Saturday, November 14, 2009

*On The 20th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall- From The Pen Of Alan Woods- A Guest Commentary

Click on title to link to an "In Defense Of Marxism" article (via Renegade Eye)by Alan Woods on November 9, 2009 the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Markin comment:

This article by Alan Woods is a useful general commentary that does a fairly good job of highlighting the events of that period. Two weaknesses in the article though. A little too strong emphasis on the anecdotal evidence that some of those who thought that so-called "market socialism" would be better than the bureaucratized central planning system that they known. There is no, or little, evidence that this post-dated "buyer's remorse" noted in the article has led to anything stronger than some grumbling.

More importantly, there is no information in the article about what the International Marxist Tendency's policies were at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and what they were advising their co-thinkers to do. In short how to fight for the political revolution (or at least fight off the counterrevolution) For an article attempting to teach the lessons of history and to educate today's youth that is a serious shortcoming. Unless one believes that nothing could be done and that one should just follow the crowd. That would be worse.


Markin comment- November 16, 2009


This last point is of no mere academic interest. I am personally, painfully, aware of what an incorrect orientation, or rather a somewhat early studied indifference toward the events of 20 years ago surrounding the demise of the deformed and degenerated workers states signaled above all by the fall of the Berlin Wall had on future revolutionary prospects. I have noted elsewhere in this space (see "*On The 20th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall - The Defeated Fight To Save Socialism- The International Communist League View", Novemeber 2, 2009) what the demise of the Soviet Union and the other non-capitalist states of East Europe have had on the prospects for socialism. The learning of the lessons of that hard truth will be the subject for a future fuller commentary but for now here is an outline of my thinking on the matter.

Throughout most of the last half of the 1980s I (and here in this commentary I speak solely for myself), and some other political associates I was working with at the time, some in Europe although none directly in Germany, had our eyes and political antennae focused on what we consistently considered the alarming situation in the Soviet Union (and to a lesser extent China, the other important workers state). Frankly, the bubbling up of intensely pro-capitalism opposition from various East European countries caught me by surprise, at least its intensity. Moreover, toward the destruction of the Berlin Wall as anything other than a secondary symbolic gesture I was rather agnostic.

Why? Two basic reasons that bear directly on my comments on the Wood article above. First, I overestimated the commitment of the various Stalinist bureaucracies to preserving their own workers states (the desire to hold onto state power for their own personal or political reasons). If one of the prerequisites for revolution (or, as here, counter-revolution) is that the old ruling regime cannot, or will not, defend itself against popular mass action then this proved to be massively true in 1989. Above all I thought the East German bureaucracy, as pivotal as the DRG was to the military and political interest of the Soviet Union, would…hold out in the short term. I was ready to make, devoted Trotsky admirer or not, a tacit bloc with any wing of the crumbling Stalinist bureaucracies that would just not give up (at least until we could organize the pro-communist, anti-Stalinist political revolution against them).

Secondly, I underestimated the extent of the rejection of socialism among the populations, including the working classes, of the East European states as a whole. This view certainly underestimated the identification in the popular mind of Stalinism and socialism (a continuing one, by the way). For a whole bunch of historical reasons, including feelings of national oppression by the presence of Soviet troops, I knew that some sections of the population had always been hostile to socialism, in any form. Rather than cut across that clearly and cleanly with a call for a new Bolshevik Party to rally whatever pro-socialist forces were around and to fight against the counter-revolutionary actions unfolding I drifted along trying to deny reality. And that reality, from our pro-communist perspective, was that rather than an amorphous mass this situation was driven by serious counter-revolutionary impulses. The media images might have been wrapped up in “democratic” rhetoric but no Western imperialist was unhappy with what they saw unfolding among the “people”. I think, for now at least, these comments should buttress my case for the need to learn the lessons of the history of this period for our side. We already know their "death of communism" side. More, and I think much more, later.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"-Herbert Manana

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances). I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


San Francisco Bay Blues
Words & Music by Jesse Fuller, 1954
Recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary, 1965


B7 E A Edim E E7
I got the blues when my baby left me down by the Frisco Bay;

A F#m Cdim E E7
An ocean liner came and took her away.

A B7 E G#m C#m
I didn't mean to treat her bad, she was the best gal I ever had;

F#7
She said good-bye, made me cry,

B7 F#7 B7
Made me wanna lay down my head and die.



Refrain:

B7 E A Edim E E7
Well I ain't got a nickel, and I ain't got a lousy dime–,

A F#m Cdim G#7
She don't come back, I think I'm gonna lose my mind.

A B7 E G#7 C#7
She ever comes back to stay, it's gonna be another brand new day,

A B7 E Cdim B7
Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay.


Bridge:

E A Edim E A Edim E
Well, I'm sittin' here on the back porch, don't know which way to go;

A F#m G#7
The gal that I'm so crazy about, she don't love me anymore.

A Cdim F#m E G#m C#m
Think I'm gonna take a freight train, 'cause I'm feelin' blue,

F#7 C#m7-5 F#7 B7 F#7 B7
Gonna ride it to the end of the line, thinkin' only of you.


Refrain:

B7 E A Edim E E7
Well I ain't got a nickel, and I ain't got a lousy dime–,

A F#m G#7
She don't come back, I think I'm gonna lose my mind.

A B7 E G#7 C#7
She ever comes back to stay, it's gonna be another brand new day,

A B7 E Cm7-5 C#7
Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay,

A B7 E Fdim(IV) C#7
Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay,

A B7 E A7 Am7 E6
Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay.



I've been playing this song for years, since Peter, Paul & Mary's recording of it, and I learned to enjoy it all over again when Eric Clapton included his version on "Unplugged." Recently I transposed it, just for kicks...and found that it became fun to play all over again because of the new chord progression.

Recent visitor Gordon Jackson forwarded me a short bio on composer Jesse Fuller, reprinted in part here:

In 1951, Fuller decided to devote himself entirely to his music, and over the next decade he built a small cult following. He often used a one-man band setup he had devised that allowed him to play guitar, harmonica, hi-hat with castanets, and his own invention, the footdella (a piano-string bass operated with a foot pedal). He wrote, 'San Francisco Bay Blues" in 1954, and five years later appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Fuller became popular in Europe and England, and toured the U.S. regularly throughout the Sixties. It wasn't until the mid-Fifties that he began recording, cutting his early tracks for Prestige (later reissued on Fantasy). In 1976, he died of heart disease. (From the Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll. 1983.)

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- The Reverend Gary Davis Holds Forth

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


"I’m on My Way"

Im on my way from misery to happiness today
Im on my way from misery to happiness today
Im on my way to what I want from this world
And years from now youll make it to the next world
And everything that you receive up yonder
Is what you gave to me the day I wandered

I took a right, I took a right turning yesterday
I took a right, I took a right turning yesterday
I took the road that brought me to your home town
I took the bus to streets that I could walk down
I walked the streets to find the one Id looked for
I climbed the stair that led me to your front door

And now that I dont want for anthing
Id have al jolson sing Im sitting on top of the world

Ill do my best, Ill do my best to do the best I can
Ill do my best, Ill do my best to do the best I can
To keep my feet from jumping from the ground dear
To keep my heart from jumping through my mouth dear
To keep the past, the past and not the present
To try and learn when you teach me a lesson

And now that I dont want for anything
Id have al joison sing Im sitting on top of the world.

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Wikipedia's List Of Performers

Click on title to link to a complete list of the performers (including a few that I could not find on YouTube) on the 38 episodes of Pete Seeger's 1960s classic "Rainbow Quest" folk music television show.

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"-Elizabeth Cotten's "Freight Train"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


Freight Train
Lyrics: Elizabeth Cotten
Music: Elizabeth Cotten


Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
They won't know what route I'm going

When I'm dead and in my grave
No more good times here I crave
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I've gone to sleep

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
So I can hear old Number Nine
As she comes rolling by

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I've gone to sleep

Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
They won't know what route I'm going

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- The New Lost City Ramblers

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer(s)in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


“I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow”

I am the man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days
I bid farewell to ol' Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised.

