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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Supreme Court to women workers: ‘Make me a sandwich’

The religious beliefs of business owners are more important than the health of women workers. That was the gist of a ruling out of the US Supreme Court on Monday, on the last day of the court's annual session. The court pretty much told women they should put up with whatever their bosses think is best for them, because the bosses have "sincerely held" beliefs about what is best for the health of their female employees.
In a familiar 5 to 4 vote, the court divided along conservative and liberal lines, with the court's three female justices leading the dissent. The ruling was on a case brought by the Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft-supply stores run by right-wing fundamentalist Christians. Forced by Obamacare to offer standardized health insurance to their employees, Hobby Lobby's owners objected to having to cover birth control expenses, supposedly against their religious beliefs. No allowances for the religious beliefs or non-beliefs of the covered employees were made, and, ironically, the Hobby Lobby owners raised no objection to insurance coverage of erectile-dysfunction drugs like Viagra. Women's gynecological health was completely trivialized as something entirely subject to whim. Previously, religious organizations were granted exemptions to birth-control coverage; this ruling was the first to extend those exemptions to “family” or “closely-held” businesses. Hobby Lobby may be family-owned, but it has almost 600 locations and over 20,000 employees. The ruling is also considered a blow to Obamacare, though in truth it just seems to make make it even more obvious what a pathetically pale imitation of actual universal healthcare Obamacare actually is.
It's not immediately clear how much of a legal precedent was set by the Supreme Court's ruling, which cannot be appealed. Liberal justice Ruth Ginsburg, in her dissent, worried that “In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”  If that turns out to be true, this court decision could be a goldmine for businesses to claim all sorts of religious exemptions from participating in workers' legal protections.
What is clear is that once again, the government has revealed how it exists to enable and justify the corporate exploitation of working people. Laws are tailored, snipped, changed, or scrapped, entirely to suit the interests of the capitalist system, and frankly it's all so much bullshit…
… Some are issuing feeble calls for a boycott of Hobby Lobby. But gross as Hobby Lobby's owners are, that one company isn't the source of our problems. And as a friend of mine said on Facebook, “I've been boycotting Hobby Lobby for my entire fucking life. What fucking difference did that make? Fuck consumer politics. That's just Ronald Reagan for fucking hippies. Does anybody get mad about anything anymore?...Do something!”
Indeed. It's time to do something. We need a revolutionary women's movement that stops playing by somebody else's corrupt rules, and we need it soon.
For the rest click here.

I wouldn't expect any ground breaking changes based on boycotting Hobby Lobby. Still, maybe on a personal level I will never go to that store and unlike many people who joke that they never went to that story anyway, I do sometimes visit craft stores for art supplies mostly, and I will never go back there again. I don't expect that to change anything, but the thought of any of my money going to them sickens me. The same can be said of Wal*Mart. I avoid it at all costs. Polls show that most people do shop at Wal*Mart and love the place. So boycotting that place by me alone hasn't changed anything. Still I won't be a part of the problem.
I want revolution as well as anyone, but if I can make this shit-system more tolerable for the oppressed that have to endure it—I will.

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