Avoid Sectarianism & Opportunism (was Re: victimology)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Tue Dec 12 16:31:48 MST 2000


Lou:

>Now that you mention it, it very well could be. It is the first time I've
>seen it since 1997. And I do object to the following sort of thing in the
>article which captured Doug's imagination:
>
>>>Miles from their neighborhoods and with paycheck in hand, they have
>access to urban diversions that their brothers always had but that
>"proper" girls used to be denied: public nightlife, friendship based
>on affinity rather than kin and, most momentously, sex.  According to
>University of Chicago sociologist Leslie Salzinger , who has worked
>on Juerez assembly lines, even girls who still live at home with
>their parents enjoy these pleasures.<<
>
>As I have already stated, I find sociologists and anthropologists an
>untrustworthy lot. My analysis is based on my own experiences in rural
>Nicaragua, testimony I have from Tecnica volunteers who lived with
>villagers including those in northern Nicaragua where Ben Linder was
>murdered, and from reading the words of peasant women, not only Menchu but
>Elvia Alvorado from Honduras who wrote "Do not be afraid, gringo".
>
>My own analysis is that going to strip bars, discos and wearing mini-skirts
>has nothing to do with "liberation". It is instead women finding escape
>from rather meager existence as factory workers. But then again my idea of
>women's liberation was shaped by the mass movement of the 1970s.

The market & wage labor do not & cannot allow human beings to
experience full social emancipation.  However, all Marxists know
this, and Debbie Nathan (who may or may not be a Marxist) does not
argue that young women escaping parental & community control are
"fully liberated," sexually or otherwise, either.  The rest of the
article criticizes the sexualization of Maquila labor, etc., as it is
clear from reading it.

That said, without the emergence & development of capitalism, there
would not have been any _movement_ for women's emancipation, gay &
lesbian liberation, etc.  There would not have been even individuals
who would self-consciously identify themselves as "gay" or "lesbian"
and fight for their rights & freedoms to be "gay" & "lesbian."  To
recognize this fact, as John D'Emilio, Jeffrey Weeks, etc. do, is
_not_ the same as arguing against the abolition of capitalism & the
transition to socialism; nor does it equal "stagism."  Marxists
should recognize contradictory aspects of any new development.  The
destruction of some of the old ways -- parental & community control
of young women -- is just one of such contradictory aspects, and we
have to _make use of it for socialist organizing_.

>In general I have a strong belief that the most deeply felt need of both
>men and women of Mexico and Central America is to grow up and flourish in
>their home villages.

Capitalism & imperialism do not allow them to, and more women than
ever have & will be drawn into wage labor.  We need to organize
wherever the masses find themselves.  Migration may bring new
miseries to migrant workers, whether they end up in Northern Mexico
or the USA, but Marxists do not oppose migration for this reason.
Marxists' job is to do what we can to bring about socialism, not to
foster impossible nostalgia or to lecture women to go back to their
home villages & flourish there.  The masses _cannot_ flourish under
capitalism whether they remain in their hometowns or migrate to big
cities.

Yoshie





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