As Above, So Below:

Musings on Misogyny and Militarism

by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART)

The link between phallo-centric masculinism and weaponry is hardly a new one. From laments about “boys and their toys” to satiric art about missile envy, it is widely acknowledged and commented on. But the level to which misogyny and militarism have become linked under the Trump regime have reached the depths of absurdity.

Blundering on the Brink

I was born in 1947 in the shadow of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Hitler’s horrific genocide; on the eve of global rise of colonized and exploited people. Throughout my childhood and early teens, US “statesmen” boasted of their capacity for “brinksmanship” — walking the tightrope of possible thermonuclear warfare, in a game of international “chicken” right up to the edge of mutually assured destruction. Those were the days when the radical right intoned “Better Dead than Red,” and meant it — especially if they could export the dying to someone else, preferably in the Third World. The relationship between brinksmanship and “swordsmanship” was glamorized in a series of Bond films loosely based on the Ian Fleming spy novels JFK loved so much. Brinksmanship reached its apex, or nadir, in Kennedy’s Cuban missile crisis. At least in those days, there was a massive international movement for nuclear disarmament and to “Ban the Bomb.”

Today, as the pussy-grabber in the White House threatens nuclear annihilation against the little rocket man in North Korea, and tweets his objections to being called “old” (but not a lunatic), we need opposition to misogyny and militarism to leap off #hashtags on the screen and into the streets. We need people’s embargoes and sanctions; non-compliance and non-complicity that can dent the capacity of the dying dinosaurs of empire to damage the population and the planet

#MeToo and #ItWasMe

The power of #hashtags to strip away complacency and legitimacy from the high and mighty has been evidenced by the #MeToo movement initiated by Tarana Burke and gone viral via a tweet by Alyssa Milano. The repercussions in Hollywood, DC, Sacramento, the media, politics and board rooms continue to be felt. Senators and would-be senators, former and current presidents, politicians, producers and pundits have all been exposed as part of the good-old-boys network. Less discussed is the existence of misogynist abuse, assault and harassment within the movement. But it has repeatedly plagued Anti-Racist Action and other anti-fascists nationally, including Redneck Revolt. And in that respect, I must plead guilty to complicity and complacency, to silence in the face of patriarchal, physically abusive and personalistic (mis)leadership. More than two years ago, we published in Change Links a piece by The Committee [click here] reporting sanctions imposed by an African people’s tribunal on a leader of a Black group here in L.A., but I maintained a relationship with that group and leader and a public silence on the matter, shaming and discrediting myself in the process as an enabler. I cannot go into detail here, but I have broken my ties to that leader and group and am in the process of developing a fuller, more thorough self-criticism I will be sharing in Turning The Tide, the anti-racist journal I edit. Here let me acknowledge that #ItWasMe who stood by as silent enabler, and invite your criticism to help me overcome that, and begin to ask for forgiveness from those I let come to harm. You can address comments or queries to me at

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