The Death of Feminism on the Left

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The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:33 am


I would like to preface this unavoidably lengthy post by noting that the discourse could just as well envelop identity politics in general. I will focus upon feminism because I believe it has been the most successful yet least legitimate ideology in the camp of identity politics (or its more inclusive kissing cousin, intersectionality), having regrettably infused the Left for much too long. Blacks and other non-white peoples can point to the genuine oppression of slavery, colonialism, the discrimination of Jim Crow and apartheid, and the legacy of institutional racism, while the LGBTQ community is a minority with understandable insecurity. Women as a group, on the other hand, are and have always been situated at every level of society in equal proportions as men. Feminism emerged in tandem with the evolution of capitalism, particularly as a reaction to changes in the productive forces. Its roots are largely bourgeois, its dominant theories are bunk, and it is otherwise a pernicious ideology mired in misandry—an enemy of working class men and women. It is also fundamentally incompatible with Marxism.

To this, the standard reply by feminists and their male hangers-on is that feminism upholds equality for women as well as men, and so is deserving of our support. Unfortunately, this is the most common misconception about feminism, not least because it has been deliberately portrayed as such. For one, the term itself carries an obvious bias: feminism. If the ideology truly championed equality for both sexes or all people, as its mainstream acolytes purport, it should simply be abandoned for egalitarianism, a term for a train of thought that favors equality for all and one that most of us are familiar with. Instead, feminism concerns itself exclusively with the empowerment of women, eclipsing all else. Furthermore, as anybody with a remote practical experience with feminism can attest, the movement is rife with zealots who are virulently anti-male.

This deep-rooted misandry and one-dimensional fixation on "women's issues" is a consequence of feminism's overarching, grand unified theory of patriarchy, a sordid and deeply flawed account of human affairs. Patriarchy serves as a gospel, tendering an idealist, ahistorical Weltanschauung. Nevermind the role of class in shaping social hierarchies, nevermind the mode of production, and nevermind that an objective analysis of historical gender roles can only lead to the conclusion that neither sex truly enjoyed a net gain at the expense of the other, as social arrangements ultimately depended upon material conditions, with women arguably the more privileged sex on account of their reproductive value. Patriarchy theory furnishes a worldview of women as eternal victims and men as aggressive beasts, of women as subjugated and men as their oppressors, and of women as passive objects and men as uncompromising actors. In order to justify the reality of patriarchy, feminists point to powerful men and ignore the multitude of males who enjoy no meaningful advantage or are underprivileged (an apex fallacy if you will), they raze masculinity and exalt femininity, they propagate myths about income disparity and rape culture, they falsify history, they provide unbalanced narratives of society and gender, they present cases of trivial discomfort as authentic instances of oppression (see Rebecca Watson and "Elevatorgate," Adria Richards and the PyCon scandal, or any feminist blogger), and when all else fails, they quell dissent or criticism of their creed.

Patriarchy is the essential doctrine of feminism, as all feminists subscribe to its tenets to varying degrees. Indeed, a feminist's radicalism is directly proportional to her devotion to patriarchy theory. Radical feminists are those women (and gelded men) who follow the belief in patriarchy to its logical conclusion: separatism. If men and boys are incapable or unwilling to redress the grievances they've inflicted and sanitize their own base nature as males, the radical feminists argue, then the problem must lie in our biology, and so the only solution is for women to smash the patriarchy and violently separate from men. The recent release of the Agent Organge Files (leaked documents from the infiltration of Radfem Hub, a now defunct radical feminist message board) further illuminated the depraved fanaticism typically exhibited by many of these women, who advocate policies (e.g., intentional malnourishment of male children, forceful castration, negative eugenics, male infanticide, coercive social engineering, genocide against men) that would dumbfound most fascist diehards, and yet, as subsequent investigations have revealed, a number of them occupy influential social positions, worryingly including child care workers and teachers. The rapture of these women is a post-male world full of lesbian joy (which reinforces my long-standing suspicion that lesbianism is much more a political statement than sincere sexual orientation).

Due to this uncritical acceptance of patriarchy at its core, it is valid for me to excoriate feminism as a whole without discriminating between the various covens, whatever shade of pink.

Feminism is worthless. Its historical function was to assist capitalism in adapting to alterations in material circumstances that first allowed bourgeois females to pursue the roles of their men. The suffragettes, as they have come to be called, were not feminists in the modern sense (they had no conception of patriarchal oppression), but they were a typical example of liberals who tout bourgeois equality. I am not truly concerned with them, referencing their movement solely to provide a brief historical overview, and I will allow Eleanor Marx to pass final judgment with this lucid quote:

"Just as on the war question the Congress stressed the difference between the ordinary bourgeois peace league, which cries, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace, and the economic peace party, the socialist party, which wants to remove the causes of war – so too with regard to the ‘woman question’ the Congress equally clearly stressed the difference between the party of the ‘women’s rightsers’ on the one side, who recognised no class struggle but only a struggle of sexes, who belong to the possessing class, and who want rights that would be an injustice against their workingclass sisters, and, on the other side, the real women’s party, the socialist party, which has a basic understanding of the economic causes on the present adverse position of workingwomen and which calls on the workingwomen to wage a common fight hand-in-hand with the men of their class against the common enemy, viz. the men and women of the capitalist class."
Eleanor Marx quoted in Hal Draper and Anne G. Lipow, Marxist Women versus Bourgeois Feminism.

Feminism is often credited with "liberating" women, but this is patently false. Feminism has achieved very little of value for women, let alone men. The ability of women to enter the workforce en masse, to be sexually promiscuous, to transgress traditional gender roles, to be less dependent upon men for their livelihoods, to benefit from education (even in the 1930s, though, women accounted for roughly 30% of all college graduates, and they outnumber men today—there is a male crisis in education at all levels), or to participate in politics (to the extent that this matters in a class society, as it obviously benefits opulent women disproportionately) were all overwhelmingly due to advances in technology pioneered by working men and driven by capitalist industry. Amongst these innovations were cheap contraceptives and relatively safe abortion methods, household appliances that dramatically reduced the labor time expended in the home, and computer technology, which generated less arduous jobs that women were willing to perform. You can rest assured that a downfall of civilization and descent into barbarism (not an altogether implausible scenario considering global capitalism's current trajectory) would lead to the restoration of the old gender ways, with the onus of difficult and dangerous work upon exploited men (as it continues to be).

Yet despite its reactionary content, an ideologically and politically feeble New Left mistakenly embraced this movement. To what end? Only communist social relations can materialize true equality of social condition for all human beings. The positive experience of women in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries is testament enough of the primacy that equalizing material conditions, both in terms of social status and life outcome, obtains in the pursuit of social justice. Feminism has contributed nothing toward realizing the revolutionary potential of the working class, and it never shall. In its moderate form, it serves as another ideological weapon of capitalism, fully compatible with the system—an opportunity for careerists to shamelessly profit from professional victimhood. In its extreme variant, it is little else than a vile, backward ideology fueled by the hatred harbored by sexually repressed, unsightly banshees. There is no room for feminism in 21st century working class struggles. It should be stamped out.

Feminism is a senile, decrepit, rabies-infested bitch; it is time to administer the coup de grâce. Do any of you manginas care to challenge my caustic appraisal of feminism?

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rofra on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:11 am

Rev Scare wrote:In order to justify the reality of patriarchy, feminists point to powerful men and ignore the multitude of males who enjoy no meaningful advantage or are underprivileged (an apex fallacy if you will), they raze masculinity and exalt femininity, they propagate myths about income disparity and rape culture, they falsify history, they provide unbalanced narratives of society and gender, they present cases of trivial discomfort as authentic instances of oppression (see Rebecca Watson and "Elevatorgate," Adria Richards and the PyCon scandal, or any feminist blogger), and when all else fails, they quell dissent or criticism of their creed.



Also the mistake in which Islam is seen as particularly male friendly. They only see the powerful sheik with four wives and hundreds of harem concubines. Salient example: divorce. A divorced women can be recalled at a whim. If she had sex in the meantime, this is seen as adultery. This is also very unpleasant for her new husband. C.f. Mohammed bin Laden (father of) gave his leftovers to his underlings.

Rev Scare wrote:Patriarchy is the essential doctrine of feminism, as all feminists subscribe to its tenets to varying degrees. Indeed, a feminist's radicalism is directly proportional to her devotion to patriarchy theory. Radical feminists are those women (and gelded men) who follow the belief in patriarchy to its logical conclusion: separatism. If men and boys are incapable or unwilling to redress the grievances they've inflicted and sanitize their own base nature as males, the radical feminists argue, then the problem must lie in our biology, and so the only solution is for women to smash the patriarchy and violently separate from men. The recent release of the Agent Organge Files (leaked documents from the infiltration of Radfem Hub, a now defunct radical feminist message board) further illuminated the depraved fanaticism typically exhibited by many of these women, who advocate policies (e.g., intentional malnourishment of male children, forceful castration, negative eugenics, male infanticide, coercive social engineering, genocide against men) that would dumbfound most fascist diehards, and yet, as subsequent investigations have revealed, a number of them occupy influential social positions, worryingly including child care workers and teachers. The rapture of these women is a post-male world full of lesbian joy (which reinforces my long-standing suspicion that lesbianism is much more a political statement than sincere sexual orientation).
A genocidal agenda isn't enough to disqualify feminism. After all, the ruling class sees class war and revolution as genocidal. Cosmopolitans see any Nationalism that isn't "oppressed" as genocidal. Ironically, abortion is mainly used to destroy female embryos, which could be seen as genocide as well.

MRA/MRM can be divisive as well. The best position is probably complementarian. Men and women working together to either raise or lower birthrates. Otherwise, good article.


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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Uberak on Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:55 pm

I agree with most of your post, Revscare.

However, I vehemently disagree with your dismissal of lesbianism as a "political statement".

Saying that lesbianism is a political statement due to the ludicrous fantasies of small sects of radical feminists is absurd. Sure, many supposedly "homosexual" people of both sexes are actually bisexual, but this has little to do with radical feminism as much as the stereotype of bisexuals as being highly sexually promiscuous. There are women who are attracted to other women, and it is not due to radical feminism or identity politics that they do so. Though, I guess any sort of tendency that lesbians would have towards feminism, if it even exists, would be due to the image of lesbians, especially the ones who are attractive and feminine looking, as being male wet-dreams, but this is mere conjecture on my part. Basically, dismissing the sexuality of women, heterosexual and homosexual alike, is a pretty ignorant statement that actually feeds the flames of Feminism.

Ironically, Feminism feeds on the idea of gender roles. It needs women to be puritanical, moral, persecuted, and disempowered whilst men are to be promiscuous, slavering beasts that use their "patriarchy" to oppress women. It is the attempt to "empower" women without actually escaping the comfortable confines of preset gender roles. In reality, it turns women into repressed professional victims, whilst men get the short end of the stick on everything. In fact, it reminds me of Nietzsche's "slave-morality" (Not that I would say that I would align myself with Nietzschean philosophy), and that actually would explain why Feminism, in it's early stages, actually aligned itself with puritanical movements such as the Temperance movement. The great contradiction here is that Feminism presents itself as an emancipatory movement for women, yet it exaggerates the very traits that led to the creation of gender roles in the first place. Thus, I believe that Feminism is a degenerative force that weakens and insults

The real answer is egalitarianism and the destruction of all gender roles. The ambitionless lifestyle of the housewife, where it still exists, needs to be charred into ashes and scraped away. We should treat the sexuality of both men and women equally as long as it respects the dignity and privacy of all parties involved. We need to stop putting so much attention to gender and end this farcical distraction once and for all. We shall torch identity politics down to the ground whilst ascending above it and unite for the nation! With this new-founded solidarity, no one can stop the inevitable march of the people!

(I hope I wasn't too preachy with that.)
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:01 am

Rofra wrote:
Also the mistake in which Islam is seen as particularly male friendly. They only see the powerful sheik with four wives and hundreds of harem concubines. Salient example: divorce. A divorced women can be recalled at a whim. If she had sex in the meantime, this is seen as adultery. This is also very unpleasant for her new husband. C.f. Mohammed bin Laden (father of) gave his leftovers to his underlings.

Very true. Feminists have misrepresented Islam and the status of men and women in the Middle East, and the global south in general. In particular, they often rave about how oppressed Muslim women are in relation to their men, but this is completely false and underscores a profound ignorance of Arab societies, which is typical of the spoiled Western harpies that spew this rubbish. That is undoubtedly one reason why most Muslim women seem to be indifferent or even hostile to feminism. Consider this Muslim woman's critical evaluation of the ideology:



A genocidal agenda isn't enough to disqualify feminism.

Uh, yes, it is. But I reject feminism in toto, so my critique is not limited to feminazis.

After all, the ruling class sees class war and revolution as genocidal.

It is ridiculous to compare the liquidation of social classes (as in, eliminating the material relations that reproduce them) to the liquidation of ethnic, racial, religious, national, or in the case of radical separatist feminism, biological groups of people.

Cosmopolitans see any Nationalism that isn't "oppressed" as genocidal.

There is nothing genocidal about the left-wing nationalism advocated on this forum, so that is an invalid argument.

MRA/MRM can be divisive as well.

Even though I view the MRM as much more legitimate than feminism, nowhere in my original post have I argued that men's rights activism should replace feminism on the Left. A commitment to scientific socialism and egalitarian principles is quite sufficient.

Otherwise, good article.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Uberak wrote:I agree with most of your post, Revscare.

It seems to me that you agree with all of my post except for one minor remark.

However, I vehemently disagree with your dismissal of lesbianism as a "political statement".

First of all, do notice that you are focusing upon a parenthetical comment I made in passing. However, I suppose I was expecting somebody to latch on to it at some point, and you didn't disappoint, Uberak.

Saying that lesbianism is a political statement due to the ludicrous fantasies of small sects of radical feminists is absurd. Sure, many supposedly "homosexual" people of both sexes are actually bisexual, but this has little to do with radical feminism as much as the stereotype of bisexuals as being highly sexually promiscuous. There are women who are attracted to other women, and it is not due to radical feminism or identity politics that they do so. Though, I guess any sort of tendency that lesbians would have towards feminism, if it even exists, would be due to the image of lesbians, especially the ones who are attractive and feminine looking, as being male wet-dreams, but this is mere conjecture on my part.

Consider the following remarkable fact: numerous studies have found that somewhere between 50-90% of self-identified "lesbians" have had and continue to have sex with men. Don't dismiss the paper I linked merely because it was written by a Christian researcher, as it is impeccably documented, and the studies cited are independent and credible. It is important not to disregard the conclusion simply because one is skeptical of the source. Just in case, I also link to this article by an organization that is not hostile to homosexuality, titled "As Many Lesbians Have Had Sex with Men." This would seem to indicate that lesbianism is more reflective of a woman's attitude toward men (which is invariably influenced by feminism) than a sexual attraction toward women. Of course, I can understand why women would find sleeping with other women on a regular basis boring and dissatisfying: I prefer to liken it to two teenagers "fooling around"—there is a certain lack of intensity.

In my experience, it is often impossible to disentangle the feminism from lesbianism. The lesbians I have known and worked with over the years were women who seemed to possess deep-seated problems with men, often related to predictable daddy issues or prior relationship woes, and these attitudes adopt a political character. The fact that these women tend to be physically unattractive to men is another red flag. Misandry seems to be much more pronounced among lesbians (and the trendy bisexual girl) than misogyny among gay men. Simply put, lesbianism has all the trappings of an identity, subculture, and political movement.

Basically, dismissing the sexuality of women, heterosexual and homosexual alike, is a pretty ignorant statement that actually feeds the flames of Feminism.

I am not dismissing anybody's beaver fever. In the end, I don't give a damn how these women choose to identify themselves. In case I gave the wrong impression, I do not spend much time ruminating lesbian issues.

I view feminism as a totally discredited movement and ideology, so as far as feeding its flames is concerned, I derive an unbridled sense of glee from offending these obnoxious twats. Recall that this is not a liberal website, where we mindlessly applaud the persecution complex of various identity groups because deep down we feel guilty that the system we uphold is incapable of achieving genuine equality for all. It also isn't RevLeft, with its paranoid hypersensitivity.

Ironically, Feminism feeds on the idea of gender roles. It needs women to be puritanical, moral, persecuted, and disempowered whilst men are to be promiscuous, slavering beasts that use their "patriarchy" to oppress women. It is the attempt to "empower" women without actually escaping the comfortable confines of preset gender roles.

I couldn't agree more. Feminists have always applied a double standard to men and women concerning gender roles. Throughout its history, feminism has denounced its male critics as dangerous to women and children, as potential rapists, and as immature boys as opposed to real men, who are supposed to be supportive of women even if it means sacrificing their own well-being. This plays directly to the traditional masculine role of provider, protector, and ultimately, disposable utility serving the needs of women and children first and foremost. Feminists do love their white knights, except when a particular feminist finds the behavior disagreeable for whatever arbitrary reason. I notice that feminists seem to enjoy emasculating their opponents in online debates, frequently resorting to ad hominem attacks on a man's sexual ability and virility, or questioning his sexual orientation, as though a man's inability or unwillingness to conform to a feminist's expectation of men is a sign of weakness.

The real answer is egalitarianism and the destruction of all gender roles. The ambitionless lifestyle of the housewife, where it still exists, needs to be charred into ashes and scraped away.

Gender roles arise out of material necessity, not idealist abstractions, so I fail to see how their destruction can ever result from some bullshit movement like feminism or other cultural processes. They are also innocuous in and of themselves. I have never understood the hysteria surrounding the inclusion of women into more "masculine" fields (though it is curiously absent when it comes to the dangerous and strenuous jobs, all of which remain overwhelmingly male dominated), except for the palpable pay advantage that those careers offer. If most women would rather be nurses and social workers than physicists and engineers, who cares? If a man or woman prefers more leisure time with their children to wage slavery, what of it? In a communist society, one's chosen work should not affect one's social condition regardless.

(I hope I wasn't too preachy with that.)

You obviously felt passionate when typing it. Nothing to be ashamed about, comrade.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:51 pm

Rev Scare wrote:
For one, the term itself carries an obvious bias: feminism. If the ideology truly championed equality for both sexes or all people, as its mainstream acolytes purport, it should simply be abandoned for egalitarianism, a term for a train of thought that favors equality for all and one that most of us are familiar with. Instead, feminism concerns itself exclusively with the empowerment of women, eclipsing all else. Furthermore, as anybody with a remote practical experience with feminism can attest, the movement is rife with zealots who are virulently anti-male.

This is pretty nonsensical. You can argue that the term "feminism" is a misnomer, I suppose; however, given the context in which it was developed (i.e., one of male domination), it makes sense that the term is "feminism." "Egalitarianism" is a category of ideas which feminism fits under, so I see no reason for them to refer to themselves as egalitarians.

