Homosexuality and surplus value

Lou Paulsen wwchi at SPAMenteract.com
Sun Dec 3 10:24:40 MST 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at osu.edu>

>>>While I agree that Nancy Fraser & Judith Butler are a reformist
>>>dialectical twin to be avoided, you are mistaken if you think that
>>>persecution of gay people should be understood as "the persistence of
>>>precapitalist social relations in the capitalist system."

>>[Lou Proyect:]

>>Sorry if I didn't make clear that I was referring to societies living
>>the heavy hand of the Church.

>However, one cannot equate "living under the heavy hand of the
>Church" with "pre-capitalist social relations."  Not everyone in the
>world was Christian before the rise of capitalism.
>Even under Christianity, there were great variations in terms of
>treatment of sex.
>If religion (esp. Christianity) & pre-capitalist social relations
>were the causes of the oppression of homosexuals & bisexuals, Japan
>(which has never been Christian or even religious in the Western
>sense for that matter) would not be homophobic & heterosexist today.
>The problem is capitalist modernity.

Hmm.  Yoshie, your argument works only against people who argue that
"pre-capitalist social relations" would have the same effects EVERYWHERE
with regard to creating sexual oppression.  What about someone who would
argue that the particular pre-capitalist social relations in Europe created
forms of sexual oppression , possibly for particular reasons that aren't
basic to the feudal economy, which were NOT reproduced in pre-capitalist
Japan (etc.), but which have survived into the present day and which have
subsequently been spread worldwide through the process of imperialist

If oppression of lesbians, gays, bi- and trans people is to be attributed to
'capitalist modernity', I rather think that you have to attribute it to an
OLD form of 'capitalist modernity', because it seems that what you have had
for the last 50 years in the imperialist countries has been a shift in the
terms of sexual oppression toward a much more bourgeois, much more
market-oriented, much more commodified form.  In unpublished stuff I have
called this a 'bourgeois revolution in the private sphere'.

I grant you that it was the early militant bourgeoisie who were heavily
involved in criminalizing same-sex sexual activity, but I believe that one
aspect of the bourgeois revolution was to press for bourgeois norms of
application of prohibitions which however were of pre-capitalist origin.

Lou Paulsen

More information about the Marxism mailing list