Sept 06, 2016: The renowned activist Phyllis Schlafly, who is known to be conservative activist and almost single-handedly helped defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and pushed the Republican Party to the right in ensuing decades. She has died at the age of 92.
On Monday cancer took over Schlafly and she at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said.
She was famously known as “the first lady of anti-feminism,” Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold 3 million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited with helping conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona win the 1964 GOP nomination.
She had firm views on this regard. And also later helped the lead opposition to the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of gender. Schlafly argued that the measure would mean the end of the traditional family.
Supporters of the measure argued it would require that laws determining child support and job opportunities be designed without regard to gender roles.
Schlafly told the Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members. “I’ve taught literally millions of people how to participate in self-government,” Schlafly said.
The Eagle Forum pushes for low taxes, a strong military, and English-only education. The group is against efforts it says are pushed by radical feminists or encroach on U.S. sovereignty, such as guest worker visas. The group’s website describes the Equal Rights Amendment as having had a “hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages.”
Saint Louis University history professor Donald Critchlow, who profiled Schlafly in his 2005 book, “Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade,” said the defeat of the amendment helped revive conservatism and pave the way for Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.
Schlafly remained active in conservative politics well into her 80s, when she was still writing a column that appeared in 100 newspapers, doing radio commentaries on more than 460 stations and published a monthly newsletter. With so many activities and conservating ways of work, she was an inspiration. (VOA)
Thousands of women are gathering in cities in the United States and around the world Saturday for the third annual Women’s March to demand gender equality and call attention to environmental concerns and immigrant rights, among other issues.
The first Women’s March was held in 2017, the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
On Trump’s first full day in office, hundreds of thousands of women descended on Washington in a display of popular opposition to the new administration and its policies. Sister marches were held in more than 600 locations in the U.S. and across the globe in solidarity with the marchers in Washington.
Peter Newsham, Washington’s interim police chief at the time, said of the march in the U.S. capital, “The crowd stretches so far that there’s no room left to march.”
Many of the women wore knitted pink “pussycat” hats, featuring small catlike ears, to show their solidarity with the anti-Trump sentiments and as an oblique reference to vulgar comments Trump was known to have made years before he entered politics.
Moment to movement
In 2018, organizers of the Women’s March sought to build on the first rally by focusing on politics and the power of women voters. They held the second march in Nevada, a battleground state for the midterm elections later in the year. The rally touting the message “Power to the Polls” focused on voter registration, featuring activists and members of Congress as speakers.
As in 2017, sister marches were held in cities across the U.S. and thousands of women also marched in London, Paris, Sydney and other European and Australian cities.
In 2019, the organizers are bringing the march back to Washington. Hopes were high for this year’s turnout, especially after a record 102 women were elected to the House of Representatives in the midterms at the end of last year.
A growing controversy
Several prominent women’s and civil rights organization are absent from the list of partners published on the Women’s March website.
Among those that had partnered with the group in the past, but missing in 2019, are civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center and the political action committee Emily’s List. By late Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee had also withdrawn its name from the list of partners.
The controversy surrounds several Women’s March leaders who have been accused of holding racist and anti-Semitic views.
Organizers have repeatedly denied all accusations of misconduct or using inappropriate speech.
The issue resurfaced when two of the march’s organizers appeared on ABC talk show The View on Monday and refused to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has made repeated anti-Semitic and anti-white remarks.
When asked why she had posted a photo of Farrakhan on Instagram with a caption that included the hashtag for the title “Greatest Of All Time,” Women’s March’s co-president Tamika Mallory said, “I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric. I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities.”
Mallory’s co-president, Bob Bland, denied allegations printed in The New York Times and the Jewish magazine Tablet that members of the organization had expressed anti-Semitic beliefs at a meeting behind closed doors.
“The people that the journalist spoke to did not tell the truth, period, full stop,” Bland said. “The Women’s March unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism, bigotry, transphobia. … We condemn any statements of hate.”
Some marchgoers say they are not deterred.
“The controversy has certainly influenced conversations around my decision to attend or not. Though it never was going to stop me, even more so I feel it’s important to attend,” said Naomi Zipursky of San Francisco. She will be in Washington Saturday.
“By not showing up, I don’t even allow the conversation to begin and only create a bigger gap.”
“The thought that I, as a Jewish woman, wouldn’t be welcome or would need to leave part of my identity at the door in order to attend the march is disheartening and frankly, alienating,” Zipursky said. “(But) I also believe that what one person may say or do doesn’t necessarily represent what an entire organization may stand for.”
A separate “March for ALL Women” is planned for Saturday in the U.S. capital, with organizers rallying those who may feel the main march is divisive and not inclusive.
Many participants don’t think the marches will ever compare to the first one.
“It’s going to be very hard to pull off the momentum of the first women’s march,” said Mary Tablante, communications officer at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “I am still going (this year) because I do think they are trying to improve it. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the movement.”
Despite the controversy, marches are planned in almost every U.S. state. ABC News reports some states will hold multiple marches: California plans to have more than 30 marches, New York 15, Texas, 13 and Florida 11. Michigan will host eight and Pennsylvania seven.
Marches are also planned in more than a dozen European nations, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Israel, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa, among others. (VOA)