Thursday, September 30, 2010

Catharine A. MacKinnon's speech: "Women's Status, Men's States" HERE!

I am so happy C. A. MacKinnon's lecture is on YouTube. And now here too. It's so important.

Hope Beyond Tragedy: To ANY QUEER, LESBIAN, OR GAY YOUTH: Reach out to those you know who will not hurt you. Find support. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. Suicide is a terribly permanent solution to a temporary problem. Love exists for you.

image is from here
image is from here

To any queer youth of any color or age--any gay boys, lesbian girls, transgender teens, intersex or intergender children, teens, and young adults reading this, please do one thing: get support from adults and peers who care about you and find support instead of committing suicide. We are here for you (click this link).  

Find adults who will listen but who will not exploit you. We are here for you (click this link). 

Find compassionate people who understand the pain, isolation, and ridicule and torment that can come with being young and not heterosexual or "normally" gendered. You are fine the way you are. There are people out in the world who will respect you and emotionally support you without harassing and exploiting you. We are here for you (click this link). 

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line

Gay & Transgender Hate Crime Hotline

With condolences to all the loved ones of each of these youth and teenagers who took their own lives. And to all queer youth and adults who are bullied, harassed, exploited, abused, and neglected: there is support, help, and hope for you. We are here for you (click this link).

When I was 16, my first ever boyfriend (who was 15) was taken away from me, moved clear away, by his evil-acting step-father who didn't want his step-son being anything other than heterosexual. I was never identified as heterosexual, and I always knew other queer youth, which helped me feel not entirely alone. I am the only out gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, intergender, or bi person in my family, however, which has done nothing to make me feel less alone.

My boyfriend and I saw another queer youth, more targetable than we were, enduring grotesque levels of harassment and also rejection at home. We stood with him when walking down the hallways, whenever possible. Of course that meant people would assume we were gay too. Well, we were.

The stories which follow of teen gay male suicides are so frequent lately that it's nearly impossible to keep track of the details of each boy's own struggles leading up to his death. What we know is that a form of U.S. terrorism more benignly called heterosexism, homophobia, lesbophobia, and transphobia in school systems and beyond them remains rampant. This form of terrorism, against children and young adults of all genders, all ages, all colors and cultures and ethnicities, will not be dealt with appropriately because, in general, school administrators want to keep their schools pro-heterosexual and anti-gay/lesbian/transgender/intersex. That's the truth of it. Now, how do we deal with that level of institutionalised anti-queer bias and bigotry? We support our youth, for one thing. Out loud. Not only out of view. And we demand more from heterosexist society and its protectors, because our youth need more protection that does heterosexism. Heterosexism isn't being threatened with extinction anywhere by anything. But our youth are taking their own lives at an alarming rate.

Below are too many new stories of gay boys losing their lives for no good reason at all. They want to escape humiliation and emotional torment and pain. But surely our community can be publicly supportive in ways that we have not, as yet, been, in order to help these children and young adults know there is hope beyond the torment. The last piece in this post is a message from a popular U.S. white gay activist and writer and his spouse, on their hell in high school and love together beyond it.

This first boy, Asher Brown, came out as gay to his parents in the morning. And later that day he committed suicide due to being bullied.

From LGBTQ Nation:

With heartfelt condolences for all the loved ones who grieve and remember these gay youth and one gay adult.

From LGBTQ Nation:

Indiana teen’s suicide thought to be result of anti-gay bullying

LGBTQ Nation • Tuesday, September 14, 2010 • Comments (10)
A 15-year-old Indiana teen took his own life last week in what is thought to be another suicide at least partially connected to school bullying, a result of the teen’s perceived sexual orientation.

Billy Lucas (via Facebook)
Billy (William) Lucas, a student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg, IN, was was found dead in a barn at his grandmother’s home Thursday evening — he had hanged himself.
Friends of Lucas say that he had been tormented for years. [WTHR-TV]
“He was threatened to get beat up every day,” friend and classmate Nick Hughes said. “Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him.”
“Some people at school called him names,” Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas’ sexual orientation, and that Lucas, for the most part, did little to defend himself.
“He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him,” Hughes said.
Decatur County Coroner Doug Banks said Lucas left a note, but that it didn’t refer to bullying or blame anyone; Lucas reportedly never self-identified as gay.

A Facebook memorial page created in Lucas’ honor, begins with this bio: “Everyone made fun of him at school and he couldn’t take it anymore so he decided to end his life”.

*          *          *

And just as we're saying goodbye to eighth-grader Asher Brown, who shot himself in the head after enduring anti-gay bullying at school, comes word fellow 13-year-old Seth Walsh died after 10 days on life support following a hanging attempt.
13 year old Seth Walsh, died of suicide attempt following anti-gay bullying

The Tehachapi, California teen spent the last few years being tormented by classmates at Jacobsen Middle School. He made it only two weeks into the current school year before being transferred to an independent study program.

Last Sunday, Sept. 19, he was found unconscious and not breathing after apparently trying to hang himself from a tree branch. He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he remained on life support until this afternoon, where he died surrounded by family. He leaves behind his grandmother Judy Walsh, mother Wendy Walsh, and three siblings, ages 11, 17, and 18. Police, meanwhile, say they cannot prosecute any of the kids responsible for his torment, since school bullying is not a crime. ("Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," says Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode. "They had never expected an outcome such as this.")

His death follows Brown's suicide in Texas, and 15-year-old Billy Lucas in Indiana. Like Walsh, Lucas hanged himself after enduring relentless teasing and torment inside the walls of his school.

There will be a memorial service on Friday at 3:30pm at the Tehachapi First Baptist Church.

Go tell your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your friends … that you love them. And then tell Kevin Jennings, President's Obama always-silent safe school czar and the founder of GLSEN, to start speaking the fuck up.

[Above, a YouTube tribute to Seth from what appears to be his sister. It includes the caption, "He wonderful this picture is because he's so happy :) I am too because I know he will be back. ... He will wake up we all know it."]

Read more:

From the comments posted *here*:
I denied myself the dignity of accepting I was gay until I was 50 years old. Before that I had worked for a governor(D) in Idaho...Looking back I was passed over for a lot of things which affected my career..."He's single and never been married" and stuff like that...At the time I didn't even believe I was gay -- In hindsight I've known since I was 5 years old...Regardless my fears and sometime's I suspect correctly folks perception of me cost me lots in my career and cost me lots in my confidence in myself...I'm 66 years old now and still don't feel free to be myself...And I actually think the folks I voted for two years ago are afraid of people like me...As liberals they know they should like gays but actually they don't like them very much...

