Sunday, March 6, 2016


Scheduled appearances

March 8 at 3:30 PM. International Women’s Day. Omega Salvage, 2403 San Pablo between Channing & Dwight in Berkeley.
I will be sharing reflections about women’s role “saving the world.” connected with Apology to a Whale: Words to Mend a World.

April 5 at 7 PM. City of Berkeley Temporary Council Chambers, 1222 University Ave. . The City of Berkeley will honor Cecile Pineda for a life-time achievement as a literary artist.

April 7 at 3:30 PM Doubletree Hilton, Denver Colorado: NACCs panel
Colonialism, Environmental Justice, Land Politics within Chicana/o Studies discusses Apology to a Whale: Words to Mend a World.
Rescheduled -  Ethnic Studies Library, 30 Stephens Hall,  UC Berkeley – schedule now tentative until UC Labor dispute is resolved.

MARCH 8 IS DESIGNATED THIS YEAR for us to celebrate Internal Women’s Day by the folks who do the designating. I hope they’re women, but given the neocon state of things, everything these days is up for grabs.

Omega Savage at 2403 San Pablo Between Channing and Dwight in Berkeley is putting on a day-long extravaganza—weather permitting!—this next Tuesday, March 8.

Here’s the line up:

3:30-4:30 Cecile Pineda/ Author (and feminist, I  might add)
4:30-5:00 Rybree/ Musician
5:00-5:45 Toby Blome'/ Code Pink Sisters/activist
5:45-6:15 Hali Hammer/ Musician/Activist
6:30-8:30 Alice Pennes / Art Project
6:15-6:45 Barbara Lubin/Mecca for Peace 
6:45-7:30 Andrea Pritchett/Musician/Activist
7:30-8:00 Gussie & Grits/Musician
8:30 ish Shirley Smallwood (during break for Dirty Cello)         /Musician/Storyteller
8:00-9:00 Dirty Cello/Musician

I’d venture to guess that most of the women listed above would not only describe themselves as feminists, but I know most of them to be activists as well. Trouble-makers. Trumpeniks, (no relation) as we say in Williamsburg.

Someone is probably gonna push me on stage at 3:30 (weather permitting) so I got to thinking I ought to give what I say  some thought.

In his tragimentary, Michael Moore, a rabid feminist, interviews Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Iceland’s first woman president (1980-1996). It’s conceivable she speaks with some authority when she says: “Women are going to save the world—if the world can be saved.”

Everybody who is anybody, and almost everybody who is a woman, knows that already. There’s lots of speculation about why that is, things like it comes with lactation, parturition, or caregiving. etc. etc.  You don’t have to lactate to be a woman, and you don’t have to care about the planet (necessarily) if you know how to lactate.

Based on my review of articles published and filed by me over the past 5 years women’s activism saving the world, falls into four main areas: agriculture, women’s health, economics, peace and peace advocacy. I reviewed work being done by women world-wide and in the United States. World-wide emphasis stresses such environmental issues as soils, water, seeds, land reclamation, and disaster relief. In the Untied States, emphasis is on reform of law enforcement, and on women’s health issues. Peace-making, and de-militarization are well represented both in the U.S. and world-wide.

World-wide, 80% of the world’s agriculture is done by women. Millions of women care about soil, and the health of soil; they care about the quality of water. They care about seeds. “Saving seeds is the heart of peasant culture,” to quote an article published by Popular Resistance, Nov. 7, 2015. They care about cultural preservation. This is true of indigenous people’s movements such as Idle-No-More, and including such seed-saving groups as We Are the Solution, based in Senegal, with related groups in
Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali; and Sarayaku, a Kichwa tribe village in Ecuador, whose woman-led movement sued the Ecuadorian Government in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to stop military and corporations from clearing their land for oil development. They care about the forest, the Amazon to be specific, because without healthy forests, there can be no healthy soil—or healthy air for that matter.

Leading figures in such movements are Vandana Shiva, who strongly advocates against monocultures and whose foundation, Navdanya,  works to save seeds; and the late Wangari Maahtai, whose Green Belt Movement planted over a million trees in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

In the United States, attention is now focused on a case to be heard on the SCOTUS’ upcoming calendar. It has attracted intensive notice because it promises to have as wide-reaching consequences as Roe vs. Wade. It even scores a hashtag : #stopthesham. The American war against women is being waged on the health care front , the incarceration front and the economic front. Women in the U.S. are the fastest growing incarcerated population. Battles are being waged in such notorious prisons and detention centers as Hutto Detention Facility in Texas, (which facilitates deportation of abused women seeking political asylum) and Florida’s Lowell Correction Institution , which prostitutes women prisoners. More women-centered advocacy is needed on behalf of incarcerated women and their families. Skirmishes are being fought on the legal front, in a number of states where anti-choice policies lead to widespread arrest and forced intervention of pregnant women; and against abortion providers. One in 4 U.S. women can’t afford abortion, and 97% of rural counties have no  abortion provider. Women-led organizations such as Planned Parenthood and support networks for women released from incarceration are fighting defensive actions.

On the economic front, 24% of women world-wide earn less than men for the same work; two thirds (2/3) of American women make under $10,000 yearly, and the tax structure, and neocon-inspired austerity cuts impact women and their children disproportionately. Despite the work of prominent women economists, such as Marilyn Waring, women’s domestic work has yet to be counted in most nations’ GNP.

Peacemaking and de-militarization activism seems to be well represented by women in the United States and world-wide. Of issues affecting women, such representation seems to me to be the most balanced. In the United States, such women-led organizations as Code Pink, Mecca for Peace, Madre, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and Womens’ International League for Peace and Freedom (which has just celebrated 100 years) are working for nuclear and weapons of mass destruction abolition, and for diplomacy over warfare.

As a general rule, women-led organizations have very little overhead. Let’s pause a moment to imagine just why that is!  But we have room to grow. Today, March 8, 2016, Friends of the Earth published a list of nine amazing women who have defended the environment, including the recently assassinated Honduran activist, Berta Caceres. Thousasnds of Hondurans came from afar, some taking 10-hour bus rides, to protest her murder. "Berta is not dead," they chanted. "She has multiplied." We must also bear in mind that a woman now running for president of the United States, made the overthrow of the legitimately elected Zelaya government possible during her stint as Secretary of State. Honduras now has more murders per capita than any other country in Central and South America.  None of these remarkable women acted alone. Individuals can do little without recognizing that change can be effected only when women organize. We still have a way to go if we are going to save life on this magnificent blue-green planet.

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