Marxist feminism or petty moralism?

hfspc002 at hfspc002 at
Sun Nov 6 02:34:05 MST 1994

On Sun, 6 Nov 1994, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> I don't believe this is a productive way of talking.  It reminds me of
> the old Stalinist way of talking on which some views or positions are
> "objectively" Trotskyite-Fascist (this was an old Stalinist insult, not a
> notion I would endorse) or whatever. It it individualizes in exactly the
> wrong way. The main problem we have to deal is, I agree, not Bad
> Attitudes, but that includes unconscious Bad Attitudes. The problem is
> institutional oppression, and a ritual of accusation, guilt, confession,
> and repentance won't change that. We can assume, perhaps not wholly
> accurately, but close enough, that everyone on this list struggles actively
> for change against racism, etc. Anyway our tacit and perhaps unwilling support
> for a racist etc., system--I mean that of the people on this list--isn't
> the key to its survival. I hate it when people on the left consume their
> energy and divide our weak and divided forces by going through this
> meaningless and stupid ritual which changes nothing. Sure, it's easy to
> guilt trip white male leftists (and in individual cases they may deserve
> it), but that's no substitute for forcing the government to stop
> demonizing poor Black teenage women or pulling education and health
> benefits for undocumented workers.

Well, I'm not sure what you disagree with in what I said then.  The
problem as I see it is one of recognizing difference (racial, sexual, or
otherwise) and of recognizing the part we play in making difference
oppressive.  I don't say these things to guilt trip white male leftists
nor to engage in purification rituals.  I say these things to try to
change the cycle of self-righteousness and blame that your original
statements seem to be engaged in.  And in particular to challenge the
nineteenth century Enlightenment ideology of "egalitarianism" that it
seemed to be assuming.  The point is that we are not created equal, and we
ignore that at our own peril.


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