Your Say – Summer/Autumn 2000

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Global Sisters owed an apology

I have just finished reading your article “Defend Indigenous Sovereignty without conditions! Global sisters debate Makah whale hunt” (FSB # 21). I found many points within the article inappropriate and a distorted interpretation of material posted to Global Sisterhood Network (GSN).

From your heading, you infer that considerable argument concerning the Makah whaling situation was posted to GSN. The number of posts related to this item was small. You insinuate that the GSN list is a hotbed of racism. Labelling the raising of other issues around a situation involving Indigenous people as full-on racism is incorrect.

Your interpretation of what has been posted is quite extraordinary! I resent your boots-and-all attack on feminists, equating GSN as a prime example of feminist preoccupation that breeds Indigenous insensitivity. Honestly, how Debbie could be a list member and miss the supportive preoccupation with Indigenous rights escapes me!

Also, I am out astonished to see a supposedly thoughtful woman bringing out of her kit bag the old cliché of “anti-male” to discredit a feminist. Feminists are not anti-male. Anti MALENESS, yes. Feminists oppose domination and abuse of one power group over another: the denial of individuals’ human rights that all people — women and men — with a human sensitivity would object to and strive to remove.

Although I find your belief that removing capitalism will automatically lead to equality for all simplistic, I respect your right to put the argument. However, where this argument means twisting information found on a feminist list to publicly denigrate the list then I object with full voice. You owe GSN an apology. If you feel so resentful of feminist analysis, Debbie, then why do you feel happy to remain on GSN?*

Onnie Wilson
GSN list member

Address the issue, please

You’re furious, Onnie, because your anti-“maleness” brand of feminism (radical feminism) was shown to be severely flawed — and dangerous. It took Radical Women’s (RW) socialist feminist defence of Indigenous sovereignty to draw out the inherent racism.

Interestingly, you do not address the subject of my article. The Makah had been standing up to a viciously racist, rightwing-orchestrated campaign to stop the resumption of their traditional whale hunt in the U.S. Northwest. Seattle became a battle zone in this war between corporate property rights and Makah sovereignty. RW’s support for the Makah reached GSN. But the debate, which could have been educational, quickly degenerated into attacks on us for raising the “C” word: Capitalism, the real culprit.

RW argued that progressive forces must unconditionally defend the right of the Makah, and all Indigenous nations, to define their economies and cultures.

We raised the need to be politically clear about this. Capitalism is plundering the planet with increasing ferocity — from the Amazon to East Timor to Jabiluka and Hindmarsh Island. A key to stopping this predator is a united, unequivocal defence of Indigenous sovereignty.

Let’s apply the anti-sovereignty arguments fielded on GSN to northern Australia. The Queensland Government says that ceremonial hunts by Torres Strait Islanders are threatening the dugong population of the Great Barrier Reef. What if Torres Strait Islanders were to reclaim the waters and control the hunt?

The anti-“maleness” argument would go like this. First, the hunt is destructive, because it’s done by men. Second, limits must be imposed on the Islanders, and their hunt must be for subsistence only. RW says: Torres Strait Islanders must have sovereignty over their lands, waters and resources; corporations must pay Indigenous nations compensation for killing off the dugong. What do you say?*

Debbie Brennan
Radical Women

* Onnie’s original letter and Debbie’s reply have both been edited for length.

Columbine shootings not so neat

I was rather disappointed with your article about the tragic events at Columbine High School (“The high price of ignoring teenage fascists” FSB # 21).

While it’s important not to underestimate fascist organisations, it’s equally important not to let our hatred of them cloud our judgment of anti-social violence. I find it hard to believe that the influence of Neo-Nazis was a decisive factor in the high school killings. Are we really putting forward the proposition that if Klebold and Harris hadn’t stumbled across Nazi propaganda the shootings wouldn’t have taken place?

Close friends of Klebold and Harris have denied a racial motivation for the killings. They killed students of colour as well as many white students. Why? That question will stick in our minds for years.

