In the 1970s and 1980s women publicly declared their right to breastfeed their infants, where-ever and whenever they pleased. They asserted their right to pitch their tents for months and years protesting against the weapons of nuclear war. They also asserted their right to take up arms in defence of national independence.
Any movement which can embrace in its agenda this kind of courageousness faces the exciting possibility of actually winning in the 1990s.
From Socialist International - Woman 2/84
A global plan
Some method of family planning is used by 300 million couples worldwide. Approximately a third have been sterilised, 20 per cent use the pill. 15 per cent use intra-uterine devices and 10 per cent use condoms. The remainder use anything from diaphragms to celibacy.
From World Development Forum August 1984
The chips are down
If Yoneji Masuda is to be believed, the 21st century will herald a ‘computopia’ on earth and the historical monument of this new age will be several silicone chips, one inch square, in a tiny box.
Inside this box, however, will be recorded how four billion citizens overcame the energy crisis and population growth; abolished nuclear weapons and completed disarmament; and conquered illiteracy. All of these achievements were made possible by ordinary citizens of the world who united to put into practice their common global aim of peace and prosperity for all.
From The Information Society as Post-Industrial Society
The Women’s Committee of the Oxford Students Union has just completed the first full study of sexual harassment. Of the 361 replies to the questionnaire there were 63 incidents of sexual harassment. Over half of these involved a man in authority - tutors, supervisors, doctors and visiting academics.
From Spare Rib
Washington D.C. has made a fetish of elections. The mere fact that they are held is deemed to be enough: the context is of little importance. All that matters is that the patient puts on a presentable suit of clothes every four or five years; not that the body beneath may be ravaged by a wasting disease.
From Report on The Americas July/August 1984
The difference between the German and the American systems of education is that the German system is better able to produce people who live in a community and get something done as a group. The American system promotes the individual and trains them as fighters.
There is no conversation with pupils in American schools as there is in Germany. Instead American children are left on their own to marshall facts from books which are then regurgitated in US examinations.
From The German Tribune September 1984
Green Peace is launching a new campaign against the production, sale and wearing of fur coats. A worthy effort according to Peace News. But the line which they have taken to persuade fur-coat wearers of the cruelty of their habit is equally cruel, they maintain.
The main advertisement features the bottom half of a woman in short skirt and high heels dragging a fur coat behind her that leaves a gory trail of blood. The ‘clincher’ is the slogan; ‘It takes forty dumb animals to make a fur coat, but only one to wear it.’
It is incredible that Green Peace, a movement so devoted to eradicating animal abuse and exploitation in all forms should have to resort to sexist abuse and exploitation to sell their message.
Franz Peace News 2 November 1984
NB. New Internationalist decided to take up the matter with Green Peace. The movement remains unrepentant. Green Peace commented ‘We want to attack the wearers of fur coats and 99 per cent of them are women ... and they must be dumb if they think they are being pampered by the massacre of forty animals ... most feminists would agree on that.
A rose is still a rose
Upper Volta has decided to change its name to Burkina Faso which means ‘country of incorruptible men.’
From Christian Science Monitor
Fela Anikulapo-Kutim, Africa’s most controversial musician, is yet again in trouble with the Nigerian authorities. He is being held for allegedly contravening foreign exchange regulations after being found with the equivalent of $l,900 in his pocket as he left for a US concert tour. He has paid dearly in the past for his anti-government protests in the form of arrests and beatings. In 1977 a thousand soldiers converged on the commune where he presided and set it on fire after an orgy of rape and violence. Fela’s mother was thrown from a first floor window and died from injuries three months later.
The years that followed were lean. His record sales dipped and 16 of his 28 wives deserted him. Undaunted, in 1979 he declared his candidature for the presidential election. His party was then refused registration - but Fela still insists that he will be the next President of Nigeria and ultimately President of Africa. He composes his lyrics in pidgin, a form of English widely spoken in the shanties, and sings about the downtrodden, making aggressive denunciations of the present ruling classes.
From World Development Forum September 1984
Render unto Caesar
Many of the problems of the developing countries are caused by illogical urban-dominated governments. A prime example of this can be seen in the agricultural policy of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where it is the peasant farmer who is largely responsible for the export crops.
The government pays these farmers only 25 to 50 per cent of the true value of these crops on the export market - a subtle way of overtaxing.
The farmers, recognising the unprofitability of their efforts. will only grow enough food for their own consumption.
Tremendous shortage therefore results in urban areas.
From World Development Forum September 1984
Bullocks and buffaloes haul more freight in India than the railways. But the country is fast losing its valuable animal labour force because of the badly designed traditional yoke, according to Professor N S Ramaswamy
The wood digs into the flesh and makes an additional 85-pound burden. Professor Ramaswamy suggests instead a modern horse collar which can increase a water buffalo’s power by half.
From Asian Pacific Environment
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