Rev Scare wrote:
This deep-rooted misandry and one-dimensional fixation on "women's issues" is a consequence of feminism's overarching, grand unified theory of patriarchy, a sordid and deeply flawed account of human affairs. Patriarchy serves as a gospel, tendering an idealist, ahistorical Weltanschauung. Nevermind the role of class in shaping social hierarchies, nevermind the mode of production, and nevermind that an objective analysis of historical gender roles can only lead to the conclusion that neither sex truly enjoyed a net gain at the expense of the other, as social arrangements ultimately depended upon material conditions, with women arguably the more privileged sex on account of their reproductive value.

I assume you're going to go in the, "women were viewed as delicate flowers, while men were viewed as disposable" route, right? If the idea that women are weak and need to be protected is a position of privilege, I guess you'll have to argue that children are privileged as well, right? One could also argue that slaves are privileged relative to employees, since at least employees are easily replaceable, while slaves are a long term investment. This results in slave owners being more concerned about the survival of the slave. In this sense, slaves are more "valuable," but no one would seriously argue that such paternalism is "privilege." A benefit of oppression doesn't make oppression go away.

Rev Scare wrote:
Patriarchy theory furnishes a worldview of women as eternal victims and men as aggressive beasts, of women as subjugated and men as their oppressors, and of women as passive objects and men as uncompromising actors.

*Citation needed.*

Rev Scare wrote:
In order to justify the reality of patriarchy, feminists point to powerful men and ignore the multitude of males who enjoy no meaningful advantage or are underprivileged (an apex fallacy if you will)...

Most feminists, in my experience, don't ignore the plight of men. The unprivileged men you point to aren't unprivileged because of their gender, necessarily. This is an important point. Saying that the male gender's perspective is viewed as default, that various sexual double standards exist, that women are blamed for rape, that some cultures are openly hostile to women, etc. doesn't mean that all men have it better than all women. Just that, on the whole, males are viewed as the default and dominant sex.

Rev Scare wrote:
...they raze masculinity and exalt femininity, they propagate myths about income disparity and rape culture, they falsify history, they provide unbalanced narratives of society and gender...
*Citation needed.*
Rev Scare wrote:
they present cases of trivial discomfort as authentic instances of oppression (see Rebecca Watson and "Elevatorgate,"

It's interesting to me that you chose this as an example. From what I recall, Rebecca Watson wasn't saying that his incident was an example of the Patriarchy at work oppressing them women. All she said was that one man made her uncomfortable by approaching her alone in an elevator in the early hours of the morning and asking her if she "wanted some coffee." Incidentally, this happened just after she gave a talk on, I believe, the environment of atheist conventions where women were sexualized and were made to feel uncomfortable. She advised that men not approach women when they're alone in foreign countries in secluded areas in the early hours of the day. What happened in response? Anti-feminists went batshit and threatened her with rape. Obviously her points on the unfriendly culture of the atheist community towards women were completely invalidated by this, right? Yeah.

[I'm not sure what you're referring to with the other incidents, so I'll skip over them.]

Rev Scare wrote:
Patriarchy is the essential doctrine of feminism, as all feminists subscribe to its tenets to varying degrees. Indeed, a feminist's radicalism is directly proportional to her devotion to patriarchy theory. Radical feminists are those women (and gelded men) who follow the belief in patriarchy to its logical conclusion: separatism. If men and boys are incapable or unwilling to redress the grievances they've inflicted and sanitize their own base nature as males, the radical feminists argue, then the problem must lie in our biology, and so the only solution is for women to smash the patriarchy and violently separate from men. The recent release of the Agent Organge Files (leaked documents from the infiltration of Radfem Hub, a now defunct radical feminist message board) further illuminated the depraved fanaticism typically exhibited by many of these women, who advocate policies (e.g., intentional malnourishment of male children, forceful castration, negative eugenics, male infanticide, coercive social engineering, genocide against men) that would dumbfound most fascist diehards, and yet, as subsequent investigations have revealed, a number of them occupy influential social positions, worryingly including child care workers and teachers. The rapture of these women is a post-male world full of lesbian joy (which reinforces my long-standing suspicion that lesbianism is much more a political statement than sincere sexual orientation).

Well, pretty much everyone except for RadFems hates RadFems. As for the idea that "lesbianism is much more a political statement than sincere sexual orientation," uh, *citation needed.* Just use occam's razor here. Is it more likely that the vast majority of lesbians are lying and really want the D, or that they actually are lesbians?

Rev Scare wrote:
Due to this uncritical acceptance of patriarchy at its core, it is valid for me to excoriate feminism as a whole without discriminating between the various covens, whatever shade of pink.

You haven't even proven that all feminists accept the idea of "patriarchy." In fact, most feminists I've interacted with certainly don't believe in the idea of patriarchy as you've put forward. Could you perhaps give some examples of people who aren't RadFems talking about patriarchy in the same manner as you described it? I.e., the absolute domination of men because they are savage beasts regardless of the social position of men? I think it's interesting that you mention intersectionality at the beginning of this post but disregard it throughout.


Rev Scare wrote:
Feminism is worthless. Its historical function was to assist capitalism in adapting to alterations in material circumstances that first allowed bourgeois females to pursue the roles of their men. The suffragettes, as they have come to be called, were not feminists in the modern sense (they had no conception of patriarchal oppression), but they were a typical example of liberals who tout bourgeois equality.

Such a move toward bourgeois equality was not "worthless" when it comes to reaching communism. Bourgeois equality tears apart the distinctions between people within society and reduces it further and further to class differences, which is a very important step on the way to proletarian revolution. The bourgeoisie was historically a progressive force.

The Elanor Marx quote is true in that it applies to feminists who aren't also socialists, but the same could be true of many ideologies you agree with. I assume you're an MRA of sorts. How many socialists have you encountered in that movement? Does the fact that only some of them are socialists mean the movement is entirely incorrect?

Rev Scare wrote:
Feminism is often credited with "liberating" women, but this is patently false. Feminism has achieved very little of value for women, let alone men. The ability of women to enter the workforce en masse, to be sexually promiscuous, to transgress traditional gender roles, to be less dependent upon men for their livelihoods, to benefit from education (even in the 1930s, though, women accounted for roughly 30% of all college graduates, and they outnumber men today—there is a male crisis in education at all levels), or to participate in politics (to the extent that this matters in a class society, as it obviously benefits opulent women disproportionately) were all overwhelmingly due to advances in technology pioneered by working men and driven by capitalist industry. Amongst these innovations were cheap contraceptives and relatively safe abortion methods, household appliances that dramatically reduced the labor time expended in the home, and computer technology, which generated less arduous jobs that women were willing to perform.



Seriously, you're a Marxist, right? The ideology of feminism developed alongside and because of these technological developments. To argue that the ideology of feminism is meaningless because it's ultimately rooted in technological development is about as dumb as saying communism is meaningless because it's the result of the increased productive forces of capitalism.

Feminism is relevant to the communist struggle in the same way the end of the monarchy was. It's a step on the road to a classless society.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:15 am

cogarian888 wrote:
Rev Scare wrote:
For one, the term itself carries an obvious bias: feminism. If the ideology truly championed equality for both sexes or all people, as its mainstream acolytes purport, it should simply be abandoned for egalitarianism, a term for a train of thought that favors equality for all and one that most of us are familiar with. Instead, feminism concerns itself exclusively with the empowerment of women, eclipsing all else. Furthermore, as anybody with a remote practical experience with feminism can attest, the movement is rife with zealots who are virulently anti-male.

This is pretty nonsensical. You can argue that the term "feminism" is a misnomer, I suppose; however, given the context in which it was developed (i.e., one of male domination), it makes sense that the term is "feminism." "Egalitarianism" is a category of ideas which feminism fits under, so I see no reason for them to refer to themselves as egalitarians.

Egalitarianism encompasses what feminism purports to represent: equality between the sexes. My thesis, which you have failed to address, let alone confute, is that feminism is redundant, disingenuous, and poisonous, seeking the empowerment of women to the exclusion of other concerns. It is simply another form of identity politics, preoccupied with its own delusions of victimhood and completely inconsequential from the vantage point of class struggle, apart from existing as an impediment and nuisance. Furthermore, "male domination" is precisely what is in question, and since I reject such a sweeping, historically false assertion outright, I demand that feminists and their male sycophants (which seems to include you) provide a more compelling case for this elusive patriarchal arrangement than has hitherto been the case. Only the struggle for communism can achieve social justice for all and equality for all, and feminism is not a necessary component of such.

Rev Scare wrote:
This deep-rooted misandry and one-dimensional fixation on "women's issues" is a consequence of feminism's overarching, grand unified theory of patriarchy, a sordid and deeply flawed account of human affairs. Patriarchy serves as a gospel, tendering an idealist, ahistorical Weltanschauung. Nevermind the role of class in shaping social hierarchies, nevermind the mode of production, and nevermind that an objective analysis of historical gender roles can only lead to the conclusion that neither sex truly enjoyed a net gain at the expense of the other, as social arrangements ultimately depended upon material conditions, with women arguably the more privileged sex on account of their reproductive value.

I assume you're going to go in the, "women were viewed as delicate flowers, while men were viewed as disposable" route, right?

That is indeed a historical form of female privilege. However, I am unsure how you deduced this from the quoted comment, since I was clearly lambasting patriarchy theory's idealist, ahistorical foundation, not issuing a predication about women. Perhaps you read too deeply into the final clause of the quoted content. In any case, I truly couldn't care less for such trivial comparisons of gender roles.

If the idea that women are weak and need to be protected is a position of privilege, I guess you'll have to argue that children are privileged as well, right?

Indeed, children are privileged in many ways for obvious reasons. Once again, I prefer not to discuss idealist conceptions of "privilege," especially those rooted in fictitious theories such as patriarchy or its female equivalent.

One could also argue that slaves are privileged relative to employees, since at least employees are easily replaceable, while slaves are a long term investment. This results in slave owners being more concerned about the survival of the slave. In this sense, slaves are more "valuable," but no one would seriously argue that such paternalism is "privilege." A benefit of oppression doesn't make oppression go away.

Similarities between chattel slavery and wage labor have been noted throughout history, hence the adoption of the term "wage slavery" by numerous socialists. As early as 1763, we have the following from French journalist Simon-Nicholas Henri Linguet:

"The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. … They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?"

Engels offered a similar assessment:

"The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master's interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence."
The Principles of Communism

Chattel slaves and proletarians are objectively exploited as a result of their relative vulnerability with respect to differential access to the means of production and therefore the surplus product. Class reality and concomitant alienation even permit discussion of a materially rooted oppression. By contrast, there is no meaningful sense in which women were historically "oppressed" in relation to men. Gender roles—which are materially conditioned, not phantoms of the feminist imagination—neither advantaged nor disadvantaged either sex in the aggregate, as both men and women faced equally cumbersome, albeit different, burdens.

(It is interesting to me that you would link to a reactionary website to support your claim, although given the nature of our past exchanges, it shouldn't surprise me. I am familiar with the work of Fogel and Engerman on American slavery, and as far as I know, their study was of limited scope and its methodology questioned by many scholars. Of course, this is irrelevant to anything I've argued, and your analogy was false to begin with.)


Rev Scare wrote:Patriarchy theory furnishes a worldview of women as eternal victims and men as aggressive beasts, of women as subjugated and men as their oppressors, and of women as passive objects and men as uncompromising actors.

*Citation needed.*

That is quite a pretentious statement, especially considering that your entire response to my post rests upon a vacuous, unsupported assumption of feminist rectitude. All feminists worth the label subscribe to some variant of the patriarchy narrative; otherwise, their entire raison d'être would vanish. Feminism was never a legitimate ideology or worthwhile movement, but it is inexcusable to believe that present day capitalist society operates to disempower women while affording all men nebulous privileges. What reason is there to be a feminist other than an unfounded, most likely personally motivated, belief that women continue to face special obstacles that can and should be addressed within the context of capitalism?

Espousing patriarchy theory signifies that one views social institutions, in an abstract (read, idealist) and trans-historical (rather, ahistorical) sense, as ultimately privileging men and oppressing women. I expressed my realization that the degree of a feminist's commitment to patriarchal nostrums directly correlates with her radicalism. Even moderate feminists appeal to lingering gender "inequality," typically in a totally unbalanced fashion, to further their invidious agenda, and this is invariably justified on the grounds of alleged patriarchal vestiges in society.

Honestly, I do not comprehend the purpose of your reply in this instance. Shall I quote a series of prominent feminists to prove their transparent, dare I say, blatantly obvious, dedication to some form of patriarchy theory, and the ensuing myths of rape culture, wage gaps, etc., or something?

Rev Scare wrote:In order to justify the reality of patriarchy, feminists point to powerful men and ignore the multitude of males who enjoy no meaningful advantage or are underprivileged (an apex fallacy if you will)...
Most feminists, in my experience, don't ignore the plight of men.

In your experience? Excuse me, but in my experience, they routinely do. From odiously disrupting men's seminars on equality to self-flagellating male supporters who deny men a proper role in the feminist movement to contemptible efforts to stifle free speech to propagating anti-male myths to innumerable microbloggers who spew vitriol at men (commonly observed on popular feminist forums, including tumblr), feminism has proven to be awash with anti-male sentiment. Why don't you provide a single tangible example of how feminism has benefited males (or females for that matter)?

The unprivileged men you point to aren't unprivileged because of their gender, necessarily.

And where did I declare that they are underprivileged strictly as a consequence of being male? (Though it is worth referring to the fact that men are far more likely to be homeless, which is borne out by anecdotal evidence. They also tend to experience greater problems due to homelessness, such as living on the street for longer periods, where they face harsh exposure to the elements, higher drug and alcohol abuse, and much less frequent utilization of social services—an uncomfortable truth for the proponents of patriarchy theory.)

This is an important point.

No, it is a moot point.

Saying that the male gender's perspective is viewed as default, that various sexual double standards exist, that women are blamed for rape, that some cultures are openly hostile to women, etc. doesn't mean that all men have it better than all women. Just that, on the whole, males are viewed as the default and dominant sex.

This is all unsubstantiated feminist tripe. (*CITATIONS NEEDED.*)

But let us entertain them for a moment. Let us ignore such flagrantly contradictory facts that men in our supposedly patriarchal Western societies commit suicide at much higher rates than women, that the truly difficult and dangerous work in society continues to be performed by working men (simply google lists of the most dangerous jobs, and I will bet my bottom dollar that all of them are overwhelmingly dominated by men), that men and boys significantly lag in education, that both women and men exhibit a remarkable gender bias toward females (indicating that both female and male elites will favor women's issues to men's), and so forth. How exactly can feminism remedy any of this? How can it resolve, for example, the plight of single mothers (and fathers) with the relentless drive for capital accumulation? How can it solve domestic abuse issues related to the alienation experienced by families as a consequence of this accumulation? How can it abolish the objectification of men and women in the sex industry? Furthermore, how can feminism assist with the imaginary subjugation of women in the global south? Will spoiled, pampered, and obnoxious Western shrews forgo their lives of comfort and travel there? If so, what exactly can they hope to accomplish? How will feminist ideology transform the mode of production so that it can afford to ameliorate gender roles?

It's interesting to me that you chose this as an example. From what I recall, Rebecca Watson wasn't saying that his incident was an example of the Patriarchy at work oppressing them women. All she said was that one man made her uncomfortable by approaching her alone in an elevator in the early hours of the morning and asking her if she "wanted some coffee." Incidentally, this happened just after she gave a talk on, I believe, the environment of atheist conventions where women were sexualized and were made to feel uncomfortable. She advised that men not approach women when they're alone in foreign countries in secluded areas in the early hours of the day. What happened in response? Anti-feminists went batshit and threatened her with rape. Obviously her points on the unfriendly culture of the atheist community towards women were completely invalidated by this, right? Yeah.

Rebecca Twatson is a classic case of making a mountain out of a mole hill. To my understanding, she caroused at the hotel's night lounge into the wee hours of the morning, probably imbibing copiously, as these women are wont to do, and entered into an elevator with a man who gave her a benign proposition. Even if her recollection of events was absolutely true (that is, if her muddled state and propensity for hysteria do not cast doubt on her veracity in any way), the story would hardly warrant mention, let alone the inordinate attention it received among the greater atheist community. Career victims such as Twatson, who have never experienced a genuine instance of intolerance or oppression in their lives, naturally draw justification for their puerile behavior by invoking feminist myths of male domination, in this particular case falling back on a feminist favorite: rape or the potential for it.

As far as "anti-feminists" going "batshit" and "threatening her with rape," I couldn't possibly comment other than to state the obvious: when so much excrement is concentrated in one area, it is bound to attract many flies. Trolls feed on Twatson's output.

Well, pretty much everyone except for RadFems hates RadFems.

Do you care to cite salient critiques of radical feminism within the feminist movement? Feminazis were not the centerpiece of my argument against feminism, as should be clear, and you would have gleaned this had you properly understood my post.

As for the idea that "lesbianism is much more a political statement than sincere sexual orientation," uh, *citation needed.* Just use occam's razor here. Is it more likely that the vast majority of lesbians are lying and really want the D, or that they actually are lesbians?

Consult my response to Uberak above.

Since most of the studies concerning homosexuality are woefully deficient, plagued by small sample sizes and questionable methodologies, my present position on the origins and pathologies associated with lesbianism (and male homosexuality) is one of agnosticism. I certainly do not find the genetic argument credible, yet the practice is obviously not entirely one of conscious choice. At the same time, the most famous studies on human sexuality, those of Alfred Kinsey, have largely fallen into disrepute among professionals in the field, now serving a more or less ideological function for whatever activist happens to recognize their utility. In light of what evidence does exist, some of which I have linked in my previous post, and my personal observations, I find it difficult to see lesbianism as divorced from a political context and its role as both an identity and subculture.

Regardless, it warrants repeating that I am sincerely not interested in debating the condition of those women who commit themselves to clam buffets. As I have mentioned to Uberak, it was a passing comment intended as an aperçu.

You haven't even proven that all feminists accept the idea of "patriarchy." In fact, most feminists I've interacted with certainly don't believe in the idea of patriarchy as you've put forward. Could you perhaps give some examples of people who aren't RadFems talking about patriarchy in the same manner as you described it? I.e., the absolute domination of men because they are savage beasts regardless of the social position of men?

I do not understand your query. Could I provide examples of feminists, who aren't radical feminists, who nonetheless champion a patriarchy theory that is radical ("as you've put forward")? What?! If you are asking whether or not I can provide examples of feminists who accept some variant of patriarchy theory (i.e., the explanation of social institutions, in a trans-historical and abstract sense, as having been shaped to privilege men and disempower, oppress, subjugate, [some unpleasant verb] women), then I certainly can. I will not to so in this post, because they can be found on any feminist website or publication, and it's a waste of my time. In my original post, I was offering a pastiche of the different arguments feminists of various persuasions use to justify a devotion to patriarchy, not to argue that all feminists are radical feminists...

I think it's interesting that you mention intersectionality at the beginning of this post but disregard it throughout.