From CNN:


 From Americablog Gay:

Another gay youth suicide -- roommate secretly filmed him hooking up, put video on twitter, kid killed himself shortly after

This story just hurts to read. It's painful:
A Rutgers University freshman killed himself after two classmates used a hidden dorm room camera to splash his sex life across the internet, sources told the Daily News.

A distraught Tyler Clementi, 18, left his wallet on the George Washington Bridge before plunging to his death in the Hudson River last Wednesday, sources said.

A Twitter post from one of the students accused of streaming the sexual encounter live on the internet indicated Clementi, a renowned high school violinist, was with another man.

"Roommate asked for the room till midnight," read the post from Dharun Ravi, 18. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

The Twitter post went up Sept. 19 - three days before Clementi's suicide.
So, awful. It just hurts.

There have been a number of teen suicides over the past couple weeks. Truth Wins Out reports "In September, there have been three gay teen suicides as a result of school bullying." That's just wrong.

What kind of messages were our elected leaders, like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, sending to young LGBT Americans when those Senators launched their vicious, homophobic attacks on gay and lesbian servicemembers last week? They were denigrating the worth of all LGBT Americans. It was sick. And, those deranged, obsessed religious right-types, led by Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher, send the same message. It's pure hatred and it's despicable.

Over the past few days, several sent me the video Dan Savage and his husband, Terry, filmed for the It Gets Better Project. It does. Every gay kid should watch this. It does get better --- and it's worth it:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The U.S. Proves It is Callous To Haitian People and Sovereignty, Including and Despite Bill Clinton's Efforts to Re-Colonize the Country

Catholics pray in the rubble of the Notre Dame cathedral in 
Ramon Espinosa / AP
Antoine Fesnell, right, prays as his daughters Nicole, 9, center, and Antoine, 6, look on during mass in the rubble of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday. Fesnell's wife died in the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12 and killed a government-estimated 300,000 people and left millions homeless.

What follows and what is above is from *here* at

Haitians suffer as U.S. aid is stuck in red tape

Not a cent of $1.15 billion promised for rebuilding has arrived

The Associated Press
updated 9/28/2010 6:25:48 PM ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.
'Lives at stake'

"There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable," said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far — less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

The lack of funds has all but halted reconstruction work by CHF International, the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters. Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built — less than 10 percent of the number planned.

The Maryland-based agency is asking the U.S. government for $16.5 million to remove more than 21 million cubic feet of additional rubble and build 4,000 more temporary houses out of wood and metal.

"It's just a matter of one phone call and the trucks are out again. We have contractors ready to continue removing rubble. ... We have local suppliers and international suppliers ready to ship the amount of wood and construction materials we need," said CHF country director Alberto Wilde. "It's just a matter of money."

Last week the inaction bore tragic results. On Friday an isolated storm destroyed an estimated 8,000 tarps, tents and shacks in the capital and killed at least six people, including two children. And the threat of violence looms as landowners threaten entire camps with forced eviction.

In Washington there is confusion about the money. At a July hearing, Ravij Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, thanked members of Congress for approving the funds, saying, "The resources are flowing and are being spent in country."

It wasn't true then, and still hasn't happened.

When the earthquake hit, U.S. agencies sent troops, rescuers, aid workers and supplies to the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince. On March 24, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $2.8 billion in emergency aid to Haiti — about half to pay back money already spent by USAID, the Defense Department and others. An additional $212 million was to write off debt.

The heart of the request was $1.15 billion in new reconstruction funds.

A week later, Clinton touted that figure in front of representatives of 50 nations at the U.N. secretariat, the president of Haiti at her side.

"If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences," Clinton said.

That was nearly six months ago. It took until May for the Senate to pass a supplemental request for the Haiti funds and until July for the House to do the same. The votes made $917 million available but did not dictate how or when to spend it. Without that final step, the money remains in the U.S. Treasury.

Then came summer recess, emergencies in Pakistan and elsewhere, and the distractions of election politics.

Now the authorization bill that would direct how the aid is delivered remains sidelined by a senator who anonymously pulled it for further study. Through calls to dozens of senators' offices, the AP learned it was Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma.

Bill on hold

"He is holding the bill because it includes an unnecessary senior Haiti coordinator when we already have one" in U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, Coburn spokeswoman Becky Bernhardt said.

The bill proposes a new coordinator in Washington who would not oversee U.S. aid but would work with the USAID administrator in Washington to develop a rebuilding strategy. The position would cost $1 million a year for five years, including salaries and expenses for a staff of up to seven people.

With the bill on hold, the State Department is trying to move the money along by avoiding Congress as much as possible. It sent lawmakers a "spending plan" on Sept. 20 and gave legislators 15 days to review it. If they fail to act on the plan, the money could be released as soon as specific projects get the OK.

"We need to make sure that the needs of the Haitian people are not sacrificed to procedural and bureaucratic impediments," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told the AP by e-mail. "As we approach nine months since the earthquake, further delays on any side are unacceptable."

Asked when the money will actually come, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet said the department expects to start spending in the coming weeks and months. He added that $275 million in "bridge" funds were released in March and have gone toward agriculture, work, health and shelter programs — not long-term reconstruction.

Haitian advocates say that is not enough.

Jean-Claude Bajeuax of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights in Port-au-Prince said this phase was supposed to be about building semi-permanent houses.

Promised houses: 'Where are they'

"Where are they? We haven't seen them," he said. "There is not much money that is being used. There is not much work that has actually been done."

Of course there is no guarantee that the money would lead to the successful rebuilding of Haiti. Many past U.S. aid efforts have fallen short. "I don't think (the money) will make any difference," said Haitian human rights advocate Pierre Esperance.

"Haitian people are not really involved in this process."

But officials agree the funds could pay for new approaches to make Haiti more sustainable, and rebuilding projects could improve millions of lives.

The AP found that $874 million of the funds pledged by other countries at the donors conference was money already promised to Haiti for work or aid before the quake. An additional $1.13 million wasn't ever going to be sent; it was debt relief. And $184 million was in loans to Haiti's government, not aid.

