- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Is 'reactionary' your catch-all criticism?

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 14, 19100 at 16:16:30:

In Reply to: Having a bad day,NJ? posted by Stoller on January 14, 19100 at 11:12:10:

: Stoller:
: Now that I've covered the basics, lets drop it. I find discussing abortion to be inappropriate for men.

: : That's OK. I don't, however. You sound like my (liberal) mother. You two should get together.

: Quality drop! You are starting to debate (reason) poorly (emotionally).

WHAT? Oh come on, don't deny that you use the same techniques on Lark, calling him a petty bourgoeis anarchist, an apologist for Platonic slavery, etcetera. No doubt we all fall into the trap sometimes. It's just that your response reminded me so much of my mother that I couldn't resist. Exactly why is it the woman's only decision? Either the fetus is a human being, or it's a non-human "object" like an unfertilized egg, or it's something on a continuum in between. If it's a human, it oughtn't to be deprived of life in teh first place, at least not without input from as many involved people as possible; if it's an object, clearly both the father nad the nmother have claims to it. If it's somewheer in between, I still don't see how you reason that it's only the mother's decsiion.

: Stoller:
: As far as Stalin goes, he reversed the Bolshevik position on abortion-on-demand primarily because he wished to uphold the nuclear family (read: women's subordination to men).

: : Yeah, right. When I hear certain people tear down the family, both in its nuclear and other variations (communal, matriarchal, polygamous) it often strikes me as pointless dissensionism - dissent for dissent's sake, rather than for good reasons. The family is based on love...

: Tell me, pal. I'm a guy with a 10-year love-partner and a year-old child. (Can you claim as much?)

: Nonethless...

I was reacting to your extreme statement about the nuclear family being an instrument of oppression. Below, your response seems to obviate the more extreme implications of that statement. But you did say it originally, and that's why I responded the way I did, defedningthe family, I'm not presuming anything, you did say it.

: The ability for a woman (or a man) to have the ECONOMIC AUTONOMY to leave the relationship AT ANY TIME (and abortion is relevant here)

But the question is really, "Does the fetus have a claim to human life, and if so, how great is this claim, and when does it begin?" because if it does have a claim equal to that of ahuman being (which I don';t personally believe) it can't be killed even if doing so would be good for the mother's economic independence; it's not OK to kill people as means to an end. If it has a claimn, at certain points, inferior to that of ahuman being but a claim nonetheless, then we must weigh this claim in our judgment.

: can only STRENGTHEN the love bonds between people that first brought them together. To stay with a spouse merely because that would be the 'expedient' thing to do (read: economic dependence) is to DENY love-bonds.


:Therefore marriage (as in obligation to stay together) is reactionary.

But every society displays some form of marriage- for teh children'/s sake, if nothing else?

Is 'reactionary' your catch-all criticism? How is accepting the idea that people should try and find lifetime partners (even if not FORCED to stay with them) "reactionary"?

Easy divorce hurts women more than men. Just look at countries like Pakistan, where a man can easily divorce hsi wife whenever he gets tired of her (under Islamic Shariah law). How do you think Pakistani women like that? Easy divorce allows men to use women as sex objects, while lying to them that they will be lifelong partners.

Easy divorce hurts kids, too, as statsistics amply show.

Now, I'm not syaing couples shouldn't be allowed to divorce, or that divorce is not sometimes necessary. I am saying its somethingthat snhouldn't be entered into lightly or casually.

: Back to Stalin...

: Substituting veneration for the traditional nuclear family FOR communal laundries, dining halls, child care centers, etc.,

I'd really like to hear your response to my query about communal dining halls. I have nothing against communal dining halls; my late father once stayed in an African village where communal meals were prepared fro teh whole village. But I think they shoudl be optional. What's wrong with a family wanting to spend thirty minutes together over an intimate dinner? Family bonding, and all thta. What's wrong with allowing people the choice whether or not tehy want to eat dinner with their neighbors every night? What about freedom of choice? What's wrong with getting the kids to help with the dishes?

:only made women DEPENDENT upon men (for they could not earn their own living while raising children and doing housework all the time).

How about splitting up the housework more equitably between men and women? or how about letting the family divide upo the housework voluntarily, so that no one is 'expected' or 'forced' to do the housework.

Anyway, many women would prefer to take time off and raise children; shouldn't they have the choice? Isn't that freedom?

: It also kept them isolated, in the house all the time,

Uhhh, no. West African women perform the bulk of economic activity and control market trade; they manage to do all of this while (often) raising large families. 9of course polygyny often means that men are responsible for alarge number of kids). Many West African spcieties are often described as matriarchal, at the same tiem that taey have tight family units.

: which perpetuated their illiteracy and backwardness and submissiveness to the men who 'earned their living' FOR them...

What about allowing women to do both housework and 'earn a living'?? anyway, I advocate a future in which no one HAS to earn a living, I think that money should be necessary only for a few luxuries; food, medicine, leisure, shelter, education, etc. should be free.

: I'm all for love-bonds. I'm all for children. And you can bet that I'm all out for relationships in which all parties---yes, even the kids---have the freedom to leave the 'nuclear unit' should it become a place they don't like (therefore, regarding children, those day---and night---care centers should be VERY quality)... That is how love stays REAL.

Yes. But when it comes to the kids, how many rights shoudl they be given? Lets say their parents want to teach them about communism, but they'd rather go play video games? Are you going to indulge that preference? That would be absurd.

: (Try Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State sometime, it's the most 'libertarian' of all the Marxist tomes...)

: You've got a socialist heart competing with a petty-bourgeois head, I think, my misinformed friend... Get well soon...

Skipping over the pigeonholing,.....

Didn't MArx CRITICIZE capitalism for destroying the family relationship?

Isn'tit a valid ground to criticize modern capitalism for tearing apart traditional extended families in Africa and Asia?

Wasn't it one of our major grounds of criticism against the South African mining industry that it destroyed families, encouraged prostitution and alienation, and isolated women?

You're losing a valuable ally, Barry, and I don't mean myself. I mean those people, particularly in the Third World, who support tradition and the family. "Family values" and "tradition" both provide strong, strongcritiques of capitalism. And I believe that if capitalism is bad (which it is) then we should try to defeat it, and that means taking allies where we find them.

It is wrong for capitalism to destroy traditional structures and family units in African and Asian societies. Therefore, if we oppose capitalism, we should encourage the preservaton and reconstruction of csuch family units.

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