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“It is an urgent necessity for the development of the communist movement and the revolutionary movement in general, that every viewpoint which sees the oppression of women as a “side issue” or any feminism as “petty bourgeois” be smashed. The women of the working class suffer a double oppression, their oppression as part of the proletariat and their oppression under the patriarchy.
The working-class women are exploited not only by wage slavery, but also by the their slavery under the patriarchy. A communist and revolutionary politics is worth its name only so long as it is an expression of the interests of the most oppressed and exploited, accordingly, no communist and revolutionary force can negate the special role and importance of the mobilization, politicization and organization of women, especially the women workers, without unmasking themselves as impostors.”
This quote is from the Harper’s Magazine archive. We Do Abortions Here: A Nurse’s Story, is a powerful piece that goes beyond the well worn positions that are still being dragged about today. I recommend a full reading, go to Harper’s Archive to read it.
“Women have abortions because they are too old, and too young, too poor, and too rich, too stupid and too smart. I see women who berate themselves with violent emotions for their first and only abortion, and others who return three times, five times, hauling two or three children, who cannot remember to take a pill or where they put the diaphragm. We talk glibly about choice. But the choice for what? I see all the broken promises in lives lived like a series of impromptu obstacles. There are the sweet, light promises of live and intimacy, the glittering promise of education and progress, the warm promise of safe families, long years of innocence and community. And there is the promise of freedom: freedom from failure, from faithlessness. Freedom from biology. The early feminist defense of abortion asked many questions, but the one I remember is this: Is biology destiny? And the answer is yes, sometimes it is. Women who have the fewest choices of all exercise their right to abortion the most.”
A small slice of what the emancipation of women looks like can be found here. There is a distinct lack of ’empowerment’ and empty consumerist gestures in the second wave – just women liberating the space for women to make the tough calls in their lives as they see fit. It is not happy-fun-times, not empowerful, but rather it is the cold embrace of the bitter-sweet choices in life that, till recently, only half of the population was deemed worthy enough to experience.
My friend recently rescued some softbound books from his apartment’s lobby area, sort of a communal reuse and recycle area. In publication called New Politics I found the opening paragraphs from Betty Reid Mandell’s article The Future of Caretaking most informative, and worthy enough to be shared with you fair readers. This, as always, is an adventure in touch typing, so any errors in spelling and style are most likely mine and not Betty’s. Do note how she points out one of the fundamental paradox’s of conservative thinking.
“One of the casualties of unfettered capitalism is caretaking. The needs of capital take precedence over the needs of children, the aged, and the disabled for sensitive and reliable care.
Conservatives say the family is crumbling and crisis; feminists say the crisis is in the lack of caretaking provisions for working parents and lack of cash support for unemployed parents. Conservatives want a return to the male breadwinner type of family where men make the living and women stay home to care for their children. Irving Kristol believes that this would solved problems such as illegitimacy and male irresponsibility. Francis Fukayama hopes that women will rediscover their biologically imprinted nurturing capacities and realize that taking a few years off work to stay with their young children is best for their families. When this happens, he says, “day care will become the lot of the children of ‘working class or welfare mothers’ only.”
Conservatives call for a moral regeneration to restore the nuclear family and the breadwinner father who earns the “family wage,” yet they favour economic policies such as deregulation, weakened unions, and lowered wages which, along with rising expectations, create the need for both parents to work. Feminists, on the other hand, call for “family-friendly” state and employment policies that will it possible for parents to combine work and child care without sacrificing their careers or neglecting their children, their aged parents, or disabled family members, and with requiring that the caregivers be female.”
-The Future of Caretaking. Betty Reid Mandell. New Politics Winter 2003, p 61.
“When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.
The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”
All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.
And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence”
— Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking, 1978 Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
Violence and child rearing should never intermingle. With the understanding we have of the correlations of violence at an early age with future behaviour, there are no excuses for beating your child. Not one.
I’d like to recommend reading this particular book as it offers a laypersons guide to how our minds evolved and the inelegant solutions and workarounds that are now standard in the homo sapiens brain. Consider this summary of why sometime we become angry and that anger dominates our rational capacities.
“What occasionally allows normal people to spiral out of control is a witch’s brew of cognitive kludges: (1) the clumsy apparatus of self-control (which in the heat of the moment all too often gives the upper hand to our reflexive system); (2) the lunacy of confirmation bias (which convinces us that we are always right, or nearly so); (3) its evil twin, motivated reasoning (which leads us to protect our beliefs, even if those beliefs are dubious); (4) the contextually driven nature of memory (such that when we’re angry at someone, we tend to remember other things about them that have made us angry in the past). In short, this leaves “hot” systems dominating cool reason; carnage often ensues.