patriarchs and dead patriarchy (Justin-Tom)

Ann Ferguson aferguso at
Tue Nov 8 21:49:50 MST 1994

On Tue, 8 Nov 1994 tgs at wrote:

> Justin,
> By the way, that last point you made about how patriarchs can't exist without
> patriarchy misses the point.  Ann Ferguson said that the dual systems
> theorists believe that MEN are a class, like the Capitalists.  Of course,
> patriarchs can't exist without patriarchy, but that's just an irrevant tautology
> , unless you're saying that all men are patriarchs, and that men
> can't exist without patriarchy.  I doubt very much that you believe this, from
> what you've already said, and this is why I glossed over it, to simply
> reply that I think that you and I are pretty much in agreement on this issue
> (PRAISE THE LORD MARX ALMIGHTY!) except for the semantics--which I do
> consider important.  Yes indeed, call it anything you want--except exploitation.
> Because that launches us right into the dual systems trap.  And in case you
> haven't noticed, Justin my MAN, that would place both of us on the other side
> of the barricades.
> Tom
	Tom, are you writing just to the men on the list? Are you trying
just to give a self-parody? Justin has already argued that from the fact
that men exploit women it doesnt follow that men cannot decide to give up
this privilege: just that, as patriarchs, women cant count on your good
will to do so without being utopian.  Which is why women, like the working
class, need to organize autonomously and not trust lefty men, or
capitalists, to have our
interests at heart.  Your need to bond with Justin against the threat of
a socialist-feminist perspective that suggests that in some ways men are
in a social position that is analogous to that of capitalists re the
workers indicates a defensive take on the issue that isnt helpful to
creating mutually respectful alliances across the gender divide to fight
for an end to all forms of domination, whether gender, class or racial.

	Maybe the problem is that you have too simplistic a notion of
what politics can be about:  you think it is fueled merely by material
self-interests and not by a  desire to bring about a more
harmonious egalitarian social order in which everyone stands to benefit
at another level.

	Anyway, a dual or tri systems analysis of the problem does not
necessarily lead to a dog eat dog identity politics.  If you would get
the chip off your shoulder and give it the barest, if I could trust you
to think seriously about this problem and not see ME as the possible
destroyer of class unity, we MIGHT just might be able to make a political
alliance to fight capitalism, sexism and racism as forms of social
exploitation and domination.

	Ann Ferguson
	aferguso at


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