A Spiritualist leader of early American Marxism

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMtao.ca
Wed Jan 3 11:41:08 MST 2001



----- Original Message -----
From: Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at osu.edu>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 1:56 AM
Subject: Re: A Spiritualist leader of early American Marxism


> >Victoria Woodhull was unquestionably the biggest irritant, since she
> >defended all these deviations while at the same time she spoke out
> >forcefully for free love, the biggest deviation imaginable in the Victorian
> >age:
> >
> >"The sexual relation, must be rescued from this insidious form of slavery.
> >Women must rise from their position as ministers to the passions of men to
> >be their equals. Their entire system of education must be changed. They
> >must be trained to be like men, permanent and independent individualities,
> >and not their mere appendages or adjuncts, with them forming but one member
> >of society. They must be the companions of men from choice, never from
> >necessity."
>
> A doctrine that is still an anathema to the majority of the religious
> people in the world....
>
> Yoshie

Agreed. I have been truly annoyed at how it seems 99% of those on the list equate
"spirituality- mono theistic god", but the overwhelming majority of religions today
serve two over-riding purposes: the continuing subjugation of women and the
subjugation of sexuality into its most basic form of paired-off heterosexuality.
Could modern day religions (and I make a huge distinction here between religion and
spirituality along the lines of what Danielle has put forth) survive without such
patriarchal relations? It seems to me this is among the decisive questions as to
whether or not we struggle against these Churches.

On a seperate note:

Spiritual beliefs used as an organising principle seperate from theatres of power can
allow people to imagine the most progressive aspects they want to- but when these
beliefs become engendered within a hierarchy of political power, there is almost
always an immediate wrenching out of these beliefs all that is positive. Two examples
come to mind, and neither Christian. One is "generic" Buddhism: Many of the
middle-class yuppie kids in North America who actually put themselves on the line and
risk their necks in struggle for different patches of old-growth rainforests will
tell you they are "Buddhists". A lot even call themselves "Rastafarian". Neither of
these religions (and I *am* going to call them that) have particualrly lovely
histories of organizations. As far as Buddhism is concerned, one need only look to
the brutal theocracy under the Dalai Lama in Tibet to see it in organized form, where
all of the most brutal forces of feudal class privelige and patriarchal rule
dominated the landscape. As far as the Rastafarians are concerned, it is indeed
ironic that the actual "leader" Haille Selasse was overthrown in Eithiopia. It is
only where he wasn't the actual commander that he has ammassed a following. I am
reminded of when I came across two men at a local pub who turned out to be from
Eithiopia. I asked them what they thought about Selasse- and they proceeded to look
at me as if I was an idiot and get mildly angry. When it became clear that I didn't
support Selasse either, the retort was "Oh, I thought you were another one of those
Rastafarian racists". We proceeded to knock back a couple of pints for the Cubans and
their help in Africa.

Macdonald






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