The Woman Question: Reply to Melvin

MARIPOWER716 at aol.com MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Thu Apr 25 13:00:18 MDT 2002



>>I have been working very closely with a union here that is predominantly
>Black and predominantly women, UE 150.  Both in the workplace and at home,
>the experience these women describe is one of class exploitation and sexual
>oppression, often in the same moment.  If anyone were to suggest to them
that they must complete the proletarian revolution in order to then fight
sexual oppression, that suggestion would be met with a very strong and
negative response.  This points to the fundamental flaw in the "line of
march"/"aim the main blow" concept of organizing.  [This linear style of
thinking is very male, by the way.] We will not win these women workers to
socialist consciousness by persuading them of the logic of a detached
schema.  They are won over to that consciousness a victory at a time, when
those victories are a result of fighting, for example, sexual harassment by
bosses [and other workers!] in the workplace, and when those struggles do
three things; win concrete improvements in their lives, give them a sense of
their own power through the development of their leadership, and alter the
relations of power. People learn IN the struggle.  The so-called "woman
question" (and we need to ask why there is no "man question") will not wait
for the proletarian revolution, even though we know that alienation and
exploitation of ALL workers is ultimately resolvable only through that
crucible, because women themselves are conscious right now of sexual
oppression, and once conscious, will not be told to wait.  If a man and a
woman are both walking to a meeting of their local Marxist organization in
>the evening, that man is preoccupied with the meeting, while that woman must
>be preoccupied with the more immediate fear that she might be sexually
>assaulted, an issue that men do not have to deal with except perhaps in
>>prison.


Workers of course are won to the cause of communism based on a class program
put forward by communist. It is axiomatic to me that "a slave that doesn't
pick up a weapon and learn to fight deserves to be a slave" - according to
Lenin, and I embrace this point of view.

The article that was written was a reply (note the word "reply") to an
article on women without any concepts that women are proletarian in the main
in America. Hence my reply spoke of the class component of labor in the Women
Question, without quotes. I tend to be very careful and only speak of the
"final resolution" or "resolution" which is bound up with the question of
value. Aren't all questions of the proletarian social revolution bond up with
value or the status of labor?  I present the minimum entry into the science
of Marx.

You state:

"The so-called "woman question" (and we need to ask why there is no "man
question"),

which is just being silly and ironic - which is valid given our national
sense of humor. Perhaps there should be a "Man's Question" but that is not
the formulation of the Marxist movement. Prove your thesis and earn your note
in History. I am black and there is an African American Question but not a
"white peoples question," although the bourgeois nationalists who are steeped
in racial theory insist that in fact there is a "White Peoples Question,"
that is more fundamental than class relationships and the Marxist conception
of a mode of production. The African American question and the issue of
violence and murder have never "waited" for anyone. Please state the
formulation I made that implies that anyone must wait for justice.  Fight or
die, as a slave is elementary. This way you shape the resolution.

Do you deny that it is proper to formulate the question confronting women in
history as the "Women Question" is incorrect?"  This of course is a yes or no
question. The reason Marxism do not formulate a "Man's Question" is bound up
with the ruler-ship of a class, state power as a historical formation and
militarism - and of course the initial division of labor in society that
subjugated women. Men are divided into sociological categories called class
and so are women. What makes the Women Question - which you put in quotes, as
if it did not really exist, a peculiar phenomenon is the origins of the
division of labor in human society and the subsequent role of property and
inheritance of property and wealth.

You state that: "If a man and a woman are both walking to a meeting of their
local Marxist organization in
the evening, that man is preoccupied with the meeting, while that woman must
be preoccupied with the more immediate fear that she might be sexually
assaulted, an issue that men do not have to deal with except perhaps in
prison."

I have written nothing that denies this common knowledge. I am familiar with
rape and assault, it is carved into my face and I confront my face everyday
of my life. This is of course the reason that amongst my children of five, I
tell my daughters at an early age - all four of them, the dangers of
barbarism - not sexism, racism or other "isms." You are free to explain
barbarism o any basis you choose. The name of this intellectual exchange is
Marxline and I opt to explain things within the context of the historical
Marxist movement and the science of society.

My daughters are age 28, 23, 21 and 19. My son is age 29. Two of my daughters
in all probability have a reasonably good chance of leading the working class
movement - not the trade union movement, and they happen to be black. I have
not yet won them over to Marxist and the overthrow of the social power of
capital. The eldest daughter is struggling with two children, while the
second went to college and has a decent job and lives with her grandmother or
rather rents her housing from grandmother. The third is attending college and
the forth is unfortunately at home. I wish she would leave and kick myself in
the behind for spoiling her.

What is your rub?

Melvin P.


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