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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
The conclusion of the Gender/Sex Wars thread left me a little agitated about what I felt were unfair aspersions cast upon Freddie's commitment to the cause of women's liberation. Flipped idly through The Origins looking for any mention of gender roles, talked with comrades at the Branch Meeting, didn't find much.
Guess I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet and re-read it, which is okay, because La Principessa stalled on it so we can do some hawt commie reading together.
Caveat: While I'm not willing to admit anything about his ideas of gender roles, I fully admit that his division of humanity's stages into "savagery," "barbarism," and "civilization" is totally rooted in 19th-century. Also, of course, the book was just him preparing Marx's notebooks on Lewis Henry Morgan for publication.
Gonna go look for those articles about Eleanor Burke Leacock.
recreationally metabolising mild toxins and waiting for something that required heavy lifting or violence.
I considered, but left out, a tangent about that.
[bubble bubble buble]
Actually, throw in the part about the woman doing most of the work (well, money-making anyway) and it's what I hope my life with La Principessa will be like. Except I'll do all the dishes and shiznit.
[Ramblings about subjects I don't really know much about, but, then again, I gather most of you don't either]
Hmm. Well, I would agree that the comrades from the IMT's statement about the men being hunters and the women being gatherers is a little, I don't know, unfluid? I don't know if Engels would have said exactly that (I'd have to check), but I think they're trying to summarize the findings of mainstream anthropology (or, at least as Prof. LaPorte taught it at UMass.) And, doing so, I admit, they're a little clunky.
What my prof taught us, and I have no idea whether it's true or not, is that in hunter-gatherer societies, women TENDED to take care of the kids more (the men also took care of the kids) and the men TENDED to go hunting more, but that that was pretty much a recreational trip with the boys because most of the time the men just gathered alongside the women which was usually sufficient to meet the h-g's dietary needs. Or so I was taught. As I said, I asked her about her claim that there was no sexual division of labor, and she said "Well, there wasn't much."
The part I bolded up above kinda made me go "hmmmm." Never thought of it that way. IIRC, Engels's famous summation of that was "the world historic defeat of the female sex." I'll have to think about that some more, I guess.
Thanks for the articles, comrade. I'll have to set aside some time to read these fully, but from that first one, it seems like one of the largest obstacles to overcoming class oppression is the lack of intersectional struggle against the ruling class(es).
Yeah, that's a lot of shiznit. Sorry about that. I got a little stoned about an hour ago.
To try to answer your question more succinctly, I hope: Yes, it's absolutely true. The greatest obstacles to smashing capitalism is the racial, sexual, whatever, divisions within the working class and that the only way to smash those divisions is for the working class to struggle against all forms and varieties of oppression.*
Workers of the world, unite!
I just don't think manspreading is one of them.
[EDIT: On re-reading, I probably misunderstood some of your reasoning and made false assumptions about what you meant. I'm gonna leave the post as is, though. Probably only Point 2 is pertinent and that's the one where I say, "beats me."]
So, here I have to confess to a real lack in grounding in anthropology, but:
1) Your quote is not where they trace the origins of women's oppression. As you note, they further state: "However, despite the split in work, women were not viewed as inferior to men and their status was aided by the fact that families were traced through the mother line, since without marriage and fidelity as a social norm it was impossible to be certain of a child’s father." I don't know about gender binary essentialism, or what that is, but, for the record, that's not where they're identifying the source of women's oppression.
2) I only took one anthropology course ever, Intro to Cult Anthro at the Freshman level, with this young professor who was part-time both where I had her at UMass Boston and over at Boston University. She was pretty smart, funny, and decidedly feministic, but not particularly Marxist as far as I could tell. She made repeated efforts to drive home to a bunch of multiracial working class kids and some weirdo 30-year old stoned bearded dude in an airport worker's uniform how little of what "we" (not me, of course) think of as traditional gender roles and traits or whatever was "social," not "natural" (Caveat: I'm sure these weren't her words.)
And when she laid out the part on hunter-gatherers, and what the men did and what the women did, and then said that a trait of hunter-gatherer societies was that there was no sexual division of labor, I pretty much asked the same question that you just asked me. And she basically shrugged her shoulders and said "Well, there wasn't much." I still don't know what that means and, alas, I don't have an answer. But,
3) The comrades at the IMT trace the origin of women's oppression to the advancements in technology that led to the development of slavery and the family. They put it, pretty dully I admit, thusly:
"The creation of surplus saw the beginnings of class society, as it was now possible for some men to sell their surplus for profit, creating distinctions between rich and poor. As some began to amass wealth they also bought slaves and paid other men to work on their land; here we see the first example of worker/landowner.
