The latest dustup re: Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her membership in BELEZEAN GROVE has created quite the dialogue among the cyberspace chattering class. Most of it has centered on whether men and women should have their own private clubs if they are elected or appointed officials. Little, if anything, has focused on how economic and political power fit into this picture so the current dialogue misses an important point.
We began the protests against the BOHEMIAN CLUB/GROVE back in 1980, not because they were an all male club. That point certainly did not go unnoticed but we felt it was more important to expose the private bonding between the corporate, financial, military and government elites that attended this annual summer retreat in our backyard. A couple of years after we began our protests the State of California stepped in over the issue of fair employment as the Bohos not only excluded women from membership but refused to hire them as employees. It took six years to overcome that discretion and it went all the way to the state Supreme Court before women were allowed to work there. Meanwhile we kept our focus on the economic and political relationships between these very privileged men.
The fact that for over one hundred years they began their gathering with a bizarre ceremony called the CREMATION OF CARE also got our attention but we decided that trying to interpret that to the public would be way too distracting. That this elaborate production (cost of $40,000) included men wearing red-hooded robes burning a coffin with an effigy of "Care" was too bizarre even for our jaded crowd. We started our own RESURRECTION OF CARE during each protest as a counter point and left the interpretation of their ceremony up to the viewer.
I explain all this to make the point that keeping the argument on private one-gender clubs is a distraction from the bigger picture of how ruling class bonding takes place at these exclusive private clubs and how it affects the rest of us. When so much power is concentrated in a small group of people without ANY public scrutiny it does not bode well for those excluded. For almost thirty years our group (BOHEMIAN GROVE ACTION NETWORK), through helpful workers inside, has managed to get their two week schedule of the daily LAKESIDE TALKS and we have passed that on to curious reporters. Over the years these talks have included such speakers as Edward Teller on NUCLEAR ENERGY, Caspar Weinberger (then Reagan¹s Sect. of Defense) on REARMING AMERICA, A.W. Clausen (then head of the World Bank) on the GLOBAL ECONOMY, Adm. Robert Foley on WORLD NAVAL POWER or Henry Kissinger on DO WE NEED A FOREIGN POLICY? to name just a very few.
No matter how wealthy or well connected the women at Belizean Grove are they are in no way as powerful as the men at Bohemian Grove because women are just beginning their climb up the corporate and political ladder that has been the exclusive domain of men for centuries. My disappointment with these women is that they would even try to emulate the dynamic which many of us see as old, outdated and destructive to the world. Why would progressive thinking women want to name themselves after a club that excludes them? Why would they want to copy a model that has caused the world so much grief? If men or women want to get together by themselves for recreation and comradeship that's fine. But the idea that we can get together to network and connect in the name of power and control at the expense of the rest of the planet is not. When I first heard about all this (and thank you Stephen Colbert!) I thought that perhaps their name was a tongue-in-cheek poke at the Bohos, but after going to their website and reading their mission statement I'm not so sure. I hope my sisters aspire to a more egalitarian world than the one the boys have created instead of carrying on the status quo with a different gender.