Because it did not pertain to my critique of feminism. In any case, intersectionality suffers from the same shortcomings as individual expressions of identity politics: namely, a divisive, narrow, and deeply flawed focus upon tangential issues that cannot and will not materialize true social justice for all.

Rev Scare wrote:Feminism is worthless. Its historical function was to assist capitalism in adapting to alterations in material circumstances that first allowed bourgeois females to pursue the roles of their men. The suffragettes, as they have come to be called, were not feminists in the modern sense (they had no conception of patriarchal oppression), but they were a typical example of liberals who tout bourgeois equality.

Such a move toward bourgeois equality was not "worthless" when it comes to reaching communism.

It was worthless in the sense that it limited the scope of its activism to effecting change within the system, devoid of all revolutionary potential, not unlike trade union consciousness and economism, and thereby becoming an appendage of the system. Not that the bourgeois females who comprised the women's suffrage movement ever intended anything other than appropriating privileges for themselves. For working women, bourgeois equality is a formalism, as it is for men.

Bourgeois equality tears apart the distinctions between people within society and reduces it further and further to class differences, which is a very important step on the way to proletarian revolution. The bourgeoisie was historically a progressive force.

To acknowledge the positive role of capitalism in establishing the foundation for socialism should in no way commit a Marxist to ideologies that are fundamentally incompatible with and detract from the struggle of the working class. Even if capitalism played a progressive part in the past, I would argue that this has long since ceased to be true. We inhabit a moribund global capitalism that should be supplanted forthwith.

The Elanor Marx quote is true in that it applies to feminists who aren't also socialists, but the same could be true of many ideologies you agree with.

Eleanor Marx's quote was perfectly appropriate for sweeping away the significance of the suffragettes, who did not truly interest me in the first place. The class struggle is paramount. It deserves to be the overriding priority of the working class, and any movement or ideology that cannot be incorporated into the historical mission of the working class, such as feminism, must be torn asunder and cast away.

Feminism is totally useless to socialism, and my intention is exactly to expose its feebleness and backwardness to the left. All revolutionary socialists should abandon feminism.

I assume you're an MRA of sorts. How many socialists have you encountered in that movement? Does the fact that only some of them are socialists mean the movement is entirely incorrect?

I do not identify with the MRM, nor do I believe MRA should be substituted for feminism on the left, as I have stated in my reply to Rofra. The MRM is undoubtedly more legitimate than feminism, but only communism can usher in genuine equality of social condition for all. The fact that the MRM does in no way represent a radical movement capable of introducing meaningful social justice, but like feminism, operates within the confines of bourgeois society and attracts reactionaries, only reinforces my point about the worthlessness of feminism to the historical task of the working class.

Seriously, you're a Marxist, right? The ideology of feminism developed alongside and because of these technological developments. To argue that the ideology of feminism is meaningless because it's ultimately rooted in technological development is about as dumb as saying communism is meaningless because it's the result of the increased productive forces of capitalism.

You seem to be wanting in the realm of reading comprehension. I have argued that feminism is a vile and backward ideology that ultimately serves the status quo. Its historical role was to ideologically assist capitalism in the integration of women into the workforce, in the most callous and irresponsible manner imaginable. Feminism has not improved the status of women, let alone men; the technological progress of capitalism and the ingenuity of working men did.

Feminism is relevant to the communist struggle in the same way the end of the monarchy was. It's a step on the road to a classless society.

Nonsense. One could argue, as I have, that feminism manifested in the superstructure of society as the forces of production developed. In this sense, feminism reflected the sophistication of the productive forces as capitalism developed. By the same logic, one could also argue that the advertising industry, the Tea Party, reactionary nationalism, imperialism, eugenics, the Mafia, gangster rap, drug addiction, pornography, radical Islam, Zionism, and even the New Age movement all have some relationship to the productive activities of mankind under the capitalist mode of production. Does this mean that Marxists should embrace every excretion of the system?

How exactly is feminism analogous to feudalism (granting, for a moment, that it is meaningful to compare an ideology to a mode of production), particularly in the vulgar manner that you presented ("stepping stone on the road to a classless society"—tsk tsk tsk)? It can be traced back to the burgeoning of capitalism, sure, but so can Keynesian economics, Nazism, the New Deal, and trade unionism. You are conflating the quest for material equality with a byproduct, arguably necessary, of capitalism's expansion. It is valuable that capitalism attained the necessary conditions to attenuate restrictive gender roles, but we can do without the ideology that arose in response. As Eleanor Marx eloquently informed her audience, working men and women must unite under the banner of socialism, as this is the only path toward eliminating the adverse conditions of the working class.

If you are going to respond, it better be a superior display than this. As much as I welcome activity on the forum, I have neither the time nor the will to respond to this level of rubbish. I am a busy man.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:55 pm

I was going to write out a long response, but I don't feel like this conversation really merits it. Your snobbery and contempt for "manginas" makes a reasonable dialogue pretty much impossible, and like you, I'm not a huge fan of wasting my time. The final straw for me was when you tried to play to the sensibilities of the forum by noting that I cited a "reactionary" source, when you cited MRM reactionaries and "Catholic Education." Turning the crowd against the "evil racist" is a tactic which usually succeeds, so I see why you went there.

I think you're throwing out the baby of feminist analysis with the bathwater of liberalism. I think you ignore that the end of gender roles would benefit men as well as women.

The one point you made, which I think is worth addressing, is the point that, in a nutshell, "just because feminism came from capitalism doesn't mean we should support it." This is a strawman. What I actually said was that it broke down barriers within the working class on the basis of sex, and that this furthers the interests of the working class. In addition, your position that it is "valuable that capitalism attained the necessary conditions to attenuate restrictive gender roles," is based on what, exactly? It sounds to me like it's based on a notion of Marxist Feminism. Feminism is broadly defined as the belief that the genders should be equal. That's why I identify as a feminist.

My position is fairly simple: Restrictive gender roles are damaging, and the ways in which they are damaging and why we should do away with them are issues which are best addressed by feminist philosophers. In terms of how we should do away with them, Marxists are correct in that we need to change the mode of production to a communist one.

The MRM is a reactionary movement which is too focused on fighting the feminists to actually accomplish any of its stated goals; it's less about men and more about feminism. Most if not all of the problems of men are blamed on feminism and "manginas." Feminist analysis is a tool against capitalism, which can be framed in a Marxist context, as Marxist Feminists prove. The MRM, in contrast, is not redeemable. Any of its good aspects are contained within feminism, and it proposes no solutions beyond just "destroying feminism."

I advocate for gender equality from a Marxist perspective. I am a feminist. I am a Marxist. All of the beliefs you ascribe to feminists about some ahistorical patriarchy which exists regardless of the material organization of society don't apply to me. If that makes me not a feminist in your eyes, fine. I really don't care.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Leon Mcnichol on Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:17 pm

It has been fascinating to read both sides on this debate, and i believe that cogarian888 and Rev agree with more than what both think on this issue  Smile 

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:26 pm

You're probably right.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by HomelessArtist on Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:15 pm

cogarian888 wrote:I think you ignore that the end of gender roles would benefit men as well as women.

How?

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:57 am

The question is too vague. How does he ignore it, or how would it benefit both sexes?
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by HomelessArtist on Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:55 pm

The last thing.
Explain how ending gender roles will benefit men and women.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:17 pm

cogarian888 wrote:Your snobbery and contempt for "manginas" makes a reasonable dialogue pretty much impossible.

Manginas? It should have been evident that I used the term facetiously. My previous interlocutors were sensible enough not to take affront. While I do harbor a certain amount of disdain for such men, the more appropriate description would be that I pity the poor devils, many of whom were probably raised by single mothers.

I have been engaged in a perfectly reasonable dialogue thus far.

The final straw for me was when you tried to play to the sensibilities of the forum by noting that I cited a "reactionary" source, when you cited MRM reactionaries and "Catholic Education."

I was hoping that you would not be petty and indicate the article I linked, but alas.

There are some differences between our cases. For one, mine was a research paper by a professional in the field, and it simply happened to be available in full text on a religious, admittedly anti-homosexual, website. The content of the paper itself is strongly supported, particularly for the purpose I cited it, though by no means do I commit myself to any of its claims. I even followed it up with another article by a neutral organization precisely to avoid having my statement dismissed offhandedly, albeit wrongly, on the grounds of referencing a "reactionary" source. In fact, here is another paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine that basically acknowledges the point in question. Most of this information is supported by the findings of the CDC and other well-respected health institutes—that women who have sex with women exclusively appear to represent a vanishingly small category. It is not my concern that so-called "gold star" lesbians seem to be among the rarest creatures on the planet.

You, on the other hand, nonchalantly referred us to an article on a website whose nature clearly establishes its objective to diminish the hideousness of American slavery.

Turning the crowd against the "evil racist" is a tactic which usually succeeds, so I see why you went there.

We have been completely tolerant of your views on this forum. There is no need for melodrama.

The one point you made, which I think is worth addressing, is the point that, in a nutshell, "just because feminism came from capitalism doesn't mean we should support it." This is a strawman. What I actually said was that it broke down barriers within the working class on the basis of sex, and that this furthers the interests of the working class.

From the beginning, I have maintained that feminism did not liberate women, that it did not significantly mitigate gender roles, and that it is not in the interests of the working class. Technology and men, under the productive relations of bourgeois society (the Soviet Union and other socialist states notwithstanding), gradually eliminated the imperative for a strict division of labor between men and women, not feminism. As I have explained, this occurred for three primary reasons: the production of cheap contraceptives and safer abortion methods, the proliferation of household appliances that compressed the amount of socially necessary labor time required to reproduce the working class household at the socially accepted level (Michael Perelman scrutinized this process in fascinating detail in The Invention of Capitalism, though he interpreted it according to his broader conception of primitive accumulation), and the introduction of computerized automation that both simplified the labor process across many industries and expanded the number of service sector jobs, which were more suitable to women. Indeed, a better case could be made that the rebelliousness toward gender norms of rock n' roll music, gay liberation, and capitalism's quest to mold the "perfect" consumer provided the impetus behind the dissolution of certain cultural gender barriers than the feminist movement.

In addition, your position that it is "valuable that capitalism attained the necessary conditions to attenuate restrictive gender roles," is based on what, exactly?

My commitment to the egalitarian potential of communism.

It sounds to me like it's based on a notion of Marxist Feminism. Feminism is broadly defined as the belief that the genders should be equal. That's why I identify as a feminist.

"Marxist" feminism is a confused segment of feminism that can only serve to debase Marxism proper if granted the opportunity, hence the use of "Marxist" as an adjective to arbitrarily color existing feminist dogma. Feminist theories of patriarchy (or male domination) are simply incompatible with Marxist class theory. There is no getting around this save for some tortuous mental maneuvering on the part of the "Marxists" in question. To the extent that Marxian socioanalysis is employed to examine the historical gendered division of labor or the evolving relationship between men and women under capitalist relations of production, the "feminism" becomes a redundant component. If that is one's aim, why frame it through a lens that emphasizes the situation of women and not of men rather than a comprehensive analysis of the dialectical forces involved? I fail to see how the feminist theoretical corpus can assist in any way toward such an end, and the retention of the term "feminism" can then only be construed as empty symbolism.

I reject the notion that feminism entails equality between the sexes. This is the sanitized, ultimately meaningless, definition of the term, and I will not be bogged down by bickering over semantics. Feminism is an ideology and a political movement, and over the decades of its existence, it has accumulated a body of theoretical work that percolates the movement. Feminism has come to represent self-entitled, disgruntled women who elevate what are deemed "women's issues" over legitimate problems faced by men, who focus on gender inequality almost solely from the perspective of women (sometimes, though rarely in practice, this extends to other approved victim groups), and whose political character is seeped to the core in anti-male sentiments.

Far from promoting unity within the working class by "breaking down barriers on the basis of sex," feminism has erected them by filling women and men with deep-rooted resentment toward each other, the former with its false patriarchal narratives and one-dimensional gender critiques, and the ensuing self-righteous sense of entitlement, and the latter with the understandable negative emotions that arise in response to such an unrelenting, disorienting criticism of one's fundamental identity. A survey of the social landscape reveals that male-female relations are at an all time low in Western societies. Especially now, in the wake of decades of Western capitalism's flirtation with feminism, when real wages for men have declined, when men have slowly lost their place in the family and workplace without any recourse, and after capitalism's most severe crisis since the Great Depression has disproportionally impacted men, it is utterly irresponsible—nay, contemptible—for activists to abide a movement that views working men as the root of female inequality or as beneficiaries of oppressive institutions.

My position is fairly simple: Restrictive gender roles are damaging, and the ways in which they are damaging and why we should do away with them are issues which are best addressed by feminist philosophers. In terms of how we should do away with them, Marxists are correct in that we need to change the mode of production to a communist one.

Allow me to understand properly: though Marxists are entirely capable of discerning genuine gender inequality and offering the correct course of action, it should be left to feminist philosophers (which feminists? aside from its anti-male core, the movement is inchoate and contentious) to confront the issue? How have feminist "philosophers" fared thus far? What are their useful contributions to the working class movement? Marxists have been grappling with the "woman question" long before the advent of the pathetic ideology known as feminism, in a tradition that extends from Engels and August Bebel to the likes of Eleanor Marx, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Alexandra Kollontai, Lindsey German, and many others. Feminism need not apply.

If your definition of feminism is simply acknowledging that males and females should be socially equal, then I am indeed a feminist, as are most individuals in the global north and elsewhere. By this definition, one may even call me a feminist philosopher. But this is a meaningless treatment of the subject.

The MRM is a reactionary movement which is too focused on fighting the feminists to actually accomplish any of its stated goals; it's less about men and more about feminism. Most if not all of the problems of men are blamed on feminism and "manginas."

If the MRM is a reactionary movement, then feminism surely qualifies. The MRM represents for men what feminism has pronounced to do for women and failed to do for men. To the extent that it is a response to feminism, that is completely understandable. There is nothing inherently reactionary about criticizing the excesses of feminism, feminist myths, and feminist discourse. Many of the problems that the men's movement has identified for men are legitimate issues, worth addressing—I will not enumerate them; the responsible reader should investigate for himself. Certainly, the concerns of the MRM have a much firmer basis in reality than vague cultural criticisms tied to male privilege and an unyielding perception of female victimhood. Are there reactionaries who are attracted to the MRM? Of course, this is inevitably the case, but you'll agree that the same is true of feminism, especially in the form of radfem.

However, it is precisely because of this similarity with feminism (as a dialectical relationship) that I reject the MRM.

Feminist analysis is a tool against capitalism,

Surely, you will admit that the truly anti-capitalist tendencies of feminism have played a marginal role in the movement's history, and none have generated anything that surpasses the Marxist, including classical, analysis on the matter.

which can be framed in a Marxist context, as Marxist Feminists prove.

Self-described "Marxist" feminists have proved appallingly little. To the degree that salient and valuable analyses have been produced by this obscure clique, it is transparent that the actual "feminist" contribution (i.e., the theoretical insights and methods emerging from the feminist movement) was negligible, and they reduce to Marxist examinations loosely fitted in feminist garb.

I advocate for gender equality from a Marxist perspective. I am a feminist. I am a Marxist. All of the beliefs you ascribe to feminists about some ahistorical patriarchy which exists regardless of the material organization of society don't apply to me. If that makes me not a feminist in your eyes, fine. I really don't care.

That's nice.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by CherryBomb on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:35 am

I agree with the OP, great analysis. Feminism today is not only useless but an obstacle in the struggle for revolutionary socialism. I largely believe feminism (in the Global North at least) has achieved its goals. Women can participate in politics and the workforce? (At least as much as it is possible to do so in a capitalist society) Yes? Then job done. By the most broadest definition, everyone today is a feminist. It seems like nowadays, however, feminism is just about trumpeting the "1%" of women who "break the glass ceiling" and become part of the bourgeoisie. Obviously, bourgeois feminism does not benefit the vast majority of women (or men).

This is even without tackling the gender/radical feminists, they have absolutely nothing to offer except deranged tracts like the "SCUM Manifesto", written by a paranoid schizophrenic and attempted murderer, which has been praised by a large number of feminists even today.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:02 pm

Rev Scare wrote:
Manginas? It should have been evident that I used the term facetiously. My previous interlocutors were sensible enough not to take affront. While I do harbor a certain amount of disdain for such men, the more appropriate description would be that I pity the poor devils, many of whom were probably raised by single mothers.

I have been engaged in a perfectly reasonable dialogue thus far.

Perhaps "reasonable" is a poor word choice. The conversation won't be very productive, regardless of either of our abilities to remain reasonable. Your word choice of "sycophant" is also telling of your disdain for male feminists.

Do divorced parents with shared custody count? Hm.

Rev Scare wrote:I was hoping that you would not be petty and indicate the article I linked, but alas.

Who brought this up first again?

Rev Scare wrote:There are some differences between our cases...

We both cited a biased source which was citing a scholarly source; I was less concerned with the accuracy of what you cited than with the fact that you chose to make an issue of my citing of reactionaries when you did the same exact thing. It's hypocritical and pointless.

Rev Scare wrote:You, on the other hand, nonchalantly referred us to an article on a website whose nature clearly establishes its objective to diminish the hideousness of American slavery.

As opposed to a website whose nature clearly establishes its objective is to defame homosexuals? Again, this isn't about the accuracy of your source, but about your hypocrisy.


Rev Scare wrote:We have been completely tolerant of your views on this forum. There is no need for melodrama.

"Tolerant" =!= "supportive of." I wasn't claiming the site hasn't been tolerant of my views, I was just noting your attempt to poison the well by references to my unpopular views.


Rev Scare wrote:From the beginning, I have maintained that feminism did not liberate women, that it did not significantly mitigate gender roles, and that it is not in the interests of the working class. Technology and men, under the productive relations of bourgeois society (the Soviet Union and other socialist states notwithstanding), gradually eliminated the imperative for a strict division of labor between men and women, not feminism. As I have explained, this occurred for three primary reasons: the production of cheap contraceptives and safer abortion methods, the proliferation of household appliances that compressed the amount of socially necessary labor time required to reproduce the working class household at the socially accepted level (Michael Perelman scrutinized this process in fascinating detail in The Invention of Capitalism, though he interpreted it according to his broader conception of primitive accumulation), and the introduction of computerized automation that both simplified the labor process across many industries and expanded the number of service sector jobs, which were more suitable to women. Indeed, a better case could be made that the rebelliousness toward gender norms of rock n' roll music, gay liberation, and capitalism's quest to mold the "perfect" consumer provided the impetus behind the dissolution of certain cultural gender barriers than the feminist movement.

I don't understand why you fail to understand that political developments like feminism don't happen in a vacuum, and that these changes you mention worked to make feminism viable. Feminism was a political movement dedicated to moving society in a direction more congruent with these technological and economic developments. For example, "the production of cheap contraceptives and safer abortion methods," finds its analogues in fighting for the rights of women to get abortions and access to contraception, by supporting Planned Parenthood and such against reactionaries. Or in fighting against reactionary notions of women's place being in the home, etc.