This process led to women being seen as inferior to men in society, as it was within the work of men that profit was to be found. The creation of surplus also led to the creation of inheritance. The greater status of men meant that families were now traced through the male line, which necessitated the enforcement of female fidelity. Here we see the origins of marriage."
I've always liked this one:
Pertinent bits about three-fourths of the way down, starting with The Family Code of 1926
Kinda skips from the thirties to the nineties. I've gotten the impression, though, after reading about this kinda shiznit for 20 years, that even at its worst (outlawing of abortion, for example), women's rights never dipped below their capitalist contemporaries and, for great periods of time, far exceeded them. I'm sure it varied from Iron Curtain state to Iron Curtain state, but I had gotten the impression that, for example, even bourgeois feminists (well, some, anyway) had to agree that the highest achievements in women's rights that have ever been made on this miserable f!#%ing planet were gained in East Germany.
Here is a fun documentary on the subject that makes me cry. A lot:
Now I am aware that I only addressed one of your paragraphs, so I'd better go re-read the question.
(Work in progress)
I thought that this bit was pretty good:
tionary Russia and the challenges to realizing women’s liberation
The leaders of the Russian Revolution of 1917 had from the beginning made combatting women’s oppression a central aspect of their revolutionary project. During its brief existence, this revolutionary government offered a glimpse of what a genuinely socialist society could offer in creating the material conditions for women to be liberated—but also the challenges that must be faced in making women’s liberation a reality in a post-revolutionary context.
Below I briefly examine the legal achievements and also the limitations of these in achieving genuine equality for women—indicating the degree to which further struggle will be necessary after a socialist revolution to eradicate women’s oppression.
To be sure, the revolutionary government enacted legislation establishing full social and political equality for women: the right to vote and to hold public office, the right to divorce at the request of either partner, the principle of equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave for four months before and after childbirth, and child care at government expense. Abortion—viewed only as a health matter—was made legal in 1920, and women won the right to obtain free abortions in state hospitals. Only those who performed abortions for profit were considered criminals.
In addition, the revolution repealed all laws criminalizing homosexuality along with other laws regulating sexuality.31 Bolshevik Grigorii Btakis described the impact of the October Revolution on sexuality in 1923:
[Soviet legislation] declares the absolute non-interference of the state and society into sexual matters, so long as nobody is injured, and no one’s interests are encroached upon—concerning homosexuality, sodomy, and various other forms of sexual gratification, which are set down in European legislation as offences against morality—Soviet legislation treats these exactly as so-called “natural” intercourse.32
But legal equality, while crucial, did not achieve liberation in everyday life within the family. As Lenin explained in 1919,
Laws alone are not enough, and we are by no means content with mere decrees. In the sphere of legislation, however, we have done everything required of us to put women in a position of equality and we have every right to be proud of it. The position of women in Soviet Russia is now ideal as compared with their position in the most advanced states. We tell ourselves, however, that this, of course, is only the beginning.33
Lenin commonly referred to women’s oppression within the family as “domestic slavery,” and he expressed alarm at its continuation in post-revolutionary Russia. In a 1920 interview with Zetkin, several years after the revolution, Lenin spoke in detail about the obstacles women continued to encounter in their domestic lives. The following quote from Lenin makes clear that Russian Marxists did not expect women’s oppression to automatically disappear after the revolution, but recognized the need for continued struggle:
Very few husbands, not even the proletarians, think of how much they could lighten the burdens and worries of their wives, or relieve them entirely, if they lent a hand in this “women’s work”. But no, that would go against the “privilege and dignity of the husband.” He demands that he have rest and comfort. The domestic life of the woman is a daily sacrifice of self to a thousand insignificant trifles. The ancient rights of her husband, her lord and master, survive unnoticed . . . I know the life of the workers, and not only from books. Our communist work among the masses of women, and our political work in general, involves considerable education among the men. We must root out the old slave-owner’s point of view, both in the Party and among the masses. That is one of our political tasks, a task just as urgently necessary as the formation of a staff composed of comrades, men and women, with thorough theoretical and practical training for Party work among working women.34
Trotsky likewise argued, “To institute the political equality of men and women in the Soviet state was one problem and the simplest . . . But to achieve the actual equality of man and woman within the family is an infinitely more arduous problem.” He concluded, “All our domestic habits must be revolutionized before that can happen. And yet it is quite obvious that unless there is actual equality of husband and wife in the family, in a normal sense as well as in the conditions of life, we cannot speak seriously of their equality in social work or even in politics.”35
The Bolsheviks thus never harbored the illusion that a victorious socialist revolution is all that is required to end women’s oppression. Old customs and attitudes cannot be expected to change overnight, but can only shift over time, as new generations grow up without the ideological baggage perpetuated by oppressive class societies over the course of centuries.
