Indians training with computers
jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Dec 28 13:54:33 MST 1999
I did reread my posts. One had to do with supporting your argument that the
so-called "Men's Movement" has nothing to do with anything progressive--I
made the analogy with the new face of racism in David Duke's NAAWP which
claims to be against "all discrimination" including so-called "reverse"
discrimination; a totally bogus and disingenuous idea. Another post had to
do with this idea of "Are Men Oppressed--No". The title alone led me to
believe that the discussion was on a simple-minded level. How about "Are Men
Oppressed?:Yes and No" ?
Nothing in my post suggested taking feminist issues or feminism as less than
serious and necessary--progressive feminism and progressive feminist issues.
What are progressive versus reactionary feminist issues? For example, the
notion among some of the Ms/NOW-type feminists, suggested in a Ms special
about females who have "made it" as generals in the military as an example
for all women; in other words the notion of women's liberation being equated
with having an equal opportunity to become an oppressor and occupy positions
typically occupied by male oppressors?
Another part of my post had to do with the notion of "false consciousness"
or having attitudes and behaving in ways not consistent with one's
fundamental interests and that in fact aid/abet one's own oppression. I gave
the example of the women competing to "marry a millionaire" on Fox TV as an
example and posed the question: If women can be said to be demonstrating
false consciousness and aiding and abetting their own oppression, why not
the same for males? In other words, just as the poor whites stay poor partly
through the false consciousness of privilege and power over poor blacks, so
many males aid/abet their own oppression
via their oppression of females through the illusory and false consciousness
of machoism etc. None of this implies that the males who oppress women and
feed and gain from their own false consciousness and thus reinforce their
own marginalization, are in fact innocent or off the hook. None of this
implies that the oppression of one by someone who is also oppressed (like
the Jewish Kapo and the Jew destined for the gas chamber are both inmates in
the concentration camp and lives only as long as he continues to do the
bidding of his own oppressors) is less than the oppression of the
oppressor/oppressed male. It only means that when speaking about
oppression--forms and degrees--we can and do make quantitative and
qualitative distinctions; otherwise why not morn for the pathetic oppressor
male who can only gain some illusory measure of "power" through the illusion
of being better that the woman and through his oppression of women?
Moving from that point, none of which implies in any way not taking feminism
or feminist issues seriously, and none of which implies equating all
feminism or feminist issues as "petit-bourgeois" (although some definately
are in my opinion), I posed the further notion that if oppression were so
simple as male versus females, or women = oppressed and men = oppressors,
then why not get a good sperm bank going and kill all the males? And how to
deal with the likes of a Jean Kirkpatrick who are far more oppressor than
oppressed? How to deal with the women who oppress other women and gain from
it (Hefner's daughter)? How to deal with the males who are also oppressed as
well as being oppressors and in fact are also oppressed by some of the same
[capitalist] forces oppressing women? How to deal with the women who
sanction and celebrate some of the forces in their own oppression? Those
were the issues being raised.
Now as to quantifying and qualifying forms of oppression? Saying that one
form of oppression is more severe than another, as a matter of fact and
consistent application of given criteria to determine if any degreee or form
is going on, does not imply that the lesser degree or form of opression is
therefore not oppression or not worthy of being eliminated; that would be a
simple non-sequitur. But let's get real here: Anyone on this list living in
a house riddled with holes, radon gas levels five-times the condemnable
levels, no running waster, rat infested? Anyone on this list suffering from
TB with access to a grossly overworked and understaffed health service
riddled with incompetence? Anyone on this list seen a football team called
the "New York Niggers, San Francisco Spics, Boston Bitches, Huston Hos,
Frisco Fags, Washington White Trash, etc? Anyone on this list carry a BCA
(Bureau of Caucasian Affairs) or BWA (Bureau of Women's Affairs) etc?
representing a custodial agency through which one must go to sell his/her
land, hold his/her savings etc? Anyone on this list drinking grossly
lead/toxic waste infested water? Anyone on this list living in the middle of
a Federally designated toxic/radioactive waste dump site? Anyone on this
list within a category with suicide/substance abuse rates five times the
over all U.S. rates which are the highest among 22 industrialized countries?
So I'll say it again. Yes some feminist issues are serious and important.
Yes within all class categories women are generally more oppressed than men;
but oppression is not simply a matter of gender, there is much more to it
than that and anyone who focuses simply on the gender issues, is doing
exactly what you decry: denying and minimizing the other degrees and forms
of oppression from which some females--and males also--suffer and are doing
the work of "The Man" which includes some women oppressors. Yes, in my
opinion, some of the middle-class self-proclaimed feminists
in academia and in the business world are, in my opinion, part of the
problem and not part of the solution. And I do not see a honogeneous or
monolithic "women's movement" any more than I see a homogenous and
monolithic "Indian movement" or
"Socialist movement" or whatever.
And I'll also be willing to state that I cannot believe that some woman like
Judith Butler for example, or some woman executive on Wall Street, faces
forms and degress of oppression as severe and life threatening/destroying as
a typical male of female in an African American Ghetto, Migrant Farm Worker
camp or Indian Reservation. So my point is yes gender but also class, race,
ethnicity etc when talking about degrees and forms of oppression--which we
all do and indeed must in order to attack, with limited resources, the most
severe forms and degrees of oppression first and most effectively.
That is my opinion and I stand by it always open to courter evidence and
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:cbcox at ilstu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 1999 11:45 AM
To: marxism at lists.panix.com; Leninist International
Subject: L-I: Re: Indians training with computers
Yes. There has been a breakdown in communication, for which
I apologize. I attempted an indirect argument and it missfired.
I agreed with your initial post. I agree with everything you say
in this response.
I intended my response *not* as a criticism of your position
on Indian affairs but as a criticism of your post last week on
women. Crudely, that post of yours either,
(1) Had no purpose whatever, but merely said that the women's
movement, like every other movement in human history, was a
(2) If it had any real purpose it was to suggest that the woman's
movement was somehow not really serious.
I tried to finesse this crude argument by proposing for your
consideration an analogous post. SUPPOSE, I said, that
some woman were to right a post in which she proclaimed
solidarity with the Indian movement BUT filled the post with
criticism of this or that *particular* group of Indians, thus
creating the TONE that those Indians were somehow
representative of the movement as a whole.
I said that that such a post would *rightly* make you angry.
It would make you say that such groups or individuals were
not in any way representative of the Indian movment, and
that any post which even allowed the misinterpretation of
suggesting such was an attack on Indians.
I want you to re-read your post on women and see that
IN EXACTLY THE SAME way that post would make
millions of women very angry. And just as you would
rightly be angry at the hypothetical post I constructed, so
would those women rightly be angry at you for your
post on women.
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