The place where he was born and raised

For six long years I've been in trouble,
no pleasure here on earth I've found
For in this world, I'm bound to ramble,
I have no friends to help me now.

He has no friends to help him now

It's fair thee well, my old true lover,
I never expect to see you again.
For I'm bound to ride that Northern Railroad,
perhaps I'll die upon this train

Perhaps he'll die upon this train

You can bury me in some deep valley,
For many years where I may lay.
And you may learn to love another
while I am sleeping in my grave.

While he is sleeping in his grave

Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you never will see no more
But there is one promise that is given,
I'll meet you on Gods golden shore

He'll meet you on God's golden shore

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Mississippi John Hurt's Version Of "Good Night Irene"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.



"Good Night Irene"

Last Saturday night, I got married,
me and my wife settled down
Now me and my wife are parted,
I'm gonna take another stroll downtown

Sometimes I live in the country,
sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I take a great notion,
to jump into the river and drown

I love Irene, God knows I do,
I'll love her till the seas run dry
But if Irene should turn me down,
I'd take the morphine and die

Stop rambling, stop your gambling,
stop staying out late at night
Go home to your wife and your family,
stay there by your fireside bright

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Tom Paxton's "Buy A Gun For Your Son"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


Buy a Gun for Your Son
Words and Music by Tom Paxton


Hallelujah, Dads and Mommies,
Cowboys, Rebels, Yanks and Commies
Buy yourselves som real red blooded fun.
If you want to make the grade,
You've got to have a hand grenade,
And a fully automatic G.I. Gun.

[Cho:]
Buy a gun for your son right away, Sir
Shake his hand like a man and let him play, Sir.
Let his little mind expand, Place a weapon in his hand,
For the skills he learns today will someday pay, Sir.

Pound that kid into submission
'Till he's mastered Nuclear Fission
Buy him plastic warheads by the score,
Once he's got the taste of blood,
He's gonna sneak up on his buddies
Starting his own thermo-nuclear war.

[Cho.]

Buy him khakis and fatigues,
And sign him up in little leagues,
Give him calisthenics as a rule.
Once you've banished fear and dread,
Then pat his seven year-old head,
And send him off to military school.

[Cho]

Once he's grown to be a man,
He might get tired of blasting Granny,
Then you'll see a crisis coming on.
Don't get worried, don't get nervous.
Send that kid into the service,
Let him rise into the Pentagon.

[Cho]

At the Pentagon he'll rise.
The President he will advise,
His reputation growing all the while.
With his picture on the wall,
He'll get that long-awaited call,
And press the firing buttons with a smile.

[Cho]

*Governor Patrick Hands Off The Ohio Seven's Ray Luc Levasseur- Free The Last Of The Ohio Seven -Jaan Laaman And Tom Manning!

Click on title to link to news article about Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's attempts to pressure the faculty and students at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst for permitting former Ohio 7 member Ray Luc Levasseur to speak at their campus.

Markin comment:

This is a simple democratic question. Brother Levasseur has a right to speak and the faculty and student at U/Mass/Amherst have the right to hear what he has to say about politics or whatever subject he is scheduled to discuss. Moreover, as a supporter of an organization, the Partisan Defense Committee, that supports class war political prisoners, which Brother Levasseur most certainly was, there is also the continuing issue of freedom for the last two imprisoned Ohio Seven members, Jaan Laaman and Tom Manning. They should not die in jail. Free them now!

The following is reposted from a 2006 entry in this space concerning the fate of the Ohio Seven.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Link

*Free The Last Of The Ohio Seven- Jaan Laaman And Tom Manning Must Not Die In Prison!

Click on title to link to the Partisan Defense Committee web site. The Partisan Defense Committee has defended the Ohio Seven, and particularly through the annual Holiday Appeal has provided stipends for Brothers Laaman and Manning over the years.

COMMENTARY

ONE OF THE OHIO SEVEN -RICHARD WILLIAMS- RECENTLY DIED IN PRISON. THAT LEAVES JAAN LAAMAN AND TOM MANNING STILL IN PRISON. IT IS AN URGENT DUTY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR MOVEMENT AND OTHERS TO RAISE THE CALL FOR THEIR FREEDOM. FREE ALL CLASS WAR PRISONERS.


The Ohio Seven, like many other subjective revolutionaries, coming out of the turbulent anti-Vietnam War and anti-imperialist movements, were committed to social change. The different is that this organization included mainly working class militants, some of whose political consciousness was formed by participation as soldiers in the Vietnam War itself. Various members were convicted for carrying out robberies, apparently to raise money for their struggles, and bombings of imperialist targets. Without going into their particular personal and political biographies I note that these were the kind of subjective revolutionaries that must be recruited to a working class vanguard party if there ever is to be a chance of bringing off a socialist revolution.

In the absence of a viable revolutionary labor party in the 1970’s and 1980’s the politics of the Ohio Seven, like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen, were borne of despair at the immensity of the task and also by desperation to do something concrete in aid of the Vietnamese Revolution and other Third World struggles . Their actions in trying to open up a second front militarily in the United States in aid of Third World struggles without a mass base proved to be mistaken but, as the Partisan Defense Committee which I support has noted, their actions were no crime in the eyes of the international working class.

The lack of a revolutionary vanguard to attract such working class elements away from adventurism is rendered even more tragic in the case of the Ohio Seven. Leon Trotsky, a leader with Lenin of the Russian Revolution of 1917, noted in a political obituary for his fallen comrade and fellow Left Oppositionist Kote Tsintadze that the West has not produced such fighters as Kote. Kote, who went through all the phases of struggle for the Russian Revolution, including imprisonment and exile under both the Czar and Stalin benefited from solidarity in a mass revolutionary vanguard party to sustain him through the hard times. What a revolutionary party could have done with the evident capacity and continuing commitment of subjective revolutionaries like the Ohio Seven poses that question point blank. This is the central problem and task of cadre development in the West in resolving the crisis of revolutionary leadership.

Finally, I would like to note that except for the Partisan Defense Committee and their own defense organizations – the Ohio 7 Defense Committee and the Jaan Laaman Defense Fund- the Ohio Seven have long ago been abandoned by those New Left elements and others, who as noted, at one time had very similar politics. At least part of this can be attributed to the rightward drift to liberal pacifist politics by many of them, but some must be attributed to class. Although the Ohio Seven were not our people- they are our people. All honor to them. As James P Cannon, a founding leader of the International Labor Defense, forerunner of the Partisan Defense Committee, pointed out long ago –Solidarity with class war prisoners is not charity- it is a duty. Their fight is our fight! LET US DO OUR DUTY HERE. RAISE THE CALL FOR THE FREEDOM OF LAAMAN AND MANNING. MAKE MOTIONS OF SOLIDARITY IN YOUR POLITICAL ORGANIZATION, SCHOOL OR UNION.

YOU CAN GOOGLE THE ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED ABOVE- THE PARTISAN DEFENSE COMMITTEE- THE OHIO 7 DEFENSE COMMITTEE- THE JAAN LAAMAN DEFENSE FUND

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Hedy West

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


Dying Cowboy: Lyrics

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
These words came low and mournfully
From the pouted lips of a youth who lay
On his dying bed at the close of day

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the coyote howls and the wind blows free
In a narrow grave just six by three
Bury me not on the lone prairie

It matters not IĆ¢€™ve oft been told
Where the body lies when the heart grows cold
Yet grant oh grant this wish to me
Bury me not on the lone prairie

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the coyote howls and the wind blows free
In a narrow grave just six by three
Oh bury me not on the lone prairie

He wailed in pain and o'er his brow
Death's shadows fast were gathering now
He thought of his friends and his home but nigh
As the cowboys gathered to see him die

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
These words came low and mournfully
From the pouted lips of a youth who lay
On his dying bed at the close of day

We took no heed of his dying prayer
In a narrow grave we buried him there
In a narrow grave just six by three
We buried him there on the lone prairie

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the coyote howls and the wind blows free
In a narrow grave just six by three
Oh bury me not on the lone prairie

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"-Richard and Mimi Farina's "Pack Up Your Sorrows"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


"Pack Up Your Sorrows"

No use crying, talking to a stranger,
Naming the sorrow you've seen
Too many bad times, too many sad times
Nobody knows what you mean

Chorus:
But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows
And give them all to me
You would lose them, I know how to use them
Give them all to me

No use rambling, walking in the shadows,
Trailing a wandering star
No one beside you, no one to hide you
And nobody knows what you are

(Chorus)

No use gambling, running in the darkness,
Looking for a spirit that's free
Too many wrong times, too many long times
Nobody knows what you see

(Chorus)

No use roaming, going by the roadside,
Seeking a satisfied mind
Too many highways, too many byways,
And nobody's walking behind

(Chorus)

*Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest"- Theodore Bikel and Rashid Hussain

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.