The Office of the Special Envoy has been tracking the money delivered so far but does not know who got it. The envoy himself, former President Bill Clinton, told the AP in July and again in August that he was putting pressure on donors to meet their pledges.

On the streets of Haiti, many simply feel abandoned. Mishna Gregoire, 22, said she was happy when she heard about the donors conference. But six months later she is still in a tarp city with 5,000 other people, on a foul-smelling plaza in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville. "I thought it was something serious they were really going to do," Gregoire said, standing amid tarps torn apart by the sudden storm. "But nothing has been done. And I don't think anything will be done."

"In America They Call Us Dykes: Lesbian Lives in the 70s". An October 8 - 10, 2010 Conference

The conference embraces a variety of topics and formats, from intimate conversations to more formal presentations of original research, from roundtables to workshops to reminiscences.

What is above and below is from *here*. I am posting the information here to promote the event.

Welcome to the Official Homepage for 
In Amerika They Call Us Dykes: 
Lesbian Lives in the 70s 
Fall Festival 
October 8th 2010 - October 10th 2010

Fall Festival Official Website
Fall Festival Schedule
Spring 2010 Series
The 1970s was a period of intense excitement, change, activism, and activity for lesbians. As lesbian feminism redefined what qualified as a "political issue" and challenged every assumption about gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, and any other social category, lesbians of all kinds created cultural, social, political, economic, and regional organizations and networks.

Lesbians created businesses; lesbians made and marketed music; lesbians played on softball teams; lesbians engaged in struggles for racial, social, and economic justice; lesbians made films; lesbians created womyn's land. Inspired by the massive social changes that were taking place, lesbians made new worlds for themselves and others.

In recognition of this momentous decade, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) will be holding a weekend long event/conference/ festival of lesbian history, culture, arts, scholarship, discussion, and performance from Friday, October 8 to Sunday, October 10th. The event will call upon experience, memory, and scholarship to represent as fully as possible the broad and wide experience of lesbians during the 1970s.

Check out the Official Website for 
In Amerika They Call Us Dykes:

CLAGS Lesbians in the 70s Series will:
  • Introduce and educate a broader audience about a crucial aspect of post-war American history.
  • Commemorate and illuminate the contributions of lesbians in the 1970s whose work was instrumental in the development of a modern feminist and LGBT identity.
  • Nurture current historical research on women and Lesbianism during this particular era.
  • Engage current multidisciplinary scholars of the 1970s, lesbianism, and feminism.
  • Create an original anthology of older work and new scholarly and creative work on lesbian lives in the 1970s and now.

***For more, please see *here* at Gay City News.***

CNN Anchor Don Lemon reveals he's a survivor of child sexual abuse, to make a point about perpetrators that needs to be heard

(For more on that interview on CNN, see this article at

There are three main points I'd like to highlight here, regarding the video above.

1. It is really glaring to me how and to what degree whites with class-privilege don't get how much more difficult it is for African Americans to publicly address the issue of sexual abuse in African American communities. If your sexuality and your personhood are both demonised by whites, then to discuss how some people in your community abuse people sexually is usually not going to be discussed in a public that has a white audience, if at all. Across race, the same phenomenon exists in identifying adult gay perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Because gay men are pre-stigmatised as "child molesters" those of us who are gay are often unwilling to discuss the issue of predation by gay adults in heterosexual, heterosexist, and homophobic environments. So, imagine being Black and gay in the U.S. and how different that is than being white and a heterosexual male, in terms of how much stigma there is on you, the survivor, and on the perpetrator as well.

2. It's sad that the reason people need to disclose on air, live, that they have survived an atrocity is because too many of us would prefer to be in denial about predators and perpetrators in our communities. Let's be clear here: predators, perpetrators, rapists, and child molesters are not "them". They are us. They look like "us" not like a "them". They behave like "us" not like "them".

If perpetrators and predators were only a "them" then "we" could spot 'em a mile away. We can't. They live with us and therefore are us. They are our doctors, priests, and fathers. They are, in some cases, our mothers. They are our step-dads, our grandfathers, our uncles, our older siblings. They are, usually, men known by us and trusted by us because they are known.

What most predators and perpetrators are NOT is "strange". What they are not are "strangers" most of the time. That's why the abuse happens so much: because the abusers are trusted and well-known adults who victims care for and, often, don't know how to say "NO" to.

That was the case with me. I didn't know how to say no to someone who was an adult who I was supposed to show regard and respect for. No one taught me it would be okay for me to fight back, to scream, to yell, to kick the perp in the nuts, to do whatever it took to get away. No one told me. What I was told instead was "always respect your elders".

Fuck that CRAP. Adults deserve no more respect than children, and no less. But when an adult violates another human being in atrocious ways, their "right to privacy" and their right to be held in high regard goes right out the door, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not at all in support of demonising abusers. But nor am I supportive of protecting them from consequences that they might avoid as long as their crimes are kept hidden.

3. If a Christian priest sexually abuses a child, they are a Christian terrorist. Plain and simple. If you don't get that, you don't get much.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fundraising for Film on Audre Lorde's visits to Germany and the influence of her work there

I have no idea if the filmmaker plans to integrate what Audre taught about the intersections of sexuality, race, class, and gender, but I hope so.

All that follows is from *here*.

Fundraising for Film on Audre Lorde: A Letter From the Filmmakers

By: Dagmar Shultz
Dear friends and members of CAAR,

I (Audre Lorde’s German publisher) am in the process of making a film – “The marvelous arithmetics of differences. Encounters with Audre Lorde 1984 –1992” – with filmmaker Zara Zandieh on the times Audre Lorde spent in Germany from 1984to 1992.

The film demonstrates how Lorde’s ideas on constructively dealing with differences deeply influenced the development of a Black German movement and the growth of consciousness around racism among White women – a subject few people outside of Germany are aware of.

The project is a very timely one in view of continued struggles aganst racism and around integration.

It seems to closely relate to the purpose and goals of CAAR exploring a significant cross-cultural exchange and coalition building in the context of the Black diaspora.

