[Marxism] Ronald Reagan's death

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Sun Jun 6 10:17:39 MDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, June 06, 2004 5:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Ronald Reagan's death
> Ian Pace wrote:
> >
> > Totally agree, but it does make me think of what's rather a difficult
> > that I've wrestled with frequently: isn't is possible that the
> > 'personalisation' of political debate, including on the left, owes
> > to some strands of feminist thinking?  I would very much like to think
> > but I fear it is the case.
> >
> This suggestion is based on a bad play on words. Feminism introduced the
> slogan "the personal is the political" (or something like that), and
> that slogan in some of its senses needs to be criticized -- but that
> slogan had _nothing_, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to do with "personalizing"
> politics in the sense of focusing on particular persons.

I'm not at all referring to the 'personal is the political' issue (which i'd
totally agree with, and means something else entirely), just to what I
perceive as a general tendency in bourgeois feminist discourse.  Can't
'prove' that, of course, just sense it strongly all around; populist
feminist discourse is shot through with narrow bourgeois individualism.
> The Achilles heel of marxism for 100 years has been the idiocy of not
> recognizing the centrality of the "woman question," and such foolishness
> as this perpetuates the silliness.
It has indeed been an Achilles heel for a lot of Marxists (perhaps not all,
could certainly be argued that Lenin hardly ignored it), but the "woman
question" exists in addition to class (and of course issues of gender can't
be reduced solely to class), not in opposition to it.

I gather (from a friend who knew him well) that Tony Cliff raised the
question of what are the common interests of a woman living in a mansion and
the Filipino female illegal immigrant she pays a pittance to clean her
toilet. To see the "woman question" as being above class makes this an
non-issue, which I can't imagine any Marxists, male or female, would want.
And how about if it were a male cleaning the toilet for a pittance?


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