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Sexism will only set back our movement

October 1, 2004 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,
I was so happy to participate in the anti-Republican National Convention protests in New York. Finally, all the anger over the war and inequality in the U.S. was being shown after a too-long silence.

I thought Socialist Worker did a great job covering the event and describing the widespread plague of lesser evilism that saturated the event. The focus on just getting rid of Bush has sidelined important political debates--and has led to some of the most stupid, pointless and often sexist slogans and visuals I've seen at a progressive event.

There were so many people on the protest for whom it was their first march, and yet the political message--no to Bush--was so narrow that it became a competition for who could have the wryest take on it. The multitude of supposedly witty references to female anatomy at times outnumbered actual political posters, like "Bring the Troops Home Now" or "Free Palestine."

Many were handmade signs from individuals swamped in a sea of pressure to just get rid of Bush, but more disturbing were the "feminist" groups that had placards and underwear bearing such rousing slogans as "My Cherry for Kerry," "Ballot Box" and "Weapons of Mass Seduction." I even saw a guy marching with a poster with a reclining, bikini-clad model that said, "The only Bush I care about is hers."

So we should fight the anti-woman bastard in the White House by publicly degrading our own and other women's bodies? Great, because I can't get enough sexism at work and on the street. Now I can have it in my movement, too.

This isn't about being prude. How well-armed are we for when Kerry sits by while abortion is undermined, or as Iraq is parceled out to friendly multilateral occupiers? Will we be paralyzed because he doesn't have an anatomically suggestive name and is a Democrat?

We need to fight for political debate and understanding within the movement regardless of it being an election year. We don't just stand still if we fall for Anybody But Bush--we're sliding backwards.
Amy Muldoon, New York City

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