Rev Scare wrote:Feminist theories of patriarchy (or male domination) are simply incompatible with Marxist class theory. There is no getting around this save for some tortuous mental maneuvering on the part of the "Marxists" in question. To the extent that Marxian socioanalysis is employed to examine the historical gendered division of labor or the evolving relationship between men and women under capitalist relations of production, the "feminism" becomes a redundant component.

I fail to see how. As you've said, feminism also encompasses a political movement and a collection of theoretical works. Recognizing the value of these political aims and theoretical contributions isn't a mark against one's Marxism, nor is recognizing the value of Marxism a mark against one's feminism.

Your position essentially sets up a retarded dichotomy of either, "Incompatible with Marxism, and hence wrong, or redundant." Such a position makes Marxism worthless, and you might as well just call your position "Truthism." Either it's contained within the Truthist framework, or it's wrong. The fact that feminist understandings can be synthesized with and fit within a Marxist framework doesn't undermine them.

Rev Scare wrote:If that is one's aim, why frame it through a lens that emphasizes the situation of women and not of men rather than a comprehensive analysis of the dialectical forces involved? I fail to see how the feminist theoretical corpus can assist in any way toward such an end, and the retention of the term "feminism" can then only be construed as empty symbolism.

I mean, I reject that feminism does this. If you're that focused on the name than the actual content of the political ideology then I think you're grasping at straws. I already explained this: feminism developed in the context of a patriarchal society, hence the name. Feminists argue patriarchy is damaging to men as well, thus there is no neglect. Pretty much every single MRA complaint can be explained by reference to patriarchal gender roles. People ignore male rape? It's because men are supposed to be strong, and women weak, thus women cannot rape men, and men that get raped by men aren't worthy of sympathy. Male health problems? Seeking (medical) help is for the weak, and is thus unmanly, and so on. Feminists have never denied any of this.


Rev Scare wrote:Feminism has come to represent self-entitled, disgruntled women who elevate what are deemed "women's issues" over legitimate problems faced by men, who focus on gender inequality almost solely from the perspective of women (sometimes, though rarely in practice, this extends to other approved victim groups), and whose political character is seeped to the core in anti-male sentiments.

Like what? This is also a false dichotomy, so whatever. Women's issues are men's issues.

Rev Scare wrote:Far from promoting unity within the working class by "breaking down barriers on the basis of sex," feminism has erected them by filling women and men with deep-rooted resentment toward each other, the former with its false patriarchal narratives and one-dimensional gender critiques, and the ensuing self-righteous sense of entitlement, and the latter with the understandable negative emotions that arise in response to such an unrelenting, disorienting criticism of one's fundamental identity.

This is just ass. Do you think feminism evolved in a vacuum, super-duper Marxoid? Society pits men and women against each other because it pits proletarians against each other in their race to the bottom. Feminism is a political movement which is dedicated to smashing the barriers between men and women. Reactionaries try to capitalize on the conflict between men and women by claiming that feminism erects these barriers and proclaims men to be "the bad guys," but this strategy only works because of this gulf in the first place. Of course, they can never point to a single concrete example of feminists turning women against men.

Rev Scare wrote:A survey of the social landscape reveals that male-female relations are at an all time low in Western societies. Especially now, in the wake of decades of Western capitalism's flirtation with feminism, when real wages for men have declined, when men have slowly lost their place in the family and workplace without any recourse, and after capitalism's most severe crisis since the Great Depression has disproportionally impacted men, it is utterly irresponsible—nay, contemptible—for activists to abide a movement that views working men as the root of female inequality or as beneficiaries of oppressive institutions.

Odd. I thought all these developments were because of Capitalism and technological development, and that feminism has done absolutely nothing. I guess you're backing down from that, huh?

In any case, I've never seen feminists blame "working men" for the problems facing women. Not once. I've also seen feminists point out that women enforce patriarchal standards as well. There's no blanket blaming of either gender here.


Rev Scare wrote:Allow me to understand properly: though Marxists are entirely capable of discerning genuine gender inequality and offering the correct course of action, it should be left to feminist philosophers (which feminists? aside from its anti-male core, the movement is inchoate and contentious) to confront the issue?

I find Simone de Beauvoir to be interesting and useful.


Rev Scare wrote:How have feminist "philosophers" fared thus far? What are their useful contributions to the working class movement? Marxists have been grappling with the "woman question" long before the advent of the pathetic ideology known as feminism, in a tradition that extends from Engels and August Bebel to the likes of Eleanor Marx, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Alexandra Kollontai, Lindsey German, and many others. Feminism need not apply.

The critique of Patriarchy Theory you referenced doesn't even deny the injustices which feminists claim exist. Rather, it claims that material relations are the root of it. So? I don't deny this. In fact, the person she argues against, Heidi Hartmann, was critiquing Marxist Feminists who claimed patriarchy was the result of the material relations of society, so poo.

Rev Scare wrote:If the MRM is a reactionary movement, then feminism surely qualifies.

No. Feminism was an ideological development which was pushing society in a direction more congruent with its underlying material base. It was also progressive in the sense that legal equality is a precursor to communism, as is the breakdown of society into two warring classes.

Rev Scare wrote:The MRM represents for men what feminism has pronounced to do for women and failed to do for men.

The MRM represents the understanding that the current society is harmful to men, but it's also a reaction to feminism. Unlike feminism, it doesn't even get what is actually a problem for men. It'll point to things like male disposability, but it'll blame feminism for this. Feminism actually gets what the problem is, but a Marxist analysis of how the problem came about is, in my opinion, the best.
Rev Scare wrote:To the extent that it is a response to feminism, that is completely understandable. There is nothing inherently reactionary about criticizing the excesses of feminism, feminist myths, and feminist discourse. Many of the problems that the men's movement has identified for men are legitimate issues, worth addressing—I will not enumerate them; the responsible reader should investigate for himself.

It is reactionary because it blames the problems men face on feminism and progress. It advocates for the destruction of feminism, which wouldn't solve any of the issues it claims to care about, and it would only set back the struggle for a society which solves these problems.

Rev Scare wrote:Certainly, the concerns of the MRM have a much firmer basis in reality than vague cultural criticisms tied to male privilege and an unyielding perception of female victimhood.

Yeah, like the idea that women are manipulative cunts who have replaced THE FAMILY with THE STATE so they can do whatever they want. Women also love to jack sperm and collect welfare benefits and child support, the cunts. Women are also out to get men with their false rape accusations, which happen all the time, and legitimate rape rarely happens! Also, rape culture don't real.

Rev Scare wrote:Are there reactionaries who are attracted to the MRM? Of course, this is inevitably the case, but you'll agree that the same is true of feminism, especially in the form of radfem.

Sure. You even get reactionaries within the communist movement, like tankies.

Rev Scare wrote:Surely, you will admit that the truly anti-capitalist tendencies of feminism have played a marginal role in the movement's history, and none have generated anything that surpasses the Marxist, including classical, analysis on the matter.

The same can be said for people who agitated to end racial segregation, right? Does that mean that we should've opposed those movements? I don't get you.

Rev Scare wrote:Self-described "Marxist" feminists have proved appallingly little. To the degree that salient and valuable analyses have been produced by this obscure clique, it is transparent that the actual "feminist" contribution (i.e., the theoretical insights and methods emerging from the feminist movement) was negligible, and they reduce to Marxist examinations loosely fitted in feminist garb.

I imagine this is a result of your framing everything as either "feminist" or "Marxist," and ignoring that there can be considerable overlap between the two. It's not an either/or, which was my point in the first place.


Last edited by cogarian888 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:07 pm

HomelessArtist wrote:The last thing.
Explain how ending gender roles will benefit men and women.

There is great variability within the genders, and not every man or woman will fit the role which has been put forward, for one.

For two, these roles have harmful effects in themselves. Like, as I mentioned before, the idea that men can't be raped, or that they deserve it. Or that women who get raped are to blame for it because they were not being careful around men who just can't control themselves.

In a nutshell.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:12 am

cogarian888 wrote:Perhaps "reasonable" is a poor word choice. The conversation won't be very productive, regardless of either of our abilities to remain reasonable.

If you have such pessimism for the potential of our exchange, then by all means, opt out of it. It will not deter me from annihilating you, but at least it shall expedite your inevitable defeat.

Do divorced parents with shared custody count? Hm.

Yes. Provided you are referring to your own situation, the misfortune of your family is lamentable. It would not surprise me to learn that it was your mother who initiated the divorce proceedings, since women file for the vast majority of divorces in the United States, but the same is true in the UK, and I imagine it could also be said of other countries.

We both cited a biased source which was citing a scholarly source; I was less concerned with the accuracy of what you cited than with the fact that you chose to make an issue of my citing of reactionaries when you did the same exact thing. It's hypocritical and pointless.

It was merely an observation on my part, pal. Don't get your little panties in such a twist about it.

"Tolerant" =!= "supportive of." I wasn't claiming the site hasn't been tolerant of my views, I was just noting your attempt to poison the well by references to my unpopular views.

Which is all that you can reasonably expect. No one is obligated to be "supportive of" another individual's views under any circumstances.

Whether or not that could be interpreted as poisoning the well is arguable, since it was not truly preemptive, and it is difficult to see how it might have impacted the perception of others toward your arguments on the topic at hand, not the tangential subjects of slavery and race. Even if it were an attempt to poison the well, unless you can demonstrate that it was a logical fallacy on my part, it is not my concern. My efforts here are as much rhetorical as they are discursive. I do not conceal the fact that I make every effort to persuade readers to my point of view, though with integrity. This enlists the aid of ethos, pathos, and logos.

I don't understand why you fail to understand that political developments like feminism don't happen in a vacuum, and that these changes you mention worked to make feminism viable. Feminism was a political movement dedicated to moving society in a direction more congruent with these technological and economic developments. For example, "the production of cheap contraceptives and safer abortion methods," finds its analogues in fighting for the rights of women to get abortions and access to contraception, by supporting Planned Parenthood and such against reactionaries. Or in fighting against reactionary notions of women's place being in the home, etc.

Once again, you are expanding the definition of feminism to a meaningless extent. One need not be a feminist to advocate equality of social conditions for women, or rather all people, as communists do. This was a standard item on the revolutionary socialist platform long before feminism (simply read the relevant chapters in the Manifesto again), with its gendered identity politics. Feminism is an ideology and political movement that explains present social arrangements as patriarchal and fundamentally oppressive to women, and on this basis, it seeks to redress the female gender inequality it claims to identify in society. This is based on a false premise of male power. By focusing upon formal equality for women, you are rendering your dedication to feminism more vulnerable than it already is, for then the continued necessity of feminism in the modern world truly comes into question, as women in the global north already possess equal rights. Is this equality of inequality the best feminism could offer? If you continue to equate feminism with bourgeois equality, then you are collapsing your own argument, since bourgeois equality has already been realized for a long time.

I do not find it surprising that you continue to vacillate between what has been termed "equity feminism" and "gender feminism" by the most reasonable feminist I am aware of, Christina Hoff Summers, since even the blogosphere's favorite Feminist FAQ seems to struggle with articulating what feminism truly stands for. The unifying theme seems to be a dedication to excising vague gender expectations for women, whatever concrete form they may take, according to feminists, and presumably originating from the patriarchal chains in society, be they visible or not. To simplify this issue for us in the future, I will simply refer you to that FAQ as an outline for what defines feminism. It can broadly serve as the prototype for my critique of feminism.

The reason feminism has gained wide cultural currency is simple: it served capitalism's imperative for accumulation. By providing a convenient ideological veil of ostensible meritocracy, feminism allowed capital to avail itself of an influx of cheap labor, thereby further undermining the political strength of the working class. However the feminist movement has mythologized itself, and whatever subjective purpose individual feminists believed to have stood for, the inescapable truth is that feminism was always a response to the evolving demands of capital accumulation.

In comparison to the material improvements in women's lives that the productive activity of men made possible, the political role of feminism, guided as it was by ruling class interests, was inconsequential. Moreover, it is not at all clear to me that feminism provided the political thrust behind any of the issues you've raised outside of its ideological role for capital. For example, the question of public access to contraception existed in the public discourse long before feminism, most famously popularized by Margaret Sanger, and abortion is challenged primarily by the religious right and others who are morally opposed to terminating potential human life—it is only related to feminism by the fact that women are biologically capable of giving birth and not men, thus not on principle, and consistent classical liberals would decry such state intrusion on a woman's individual rights as any feminist.

I fail to see how. As you've said, feminism also encompasses a political movement and a collection of theoretical works. Recognizing the value of these political aims and theoretical contributions isn't a mark against one's Marxism, nor is recognizing the value of Marxism a mark against one's feminism.

Patriarchy theory, feminism's most significant theoretical framework, is incompatible with Marxist class analysis because it has no firm basis in material reality. Recall that the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles, not gender struggles. Gender roles arise on the basis of the productive activity of mankind, not as an imposition upon women by men. Historically, both men and women occupied different class positions in relatively equal proportions (females were equally represented in the ruling class), and the gendered division of labor does not permit claims that one sex was dominated by the other, as both clearly faced disadvantages that counterbalanced any advantages accruing to them. Even if it could be argued that men were historically privileged in comparison to women or continue to be so, feminism does not offer us any novel insights or solutions. Furthermore, even if I were to tentatively concede that men as a "class" wielded greater formal power than women, there would be little value in referring to it in terms of a struggle between sexes instead of what it truly was: reflective of an underlying class struggle and material circumstances.

Gender roles change due to alterations in the mode of production, and whatever meaningful gender disparity remains in late capitalism can only be fully overcome under communism. Since communism could not and would not discriminate arbitrarily, there is no need to embrace an ideology that concerns itself exclusively with the imaginary plight of women, that espouses false theories of history, and that drives a wedge between working class men and women by representing the class struggle in terms of gender struggle.

What aspect of that eludes your comprehension?

Your position essentially sets up a retarded dichotomy of either, "Incompatible with Marxism, and hence wrong, or redundant." Such a position makes Marxism worthless, and you might as well just call your position "Truthism." Either it's contained within the Truthist framework, or it's wrong. The fact that feminist understandings can be synthesized with and fit within a Marxist framework doesn't undermine them.

You can strike down straw men with ease, but you are neglecting my actual argument.

I mean, I reject that feminism does this. If you're that focused on the name than the actual content of the political ideology then I think you're grasping at straws.

I have been focused upon the political ideology of feminism for the duration of my presence in this thread.

I already explained this: feminism developed in the context of a patriarchal society, hence the name.

A patriarchal society that you have yet to demonstrate existed. Even if that were true, revolutionary socialists need not accept feminist ideology when only scientific socialism and revolution are the answers to the "woman question."

You are further proving my point: feminism was always simply a reaction to changes in the productive forces, and though it subjectively defined itself as challenging a fictitious patriarchy, it was objectively serving the interests of capital.

Feminists argue patriarchy is damaging to men as well, thus there is no neglect.

Such asinine conclusions are the reason why I cannot take feminism seriously. We are expected to believe, without sufficient explanation, that patriarchy prevails in all of our dominant institutions (as a fundamental social arrangement), privileging men and oppressing women, yet men are also damaged by patriarchy and have an interest in its abolition (except when feminists argue otherwise, of course). Every other ruling class in history has sought to preserve its power, yet this patriarchy that so thoroughly haunts the minds of feminists constantly contradicts its own rule, and not in a dialectical fashion, wherein processes that are necessary for yet destructive of a phenomenon coexist in an unstable union, but in an utter absurdity that insults all of our intelligence.

It contradicts itself by granting women the same basic rights as men and the same basic opportunities, so that men can be displaced in education and the workplace, and feminist academics can profess their half-baked ideas openly and with an aura of dignity. While the subjugated group is truly oppressed, the members of the ruling patriarchy die earlier, commit suicide at much higher rates, experience homelessness more frequently and in greater numbers, perform the most onerous work in society, consume less of the social product (women drive consumption by a large margin, even if we account for the fact that much of it must pertain to simply reproducing the household, as evidenced by numerous statistics), face an uphill battle in custody trials, are incarcerated longer for the same crimes, are compelled to die in their own wars of plunder, and depict themselves less favorably in culture. As if this were not baffling enough, this patriarchy has inculcated its members with certain self-sacrificial attitudes toward the opposite sex. It seems you are correct after all: patriarchy truly is damaging to men!

Pretty much every single MRA complaint can be explained by reference to patriarchal gender roles. People ignore male rape? It's because men are supposed to be strong, and women weak, thus women cannot rape men, and men that get raped by men aren't worthy of sympathy. Male health problems? Seeking (medical) help is for the weak, and is thus unmanly, and so on. Feminists have never denied any of this.

This is probably the most ridiculous aspect of feminism. I hope you realize that it is almost impossible to falsify such a worldview. Much like conspiracy theories in general, this presentation of patriarchy can be twisted to explain anything. Any privileges that women enjoy are actually shackles manufactured by the patriarchy, and any disadvantages men face are, paradoxically, consequences of their male privilege under patriarchy. It is totally inane, idealist twaddle. If you seriously intend to utilize such arguments, then we should discontinue any further discussion posthaste, as that tactic is nothing more than a pathetic exploit to circumvent an earnest engagement of the subject.

Such a perspective denies female agency and portrays men as permanent actors (not to mention its callous dismissal of male concerns) for all of history. This is the odious cult of victimhood I've described earlier and you rejected. If I were to counter that the burden upon men to be expendable in the service of society was actually a form of female privilege, especially considering that women possessed far greater influence regarding the socialization of children, you would respond with the absurd tautology that this was an imposition by patriarchy, without offering any justification save for that it confirms what you've already assumed—that men are beneficiaries of "patriarchy" and women its victims, although men are also victims in a roundabout way. It has no explanatory power whatsoever, and the logic can easily be applied in reverse: women are disadvantaged as a consequence of the privileges they enjoy, such as being regarded the "fairer" sex as part of matriarchy, under which men toil as disposable utilities to sustain women and children. To this, a seasoned feminist could retort that the "fair sex" myth is also a form of patriarchal domination, since it confined women to their role (while ignoring the accompanying privileges women enjoyed in exchange and the fact that men were also restricted to their role, except to smuggle it in later when making the case that patriarchy harms men as well), thus continuing to pass off intellectual dishonesty as a profound insight into gender roles.

Truthism, indeed!

This is also a false dichotomy, so whatever. Women's issues are men's issues.

Then why the need for a separate political movement for women? No feminist would accept this argument were it posed in reverse, so spare us all this nonsense.  Rolling Eyes 

This is just ass. Do you think feminism evolved in a vacuum, super-duper Marxoid? Society pits men and women against each other because it pits proletarians against each other in their race to the bottom. Feminism is a political movement which is dedicated to smashing the barriers between men and women. Reactionaries try to capitalize on the conflict between men and women by claiming that feminism erects these barriers and proclaims men to be "the bad guys," but this strategy only works because of this gulf in the first place. Of course, they can never point to a single concrete example of feminists turning women against men.

