Sterilization and eugenics in India

India sterilization (2) Nov 16 2014

One of the central demands of the women’s movement of the 1970s was for reproductive rights & no forced sterilization. They remain central issues for women. Forced sterilization is a practice derived from eugenics in the late 19th century. Social philosophy doesn’t get more detestable. It was always associated with the power elite & held a lot of cachet for a long time–unless you were an immigrant, working class, disabled, gay, Jewish, Black, Latino, or Indigenous. It was unashamedly promoted all over the world. The social history of its origins should be placed within the context of the great anti-colonial movements of that era leading up to WWI. It’s decline in respectability began with WWII & the Nazi exterminations which were eugenics writ large. But it was the US Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s & the women’s movement that most clearly opposed themselves to such repugnant theoretics & practices.

Eugenics groups favored reproductive rights because they needed legality to promote practices done in secret–like the forced sterilization of thousands of Black, Latina, & Indigenous women. The women’s movement included “no forced sterilization” as a demand precisely to draw a hard line between those who wanted reproductive rights to control women & for racist purpose & feminists who believed in women’s right to control their own bodies. Women would go into clinics for routine procedures & come out sterilized without knowledge or consent. It’s not as if these practices have ended in many countries. Native American women have considerable litigation over forced sterilizations; Israel acknowledges performing it on Ethiopian immigrants; prison inmates in California were sterilized without consent; it’s been rampant in China to enforce the one-child policy. For US population control programs in African countries & India most notably, eugenics & forced sterilization is the guiding principle. Because at the heart of eugenics is the most monstrous, stinking racism.

With the decline of the women’s movement, these population programs are unrestrained & bankrolled by the US & UK, the Gates Foundations, & World Bank. Control of reproduction is central to capitalist domination & feminists have written volumes on this question. But in the neoliberal barbaric phase of capitalism, control of population is their way of managing the crises their policies create. They have no possible solutions to massive poverty, starvation, unemployment, homelessness–not if they want to continue plundering. So eugenics provides the solution: just bump millions of people off or force them to stop having babies.

How that works out in the world has just been exposed in the most gruesome way in India. In Bilaspur, a city in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, thirteen women given tubectomies in a government-run sterilization camp died & 69 were hospitalized, twenty of them in critical condition. One doctor had operated on 83 women in six hours–about four minutes per woman. In the most predictable ways, the government went into overdrive. It arrested five doctors, including the surgeon. They found the drugs used were contaminated with rat poison & arrested the pharmaceutical manufacturer & his son.

They’re going to be scapegoating up a storm to distract from India’s criminal policies of population control. And not for the first time. Indira Gandhi’s notorious sterilization program in the 1970s sterilized over 8 million men, sometimes with compensation but mostly forced. India now has one of the highest rates of female sterilization in the world provided free by the government in sterilization camps to control population. There are between four to five million women sterilized every year. Some media reports claim sterilization is popular for family planning because it’s free & “sidesteps cultural resistance to & problems with distribution of other types of contraception in rural areas.” Cultural resistance? Problems with distribution? You can peddle that baloney to a kindergartner but it’s just a slick way of blaming people for the policies of their government. Is it difficult to distribute birth control because primary healthcare is in such a sorry state? India reportedly has one of the world’s worst records on maternal healthcare (& that’s saying a mouthful) with high death rates for both mothers & infants at birth. Media reports don’t distinguish who the women are by caste but just as Gandhi’s forced sterilization program targeted Dalits, it is certain they are most affected now.

It isn’t that sterilization is popular with young women but that the government does not provide alternative birth control in order to compel sterilization without putting a gun to the women’s heads. Women who ask about birth control are told surgical sterilization is their only choice. It offers incentive fees of about US $10-20 which is about a week’s pay in a country where 180 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. The government offers those payments to the women, to the health workers recruiting them, to the doctors & sets sterilization quotas for each state. Sterilization is the cornerstone of India’s corrupt family planning system.