Indeed, it is more appropriate to appreciate the degree to which the Bolsheviks understood that the revolution was not the end, but the beginning of the struggle to win women’s liberation. Most importantly, they understood the centrality of freeing women from the drudgery of “domestic slavery,” however difficult, as the key to their future liberation in all spheres of life.
but the article doesn't talk about the marked blow against women's rights that was represented by the coming to power of Stalinism and was codified in revisions to the family code in, 1936?, I think, but lemme go look for more commie articles.
Sure, Stalinism isn't quite the communism we could hope for (to put it lightly), but it certainly wasn't capitalist. So the question is: was sexism a holdover from the class society of pre-revolutionary Russia that communism failed to stamp out, or is it a fundamentally different (but intersecting) social class issue that needs to be addressed alongside economic inequality?
Short answer: both.
Longer answer, complete with quotations from Lenin and Trotsky, in a second.
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Really? Because Ann Coulter is a prime example of why it's impossible to satire the right without some of them thinking a) you're serious and b) you're not going far enough.
I'd even go so far to say that you could probably make the same joke about any political category you'd care to mention. 'Cept maybe "moderates" or something.
I think it's rooted in class society, but that's just me.
You should read your articles closer, Citizen Fergurg.
"By the way, if a man ever tells you that your snoring bothers him, what he really means is that he is uncomfortable with the idea of women being heard."
I'm not bothered by it at all. If it wakes me up, I just wake her up and then we have sex. 'S all good.
Oddly enough, La Principessa's shrink chalked up our spats to the former's menstrual cycle as well. Well, that and the normal "learning-how-to-talk-to-each-other" process.
She then opined that the biggest problem was that we didn't have the reassurance of make-up sex available to diffuse any accumulating tension.
La Principessa reportedly laughed at this and when the shrink asked why, she replied "That's what [Don Juan] said." To which the shrink replied, "Yeah, well [Don Juan] sounds like he's pretty smart."
I don't know why more people don't listen to me.
Love Among the Ultra-Left Litterateurs
Did some over the phone reading to calm down La Principessa. Marvell, Joe Abercrombie (beginning of Best Served Cold--
Spoiler:--and then The Inferno.
I didn't tell her the characters were siblings as well as lovers
Discovered, to our mutual disappointment, that the legend of Paulo unknowingly wooing Francesca on behalf of his brother Giovanni was invented later and was first set down by Boccaccio.
[Shrugs] As John Ford said, when confronted with reality vs. the legend, print the legend.
Then I went and found that famous Against "Sociobiology" article Stephen Jay Gould signed onto back in the seventies.
I might want to look at that if I decide to actually do any reading about anthropology and evolutionary psychology; I might get distracted.
Back when I was a young goblin militant, you could also get the good Prof. Gould to endorse an anti-fascist demonstration.
[Clenched fist salute]
Was re-reading that article about Sex at Dawn, realized I hadn't been to CounterPunch in a while, found an article by fellow Trots saying not so nice things about our old friend Elizabeth Warren, decided to post it for shiznits and giggles.
Comrade BeeNee wrote:
The problem is that for a male human "sexual needs fulfilled" is almost an oxymoron.
Why just males?
"But the book is worth reading for the scientific research it brings to light, however limited. Bergner begins with a series of scientific experiments led mainly by female biologists, psychologists, and sexologists. Beginning with the work of Meredith Chivers, who attempts to uncover female desire by researching the perceived gap between what women consciously express and what they biologically respond to. Using plethysmographs (an instrument that measures vaginal blood flow) and keypads, women were asked to record their feelings of arousal after being shown images ranging from gay male porn and masturbation to monkey sex. It was simultaneously recorded by the plethysmograph. The result? What women reported being aroused by and the extent of that arousal using the keypad were at complete odds with their actual arousal as measured by the plethysmograph."