Nowhere have I argued that feminism evolved in a vacuum. On the contrary, I've been quite explicit about the interrelationship between the productive base of society and feminism's ideological function. You have proven yourself to be adept at regurgitating feminist talking points, but that is all you are doing. The above is not even a serious reply to my claim that feminism has erected barriers between men and women, not abolished them. Feminism, with its prevailing theories, did little but pit women against men.

I truly could not care less for this idealist gender struggle in any case, and I do not view gender to be inherently harmful. Once more, the only real divisions that existed between men and women were overturned by working class men over the course of capitalist development. To argue that women suffered some deep injustice on account of their historically confined roles without acknowledging that men were equally constrained (not because they were slaves to their own fanciful privileges but material realities) is utter hypocrisy, and it is also pointless. It is as senseless as complaining that the men and women of ancient Greece never enjoyed the fruits of the World Wide Web. Women were restricted to their positions out of material necessity, and the same is true for men. We can both cross-examine silly privilege checklists, though I assure the reader that mine would be more compelling, but whining about whose lot was worse is juvenile.

Odd. I thought all these developments were because of Capitalism and technological development, and that feminism has done absolutely nothing. I guess you're backing down from that, huh?

I do not grasp the relevance of your comment here. They were the result of capitalism. Feminism serves as an ideological weapon of capital, but it has also woefully inundated the left with its pernicious influence, thereby existing as an impediment for working class movements from within and without.

In any case, I've never seen feminists blame "working men" for the problems facing women. Not once. I've also seen feminists point out that women enforce patriarchal standards as well. There's no blanket blaming of either gender here.

I grow tired of your persistent "not all feminists are like that" style of argument. Anti-feminist Karen Straughan, previously known on Youtube as GirlWritesWhat, did a fine job dismantling it.



When feminists criticize patriarchy, they are criticizing men as a class, just as we criticize capitalists as a class. It is tantamount to arguing that working class men, rather than the class system of capitalism, are a class enemy of working class women.

I find Simone de Beauvoir to be interesting and useful.

What is useful about her work, and was she even a Marxist?

The critique of Patriarchy Theory you referenced doesn't even deny the injustices which feminists claim exist. Rather, it claims that material relations are the root of it. So? I don't deny this. In fact, the person she argues against, Heidi Hartmann, was critiquing Marxist Feminists who claimed patriarchy was the result of the material relations of society, so poo.

In the article, Lindsey German explicitly repudiates patriarchy theory, casting it off as idealist and ahistorical. She argues that men are not the exploiters of women, that the restrictive but changing structure of the family was determined by the mode of production, not patriarchy, and that whatever "oppression" (this is her word, not mine) women faced historically cannot be explained using the dominant feminist theories. The brunt of her analysis dovetails with my arguments against feminism, even if I do not necessarily agree with all of her conclusions.

No. Feminism was an ideological development which was pushing society in a direction more congruent with its underlying material base. It was also progressive in the sense that legal equality is a precursor to communism, as is the breakdown of society into two warring classes.

Many women and children worked for a wage long before feminism (read Engels' The Conditions of the Working Class in England or the poignant transcripts recording the testimonies of factory inspectors in Capital, Vol. I), and this occurred because many working class families had no choice but to send women and children off to work. In other words, the proletarianization of women in advanced capitalist countries began long before capital saw feminism as yet another opportunity to weaken the bargaining power of the working class. If anything, the concept of the male breadwinner, earning a "family wage," came into its own toward the end of the 19th century, right around the time a young Vladimir Lenin began criticizing the trade union consciousness and reformism that overcame the international working class struggle, thus paralyzing the movement. It was only bourgeois women who trumpeted "equality," since that would entail more privileges in addition to those they already enjoyed as parasitic elements on their capitalist husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons.

Western feminism emerged as a distinct ideology in the early 1960s (the so-called "second wave," as a purported successor to the proto-feminism of the suffragettes), and this followed the liberation women experienced as a consequence of working class (predominately male) industriousness and immense productivity gains from innovation (feminism itself did not provide this liberation; it was only a subjective, infantile reaction to it). Shortly thereafter, capital began to court feminism for two primary reasons: 1) to curb the rising male family wage, particularly in the United States, and further vitiate the strength of unions (the traditional focal point of organized labor), and 2) to portray bourgeois equality, under the guise of genuine meritocracy, as a legitimate alternative to revolution, thereby acting as a preventative measure against uncontrollable public discontent. The second reason applies to virtually every expression of identity politics, manifesting in such cultural obsessions as diversity campaigns and other feigned attempts at resolving systemic injustices.

The superior course of action for leftist parties is to smother identity politics and reorient themselves around class struggle, constructing a platform capable of galvanizing the working class into revolutionary action (particularly as prescribed by the Revolutionary Syndicalist Federation), and heralding a truly emancipatory society for the great preponderance of humanity.

The MRM represents the understanding that the current society is harmful to men, but it's also a reaction to feminism. Unlike feminism, it doesn't even get what is actually a problem for men. It'll point to things like male disposability, but it'll blame feminism for this. Feminism actually gets what the problem is, but a Marxist analysis of how the problem came about is, in my opinion, the best.

First of all, I feel the need to stress that I am not here to defend or promote the MRM. However, I will make three points with respect to your claims:

1) Yes, the MRM can be viewed as a response to feminism, but not exclusively as such. To the extent that it is, the argument is irrelevant. Critiquing the misinformation, one-sided politics, and theoretical deficiencies of the feminist movement, all of which harm men and boys, is a righteous endeavor—though limited for the reasons I have already explained.

2) Feminism is often sharply criticized for not addressing these issues sufficiently, but the MRM does not blame feminism for perpetuating gender roles for men, which is all beside the point regardless. Many men in the MRM are disgruntled because of the decline in living standards that men have experienced from the time women became their serious economic competitors in the labor market (which they apprehend subjectively in countless ways), and that development obviously coincided with the emergence of the feminist movement (since feminism was the ideological justification the system co-opted). Due to a lack of understanding the underlying economic causes of the present adverse condition of working class men, they fault feminism for being directly responsible. Feminism suffers from the same idealist shortcomings, but whereas the MRM is mostly concerned with problems that have a real material basis, the feminist movement continues to peddle vacuous gender politics, including such reputable displays as slut walks.

3) It is remarkable that you can accuse, with serious conviction, the MRM of redundancy in claiming that whatever redeeming features the movement possesses are encompassed by feminism, but you yourself have employed the vapid argument that male problems are a consequence of male privilege, which is simply a way of dismissing the concerns raised by opponents. By adopting such an outlook, feminists can excuse their unrelenting gender myopia on the grounds that feminism, in the abstract, also seeks to empower men—by concentrating exclusively on women's issues in practice, be they valid or merely frivolous grievances related to the female "experience." The men and women of the MRM believe, quite rightly, that feminism has failed males (and in many ways, females) while paying little more than lip service to equality.

It is reactionary because it blames the problems men face on feminism and progress. It advocates for the destruction of feminism, which wouldn't solve any of the issues it claims to care about, and it would only set back the struggle for a society which solves these problems.

Perhaps you can search through the comments sections of various MRA websites and find misguided but sincere individuals who espouse traditional gender roles or ardent reactionaries who wish to deny women rights, but the MRM is not at all premised on social regression to some pre-feminist status quo.

Yeah, like the idea that women are manipulative cunts who have replaced THE FAMILY with THE STATE so they can do whatever they want. Women also love to jack sperm and collect welfare benefits and child support, the cunts. Women are also out to get men with their false rape accusations, which happen all the time, and legitimate rape rarely happens!

Which prominent MRA organizations promote any of that on their platforms? But the reproductive and paternal rights of fathers is a legitimate topic, I would argue, though that would fall well beyond the scope of this thread.

Shall I quote some unmistakably misandric statements by famous feminists, none of which have, to my knowledge, ever received serious criticism from the broader feminist movement?

“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.
— Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor (my emphasis)

“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” — Valerie Solanas

"I’ve always wanted to see a man beaten to a shit bloody pulp with a high-heeled shoe stuffed up his mouth, sort of like the pig with the apple; it would be good to put him on a serving plate but you’d need good silver.” — Andrea Dworkin (from her fiction, but close enough to her real views, and what the fuck in either case?)

“Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” — Susan Brownmiller (my emphasis)

"The institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist." — Ti-Grace Atkinson (I actually find this little gem rather amusing.)

"And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual male, it may be mainly a quantitative difference." — Susan Griffin

“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart

“[Men who are falsely accused of rape] have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. ‘How do I see women?’ ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’ ‘Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?’ Those are good questions.” — Catherine Comins

"Feminist consciousness is consciousness of victimization . . . to be aware of an alien and hostile force outside of oneself . . . For some feminists, this hostile power is 'society,' or 'the system'; for others, it is simply men." — Sandra Bartky (my emphasis)

“All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” — Marilyn French's novel

"I feel what they feel: man-hating, that volatile admixture of pity, contempt, disgust, alienation, fear, and rage at men . . . for the men women share their lives with — husbands, brothers, sons, co-workers." — Judith Levine (my emphasis)

“Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” — Germaine Greer

These examples do not count, right? This is not what all feminists believe. Though these are some of the most recognized names in the feminist movement, many of them paid academics, they are merely unrepresentative extremists, yet imagine the rancorous furor and indignation that would descend upon an eminent male intellectual and associated institutions if he were to publicly express misogynistic attitudes. Rolling Eyes

Provide just one example of a prominent MRA leader whose public statements about women are even remotely comparable to the naked misandry above.

Also, rape culture don't real.

It isn't. Rape is, and has always been, considered a heinous crime. It is usually punished severely, and every individual of healthy conscience considers it a vile act. Even the oft-repeated feminist claim that rape jokes abound, which allegedly underscores the sheer extent of society's trivialization of rape, is completely unsubstantiated. When was the last time you heard a rape joke? I honestly do not recall any in my life, such is the taboo that exists. Actually, there is a single instance I remember, but it involves a man being raped in prison...

I imagine this is a result of your framing everything as either "feminist" or "Marxist," and ignoring that there can be considerable overlap between the two. It's not an either/or, which was my point in the first place.

This is the result of my logical efforts to demonstrate that feminist theory is incompatible with Marxist theory, but conveying this to a male gynocentrist is proving to be a difficult undertaking, as anticipated. There is simply very little overlap between the two. Either there are ruling classes and servant classes that are united through social and technical relations of production, or there is a patriarchy that follows its own laws of motion, hitherto unexplored. An attempt to graft patriarchy onto Marxist class theory is absolutely unacceptable, and dual power systems theories are completely out of step with historical materialism. Simply put, Marxists can examine the gendered division of labor without feminism's ideological baggage.


Last edited by Rev Scare on Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:43 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Celtiberian on Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:29 pm

This is a subject for which I possess little interest, so I do not have much to contribute to the debate between Rev Scare and cogarian888. I will, however, mention that I agree with Rev Scare insofar as the chief objectives of any sensible form of feminism (e.g., equality of opportunity) are already contained within the egalitarian foundation of communism, thereby rendering the former of dubious currency.

Women have historically faced unique forms of discrimination owing to material conditions and reactionary religious dogmas. Both have since abated, although remnants persist. Patriarchy theory has, of course, always been utter twaddle, but instances of sexism do occur and have significant consequences for the women who experience them. Empirical research has also revealed that Western cultural mores exert a subtle pressure which results in fewer women being represented in the more cerebral academic disciplines, such as the (non-social) sciences. Whether any of this necessitates a movement consisting of female militants, or what have you, I cannot say. Such a struggle should appear futile to those of us who are Marxists, regardless, as we understand that only a transformation in the organization of production can achieve a state of affairs wherein equal access to advantage typifies human social relations.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:41 pm

Long-time communist activist Ella Rule provides a Marxist insight into the women's movement during this brief but informative talk.


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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:02 pm

First of all, sorry for taking so long to respond. The day I first saw your response I also came down with a pretty terrible illness which rendered me worthless for about two weeks, and afterwards I immersed myself in both my personal life and reading, and I almost completely forgot about this exchange. It came back into my attention when a Facebook friend posted about this thread and complained about "manarchists," and all of them accused us of being fascists, with the good old "Phalanx is code word for Falangist!" hat, which was quite lovely. In any case, I agree that this topic isn't particularly interesting, and I don't view myself as being primarily a feminist, and as such this will probably be my last post on the issue, unless I feel the response to this is egregious.

Rev Scare wrote:
If you have such pessimism for the potential of our exchange, then by all means, opt out of it. It will not deter me from annihilating you, but at least it shall expedite your inevitable defeat.

I find this response pretty hilarious. That's about all I have to say. Why so Sparta?

Rev Scare wrote:

Yes. Provided you are referring to your own situation, the misfortune of your family is lamentable. It would not surprise me to learn that it was your mother who initiated the divorce proceedings, since women file for the vast majority of divorces in the United States, but the same is true in the UK, and I imagine it could also be said of other countries.

You'd be wrong in your assumption. My dad filed for the divorce, and we're all better off for it, in my estimation. Of course, we'd probably be better off if divorce were never necessary in the first place, but that's generally not the actual dichotomy we're faced with: we're generally faced with a bad marriage or divorce, not a good marriage or divorce. You probably find the state of my family more lamentable than I do.

Rev Scare wrote:

It was merely an observation on my part, pal. Don't get your little panties in such a twist about it.

As was my observation that you're attempting to poison the well, pal.

Rev Scare wrote:
Which is all that you can reasonably expect. No one is obligated to be "supportive of" another individual's views under any circumstances.

Duh. My point was that, regardless of the "tolerance" for my views, which essentially boils down to just allowing me to speak, the forum in general is opposed to them, and as such, bringing them up in an irrelevant discussion is really just an attempt to poison the well.


Rev Scare wrote:Once again, you are expanding the definition of feminism to a meaningless extent. One need not be a feminist to advocate equality of social conditions for women, or rather all people, as communists do. This was a standard item on the revolutionary socialist platform long before feminism (simply read the relevant chapters in the Manifesto again), with its gendered identity politics. Feminism is an ideology and political movement that explains present social arrangements as patriarchal and fundamentally oppressive to women, and on this basis, it seeks to redress the female gender inequality it claims to identify in society. This is based on a false premise of male power. By focusing upon formal equality for women, you are rendering your dedication to feminism more vulnerable than it already is, for then the continued necessity of feminism in the modern world truly comes into question, as women in the global north already possess equal rights. Is this equality of inequality the best feminism could offer? If you continue to equate feminism with bourgeois equality, then you are collapsing your own argument, since bourgeois equality has already been realized for a long time.

None of this I really disagree with (save for maybe references to the "myth of male power"), except I do question your assertion that I believe that feminism is solely about legal, liberal equality. When did I state this?

Rev Scare wrote:I do not find it surprising that you continue to vacillate between what has been termed "equity feminism" and "gender feminism" by the most reasonable feminist I am aware of, Christina Hoff Summers,

No.

Rev Scare wrote:since even the blogosphere's favorite Feminist FAQ seems to struggle with articulating what feminism truly stands for. The unifying theme seems to be a dedication to excising vague gender expectations for women, whatever concrete form they may take, according to feminists, and presumably originating from the patriarchal chains in society, be they visible or not. To simplify this issue for us in the future, I will simply refer you to that FAQ as an outline for what defines feminism. It can broadly serve as the prototype for my critique of feminism.

I'm not really a fan of using a poorly put together FAQ as the basis for the position which I'm defending, especially when I've never read it. In any case, I fail to see what is wrong about "excising vague gender expectations for women [and men]."

Rev Scare wrote:The reason feminism has gained wide cultural currency is simple: it served capitalism's imperative for accumulation. By providing a convenient ideological veil of ostensible meritocracy, feminism allowed capital to avail itself of an influx of cheap labor, thereby further undermining the political strength of the working class. However the feminist movement has mythologized itself, and whatever subjective purpose individual feminists believed to have stood for, the inescapable truth is that feminism was always a response to the evolving demands of capital accumulation.

If you have the most narrow conception of feminism possible, I suppose, and completely ignore its critique of the view of Man as the default. If your conception of feminism is limited to "women in the workplace," then I suppose you may have a point, but that's not all that feminism is. Furthermore, I question the idea that feminism somehow undermined the strength of the working class. This sounds similar to the economic critique of immigration, and it's equally as flimsy. There's little evidence that immigration undermines the economic position of the vast majority of workers, and the same is true, I imagine, of feminism. Especially in the long term. Immigration is a problem for other reasons, but that's not the topic we're discussing, so I'll leave it there.

Rev Scare wrote:In comparison to the material improvements in women's lives that the productive activity of men made possible,

What's with the obsession with "men" when it comes to the material improvements? Why not focus on technology, or hell, Capitalism? It seems to me that you're obsessed with showing the value of men, especially relative to women, and that the implication here is that women should somehow feel indebted to men for making their careers possible. "Men," and women, have done productive work since time immemorial, the major difference would be the Capitalist drive to improve technology. Continuing on...

Rev Scare wrote:the political role of feminism, guided as it was by ruling class interests, was inconsequential. Moreover, it is not at all clear to me that feminism provided the political thrust behind any of the issues you've raised outside of its ideological role for capital. For example, the question of public access to contraception existed in the public discourse long before feminism, most famously popularized by Margaret Sanger, and abortion is challenged primarily by the religious right and others who are morally opposed to terminating potential human life—it is only related to feminism by the fact that women are biologically capable of giving birth and not men, thus not on principle, and consistent classical liberals would decry such state intrusion on a woman's individual rights as any feminist.

So, if someone agrees with feminists it suddenly becomes not a feminist issue? Fascinating. In any case, it is a feminist issue because it is related to the issue of who controls women's bodies, and for what purpose.


Rev Scare wrote:Patriarchy theory, feminism's most significant theoretical framework, is incompatible with Marxist class analysis because it has no firm basis in material reality. Recall that the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles, not gender struggles. Gender roles arise on the basis of the productive activity of mankind, not as an imposition upon women by men.

I suppose it's impossible to even consider the idea that historical, and to a lesser extent present, modes of production gave power to men, to the detriment of both men and women? Or is that outside of the scope of narrow, vulgar Marxism?

Rev Scare wrote:Historically, both men and women occupied different class positions in relatively equal proportions (females were equally represented in the ruling class), and the gendered division of labor does not permit claims that one sex was dominated by the other, as both clearly faced disadvantages that counterbalanced any advantages accruing to them. Even if it could be argued that men were historically privileged in comparison to women or continue to be so, feminism does not offer us any novel insights or solutions. Furthermore, even if I were to tentatively concede that men as a "class" wielded greater formal power than women, there would be little value in referring to it in terms of a struggle between sexes instead of what it truly was: reflective of an underlying class struggle and material circumstances.

