Week 12: Speaking Truth to Power

Dawson describing the dirty wars and the role that women played in bringing down these oppressive regimes are the first time I’ve ever heard about them. Hearing how these brave women protested their children’s disappearance was truly remarkable. Reading that the “secret police began stalking the Madres, even kidnapping and killing a few” is really heart-wrenching. In addition, because the Argentine junta began to “fear that these women might threaten the government’s efforts to portray itself as a defender of family values”, they began to “paint [the Madres] as terrorist sympathizers, and as the “locas (madwomen)”. The actions that the junta took to attempt to wipe out the Madres was truly ironic and absurd because they were anything but “defenders of family values”. Putting a face to the thousands of people that disappeared really helped bring down the Argentine government, and these Madres must be applauded for their actions.

Reading about the murdered female factory workers in Ciudad Juarez is a stark contrast to previous chapters regarding women factory workers. Previously, the women in factories would have “paternalistic factory owners who worried about their well-being or been overseen by government bureaucracies that wished to ensure they maintained proper comportment”. However, something changed where these women factory workers began to be viewed as “surplus poor, dark skinned migrants from somewhere else whose only value to foreign factory owners lay in their low wages and willingness to work long hours with a minimum of complaint”. It is a truly sad transformation, but what changed?

Reading about the United States’ attempt at shifting their attention away from the cold war and onto the war on drugs is interesting. Governments such as Colombia and Mexico in addition to the United States have spent countless billions of dollars in attempting to stop the drug trade. It is really fascinating for me because in law class in high school, my friend and I debated with a pair of others for a project in which we debated about the legality of drugs. My friend and I found that legalizing all drugs and using the Portuguese model, where all drugs are legal, resulted in a decrease in the amount of drug usage in the population. The model is exponentially cheaper than the one currently being used by the United States because taxing the drugs and obliterating demand for the drug cartels would eventually lead to their demise. It is an interesting model, and I wonder if the United States government or any other government have ever considered using the Portuguese model?

2 thoughts on “Week 12: Speaking Truth to Power

  1. I understand the surprise of learning about the female factory workers, but you have to keep in mind that these women were unlike those of the past. They were poor immigrants, who had an unfavorable skin colour. I think that the “white” women who had to work in factories were probably treated with the carefulness of the past.

  2. I find this model of drug control very interesting. Legalizing something because you recognize the inevitability of it and can better keep people safe with it legal, is something that people should become more comfortable with. Just because it is legal does not make it right or ethical, but at least it helps regulate it and keep it safer. The Netherlands legalized prostitution for this reason – not because it believes in the virtue of it, but because it helps protect the people who work in this area. I believe that legalizing marijauna and other drugs may be similar – it wouldn’t condone doing drugs, but would provide a way to control such substances. With drugs legalized, the demand for them illegally would decrease, and dangerous cartels and dealers would go out of business. I think this model is worth looking in to.

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