*In Pete Seeger's House- "Rainbow Quest"- Buffy Sainte-Marie's "My Country 'Tis Of Thy People You're Dying"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of Pete Seeger's now famous 1960s (black and white, that's the give-away)"Rainbow Quest" for the performer in this entry's headline.

Markin comment:

This series, featuring Pete Seeger and virtually most of the key performers in the 1960s folk scene is a worthy entry into the folk archival traditions for future revivalists to seek out. There were thirty plus episodes (some contained more than one performer of note, as well as Pete solo performances. I have placed the YouTube film clips here one spot over four days, November 10-13, 2009 for the reader's convenience.


MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THY PEOPLE YOU'RE DYING (BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE) (early 1960s)

Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s)

"My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying" is Buffy Sainte-Marie's statement-in-song about Indian affairs.

"My point in the song is that the American people haven't been given a fair share at learning the true history of the American Indian. They know neither the state of poverty that the Indians are in now nor how it got to be that way. I try to tell the side of the story that's left out of the history books, that can only be found in the documents, the archives and in the memories of the Indians themselves."
Nat Hentoff, liner notes for Buffy Sainte-Marie, Little Wheel Spin And Spin, 1966


Lyrics transcribed by Manfred Helfert
© 1966, Gypsy Music, Inc.


Now that your big eyes have finally opened,
Now that you're wondering how must they feel,
Meaning them that you've chased across America's movie screens.
Now that you're wondering how can it be real
That the ones you've called colorful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda
They starve in their splendor?
You've asked for my comment I simply will render:
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the longhouses breed superstition
You force us to send our toddlers away
To your schools where they're taught to despise their traditions.
You forbid them their languages, then further say
That American history really began
When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
And yet where in your history books is the tale
Of the genocide basic to this country's birth,
Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,
How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?
And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
As it rang with a thud
O'er Kinzua mud,
And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year?

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
With her shivering children in zero degrees,
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way.
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
From the Gran Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens;
Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks.
And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks
For the blessings of civilization you've brought us,
The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us --
Oh see what our trust in America's brought us.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the pride of the sires receives charity,
Now that we're harmless and safe behind laws,
Now that my life's to be known as your "heritage,"
Now that even the graves have been robbed,
Now that our own chosen way is a novelty --
Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,
Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy
Pitying the blindness that you've never seen
That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory
They were never no more than carrion crows,
Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;
The mockingbird sings it, it's all that he knows.
"Ah what can I do?" say a powerless few
With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye --
Can't you see that their poverty's profiting you.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Monday, November 09, 2009

*President Obama Talks To The Tribal Nations- Question: Where Is Leonard Peltier's Place At The Table?

Click on title to link to "The Washington Post" article about President Obama's meetings with various Native American tribal leaders. My question in the headline stands.

*Honor The World War II German Underground Revolutionary Fighter Martin Widelin- And Step Back Way Back

Click on title to link to the article, "From the Archives of Marxism- Martin Widelin: Martyred Trotskyist Leader in World War II German Underground".


Markin comment:

I had anticipated that I would feature the short but eventful revolutionary political career of the great martyred Trotskyist World War II underground fighter Martin Widelin as part of a series that I am planning for January with a working title of –“Heroes Of The International Labor Movement”. Comrade Widelin will certainly take his high place in that pantheon come January.

But I now feel compelled, after re-reading the above linked article “From The Marxist Archives…” to pay special honor to this heroic figure beforehand. Those of us who are latter day followers of the great Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky know that one of the reasons for the failure of the Fourth International to lead the struggle for socialism in the post-war period was the military decimation and defeat of its small cadre by Nazi, Stalinist and bourgeois forces alike. However, it was not for lack of dedicated cadre like Widelin.

That said, what I really want emphasize today is how extraordinary Widelin’s activities were. Every time you are depressed by the daunting tasks that we confront today in our struggle against world imperialism think of the German Martin Widelin and his attempts to organize revolutionary communist cells in the Nazi armies in France. Moreover, during war time in the middle of battle! Every time you think that you have done something special by passing out a few anti-war leaflets at some lonely downtown corner, or chanted a few anti-war slogans at some anti-war rally, or given a pro-socialist lecture in some college hall think of Martin Widelin and his clandestine underground newspaper, “Worker and Soldier”. Every bourgeois government, not the least the Nazis and their co-thinkers in France, will forgive many sins but not when you mess with their soldiers. No wonder the Nazis put a very, very high price on his head.

And every time you think that you have made a big leap in consciousness and are now a big-time revolutionary think of Martin Widelin. Step back, way back, in the face of the actions of this selfless revolutionary. Trotsky once mentioned that the Western socialist movement had failed, for a number of reasons, to produce the kind of dedicated revolutionaries that came out of the Russian experience. We can safety make an exception for Widelin. All Honor To His Memory!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

*From The Archives Of "Women And Revolution"-How the Bolsheviks Fought for Women's Emancipation

Click on the headline to link to the "Leon Trotsky Internet Archive' online copy of his 1923 article, "From The Old Family To The New".

Markin comment:

The following is an article from the Spring 1988 issue of "Women and Revolution" that may have some historical interest for old "new leftists", perhaps, and well as for younger militants interested in various cultural and social questions that intersect the class struggle. Or for those just interested in a Marxist position on a series of social questions that are thrust upon us by the vagaries of bourgeois society. I will be posting more such articles from the back issues of "Women and Revolution" during Women's History Month and periodically throughout the year.

**********

Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky

How the Bolsheviks Fought fo Women's Emancipation


On the second anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin announced, "In the course of two years of Soviet power in one of the most backward countries of Europe more has been done to emancipate women, to make her the equal of the 'strong' sex, than has been done during the past 130 years by all the advanced, enlightened, 'democratic' republics of the world taken together" ("Soviet Power and the Status of Women," Collected Works). This truth has a fundamental materialist basis. Only a socialist revolution, breaking the bonds of private property, can create the conditions necessary for the emancipation of women. It's more than ever true today: amidst the barbarous social decay of the imperialist "democracies" like the United States, where reactionary bigots target women's rights, even a mere statement of formal equality like the ERA can't make it into law.

Women and Revolution here reprints three early Soviet decrees addressed to the emancipation of women. Codifying the hard-fought gains of the Bolshevik Revolution, these decrees laid out a perspective for the introduction of new social forms to replace the institution of the family and to draw women into the socialist construction of society. As Lenin said in November 1918, "The experience of all liberation movements has shown that the success of a revolution depends on how much the women take part in it. The Soviet government is doing everything in its power to enable women to carry on independent proletarian socialist work" ("Speech at the First All-Russia Congress of Working Women," Collected Works).

Women in the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was sparked by the working women of St. Petersburg, when, 71 years ago, they celebrated International Women's Day with a spontaneous strike and march through the streets. Thousands of women standing in bread lines joined them; hastily improvised red banners rose above the crowd, demanding bread, peace and higher wages. Years of imperialist war had brought the mammoth social tensions of tsarist Russia, where modern capitalism existed superimposed upon entrenched medievalism, to the breaking point.

The Bolsheviks had long been active in organizing Russian proletarian women. The journal Rabotnitsa (The Working Woman), founded in 1914, was only one means by which the Bolsheviks sought to win the ranks of working women over to revolutionary socialism. Social backwardness and poverty in Russia before the revolution fell doubly hard on its women: even mai the minimal gains which capitalism had made possible in the more advanced industrialized countries Europe did not exist in semi-feudal Russia, where serfdom had been abolished a mere 56 years earlier, life lay in the grip of the Orthodox church an priests; religious prejudices were deeply rooted in poverty and ignorance. Peasant women in particular lived under indescribably primitive conditions, cultural impoverished that in 1897 the illiteracy rate was as as 92 percent.

