[Marxism] marxism and patriarchy

James Holstun jamesholstun at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 19 17:13:35 MDT 2010

Ian Pace says, 
This is the most ridiculous thread I've ever read on Marxmail. As if somehow 
women of the world are going to benefit from one Marxmailer after another 
(of either sex) falling over each other to denounce the list, and somehow 
prove their more-anti-misogynistic-than-thou credentials in the process.
I don't think this is what the discussion has been about. It IS probably worthwhile looking at the likely sex of most of the people posting here, or editing or writing in NEW LEFT REVIEW or HISTORICAL MATERIALISM or other left journals and asking why it tends to go at least 5/1 male. That's not a freestanding verdict, but it is something worth talking about. I think it has something to do with patriarchal traditions in the New Left, and even in NEW LEFT REVIEW (see, for instance, Quintin Hoare's stupid response to Juliet Mitchell's  "Women: The Longest Revolution," in NLR 41 or so

I think marxism should take patriarchy more seriously, see it as a crucial constituent of class domination and not an add-on to be considered down the line. And it should bone up a little on the largely forgotten patriarchy/marxism debates of the seventies and eighties. The marxism that does will not simply be juster; it will also have a greater explanatory power. Maria Mies's PATRIARCHY AND ACCUMULATION ON A GLOBAL SCALE is a good place to start or to continue: despite its shaky and biologistic account of the gendered division of labor, and its somewhat idealistic description of a consumerist way out, its analysis of the global gendering of labor, and the process of the post-Fordist "housewifization" of labor is enormously suggestive for all kinds of further work.

It's also interesting to note the way in which "patriarchy" has become a sort of unmentionable--not unlike "capitalism" in that regard. That is, as the saying goes, no accident.

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