[Marxism] Re: Women's Rights

Stacey Barber emusis at adelphia.net
Mon Apr 26 08:20:54 MDT 2004


> Message: 7
> Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 01:56:44 EDT
> From: Waistline2 at aol.com
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Women's rights
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: <30.54d598be.2dbdfe9c at aol.com>
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>
> (The below is a rewritten personal correspondence to Comrade DMS.)
>
> Comment
>
>
> What comrade ********** has written is tragic because he places his
> ideological conceptions within the Marxist tradition. Jenny has written
that birth
> rates drives underdevelopment and are used by the bourgeoisie to drive the
cost -
> value of labor power and its price - down. That is the more people there
are,
> the more the bourgeoisie can drive down the value of labor power is her
logic.
>
> This is pure Malthus.
>
> Under development is of course "under" or below, something. What is being
> compared?
>
> Walter Rodney popularized the term "underdevelopment" roughly 30 years ago
in
> his "How Europe Under Developed Africa." Even here, Mr. Rodney is looking
at
> economic - the bourgeois property relation, development based on the
imperial
> relationship.
>
> Jenny apparently views women as a class and I do not object to deploying a
> concept of women as a class in relationship to bourgeois property. My
starting
> point however is that the proletariat is female as opposed to a concept
that
> views the existence of women as a category and the proletariat as a
category,
> that happen to intermingle.
>
> How people fight out social questions depends on a complex of factors, we
> subject to the lens of Marx. We are not talking about woman as she existed
> one-hundred years ago or 50 years ago for that matter.
>
> That is to say what drives the value of labor power down, keeping in mind
> that the real proletariat in America and most of the world is female, is
not
> child bearing, but everything Marx writes about in Capital and his
Theories of
> Surplus Value or "The Law of The Tendency for the Rate of Profit to fall."
>
> We have discussed this endlessly on Marxmail as the "organic composition
of
> capital." (Here I remember Comrade ********* difficulty in understanding
the
> meaning of the word "organic composition" - which of course is no crime. I
also
> recall the endless data DMS has provided outlining the actual working of
the
> law of value, the fall in the value of labor power and its price).
>
> What has driven real wages down in America for the past 30 years of our
lives
> is not child bearing or the "over production" of people. I of course
believe
> the concept of "the carrying capacity of the earth" is dangerous stuff,
> because the amount of people on earth has to be understood in the context
of the
> metabolic process of the earth and how Marx described the production of
"needs."
>
> Even here Jenny speaks of "overproduction of people" as a question of
pain -
> biological pain of women in the birthing process, or physical endurance.
The
> tale Comrade Jenny weaves is that child bearing is directly connected to
under
> development of . . . . . viola! . . . .women or the proletariat (because
the
> proletariat is female in the first place).
>
> There of course is nothing wrong with a "Women Centric" point of view if
the
> proletariat is in fact female. However, a Marxist standpoint is required
to
> understand the law of value - and not feminist ideology, which is not
> necessarily "Women Centric." It gets tricky because feminist ideology
locates women very
> real struggle with men as the essence of the property question as
> reproduction of material values and the creation and production of unique
needs.
>
> Here is what she states point blank:
>
> "The analogy is that women are forced to produce more children than they
> would otherwise have to keep the price of labor DOWN."
>
> I understand her meaning or rather ideology. I would most certainly work
with
> her concerning reproduction rights and any political rights of our class.
>
> Nevertheless, DMS has grasped the issues at their root.
>
> Now the title of this thread is false (The Working Class Is Men). The
working
> class is not all men. I emphatically state that the working class is
female
> and all we have to do is count all the proletarians and ask them to take
off
> their clothes and viola! . . . . most of they have a vagina. The problem
is that
> women have political rights as women and proletarian and are not going to
> take their clothes off for inspection.
>
> It time to go to school . . . Marxism 101 or the lens of Marx.
>
> The first stages of the Women's Movement began years and years ago, with
the
> bourgeois women fighting to inherit their husbands wealth, rather than
having
> it go to the first born son or a male relative. They fought for things
like
> the right to dispense and disperse the family wealth and to go into
business.
> Now, this did not have anything to do with the slave women, or the women
living
> in shanty town and working for fifty cents. Nor did this have anything to
do
> with the women of the working class Engels describes in his monumental
> "Conditions of the Working Class in England."
>
> In other words the Women's Movement was not really a Women's Movement at
that
> time or at that stage of its evolution. It was not a movement of women as
a
> class. It was a struggle to quantify the equality within the upper class.
>
> Today we are dealing with a vastly different Women's Movement than in the
> post WWII era or even the 1960s or 1970s. It is a mistake to combine
reproduction
> rights with the question of over population as the bourgeois sector of the
> Women's Movement did in the past. The point I am trying to get to is that
the
