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(DV) Marshall: Women's Equality Day: In Praise of Radical Women







Women’s Equality Day: In Praise of Radical Women 
by Lucinda Marshall
August 24, 2006

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Women’s Equality Day on August 26 is celebrated as a commemoration of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. While most of us now take this right for granted, in its day, women’s suffrage was a controversial issue and those who fought for it were considered radicals. 

While this is an excellent opportunity to honor this significant moment in our history, it is also a chance to recognize the radical women of our own time who are working not only to insure that the democratic process really works and that our votes count but also to rectify the situation when it doesn’t. 
One such woman is Bev Harris, founder and one of two 54-year old women who run Black Box Voting. Harris has worked tirelessly to expose the problems of our current voting system, particularly the pitfalls of electronic voting. Her work has raised significant questions about the companies that make electronic voting machines (Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S). Harris sees the issue as the need for, “citizens being able to oversee and authenticate their own elections.” And she points out, “We, the People, own the government and when you own something, it's up to you to manage it. Our children and grandchildren will inherit this government. The most important inheritance they can get from us is a government that they still control. We can't get that by clicking ‘send’ on an e-mail someone else wrote for us, or by hoping someone else will take care of it for us. It's going to be up to us, and for that reason, the focus of my work now is on teaching citizens the practical skills they need to achieve real oversight over their elections and, ultimately, the government itself." 
Mary Lou Greenberg of The World Can’t Wait is another woman who is concerned with reclaiming the integrity of our country.  In  “A Call to Action for the Women’s Movement and Everyone Who Cares About Women’s Lives,” offers a passionate supporting statement for the organization The World Can’t Wait. Greenberg, a long time activist in the women’s movement and the winner of the Susan B. Anthony Award for grassroots activism from the NYC Chapter of the National Organization for Women writes, 

This movement and all people who care about the fundamental rights of women are facing a juncture, and which way we go will decide the future for generations.  The pouring of all hopes and energies into the Democratic Party that has sacrificed the issue of abortion to “winning” in the mid-term elections leaves us with this question: at what point will we decide to really fight and at what point does it become too late? 

The women of the pro-choice movement must resolve to take a radical departure from the strategy that is in large part responsible for the ground we have lost. Funneling all our energies, money and imagination into elections and candidates and a political process that is howlingly disconnected and at odds with people's needs, objectives, interests and principles has to be roundly and decisively rejected. 

Unless there’s a drastic shift of strategy from accepting "what's possible" within the official politics of this country that are pitching far right, unless we bust through the confines that are squeezing the life out of what we have going for us the most -- the initiative of millions of women who are looking for a way out and asking to be called into action -- we are going to lose it all, and the agenda of the Operation Save America lunatics now moving to shut down the last abortion clinic in Mississippi will be the handmaid’s tale we will actually be living. 

As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, let us honor not only our radical foremothers, but also women like Greenberg and Harris who are working tirelessly in our own time to insure a government that is truly representative of the people. 
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Awakened Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive, Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine, Common Dreams and Information Clearinghouse. She blogs at WIMN Online.

Other Articles by Lucinda Marshall

* Penis Politics
* Involuntary Motherhood
* Kathleen Parker’s Duke Rants Miss the Point
* What Mothers Really Want
* The Harm that Occurs When Women are Under- and Mis-Represented
* Ending Terrorism Against Women Begins at Home: The Urgent Need To Fully Fund VAWA
* President Bush’s Ken-Doll Performance an Insult to Women
* How Hot Does it Have to Get?
* 30,000 Iraqis, More or Less
* We're Melting
* The Turning Point
* Geena in 2008
* Before There Are 2,000 More
* The Booby Trap: Does Breast Cancer Awareness Save Lives? A Call to Re-think the Pink
* Were Women Raped in New Orleans?
* Why I Do Not Support The Troops
* The Democratic Unravelling
* Child for Sale: The Corporate Takeover of Our Classrooms
* The Dead Children's Society
* Media Exclusion of Women as Sources Impedes Meaningful Reform
* Military Pollution: The Quintessential Universal Soldier
* Honoring the Lives of Women in Perilous Times
* Why We are Horrified by the Destructive Forces of Nature but Accept Our Own Violence
* The Financial Immorality of American Generosity
* The Surreality Show: Stranger than Fiction
* (Not) In The News: Media Culpability in the Continuum of Violence Against Women

* Yanar Mohammed on the Impact of the US Occupation on the Lives of Iraqi Women
* The Misogynist Undercurrents of Abu Ghraib