Gender, Race and Class - Belated reply/Reply

ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Sun Dec 30 22:51:03 MST 2001



On Thu, 27 Dec 2001 JOEFREEMEN at aol.com wrote:

> I concur with the analysis put forth. Specifically, "identity politics" is
> more accurate, since "sector logic" contradicts the meaning of sector. I have
> some misgiving about the piece on gender and would like to withdraw it and
> chalk it up to too much eggnog. The analysis on the differentiation of roles
> based on the composition of foodstuff and its labor intensity is really good.

Thank you. It's not entirely my idea, though. It's been part of my
understanding of the way gender roles relate to Engel's general discussion
of the transition from tribe to patriarchy/class society for over 30
years.

I thought your term "sector politics" was quite in keeping with your crisp
analysis of sector, which is a term I haven't encountered before. Since
our moderator has designated this to be a theoretical forum, and not a
propaganda forum, your approach was quite appropriate. I have a fondness
for peppering my explanations with anecdotal illustration. My use of the
term "identiy politics" reflects my concern with the parochialism that
results when the politics of these sectors emphasize subjective feelings
over structural analysis, and over commonalities with other oppressed
groups.

> The source reference for my understanding of the polarity that exist as
> alkaline and acid is the book "Acid and Alkaline" by Herman Aihara.

I have been interested in the whole foods/alternative medicine movement
since my young years. I have never in 30 years reached the income level
required to sustain a diet that would follow the principles I have been
reading about. Poverty has always resulted in a restricted diet for vast
numbers of people; hence the cabbage diet of Eastern Europe and the potato
diet of Ireland. However, rural people, as I already noted, have
traditionally depended on women to ameliorate this situation with their
kitchen gardens and wild foraging, material resources which don't exist in
the urban environment.

The problems addressed by this movement can also be attributed to factors
already mentioned in this thread: the rationalization of production, the
failure of value, commodification of everything, denigration of women's
role in the domestic sphere, and so on. The tremendous explosion in
production of consumer goods (You Can Live Better Electrically) has
resulted in a diet of prepackaged, denatured foods, and lacking in the
green foods which provide the alkali balance you mention. Much of the
medicinal value of this diet is due to the re-establishment of ph levels.
Since this is a generalized benefit, it should not, in my opinion, be
treated as a panacea. When I lived in the bush, I had access to a wide
range of wild herbs and also maintained a large garden. Often, my tonic of
choice was a thick decoction of nettle tea, rich in iron, silica, and
phosphorous, which worked wonders, but is not for everyone. Herbal
remedies involve a great deal of bio-individuality and their use is an
art, not a science.

Anthony was previously mentioning our omnivorous nature as being a factor
in our evolutionary advantage. Big game hunting is almost nowhere a
mainstay of the human diet. Big game hunting is usually irregular,
requires a great deal of patient tracking, and provides an overabundance
of meat that is difficult to store. The bulk of the human diet was
normally supplied by foraging, by snaring small game when they strayed too
close to the foragers (male and female) - and, at an earlier stage, by
scavenging scraps left by larger predators. Richard Leakey has suggested
that this is where the dog/human bond was formed: in meeting together over
a shared marrow bone, left over by lions.

The only people I know of who subsist entirely on a meat diet are the
arctic-dwellers who have no access to vegetation. But meat alone cannot
supply all needed nutrients, especially the minerals. How did
arctic-dwellers supply a balanced diet without vegetation? By using the
stomach contents of the sea animals, and by a process of fermentation
similar to that used in the famous English product, aged beef, which in
turn is a process similar to that used by canids when they bury meat for
later consumption. This is an anaerobic process which produces healthfull
bacteria similar to that found in yoghurt, a by-product of which is the
production of minerals and vitamins missing in meat. This, btw, is why
carnivores will consume the stomache of a herbivore before eating the rest
of the meat.

The coastal tribes previously mentioned seem to have had a fairly rigid
division of labour, unlike the more flexible ones found in more
egalitarian tribes. It was not uncommon for non-nursing, able-bodied women
in these types of society to participate in male-dominated activities of
hunting and war, or for some men to prefer the female-dominated
activities. The coastal tribes, however, had developed a caste society,
with the lowest caste being slaves, mostly women captured in slave raids
on the neighbours. The lower castes aligned themselves with specific clans
of the upper caste, living in longhouses established by these clans under
their leadership. Only the upper caste clans maintained their kinship
affiliations with the larger tribe.

Here we see the embryonic form of the patriarchal family we are accustomed
to seeing in early Greek society, and which is eulogized in those endless,
boring passages in the Bhagavad Ghita extoling, as the highest expression
of religious virtue, the observance of familial duty.

> My point is that theory is an abstraction of the results of centuries of
> "practice." Identity politics articulate the pains and suffering of section
> of society.

Yes, indeed. But, we must never forget that not every sigh of the
oppressed has revolutionary implications.

> Biology is exceptionally important as a front of the social revolution,
> because capital won't cure us of the common cold.

Yes, if you're talking about diet. No, if you're talking about biology as
a determinant of gender roles.

> Dad exist in another category because of the way he was kicking mom's
ass and everyone else.>

The patriarchy destroys both men and women. My favourite way to illustrate
this is by recommending that people watch Richard Harris's wonderfull
portrayal of the (ultimately) self-destructive patriarch in "The Field".
Having said that, I think it will be a cold day in hell before I
sympathize with my father, the fascist.

> "With hat in my muthedrfuding hand"

Please, I'm allergic to abject apologies.

Joan Cameron


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