The Unfinished Revolution: Voices From the Global Fight for Women’s Rights

Edited by Minky Worden, Seven Stories Press, 2012

Reading the Forward by journalist Christiane Amanpour and the Introduction by editor Minky Worden, I was concerned by what struck me as a very bourgeois perspective from both, and worried that there was some border line Arab bashing in the Intro.  But even in the midst of what I was worried about as potential Arab bashing, Worden made a point of writing, “conditions for women and girls have actually deteriorated since Saddam Hussein’s ouster.”  taking away from any sense western Imperialists may still have that the war was a liberatory action. Worden goes on to give examples of men of color working for women’s rights, and people of color eradicating sexist practices such as foot binding in China.  Worden writes about domestic violence in Europe and rape in the U$, and also gives what I consider the appropriate context of how women have fought for generations in the U$ and many other countries for their rights.

As I started to read the actual chapters, any lingering concerns I had about even latent xenophobia were dispelled pretty quickly. There is an over arching liberal/bourgeois perspective, with pretty much every author equating the work of governments with that of civil society, if not simply writing about top down answers to the problems outlined.

Without a doubt I think the book is a great resource for data regarding the state of women’s rights globally now. The basic formulae of most chapters is to start with the story of a female that has survived something horrific, followed by statistics and/or history to help contextualize the story. Descriptions of what Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and/or governments are doing and/or should do from the author’s perspective follow, and possibly a story of how the survivor was faring at the time of the writing to round out the story. People’s humanity is never lost in the numbers. The authors are good about citing sources, so there’s plenty of follow up research that can be done.

Topics range from historical pieces about governments and NGOs taking on the struggle for women’s rights at least in theory to a theoretical pieces such as one about Islamic Law written by an Iranian and Muslim lawyer, Shirin Ebad; but most are as I outlined above taking on issues such as the gendered impact of war, women’s rights from Saudi Arabia to Latin America, self organization of migrant domestic workers, human trafficking and post-trafficking abuses, and rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an issue that there has been a near media blackout about in the U$ corporate press.

In fact, Ch. 11, Confronting Rape as a Weapon of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo is possibly the longest account I’ve ever seen on the topic and the war. Some of the statistics such as how with an estimated five million dead, this is the deadliest war since World War II, has confirmed my suspicion of there in deed being a media blackout in the U$. With its undeniable scale, why is it reported on so little? I doubt it’s just racism, I’m sure it has something to do with a certain metal, Columbite-tantalite or coltan, mined there for computers and what not. Also, when writing about other conflicts when rape was used as a weapon the author, Anneke Van Woudenberg, made a point of naming tow European conflicts.

In Acknowledgments, Worden writes how the title comes from the Nicaraguan author Gioconda Bellie had called women’s rights “the great unfinished revolution of our time.”, and how the book was named before the Arab Spring broke out. It was well worth reading, as long as you can tolerate very statist perspectives in the midst of some great grass roots and/or personal stories which permeated the various chapters.

April POC Political Prisoners & an Appeal for Support!

Chuck Sims Africa
 #AM4975
SCI Retreat
660 State Route 11
Hunlock Creek, PA 18621
Janet Holloway Africa
#OO6308
451 Fullerton Ave
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238
Janine Phillips Africa
#OO6309
451 Fullerton Ave
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238
 
Chuck, Janet, and Janine Africa are 3 of the people who make up the MOVE 9. There are currently eight MOVE activists in prison, each serving 100 years after being framed for the murder of a cop in 1979. The 9th defendant, Merle Africa, died in prison in 1998. MOVE is an eco-revolutionary group dedicated to liberation struggles.
 
 
Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald
 #B27527
Kern Valley State Prison
D-2-118
P.O. Box 5104
Delano, CA 93216
 
Chip was a dedicated Panther, who threw himself into his political work, including the Party’s Free Breakfast Program, the tutorial program, selling Panther papers, political education classes and other projects. In 1969, at age 19, he was convicted and sentenced to death for his participation in a police shootout. In 1972 California abolished the death penalty and he was re-sentenced to Life WITH the possibility of parole. Because of his political beliefs he remains in prison while 98% of the people on death row in California in 1972 have been released.
 
 
Marshall Eddie Conway #116469
Patuxent Institution
P.O Box 700
Jessup, MD 20794 

Eddie is a Black Panther framed for the murder of a police officer by the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operations. He has been in prison since 1970. Eddie has released a book on AK press about his life entitled ‘Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther.’  [An excellent book!–Alex]
 
 
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
 
In 1981 Mumia, former Black Panther and vocal supporter of MOVE, was framed for the murder of a cop. Last year Mumia’s death sentence was overturned and, with pressure from hundreds of supporters, he was released into general population.
 
 
 
An appeal:
 
Former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz has been held in torturous conditions of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons for the past thirty years. From April 8 to May 10, 2013, the Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz is calling for an intense call-in and write-in campaign to bring pressure on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC), to release Maroon from solitary confinement and into the general prison population. You can find out all about it and download action packets on his support page.