The Bolsheviks understood that the oppression of women could not be legislated out of existence family as the capitalist economic institution for bearing the next generation could not simply be swept away by decree. It had to be replaced with socialized child and housework to remove the burden of doing chores from women, enabling them to participate fully in social and political life. Such a revolutionary restructuring of society could occur only with large-scale industrialization, necessarily years in the future. While fully committed to this revolutionary program, the Bolsheviks were handicapped by terrible objective conditions. For the first few years of Soviet rule their meager resources were absorbed by the Red Army's drive to defeat the imperialists and White Guards who launched a counterrevolutionary war against the young workers republic.

Sweeping Away the Filth of Tsardom

Once in power, the Bolsheviks moved immediately to end all the old legal impediments to women's equality. Women were given the vote, at a time when only Norway and Denmark had legalized women's suffrage. Marriage and divorce were made a simple matter of civil registration, while all distinctions between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children were annulled. In 1919 the Communist Party created the Department of Working Women and Peasant Women, Zhenotdel, for special work among women, which included organizing over 25,000 literacy schools.

In 1920 the Soviet government legalized abortion and made it free. The People's Commissariat of Health pressed for development of and education about birth control methods, which barely existed in Russia at that time, while discouraging abortion as a threat to health in this age before antibiotics. Even more crucial was the workers government's commitment to eliminating the poverty which drove many women to abortion for sheer lack of ability to provide for their children. The Bolsheviks' aim was to build childcare centers and socialized dining halls to enable women to work knowing their children would be well cared for and fed; single mothers were to receive special help. Despite the severe objective limits facing Soviet society, the birth rate went steadily up and the infant mortality rate steadily down.

The workers revolution in Russia, in sweeping away the rotten filth of tsardom, also abolished in December 1917 all the old laws against homosexual acts. As Dr. Grigorii Batkis, the director of the Moscow Institute of Social Hygiene, pointed out in "The Sexual Revolution in Russia," published in the Soviet Union in 1923:

"Soviet legislation bases itself on the following principle:

'It declares the absolute non-interference of the state and society into sexual matters so long as nobody is injured and no one's interests are encroached upon.... "Concerning homosexuality, sodomy, and various other forms of sexual gratification, which are set down in European legislation as offenses against public morality—Soviet legislation treats these exactly the same as so-called 'natural' intercourse. All forms of sexual intercourse are private matters." [emphasis in original]

The Fight for Women's Rights in Soviet Central Asia

Nowhere was the condition of women more downtrodden than in the primitive Muslim areas of Soviet Central Asia. The Bolsheviks believed that women, having the most to gain, would be the link that broke the feudal chain in the Soviet East, but they could not with one blow abolish oppressive Muslim institutions. The Bolshevik approach was based on ma¬terialism, not moralism. The Muslim bride price, for example, was not some sinister plot against womankind, but had arisen as an institution central to distrib¬uting land and water rights among different clans (see "Early Bolshevik Work Among Women of the Soviet East," W&R No. 12, Summer 1976, for a fuller discussion).

Systematic Bolshevik work among Muslim women was only possible in 1921, after the end of the bitter Civil War. Dedicated and heroic members of the Zhenotdel donned veils in order to meet Muslim women and explain the laws and goals of the new Soviet republic. Special meeting places, sometimes "Red Yertas" or tents in nomadic areas or clubs in cities, were a key way for the Communist Party to begin to win the trust of these women. Such clubs followed Lenin's policy of using Soviet state power to carefully and systematically undermine native tribalism by demonstrating the superiority of Soviet institutions. The tremendous pro¬ductive capacity of the Soviet planned economy provided the services, education and jobs that finally decisively undercut the ancient order and liberated women from their stifling subjugation.

Today the condition of women in Soviet Central Asia is centuries removed from the oppression their sisters across the border in Afghanistan still face. We said "Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!" because the 1979 Soviet Army intervention against murderous Islamic counterrevolution (whose rallying cry is keeping women under the veil) posed the possibility of a revolutionary transformation of this hideously backward country. Under the protection of the Red Army, the women of Afghanistan have been taught to read and write, and a major¬ity of university students are now women and girls; many hold jobs outside the home; and there are 15,000 women in the Afghan army, defending their new freedoms.

Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky!

Many of the gains made by Soviet women under the Bolsheviks were subsequently reversed by the Stalinist political counterrevolution. In 1936, abortion was made illegal. (It was again legalized in 1955.) Divorce becar difficult to obtain, co-education was abolished, horr sexuality was again outlawed. As Trotsky said, "The actual liberation of women is unrealizable on a basis 'generalized want.' Experience soon proved this ai tere truth which Marx had formulated eighty years before." The cruel Civil War decimated the proletariat in the young workers state. Most fundamentally, failure to extend the Revolution internationally strengthened the Stalinist bureaucratic caste in the isola Soviet Union. Workers democracy was smashed." Leninist internationalist program was abandoned favor of the search for "peaceful coexistence" versus imperialism, while domestically the Stalinists sou social props and ideological justifications for bure cratic rule. Exploiting social backwardness to strenghten their grip over society, the Stalinists rehabilitated family as a useful institution of social conservatism control.

Trotsky denounced the Stalinist bureaucracy "Thermidor in the Family" (The Revolution Betray "These gentlemen have, it seems, completely fogooten that socialism was to remove the cause which impels woman to abortion, and not force her into the 'joys of motherhood' with the help of a foul police interference in what is to every woman the most mate sphere of life....

"Instead of openly saying, 'We have proven still poor and ignorant for trie creation of socialist tions among men, our children and grandchildren realize this aim,' the leaders are forcing people together against the shell of the broken family, and not only that, but to consider it, under threat of extreme penalties, the sacred nucleus of triumphant socialism. It is hard to measure with the eye the scope of the retreat."

Despite these counterrevolutionary measures, capitalist private property has not been restored in the Soviet Union. The tremendous productive capac the Soviet planned economy has opened opportunities for women—in education, jobs, social service—which capitalism can never provide. We defend the USSR today unconditionally against imperialism because the fundamental gains of the October lution remain; it is a society based on production for social needs, not capitalist profit. At the same time call for political revolution to re-establish workers democracy and to return the Soviet Union to the liberating goals and program of Lenin and Trotsky.

Today there is great interest in the Soviet Union, in part because of the visible difficulties of American imperialism, but also because of Gorbachev's promises of glasnost (openness). Yet this "enlightened bureaucrat" will never tell the truth about the revolutionary work of the Bolshevik Party. Between that tradition and today's bureaucracy lies the gulf of the bloody political counterrevolution carried out by Stalin.

To appease the nuclear nuts in the White House, Gorbachev appears willing to pull out of Afghanistan. The Kremlin bureaucracy's willingness to abandon Afghan women to illiteracy, the veil and chattel slavery starkly exposes the gulf separating them from the Bolsheviks, who understood that the question of women's liberation,was key, above all in such backward, feudal areas.

In imperialist countries like the United States, only the abolition of private property will make women's emancipation a historical reality. It will take a socialist revolution in the U.S. to win the basic rights and social institutions the Bolsheviks fought for in the early years of the USSR. Given the tremendous productive capacity of U.S. industry and a far higher level of culture than that which the Bolsheviks inherited from the tsar, we have no doubt that the American workers government will be able to quickly implement such far-reaching social programs. For women's liberation through socialist revolution!

Soviet Measures to Liberate Women

Decree of the People's Commissariat of Health and Social Welfare and the People's Commissariat of Justice in Soviet Russia

During recent decades the number of women interrupting pregnancy by abortion has risen both in the West and in our country.

The legislation of all countries combats this evil by severe punishment of the women undergoing abortions as well as of the doctors performing them. To date this method has succeeded only in making the operation illegal, performed in secrecy, and in making women the victims of ignorant quacks or unscrupu¬lous doctors who turn a profit from abortion. As a result, 50 percent of these women become seriously ill and 4 percent of these die from the consequences of the operation.