I remember reading about some of this research in the Boston Globe years back. It suggests to me, although, again, I only ever took one anthropology course and then did a bunch of recreational reading on the subject, that cave women were probably just as horny.
I don't know if whoever wrote that blurb ever read Demonic males, but from what i recall they or my Animal Behavior professor hardly seemed to support female monogamy as natural. I believe he put it "Marry a republican then sleep with a democrat to diversity their genetic stock portfolio."
It wasn't clearly attributed in the review, but if by "the blurb" you mean the first paragraph, further googling reveals that it is a quote from Bergner. It's out of context, but I'm not sure the blurb is referring at all to Demonic Males.
So Captain Caveman, when his material and sexual needs were met, lived in relatively peaceful, egalitarian, sexually promiscuous bands. And when they weren't, he behaved beastly?
I'm not really sure where we're disagreeing, but then again, I'm not really reading your posts that aren't direct responses to mine.
Brox RedGloves wrote:
I know I shouldn't, but would you care to substantiate that claim?
I'm not really going to dig through the past day or so's posts, but Comrade BeeNee's point about bonobos living in chimp paradise (and I don't really know anything about bonobos except that they use sex as a conflict-avoiding mechanism, which is about the sanest thing I've ever heard) is kind of the point for us socialists who want to stamp out material scarcity.
For women's liberation through socialist revolution!
The other day, La Principessa picked two fights with me. We were trying to make plans for when we were going to see each other next, and I invited her to our next Lowell rally and it ended up being a fight over the unions and the Democrats. "Baby, why are you arguing? I'm just trying to see you again, and you wanna fight about the trade union aristocracy?" She cooed and calmed down, but later, started accusing me of being not ardently communist (be careful what you wish for!) enough about something or other. I won't go into it, but she was starting to get mean. Thankfully, I was in my car and pulling into the driveway of a friend where there is little cellphone service, so we got disconnected.
It took me a bit to get her back on the phone, and, when I did, she said, "There are two things I want to tell you. First, [none of your business]. Second, I just looked at the calendar, and I think I am PMS-ing. I'm sorry I kept picking fights with you, baby."
I never thought I'd hear my socialist-feminist girlfriend chalk up political disagreements to her period!
Nov. 10, 2013:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
I don't know about any of that (could bump the post where I say that sociobiology is out of my expertise), but I have recently learned that women in their thirties are way more sexually insatiable than their male counterparts.
I mean, shiznit, three times per day, between three and five orgasms per session? They warned me about this back in sex ed, but I didn't believe 'em.
I guess my question is: what makes you think that the condemnation of manspreading is largely the concern of (white) upper-class feminists?
Tales from the Shopfloor
I worked alongside Female Teamster today and asked her if she had heard of manspreading.
She rolled her eyes and said "Yeah."
Asked her what she thought about it, and she said that, from what she had heard, it was a comfortable way to sit. And that women would probably sit like that, too, if they weren't constantly chided to "sit like ladies" when they were young.
I commiserated, and told her about when I had been teased for sitting "like a girl" in first grade and didn't even put my ankle on my knee until I was a teenager.
She then said that she thought it was a dumb issue and made feminists look stupid. I poked a little bit with some of the class-war types of comments I've made above, and she agreed with most of them. She especially liked an observation of la Principessa's that working-class women beset by manspreading and bereft of a seat would be more likely to simply assert themselves and force the offender to desist.
I then shared my suspicion that this might not be about space, but, rather, certain prim and prudish women not wanting to see men so brazenly showing off their stuff.
"Yeah," she cackled, "They're just upset because they can't admit they're so turned on!"
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
Which makes me wonder, again, whether the issue isn't the taking up of space but rather the effrontery to petit-bourgeois feminist mores of males spreading their legs and showing off their crotch.
And, if so, what is a cis heterosexual
Well, if that cis het green male was also red, he'd make this of it:
For the right of women to go topless if they so desire!
For mass investment in public transportation--let's say, twice as many trains--so that manspreading doesn't force tired commuters to stand!
And if the issue is really the effrontery of feminists having to see men display their crotches, well, tough!
For women's liberation through socialist revolution!