FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Would Elizabeth Cady Stanton Make of Kerry?

July 19 marks the 156th anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention, which took place July 19-20 in 1848 with about 300 in attendance. The idea for the convention sprang out of the earlier collaboration between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. (Stanton and Mott met eight years before at the World Anti-Slavery convention in London where women delegates were not allowed to participate in the debates).

All of the resolutions that Stanton drew up (titled the “Declaration of Sentiments”) were approved unanimously at Seneca Falls except for resolution nine: women’s suffrage. Even Lucretia Mott expressed trepidation at the idea: “Why, Lizzie, thee will make us ridiculous!” But the resolution finally passed at the convention with the help of Rochester North Star editor, Fredrick Douglas who swayed enough people to get the resolution passed by a majority vote.

As it always has been the case with the women’s movement in the United States, the convention was scorned by the media. Douglas, in the Star noted: “A discussion of the rights of animals would be regarded with far more complacency by many of what are called the wise and the good of our land, than would be a discussion of the rights of woman.”

So how is the 148th anniversary of such an important event now being celebrated? By standing in front of Wal-Mart and bringing notice to their discrimination against women? By calling on both presidential candidates to support abortion rights? To support free child and health care? By calling on the end of exploitation of womens’ suffering in order to start wars (i.e. Afghanistan)?

No to all, for Saturday July 17 is “Women For Kerry Action Day.” The John Kerry for President campaign is aggressively chasing the women’s votes this year, but you wouldn’t know it from the recent statements that Kerry has given. Not long after Kerry said that he would be open to appointing anti-abortion judges, Kerry told an Iowa newspaper: “I oppose abortion personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.” But on his website, Kerry “John Kerry believes that women have the right to control their own bodies, their own lives, and their own destinies.” So which is it? Kerry may say that life begins at conception, but he now has no qualms about ending it. He now believes that “terrorists” can be candidates for the death penalty; this doesn’t seem to bother the Catholic leaders who denounced his previous abortion stance.

The Kerry Camp has also been putting John Kerry’s billionaire wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry in the spotlight in order to capture more womens’ votes. Author Gail Sheehy interviewed Heinz-Kerry for a piece for Mother Jones magazine, which was nothing more than a sugary, substance-free bio that belonged in People magazine instead of a “progressive” publication that boasts of its’ “solidly reported, hard-hitting, ground-breaking news stories”.

Wal-Mart has long been recognized for its many abuses of its employees and factory workers abroad. The world’s largest retailer now faces the largest civil rights class action suit in this country’s history on behalf of 1.6 million women. Women in the company are paid and promoted far less than their male counterparts. The anti-Wal-Mart rhetoric espoused by both Kerry and Heinz-Kerry earlier this year proved to be meaningless in light of the revelation that Heinz-Kerry owns a million dollars worth of Wal-Mart stock; some of this stock, Heinz-Kerry acquired as recently as 2002.

There are many reasons to celebrate the anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention, but it would make us ridiculous to associate this weekend in any way with John Kerry or the Democratic Party.

BRANDY BAKER, a contributor to CounterPunch’s forthcoming book, A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, can be reached at: deliciouspekingduck@excite.com.

 

More articles by:

Brandy Baker is a Green National Committee delegate for Maryland.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail