Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pussy Riot, Teachers, Workers and Repression

Repression in Russia is all over the news after Putin and his goons conspired to sentence the feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years incarceration over an anti-establishment video that took place in an Orthodox church. There is outrage everywhere, including from Madonna who had supported the band's politics with a washable tattoo, visible on her back when she removed her shirt on stage. Lack of free speech is a travesty but hearing Amy Goodman repeatedly say, "Pussy Riot," with a little Mona Lisa smile, was priceless. 

Perhaps it is time to take the advice of their innovative name and think in terms of a pussy riot here, to defend the incredible, shrinking specter of women's rights. It would be open to pussies of all genders, of course. 

So much depressing and scary news, it's hard to know where to begin. In New York City only 55% of teachers were granted tenure after their probation. The NYTimes is writing about an upcoming movie that targets that newly much-vilified enemy of capitalism...The Teacher's Union. It's called "Won't Back Down," and sounds absolutely appalling.

And the Caterpillar workers in Illinois accepted a contract that was unacceptable even to the Union leadership. It included a six-year wage freeze, increased payments for health care and reduction of pensions. In the new anti-worker environment people are understandably frightened for their jobs. The entire state of Illinois, where the Caterpillar workers are, is talking pension reduction for all civil service employees. 

So, as bad as Obama may be, we can only hope that the R&R ticket of Ayn Rand fanatics doesn't get into office and do away with Medicare and Social Security.