The film is based on archival materials, videos and fotos I and others took. We also want to integrate footage which Third World Newsreel (TWN) took in Berlin in 1989 for their film “A Litany for Survival. Life and Work of Audre Lorde”, and most of which they did not use. The film is to be finished by the end of 2011 – 2012 is the 20th anniversary of Audre Lorde’s passing.

At this point, we urgently need two types of support: publicity and financial aid. This is a low-budget production for which I have received some, but by far not sufficient funding.

I am trying to raise at least $40,000. Contributions of any amount will be helpful, and of course contributors will be listed as sponsors. Contact: dagschultz1(at)

We appreciate CAAR’s cooperation in this important project!

Dagmar Schultz
ps: Please find the expose of the film in the file below.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Economics and Compassion

image is from here
A collection of related thoughts and concerns follows.

A fundamental question is this: What does an economic system exist to do? Follow up questions are these:
Does an economic system that is increasingly globalised exist to support the welfare of the rich only, or also people generally? Does our corporate capitalist system in the West exist to serve the so-called First World at the expense of every other region of the world?

Is the dominant economic system in the U.S. one that replicates and reinforces or challenges and transforms white het male supremacy?

Does our economy work for the rich and not for the poor? Does it work for rich people and not for non-human animals and the Earth?

I have been in discussion with people about re-envisioning what "an economic system" does, what and who it exists for, and how we might transition to a more humane global community that doesn't seek to become one globalised community, but rather increasingly diverse and sustainable, flexible systems of support for humanity, non-human animals, and the Earth and its atmosphere.

The discussion is about paradigms and programs, values and vision, and whether we are capable of seeing what paradigms we live and die in, and what those paradigms exist to do, and how they become what we live.

That we live inside a few people's ideas is perhaps unsettling but it is true enough. Someone designed the systems we live in. Perhaps many people did, and many more have modified these systems over time. But in the last many decades, increasingly few people have increasingly more power and control over the systems in which we live and die, in which animals live and die and become extinct, in which the Earth gets sick and begins to die.

On an economic level, why do we need a global economy? Why not support very local and regional economies which are relatively self-sufficient and sustainable with the land masses they exist on and with?

If you have an economic model that required ever-expanding growth, and that growth takes natural resources that are not ever-expanding, do you see a problem with the model? If an economic system requires continually polluting and destroying land masses, soil bases, forests, and many ecosystems, how is it that we expect to survive? What we can see quite clearly is that when humans fuck around with ecosystems, everything and everyone suffers the consequences.

Think about Haiti and the devastation of the Earthquake on land that had its trees removed and political systems ravaged by outside forces. Consider the Pakistan floods and mudslides, and how dependent those were on the removal of trees. Consider New Orleans and that once upon a time that land and sea met at wetlands which existed to slow and shut down hurricanes, not welcome them deep into the land mass.

Consider that money economies don't show much regard for the many non-material gifts each of us bring to one another, including the raising of children, and instead force us to do work that we can get to survive, not work that we can enjoy doing.

To me, a lot is not working, and the proof of that is the amount of human and non-human suffering we witness when things like earthquakes, economic downturns, ceaseless and expanding poverty, increasingly trafficking and slavery, and environmental disasters happen that are all caused or exacerbated by greedy humans who disregard laws of nature in order to get rich and richer.

Support local bartering and humane service exchange economies, and community strengthening that considers the land mass as part of the community. Support local and regional efforts to strength systems of support that don't require that taxes be generated to support warfare, poverty and famine, and the destruction of the Earth.

If we care about each other, why would we want to perpetuate economic and political systems that do unfathomable harm?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Degree of Subjugation: A Response to Lloyd Marcus's essay "Off with [Christine] O'Donnell's head: left targets conservative women"

patriotic image of Lloyd Marcus is from here
Today marks what would have been the 64th birthday of Andrea Dworkin, had she not died unexpectedly of an infection to her heart in early April of 2005. I post this in honor of her.
Anti-feminism is also operating whenever any political group is ready to sacrifice one group of women, one faction, some women, some kinds of women, to any element of sex-class oppression: to pornography, to rape, to battery, to economic exploitation, to reproductive exploitation, to prostitution. There are women all along the male-defined political spectrum, including both extreme ends of it, ready to sacrifice some women, usually not themselves, to the brothels or the farms. The sacrifice is profoundly anti-feminist; it is also profoundly immoral...
Andrea Dworkin,"Anti-feminism," Right Wing Women (1991), pp. 230-231
From *here*:
Lloyd Marcus is the songwriter and vocalist of the "American Tea Party Anthem." He currently serves as president of NAACPC (National Association for the Advancement of Conservative People of Color). Visit his website at
Lloyd Marcus and most of the politically conservative white women he praises in a video below have a lot in common: both he and they are marginalised in a racist patriarchal society by at least "one degree of subjugation". White het men serve neither him nor the white women and women of color he promotes in his video which honors the politics of Right-wing women who he patronisingly prefers to consider "our girls". "Ours" in this instance is a possessive pronoun. Women and girls don't belong to men. That this actually needs stating here in this country is an indication of the sorry state of affairs we are living with: racist/misogynistic corporate media who will, when push comes to shove, dismiss Lloyd as any number of horrible terms just as swiftly as they'll toss any Right-wing woman under any bus should she not speak the way conservative WHM want them to speak.

I have poor white family members and non-poor family members of color. The white ones are racist to varying degrees. The men, not surprisingly, are sexist to varying degrees. The men of color are conservative. (There are no women of color in my family.)

What my poor white het male family members and the non-poor men of color in my family will not concede is that they have far more in common, structurally and in terms of political location, with working to middle class people of color, with poor people of all colors, and with women of all classes and ethnicities, than they do with wealthy WHM.

Wealthy white het men will do nothing for my poor white family except continue to try and convince them they they are brothers. The wealthy destroy the poor, slowly or swiftly, through many means--in fact by any means necessary--including classist corporate greed, through avoiding paying taxes by making themselves into corrupt corporations, by throwing their money overseas into a Swiss bank account, by buying up tracks of land that poor people live on, developing the land, and kicking the poor people out, by hogging resources such as health care, by making corrupt deals and supporting legislation that empowers them and disempowers everyone else, including by making lots of working people in the U.S. homeless and hungry.