> struggle of women as a class can only emerge when the means of production
> develops that allows them to behave as a class or proletarians drive by
their
> majority, which is going to be female.
>
> This stage of the social struggle is very different from what we faced
even
> fifteen years ago.
>
> Reproduction rights are extremely important. The fact of the matter is
that
> Women are going to be liberated on the same basis that everyone and anyone
else
> is liberated. They get kicked out of their social position. When the
> sharecropper got kicked off the plantation that was his liberation. When
the serf got
> kicked out of his social position in a system of landed property and
entered
> the cities - become part of the world of proletarians, that was his
liberation.
>
> The proletariat, which is female - (take off their freaking clothes for
> Christ sake and look at them . . . those girls not boys), is being kicked
out of
> its position in the system of bourgeois production. This is the result of
the
> revolution in technology. A huge section of the proletariat can no longer
sell
> its labor power in a manner to enter the world of commodity exchange and
> reproduce itself as proletariat. This growing section of proletarians on a
planetary
> scale are not lumpen proletarians but goddamn women that cannot find work.
>
> Here is the "new class" or the "communist class" as it is slowing evolving
in
> real time. This "communist class" only seems to be largely black in
America -
> which it is . . . but it is really more female, in its fundamentality.
>
> Who amongst us is willing to call these Women goddamn "lumpen
proletarians."
> Comrades are not simply looking at things wrong but have not grasped the
logic
> of the new era. New features of the social movement always take time to
catch
> up with.
>
> Marxists are not required to accept feminists ideological concepts of
another
> generation or bourgeois (black) nationalist ideology.
>
> Now the issue of political rights - reproduction rights, only seem very
> important to the Women's Movement, when in reality it is more important to
the
> proletariat because the proletariat is female, especially its lowest and
most
> poverty stricken sector. These are not impoverished "women" in their
> fundamentality but proletarians or proletarians that are women. These are
not women of
> another period of history when their "unpaid labor" was an appendage to
the wages
> the bourgeoisie paid the men. The men could not work if the women did not
do
> the back breaking 18 hours of work while the fellows ran to the tavern.
Women
> have a real "beef' with their historical treatment you and I have never
denied.
>
> Yet we have to subject all of this to the lens of Marx and the property
> question . . . and the distinct cycles of bourgeois reproduction, that
mark it a
> distinct system of social production.
>
> The new alignment of social forces and new features of the social struggle
is
> presenting a complex of issues to the Women's Movement especially
concerning
> abortion, not simply reproduction rights.
>
> I shall get in trouble for making this political separation.
>
> This new feature of the social force that is the modern proletariat and
> female seems to be demanding the right to bear children and have them
cared for
> regardless of what the bourgeoisie or our generation thinks. At this stage
it
> appears as if they are conservative and do not understand the epic
abortion
> rights fight but perhaps they are saying "fuck abortion rights . . . fuck
that shit
> of the last generations . . . I am going to do what the fuck I please and
my
> fucking children are going to be cared for or the way society is set up is
> going to be overthrown."
>
> Some complex directions are emerging, but the working class has never
fought
> in just one direction.
>
> I cannot say for sure because we are only at the second stage of this new
> social process - and of course I am not a women. (A person might not know
if they
> are Gay, but one know when they are not a women . . . I need to stop being
> silly).
>
> One knows they are at the second stage of a new social process when it
> becomes visible. No one can see the transition because the human eye
cannot see
> emergence but only that, which has emerged. I am not sure but the women
under 30
> years old are giving us the blues and it might take a little longer to
figure
> out their direction.
>
> Women will be liberated the same way anyone else is liberated. The process
of
> her breaking her dependency from men has been a monumental and historic
> battle. The development of the means of production that in turn
revolutionized
> house hold work . . . like the washing machine, gave women more time . . .
and she
> basically . . . from my point of view said, "Man fuck you I am getting a
job
> and not taking your bullshit. You out with the fellows again and I stuck
doing
> the shit work. Go to Hell  . . . mutherfucker."
>
> Then she became proletarian and like the sharecropper could only enter
this
> class at the bottom. Then the fight against the glass ceiling exploded led
> increasing by proletarian women.
>
> Jenny might do well to reread Marx, as we adjust to a new period in
history.
> The ideology of the past will no longer suffice.
>
> The Communist Class has arisen . . . and guess what fellows . . . Its a
> lovely girl.
>
> Victory to the Proletariat.
>
>
> Melvin P.
>
> ------------------------------
>
Hmm.  I'm under 30 and female and try to be Marxist.  Is this comment
supposed to reflect Abbie Hoffman's recent comment not to trust anyone under
thirty?  :)  Do you find the political consciousness of people under 30 to
be so vacuous?  Are people on this list pessimistic about the younger
generation of revolutionaries?  I hope not.

Stacey B.





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