Posted in: Feminism
Published on Jan 18, 2012 by Phyllis Chesler
Why Feminists Don't Rob Banks
I join Ron Radosh and Tom Robbins and favor granting leniency to Judith Clark. She has paid for her crime long enough; others whose crimes were far more serious have already been freed — some have never served time at all; and Clark seems to be as "rehabilitated" as a human being can be.
Continuing to imprison her will not bring back the dead. I believe that our civilization must embrace compassion as well as justice, mercy as well as vengeance.
However, neither Ron nor David (Horowitz) nor Tom noted that, had Judith Clark opted to become a feminist, by definition, she would have turned her back on the violence-driven concepts of "Afrikan," anti-American revolution that drove what became the Weather Underground.
Whether PJM readers are for or against feminism is not the point. Second wave feminists — my cohort — did not espouse the violent overthrow of governments. Contrary to myth, no one espoused the murder of men. Even the anti-pornography and anti-prostitution activists did not kidnap or murder johns, pimps, or traffickers; nor did they blow up the offices of pornography magazines.
Once, a legendary West Coast activist destroyed a copy of a pornography magazine which she had not paid for and she chose to sit in jail "on principle" for a number of days rather than admit guilt or pay a fine.
The only women who were violent were battered wives and girlfriends who finally killed their tormenters in self-defense. They were not feminists. And they were routinely given very long — often life sentences — for the crime of saving their own lives.
Feminists passed legislation, opened shelters for battered women, counseled rape victims, demonstrated, lobbied, exposed issues such as incest, sexual harassment, pornography, prostitution, trafficking, brought lawsuits on behalf of women's reproductive rights and employment discrimination.
I still find it tragic that someone like Judith Clark and her comrades Kathy Boudin, Bernardine Dohrn, Susan Rosenberg, and Silvia Baraldini all chose a male-dominated, misogynistic Left, and did so even after American feminism was an alternative choice. Second wave feminism was active and visible in America, some say, by 1965, but certainly by 1967. The Chicago Days of Rage at the Democratic Convention took place in 1969. The tragic Brink's robbery took place in 1981.
The cult these female criminals joined was only one more patriarchal outfit — one, however, that allowed women to do things that middle class, educated women were not supposed to do. Hold up banks. Live communally for a greater cause. Espouse the cause of "the forbidden other" (the black man as revolutionary or psychopath), as opposed to leading a quiet American life or fighting for women's rights, children's rights, human rights, as either a left-winger or a right-winger.
Like Judith Clark, revolutionary women could have become single lesbian mothers in the bosom, so to speak, of a feminist movement. They did not need a violent communist movement in order to do so.
Yes, I, too, knew most of the players but I was not one of them. Even then, I could not understand how these bright, privileged women could betray themselves and the pressing cause of women only to sacrifice their very lives for male or patriarchal concepts of revolution and anti-racism.
Did they not know that America was the best — not the worst — country in the world? I learned that by living in a Muslim country in the early 1960s.
Closer to home: Had they learned nothing about what ultimately happened to many white women who worked in the American civil rights movement? We were routinely "hit on" by black men — and by leftist white men too. Had they utterly failed to note that black psychopaths and criminals, as well as those who hated "whitey," had taken over the Reverend Martin Luther King's brilliant non-violent movement?
Ironically, the women of the Weather Underground were such "good girls."
So many of us feminists wanted to be "bad" in the very best sense of that word, we wanted to transform our country and our world in non-violent ways.
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