Wealthy white het men will do nothing liberatory or justice-producing for any man of color anywhere in the world, as they practice genocide the way BP practices water and air pollution: with ease and insufficient or no consequence. Wealthy white het men, the conservatives particularly if not only, would not let Lloyd Marcus into their homes. They would not eat dinner with him. They would not shake his hand. You will note how few wealthy white het men who are conservative appear in his video with him--and of course that's due to the fact that he's saluting conservative women in the U.S. But it's not only due to that. It's because conservative WHM don't have to regard Lloyd as human any more than they have to regard any woman as human. They will use women like Sarah Palin, as has already been demonstrated during the presidential campaign, where we saw how wealthy conservative WHM treated her as an object to exploit as long as she said exactly what they wanted her to say.

Wealthy WHM who are conservative are positioned socially and structurally to be woman-oppressors--whether they actually hate women is entirely beside the point. Miss Daisy loved Holk Colburn, her chauffeur in the way that wealthy U.S. white women can love a poor African American man--with condescension and exploitation always at the ready.

No woman, no matter how conservative, will ever be regarded with respect or seen as an equal by wealthy WHM, especially but not only the conservative ones.

The lie white male supremacist Amerikkka tells so very well, is that it embraces all those who are willing to come into the fold of conservatism. And what, pray tell, has conservatism--as whites use the term--done for any person of color? What it has done for white women is important to understand, and to understand it, I recommend reading Right-wing Women by Andrea Dworkin. That Dworkin was an anti-racist and a critic of the male supremacist left is not recognised by Lloyd Marcus. I welcome him to read her book and respond to me here about its content. Here's one review from
What's in it for them? Here is Andrea Dworkin to tell you in superb detail exactly why right-wing women stand against their sisters. She explains with in-your-face language how the right has managed to be highly successful in opposing women's rights. Dworkin pulls no punches and will never apologize for telling it like it is. This book is incredibly inspiring and significant. -- S. Mickelson

As I'm want to do, I'll interject my responses along the way, through Lloyd Marcus's entirely misogynistic essay.

September 25, 2010

Off with O'Donnell's head: left targets conservative women

By Lloyd Marcus

Here is the Left's latest attempt to fire up their base to vote in November — Obama Lies Productions in association with Media Sycophants Group and Black Civil Rights Mafia Productions proudly releases "Attack of the Racist White Tea Party People" starring that lovable crazy witch from Delaware, Christine O'Donnell; in 3D. Keep the kids at home on this one folks. It gets pretty scary when Christine's head does a 360 degree turn and pukes green slime at the audience.

Yes, the Left, so-called champions of women's causes, have launched yet another campaign to destroy another conservative woman, Christine O'Donnell; their blatant hypocrisy and hatred of conservative women boldly on display. ["The Left" is a nebulous term in the U.S., never really being used to mean much that constitutes the agenda of the white male supremacist left. What Marcus and virtually anyone else in media  means when he/they use the term "the Left" is "liberals". Sometimes that includes "progressives". From a Leftist point of view, neither of those groups comprise the Left. But this country is so far to the Right that Liberalism seems radically Left to Right-wingers who don't care to know what  lays just beyond their own ideology, should they take a few steps farther right. The ideology that awaits them there is fascism.]
The liberal media and weird thinking women on the Left [as you can see, he uses the "l" words interchangeably while demonstrating misogyny for women who do not fall in line with the male supremacist politics he promotes] accuse conservative women of being extremist outside of the mainstream. And yet, they are the ones who are anti-marriage, considers child rearing demeaning, seek to femin-ize men and are pro abortion. Rush Limbaugh says the Left's version of feminism is a religion and their sacrament is abortion. [Quoting Rush Limbaugh as some sort of sage is akin to quoting Charles Manson as a prophet.]

A nutty feminist professor said all sex is rape. Feminist commentator Maureen Dowd writes that men, especially white men, suck. Then, Dowd wrote a column about her difficulty finding a date.

[You may note that on other sites the above paragraph reads this way:
Nutty feminist professor Andrea Dworkin said all heterosexual sex is rape. Feminist commentator Maureen Dowd writes that men, especially white men, suck. Then Dowd wrote a column about her difficulty finding a date.
See, for example, *here* and *here*. What someone either edited for Mr. Marcus, or he edited for some websites, was a correction of sorts, perhaps due to the fact that Andrea Dworkin, other than once teaching a couple of classes in Minneapolis, was never a "professor"--nor nutty. The "professor" he may be referring to is Catharine A. MacKinnon, who has taught Constitutional Law. We may note that neither Andrea Dworkin nor C. A. MacKinnon ever said "all heterosexual sex is rape" and this is well-documented as a media lie begun in the pages of Playboy, perpetuated and maintained by some liberals who discuss white feminism in the 1980s. For more on the lie, see *this* at One wonders why these conservative and liberal critics of Dworkin and MacKinnon can't seem to ever understand anything they ever wrote, let alone quote it accurately. Could it be because they've never read anything they published? I'll leave that for Lloyd Marcus and other conservatives and liberals to answer.]