Now there’s something curious going on here because at the London Family Planning Conference in 2012 attended by all the big players in population control/eugenics, over $4.6 billion was pledged to family planning programs & India was one of the target countries. In addition, the Gates Foundation targeted India directly & through Family Planning 2020 (where private donors invest in family planning) to the tune of millions of dollars. The Gates Foundation boasts of its collaboration with the Indian government in family planning. So are they involved in these sterilization camps? Is that where the incentive money comes from? But then why are there no family planning programs in India? Why isn’t birth control available? Why is prenatal care inadequate? Where the hell is all that money going? Because if you look at the conditions in the sterilization camps, you find instances like in West Bengal where 106 women were dumped in a nearby field for recovery from surgery. You find women dragged out of recovery & sent home contrary to sound medical practice; women given inferior, questionable medicines that kill. Or you find instances of squalid grimy health facilities where one surgeon works on 83 women in six hours. And you find thousands of cases every year of failed operations, complications, or death due to sterilization. So what exactly is the agenda here?

The thing eugenics freaks & neoliberal marauders won’t see is there are human beings involved here; women who may be poor but who loved & were loved, women who will be missed & leave others broken-hearted. They are not just quotas. That’s why, once again, women must fight the historic battles against eugenicists like those in the Gates Foundation & US & Indian governments to take control of health care, of reproductive rights & services & wield them in the service of women.

This grieving woman is Khelan Bai, the grandmother of one of the 13 women who died after sterilization. Our deepest condolences & fullest solidarity in finding justice.

(Photo by Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters)

The ugly face of evil

Kissinger Nov 14 2014

This is what happens to you when you’re evil. He’s famous for saying “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”. What does that cynicism tell you about his “love” life? In his swinger days the starlets he chased had to swill down a couple quarts of whiskey before each encounter & required therapy thereafter. Some remain in long-term care.

We look forward to writing his obituary. And our patience is wearing thin.

The anti-semitism of David Icke

You learn a lot of things snooping around on Zionist websites. Kooky things. One link was to David Icke’s website & an article entitled “How the Vatican Created Islam.” The story is reported as coming from an ex-Jesuit priest who heard it from a cardinal in the Vatican. In other words, not the kind of testimony that would hold up in small claims court. What the article lacks in coherence & good sense, not to mention historical accuracy, it more than makes up for in sheer tonnage of words.

Well the irony is that Icke is the master of the meme & produces them by the bushel basket full, including lots of them in support of Palestinians. When you look at his website, you see that Icke is quite an anti-semite, even ferociously so. There’s all that illuminati crap & of course the Rothschild banking family that run the world & even exegeses of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notoriously fraudulent & anti-semitic document long since discredited for anyone with an ounce of decency.

It would appear Icke is not a committed champion of Palestinian justice but uses the anti-Zionist movement to have a go at Jews. Just like US white supremacist David Duke. In Duke’s defense many claim his racism was a youthful exploration that dead-ended & he’s now on the side of justice & Palestine. Apparently Icke’s explorations haven’t dead-ended yet since he’s still spewing this crap. How about people stop falling for miraculous political transubstantiations? Both these guys are bad news & have no place in a movement for social justice. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the Golden Dawn are their natural habitat.

The author of “How the Vatican Created Islam” appears somewhat deranged but it seems Lucifer is mixed up in all the intrigues. The Vatican doesn’t come off looking good in this account since Catholicism is called the “great counterfeit religion”. That means one false religion created a second phony religion. Plots don’t get better than that.

We don’t even want to ask what religion Icke belongs to or what the rituals are but sure as shooting, the idol who is worshipped is the spitting image of David Icke.

Occupation of Hong Kong continues

Hong Kong barricade (Kevin Frayer:Getty Images) Nov 14 2014

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” but these makeshift barriers are another matter entirely. At least two major commercial districts in Hong Kong are still filled with Occupy-style encampments despite frequent assaults from riot cops & goon squads. Hong Kong’s High Court has just authorized cops to go after the protesters & arrest them & these barriers are a protesters best defense.

