The Woman Question: Reply to Melvin

Fri Apr 26 23:10:51 MDT 2002

"The so-called "woman question" (and we need to ask why there is no "man
> question"),
> which is just being silly and ironic -

No, it wasn't meant to be ironic at all.  I am genuinely disturbed that in
2002, Marxists have not arrived at a point where the struggle against gender
oppression is axiomatic.

> Perhaps there should be a "Man's Question" but that is not
> the formulation of the Marxist movement.

My point about "man question" is that the point of view, the axiomatic point
of view is that of the male.  The male is the subject, and the female is a
question.  Language and consciousness exist in a very tight dialectical

> Do you deny that it is proper to formulate the question confronting women
> history as the "Women Question" is incorrect?"  This of course is a yes or
> question.

I refuse to take the bait of a correct-incorrect dichotomy.  I think the
"formulation" as "woman question" points to a serious inadequacy within
Marxism that needs to be correct-ed... that is, the reduction of a very
complex set of issues related to gender and exploitation/oppression to a
sideshow called, the Woman Question (capitalized).

>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
> Marxline and I opt to explain things within the context of the historical
> Marxist movement and the science of society.

This really seems like yet another reduction.  Barbarism.  That's what it
is.  That explains it.  So there!  Does fascism qualify as an acceptable
ism?  Or is it subsumed under barbarism?  How are we to understand gender
oppression, including rape, battering, etc, without a science of society?  I
lurk and sometimes post flurries on this list, because it is my
understanding that we are exploring the past and present of Marxism to gain
some clarity on what is required to refound a revolutionary wokring class
movement, and --I hope--party.

> My daughters are age 28, 23, 21 and 19. My son is age 29. Two of my
> in all probability have a reasonably good chance of leading the working
> movement - not the trade union movement, and they happen to be black. I
> 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
> rather rents her housing from grandmother. The third is attending college
> the forth is unfortunately at home. I wish she would leave and kick myself
> the behind for spoiling her.

Don't know if I have a rub, but I actually welcome these biographical notes
on this list.  I like knowing whom I am talking with.  My oldest daughter is
25, living in Arkansas, and now apparently majoring in Bad Men.  My eldest
son is 18; no longer living here, and against all my efforts, is about to
enlist in the Army.  Next daughter is 17, and recovering from a bout with
strep throat.  Youngest son is 15, 6 feet and 200 pounds, and not
surprisingly, plays football.  Eldest daughter is Jewish, and three youngest
are racially mixed, identify Black, and very Afro-centric.  None political,
but all profoundly astonished when the murderers of Amadou Diallo were
exonerated.  I myself am retired from the Army, doing construction and other
day labor right now in a period of unemployment, but about to go back to
Haiti in 3 weeks in an attempt to get a fella to shoot a documentary from a
script I've written.  Also very active with a network here that is
challenging the local university over its treatment of Black students and
>workers.  My spouse is an office manager with the Mental Health Association.
>I'll be 51 this year.

>Got no secrets, and assume the FBI knows when I wipe my behind.  (Hi guys!
>Go home to your families and get a life!)

>Anyhow, best to you.  Let's continue to struggle with this.


I owe you an apology.

The struggle I was birthed in and developed my political outlook was
extremely intense, but at that time I did not have a measure for intensity.
The Negro - African American petty bourgeoisie and tiny bourgeoisie, had
dominated the movement. The destruction of the political middle - the petty
bourgeois leader, (not the class is a historical act) was the political
condition where many of us confronted the state power as proletarians. At the
time I did not know what was taking place and had no knowledge that I was
part of a historically evolved social process. I thought I was a "black
mutherfucker" that said just said, "Fuck it!"

The debate about race is first of all directed at defeating and forever
suppressing - on the theoretical level, the African American petty
bourgeoisie. I am not a man to play the "race card" and understand what the
political middle advocated and did.  I understand the political middle from
the standpoint of its collapse . . . it wasn't there. I will not concede not
one molecule to them -the petty bourgeoisie African American middle, because
it means my destruction. From my standpoint and reality it is not a question
of theory but of life - class.

I do not question ones morality. Don't throw Lou in the skillet off of the
last period in our history. I have 15K owed to me off of child support
payments owed to me, but that shit is to emotional to keep going to court
about. It just breaks you down.
Keep the status of labor as a commodity under your belt and we can get
through this.

Stan, my second wife was an Editor for the Guardian under Jack Smith. Jack is
like brilliant.  I save his articles. I want to call Jack something but he
defined another level of propaganda and proletarian assertion.  Yea, under
our conditions.

I read what you said and got hurt your. . . your babies . . . . . . man.

My entire propagandist task is to do proletarian revolution.

Melvin P,.

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