Language, "niceness" and revolution

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Jun 2 11:30:31 MDT 1995

At 8:43 AM 6/2/95, glevy at wrote:

>However, revolutionaries also understand the power of language and would
>not have used racist or sexist crudities.  Had, for instance, a delegate
>to an international socialist convention (at least I-IV Internationals)
>called another revolutionary a "bitch", then the other delegates would be
>jumping over each other in an attempt to denounce the use of that term,
>not only because it is sexist and offensive, but, also, because such
>language discredits socialists and inhibits political organizing.
>"My" revolution will not take place without the active support and
>participation of women, and any language or actions which interfere with
>mobilizing class-conscious women is an obstacle to the organizing process.

Does this mean that "prick" is similarly proscribed? How about "asshole,"
another term from anatomy but which isn't gendered? How about the use of
"bitch" to mean complain? Can a woman call another woman a "bitch," as my
wife does on occasion?



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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