of our institutions and land. We want control of our communities by our people and programs to guarantee that all institutions serve the needs of our people. People’s control of police, health services, churches, schools, housing, transportation and welfare are needed. We want an end to attacks on our land by urban removal, highway destruction, universities and corporations. Land Belongs To All The People!

7. We want a true education of our Creole culture and Spanish language. We must learn our history of fighting against cultural, as well as economic genocide by the yanqui. Revolutionary culture, culture of our people, is the only true teaching.

8. We oppose capitalists and alliances with traitors. Puerto Rican rulers, or puppets of the oppressor, do not help our people. They are paid by the system to lead our people down blind alleys, just like the thousands of poverty pimps who keep our communities peaceful for business, or the street workers who keep gangs divided and blowing each other away. We want a society where the people socialistically control their labor. Venceremos!

9. We oppose the Amerikkkan military. We demand immediate withdrawal of u.s. military forces and bases from Puerto Rico, Vietnam and all oppressed communities inside and outside the u.s. No Puerto Rican should serve in the u.s. army against his Brothers and Sisters, for the only true army of oppressed people is the people’s army to fight all rulers. U.S. Out Of Vietnam, Free Puerto Rico!

10. We want freedom for all political prisoners. We want all Puerto Ricans freed because they have been tried by the racist courts of the colonizers, and not by their own people and peers. We want all freedom fighters released from jail. Free All Political Prisoners!

11. We are internationalists.  Our people are brainwashed by television, radio, newspapers, schools, and books to oppose people in other countries fighting for their freedom. No longer will our people believe attacks and slanders, because they have learned who the real enemy is and who their real friends are. We will defend our Brothers and Sisters around the world who fight for justice against the rich rulers of this country. Que Viva Che Guevara!

12. We believe armed self-defense and armed struggle are the only means to liberation. We are opposed to violence–the violence of hungry children, illiterate adults, diseased old people, and the violence of poverty and profit. We have asked, petitioned, gone to courts, demonstrated peacefully, and voted for politicians full of empty promises. But we still ain’t free. The time has come to defend the lives of our people against repression and for revolutionary war against the businessman, politician, and police. When a government oppresses our people, we have the right to abolish it and create a new one. Boricua Is Awake! All Pigs Beware!

13. We want a socialist society. We want liberation, clothing, free food, education, health care, transportation, utilities, and employment for all. We want a society where the needs of our people come first, and where we give solidarity and aid to the peoples of the world, not oppression and racism. Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

The Young Lords program introduced more political analysis into what is fundamentally a survival program. It identified important talking points and slogans to use when the Young Lords would talk to people in the community. The program named capitalism as the problem and socialism as the solution. It was influenced by feminism, one of the slogans used by the Young Lords was “machismo is fascism”, directly linking the oppression of women to the oppression of all colonized people inside and outside the United States.

However, there are important differences between the 1969 program and the 1970 program. The 1969 program advocated for a revolutionary machismo to replace a reactionary one. The male chauvinist tendencies in the Young Lords is reflected by the Central Committee being entirely male at the time of its creation, women in the defense ministry being assigned more rigorous tasks to prove their worth, and women being assigned stereotypical assignments like typing.

The strong practice of criticism and self-criticism was absolutely crucial to fighting sexism within the Party, as was the hierarchical military structure of the organization. The issue of women played a prominent role in the Palante newspaper, and as a result of criticism sessions, half of the articles had to be about women.

The experience of the Young Lords in their struggle against internal sexism is important when we look at social movements today and how they address them. Rather than a hierarchical structure inhibiting anti-machismo struggles, it ensured that a correct line could be implemented. More on the struggles of women in the Young Lords can be read here.

Wikipedia: At or in this place: Stop here for a rest. Wikipedia: At or in this place: Stop here for a rest.