by Mary Moore  June 20, 2009

The latest dustup re: Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her
membership in BELEZIAN 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

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, Casper Weinberger (then Reagan’s 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. (for more information go to <> and
click on Bohemian Grove.

No matter how wealthy or well connected the women at Belezian 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
) 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.

In 1980 Mary Moore was a co founder of Bohemian Grove Action Network which
began the protests at the gate to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio,
.  She has been a social justice activist since 1962 and has lived
in Sonoma County, California for 35 years.