The Workers and Peasants Government regards this phenomenon as a terrible evil for the entire society. The Workers and Peasants Government sees the consolidation of the socialist order and agitation against abortion among the broad masses of the female working-class population as the way to successfully combat it. It combats this evil in practice with the most far-reaching protection of mothers and children, hoping that it will gradually disappear. However, as long as the remnants of the past and the difficult economic conditions of the present compel some women to undergo an abortion, the People's Commissariat of Health and Social Welfare and the People's Commissariat of Justice regard the use of penal measures as inappropriate and therefore, to preserve women's health and protect the race against ignorant or self-seeking profiteers, it is resolved:

I. Free abortion, interrupting pregnancy by artificial
means, shall be performed in state hospitals, where
women are assured maximum safety in the operation.

II. It is absolutely prohibited to perform this operation without a doctor.

III. Midwives or "wise women" who break this law
shall forfeit their license to practice and be handed over to the People's Court.
IV. Doctors performing this operation in their private offices for personal gain shall also be brought before the People's Court.


Women's Work in the Economy

Women as Participants in the Construction of Soviet Russia


Resolution of the Eighth Congress of Soviets

Considering that the primary task of the hour is raising the level of industry, transportation and agriculture; that women comprise more than half of the population of Soviet Russia—women workers and peasants; that implementing the proposed unified economic plan is only possible by involving all the female labor power: the Eighth

Congress of Soviets resolves that:

a) Women workers and peasants are to be
involved in all economic organizations which are
working out and realizing the unified economic
plan; likewise in factory administrations, in fac¬
tory committees and in the administration of the
trade-union organizations.

b) For the purpose of reducing the unproduc¬
tive work of women in the household and in child-
care, the Eighth Congress of Soviets requires that
the local Soviets encourage women workers to
support, with their initiative and activity, the
reforms of social institutions, the beginnings of
communist construction, such as organizing com¬
munal dwellings and workshops for washing and
mending laundry in city and village, organizing
squads of cleaning women, creating foster care
centers, communal laundries and dining halls.

The Eighth Congress of Soviets charges the newly constituted Central Executive Committee of the Soviets to immediately begin working out measures aimed at reducing the unproductive work of women in the household and family, thereby increasing the supply of free labor power to raise the people's standard of living and augment the productivity of the Workers Republic.

Social Institutions for the Relief of the Housewife Communal Kitchens in Moscow

The Russian Soviet bodies are committed to the opinion that the traditional housework performed by the mothers of families in individual households must pass over to socialized institutions. This is both in the interest of women, who squander their time and energy in arduous, grinding, unproductive tasks, and in the interest of society, which can make full use of women's talents and accomplishments in the economy and culture. In Moscow there are at present no fewer than 559 communal kitchens in which hot midday and evening meals are prepared daily for 606,100 adults. The children take their meals in the childcare and educa¬tional centers where they have found places or which they attend during the day.

Compare the blessings of "orderly conditions" in the states that are still capitalist with this result of "Bolshevik chaos"! Part and parcel of these "orderly conditions" is the fact that in all major cities, in all industrial centers, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands go without a warm midday meal every day and in the evening in an uncomfortable home they choke down a meal their harried wives have prepared hurriedly and with insufficient means. Increasingly, women in the proletariat and also in the petty bourgeoisie must con¬tribute to the family's income. The double burden of working for a living and running the household rests on her. Meals in common—insofar as they occur at all— unite an overtired mother, a husband who is often grouchy because he does not find at home what he seeks, and children whose eyes and clothing bespeal their lack of care and attention.

'In Russia the working woman can throw off the burden of household obligations. She knows not only she herself, but, more importantly, her husband and children are better cared for than she could manage a home even with great energy and devotion. The home can now be a home in the most noble sense for husband and wife, for parents and children, a place to be together, for thinking and striving together, for enjoyment. Women have the time and leisure to learn, to educate themselves, to participate in all areas of social life, both giving and receiving. Oh, these Bolshevik "wreckers" and "destroyers"! Is that no what the philistines of all the capitalist countrie are still prattling?

Note on the documents: The three pieces reprinted here are our own translations from the April 1921 issue of Die Kommunistische Fraueninfernationat (Communist Women's International), the official German-language journal of the Women's Secretariat of the Communist International. In W&R No. 9 (Summer 1975) we reprinted another version of the abortion legislation, which included at the end the signature "N. Semashko, People's Commissar of Health; Kursk) People's Commissar of Justice." That was taken fron the book Health Protection in the U.S.S.R. by N./A Semashko, published in London by Gollancz in 1934 The date given for the decree on abortion in Semashki is 18 November 1920. Regarding "Women's Work in the Economy": the Eighth Congress of Soviets was held in Moscow from 22 to 29 December 1920. We were unable to find a date for the third piece; the Comintern women's journal did not give a source."

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Antonov-Ovseyenko's caliber. Although he did Stalin's dirty work Spain in the 1930s his military bravado during the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917 is what he is being saluted for here. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Yevgeni Preobrazhensky

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Yevgeni Preobrazhensky. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Preobrazhensky's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Alexandra Kollontai

Click on title to link to the Alexandra Kollontai Internet Archives for the works of 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Alexandra Kollantai. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Kollontai's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

Alexandra Kollontai 1909

The Social Basis of the Woman Question

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Source: abstract from Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai, Allison & Busby, 1977;
First Published: 1909, as a pamphlet;
Translated and Edited: by Alix Holt;
Transcribed: Andy Blunden for marxists.org;
Proofed: and corrected by Chris Clayton 2006.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leaving it to the bourgeois scholars to absorb themselves in discussion of the question of the superiority of one sex over the other, or in the weighing of brains and the comparing of the psychological structure of men and women, the followers of historical materialism fully accept the natural specificities of each sex and demand only that each person, whether man or woman, has a real opportunity for the fullest and freest self-determination, and the widest scope for the development and application of all natural inclinations. The followers of historical materialism reject the existence of a special woman question separate from the general social question of our day. Specific economic factors were behind the subordination of women; natural qualities have been a secondary factor in this process. Only the complete disappearance of these factors, only the evolution of those forces which at some point in the past gave rise to the subjection of women, is able in a fundamental way to influence and change their social position. In other words, women can become truly free and equal only in a world organised along new social and productive lines.

This, however, does not mean that the partial improvement of woman’s life within the framework of the modem system is impossible. The radical solution of the workers’ question is possible only with the complete reconstruction of modem productive relations; but must this prevent us from working for reforms which would serve to satisfy the most urgent interests of the proletariat? On the contrary, each new gain of the working class represents a step leading mankind towards the kingdom of freedom and social equality: each right that woman wins brings her nearer the defined goal of full emancipation. ...

Social democracy was the first to include in its programme the demand for the equalisation of the rights of women with those of men; in speeches and in print the party demands always and everywhere the withdrawal of limitations affecting women; it is the party’s influence alone that has forced other parties and governments to carry out reforms in favour of women. And in Russia this party is not only the defender of women in terms of its theoretical positions but always and everywhere adheres to the principle of women’s equality.

What, in this case, hinders our “equal righters” from accepting the support of this strong and experienced party? The fact is that however “radical” the equal righters may be, they are still loyal to their own bourgeois class. Political freedom is at the moment an essential prerequisite for the growth and power of the Russian bourgeoisie, without it, all the economic welfare of the latter will turn out to have been built upon sand. The demand for political equality is for women a necessity that stems from life itself.

The slogan of “access to the professions” has ceased to suffice; only direct participation in the government of the country promises to assist in raising women’s economic situation. Hence the passionate desire of women of the middle bourgeoisie to gain the franchise, and hence their hostility to the modern bureaucratic system.

However, in their demands for political equality our feminists are like their foreign sisters; the wide horizons opened by social democratic learning remain alien and incomprehensible to them. The feminists seek equality in the framework of the existing class society, in no way do they attack the basis of this society. They fight for prerogatives for themselves, without challenging the existing prerogatives and privileges. We do not accuse the representatives of the bourgeois women’s movement of failure to understand the matter; their view of things flows inevitably from their class position. ...