I guess this depends on how you define "class," doesn't it? If by being "represented in the ruling classes" you mean they married ruling class men, and had some privileges as a result, I suppose you're correct. I question your sanity, however, if you think this is equivalent to being an active participant in the ruling class. It's like claiming that a business owner, who runs the business pretty much autonomously, is in the same position as his wife, who takes care of his kids while he's out exploiting. It's almost as if you think class is determined by wealth.

Rev Scare wrote:Gender roles change due to alterations in the mode of production, and whatever meaningful gender disparity remains in late capitalism can only be fully overcome under communism. Since communism could not and would not discriminate arbitrarily, there is no need to embrace an ideology that concerns itself exclusively with the imaginary plight of women, that espouses false theories of history, and that drives a wedge between working class men and women by representing the class struggle in terms of gender struggle.

What aspect of that eludes your comprehension?

I question that the plight is imaginary, I question what these false theories of history are (since they seem to mostly be strawmen), and I question that it drives a wedge between workers anymore than the current gay rights movement drives a wedge between workers. The fact that some workers can hold reactionary views doesn't justify every reactionary position, and claiming that any group that claims it is oppressed should just sit down and shut up because it's dividing the working class, most of whom don't belong to this group, is just complete garbage.

Rev Scare wrote:A patriarchal society that you have yet to demonstrate existed. Even if that were true, revolutionary socialists need not accept feminist ideology when only scientific socialism and revolution are the answers to the "woman question."

You are further proving my point: feminism was always simply a reaction to changes in the productive forces, and though it subjectively defined itself as challenging a fictitious patriarchy, it was objectively serving the interests of capital.

Does ideology not matter at all, and are short term issues not at all relevant? This is another fascinating position of yours, it seems. If it's ultimately solved by socialism, then it's unnecessary to discuss it! Which is why, I suppose, we should abandon nationalism, since the current threat to nations is fundamentally a result of the tendency of capitalism to homogenize and destroy identities. Of course, it helps to actually point out why this is a bad thing, and it also helps to have a positive position on issues, but never mind that! If men and women would achieve equality under socialism, then an analysis of gender roles is completely unnecessary and stupid, as it divides the working class.



Rev Scare wrote:Such asinine conclusions are the reason why I cannot take feminism seriously. We are expected to believe, without sufficient explanation, that patriarchy prevails in all of our dominant institutions (as a fundamental social arrangement), privileging men and oppressing women, yet men are also damaged by patriarchy and have an interest in its abolition (except when feminists argue otherwise, of course). Every other ruling class in history has sought to preserve its power, yet this patriarchy that so thoroughly haunts the minds of feminists constantly contradicts its own rule, and not in a dialectical fashion, wherein processes that are necessary for yet destructive of a phenomenon coexist in an unstable union, but in an utter absurdity that insults all of our intelligence.

You're right. The abolition of capitalism, and the subsequent end of alienation, class warfare, cultural degeneration, and so forth would certainly not benefit any business owner on the face of the planet. The fact that they would live in a society where people actually have a purpose beyond the accumulation of things wouldn't benefit them at all. Also, absolutely no members of the bourgeoisie can be sympathetic to socialism.

In terms of ideology, this is blatantly false. There have been plenty of examples of people who rejected their ruling position and advocated for its abolition; in fact, it's become something of a cliche that Leftists come from privileged backgrounds. The abolition of "patriarchy" has come, as you and I have both talked about, as a result of the material development of society. The same is true of capitalism, which will be ended by its own development and internal contradictions. The end of capitalism would benefit capitalists, regardless of whether or not they recognize this, but the nature of capital (not capitalists!) is such that only a revolutionary action can end its rule. The development of the MRM is kind of equivalent to a counter-revolutionary army in this sense, in that it's a backlash against the loss of power of a dominant group. So yes, the end of "patriarchy" would benefit men, and yes, some men will resist its downfall, but others will embrace it.

Your list of crap is pretty easily debunked by looking into any single issue on the list, like the fact that women attempt suicide more, but due to the use of less effective methods, actually succeed less, so I'm not going to waste my time going through all of them. This is already tedious enough.

Rev Scare wrote:This is probably the most ridiculous aspect of feminism. I hope you realize that it is almost impossible to falsify such a worldview. Much like conspiracy theories in general, this presentation of patriarchy can be twisted to explain anything. Any privileges that women enjoy are actually shackles manufactured by the patriarchy, and any disadvantages men face are, paradoxically, consequences of their male privilege under patriarchy. It is totally inane, idealist twaddle. If you seriously intend to utilize such arguments, then we should discontinue any further discussion posthaste, as that tactic is nothing more than a pathetic exploit to circumvent an earnest engagement of the subject.

Your failure to give an example which actually contradicts the theory doesn't mean the theory is unfalsifiable.


Holy shit. This is like one fourth of what you already wrote. I might respond later, but this is just so tedious and boring that I might not. We'll see later.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:50 pm

Why even bother responding with the above nonsense? You could have just accepted defeat gracefully and spared us both the trouble of me having to reply with another long post to thoroughly shovel through the horse manure of your ignorance. Much of the crap in your post betrays either a total fucking lack of reading comprehension or just plain desperation in coming up with an adequate rebuttal to the very powerful argument I've constructed over the course of this thread. You can continue to pepper your posts with impertinent little remarks in the passive aggressive fashion typical of internet justice dweeblets for want of a superior argument, but again, it only delays your inescapable capitulation.

By the way, I truly could not care less how certain redundant segments of the modern Left react to my critique of feminism. I am utterly disgusted by the behavior exhibited by such creatures, who are all too common on pedestrian cesspits like RevLeft. I mean, what? We are "manarchists" because we don't open inane threads where primarily teenage males like you grieve about the subjective sexism experienced by females or for criticizing an ideology that caters to simpletons? Give me a break with that shit. Feminism is a shit ideology and needs to go. I challenge any gynocentrist to come to this thread and debate me openly. You don't even have to join the forum. Open a thread in the open forums section if you must.

Anyway, I am much too preoccupied with other matters in my life to address the rest of your post right now, so I will end it here for the time being.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Uberak on Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:03 am

Rev Scare wrote:who are all too common on pedestrian cesspits like RevLeft.

Hey, I'm offended at how you associate us pedestrians with cesspits or, even worse, Revleft. Freaking pretentious, bourgeois motorists treating us as subhuman.  Laughing 

I already have my opinion on the issue out there which is that we should just eliminate the whole gender issue within our culture, and feminism is one of the targets of this elimination. Anyways, I just wanted to lighten up the mood. You can go back to fighting in this Colosseum. I shall bring the popcorn with me.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Fri May 09, 2014 4:14 am

cogarian888, brace yourself, lad. For everyone else, prepare yourselves for the violation of an innocent mind.

cogarian888 wrote:
Rev Scare wrote:
If you have such pessimism for the potential of our exchange, then by all means, opt out of it. It will not deter me from annihilating you, but at least it shall expedite your inevitable defeat.

I find this response pretty hilarious. That's about all I have to say. Why so Sparta?

Perhaps it's because I'm a Leo.

Rev Scare wrote:Once again, you are expanding the definition of feminism to a meaningless extent. One need not be a feminist to advocate equality of social conditions for women, or rather all people, as communists do. This was a standard item on the revolutionary socialist platform long before feminism (simply read the relevant chapters in the Manifesto again), with its gendered identity politics. Feminism is an ideology and political movement that explains present social arrangements as patriarchal and fundamentally oppressive to women, and on this basis, it seeks to redress the female gender inequality it claims to identify in society. This is based on a false premise of male power. By focusing upon formal equality for women, you are rendering your dedication to feminism more vulnerable than it already is, for then the continued necessity of feminism in the modern world truly comes into question, as women in the global north already possess equal rights. Is this equality of inequality the best feminism could offer? If you continue to equate feminism with bourgeois equality, then you are collapsing your own argument, since bourgeois equality has already been realized for a long time.

None of this I really disagree with (save for maybe references to the "myth of male power"),

The idea that men were/are empowered while women were/are subjugated is indeed myth, simply put. As I've stated a good number of times now and am becoming tired of repeating, men and women attended dissimilar, for the most part complementary, social roles that, in the aggregate, did not serve to disempower either gender at the expense of the other. In each class, gender roles divided the burden of labor, and if it is possible to argue that one gender received the short end of the stick, I would venture that it might very well have been men (the vast majority of whom, as with women, occupied lower social positions), since their labor typically carried heavier sacrifices on account of the fact that women possessed greater reproductive value to society. Feminists have never provided a convincing reason to believe otherwise.

This is intended for the general reader, but I highly recommend that anybody remotely interested read The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell (video link). He is a distinguished social scientist and was once a respected feminist (he continues to identify as one) whose work was praised by the sisterhood until he blasphemed against the cult by proposing the intolerable notion that men also faced serious obstacles in history and that feminist focus upon female oppression is negligent and one-dimensional. The title is self-explanatory, but his case, while non-Marxist, is quite compelling nonetheless, and he marshals and impressive amount of data to support his thesis.

except I do question your assertion that I believe that feminism is solely about legal, liberal equality. When did I state this?

The only tangible statement you've given regarding feminism's positive contribution to society is something about how it finds its analogues to material developments in fighting for the rights of women on various issues in the political realm, which I interpret as standard fare bourgeois equality. I've also argued that modern feminism was not actually responsible for the liberal equality of women. Women would have no rights if they did not meet the needs of capital as the development of productive forces advanced.

Also, I suppose this jejune topic of feminism's relation to women's rights should be nipped in the bud right here. Whatever the case may be, it is unvarnished truth that formal political equality for men and women in the form of general suffrage and human rights is a relatively recent historical development. For the lion's share of human history, the preponderance of men had no rights to citizenship, political participation, and political office. On average, newly formed nation states granted universal male suffrage and political recognition one hundred years prior to offering the same to females. This amounts to a discrepancy of roughly 0.01-0.02% of recorded history. This means that for 99.98% of history, the male masses were in the same position as most women with respect to exercising formal power. This means women's rights had nothing to do with driving back patriarchy and everything to do with general human progress.

Rev Scare wrote:I do not find it surprising that you continue to vacillate between what has been termed "equity feminism" and "gender feminism" by the most reasonable feminist I am aware of, Christina Hoff Summers,

No.

That is not a valid response to the quoted content.  Rolling Eyes 

I'm not really a fan of using a poorly put together FAQ as the basis for the position which I'm defending, especially when I've never read it.

It is not my problem that feminists are too inept to articulate their own ideology to any meaningful extent. What I will not accept, however, is the notion that feminism simply upholds equality between the sexes. If this were so, it should have been abandoned for egalitarianism long ago. The fact that feminists continue to peddle infantile gender politics, which is exemplified in your posts, underscores the fact that they do not truly care for equality but would rather profit from the female cult of victimhood and gender entitlement.

In any case, I fail to see what is wrong about "excising vague gender expectations for women [and men]."

Because feminist claims regarding gender are typically misleading, unbalanced, or inadequate at best and wholly vacuous, petty, or fabricated at worst.

Rev Scare wrote:The reason feminism has gained wide cultural currency is simple: it served capitalism's imperative for accumulation. By providing a convenient ideological veil of ostensible meritocracy, feminism allowed capital to avail itself of an influx of cheap labor, thereby further undermining the political strength of the working class. However the feminist movement has mythologized itself, and whatever subjective purpose individual feminists believed to have stood for, the inescapable truth is that feminism was always a response to the evolving demands of capital accumulation.

If you have the most narrow conception of feminism possible,

You have thus far failed to provide a compelling reason for anyone to hold a different view of feminism, and you have yet to cogently explain exactly what positive elements it has accomplished for women and men.

I suppose, and completely ignore its critique of the view of Man as the default. If your conception of feminism is limited to "women in the workplace," then I suppose you may have a point, but that's not all that feminism is.

I am struck by the fact that you can take yourself seriously when you state such rank nonsense. Would you honestly be able to regurgitate such an asinine example of feminist sloganeering with a straight face and without experiencing the slightest bit of chagrin? What does "the view of man as default" actually mean, pray tell? Let us examine more closely what it might convey. Most likely, it is an attempt to encapsulate the banal fact that men performed the greater part of conspicuous social labor in history, and hence it could be argued were more "visible" as a historical force. Does the fact that men performed the bulk of labor beyond the private level invariably mean that they were a privileged class? Nothing of the sort.

Among the ruling classes, while men were more prominently featured in the state (though examples of powerful female figures in history abound) or ideological institutions such as the Church, that is no real indication that they were privileged compared to the women of their class. To a large extent, the lives of aristocratic women were loftier in comparison, as even the task of child rearing was relegated to servants, and they might have enjoyed greater leisure time as a result. If we consider the modern day male CEO of a large corporation and his wife, who is more advantaged in the relationship? It is socially acceptable for his wife to either live a life of luxury entirely on his wealth or to pursue whatever career she desires, or a combination of the two. (Of course, we all know that the gold digging phenomenon of women who expect to marry into wealth is unheard of, though. Rolling Eyes) By contrast, there is not nearly as much social approbation for men who choose housework, leisure time, and parasitism over serving as an external breadwinner for a wife and children—not due to patriarchy!

This is even more true for men of lower classes. To consider the example of feudalism, was it seriously more empowering for a man to toil the field or in a craft and expend the necessary labor to replenish not only himself but also his family, and in addition to this, to perform additional labor in excess of what is required to produce his family's means of livelihood for the lord of the manor? I hardly think so. A focus upon formal aspects of power is insufficient for analyzing the true social relations extant in any given society. Simply because women were underrepresented in official positions of authority does not translate to their being underprivileged, let alone ensnared by patriarchal dominance, and it is worth emphasizing, since feminists readily neglect the fact, that throughout all of history, the overwhelming majority of males exercised no appreciable formal authority. To concentrate upon past and present male elites and insinuate that they were representative of the average man is disingenuous and also a flagrant display of the apex fallacy.

Women have historically controlled the allocation of resources within a household as well as their unquestionable central authority in child rearing, which implies the socialization of future generations and is a major source of social influence. An anthropologist by the name of Susan Carol Rogers conducted an ethnological study of peasant customs across various societies and found that "patriarchal" peasant households expressed a much more nuanced balance of power than what the standard feminist narrative depicts. She argued for the following thesis:

“Although peasant males monopolize positions of authority and are shown public deference by women, thus superficially appearing to be dominant, they wield relatively little real power. Theirs is a largely powerless authority, often accompanied by a felt sense of powerlessness, both in the face of the world at large and of the peasant community itself. On the other hand, within the context of peasant society, women control at least the major portion of important resources and decisions."
Source: Female Forms of Power and the Myth of Male Dominance: A Model of Female/Male Interaction in Peasant Society, p. 728.

If this applies to feudal and semi-feudal societies, it is all the more true of those in which the capitalist mode of production is firmly established. To submit that a coal miner during the Industrial Revolution was substantially advantaged over his wife is to strain credulity.

Furthermore, I question the idea that feminism somehow undermined the strength of the working class.

Merely restating that you are skeptical of the claim is no argument. Mine is a reasoned assertion that provides rationale for feminism's deleterious presence within working class movements. It is nearly impossible to prove such a statement empirically, but I maintain that observing the setbacks experienced by the working classes of many countries, particularly in the global north, since the New Left's unholy matrimony to feminism and identity politics more broadly supports the thesis. Your position, on the other hand, is clearly rooted in little more than sentimentalism.

This sounds similar to the economic critique of immigration, and it's equally as flimsy. There's little evidence that immigration undermines the economic position of the vast majority of workers, and the same is true, I imagine, of feminism. Especially in the long term. Immigration is a problem for other reasons, but that's not the topic we're discussing, so I'll leave it there.

The mass immigration phenomenon observable in Western countries in the decades subsequent the Second World War is most reliably explained as fulfilling the requirements of capital accumulation. Capitalist elites draft immigration policy, and the only reason for them to abide a massive influx of immigrants from the global south is because their presence dilutes the labor market and provides cheap labor, and of course, bourgeois individuals are insulated from daily interaction in multicultural ghettos. This can only be deleterious to the national working class. Take agricultural jobs in the United States, where Mexican migrant workers have displaced native born workers to a major extent. They often labor under contracts of dubious legitimacy, which allows their wages to fall below the legal minimum. Not only is such an arrangement highly exploitative of the immigrants in question, as farm labor is backbreaking, but it ensures that average wages for such jobs fall well below what they would be if American workers faced no such competition.

Funnily enough, I recall a debate long ago in which Celtiberian educated you on this very subject. I suppose you've failed to incorporate his wisdom. You are correct, however, that this issue is tangential to the subject of this thread, so I have no further pronouncements.

As far as the bold sentence is concerned, how much value do you estimate what you imagine about feminism has to me?

Rev Scare wrote:In comparison to the material improvements in women's lives that the productive activity of men made possible,

What's with the obsession with "men" when it comes to the material improvements? Why not focus on technology, or hell, Capitalism? It seems to me that you're obsessed with showing the value of men, especially relative to women, and that the implication here is that women should somehow feel indebted to men for making their careers possible. "Men," and women, have done productive work since time immemorial, the major difference would be the Capitalist drive to improve technology. Continuing on...

Are you daft or what? I have argued precisely that the productive history of capitalism, which entails workers (who were mostly male) combining their labor power with means of production, was the preeminent determinant in raising the material level of Western societies to such an extent that the role of women was irrevocably transformed. Modern feminism emerged as a recognizable social movement post facto, when capitalists sought to exploit the newly liberated labor power of women. I emphasize the role of men in this process because it stands in stark contrast to the standard feminist canard that women were subjugated because of men's patriarchal inclinations. On the contrary, the productive activity of men was seminal (no pun intended) to birthing modern Enlightenment values regarding the sexes. I've clearly outlined this process in just about every post. For example, I wrote the following in my second reply to you:

"From the beginning, I have maintained that feminism did not liberate women, that it did not significantly mitigate gender roles, and that it is not in the interests of the working class. Technology and men, under the productive relations of bourgeois society (the Soviet Union and other socialist states notwithstanding), gradually eliminated the imperative for a strict division of labor between men and women, not feminism. As I have explained, this occurred for three primary reasons: the production of cheap contraceptives and safer abortion methods, the proliferation of household appliances that compressed the amount of socially necessary labor time required to reproduce the working class household at the socially accepted level (Michael Perelman scrutinized this process in fascinating detail in The Invention of Capitalism, though he interpreted it according to his broader conception of primitive accumulation), and the introduction of computerized automation that both simplified the labor process across many industries and expanded the number of service sector jobs, which were more suitable to women. Indeed, a better case could be made that the rebelliousness toward gender norms of rock n' roll music, gay liberation, and capitalism's quest to mold the "perfect" consumer provided the impetus behind the dissolution of certain cultural gender barriers than the feminist movement."

Why the dearth of understanding, buddy boy?

So, if someone agrees with feminists it suddenly becomes not a feminist issue? Fascinating.

So, because I find Israel's policies toward Palestine reprehensible, I must be sympathetic to radical Islam? Because I am a proponent of the welfare state (in the interim), I must be a Keynesian and social democrat? What kind of bungled logic is that? The issues in question predate feminism, and even if this were not the case, there is no necessary correlation between advocating a particular side of an issue, which includes supporting the greater struggle for a truly egalitarian society in which men and women share equality of social position (namely, communism), and espousing feminism, simply because their views might coincide.