Men like conservative women because conservative women like men. [Or need them. The irony is that conservative men need conservative women for much more than the women need the men. What women need men for, often enough, is the economic security and the illusion of safety. What the men need the women for is their fundamental daily survival.] They are grateful when we open doors, carry packages and take care of them. Such respectful behavior makes them feel like women and us guys feel like men. [One wonders how it could be that all conservative women feel one way about these or any other issues.] This biology driven relationship between the sexes in no way undermines women's role as leaders, bosses, governors or presidents. Conservative women are wise, well aware of the God given power of their femininity. [There's no biologically driven relationship that impels women to need men for economic security or a false sense of safety. Money economies and domestic, social, and international violence against women, committed by men, are not biological phenomena, at least according to radical feminists of all colors. If Lloyd wants to make the case for how such things are biological, I welcome him to do so. Women are neither economically secure or safe when living intimately with conservative men. For one thing, conservative men disproportionately procure women in systems of prostitution who have been infected with disease and illnesses passed to them by other men. For another, marital rape and battery happens "in the best of families". For another, conservative men who are fathers of girls (and of boys) do molest or incest their children. Not all of them, of course. Who would make a statement about all people in a group doing the same thing? Oh, yes: Lloyd Marcus would. And we might note the utter condescension of his statement that women are wise in being aware of the power a male sky-god gave them called "femininity" as if all women are feminine, and as if many men are not--"naturally". I'd argue the domestic relationships between men and women Lloyd Marcus is promoted does indeed undermine women's role as leaders, bosses, governors, and presidents, which is why so few women take those positions and why this country will not elect a woman president.]
Back in the sixties, bitter liberal women [when he writes "bitter" he is actually referring to "socially assimilationist", which is not an attitudinal issue at all] sold their sisters a huge lie, "Empowerment means being like men." [And then there's this classic quote by a white man named Timothy Leary: "Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition."] Unfortunately, many young men treat women as the feminists have instructed; without respect, no special concessions and saying anything in front of them. [That this makes absolutely no sense should be obvious. How he arrives at this conclusion is beyond me. This is akin to saying that if anyone of color believed in trying to be like whites, they were anti-empowerment for people of color, and that if whites treat people of color the way Civil Rights activists (and people of color generally) wished, this would result in people of color being disrespected by whites, people of color being offered no special concessions by whites, and whites being able to say anything at all in front of people of color. There are layers of truth in all this, but not for any of the reasons Mr. Marcus identifies. The truth he avoids is this: men, generally if not entirely, do not respect women as they do other men, no matter if the women are conservative or liberal. Whites, generally if not entirely, do not respect people of color as they do other whites, regardless of whether people of color are conservative or liberal.] Young male's lack of respect for women is evidenced in the numerous music videos which refer to them as "b----s and hoes". [As if white male comedians before the feminist campaigns of the 1970s had respect for women. Has he not seen "Mad Men"?! Mr. Marcus seems to believe that being a good old-fashioned patriarchal means entails being "respectful of women", which, really, when it comes right down to it, means opening a door for a woman and that's about it. That's not a sign of respect; it's an action layered with an assumption that women need men to do minor things, like pass from the outside into the interior of a building. If it were a sign of respect, men would regard it as such when other men of the same race do it for one another. When I hold doors for other white men, they just seem uncomfortable--as if I'm implying they can't do such things for themselves.]

The Left [who on the Left: women? men?] sold their feminist movement to America [from where: Europe? Asia? Africa?] as being about giving women options and freedom to choose their path. [Yes, like being able to be a senator, or, even, to run for the office of president of the U.S.--does Lloyd believe women can do this now because of white men's conservative agenda for women? I welcome him to outline that history and how, exactly, wanting women to be possessed and controlled and condescended to by men equals wanting women to be free to choose their own path.] If this truly was their mission, Sarah Palin would be their rock star; a strong confident woman who is extremely successful in and outside of the home. [She is respected for all of that by everyone I know. What she's not respected for are her professed values and political perspectives which are entirely white het male supremacist and not in the interests of women who seek liberation from oppression. Feminists I know also don't hold Margaret Thatcher up as any sort of feminist. But that doesn't mean they don't respect her as a human being.] But, rather than celebrating Palin's achievements, feminists despise her. Why? [Because she's a promoter of white het male supremacy, that's why.] Because it ain't about freedom, nor options. The Left's version of the feminist movement is about bitterness towards men, hatred of America and promoting a socialist agenda. [Well, nice try at tossing out the sound-bites from Fox News. But if Mr. Marcus read Right-wing Women by Andrea Dworkin--one of many feminists who never said "All heterosexual sex is rape"--he might discover what that one feminist did believe was going on with women choosing WHM supremacist conservatism over WHM supremacist liberalism.]

I don't know who the Left despises most; successful uppity black escapees from the liberal plantation or conservative women. [I'm not sure who the white Right despises more: liberal Black men, liberal women of color, liberal white women, liberal white men, conservative white women, conservative women of color, or conservative men of color.]

Conservative brothers, despite what wacko feminists and their metro-sexual media sycophants [that would be semi-cloaked an anti-gay male slur, in case you missed it, as well as an overtly misogynist one] say, managed testosterone is a "good thing." ["Managed testosterone?" What could he possibly be talking about? Is there a new birth control pill for men?!] My testosterone will not allow me to passively watch the Left brutally beat up conservative women. [Wow. And here I thought it might be your political views, what you've learned from observing social systems, or your pseudo-respectful empathy for conservative women. Nope: it's just your hormones talking.] The cowboy [and which cowboy would that be? One of those cowboys who killed Injuns?] in me proclaims, "Don't be messin' with our conservative women folk"; Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Marsha Blackburn, Michele Bachmann, Laura Ingraham, Frances Rice, Star Parker, Ann Coulter, Michele Malkin, Amy Kremer, Debbie Lee, Selena Owens and Sarah Palin to name a few. [I suggest he tell that to the white conservative men who are disrespecting and harassing them, exploiting them when convenient, tossing them under the bus when they get in any conservative man's way. Does Lloyd Marcus actually believe Sen. John McCain respects Sarah Palin?? I think she'd disagree, if able to be honest and not quickly and callously cast her under a bus for telling the truth about how he mistreated her during their campaign run for the White House.]

Guys, we need to rally around our awesome gutsy sisters. They are putting it on the line, defending the values and principles we hold dear; family, God and country. [Dysfunctional heterosexual families where men generally don't do shit most of the time--except to be abusive or neglectful, and, when divorced, fight for custody of children they do not want, trying to take them from the mothers of those children who the men have too often battered; a white male sky-god that listens with particular interest and responsiveness to the prayers of the  wealthy, white, or male; and a country that is founded on and maintains an heavy investment in rape, misogyny, heterosexism, racism, and genocide.]

"Democrat Judgment Day" in November is fast approaching. [With Republican Judgment Day curiously landing on the same date.] Democrats [and Republicans] are fearful, panicky and desperate which makes them extremely vicious and dangerous. [The most viciousness I've seen, especially with regard to racism, has been among white conservatives.] King Obama [cute] has sent out his decree, "Bring me the head of Christine O'Donnell!" [Well, not, actually. He's far too controlled by the Right for him to make any such pronouncement. And I assure you, dear reader, we will see her betrayed by her own brothers, not the liberal ones.] O'Donnell must be destroyed because she is the ultimate, birthed from the people, ordinary, and yet, extraordinary, conservative Tea Party Movement candidate. [She should go exactly as far as her capabilities and talents for governing allow her,  but probably not as far as she'd like, given that white conservative men have a thick glass ceiling just above her head.]

