Women Politicals in America: Jailed Dissenters from Mother Jones to Lynne Stewart
From the country's founding, American women have protested against their government, a government which is undemocratic, militaristic, patriarchal, racist and based on greed and profit. It is past time to acknowledge, since America has become an openly authoritarian, corporate state, that it has and always has had, political prisoners. Women have always been among dissenters against the government, and because women are already automatically suspect and "unnatural" for voicing and acting upon their beliefs, women politicals have been jailed, beaten and sometimes tortured. The US has never been a nation with equality, democracy, human rights, or freedom. By following the disposition of its dissenters, particularly its female dissenters, it becomes clear that America, ruled by a patriarchal, racist elite from its colonial days, was not tolerant of rebels. Massachusetts Bay would not forgive Anne Hutchinson's dissent from Governor Winthrop's religious elite rule; the American colonial authorities considered Mother Anne Lee's Shaker pacifism treason, so she was called a witch, raped and jailed. In the 1980s, anti-imperialists Susan Rosenberg and Alejandrina Torres were put in solitary in a high security unit designed to make them repent or kill themselves. Lynne Stewart, breast cancer or not, was given a long jail sentence for defending her Muslim client in 2010. The US has always cracked down on dissent, notably against anti-capitalist and anti-racist dissent of all types through time, and also to stop anti-imperialist dissent which exposed its military empire. Women dissidents have had particular experiences as prisoners. There are constant searches and pat downs by male guards, and constant threats of rape and sexual humiliation. The isolation of women from family is also effective as punishment. Prison has presented unique problems for women: pregnancy, relations with children, spouses and family, and female-related disease and injury. Prison authorities have also had unique opportunities to play on female psychology and exploit the usual female roles of being submissive and dependent. American women have held deep political convictions throughout our history, and when they ran counter to the established political culture, they have been severely punished for them. America has had the dual mission, and challenge, of stopping dissent while maintaining its image of having no dissent because it, as a paragon state, needs no dissent. My goal with this book is, as a feminist historian, to help expose the American corporate elitist state, always patriarchal and racist, for what it was, and is.
|Year of publication||2018|