Lenin, sex and marriage

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Wed Feb 13 08:48:35 MST 2002

Point taken about other skeletons, but here they're not the issue, nor are
we playing tit for tat. What should come first is not what Lenin, but the
women, considered a "burning question."
> And for most working class women, it is still true that sexuality and
> marriage and the family is not the first concern. Those things can only
> become the chief concern for women who have already solved the problems of
> making ends meet.
Oh, is that right? In a college course or a book on political theory that
might be true. One sort of like those "Socialist Realist" posters glorifying
the Soviet workers state painted in the 30s. What about the12 of the 18
young women of color, all working class, in a h.s. class on women's issues,
taught by a colleague at Satellite Academy H.S. in the Bronx, who's first
"sexual" experience had been sexual abuse and rape?  Their experience is
representative and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, sexuality can
come first, and I don't think we can judge that decision. An FMLN activist
here in New York, who had spent years in the mountains in El Salvador, was a
wife beater. My ex, who worked with a domestic violence program at the time
AND still considered herself a Sandinista, counseled his wife and shouted
him out at a meeting of a Salvadoran committee here in New York. Yes, issues
of sexuality and marriage and family can come first. And finally, perhaps
you've read Brecht's poem "Mary the Infanticide," I believe it is called? An
account of the anguish of a young working class woman who kills the baby she
cannot care for. I would flip your formulation on its head and say that
working class women have to deal with issues of family and sexuality and
marriage before or as part of their struggle to make ends meet. The personal
is political.

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