It is extremely crucial that O'Donnell and we, her supporters, keep our eyes fixed on and climbing towards the summit, ignoring the rocky path along the way. Go Christine, Go! We got your back! [I'll wait for the time when Lloyd Marcus has to defend her against the charges of incompetency that will inevitably come from the conservative men he claims respect women so very much.]

And to all of our courageous conservative sisters, we love you and you are beautiful. [And are the conservative brothers beautiful too, I wonder? Or is it only women who have to be beautiful for her men to appreciate them?] Enjoy my tribute song to conservative women titled, "Our Girls" [subtitled "Under My Thumb"]:

Remember. Resist. Do not comply. -- Andrea Dworkin

Some of the writing above is © Lloyd Marcus. Some of it is © Julian Real, 2010.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Triqui Women Demand Justice and Freedom from Paramilitary Violence in Oaxaca

To link back to the source blog, My Word Is My Weapon, please click on the title.

Triqui Women on the Frontline in San Juan Copala Conflict

A New Ambush Aimed at the Women-Led Caravan Leaves Three Dead; Caravan Postponed
by Kristin Bricker

Photo: José Carlo González, La Jornada

The paramilitaries who invaded San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, this past July 30 have since abandoned the autonomous municipality's town hall.  They didn't go far, however, and near-daily shootings from the paramilitary sharpshooters stationed around the town keep San Juan Copala under a state of siege.

San Juan Copala declared itself autonomous following the 2006 uprising that nearly drove Oaxaca's governor out of office.  The Union for the Social Well-being of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), a paramilitary organization founded by the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI, which has ruled Oaxaca for eighty years), has kept San Juan Copala under siege since January.  UBISORT has blocked the road into town with boulders and logs, forcing Copala residents to use trails through the woods to bring in desperately needed supplies on their backs.  UBISORT snipers are positioned in the hills surrounding the town, making it extremely dangerous for residents to leave their homes at all.

"No one can go outside in Copala," says Mariana Flores, a representative of the autonomous municipality.  "If they [paramilitaries] see you on the street, they will shoot at you."

Residents believe that the paramilitaries are more likely to kill men than women.  According to Flores, "If men try to go outside, they don't take more than two steps before [the paramilitaries] try to hurt or kill them."

As a result, Triqui women are playing increasingly vital roles in San Juan Copala.  "In San Juan Copala, it is mainly women who risk their lives to go out and look for food," says Flores. When paramilitaries raided San Juan Copala with the help of Oaxacan state police this past July 30, it was women who attempted to repel the invasion.  "Women have decided to demand their rights, and now it is women who are struggling for the community," reports Flores.

Women's increasingly protagonistic role in the conflict means that they now bear the brunt of the paramilitaries' violence.   Over the past four months:

  • UBISORT murdered Bety Cariño, a non-Triqui Oaxacan community organizer, along with Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola, during an aid caravan to San Juan Copala on April 27.  It is believed that Cariño was targeted.
  • On May 15, UBISORT leaders beat and attempted to kidnap two Copala women.  Later that day, UBISORT members kidnapped 12 women and children who had snuck out of San Juan Copala to purchase food.
  • On May 20, unidentified assassins murdered Cleriberta Castro Aguilar and her husband Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez, one of the founders of the autonomous municipality.
  • On June 24, sharpshooters shot and wounded 8-year-old Miriam Martínez in San Juan Copala.
  • On June 26, sharpshooters shot and wounded Marcelina de Jesús López and Celestina Cruz Ramírez as they left a meeting in San Juan Copala.
  • On July 26, Maria Rosa Francisco disappeared near her home in San Juan Copala when sharpshooters opened fire.  She had left her house to look for firewood and is feared dead.
  • On July 30, when women attempted to repel the paramilitary/police raid on San Juan Copala, two girls aged 17 and 14 were shot.  The 14-year-old was paralyzed when a bullet fired by the UBISORT lodged in her spine.
During the same time period, in addition to the murders of Jaakkola and Ramírez, only one man was injured;  sharpshooters shot him in the leg when he left his home to use the bathroom.

On August 11, Triqui women took their fight to the state capital and are now occupying Oaxaca City's main plaza. They expect their protest encampment to grow as more and more Triquis who have been displaced by the violence converge on the state capital.  The women say they will stay in Oaxaca's main plaza until the government brings the people responsible for dozens of murders in the Triqui region to justice.  "We haven't received any response from the government," reports Flores.  She says that governor-elect Gabino Cué has not responded to their demands either. 

The women had planned to travel to Mexico City on Monday, August 23, to meet with social organizations in an attempt to gain more support.  However, the caravan was postponed following an ambush on August 21 that killed three men associated with the autonomous municipality and injured another two.  Amongst the dead is Antonio Ramírez López, the leader of Santa Cruz Tilapa, a community that belongs to the autonomous municipality.   Ramírez López was one of the founders of the autonomous municipality. The five men were helping organize the women's caravan, and the Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Human Rights Center says that the men were ambushed as they travelled in a pick-up truck to pick up Triqui women who were supposed to participate in the women's caravan.  Forensic investigators report that AK-47s and AR-15s were used in the ambush.  Both weapons are classified as exclusively for military use, and it is illegal for civilians to own them.

The autonomous municipality claims that paramilitaries from both UBISORT and the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) participated in the ambush, although at this point survivors have not identified their attackers. 

Organizers in the women's protest encampment in Oaxaca City say that they will remain in the capital's main plaza until their demands are met.  They are currently in the process of reenforcing the protest encampment with more supporters.  The reenforcement is a security precaution because Rufino Juarez, the leader of UBISORT, was seen on Saturday and Sunday near the women's protest encampment.  Juarez has personally participated in assaults against Triqui women, including the May 15 kidnapping of twelve women and children.

For the Tule People of NW Colombia, WHM Supremacist Imperialism and Colonialism, along with Militarism and Drug Wars, Ecocide through Pesticide Poisoning and Forced Relocation = Genocide

the Tule are a displaced group of Indigenous Peoples forced out of ancestral land in NW Colombia into Panama

The problem is genocidal violence against the Tule people, their land, their culture, and genocidal violence against many other Indigenous peoples from Northwestern Colombia, who have been engaged in resistance by European colonists and their descendants who are forcing them out of their homeland in Colombia. The murderous policies are entirely a product of Western white male supremacist civilisation and are completely bound to the past and present policies and practices of the U.S. government and covert operations overseen by it.