In any case, it is a feminist issue because it is related to the issue of who controls women's bodies, and for what purpose.

Once again, abortion is not a "feminist" issue on principle. The case against abortion rests primarily on a moral argument regarding the sanctity of human life, not womanhood. The fact that women bear children in our species is incidental to the debate. A consistent classical liberal, with a strong belief in secular government and individual liberty, would just as soon oppose a state mandated curtailment of reproductive freedom.

P.S. I control women's bodies. Wink

Rev Scare wrote:Patriarchy theory, feminism's most significant theoretical framework, is incompatible with Marxist class analysis because it has no firm basis in material reality. Recall that the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles, not gender struggles. Gender roles arise on the basis of the productive activity of mankind, not as an imposition upon women by men.

I suppose it's impossible to even consider the idea that historical, and to a lesser extent present, modes of production gave power to men, to the detriment of both men and women? Or is that outside of the scope of narrow, vulgar Marxism?

Your reading comprehension problem and avoidance of my actual arguments has become grating. I am highly critical of feminist theory's patriarchy because it proposes that the history of human societies is best described as one in which they were arranged to implement and preserve male domination over females through a masculine class system (the origins of which remain as varied, fickle, muddled, and "intersected" as the feminists who propound it). This is completely false. The Marxist view of history is that historical movements come about through the process of class struggle and the productive activity of mankind. All societies must reproduce themselves first and foremost, and to do so, they must organize human labor to meet their own needs for self-preservation. To this end, societies organize different modes of production, all of which combine some way of coordinating the production process, the level of technological development, determining social classes, and shared conceptions of the world. The essence of the materialist conception of history is then eloquently summarized by Marx:

"The general result at which I arrived . . . can be briefly formulated as follows: In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political, and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness."
Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, in The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd ed., Robert C. Tucker, (New York: Norton, 1978), p. 4.

It is worth quoting Engels for a slightly different restatement of the above for clarity and good measure:

"The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange."
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

I share this view of history, and there is nothing "vulgar" about it. What does this mean for feminist theory? It means that societies organize social classes around the mode of production of material life, not around sexual domination. Gender roles are one way societies accomplish "the production of the means to support human life," instituting a division of labor between men and women. It is upon this division of labor that gender expectations arise and by which they are conditioned. It follows from this that in order to realize an effective modification of gender roles, including their dissolution, one must alter the mode of production upon which they exist, but naturally, this is much easier said than done, because, as Marx informs us in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, "men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." Marxism, therefore, furnishes us with a lucid and illuminating analysis of gender, and communists have defended the equality of social position for women from the beginning, as it is captured by the egalitarian tenets of communism.

With this understanding of historical motion, the patriarchy of feminist theory is shown to be farcical. Societies are not structured to advantage men and disadvantage, oppress, subjugate, dominate, exploit, or what have you women. They are organized to meet human needs according to a mode of production. Even if it could be argued that class society somehow privileged men (though there is no good reason to believe that women suffered more from the gendered division of labor), feminism offers neither a credible theory nor political movement to assist us in overcoming it. Many feminists recognize that standard feminist theory is bullshit, which is why there has been a shift toward combining patriarchy with the multifarious "axes of identity" and domination of intersectionality, which has resulted in the concept of "kyriarchy." This is also bullshit, but slightly more inclusive and realistic. I don't want to delve any deeper into intersectionality as of now.

I guess this depends on how you define "class," doesn't it?

Marxists define class in terms of objective and subjective factors. A class shares certain objective characteristics, such as its relationship to the means of production and the surplus product vis-à-vis other classes, but the daily reproduction of class relations also engenders certain subjective notions of class position. Members of a class share common interests and self-awareness, and these are reinforced through various legitimation ideologies, which is most acutely expressed during the course of class struggle. Nothing I have argued contradicts or circumscribes Marxist class theory, but patriarchy theory certainly does.

If by being "represented in the ruling classes" you mean they married ruling class men, and had some privileges as a result, I suppose you're correct.

First of all, if one were to accept such sloppy reasoning, then one would also have to argue that the housewives of yesteryear, who tended to the home and children (to whom this would also apply) while their husbands went to the factory for a wage, were not actually members of the working class but constituted some class unto themselves. While it is true that such people did not directly engage in capitalist production, they were nevertheless strongly dependent upon it and were indispensable to the continued renewal of capitalist class relations. It is therefore much more sensible to speak of the working class and bourgeois households when considering social class, and not merely the immediate relations of production.

Marxism is a social theory, and capital is a social relation with a class character. The proletariat is exploited as a class, not as individuals. An individual worker is at liberty to choose his employer, thereby lending the capitalist labor market a voluntary veneer, but this is an illusion, as that same worker is not free to choose whether or not he works for a capitalist—the marginal class of self-employed and cooperative workers notwithstanding. A worker receives a wage to reproduce himself and his dependents, thereby ensuring that class relations are perpetuated. Likewise, those who are dependent upon or beneficiaries of capitalism's fundamental class process (i.e., the production and appropriation of surplus value) should be considered members of the capitalist class, whether their participation be direct or indirect, passive or active.

I question your sanity, however, if you think this is equivalent to being an active participant in the ruling class. It's like claiming that a business owner, who runs the business pretty much autonomously, is in the same position as his wife, who takes care of his kids while he's out exploiting.

Do you suffer from historical amnesia or are you just willfully ignorant of history? I suppose historical ranks denoted by such titles as queen, princess, duchess, countess, empress, and so forth, and their equivalent names in other languages or similar forms in different cultures (e.g, tsaritsa, calipha, maharani) are remnants of a historical fluke or perhaps empty symbols, is that it? It is difficult to swallow such horse piss when one considers historical figures like Catherine the Great (who ruled one of the most "patriarchal" kingdoms in Europe), Elizabeth I, Isabella I, Theodora (wife of Justinian I), Cleopatra, Boudica, Wu Zetian (who ruled in strictly regimented Confucian China), and even Marie Antoinette as but a handful of examples of female rulers throughout history. Didn't these aristocratic women and the countless others of equal or lesser stature exert enormous social influence? What sense is there in arguing that the masses of men regarded as commoners enjoyed meaningful privilege over such women? There is none.

A business owner and his stay at home wife do not have equivalent duties, obviously, but why does his role as capitalist qua capitalist signify that he is privileged in relation to his wife? Is it better to administer the exploitative relationship or to passively live on its back, and are they even comparable? Such reasoning would suggest that it would be better if bourgeois women took equal turns exploiting workers. How is this a praiseworthy and progressive "insight"? And give me a break already, eh? This conjures up an image of some young bimbo wife of a hedge fund manager binge drinking Margaritas or snorting coke in the VIP lounge of some night club, flirting with some actor, while her "beloved" pays lip service to his investors. My sympathy meter for her oppression is nonexistent. Not only is she not oppressed, she is arguably more privileged than her husband. "Takes care of his kids." Please. I suppose rich women don't hire nannies.

It's almost as if you think class is determined by wealth.

How could you possibly come to such a conclusion? Ah, reading comprehension...

Rev Scare wrote:Gender roles change due to alterations in the mode of production, and whatever meaningful gender disparity remains in late capitalism can only be fully overcome under communism. Since communism could not and would not discriminate arbitrarily, there is no need to embrace an ideology that concerns itself exclusively with the imaginary plight of women, that espouses false theories of history, and that drives a wedge between working class men and women by representing the class struggle in terms of gender struggle.

What aspect of that eludes your comprehension?

I question that the plight is imaginary,

There is no compelling evidence to support the idea that women's historical experience was more miserable than men's, and even if it was, feminism is not the remedy to such a state of affairs.

I question what these false theories of history are (since they seem to mostly be strawmen),

My arguments against the abject failure that is feminist theory are not straw men simply because you or any other feminist are incapable of countering them.

and I question that it drives a wedge between workers anymore than the current gay rights movement drives a wedge between workers.

The gay rights movement is of no interest to me.

The fact that some workers can hold reactionary views doesn't justify every reactionary position,

Nobody has suggested as much.

and claiming that any group that claims it is oppressed should just sit down and shut up because it's dividing the working class, most of whom don't belong to this group, is just complete garbage.

They can participate in idealist and individualistic victim politics outside the purview of working class struggle. Also, anti-feminism is not reactionary: it is downright progressive at this point.

Rev Scare wrote:A patriarchal society that you have yet to demonstrate existed. Even if that were true, revolutionary socialists need not accept feminist ideology when only scientific socialism and revolution are the answers to the "woman question."

You are further proving my point: feminism was always simply a reaction to changes in the productive forces, and though it subjectively defined itself as challenging a fictitious patriarchy, it was objectively serving the interests of capital.

Does ideology not matter at all,

Ideology in general, yes; feminist ideology, no. My point was that feminist ideology arose in response to the changing gendered division of labor in society, and it only gained political traction because the ruling class had need of it. Ideas do not become dominant unless they serve the interests of the ruling class, which is why Marxism is marginalized until capitalism undergoes a major crisis and the working class gains strength.

and are short term issues not at all relevant? This is another fascinating position of yours, it seems.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "short term issues." I believe our activism should stress the primacy of class struggle. In fact, I believe many on the left use their infatuation and subcultural affiliation with the individualized objectives of various identity groups as an excuse for inaction, almost as if they believe that bringing about equality of inequality to their preferred victim group(s) under capitalism is a sure sign of progress.

If it's ultimately solved by socialism, then it's unnecessary to discuss it!

We have been discussing gender inequality for much of the time, though I must admit, I find the subject rather dull. I just don't think feminism brings anything valuable to the discussion.

Which is why, I suppose, we should abandon nationalism, since the current threat to nations is fundamentally a result of the tendency of capitalism to homogenize and destroy identities. Of course, it helps to actually point out why this is a bad thing, and it also helps to have a positive position on issues, but never mind that! If men and women would achieve equality under socialism, then an analysis of gender roles is completely unnecessary and stupid, as it divides the working class.

Let us not treat feminism and nationalism as though they are equally valid. One belongs on RevLeft, the other is a legitimate concern. There has been a long-standing consensus among members of the RSF that while left-wing nationalism is the correct answer to the national question, emphasizing nationalism in our activism would be counterproductive because, with few exceptions, the countries in the global north are not currently facing conditions that are conducive to proletarian national revolutionary movements. So, that's that.

Rev Scare wrote:Such asinine conclusions are the reason why I cannot take feminism seriously. We are expected to believe, without sufficient explanation, that patriarchy prevails in all of our dominant institutions (as a fundamental social arrangement), privileging men and oppressing women, yet men are also damaged by patriarchy and have an interest in its abolition (except when feminists argue otherwise, of course). Every other ruling class in history has sought to preserve its power, yet this patriarchy that so thoroughly haunts the minds of feminists constantly contradicts its own rule, and not in a dialectical fashion, wherein processes that are necessary for yet destructive of a phenomenon coexist in an unstable union, but in an utter absurdity that insults all of our intelligence.

You're right. The abolition of capitalism, and the subsequent end of alienation, class warfare, cultural degeneration, and so forth would certainly not benefit any business owner on the face of the planet. The fact that they would live in a society where people actually have a purpose beyond the accumulation of things wouldn't benefit them at all. Also, absolutely no members of the bourgeoisie can be sympathetic to socialism.

In terms of ideology, this is blatantly false. There have been plenty of examples of people who rejected their ruling position and advocated for its abolition; in fact, it's become something of a cliche that Leftists come from privileged backgrounds. The abolition of "patriarchy" has come, as you and I have both talked about, as a result of the material development of society. The same is true of capitalism, which will be ended by its own development and internal contradictions. The end of capitalism would benefit capitalists, regardless of whether or not they recognize this, but the nature of capital (not capitalists!) is such that only a revolutionary action can end its rule.

Utterly ridiculous. The end of capitalism would certainly not benefit capitalists—it would eliminate them—which is why capitalists, as a class, are enemies of Marxism and the proletariat, and they would seek to thwart attempts at constructing socialism, as evidenced by a diverse selection of historical examples. Doubtlessly, some individual capitalists might be sympathetic to communism (some of the utopian socialists come to mind), but to seriously entertain the notion that the capitalist class would relinquish power voluntarily is quixotic.

The development of the MRM is kind of equivalent to a counter-revolutionary army in this sense, in that it's a backlash against the loss of power of a dominant group. So yes, the end of "patriarchy" would benefit men, and yes, some men will resist its downfall, but others will embrace it.

Men are not the dominant social group, capitalists are, and feminism is not a revolutionary movement, so there cannot be a counterrevolutionary response to it. Furthermore, your feminist grandstanding aside, you have not actually explained why the MRM is a "counterrevolutionary army." I am not aware of any notable men's rights organization that seeks to undo the progressive changes that societies in the global north have undergone in terms of mitigating gender roles, even though these are falsely attributed to feminism and despite the feminist hysteria that tries to portray the movement as comprised of wicked men whose aim is to "put women in their place," so to speak. It's completely unfounded. I like how the introductory paragraph about the MRM on its Wikipedia page claims that "sectors of the movement have been described as misogynist," but the entry on feminism does not state that "sectors of the feminist movement have been described as misandrist," yet anti-male attitudes within the feminist movement are plentiful. An exemplary effort at being even-handed and non-partisan on the part of the authors. It is remarkable how threatened feminists are by a movement that is premised on nothing more than social equality for men, whether one thinks it misguided or not. Rolling Eyes

You can rest assured that if men truly possessed patriarchal class interests, feminism would never have gained significant political traction with so little comparative resistance. Of course, they don't, and patriarchy theory is a mindless abstraction from the social and technical relations of production.

And for the last time, whatever anyone says about the MRM is immaterial in this thread, whose purpose is to expose feminism's horrendous ideological and theoretical limitations so that it can be ousted from the left.

Your list of crap is pretty easily debunked by looking into any single issue on the list,

I encourage you or any gynocentrist to debunk my "list of crap" if it is such a simple task. The truth is, you will not be able to do so, as the case for any one of the items is airtight, unlike the feminist propaganda you doubtlessly hold dear, such as the wage gap myth (which has no basis in economic theory), the glass ceiling (which also has no basis in economic theory), campus rape epidemic, domestic violence as a gender issue and part of a culture of violence against women, etc.

like the fact that women attempt suicide more, but due to the use of less effective methods, actually succeed less.

Firstly, it is noteworthy that your initial reaction to being confronted with the undeniable fact that men commit suicide at significantly higher rates than women in our allegedly patriarchal Western societies is one of petty defensiveness and dismissal, bordering on indignation. Instead of acknowledging that the problems men and women face, where gender disparities exist, are equally important and worthy of our attention, like a civilized human being, your response, like a juvenile feminist, is a reflexive attempt to somehow demonstrate that women have it worse, because, as we all know by now, that is how it must be, since women are always victims and men are always victimizers—an age-old, sexist double standard that feminists are fond of exploiting.

That being so, I would laugh at such a statement were it not lamentably apparent that there are many foolish individuals who would take it seriously. Do you seriously expect anyone with a pair of functioning neurons to believe that women are too incompetent to commit suicide? No, a much more plausible explanation for the higher incidence of suicide attempts among women is that such actions are cries for help, not sincere commitments or demonstrations of intent. When a woman expresses psychological distress, she can generally expect support, comfort, and most of all, help from her family, friends, coworkers, and peers, and what is more, she feels content to broadcast her emotional state in this or less extreme ways. By contrast, men are socialized to internalize emotions and feign psychological well-being, regardless of how accurately it corresponds to their true mental and emotional health. This is a pressure exerted by society as a whole and has nothing whatever to do with some fantastical patriarchy. Men and women reinforce social expectations, which are ultimately founded upon and conditioned by material relations of production, not an idealist conspiracy theory that posits men as class enemies of women.

Rev Scare wrote:This is probably the most ridiculous aspect of feminism. I hope you realize that it is almost impossible to falsify such a worldview. Much like conspiracy theories in general, this presentation of patriarchy can be twisted to explain anything. Any privileges that women enjoy are actually shackles manufactured by the patriarchy, and any disadvantages men face are, paradoxically, consequences of their male privilege under patriarchy. It is totally inane, idealist twaddle. If you seriously intend to utilize such arguments, then we should discontinue any further discussion posthaste, as that tactic is nothing more than a pathetic exploit to circumvent an earnest engagement of the subject.

Your failure to give an example which actually contradicts the theory doesn't mean the theory is unfalsifiable.

If a theory is unfalsifiable, it cannot be contradicted in a sufficient manner to demonstrate falsity. I cannot truly falsify the eccentric idea that reptilians from the doomsday planet Nibiru are slowly but surely paving the way for humanity's enslavement under the NWO, but there is no sound reason or evidence to believe it. However, I have provided ample justification for why patriarchy is a discredited social theory bordering on fiction.

Holy shit. This is like one fourth of what you already wrote. I might respond later, but this is just so tedious and boring that I might not. We'll see later.

Save us both the effort. You would have nothing novel to offer in any case. All you have accomplished thus far is to provide, in your own vulgar manner, a hackneyed assortment of feminist drivel that is easily refuted by any reasonably intelligent adolescent.

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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by cogarian888 on Fri May 09, 2014 10:03 pm

Rev Scare wrote:cogarian888, brace yourself, lad. For everyone else, prepare yourselves for the violation of an innocent mind.

Why do you feel the need to proclaim your ability to DESTROY in every god damn post? You're such a pompous douche.

Rev Scare wrote:This is intended for the general reader, but I highly recommend that anybody remotely interested read The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell (video link). He is a distinguished social scientist and was once a respected feminist (he continues to identify as one) whose work was praised by the sisterhood until he blasphemed against the cult by proposing the intolerable notion that men also faced serious obstacles in history and that feminist focus upon female oppression is negligent and one-dimensional. The title is self-explanatory, but his case, while non-Marxist, is quite compelling nonetheless, and he marshals and impressive amount of data to support his thesis.

Ah, the man who marshals such brilliant analysis as this:


Women control men with their sexy bodies, and the men just can't help themselves! I suggest that anyone remotely interested take everything Warren Farrell says with several grains of salt.

Rev Scare wrote:
The only tangible statement you've given regarding feminism's positive contribution to society is something about how it finds its analogues to material developments in fighting for the rights of women on various issues in the political realm, which I interpret as standard fare bourgeois equality. I've also argued that modern feminism was not actually responsible for the liberal equality of women. Women would have no rights if they did not meet the needs of capital as the development of productive forces advanced.

Legal equality doesn't include issues of culture, necessarily. Feminism, especially nowadays, deals with cultural critique. Like pretty much all social movements, its ideology sprang from the base of society and technological development, but the superstructure isn't irrelevant:
Marx wrote:At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure

You point out the development of productive forces which allowed feminism to exist, and then proclaim feminism itself to be irrelevant, but this is faulty: Feminism is a change in the superstructure resulting from these developments. Capitalism also makes the development of socialism possible, but socialism itself isn't irrelevant.

