29: #MeToo with Emily Comer, Jen Roesch, Sherry Wolf and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

October 8, 2018

This week is all about #MeToo and the tremendous struggle against Kavanaugh. We recorded before the confirmation. We knew that regardless of the outcome, this was a watershed moment for the struggle against sexual violence and all of the deeper questions it raises about the status of women in society.

This episode is our attempt to capture the dynamics of this turning point in real time, while also allowing several women — including one of our hosts — to explore what it means to them and the future of the left.

Danny turns the tables and interviews Jen in two segments. In the first, we talk about the experience of watching the Kavanaugh hearings and the process of organizing protests. In the second, we talk about why gender-based violence has become such a central issue and how the new socialist left can become a home for those looking to fight against such violence.

We also talk to Sherry Wolf and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field during the October 4 day of walkouts as they were participating in the Women’s March protest at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. They describe the politics of that march and reflect on the future of the movement.

And, finally, we close out our episode with West Virginia strike leader Emily Comer. Emily led a sit-in of 18 survivors at the office of Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who ended up voting to confirm Kavanaugh. We play you a clip from her phone confrontation with Manchin. We then talk to Emily about the impact of #MeToo on working-class women and how working-class struggles — like the teachers’ rebellion she helped to lead — can fight sexism.

In our intro, we reflected on the first six months of the podcast and announced a fall campaign to try to build our audience and our financial supporters. We announced that we will be offering some thank-you’s to the people who support us through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/BetterOffRedPod. If you are already a supporter, or if you join us this fall, head over to our Patreon account, and you will see how you can get a choice of one of four free e-books from Haymarket Books. And we hope you can spread the word to friends. Our goal is to reach 100 patrons and increase our audience to 3,000 consistent listens per episode by the end of the year.

Links for this episode:
Nicole Colson on turning defeat into determination (http://bit.ly/ColsonKavDefeat)

Danny Katch on why the fight against sexism is just beginning (http://bit.ly/KatchMeToo)

Jen Roesch, Elizabeth Schulte and Leia Petty on what we learned from #MeToo (http://bit.ly/MeTooRoundtable)

New York Times article on protest led by Emily Comer in WV (http://bit.ly/ComerTimes)

Music and audio for this episode:
Beyoncé, “Sorry”
Lesley Gore, “You Don’t Own Me”
Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
Tacocat, “Men Explain Things To Me”
Staceyann Chin reading Marge Piercy’s “The Low Road”
Tracy Chapman, “Across The Lines”