The Struggle for Economic Independence
First of all we must ask ourselves whether a single united women’s movement is possible in a society based on class contradictions. The fact that the women who take part in the liberation movement do not represent one homogeneous mass is clear, to every unbiased observer.

The women’s world is divided, just as is the world of men, into two camps; the interests and aspirations of one group of women bring it close to the bourgeois class, while the other group has close connections with the proletariat, and its claims for liberation encompass a full solution to the woman question. Thus although both camps follow the general slogan of the “liberation of women”, their aims and interests are different. Each of the groups unconsciously takes its starting point from the interests of its own class, which gives a specific class colouring to the targets and tasks it sets itself. ...

However apparently radical the demands of the feminists, one must not lose sight of the fact that the feminists cannot, on account of their class position, fight for that fundamental transformation of the contemporary economic and social structure of society without which the liberation of women cannot be complete.

If in certain circumstances the short-term tasks of women of all classes coincide, the final aims of the two camps, which in the long term determine the direction of the movement and the tactics to be used, differ sharply. While for the feminists the achievement of equal rights with men in the framework of the contemporary capitalist world represents a sufficiently concrete end in itself, equal rights at the present time are, for the proletarian women, only a means of advancing the struggle against the economic slavery of the working class. The feminists see men as the main enemy, for men have unjustly seized all rights and privileges for themselves, leaving women only chains and duties. For them a victory is won when a prerogative previously enjoyed exclusively by the male sex is conceded to the “fair sex”. Proletarian women have a different attitude. They do not see men as the enemy and the oppressor; on the contrary, they think of men as their comrades, who share with them the drudgery of the daily round and fight with them for a better future. The woman and her male comrade are enslaved by the same social conditions; the same hated chains of capitalism oppress their will and deprive them of the joys and charms of life. It is true that several specific aspects of the contemporary system lie with double weight upon women, as it is also true that the conditions of hired labour sometimes turn working women into competitors and rivals to men. But in these unfavourable situations, the working class knows who is guilty. ...

The woman worker, no less than her brother in misfortune, hates that insatiable monster with its gilded maw which, concerned only to drain all the sap from its victims and to grow at the expense of millions of human lives, throws itself with equal greed at man, woman and child. Thousands of threads bring the working man close. The aspirations of the bourgeois woman, on the other hand, seem strange and incomprehensible. They are not warming to the proletarian heart; they do not promise the proletarian woman that bright future towards which the eyes of all exploited humanity are turned. ...

The proletarian women’s final aim does not, of course, prevent them from desiring to improve their status even within the framework of the current bourgeois system, but the realisation of these desires is constantly hindered by obstacles that derive from the very nature of capitalism. A woman can possess equal rights and be truly free only in a world of socialised labour, of harmony and justice. The feminists are unwilling and incapable of understanding this; it seems to them that when equality is formally accepted by the letter of the law they will be able to win a comfortable place for themselves in the old world of oppression, enslavement and bondage, of tears and hardship. And this is true up to a certain point. For the majority of women of the proletariat, equal rights with men would mean only an equal share in inequality, but for the “chosen few”, for the bourgeois women, it would indeed open doors to new and unprecedented rights and privileges that until now have been enjoyed by men of the bourgeois class alone. But each new concession won by the bourgeois woman would give her yet another weapon for the exploitation of her younger sister and would go on increasing the division between the women of the two opposite social camps. Their interests would be more sharply in conflict, their aspirations more obviously in contradiction.

Where, then, is that general “woman question”? Where is that unity of tasks and aspirations about which the feminists have so much to say? A sober glance at reality shows that such unity does not and cannot exist. In vain the feminists try to assure themselves that the “woman question” has nothing to do with that of the political party and that “its solution is possible only with the participation of all parties and all women”; as one of the radical German feminists has said, the logic of facts forces us to reject this comforting delusion of the feminists. ...



The conditions and forms of production have subjugated women throughout human history, and have gradually relegated them to the position of oppression and dependence in which most of them existed until now.

A colossal upheaval of the entire social and economic structure was required before women could begin to retrieve the significance and independence they had lost. Problems which at one time seemed too difficult for the most talented thinkers have now been solved by the inanimate but all-powerful conditions of production. The same forces which for thousands of years enslaved women now, at a further stage of development, are leading them along the path to freedom and independence. ...



The woman question assumed importance for woman of the bourgeois classes approximately in the middle of the nineteenth century – a considerable time after the proletarian women had arrived in the labour arena. Under the impact of the monstrous successes of capitalism, the middle classes of the population were hit by waves of need. The economic changes had rendered the financial situation of the petty and middle bourgeoisie unstable, and the bourgeois women were faced with a dilemma of menacing proportions, either accept poverty, or achieve the right to work. Wives and daughters of these social groups began to knock at the doors of the universities, the art salons, the editorial houses, the offices, flooding to the professions that were open to them. The desire of bourgeois women to gain access to science and the higher benefits of culture was not the result of a sudden, maturing need but stemmed from that same question of “daily bread”.

The women of the bourgeoisie met, from the very first, with stiff resistance from men. A stubborn battle was waged between the professional men, attached to their “cosy little jobs”, and the women who were novices in the matter of earning their daily bread. This struggle gave rise to “feminism” – the attempt of bourgeois women to stand together and pit their common strength against the enemy, against men. As they entered the labour arena these women proudly referred to themselves as the “vanguard of the women’s movement”. They forgot that in this matter of winning economic independence they were, as in other fields, travelling in the footsteps of their younger sisters and reaping the fruits of the efforts of their blistered hands.

Is it then really possible to talk of the feminists pioneering the road to women’s work, when in every country hundreds of thousands of proletarian women had flooded the factories and workshops, taking over one branch of industry after another, before the bourgeois women’s movement was ever born? Only thanks to the fact that the labour of women workers had received recognition on the world market were the bourgeois women able to occupy the independent position in society in which the feminists take so much pride. ...



We find it difficult to point to even one fact in the history of the struggle of the proletarian women to improve their material conditions to which the general feminist movement has contributed significantly. Whatever the proletarian women have achieved in the sphere of raising their own living standards is the result of the efforts of the working class in general and of themselves in particular. The history of the struggle of the working women for better conditions of labour and for a more decent life is the history of the struggle of the proletariat for its liberation.

What, if not the fear of a dangerous explosion of proletarian dissatisfaction, forces the factory owners to raise the price of labour, reduce hours and introduce better working conditions? What, if not the fear of “labour unrest”, persuades the government to establish legislation to limit the exploitation of labour by capital? ...



There is not one party in the world that has taken up the defence of women as social democracy has done. The working woman is first and foremost a member of the working class, and the more satisfactory the position and the general welfare of each member of the proletarian family, the greater the benefit in the long run to the whole of the working class. ...



In face of the growing social difficulties, the sincere fighter for the cause must stop in sad bewilderment. She cannot but see how little the general women’s movement has done for proletarian women, how incapable it is of improving the working and living conditions of the working class. The future of humanity must seem grey, drab and uncertain to those women who are fighting for equality but who have not adopted the proletarian world outlook or developed a firm faith in the coming of a more perfect social system. While the contemporary capitalist world remains unchanged, liberation must seem to them incomplete and impartial. What despair must grip the more thoughtful and sensitive of these women. Only the working class is capable of maintaining morale in the modem world with its distorted social relations. With firm and measured step it advances steadily towards its aim. It draws the working women to its ranks. The proletarian woman bravely starts out on the thorny path of labour. Her legs sag; her body is torn. There are dangerous precipices along the way, and cruel beasts of prey are close at hand.

But only by taking this path is the woman able to achieve that distant but alluring aim – her true liberation in a new world of labour. During this difficult march to the bright future the proletarian woman, until recently a humiliated, downtrodden slave with no rights, learns to discard the slave mentality that has clung to her, step by step she transforms herself into an independent worker, an independent personality, free in love. It is she, fighting in the ranks of the proletariat, who wins for women the right to work; it is she, the “younger sister”, who prepares the ground for the “free” and “equal” woman of the future.

