Peter Singer & the "Quality of Life" Ethic (was Re: Replying toMarta...)

Marta Russell ap888 at
Sat Dec 9 17:32:20 MST 2000

Marx' original focus on suicide is located in gender issues, the
suicides of bourgeois women, most of them living under severe
familial constraints (The Holy Family). He attacks the exiting
form of the family saying that it must be "destroyed in theory
and practice."  Later he published a critique on Jacques Peuchet
(1845) which explored the economic and social dimensions of
suicide.  He says that it is not only the workers but the whole
of bourgeois society that suffers under dehumanized social
relations. He sees suicide as the result of a "deficient
organization" of society.

Precisely why we should be fighting to see that people get what
they need by changing the current state of affairs rather than
focusing on speeding up their exit from the world.

I have found it interesting that by far the majority of Hemlock
society members are white, well-off, and well.


Macdonald Stainsby wrote:
> > Has anyone read Marx's thoughts on suicides?
> >
> > Yoshie
> It's been awhile, but if I recall it was around the same dynamic as that of
> and religion- that it can be used as an escape from the pain inflicted by the
> system. In the light of what *causes* it, it is the bourgeoisie who effectively
>would be
> the murderers of workers who opt out. This is all sketchy memory here:
> The writings on suicide that I have found both the most stimulating and inspiring
> easily those of Huey P Newton's  _Revolutionary Suicide_. The idea being that the
> is forcing the most oppressed into a suicidal situation and one has a choice to make.
> One can commit reactionary suicide- i.e. one takes their own life through the use of
> different drugs and/or many of the other avenues (like wrist slitting, etc.),or one
> accept that as soon as you are a sufficient threat to the current state structure you
> will be eliminated. Becoming a full-blown revolutionary is a suicidal act in that you
> will, almost certainly, upon achieving successes in your field, die.
> It leaves one with some intersting options. At least it gives some very valuable food
> for thought to what I would hope to do if diagnosed with a short term terminal
> (aside from capitalism itself).
> Macdonald

Marta Russell
author, Los Angeles, CA
Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract

More information about the Marxism mailing list