NOW and Marxism

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at eircom.net
Mon Aug 12 10:50:15 MDT 2002


>>"The fundamental premise of the group (that
>>children need both parents)is valid"

On the subject of family make up I agree with Erin when she ridiculed the
above statement and Cris when he said "Children need people who love them".
I work with a national organisation of Lone Parents in Ireland (One Parent
Exchange and Network) with 80+ affiliated Lone Parent Groups and one of our
major pieces of work is campaigning on family diversity. The Irish
Constitution and Irish Law only recognises one specific family type, the
nuclear family and, as a result, other family types are discriminated
against. Chris also mentions that the traditional nuclear family is in
decline in the US well much the same can be said in Ireland and in Britain
almost half of families would be outside the nuclear family.

Parenting is hard work no matter who you are but it can be easier if you
have money, or lets say its harder without money. It can also be easier if
you have a partner to share the parenting (two loving parents). Some of the
people who join lone parents groups  are married or have partners but are
still parenting alone, some by choice but for most its because, in Ireland
childrearing is considered "women's work".

I think its important that Feminists raise issues and their concerns
continuously as I would not assume that all Marxists are feminists (unless
you use the old Scotsman yarn: A man states "all Scotsmen are honest, it is
a Scottish trait. Someone replies that's not true I know a Scotsman who is a
convicted robber. To which the former replies ahh you see no REAL Scotsman
would rob....) Feminists have every right to be skeptical about leftists
commitment to equality and particularly in light of the experiences of women
in actually existing socialist countries. Women in the  USSR were not equal
to their male counterparts.

Many of the socialists/leftists/Marxists I have come across have had
extremely old fashioned ideas and quiet conservative in their outlook.
Attitudes to divorce, abortion etc. can be surprising, maybe this is an
Irish phenomena but I doubt it. In my experience left political activism was
dominated by men; branch meetings were held at times that were more suited
to working men and the meeting after the meeting (the pub) was almost
exclusively male. Little or no efforts were made to facilitate the
participation of women.

I also recall the group I was involved in  the 1980's The Workers Party, set
up a Women's Group affiliated to the local organisation in Finglas.
Initially, I presumed this was a good development but gradually women's
issues were taken off the Branch/Constituency agenda (the few that were ever
on the agenda)  to be left to the Women's Group.

I am not endorsing everything said by Erin but I think its important to hear
these views. IMO in capitalist society it is "logical" for sex to be
considered a commodity. I think it is important for progressives to argue
that people in the "sex industry" particularly prostitutes be afforded
protection and rights. I personally would not consider this to be the
priority for the feminist movement but maybe they are looking at women's
issues and arguing that the women in the "sex industry" are the least
protected and most vulnerable as they operate outside the law?

fraternally
John




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