For what reason, then, should the woman worker seek a union with the bourgeois feminists? Who, in actual fact, would stand to gain in the event of such an alliance? Certainly not the woman worker. She is her own saviour; her future is in her own hands. The working woman guards her class interests and is not deceived by great speeches about the “world all women share”. The working woman must not and does not forget that while the aim of bourgeois women is to secure their own welfare in the framework of a society antagonistic to us, our aim is to build, in the place of the old, outdated world, a bright temple of universal labour, comradely solidarity and joyful freedom. ...



Marriage and the Problem of the Family
Let us turn our attention to another aspect of the woman question, the question of the family. The importance that the solution of this urgent and complex question has for the genuine emancipation of women is well known. The struggle for political rights, for the right to receive doctorates and other academic degrees, and for equal pay for equal work, is not the full sum of the fight for equality. To become really free woman has to throw off the heavy chains of the current forms of the family, which are outmoded and oppressive. For women, the solution of the family question is no less important than the achievement of political equality and economic independence.

In the family of today, the structure of which is confirmed by custom and law, woman is oppressed not only as a person but as a wife and mother, in most of the countries of the civilised world the civil code places women in a greater or lesser dependence on her husband, and awards the husband not, only the right to dispose of her property but also the right of moral and physical dominance over her. ...

Where the official and legal servitude of women ends, the force we call “public opinion” begins. This public opinion is created and supported by the bourgeoisie with the aim of preserving “the sacred institution of property”. The hypocrisy of “double morality” is another weapon. Bourgeois society crushes woman with its savage economic vice, paying for her labour at a very low rate. The woman is deprived of the citizen’s right to raise her voice in defence of her interests: instead, she is given only the gracious alternative of the bondage of marriage or the embraces of prostitution – a trade despised and persecuted in public but encouraged and supported in secret. Is it necessary to emphasise the dark sides of contemporary married life and the sufferings women experience in connection with their position in the present family structure? So much has already been written and said on this subject. Literature is full of depressing pictures of the snares of married and family life. How many psychological dramas are enacted! How many lives are crippled! Here, it is only important for us to note that the modem family structure, to a lesser or greater extent, oppresses women of all classes and all layers of the population. Customs and traditions persecute the young mother whatever the stratum of the population to which she belongs; the laws place bourgeois women, proletarian women and peasant women all under the guardianship of their husbands.

Have we not discovered at last that aspect of the woman question over which women of all classes can unite? Can they not struggle jointly against the conditions oppressing them? Is it not possible that the grief and suffering which women share in this instance will soften the claws of class antagonism and provide common aspirations and common action for the women of the different camps? Might it not be that on the basis of common desires and aims, co-operation between the bourgeois women and the proletarian women may become a possibility? The feminists are struggling for freer forms of marriage and for the “right to maternity”; they are raising their voices in defence of the prostitute, the human being persecuted by all. See how rich feminist literature is in the search for new forms of relationships and in enthusiastic demands for the “moral equality” of the sexes. Is it not true that while in the sphere of economic liberation the bourgeois women lag behind the many-million strong army of proletarian women who are pioneering the way for the “new woman”, in the fight for the solution, of the family question the laurels go to the feminists?

Here in Russia, women of the middle bourgeoisie – that army of independent wage-earners thrown on to the labour market during the 1860s – have long since settled in practice many of the confused aspects of the marriage question. They have courageously replaced the “consolidated” family of the traditional church marriage with more elastic types of relationship that meet the needs of that social layer. But the subjective solution of this question by individual women does not change the situation and does not relieve the overall gloomy picture of family life. If any force is destroying the modern form of the family, it is not the titanic efforts of separate and stronger individuals but the inanimate and mighty forces of production, which are uncompromisingly budding life, on new foundation’s. ...



The heroic struggle of individual young women of the bourgeois world, who fling down the gauntlet and demand of society the right to “dare to love” without orders and without chains, ought to serve as an example for all women languishing in family chains – this is what is preached by the more emancipated feminists abroad and our progressive equal righters at home. The marriage question, in other words, is solved in their view without reference to the external situation; it is solved independently of changes in the economic structure of society. The isolated, heroic efforts of individuals is enough. Let a woman simply “dare”, and the problem of marriage is solved.

But less heroic women shake their heads in distrust. “It is all very well for the heroines of novels blessed by the prudent author with great independence, unselfish friends and extraordinary qualities of charm, to throw down the gauntlet. But what about those who have no capital, insufficient wages, no friends and little charm?” And the question of maternity preys on the mind of the woman who strives for freedom. Is “free love” possible? Can it be realised as a common phenomenon, as the generally accepted norm rather than the individual exception, given the economic structure of our society? Is it possible to ignore the element of private property in contemporary marriage? Is it possible, in an individualistic world, to ignore the formal marriage contract without damaging the interests of women? For the marital contract is the only guarantee that all the difficulties of maternity will not fall on the woman alone. Will not that which once happened to the male worker now happen to the woman? The removal of guild regulations, without the establishment of new rules governing the conduct of the masters, gave capital absolute power over the workers. The tempting slogan “freedom of contract for labour and capital” became a means for the naked exploitation of labour by capital. “Free love”, introduced consistently into contemporary class society, instead of freeing woman from the hardships of family life, would surely shoulder her with a new burden – the task of caring, alone and unaided, for her children.

Only a whole number of fundamental reforms in the sphere of social relations – reforms transposing obligations from the family to society and the state – could create a situation where the principle of “free love” might to some extent be fulfilled. But can we seriously expect the modern class state, however democratic it may be, to take upon itself the duties towards mothers and children which at present are undertaken by that individualistic unit, the modern family? Only the fundamental transformation of all productive relations could create the social prerequisites to protect women from the negative aspects of the “free love” formula. Are we not aware of the depravity and abnormalities that in present conditions are anxious to pass themselves off under this convenient label? Consider all those gentlemen owning and administering industrial enterprises who force women among their workforce and clerical staff to satisfy their sexual whims, using the threat of dismissal to achieve their ends. Are they not, in their own way, practising “free love”? All those “masters of the house” who rape their servants and throw them out pregnant on to the street, are they not adhering to the formula of “free love”?

But we are not talking of that kind of ‘freedom’ object the advocates of free marriage. On the contrary, we demand the acceptance of a ‘single morality’ equally binding for both sexes. We oppose the sexual licence that is current, and view as moral only the free union that is based on true love.” But, my dear friends, do you not think that your ideal of “free marriage”, when practised in the conditions of present society, might produce results that differ little from the distorted practice of sexual freedom? Only when women are relieved of all those material burdens which at the present time create a dual dependence, on capital and on the husband, can the principle of “free love” be implemented without bringing new grief for women in its wake. As women go out to, work and achieve economic independence, certain possibilities for “free love” appear, particularly for the better-paid women of the intelligentsia. But the dependence of women on capital remains, and this dependence increases as more and more proletarian women sell their labour power. Is the slogan “free love” capable of improving the sad existence of these women, who earn only just enough to keep themselves alive? And anyway, is not “free love” already practised among the working classes and practised so widely that the bourgeoisie has on more than one occasion raised the alarm and campaigned against the “depravity” and “immorality” of the proletariat? It should be noted that when the feminists enthuse about the new forms of cohabitation outside marriage that should be considered by the emancipated bourgeois woman, they speak of “free love”, but when the working class is under discussion these relationships are scornfully referred to as “disorderly sexual intercourse”. This sums up their attitude.

But for proletarian women at the present time all relationships, whether sanctified by the church or not, are equally harsh in their consequences. The crux of the family and marriage problem lies for the proletarian wife and mother not in the question of the sacred or secular external form, but in the attendant social and economic, conditions which define the complicated obligations of the working-class woman, of course it matters to her too whether her husband has the right to dispose of her earnings, whether he has the right by law to force her to live with him when she does not want to, whether the husband can forcibly take her children away etc. However, it is not such paragraphs of the civic code that determine the position of woman in the family, nor is it these paragraphs which make for the confusion and complexity of the family problem. The question of relationships would cease to be such a painful one for the majority of women only if society, relieved women of all those petty household cares which are at present unavoidable (given the existence of individual, scattered domestic economies), took over responsibility for the younger generation, protected maternity and gave the mother to the child for at least the first months after birth.

