[S1 E26] Part 2 or 2
This episode explores the ways that shame is transferred from rapists, corporate heads and exploiters on to the women they rape and the people they exploit. It discovers some of the ways that shame is being shifted back on to the shoulders of male sexual predators and capitalist predators with their "friends" in government.
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This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Hello, this is Dr. Harriet Fraad on capitalism, its home and interpersonal update. This is a show about the intersection of capitalism, class and our personal lives.
To continue the discussion on Jeffrey Epstein. Money does talk and buys silence as well. There is a syndrome whereof wealthy people give money, people close their eyes.
It's reported that Jeffrey Epstein had science meetings, where he invited prestigious scientific minds to his various mansions or his island to have scientific talks.
The scientists all saw him; Fondling, kissing, going to back rooms with his many of five or six young women at a time. One scientist asked Epstein about a particular Baltic woman that he had with him, and he said, “Oh, I bought her from her parents in Yugoslavia.” That wasn't pursued. All of these people were grantees of generous gifts. Not only fellowships but whole departments benefited from Epstein's largesse because Epstein considered himself a friend of science.
He even had a project, which I must say a lot of the scientists did discourage of perpetuating his genius by impregnating up to 20 women at a time. Not in one ejaculation but 20 million and keeping them at his New Mexican ranch, so he could bring forth geniuses and improve the human race.
It was even said that his sexual proclivities were such that at these scientific gatherings, there were very few women and those, who were there, were considered by many scientists. They were very brilliant women scientists, who were there to be auditioned as carriers for Epstein's genetic dispersal plan, so that he would have a genius woman to impregnate.
But out of trips where there were 24 scientists, one or two would be women, and they would be considered quite differently.
How did he get away with this? It's so interesting. When you look at how foundations exist, how universities exist, they exist on the money of these wealthy men, and they're always looking for money from these wealthy men. For example, Kushner got into Harvard after his father gave two million dollars to Harvard. I'm sure that helped.
It's even more direct than the recent bribery of various Hollywood and other personnel to get their kids into prestigious schools.
When he talks, you don't look at where it came from. You don't look a gift horse in the mouth and notice the rot. That is the system. Once you give money, you are invited to special events, where you are honored, where you are thanked, and where you are in Nobel for your glorious generosity.
One of the things that's thankfully changing with MeToo and Time’s Up is that the shame that people have felt for being on the lower end of society. These young women who were desperately poor absorb the shame of predatory men.
Some of the movements around the world are movements of people waking up and stopping that system of transferring the shame for rich men's and women's predation onto the people who are their prey.
In Kerala India, a highly sexist society, 5 million women joined hands to create 386 miles of women joining, outstretched arms, to fight for gender equality in the world.
Some people actually learn from this prestige. The USHA women's prostitution co-op in India found that. Because they became very wealthy and created their own sanitary napkins, birth control, and health plans for their prostitute workers, they amassed quite a bit of money. Before that, if they'd gone to the bank for a loan to help their kid go to college, they were treated with shame, even though these bankers had had sex with them the night before.
Now with the USHA women's cooperative they're treated with respect because they have money, too, and they'll give back bankers’ money with interest.
However, the way this game is usually played is not by wealthy co-op members changing their social status but by the people at the top who amassed their income through exploiting other people's labor.
If you look at what's happening, whether it's the Progressive Democrats, the squad of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Tlaib and Omar, they are refusing to be shamed by the dignitaries in the Senate and Congress. When those dignitaries lie, they pointed it out. When those dignitaries try to shove some kind of unjust bill through, they call it, they speak up. They're not going to be ashamed by a wall of white men who claim that they have authority, or their hangers-on like Susan Collins of Maine who supported Kavanaugh.
They're not afraid to transfer the shame back on their exploiters. Movements like Sunrise, mainly young people who want to stop capitalists from raping Mother Earth, call out the shame of polluters and their apologists like Donald Trump. The yellow vests in France go into the elite neighborhoods. They're not like American rioters who wrecked their own neighborhoods. They go right to the Champs-Elysées, the most expensive strip in Paris, where they scream Anti-capitalist slogans. They jam up the street, they terrify the elite buyers who might be in these stores, and they demand a plebiscite; A different form of government, so the elites won't have their say, and they won't have to pay for it.
The yellow vest movement started because Macron, Prime Minister of France, levied a fuel tax on these rural people who are truck drivers and small farmers and desperately depend on gas. He said that's because they're indifferent to ecology that they protested, and they said, “No, tax the elites who make 150, 500 times more than us for ecology. We're all for ecology just tax the top for it not us!”
They advocate a form of government in which people go to meetings that are compulsory and discuss the ideas and programs which are then implemented, if the majority is interested. Not the elite people who are elected by other elite people but the mass of French people. That movement is approved of by 70% of the French, even though it often stops business as usual. Often subway stops throughout Paris are closed because the yellow vests are having demonstrations there and people understand, “Good idea!” They're all over. They scream slogans like no capitalism, anti-capitalism, power for the people, down with the French elites, down with the fancy shops where they shop. They had an expose of the ecology minister, who accused them of insensitivity to ecology, having a big state dinner with his friends and fellow dignitaries, where they served lobsters and caviar and champagne. There they said, “We'd like that some nice meals, too. This is our tax money. Don't you dare tax us. Tax the elites. Empower us.”
