Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate for the November presidential poll signaled the takeover of the Republicans by the Tea Party, at least through the election. Ryan’s record as a Congressperson puts the representative from Wisconsin squarely on the far right of capitalist politics. Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Republican representative from Missouri Todd Akin, who thinks that women cannot become pregnant from a “legitimate” rape. It sought to narrow the definition of rape to reduce the number of poor women who can get abortion through Medicaid.
The article below first appeared on The Conversation on August 30. Angela Taft is an associate professor in public health at La Trobe University. She is the co-ordinator for Women's Health Special Interest Group at the Public Health Association of Australia, which has lobbied for the importation of RU486 for several years. ***
The deluded and deranged fantasy world of the woman-hating, anti-choice right wing filled front page headlines in August, thanks to the comments of Missouri Republican representative and Senate candidate, Todd Akin. Asked during an interview on August 19 whether he thinks abortion should be legal in cases of rape, Akin explained: “That's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
The South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC) brings together feminists from different backgrounds. It holds regular meetings and forums on issues relating to women in Australia today. The collective held a forum on reproductive rights last month, which focussed on the current legislation concerning abortion in South Australia. Abortion is still on the criminal code in South Australia.
The personal saga of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of WikiLeaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.
The Olympics are a sporting and social phenomenon without parallel. The Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympics was watched by close to 1 billion people. Viewers for individual events can be remarkable. The website Sporting Intelligence said 184 million people watched a live women’s volleyball match between China and Cuba at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A further 450 million people watched part of it.
It rarely takes very long into an Olympics for the myth that the games are above politics to be shattered. For the London 2012 games, the myth was smashed well before the games begun. A series of incidents involving Australian athletes have shown that politics are at the heart of the games. Despite winning the Olympic trial earlier this year, athlete John Steffensen was not selected to represent Australia in the individual 400 metres sprint, replaced by 19 year old Steve Solomon.
On June 16, 2012, an all-female line-up of artists put on a Sydney gig to raise funds for women prisoners after funding for the charity Sisters Inside was cut by the Liberal state government in Queensland. Green Left TV spoke to event organiser Shannon Hall and Aboriginal rappers Naomi Wenitong, of The Last Kinection, and Sky'high.
A vigorous exchange of views took place at the Socialist Alliance and Resistance-sponsored forum, “Women’s Rights today” at the Perth Activist Centre on May 30. The audience heard from a panel of Bec Copestake, who spoke about the Western Australian government’s prostitution bill, Kamala Emanuel, who spoke about reproductive rights, Zoe Bush, who discussed the rape culture on campus at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and Sanna Andrew, who spoke about the victory of the Australian Service Union’s equal pay campaign and the steps taken to achieve it.
Feminists caused a stir at the University of Western Australia (UWA) when posters and stickers appeared around the campus on May 31. Declaring “rape jokes are hate speech”, the posters and stickers were hard to miss. A sign with the same message appeared on a statue in the Swan River close to the campus. The same day, the main social club on campus was to hold a party to “celebrate and commemorate the contemporary culture of our fair university/city (As seen on PerthNow)”.