The politics of interpenetration

Chris Burford cburford at
Sat Aug 26 07:58:04 MDT 1995


It's all  got to do with the politics of penetration as the feminists
taught me.

Chris B:

It is certainly wider than an issue of homophobia, of which there have been
very few if any direct and *unmistakable* examples on this list.
Doug Piranha's contribution has a wider significance as a human
rights issue: should conflict be settled by violent psychological
assaults of a grossly humiliating or totally destructive nature?

I would be interested to hear more about the politics of penetration.
As is well known from research studies, rape is often little to do with
sexual enjoyment and more to do with exercising massive overwhelming power.
In that sense I think it is analagous to personal assaults that are
most commonly committed by young men on men.

The common thread is the massive overwhelming invasion and violation of
the person's psychological body space.

Such imagery has been used on the list, and it is part of a still wider
problem. The need to ridicule, rubbish or destroy other points of view.
People who do this must it seems to me, in turn find the very presence
of the other point of view massively intrusive, intolerable, and
destructive so that extreme violent counter-attack is felt to be
totally justified.

I think one of the lessons of the fall of the 20th century models of
institutionalised socialism, is indeed that there is a continuum between
the personal and the political which sometimes interacts in complex
dialectical ways. We cannot be working for a society that handles
contradictions well among the great majority of people if we do not
handle contradictions well among ourselves.

That includes facing up to the hard fact of contradictions: being on
this list means meeting people who are all different to you,
sometimes a forceful disturbing disagreement, about a core principle of
socialism or marxism, on which your last remaining sense of political
sanity seems to hang. Sometimes a disagreement to your surprise, with
someone with whom you thought you had a lot in common. That can be more
disturbing but also richer in its potentialities.

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