Even Megan Rapinoe, on a small scale, who was recognized for the women's Olympic soccer team as the winner accepted her prize and accepted the speaker position at the ticker-tape parade in New York City, where she said, “My outstretched arms are outstretched for equality, for all people not just some people, all people because what we stand for as a team is people working together. No, one of us could ever have won alone. It's all of us together on the basis of our skill and merit, not our family connections.”
The soccer team was greeted by chants from the stands: Equal pay. Equal pay for women.
Equal pay. That's a change at a sports event. In fact, it's a change to have a sports event, celebrating women in the United States. What is key here is a psychological thing. People at the bottom have been shamed for having less.
People who are manual workers have been shamed because they're not doing work that's granted prestige. People at the top, people in the 1% have been given great respect by all those people who want their money and by our government. Now people are saying look at how you got that money. That's our labor. Shame on you. We won't feel inferior. We won't hold back our demonstrations. We won't silence our voices because it's you who should be ashamed.
The Somali worker, who struck Amazon in Michigan and with whom Ilhan Omar picketed in solidarity, said we will not let you wreck our lives with speed up and low salaries, while you have a $150 Billion and use it to go to the moon, while we can't even feed our children. We're not ashamed that we're poor. Shame on you for exploiting us.
Whether it's sexual exploitation and shaming young girls who needed money, or whether it's economic exploitation and shaming people who have low prestige jobs. It's time to stop that. It's time to join all of those people who are shifting the shame from us to the people who exploit us. That's just the beginning in the United States and around the world.
People are shaming the NRA for putting profit of the arms industry before lives. They're shaming church apologists who say that Trump is a savior. People like Focus on Family which has a $91 million a year budget and whose head was reported by Michael Cohen in a deal that he would not be exposed for investing $3.8 million in a gay bar, which says no religion, no politics, while he doesn't even allow women to wear thin straps or dresses above their knees and condemns homosexuality as an action of the devil.
Cohen worked out that Trump wouldn't mention that he met this man at the Fontainebleau Hotel at a big pool where tops for women were optional, whereas this man demands that all his parishioners and students cover up. This is a corrupt system where money talks too loud and gives people the idea that they're above the law like Donald Trump who brags that he never pays his taxes.
People have revered him for that. This is the opposite. This is saying we won't be ashamed anymore and we won't revere you who have ill-gotten gains from ripping us off and lying to us.
That party may be over. Young people are joining DSA. They're joining the sunrise movement. They're joining the feminist movements that are progressive. They're having slut walks in which they get all dressed up sexy and have signs that say, “Your outfit isn't the crime. Rape is the crime. How dare you condemn us?” They refuse to hold the shame of men raping them.
These developments are happening all over the world. Even in Indonesia where a woman's boss sexually harassed her, and she reported it and therefore she was fired. People protested so much that when she was jailed for having maligned her boss, she got out of jail because people demonstrated and protested not only in Indonesia but all over the world.
Organizations that are politically trying to change things have to speak to the shame that is behind people's obedience and acquiescence to the rich and powerful.
The shame of being poor, the shame of having sexuality as a woman, the shame of being raped which is a crime against you not by you, the shame of needing money, the shame of having to work at a non-prestigious job, cleaning up, wrapping packages, and getting things off an assembly line at a pace that would break anyone.
Because, after all, working at Amazon or Walmart is not a prestigious job. The pay is low at Walmart. There's an office in front on how to get food stamps, how to get the government to subsidize the low salaries that Walmart pays, and people are embarrassed that they need food stamps that they need free lunches for their children.
They shouldn't be ashamed and embarrassed. The shame is for a society that does that, that allocates the money to the top, and the shame is for all those people who suck up and kick down on refugees, on people without money, on manual workers, on young people, on women on, people of color.
If we allow white supremacy or male supremacy or wealth supremacy, we're turning people off to their continuity with other people - to compassion, to connection and its connection that actually allows for people's mental health.
According to me, mental health is like a table with four legs. They're all based on connection. One is connection with really intimate people, best friends, family members to whom you're close.
The second is another level of connections. Connections with people that you might work with, with whom you're friendly and to whom you speak. Connections with people on a team or on a project like either a blood drive or a political project. A third leg is a wider connection, looking at how you're connected to the United States and our government. What it's doing for you and what you can do there. And a fourth set of connections for mental health is a sense of being a world citizen. That you are connected to all people of the world in all the colors and all the genders out there, so that ridding ourselves of shame will probably be ridding ourselves of some of the terrible scourges in our society.
For example, 400,000 people have died of overdoses since 1996. 200,000 died of oxycontin, which was promoted by the Sackler family who, like Epstein, gave generously. There's the Sackler wing whose name they're now changing at the Louvre. There's the Sackler collection that was at the Guggenheim until people had a die-in at the Guggenheim, representing all the people that the Sackler money killed, because they knew from the start their drug was not as advertised, adequate for an entire day, that it wore off, and left people desperate for more.
They are now shaming the Sackler’s. They've gotten them off the board of the Natural History Museum and others. MeToo and Time’s Up have shown us that, across the board, we who do the work and are not in the 1% have to discard our shame and put it back on the people who deserve it.
Shame on them and all power to us.
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Transcript by Milly Malong Trapp
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