File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-04-03.022, message 16

Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 19:26:41 -0800
Subject: Re: M-I: Feminism Again

Many thanks to all who posted on feminism and class over the last few
days. There were some great posts. I wanted to reply, but my head
was swimming. I did eventually send a jumble of ideas to M-Fem. But I 
expressly wanted to say how much I appreciated the work done on this
topic on M-I by Carrol, Yoshie, Brad, Doug, Zeynep, Gary, Louis P & 
Louis G (like Cuba Gooding Jr, am I missing anyone?)

Just thought I'd reply directly to something Doug said tonight.

Doug wrote:
And, another thing.... The New York City Health Department is reporting
that nearly half the women murdered in the city were murdered by spouses or
male lovers, usually at home. Almost no men are killed by female intimates.
Is there a specifically "Marxist" analysis of this? Since this disparity in
lover-murder doesn't center specifically on "class" does that mean Marxists
have nothing to say about it? Is male violence against women something to
be addressed after the revolution, whenever that may be? Will the end of
capitalism mean, spontaneously, the end of such brutality? If so, why? If
not, then what is to be done?

Gay adds:
Thanks for saying this. The stats that describe this violence 
are overwhelming. I've seen so many variations on the theme in 
so many places, that it's like proving cigarette smoke causes cancer.

This was what *I* had in mind when I spoke of a diminished group of
workers -- singled out for physical and verbal abuse *the whole 
world over*: afraid to speak out at home, in the workplace, at

I am glad to see the debate on M-I move beyond labelling and 
to see the revealing and thoughtful posts I read over the 
weekend. But this element of abuse was the unspoken concrete 
missing from the abstractions about workplace inequity, 
reproductive politics, etc.

As I said before, and as we move beyond the stats, I have had
very many female friends, acquaintances & relatives over my 36 
years -- and each one of them who's felt close enough to 
confide -- has suffered at least one incidence of *serious*
physical abuse. (The sources vary: boss, brothers, doctors,
lovers, etc.) I am shocked and continue to be shocked by
the frequency. This is more common than the people on this
list who cavalierly dismiss it could ever imagine. (Let me
be perfectly clear ... this is not a 1st world lament!)

So, thanks to Doug for raising this directly.

To clearly delineate class struggle and female emancipation
and the specificity of capitalism, I recommend Ellen Meiskins
Wood's essay "Capitalism and human emancipation: race, gender
and democracy" in _Democracy against Capitalism_. Great essay.
(I'm sure many on the list have encountered this helpful

Gay Harley
Toronto, Canada

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