Author Archive | crowgirl

Turn the Shame Around

Herman CainFrom the Weekly Sift:

For the longest time I didn’t get Occupy Wall Street, but then Herman Cain helped me out: He said something so monumentally wrong that my reaction against it pointed me in the right direction.

Here’s Herman: Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! … It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.

That’s when I got it. An unjust system’s first line of defense is shame. As long as we’re ashamed to admit that we’re victims, as long as we’re ashamed to identify with the other losers, we’re helpless.

It would be great to have a 10-point plan that solves everything. It would be great to have a party that endorses that plan and a get-out-the-vote movement to put that party into office. But none of that is going to happen until large numbers of us cast off our shame, until we turn the shame around: We need to stop being ashamed that we couldn’t crack the top 1%, and instead cast shame on an economic system that only works for 1%.

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How to Respect Sex Workers

Monica Shores on Alternet writes a great short piece with links for further research on how to respect sex workers:

Most women have strong feelings about the sex industry, be they for or against. (And many, of course, remain undecided.) When dealing with such an emotionally volatile topic, it’s easy to inadvertently silence or even insult sex workers themselves. (As a participant in sex worker activism for the past four years, I’ve seen that in action and on the page.) There’s a way to debate commercial sex while respecting the industry’s laborers. Here are some suggestions:

1) Don’t diminish or mock sex workers’ agency. When discussing a person coerced or forced into sex work, a sensitive recognition of the violation they’ve suffered is definitely in order. However, it’s important to let individuals themselves make this distinction, rather than automatically assigning them a label that indicates lack of agency. For instance, referring to all sex workers as “prostituted” or “used” can be violating in and of itself if the person identifies their work as a free choice.

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Drug Policy Should Be Based On Science, Not Ideology: The Vienna Declaration

The Vienna Declaration is a statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. We are inviting scientists, health practitioners and the public to endorse this document in order to bring these issues to the attention of governments and international agencies, and to illustrate that drug policy reform is a matter of urgent international significance. We also welcome organizational endorsements.

The declaration process was launched as the the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) held in Vienna, Austria from July 18th to 23rd. The declaration was drafted by a team of international experts and initiated by several of the world’s leading HIV and drug policy scientific bodies: the International AIDS Society, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Read the Vienna Declaration in full here.… Read the rest

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Swine & Dandy: What if we did as much to prevent rape as we do to prevent H1N1?

Science and Politics by Meg Stone:

I spent most of this past spring and summer rolling my eyes every time I heard a news story about the swine flu. Almost every day local reporters got hysterical about 5 or 10 or 20 confirmed cases. Entire schools closed in response to a handful of kids with fevers, and as if there were no war in Afghanistan, no economic crisis, and no other epidemics claiming ten times as many lives, newscasters talked about H1N1 (the proper name for swine flu) for hours.

I have a degree in public health and my work focuses on preventing rape and other acts of violence and supporting survivors in healing from abuse. When I see all the attention swine flu is getting, I’m jealous. Other than intermittent news stories about sex offenders on the loose or why women who accuse professional athletes of rape are lying, sexual violence rarely gets any widespread coverage.

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