Marxist feminism or petty moralism?

hfspc002 at huey.csun.edu hfspc002 at huey.csun.edu
Sun Nov 6 07:31:23 MST 1994


On Sun, 6 Nov 1994, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> Self righteousness and blame? You must have me confused with somebody
> else. Anyway I reinterate that any part you or I or anyone on the entire
> risible left that exists in the country has in making "difference"
> oppressive is nugatory. That doesn't mean its excusable, but it's
> self-destructive self-flagellation to focus on that. I'll second what John

Again, you miss my point completely.  I'm not interested in
self-flaggelation; only in putting things into their proper perspective.
And for racial and sexual oppression, that means an identifiable
"oppressor" and "oppressed."  And these are categories in which we all
exist.  We are literally written by some of the factors involved in these
categories (e.g. "white," "male," etc.)  To pretend that we all start on
an "equal" level is hogwash, even when "we" are Marxist or otherwise leftist.

> Hollister said, with two qualifications. One is that I think that
> institutional oppression is a worse and deeper problem than mere hate, and
> the second is that I think it's silly to accuse people of flaunting or
> going along with privilege for getting married, etc. Of course white
> males, etc. do enjoy undeserved advantages, but you have to be careful
> about which these are. Be that as it may, the issue is to change the
> system, and ourselves in doing that, not the other way round.
>
Why is it silly to point out that marriage is one (among many) of the
institutional privileges that heterosexuals enjoy (or don't enjoy, as the
case may be :)?  Again, this isn't to accuse anyone; only to point out
that there is privilege that is unacknowledged.

> A small historical point. The Enlightenment, which I do think of as a
> pretty good thing, was in the 18th century.

yep; my mistake; I meant to say 18th.  And I never said it was a bad
thing; only that we are now 200 years past the point of pretending "all
men are created equal" yet our language is still rooted in that assumption.

And the point of egalitarian
> Enlightenment slogans, which I did not invoke, was not to whitewash
> oppression by denying "difference" but to insist that the "different"
> should not be oppressed because of their difference.

Really?  And did the "different" include Thomas Jefferson's slaves or the
slaves of the British East India Company under John Locke's leadership?
My point is that the "different" *are* oppressed and that the differences
are visible and we should not pretend they aren't.  That's all.  I really
am tiring of this debate; I hope I'm understood.  If not, oh well :)

Cheers,

Ben




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