Given your history of not understanding this point, I assume you'll argue that socialism is a radical response to capitalism rooted in its contradictions, and represents a fundamental challenge to the economic order while feminism does not; however, this is irrelevant. I'm not saying that feminism and socialism are same in terms of importance, but rather that both are the result of the same process of economic change and development. Thus, arguing that the base makes feminism irrelevant is about on par with saying that the base makes socialism irrelevant. In fact, this base economic development is what gives both their relevance.

Rev Scare wrote:Whatever the case may be, it is unvarnished truth that formal political equality for men and women in the form of general suffrage and human rights is a relatively recent historical development. For the lion's share of human history, the preponderance of men had no rights to citizenship, political participation, and political office. On average, newly formed nation states granted universal male suffrage and political recognition one hundred years prior to offering the same to females. This amounts to a discrepancy of roughly 0.01-0.02% of recorded history. This means that for 99.98% of [recorded?] history, the male masses were in the same position as most women with respect to exercising formal power. This means women's rights had nothing to do with driving back patriarchy and everything to do with general human progress.

This is dumb; why was general human progress slow with respect to women if men and women were equal in terms of social standing? Beyond that, you're assuming bourgeois equality is a good measure of relative social standing, and as we all know, it's not. It can serve as a proxy, I suppose, but it's a very poor one, and generally only works one way:
If there is no bourgeois equality, it's very likely that there isn't social equality; however, if there is bourgeois equality, this doesn't tell you all that much about social equality. This point is irrelevant anyway, since we've evolved as a society past the point of legal equality being an issue, so what's your point? Is your point that feminism was irrelevant to the establishment of female suffrage? "General human progress" is a broad brush, and it's an amalgamation of things. "Driving back the patriarchy" and "general human progress" aren't mutually exclusive. In a similar way, I could argue that various working class movements have nothing to do with fighting the class war, and everything to do with "general human progress," or that ending Jim Crow had nothing to do with the Civil Rights Movement, and everything to do with "general human progress." It's nebulous.

Rev Scare wrote:

That is not a valid response to the quoted content.  Rolling Eyes

"I like Christina Hoff Sommers" is not something that can have a "valid response," except for acknowledging that you do. "You agree with Christina Hoff Sommers" is truth-apt, and it's false, hence "no."

Rev Scare wrote:It is not my problem that feminists are too inept to articulate their own ideology to any meaningful extent. What I will not accept, however, is the notion that feminism simply upholds equality between the sexes. If this were so, it should have been abandoned for egalitarianism long ago. The fact that feminists continue to peddle infantile gender politics, which is exemplified in your posts, underscores the fact that they do not truly care for equality but would rather profit from the female cult of victimhood and gender entitlement.

Feminism is a part of egalitarianism; namely, it's egalitarianism in respect to the genders. Abandoning feminism is abandoning a form of egalitarianism.

Rev Scare wrote:Because feminist claims regarding gender are typically misleading, unbalanced, or inadequate at best and wholly vacuous, petty, or fabricated at worst.

If you think so.

Rev Scare wrote:
Misunderstandings and ramblings with pompous language

No, most likely it means what it says:
Simone wrote:
To state the question is, to me, to suggest, at once, a preliminary answer. The fact that I ask it is in itself significant. A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say: ‘I am a woman’; on this truth must be based all further discussion. A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man. The terms masculine and feminine are used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal papers. In actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite like that of two electrical poles, for man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity. In the midst of an abstract discussion it is vexing to hear a man say: ‘You think thus and so because you are a woman’; but I know that my only defence is to reply: ‘I think thus and so because it is true,’ thereby removing my subjective self from the argument. It would be out of the question to reply: ‘And you think the contrary because you are a man’, for it is understood that the fact of being a man is no peculiarity. A man is in the right in being a man; it is the woman who is in the wrong. It amounts to this: just as for the ancients there was an absolute vertical with reference to which the oblique was defined, so there is an absolute human type, the masculine. Woman has ovaries, a uterus: these peculiarities imprison her in her subjectivity, circumscribe her within the limits of her own nature. It is often said that she thinks with her glands. Man superbly ignores the fact that his anatomy also includes glands, such as the testicles, and that they secrete hormones. He thinks of his body as a direct and normal connection with the world, which he believes he apprehends objectively, whereas he regards the body of woman as a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar to it. ‘The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities,’ said Aristotle; ‘we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.’ And St Thomas for his part pronounced woman to be an ‘imperfect man’, an ‘incidental’ being. This is symbolised in Genesis where Eve is depicted as made from what Bossuet called ‘a supernumerary bone’ of Adam.

Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being. Michelet writes: ‘Woman, the relative being ...’ And Benda is most positive in his Rapport d’Uriel: ‘The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself ... Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man.’ And she is simply what man decrees; thus she is called ‘the sex’, by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex – absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.’
From here. On the anti-Marxist feminist Marxists.org, no less!

Rev Scare wrote:Among the ruling classes, while men were more prominently featured in the state (though examples of powerful female figures in history abound) or ideological institutions such as the Church, that is no real indication that they were privileged compared to the women of their class. To a large extent, the lives of aristocratic women were loftier in comparison, as even the task of child rearing was relegated to servants, and they might have enjoyed greater leisure time as a result. If we consider the modern day male CEO of a large corporation and his wife, who is more advantaged in the relationship? It is socially acceptable for his wife to either live a life of luxury entirely on his wealth or to pursue whatever career she desires, or a combination of the two. (Of course, we all know that the gold digging phenomenon of women who expect to marry into wealth is unheard of, though. Rolling Eyes) By contrast, there is not nearly as much social approbation for men who choose housework, leisure time, and parasitism over serving as an external breadwinner for a wife and children—not due to patriarchy!

It is fascinating to me that you consider such a position to be a position of privilege, considering Marxists' views on alienation.

Rev Scare wrote:This is even more true for men of lower classes. To consider the example of feudalism, was it seriously more empowering for a man to toil the field or in a craft and expend the necessary labor to replenish not only himself but also his family, and in addition to this, to perform additional labor in excess of what is required to produce his family's means of livelihood for the lord of the manor?

Serfdom is not empowering, wow. Thank you. You just compared the life of a serf to the wife of a female aristocrat. Is it more empowering than what?

Rev Scare wrote:An anthropologist by the name of Susan Carol Rogers conducted an ethnological study of peasant customs across various societies and found that "patriarchal" peasant households expressed a much more nuanced balance of power than what the standard feminist narrative depicts. She argued for the following thesis:

“Although peasant males monopolize positions of authority and are shown public deference by women, thus superficially appearing to be dominant, they wield relatively little real power. Theirs is a largely powerless authority, often accompanied by a felt sense of powerlessness, both in the face of the world at large and of the peasant community itself. On the other hand, within the context of peasant society, women control at least the major portion of important resources and decisions."
Source: Female Forms of Power and the Myth of Male Dominance: A Model of Female/Male Interaction in Peasant Society, p. 728.

That's a thesis, yep.

Rev Scare wrote:If this applies to feudal and semi-feudal societies, it is all the more true of those in which the capitalist mode of production is firmly established. To submit that a coal miner during the Industrial Revolution was substantially advantaged over his wife is to strain credulity.

Life's complicated, innit.


Rev Scare wrote:Merely restating that you are skeptical of the claim is no argument. Mine is a reasoned assertion that provides rationale for feminism's deleterious presence within working class movements. It is nearly impossible to prove such a statement empirically, but I maintain that observing the setbacks experienced by the working classes of many countries, particularly in the global north, since the New Left's unholy matrimony to feminism and identity politics more broadly supports the thesis. Your position, on the other hand, is clearly rooted in little more than sentimentalism.

Correlation is causation, don't ya know. It supports the thesis insofar as it doesn't refute it, which is to say it doesn't support the thesis.

Rev Scare wrote:The mass immigration phenomenon observable in Western countries in the decades subsequent the Second World War is most reliably explained as fulfilling the requirements of capital accumulation. Capitalist elites draft immigration policy, and the only reason for them to abide a massive influx of immigrants from the global south is because their presence dilutes the labor market and provides cheap labor, and of course, bourgeois individuals are insulated from daily interaction in multicultural ghettos. This can only be deleterious to the national working class. Take agricultural jobs in the United States, where Mexican migrant workers have displaced native born workers to a major extent. They often labor under contracts of dubious legitimacy, which allows their wages to fall below the legal minimum. Not only is such an arrangement highly exploitative of the immigrants in question, as farm labor is backbreaking, but it ensures that average wages for such jobs fall well below what they would be if American workers faced no such competition.

Alright, well, pretty much all the studies done on the question say that the effect on wages is negligible, and in the worst case only people who never completed high school are affected. Since that's about 12% of the population, it's not as big of a deal as you think. Especially since the wages of high school graduates and beyond actually increase from immigration. And Celtiberian "educated" me by making reference to "supply and demand," and a model with erroneous assumptions about the labor market, so yeah. I "failed to incorporate his wisdom" because he wasn't saying anything I have never heard before.



Rev Scare wrote:

Why the dearth of understanding, buddy boy?

Ask Dunning and Kruger you fucking idiot. I was making a point about your obvious misogyny, since you attribute all of the historical advances of women to men, which contradicts your previous bullshit about women and men being on an equal playing field, but whatever. Did you know that raising children is a fundamental part of social reproduction? Men engaged in one aspect of social labor, women in another. Men didn't build modern industry by themselves, and the fact you think they did is precious, because it actually falls more in line with the feminist point about men being allowed to contribute to society directly.

Rev Scare wrote:
So, because I find Israel's policies toward Palestine reprehensible, I must be sympathetic to radical Islam? Because I am a proponent of the welfare state (in the interim), I must be a Keynesian and social democrat? What kind of bungled logic is that?

An issue can be an issue to multiple people and still be an issue for one group. Being pro-choice is a feminist position, but it's also a position other people hold. Would you say that being pro-welfare state is not a Keynesian position? If that's the case, can any position be ascribed to any group at all? This is just semantics.

Rev Scare wrote:Once again, abortion is not a "feminist" issue on principle. The case against abortion rests primarily on a moral argument regarding the sanctity of human life, not womanhood. The fact that women bear children in our species is incidental to the debate. A consistent classical liberal, with a strong belief in secular government and individual liberty, would just as soon oppose a state mandated curtailment of reproductive freedom.

Can an issue not simultaneously be a feminist and liberal issue? Abortion is an issue to feminists on feminist principles, but it's also an issue to liberals on liberal principles.

Rev Scare wrote:
Your reading comprehension problem and avoidance of my actual arguments has become grating. I am highly critical of feminist theory's patriarchy because it proposes that the history of human societies is best described as one in which they were arranged to implement and preserve male domination over females through a masculine class system (the origins of which remain as varied, fickle, muddled, and "intersected" as the feminists who propound it). This is completely false. The Marxist view of history is that historical movements come about through the process of class struggle and the productive activity of mankind. All societies must reproduce themselves first and foremost, and to do so, they must organize human labor to meet their own needs for self-preservation...Gender roles are one way societies accomplish "the production of the means to support human life," instituting a division of labor between men and women. It is upon this division of labor that gender expectations arise and by which they are conditioned...Societies are not structured to advantage men and disadvantage, oppress, subjugate, dominate, exploit, or what have you women. They are organized to meet human needs according to a mode of production.

You realize that the two aren't mutually exclusive, right? "Societies aren't structured to advantage the bourgeoisie and disadvantage, oppress, subjugate, dominate, exploit or what have you proletarians. They are organized to meet human needs according to a mode of production." This is equally valid. Society isn't structured for the purpose of subjugating any particular group, but the way society is organized to meet human needs happens to "disadvantage, oppress, subjugate, dominate, exploit or what have you proletarians. "

Are you unable to conceive of the possibility that all previous modes of production have involved a sexual division of labor which places women in a subordinate position? That feminism is a result of the development of the productive forces of society which has resulted in the end of the old division of labor? That, perhaps, society still has vestiges of the old societies where such a division of labor developed, and the sexist attitudes that came with them? I don't get how you simultaneously say this but don't understand it. It's truly fascinating.

With that, I'm signing off for now. I'll return later to respond to the rest, but I'd rather move on with my life at the moment, since these exchanges are long and tedious.
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Re: The Death of Feminism on the Left

Post by Rev Scare on Sat May 10, 2014 3:55 am

These exchanges are indeed long and tedious, and you have a penchant for persisting to argue despite the fact that your responses are pitiful, desperate, and downright embarrassing. I feel there is little point in continuing with you considering how you respond with something as ridiculous as a snapshot of some dubious comment from reddit or some such intellectual wastebasket, attribute it to Warren Farrell, and proceed to dismiss his entire research upon this foundation. Even if that is a genuine comment of his, it hardly matters to me, and it is unsurprising considering his liberal approach to the topic of gender relations (and ironically, most MRAs would vehemently disagree with him here), not unlike the run-of-the-mill feminist, save much less ignorant. It is not as though one need agree with all aspects of another individual's work or views in order to find value in them, and I continue to recommend his book to those interested despite your petty attempt to poison the well. That was very feminist of you, and I strongly encourage people to subject feminist claims to utmost scrutiny.

Furthermore, I am baffled as to why you continue to contend that I am somehow neglecting feminism's role in the superstructure. That is an utter misreading of my argument. There is a wealth of difference, however, between changes in the productive forces that mitigated the traditional roles of women and feminist ideology. Feminist ideology is not somehow vindicated simply because it partially coincided with material developments that changed gender roles for women and mystified them with its own vulgar analysis. To argue otherwise, as you do, without providing any relevant justification is vacuous. How about we debate the actual merits of feminism, not its origins, which I have faultlessly traced on several occasions? Honestly, I don't give a damn what positive function feminism performed in your mind. Tell me, what is the positive function of slut walks, and how much utility do they actually possess? Please, enlighten us. Where is the redeeming kernel in portraying domestic violence as a gender specific issue, despite all evidence to the contrary, both present and historical? Where is the merit in promoting the falsehood that women are excluded from careers and upward mobility in bourgeois society? Feminism's cultural critique is twaddle. Virtually all of its claims, from the "male gaze" to female objectification to rape culture are one-dimensional, tendentious simplifications. To the extent they possess any basis in reality, they can be best explained within the class analytic framework of capitalism's accumulation imperative. Why do you even insist on paying lip service to the importance of changing the mode of production, acknowledging that gender roles, and therefore gender perceptions, are founded upon it, if you believe feminism's cultural critique is worthwhile? A learned Marxist understands that such efforts can only be futile, even if we grant their righteousness, within the context of capitalist society.

Let us consider the issue of female objectification in the media, as but one example. How is this a patriarchal issue and not, instead, one where corporations seek to profit from sex, which naturally appeals to males and females? Furthermore, are males not objectified as well? There are countless examples of the male body being exploited for profit. How do patriarchy and male privilege account for this? I mean, advertising and the media exploit the desirability of upward mobility and the status it confers in terms of female recognition and social influence to attract male attention. There is nothing inherently "sexist" about this, nor is there anything innately wrong with the fact that female sex appeal earns revenue because—who would have thought—heterosexual men enjoy looking at attractive women, and titillating our baser urges has been identified as a potent advertising technique at least since the days of Edward Bernays, the purported father of public relations. Moreover, open the pages of just about any fashion magazine, tabloid, health magazine, or general publication for women, all of which promote certain views of the female body, and read the names of the editors, designers, and marketing agents, and you will find that they are overwhelmingly female, as they have always been. How do male privilege and patriarchy account for this? They do not, but capitalist market relations (and commonsense) do.

Nowhere have I argued that the gendered division of labor wasn't burdensome and restrictive for both sexes. Quite the contrary. However, I disagree with the assertion that women were "subordinate" at all times simply because they happened to have wielded less formal power or that this implies they were mistreated, dominated, oppressed, exploited, pauperized, or what have you by men. It does not mean that men within a class were comparatively privileged either, let alone all men in relation to all women. There is a relatively modest if significant (for historical purposes) degree of sexual dimorphism within our species, and it meant that men and women conformed to disparate roles in order to reproduce society, which often meant that females were relegated to more passive, yet hardly more cumbersome, roles. To repeat for the reading impaired: even if the patriarchal narrative were true, feminism does not represent the solution at all, not even as a supplement to Marxism, since the Marxist analysis of gender roles is not incomplete but quite robust. To even formulate cultural critiques in the sloppy and biased manner of feminists and other victim groups, wherein the discernible objective seems to be victory in the oppression Olympics, reeks of empty moralism and maudlin tripe. None of this, it must be noted, can be regarded as distracting from or invalidating the constraints, burdens, and even woes women experienced as part of their duties in the division of labor, nor is it denigrating women. You have not even begun to confront this challenge, and your impotent disregard for the study I linked only underscores your ineptitude. It is a thesis, yes, which is what she confirmed, which is how science operates. Comprende, chilito?

I don't know why you refer to alienation as though it somehow confutes the fact that aristocratic women were indeed highly privileged, and they still are with regard to bourgeois females, be they direct or indirect participants in the fundamental capitalist class process, and this applies even if we take their relative position to men of their class into account. Would you seriously dare to suggest that they aren't? Do it, so that we can all enjoy a good laugh at your expense. I draw your attention to the reality that capitalists are also alienated in the pursuit of profit and the competition this induces, but this does not diminish their advantageous position vis–à–vis workers. If anything, alienation encapsulates the idea that the vast majority of men (and boys) performed onerous, stultifying duties, being estranged from their labor and the conditions in which they exerted it. (Thank you for linking to Wikipedia, by the way. It was most helpful...)

I might undertake a more thorough examination of Simone de Beauvoir's work at a later point in time, but the quote you supplied is discouraging, as it betrays an idealist, ahistorical outlook, and does not stimulate much interest. This is nothing I haven't read before in the writings of other feminists, regardless.

Lastly, what a disappointing clown you have proven yourself to be. You are clearly out of your depth here, both in terms of your tenuous grasp on Marxist theory and feminism. Any objective reader of our exchange would agree that I have constructed a far superior argument. Spare yourself further humiliation and desist. It is a waste of my time to even bother replying to the rest of your passive-aggressive rubbish, and that is all it is, with a strong lack of reading comprehension. Being labeled a misogynist by a feminist is meaningless apart from possibly indicating an impending rage quit, since they bandy about the term as though it were a common insult. There is nothing misogynistic about what I wrote, your information processing handicap notwithstanding. It could not be reasonably construed as misogyny even if your babble captured the essence of what I set forth. You've gone a long way to discredit yourself by arbitrarily invoking the misogynist bogeyman in this thread, little feminist. Respond with something more substantial and improve your debating tactics or I will refrain from indulging your sophomoric rejoinders in the future.

P.S. I enjoy provoking such an emotional response from you. It truly makes you appear impressive to any third party. Don't challenge your betters when you are incapable; learn from them instead.

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