File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1996/96-11-13.154, message 56


Date: Mon, 11 Nov 96 09:44:53 GMT
Subject: M-I: Racism and the nation state; Sexism and the Family



Wes Beal writes:
> 
> I'm still fairly new to this list, having shown up just in time to 
> catch the beginning of the po-mo war; and I've been waiting until I 
> could get a good sense of whos who and how things work before 
> starting to post.  Seeing as how that still hasn't happened I figure 
> I better just start now and suffer the consequences.
> 
> There has been some relatively intelligent discussion today 
> following Louis' post.  Here's my 2 cents worth.
> 
> I agree with Zeynep and Justin that issues of racism and sexism 
> predate capital. 

IMO, Sexism does and does not predate capital; racism doesn't at all.

Racism is bound up with the nation state, which did not predate
capital.

In Medieval England, the rulers spoke French and owned half of France.
The literate caste, the clergy, wrote + spoke Latin. A few people 
near London spoke something like what we might call English. In the
north of England, people spoke something like modern Danish. People
you could genuinely call Britons had been pushed to the "Celtic 
fringes" : Wales, Cornwall and the Scottish Highlands. They spoke
something like modern Welsh.

What do "race" and "nation" mean in this context ? What is the "we"
that the "they" is excluded from by reason of their parentage ?

Sexism is slightly different, in that I would argue that it originates
with the rise of private property and class relations. It is thousands of
years older than racism. But the reason I would argue that "Sexism does
and does not predate capital" is that the form sexism takes in each society
is dependent on the nature of the family in that sort of society; and this in
turn depends on how and for what each society requires that the next generation
of workers in produced. This means that what we mean by women's oppression
under capitalism is very different from what we might mean by the oppression
of women in other societies.

Adam.


Adam Rose
SWP
Manchester
UK


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