Authorities are in something of a tough spot since they do not want another scenario like Tiananmen Square but they do want to clear the areas & end the protests which began September 26th. Chinese officials in collusion with Hong Kong tycoons continue to hold out against demands of the protesters for democratic elections. Controlling elections is about maintaining one-party rule in China. Any concessions to the Hong Kong movement, any bending to mass pressure would set a political precedent that would reverberate in mainland China, already seething with political discontent.

Hong Kong authorities certainly consider this barrier an eyesore; supporters of the democracy movement consider it an inventive construct, almost a work of art. We see that pile of broken umbrellas, pallets, & lawn chairs as a monument to defiance against tyranny. And we stand with them.

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Define “busted”!

Cosby meme (2) Nov 13 2014

For how many years have Black parents & especially Black males had to put up with Bill Cosby pontificating all over the media about their alleged insufficiencies? He castigated parents for raising undisciplined, irresponsible kids, for teen pregnancy, & school dropout rates; he upbraided Black men for beating their wives & made it seem they all did it; ridiculed them for bad grammar & cursing; mocked Black unemployment & minimum wage jobs saying they brought it on themselves with reckless life styles & mostly he told them to stop blaming whites. The racists ate it up & the power elite considered him a God-send because it got them off the hook big-time–especially for their war on Black teens–about which he never raised a peep of objection.

He’s apparently emboldened imitators, including Charles Barkley who claims Blacks are brainwashed to think “if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not Black enough”. We don’t want to throw stones, but how does such a fine, upstanding citizen as Barkley explain his compulsive gambling habit where he’s pissed away nearly $13 million? It’s not the worst of vices but some would call it idiocy, especially the ones working long hours at minimum wage. Of course as long as Barkley keeps talking ragtime, the TV gigs will keep rolling in & he can afford to throw money away.

But now, after years of Cosby’s epic tirades, we learn that over several years more than 15 women including a former cast member & at least one teenager have accused Cosby of sexual assault, claiming he targeted & groomed his victims, drugged & raped them. One woman filed a suit against him in 2005 with ten women lined up to testify he’d also raped them. Cosby avoided prosecution by settling the lawsuit out of court for an unspecified amount of money. It’s called hush money. Media never made a big issue out of it because then he’d lose his use-value as a mouthpiece justifying racism. So the victims remained silent & the rapist remained a loud-mouth without shame.

It could be considered a cautionary tale about throwing in your lot with tyranny against the oppressed for personal gain. But it’s also another case when ‘karma is a bitch’. A few weeks ago, Hannibal Buress, a Black comedian stirred controversy in a stand-up routine where he called Cosby a rapist & castigated him for smugness. Then Monday, Cosby’s Twitter account posted a link to a meme-generator on his website inviting followers to “Go ahead. Meme me!” Karma used a hashtag to wreak vengeance. The meme thing backfired when followers created them about the rape charges with memes like “My two favorite things: Jello pudding & rape” & “When you realize you got enough cash to pay off the victim”. Cosby’s PR team took the meme-generator down but many found their way to Twitter. Karma, thy name is justice! And Twitter is your game.

It isn’t going to be easy for Cosby to come back on TV spouting homilies & reproaches to Black kids or telling parents what they’re doing wrong. That gig is over. And another fool bites the dust!

(Photo is from the CosbyMeme campaign on Twitter)

Pope Francis parcels out solidarity

Sorry to be on Pope Francis’ case, but yesterday he expressed solidarity with the families of the 43 missing student teachers in Mexico, saying “We know it was murder.” Of course, that’s not even in dispute by the Mexican government. It makes one wonder why he didn’t recognize ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

Some may laud his solidarity in Mexico as a baby step in the right direction. I don’t like to insult his intelligence like that.