Indigenous people the world over are militantly well-organised and organising against the many assaults against them from many sources: the Western Civilisation, the Global North, militarism, white het male supremacy, capitalism, drug wars, pesticide pollution, and other ecocidal practices. Indigenous people are being actively murdered. Extinction = Genocide.

Below are two articles describing some of the conditions the Tule refugees are facing. The Tule comprise many Indigenous ethnic groups working to survive the practices of the dominator nation of Colombia which has many ties to the unfathomably terroristic and genocidal dominator nation called the U.S.A.

We may note that the first article gives historical context and identifies many conditions that have been long-standing genocidal practices since the 1600s; this links the current atrocities to a rapist, pillaging lineage of white male supremacist invasion and terrorism. The NYT piece the ignores the history of imperialist, rapist colonisation and genocide that directly implicates the U.S. government as a key ruling body of a well-functioning terrorist nation which practices genocide against Indigenous people globally, through corporate control, military force, and white het male supremacist worldviews and values. The video which is part of the first article explains more of what is going on. The NYT simply shows one photograph, noting that men and women are separated, which isn't relevant here, although Western WHM terrorism functions especially brutally when Western male invaders gain access to the women and girls of a colonised population.

The first article is from Intercontinental Cry, an Indigenist activist website. You can link back by clicking on the title.

Colombia: Indigenous Peoples Under Threat

August 7, 2010
In Colombia, over two decades of conflict between the government and paramilitary groups has uprooted more than 3 million people. Today the conflict poses an even greater threat of extinction to 34 distinct Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. Among them, in the Uraba region of northwest Colombia, the Tule.

Living close to the border with Panama, the Tule have long considered abandoning their ancestral lands and heading into Panama to escape the constant threats and intimidation by Colombia's paramilitary groups.

There are about 70,000 other Tule, who are also known as Kuna, living in northern Panama--and nearly half of them are living under their own constitution in the Comarca de Kuna Yala or district of the Kuna.

But how do you walk away from the land of your ancestors, the land you know and love, the land that you believe you are here to protect? Beliefs and obligations can run deeper than any real or perceived danger, no matter how great it is.

Then there's the Tule's long history. It runs contrary to some popular academic beliefs, but the Tule say they were born in the jungles of Colombia. And a series of devastating wars in the 1600s forced the vast majority to seek refuge in Panama.

Less than 600 Tule remain in the land of their ancestors.

Context, courtesy of UNCHR:

* Colombia’s internal armed conflict that started in 1964 has pitted Colombia’s armed forces against two main guerrilla groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Clashes also routinely involve organized crime gangs and narcotics traffickers that have links to guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

* Colombia has one of the highest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the world. There are about three million registered IDPs in Colombia, of which an estimated 41,000 are indigenous. However, indigenous displacement often goes unregistered – due to the remoteness of indigenous territory, lack of access to state services and cultural barriers.

* Out of Colombia’s total national population of 43 million there are an estimated one million indigenous people comprising about 90 indigenous groups.

* At least 27 indigenous groups are at risk of disappearing as a result of armed conflict, according to Colombia’s Constitutional Court. The National Indigenous Association, ONIC, says 18 groups are at acute risk of extinction.

* Indigenous people have suffered an increase in violence linked to armed conflict during the past 10 years. ONIC has reported the murders of about 1,980 indigenous people during the period 1998-2008.

* Colombia in April 2009 signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a landmark declaration that outlines the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlaws discrimination against them. The declaration upholds the rights of indigenous people to stay on their lands and duties of the State to protect them.

* Under Colombian and international law, members of indigenous groups are entitled to special protections from forced displacement.

Also see:
Documents (in Spanish and English) on Indigenous Peoples in Colombia (pdf) courtesy of Rights & Democracy

Video: An important 60-minute discussion on the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia by Federico Guzman, a Specialist in Colombian constitutional law and legal advisor to Indigenous organizations: (more videos available here)

Websites: Information site on Colombia’s ethnic groups (in Spanish); The National Indigenous Association of Colombia, (in Spanish)

*          *          *
What follows next is cross-posted from *here* at The New York Times.

When a Drug Battle Spells Extinction

A gathering of the Tule people. Men and women sit on different 
B. Heger/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A traditional gathering of the Tule people of Colombia. Men and women sit on different sides.

The drug trade and other domestic strife are wreaking havoc on Colombia’s dwindling population of indigenous peoples while also threatening the integrity of the country’s biologically diverse forests, the United Nations High Council on Refugees reported this week.

More than 40 percent of the country’s 84 distinct indigenous groups are now at risk of extinction, the United Nations said, because of the pressures of the country’s long-running internal armed conflict, which is fueled partly by the cocaine trade.

With only 1,200 remaining members, the Tule tribe of northwestern Colombia is considered uniquely threatened. In recent months, armed groups have overrun traditional Tule lands, killing and terrorizing villagers and forcibly recruiting young people into their ranks.

Tule leaders fear that if they are driven off their lands, the forest that they have inhabited for generations will be ruined by development. “The Tule are an ancient people and their value is that they protect the environment,” one community’s chief and spiritual leader told United Nations representatives during a recent visit.

Meanwhile, the Colombian government’s coca eradication measures continue to draw criticism from some quarters for collateral damage to the environment and indigenous and rural people.

In August, the Guardian newspaper in London published an open letter by nearly 50 academics, many of them from Colombian universities, to the newly elected president, Juan Manuel Santos, protesting the fumigation of coca crops. In the letter, the professors claim “confirmed knowledge” that Colombia’s antinarcotics police established a base earlier this year in the Cauca region along the Pacific coastline that they are using to lead fumigation operations.

“The impact of the widespread spraying on the local communities has been devastating,” the letter states. “The planes have targeted not just illegal coca plants, but all vegetation, including staple crops that local populations depend upon.”

The Cuaca region is one of several areas identified as a hot spot of biological diversity by a World Bank-financed study in the 1990s, the Proyecto Biopacifico.

“It is in utter disregard of the recommendations drawn up by this acclaimed study that the Colombian government has undertaken a massive, indiscriminate fumigation campaign in the region, hoping to eradicate illegal coca cultivation,” the professors wrote.