dual systems (to Justin from Tom)

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Tue Nov 8 14:37:03 MST 1994


Thanks for giving me an opportunity to elaborate further.

I have no problem with your idea that men oppress women in the sense
not only emotionally but also  economically.  The problem is when
you use a word like  exploit, you (at least the ds'ers) equate this
oppression with class exploitation.  And that's not only politically
very dangerous, as I've indicated.  It's also historically and causally wrong.

Engels, Reich, Veblen would all agree that patriarchy has distant roots in
the relations between women and men in primitive communism.  But to argue
from this that patriarchy is another system is erroneous.  Patriarchy
does not become severe, and does not become formally established in society,
until the rise of the state and of classes, with which it is intrinsically
connected.  It is one unholy system, not two--and patriarchy has its roots, in the here and
now, are in capitalism, which supports it financially/ideologically.
Patriarchy now provides one of the chief ideological bastions of capitalism.
This is the essential relationship.

Men may indeed gain economic advantage, in the short term, via domestic
oppression of women. But in the long term, both emotionally and economically,
they are screwed.  Men can live without patriarchy--but the capitalist cannot
live without capitalism (nor without patriarchy).  Men had better learn to
live without both.  but when we assume that men's interest in patriarchy
is the same as the capitalist's in exploitation, we shoot ourselves in the
foot at the starting block.  That's my point.


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