dual systems (to Justin from Tom)

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Tue Nov 8 15:29:34 MST 1994

On Tue, 8 Nov 1994 tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu wrote:

> Justin,
> 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.

Well, why it is wrong to say that exploition is by definition forced
unpaid surplus labor? And don't women perform such labor for men?

I don't think relations of exploitation constitute class relations, which
are defined rather by relations of ownership and control over the means
of production. It's true that men mostly own these, but not qua men,
although patriarchy and the history of women's oppression and exploittaion
explain this distribution.

Men are not a class, but they are an exploiting group.

> 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.

Patriarchy supports capitalism and vice versa. It's hared to say which is
primary, or why you would want to.
> 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).

Not so clear on the latter, but you're probbaly right.

  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.

I didn't say that. I agree that there are disanalogies. But in both cases
we have to overthrow an oppressive system of exploitation intimately
linked to the other.

I wonder whether we shouldn't say: the patriacj can't live without
patriarchy, just as the capitalist can't live withoute capitalism.

Kids are yelling, gotta go.



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