The Woman Question: Reply Part 2 end

Sat Apr 20 13:22:35 MDT 2002

Part 2

> > The working class movement in our country cannot be united - its forward
> moving section, on the basis of "not fighting women," "sensitivity to these
> phenomenon" - "heterosexism or sexism," supporting the oppressed people,
> handicap, the senior citizens, small children, not so small children, the
> liberation movement - what ever that means and however one defines it, or

> anything else except a class program of economic survival.
> I wholeheartedly agree with you on the first part.
> Sensitivity is not a political demand; it is a matter of
> aesthetics. While I certainly support demands that pillars
> of the community project a politically correct image, in
> the sense of not using offensive language, I think we can
> all agree that it would be counterproductive and elitist to
> demand that every guy on the factory floor take a
> sensitivity training course before being allowed to
> participate in union activity.
> On the other hand, it's vitally important to conduct
> educational campaigns showing that bigotry divides the
> class, allowing the boss to pay some people less than
> others and bring down the wages of all. I have marched on
> picket line with guys I don't like, because the revolution
> is not a Mutual Admiration Society. Justice for all means
> everyone, not just my buddies. The revolution is not a
> touch-feely consciousness raising session.
> All of these identity politics ideologies play a part in
> the overall ideology by which the bourgeoisie tries to
> convince us to accept our lot in life.  But we are not
> fighting an ideology as such, we are fighting a class. It is not a
> numbers game: I'm 50% more oppressed than you are, etc. It
> is a matter of different people being oppressed in
> different ways, while at the same time being oppressed as a
> class.

Educational's are a primary means of winning members of the class to the
ideas of a society of associated producers, where the distribution of the
social products - the main means of life sustenance, is no longer distributed
on the basis of ones labor contribution.

> The section on identity politics at the Marxist Internet
> Archive points out the fact that such politics have a
> parochial and inward-turning effect on the communities
> which cling to them. This has the effect of isolating
> various class sectors from each other, thus weakening the
> class over all.
> I would like to add that the ideology has a paradoxically
> hegemonizing effect. This is because the ideology itself
> crosses class lines. Just as black yuppies face police
> harassment equally with ghetto youth, so too do bourgeois
> women face mysogeny in their day to day lives. But they are
> also subject to other social forces that keep them tied to
> their own class interests. The suffragettes who voted for
> war in 1914 are a classic example.

Black yuppies do not equally face the same harassment and police violence
characteristic of youth in the old industrial central cities. It is true that
ideology by definition crosses class lines. Southfield City (higher strata of
the working class - black yuppies) has a huge black population becoming the
majority, recently elected its first black and women mayor. Southfield
basically borders Detroit, which is overwhelmingly black and upper to lowest
sectors of the working class. The police violence is markedly different in
these two areas. Actually, the police violence in Detroit is concentrated in
the lower sector of the working class as opposed to the middle strata areas.
Detroit has unbelievably beautiful mansions and homes that if located in
other areas of the country would easily fetch $1.5 - $3 million dollars.

The black yuppie is subjected to a greater level of threat of police violence
than his Anglo counterpart not a level comparable with the youth of the lower
sector of the proletariat. Why is this so? The petty bourgeois ideologist
says the legacy or impact of racism. The Marxist says this is an ideological
lie. The reason consist in the universal laws that govern the treatment of
all citizens in imperial areas that can be identified as coming from an area
colonized by their imperialist. The lot of the Korean yuppie in Japan mirrors
the social position of the black yuppies, once they are identified as former
colonials. This is a profound class question.

At times in have been known to be "passing."  "Passing" refers to African
American's Anglo enough to pass for Anglo, but have an African American
parent. I cannot pass for Anglo but can pass for a black yuppie. The class
stratification is real. Interestingly, black police officers know after a
brief conversation if you are passing or the real thing in the main.

> > The idea that their is no class standpoint to the women question is
> unacceptable to communist. Are you suggesting that the women of the
> bourgeoisie lack "on rights" as a class? As a class their money
> gets them what they want.
> We are just barely moving out of the era in which women
> were the chattel property of husbands, who owned the income
> and person of wives and children. Dependants could be
> dumped on the street with no survival skills, merely on
> patriarchal whim. Even today, a divorced woman's living
> standard is likely to fall by 70% while her husband's rises
> by as much as 25%. Survival becomes extremely precarious,
> particularly when children are involved - which is often
> the case because fathers usually don't want to be stuck
> with the kids.

The reason this happens because women are fundamentally proletarian in their
social circumstances. Now, Lenin once said, "a slave that doesn't get
themselves a weapon and learn to fight deserves to be a slave."  The fight is
over property relations in its fundamental and resolvable character. My
standpoint is from that of the proletariat in general and the lower sector in
particular. I am aware of the lower sector.

> As long as women are confined to the pink collar ghetto,
> home making will appear to be a more satisfying choice; as
> long as women think they have an escape in home making,
> they will accept lower wages in a job they see as
> temporary, and will therefore always be available as a pool
> of cheap labour dragging down everybody's living standards.
> As long as men can be saddled with dependants, women will
> be regarded as "the old ball and chain".
> "A married man with a family will do anything for money."
> Charles de Talleyrand
> > Class does in fact trump everything else.
> This is the formulation with which I have a quibble. It's
> not a matter of trumping; it's a matter of the specific
> gravity of the proletariat as a social element. The
> proletariat is the class that makes things happen, they are
> the creative class. Today's entrepreneurial class likes to
> imagine itself to be creative: they take courses in how to
> visualize goals. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to figure
> out how to make these dreams come true.

The question was framed class trumps everything else. The issue that women of
the lower sector of the proletariat face is how to pay my bills now that that
crummy man of mine has run off with some 18 year old girl - make that 23
years old, and I am stuck with the babies. Or how can I take care of family
and myself. All the other issues never go away. Men with children should pay
child support. But the state should provide for all our children needs and it
is the capitalist and their politicians that prevent this from happening. The
problem is the status of labor as a commodity. Communist must begin the
propaganda campaign, which was not possible in the last period. Society is
slowly being polarized into two more or less hostile classes and it ain't men
and women - and it is not going to get better.

> I like to put it this way: some NASA technician once said
> "Any fool can say take me to the moon. It takes a
> technician to get you there."
> The Comrade Who is Still Persona Non Grata.

The communist must understand the class configuration in affect and hammer
out a program that can unite the forward moving section of the working class
in its current struggle. It takes a class-conscious proletariat with a class
line of march that unites first the communist on the basis of the program of
the working class, which is victory to the workers in its current struggles.
An organization is needed that can raise the class question of material
survival on the national level and make full use of the electoral arena.


Melvin P

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