In Washington state, a judge recently ruled that guns be returned to a man who repeatedly threatened online to “kill all women.” I seldom swear, but WTF?
This is a person who posed with AK-47 automatic rifles on social media and posted that he was “prowling the Seattle streets looking for women to assault” and would “shoot any woman any time for any reason”! He even talked about menacing his own mother with guns.
So what was the defense that he and his lawyer used to get his weapons back? He was only joking! Supposedly, he was mocking “incel” male misogynists (supposed victims of “involuntary celibacy”) who might make these same pronouncements.
Ridiculous! I am not a fan of government undermining the civilian right to bear arms. (You can read more about this subject in previous Freedom Socialist articles) But whatever one thinks about restricting guns, the “humor defense” in this case is absurd.
Because you know what? Threats to women’s lives aren’t funny — not when so much real carnage is taking place.
Violence against women — by methods physical, sexual, legal, psychological, and more — is on the rise. It’s manifested in ways ranging from the spewings of young male incels on the internet to the disgusting spate of “revenge porn” and the murders of trans people, the majority of them Black women. Like other women of color, indigenous women, too, are disproportionately targets of violence; they are killed in numbers that are 10 times the average national murder rate.
And, after declining for four decades, homicides by intimate partners are increasing, with female victims in the majority.
Back in the 1970s, while I was battling for comparable worth in women’s wages at the University of Washington, I met and joined Radical Women (RW) and the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). I never imagined that almost 50 years later feminists would be fighting for women’s right to simply stay alive! But the personal expressions of misogyny I’ve described are manifestations of a virus that’s built into the whole capitalist system, and that system has only grown sicker over time.
Growing sicker is literally the case for women, who are dying because of inadequate healthcare. Thousands of health centers providing preventive care to women have closed due to the Trump regime’s Title X gag rule, which denies federal funds to clinics offering abortions.
Maternal mortality in the U.S. is growing. Today, a woman is 50 percent more likely to die during her pregnancy than her mother was. This, in a country where Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can remain the richest person in the world even after losing $10 billion!
And, of course, women continue to be a central target of ultra-rightists, emboldened in the U.S. by its racist, hyper-nationalist, Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief. Quotes from Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes capture the viciousness of these snakes. He’s written that “through trial and error, I learned that women want to be downright abused” and that “every guy I’ve ever known to be involved in a ‘domestic’ was the result of some cunt trying to ruin his life.”
I am proud to be part of the socialist feminist record of facing off against the woman-haters. Over the years, this has included defending women’s health clinics, protesting white male supremacists like the Proud Boys, organizing to stop women immigrants and refugees from being deported back to home countries where they and their children face domestic violence and murder, and much more.
“The second sex” is hardly alone in being assaulted on both an individual and institutional level under capitalism. The profit system has no regard for human life or the planet, which is made clear through the daily exploitation of every worker to a background of imperialist war and ravaging of the environment.
But resistance is building dramatically. Women and other oppressed people worldwide are rising up and leading movements to save the planet, open borders, bring down tyrants, provide homes and basic services, end all forms of bigoted violence, and guarantee bodily autonomy for all.
It will take radically changing this poisonous system to bring about justice and equality, a transformation that I still fervently hope to see. Meanwhile, I will continue to fight with confidence in the ability of my younger comrades to take the reins and win a safe, healthy world for future generations. And that’s no joke!
Send feedback to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.