The Columbine shootings don’t fit neatly into the context of politically motivated killings in the state of Colorado or America in general. If fascism can be attributed to Columbine, what explains the other numerous high school shootings across the USA? Fascism and White Supremacy don’t appear to be the common thread through these killings. A common trend seems to be that all the shooters were young men and the schools were middle class.

The question to be answered is what is pushing some young middle class men in the U.S. to kill their fellow students? Intense and often-brutal competition among students, mixed with uncertainty about the future and a lack of a community, seem to be some of the ingredients of violent outbreaks. In a new vicious world of winners and losers, some of the losers are armed.

I do agree with the article’s solutions. We need to be pro-active when racism, fascism and homophobia are spread among the student body.

Daryl Croke,
Thornbury, Victoria

Author stands by assessment

The full story on the Columbine killings has not yet come out in either the U.S. or international press. What we do know is that there were plenty of signs that racists and kids enamoured of fascist dress and ideology were present among the student body at Columbine High and that both school officials and parents ignored the warning signs. After the killings, the father of the murdered African American athlete said he wished he had paid more attention to what his children had been telling him about racist behavior in the community. He has since moved away from Littleton, because his children are terrified to return to Columbine.

After I wrote my article, I talked with people who lived in Littleton. They told me that one of the killers had an altar to Hitler in his basement, a fact reported in the local, but not the national, press. And, if further evidence of the presence of Nazis in Littleton is needed, Columbine students returned in August to find swastikas scratched on walls inside and outside of their school.

Regardless of what Klebold’s and Harris’ friends say, there were and are white supremacists actively organising at Columbine High School. I am not surprised the youngsters’ friends say the duo were not racists. Oddly enough, most of the white supremacists in the U.S. claim they aren’t racist either. They’re just “for the white race.” That is the language used by turn-of-the-century fascists here.

Excerpts of home videos made by Klebold and Harris right before their rampage were recently released in the U.S. They display a deadly narcissism but no fascist ideology — at least on the tapes made public.

Not being privy to all the information in this case, I don’t know enough to say whether Klebold and Harris would have gone on a rampage even if they’d never been in touch with Nazis. But I do know lots about how other adult Nazis have propelled young men into murder. Mulgeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant who lived in Oregon, was beaten to death by Nazi skinheads after a meeting held by Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance. Metzger was later sued by Seraw’s family in a civil suit for the damages they suffered because of Metzger’s words. The family won because the young thugs turned against their adult leader and vividly described how he incited them to kill someone. Seraw was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In my article, “The High Price of Ignoring Teenage Fascists,” I was not trying to explain all recent high school shooting episodes in the U.S. Obviously, you are right to point to competition, alienation, hopelessness, and abuse by other students as factors in these shootings. But I stand by my assessment of the role fascist ideologues played in the Columbine assassinations. Perhaps we will know for sure after the upcoming civil suits against Klebold’s and Harris’ families go to court. But what we know already is enough: teachers, school administrators, counsellors and parents tend to ignore the dangers of Nazi recruiters. It’s time to wake up and take the warnings seriously.

Guerry Hodderson
Seattle, Washington

Revolutionary Afghani Women Speak Out

Dear Radical Women Sisters

Heartfelt thanks for your warm, encouraging and kind message. The murderous Taliban and their Jehadi brothers cannot be regarded as representatives of capitalism but feudalism and even pre-feudalism. They are ultra-reactionary nationalism and ultra-religious fanaticism bound together. They are far more barbaric, cruel, uncultured, hypocritical, treacherous and misogynist than the Iranian blood-sucking regime!

We heartily appreciate your desire to establish collaborative ties. We hope that a practical and strong solidarity between our organizations will be seen as a worthy example to others to follow.

Dear sisters, you understand us, so please do whatever you can to support us financially; we are struggling under the most savage counter-revolutionary rule of the world.

Sajida Hayat
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
PO Box 374 , Quetta, Pakistan. E-mail: rawa@rawa.org

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