Universal Despicable Issues

– Ernesto Estévez Rams –

(en.granma.cu, March 20, 2023)

Sacred smoke, work by Zaida del Río. Photo: Artwork by Zaida del Río. 

Speaking up on universal despicable issues is a way to look good with everyone and appease our own Jiminy Cricket. That is why the cultural machine of hegemonic capitalism serves us these causes in an uninterrupted way to scapegoat selfishness or cowardice, without the need to leave the comfort zone.

It is the essence of what has come to be called political correctness. One of the recurring characteristics of these alibis is that they serve as anecdotes and their generalization is channeled within the correctness. They always point to the symptoms, never the systemic causes that generate them. Gender violence is a good example of this. It is based on individual examples, and its generalization avoids talking about the historical and class conditioning factors of injustice against women.

Thus, in a variant of the theme, the aspiration is channeled in clamoring for the historical reparation that women have the right to be also bourgeois; to have the possibility of success in the system of “opportunities” dominated by the bourgeoisie. Several TV shows produced in the United States import that perspective. They also have the right to exploit other women, let alone men. If she is black, then we have the perfect formula. After defeating the class-based essence of the black struggles in the 1960s and 1970s, assassinating Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and imprisoning the Black Panthers, black feminism, rationally anti-establishment and class-based, has been overwhelmingly driven into the channels of political correctness.

There are lots of examples of successful black women, lots of “you can do it” talk, and lots of empowerment within the bourgeois machine, never against it. In another variant, the subjugation of a battle that, being class-based and essentially cultural, is reduced to its judicialization. The historical injustice against women is not resolved only on the basis of laws nor with the denunciation and subsequent judicial condemnation.

One does not fail to read in the corporate press of the capitalist hegemons a daily list, like a red chronicle, of every case of physical violence against women. The creation of legal protection mechanisms is part of this battle, but it cannot be reduced to that. We will see little in the hegemonic press of an in-depth discussion of this other gender violence that occurs against the immigrant working in precarious conditions, semi-slave, subject to all kinds of frequently surreptitious blackmail. There is talk of the double condition of exploitation of women at work and at home, but there is insistence on its solution at the household level and nothing is said about how to solve her condition of being exploited as a wage earner. The battle for wage equality with men is presented, but there is silence on the fact that both men and women wage earners are subjects of exploitation.

It is comfortable to pronounce on the feminist epidermis. No one would dare the timely condemnation against the abuser of the moment, the monstrous individual who causes us just repulsion and against whom it is comfortable to focus the anger. After the condemnatory statement, no one could accuse the denouncer of silence, although the brutal silence is the one they make on what implies a real taking of sides.

The condemned, deserving it, then becomes the alibi for silence in the face of the injustice committed against that other, a victim of the system as a fighter, but toxic, in that defending them implies abandoning the comfortable neutrality of the comfort zone.

If someone believes that the issue does not affect us, let him or her come out of that misunderstanding. It is also colonizing to imitate forms and reduce purposes of struggle to those brought from the metropolis. We do not aspire to empowered women without surnames, our purpose is women whose empowerment is emancipating and carries in itself, the awareness that only a society that conquers all justice will be a society in which the full realization of women, as part of the whole society, is achieved. The struggle for women is not for equality in an unjust society, it is to achieve a just society for all, including women. That, in capitalism, is impossible.

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