Saturday, August 25, 2012

Augusta finally buckles, admits women, some women anyway

Condoleezza Rice
by Richard Mellor

There was a historic victory for women last week when one of the elite clubs that the 1% hang out at agreed to admit women for the first time.  I am talking about the Augusta National Golf Club that counts such hard working dignitaries as former GE executive Jack Welch, oil magnate T. Boone Pickens Jr. and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson as members.  With the appointment of women as CEO's  of some major corporations, some that sponsor Augusta's world renowned Master Golf Tournament, this old boys' club was feeling the heat.  IBM, a major corporate sponsor at Augusta appointed a woman as its chief executive which put the all male (formerly all white male until 1990) on the spot as well as the club had offered membership to IBM's previous four CEO's, all men.

The two women admitted are  Condoleezza Rice and investment banker and billionaire Darla Moore.
We all know who Condoleezza Rice is, she's the woman that Chevron named an oil tanker after.  But Ms. Moore would be less know to many of us.  She is married to billionaire Richard Rainwater who founded the investment bank that bears his name and is its VP.

These women are staunch enemies of all working people not just in the US, but especially abroad where investment banks and the energy corporations find lucrative opportunities in regions governed by dictators and thugs, less than democratic regimes that protect their profits through violence and brutality for a share of the spoils. But this is a victory no doubt.  We defend the right of all women to equality in all aspects of life, to be free of discrimination on the basis of their gender, even the daughters, wives and colleagues of the bourgeois.

But we also recognize the limitations of this victory. These are women that support their class brothers in their war on working class and poor women.  Darla Moore was one of the first women featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine.  She has been on the board of JP Morgan, Hospital Corp. of America and other corporations.  She had donated $70 million to her alma mater, the University of South Carolina. She is no friend of the millions of men and women in this country who are victims of her policies and the policies of her class.

Darla Moore
But there is no doubt in her efforts to fight for her rights as a thug among thugs, she has had to fight the odds, fight against the most rampant sexism; she is a tough one. But she makes sure not to give credit to the women's movement in general for Augusta's capitulation, after all, her friend, the former national chairman of Augusta, William "Hootie" Johnson once proclaimed that the club might admit women one day but, "not at the point of a bayonet."

But that bayonet has reached its target and Martha Burk, the former chair of The National Council of Women's Organizations was much closer to the truth telling the Wall Street Journal Monday that the present Augusta president, Billy Payne doesn't "deserve any credit" for the changes, adding that "he's being dragged at the point of a bayonet" echoing Johnson's statement above.

But victory for bourgeois women is not about golf as Ms. Burk makes absolutely clear, "Let's face it." she tells the WSJ, "It was never about golf. It's about access to power, access to the place where deals are made and money passes hands.".

So while we recognize this as a victory it is not the victory we want.  The struggle of working class and radical women for equality, what has been a heroic and militant struggle, has nothing to do with making deals and greasing palms.

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