High school has always been turbulent at best, but never before was I confronted with institutionalised oppression in the way that I was when it came to Year 9 sex education.
Year 9 is the final year in my school where all students have access to sex education regardless of their subject choice, after this a student has to choose a physical education (PE) subject to learn more about it.
That year I had a male PE teacher, and therefore a male sex education instructor. While this is not the norm, with only 34% of sex education instructors being male, according to the Sexuality Education in Australian Secondary Schools 2010 survey, I believe the teacher’s gender was largely irrelevant in this case.
Sex education was, for me, an aggravating experience. Incorrect medical terms for female genitalia were used, the clitoris was only mentioned when a boy in the class asked where the female urethra was located, and menstruation was largely the butt of the jokes, to the extent where the teacher would have to calm the boys down as they were reading from the textbook.
None of these were as infuriating as the lesson about consent. While researching this article I discovered that the content of the lesson was not mandatory and was taught on the good will of the teacher.
The only topics related to consent that lessons are meant to cover are, “How to avoid unwanted or unplanned sex” and “Effects of alcohol/drug use on decision making”.
This exclusion of consent in normal relationships is based on the assumption that the only consent violations are while drunk, when a woman is unable to express consent or when she hasn’t tried to avoid the situation enough.
Read more at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54395
Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, died on March 5, and if there is one thing we can take away from coverage in the Western mainstream media is there is now one less dictator threatening the free world.
Sure, on the surface, Chavez didn’t really seem like much of a dictator, what with the whole coming to power through free elections and encouraging unprecedented political participation by ordinary citizens thing. But it is just like those serial killers whose neighbours always say seemed so nice until the horrible truth came out.
Sure, when Chavez died, Latin American governments all offered their heartfelt condolences, but it can’t be long now before we see them being interviewed on the news, looking shocked and saying: “And he always seemed such a great bloke, keeping himself busy winning all those elections. And always so willing to help out around the neighbourhood, offering subsidised oil to break the price gouging US corporations and offering his help to negotiate a solution to Colombia’s decades-long civil war and then when Haiti had that terrible earthquake, there he was, cancelling all of Haiti’s debt in a gesture of solidarity.
“And it turns out all along he ran an ‘oil dictatorship’? It just shows you never can tell, but still, if the Wall Street Journal says it’s so, well there you are.”
Britain’s Independent editorialised on March 6: “Mr Chavez was no run of the mill dictator.” And that is certainly true, what with his movement winning 15 out of 16 electoral contests held since 1998 and peacefully accepting defeat when the 2007 constitutional referendum was lost. That does make Chavez quite unique in the pantheon of modern dictators.
It must be quite awkward for Chavez at “dead dictator get-togethers” when others in the gang ask him how many opponents he killed or dissident movements he crushed and all he can say is, “Well, I did come out with some strong words against the counter-revolutionaries in my speeches”. You can just imagine the embarrassed silence, before Stalin butts in with, “Well, no matter, let me tell you all about my Great Purges again!”
Still, there were all those private media outlets he had closed like … ah … um … there was … oh … hang on, I am sure there was at least one … Oh I know! Private TV channel RCTV! Of course, the media giant, owned by one of Venezuela’s richest men, wasn’t actually closed, as such, and is still broadcasting in Venezuela. Nonetheless, when RCTV’s 20-year licence to use a government-owned broadcasting frequency expired in 2007, the government chose not to renew it, instead setting the frequency aside for a new community-based channel.
And the decision to not renew the billionaire Marcel Grainer’s licence was made simply because, during the preceding 20 years, RCTV had been fined hundreds of times for breaking Venezuelan broadcasting law, refused to pay its taxes and then, in 2002, played a key role in helping organise a military coup that briefly overthrew Chavez’s elected government and installed the head of the chamber of commerce as dictator. I mean, talk about petty.
A New York Times editorial provided another angle again, writing that, “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator”. The brilliant thing about that argument is it needs no proof. Unable to show Chavez was in any way a dictator, the NYT just claims that, nonetheless, he really wanted to be, blocked only by some unseen force.
I might as well claim the NYT editors are would-be baby eaters, only they just haven’t found the right marinade sauce yet.
But more important is the date of that NYT editorial: April 13, 2002. When the editors wrote the piece, Chavez had been kidnapped in a US-backed military coup and a junta had seized power. Unfortunately for the NYT's editors, the day they published their attack on Chavez, a mass uprising of the poor overthrew the new regime and restored the democratically elected president. Whose name was Hugo Chavez.
Now consider the actions of the coup junta the NYT claimed was defending democracy (the editors were forced to run an apology for making such claims, pleading ignorance as their excuse).
Having overthrown the elected president, the coup plotters installed the head of the chamber of commerce, Pedro Carmona, who proceeded to abolish the constitution, and dissolve the Supreme Court, the elected National Assembly and a raft of pro-poor laws — all while the police under the coup plotters’ control shot dead more than 60 people protesting for Chavez’s return and security forces hunted down leading members of Chavez’s government and movement, who were forced into hiding.
And this happened in a mere 47 hours. Perhaps Western press editors need to look up the word “dictatorship” in a dictionary. And then, “irony”.
Of course, it could be that the Western press has simply confused the word “dictator” with “opposes Western corporations raping their nation”. That would explain an enormous lot.
The Socialist Alliance in Australia expresses its deepest sympathies with the people and government of Venezuela on the death of Companero Hugo Chavez Frias on March 5. His passing is a huge loss for all peoples, across Latin America and the globe, struggling for a world free of inequality, exploitation and oppression.
It is testament to Hugo Chavez’s great leadership that, while mourning his death, we are also confident that the Bolivarian revolution and the new movement for socialism of the 21st century that Chavez inspired will be continued by the mass of people, to whom he worked so hard to give power.
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) expresses its deepest condolences to the people of Venezuela, Latin America and all who supported the Bolivarian Revolution, for the loss of our great Comrade Hugo Chavez.
Comrade Chavez had gained the most votes in the history of Venezuela when he elected for the fourth consecutive presidential term. Unfortunately, now the unfinished revolutionary process has to go on without the physical present of comrade Chavez.
As Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said, “Those who die for life, can’t be called dead.” Comrade Chavez will be more alive than ever in the heart of all the people who committed to struggle for a better world that free the the savageness of capitalism and neo-liberal imperialism.
Comrade Chavez is a visionary revolutionary that not only inspires the people in Venezuela, but also downtrodden in Latin America as well as people fighting against neo-liberal agenda around the world. The Bolivarian Revolution has captured the imagination of many people, including us in PSM, that another world is possible.
PSM believes that the legacy of comrade Chavez can be defended through continuous mobilization from below for Socialism of 21st Century.
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)
Like elsewhere in the country, shortly after the announcement people in the neighbourhoods of Merida started trickling out of their houses, and into the streets. Some were weeping, others spoke quietly; most were silent.
Within an hour, the main square was packed with Chavistas. Many were in tears. The rally continued until late into the night, with a public mass starting around 10pm.
Attendees joined hands and prayed. There was a heavy police presence, but the crowd was solemn.
Film maker and Chavez supporter Flor Salcedo was in the square.
The next day, she told Green Left Weekly that like many Chavistas, the news had hit her hard. “Chavez was very charismatic, he moved a lot of people with his ideas.
“I’m very sad.”
Her friends, Jackson Colmenares and Kleyzar Contreras both expressed sadness.