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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Panel on revolutionary intersectional feminism held at UMass

Several socialist organizations on campus collaborated in the event
(Collegian File Photo)
(Collegian File Photo)

Alla Estuary, a local activist, facilitated the revolutionary intersectional feminism panel on Wednesday night, which brought together different socialist organizations for the same cause.

The panel, held in the University of Massachusetts Campus Center on Wednesday, was made up of six activists; Stacey Sexton, Noss Petashnick, Chardonnay Merlot, Julieta Rendon-Mendoza, N Kohchi and Tanya Whitworth.

Sexton was described by Estuary as a “white Trans non-binary activist with the International Socialist Organization. Their day job explores the intersections of technology, policy and education, but their activism is intersectional and multidisciplinary.”

Sexton spoke on the connections between feminism and neo-imperialism in today’s society. They explain how in order to support feminism, one must also reference colonialism, immigration and environmental issues. They argue that the United States’ government spends more money on the military to fight and kill people in other nations, rather than using the money to support its own citizens.

They pulled apart arguments such as, “I wish Obama was still president,” saying Obama has deported more citizens than Trump or any other president and dropped bombs on seven nations during his presidency.

Sexton said while Republicans are arguing for war and Democrats are arguing that 50 percent of the people fighting should be women, socialists are arguing why the war is even being fought at all.

They said that in an imperial mindset, the government will strip a country of its resources, but then turn them away when they try to support themselves and their families. Sexton said they are not giving a nationalist argument against imperialism, but instead stands with the people whose lives are being hurt by it.

Sexton did not consider these people to be a threat to U.S. citizens, but instead that the government is a threat to us and the people they are imperializing.

Sexton summed up their argument explaining that if you support trans-rights for citizens all over the world, support immigration, care about environmental degradation and how the military is used to bully other people, then you are an anti-imperialist and you stand with them.

The next speaker, Noss Petashnick was described by Estuary as “a Jewish Marxist Leninist trans-woman and is affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.”

Petashnick spoke about “zionist pseudo feminism” and Palestinian Women’s Liberation. She began by explaining that feminism is a word that is often misapplied and how at times, a women doing absolutely anything can be considered feminism.

She also spoke about the gender roles applied to Jews throughout the world and how the value of many women is limited to their fertility. Petashnick provided the example of how women who are looking to get an abortion are forced to watch videos of children being killed in the Holocaust to guilt them.

According to Petashnick, Isreali women are integrated into the military at the same rate as men, and how this is looked at as feminist. But, then they are sent into battle to kill other women, which she said contrasts this belief.

Chardonnay Merlot was the next speaker, described as “a proud, unapologetic African-American transgender woman and organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Connecticut. She is involved in local organizing against racism, transphobia, workers’ rights, education, health care and standing against police brutality at home and imperialist brutality abroad. When not organizing she is an operator for Trans Lifeline.”

Merlot spoke on Black tans-socialist feminism saying that she believed in an all-inclusive form of feminism which includes people of all genders, races and sexual orientations.

She said that when a lot of people talk about feminism, they are talking about a small group of people and that there can be no liberation for all black people who do not support the people who have been marginalized.

“Socialist know what we want, we want revolution,” Merlot said.

Julieta Rendon-Mendoza, a student at Smith College and self-described “undocumented queer woman born in southern Mexico” discussed immigrant and undocumented women’s rights, touching mostly on her own experience and the experience of her “dear friend,” Eduardo Samaniego, who was recently detained in Georgia.

N Kohchi, the next speaker, as described by Estuary, “is an Asian-American trans non-binary organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and works at Trans Lifeline, a crisis hotline by and for transgender/nonbinary people. They are involved in local organizing against police brutality, racism, transphobia, capitalism and imperialism.”

They talk about feminism in the perspective of trans-liberation. Kohchi argued that modern feminism includes more than the bourgeoisie and how the lives of working class women must be considered.

“Equality is an inherent threat to capitalism,” Kohchi said.

Kohchi gave an in depth history of the movement of trans-people in America. Through this history, they explained how wealthy capitalists will continue to protect capitalism by oppressing trans people.

The last speaker, Tanya Whitworth, according to Estuary, “is a feminist, socialist and union activist. She is a member of Socialist Alternative, the organization that got Kshama Sawant, an open socialist Immigrant Woman of Color, elected and re-elected to Seattle City Council.”

Whitworth covered the topic of recent women-led strikes and how they have carried into 2019, discussing the movements enacted against many prominent organizations including Google, Marriott and McDonalds.

She recognized that the strikes have common themes such as equal pay, raises, better and cheaper health care, union and organizing rights and sexual harassment. She also stated that many of the strikes have been run by women from occurring in jobs traditionally held by women.

Whitworth also touched on how there have been strikes in many other countries, explaining that the next step is, “to build a new women’s movement that is international.”

She mentioned how there are links between women’s oppression and capitalism and encourages the audience to continue fighting for their rights saying, “We don’t have to wait for politicians to save us, we can self-organize.”

Cassie McGrath can be reached at [email protected].

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    pete mostJan 27, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Feminism started as something legitimate, now it’s a political movement. The left and they have written books on this, does something called’ co-opting’

    Think of it as a hostile takeover, instead of starting their own movement or organization, what the left does is co-opt things, something that already exist so they don’t have to build it, on the surface it remains the same, but they change the fundamentals of it so it’s towards their goals. It is essentially a clever form of stealing or what to use a legal term is called ‘conversion’.

    They do this with political movements, nations, economies, colleges and even to some degree corporations, i.e Proctor and gamble is a recent example.

    The problem is that all these things are established on merit and for some sincere purpose or goal. Once you strip it of that it eventually collapses . It’s a sad thing, because the left has ruined alot of things in the world through this process.

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  • E

    EdJan 24, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    ” They explain how in order to support feminism, one must also reference colonialism, immigration and environmental issues.”

    In other words, “feminism” involves advocacy for the left-wing agenda, and not “treating women as people” like we’ve been told.

    I guess lesbians who drive pickup trucks and listen to Rush Limbough aren’t lesbians….

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