Gender and Class (jcraven at

nancybrumback at nancybrumback at
Thu Aug 8 17:44:48 MDT 2002

From: "Craven, Jim" <jcraven at>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 19:11:33 -0700

<<In this sense, bogus or reifying analyses may not turn society into
a fetish (whatever that is supposed to mean) but rather does reify various
aspects and dimensions of "society" [even the construct "society" itself]
taking the superficial for the essential in order to hide the essential in
the service of those requiring that the essential be hidden.>>

"Reify" (from encyclopedia of marxism): The transformation of social
relations into an objective existance.

To say that oppression exists on a relative scale in society, from
none at all to the maximum, depending which social group you belong
to, in what kind of society in what location geographically, and
when in historical time this particular oppression exists, is not
to reify oppression -- it is to make it possible to compare the
degrees of oppression in all their particulars. Such an analytical
treatment eliminates the need for the "ranking" of oppression -- this
one is more oppressed than that one etc. -- which is entirely abstract
and simply not applicable to any person living or dead.

<<What exactly is a generic "intellectual"--in Marxist
terms? Actually Marx reserved his most vehement rhetoric and invective
against so-called "intellectuals" of his times.>>

Did Marx consider himself an intellectual? If yes, then he must have
thought that all intellectuals are not the same. If no, then from where
originated the concept of the necessary interrelation between theory (an
intellectual affair) and practise.

<<I see a whole lot of
"radical intellectuals" who "love humanity"--but hate or treat hatefully
people and are themselves rather miserable people.>>

Me too, and I resent these people as well. But I wouldn't call them
intellectuals -- I would call them pompous fools. And there are a lot
of them in the marxist movements. But there are also a lot of the other
kind as well, who make important contributions to our understanding
of revolutions and how they are made.

<<At our institution, we just had removed the president, a woman claiming to
be a feminist, who had all the right slogans and quotes down. Interestingly,
most of the victims of her cunning, opportunistic, megalomaniacal and
predatory behavior were oppressed women and it was generally women who most
loudly celebrated "Karma time" for this individual.>>

Again, anecdotal evidence could be presented from the other side as well,
i.e., good examples of feminists and intellectuals.

By the way -- it hasn't escaped me that neither you nor anyone else has
responded to the really crucial part of my post, having to do with
the relations of class and family, and the question of how the marxist
movement could support the anti-war movement of the 60s (definitely
a cross-class movement) but not the feminist movements of the 60s and
70s. It makes me wonder what actually is behind the refusal to
recognize issues of the family as essential to organizing the working
class. If it isn't the cross-class problem, then what is it? Could it
be simple misogeny and the accompanying male protection of male
territory? I'm not saying that that's what it really is, but if not
this, then what?


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