In opposing the legal and sacred church marriage contract, the feminists are fighting a fetish. The proletarian women, on the other hand, are waging war against the factors that are behind the modem form of marriage and family. In striving to change fundamentally the conditions of life, they know that they are also helping to reform relationships between the sexes. Here we have the main difference between the bourgeois and proletarian approach to the difficult problem of the family.

The feminists and the social reformers from the camp of the bourgeoisie, naively believing in the possibility of creating new forms of family and new types of marital relations against the dismal background of the contemporary class society, tie themselves in knots in their search for these new forms. If life itself has not vet produced these forms, it is necessary, they seem to imagine, to think them up whatever the cost. There must, they believe, be modem forms of sexual relationship which are capable of solving the complex family problem under the present social system. And the ideologists of the bourgeois world – the journalists, writers and prominent women fighters for emancipation one after the other put forward their “family panacea”, their new “family formula”.

How utopian these marriage formulas sound. How feeble these palliatives, when considered in the light of the gloomy reality of our modern family structure. Before these formulas of “free relationships” and “free love” can become practice, it is above all necessary that a fundamental reform of all social relationships between people take place; furthermore, the moral and sexual norms and the whole psychology of mankind would have to undergo a thorough evolution, is the contemporary person psychologically able to cope with “free love"? What about the jealousy that eats into even the best human souls? And that deeply-rooted sense of property that demands the possession not only of the body but also of the soul of another? And the inability to have the proper respect for the individuality of another? The habit of either subordinating oneself to the loved one, or of subordinating the loved one to oneself? And the bitter and desperate feeling of desertion, of limitless loneliness, which is experienced when the loved ceases to love and leaves? Where can the lonely person, who is an individualist to the very core of his being, find solace? The collective, with its joys and disappointments and aspirations, is the best outlet for the emotional and intellectual energies of the individual. But is modern man capable of working with this collective in such a way as to feel the mutually interacting influences? Is the life of the collective really capable, at present, of replacing the individual’s petty personal joys? Without the “unique,” “one-and-only” twin soul, even the socialist, the collectivist, is quite alone in the present antagonistic world; only in the working class do we catch the pale glimpse of the future, of more harmonious and more social relations between people. The family problem is as complex and many-faceted as life itself. Our social system is incapable of solving it.

Other marriage formulas have been put forward. Several progressive women and social thinkers regard the marriage union only as a method of producing progeny. Marriage in itself, they hold, does not have any special value for woman – motherhood is her purpose, her sacred aim, her task in life. Thanks to such inspired advocates as Ruth Bray and Ellen Key, the bourgeois ideal that recognises woman as a female rather than a person has acquired a special halo of progressiveness. Foreign literature has seized upon the slogan put forward by these advanced women with enthusiasm. And even here in Russia, in the period before the political storm [of 1905], before social values came in for revision, the question of maternity had attracted the attention of the daily press. The slogan “the right to maternity” cannot help producing lively response in the broadest circles of the female population. Thus, despite the fact that all the suggestions of the feminists in this connection were of the utopian variety, the problem was too important and topical not to attract women.

The “right to maternity” is the kind of question that touches not only women from the bourgeois class but also, to an even greater extent, proletarian women as well. The right to be a mother – these are golden words that go straight to “any women’s heart” and force that heart to beat faster. The right to feed “one’s own” child with one’s own milk, and to attend the first signs of its awakening consciousness, the right to care for its tiny body and shield its tender soul from the thorns and sufferings of the first steps in life – what mother would not support these demands?

It would seem that we have again stumbled on an issue that could serve as a moment of unity between women of different social layers: it would seem that we have found, at last, the bridge uniting women of the two hostile worlds. Let us look closer, to discover what the progressive bourgeois women understand by “the right to maternity”. Then we can see whether, in fact, proletarian women can agree with the solutions to the problem of maternity envisaged by the bourgeois fighters for equal rights. In the eyes of its eager apologists, maternity possesses an almost sacred quality. Striving to smash the false prejudices that brand a woman for engaging in a natural activity – the bearing of a child – because the activity has not been sanctified by the law, the fighters for the right to maternity have bent the stick in the other direction: for them, maternity has become the aim of a woman’s life. ...



Ellen Key’s devotion to the obligations of maternity and the family forces her to give an assurance that the isolated family unit will continue to exist even in a society transformed along socialist lines. The only change, as she sees it, will be that all the attendant elements of convenience or of material gain will be excluded from the marriage union, which will be concluded according to mutual inclinations, without rituals or formalities – love and marriage will be truly synonymous. But the isolated family unit is the result of the modem individualistic world, with its rat-race, its pressures, its loneliness; the family is a product of the monstrous capitalist system. And yet Key hopes to bequeath the family to socialist society! Blood and kinship ties at present often serve, it is true, as the only support in life, as the only refuge in times of hardship and misfortune. But will they be morally or socially necessary in the future? Key does not answer this question. She has too loving a regard for the “ideal family”, this egoistic unit of the middle bourgeoisie to which the devotees of the bourgeois structure of society look with such reverence.

But it is not only the talented though erratic Ellen Key who loses her way in the social contradictions. There is probably no other question about which socialists themselves are so little in agreement as the question of marriage and the family. Were we to try and organise a survey among socialists, the results would most probably be very curious. Does the family wither away? or are there grounds for believing that the family disorders of the present are only a transitory crisis? Will the present form of the family be preserved in the future society, or will it be buried with the modem capitalist system? These are questions which might well receive very different answers. ...



With the transfer of educative functions from the family to society, the last tie holding together the modem isolated family will be loosened; the process of disintegration will proceed at an even faster pace, and the pale silhouettes of future marital relations will begin to emerge. What can we say about these indistinct silhouettes, hidden as they are by present-day influences?

Does one have to repeat that the present compulsory form of marriage will be replaced by the free union of loving individuals? The ideal of free love drawn by the hungry imagination of women fighting for their emancipation undoubtedly corresponds to some extent to the norm of relationships between the sexes that society will establish. However, the social influences are so complex and their interactions so diverse that it is impossible to foretell what the relationships of the future, when the whole system has fundamentally been changed, will he like. But the slowly maturing evolution of relations between the sexes is clear evidence that ritual marriage and the compulsive isolated family are doomed to disappear.

The Struggle for Political Rights
The feminists answer our criticisms by saying: even if the arguments behind our defence of the political rights of women seem to you mistaken, is the importance of the demand itself, which is equally urgent for feminists and for representatives of the working class, thereby reduced? Cannot the women of the two social camps, for the sake of their common political aspirations, surmount the barriers of class antagonism that divide them? Surely they are capable of waging a common struggle against the hostile forces that surround them? Division between bourgeois and proletarian is inevitable as far as other questions are concerned, but in the case of this particular question, the feminists imagine,, the women of the various social classes have no differences.

Feminists keep returning to these arguments with bitterness and bewilderment, seeing preconceived notions of partisan loyalty in the refusal of representatives of the working class to join forces with them in the struggle for women’s political rights. Is this really the case?

Is there a complete identity of political aspirations, or does antagonism hinder the creation of an indivisible, above-class army of women in this instance as in all others? We have to answer this question before we can outline the tactics that proletarian women will employ in winning political rights for their sex.

The feminists declare themselves to be on the side of social reform, and some of them even say they are in favour of socialism – in the far distant future, of course – but they are not intending to struggle in the ranks of the working class for the realisation of these aims. The best of them believe, with a naive sincerity, that once the deputies’ seats are within their reach they will be able to cure the social sores which have in their view developed because men, with their inherent egoism, have been masters of the situation. However good the intentions of individual groups of feminists towards the proletariat, whenever the question of class struggle has been posed they have left the battlefield in a fright. They find that they do not wish to interfere in alien causes, and prefer to retire to their bourgeois liberalism which is so comfortably familiar.

No, however much the bourgeois feminists try to repress the true aim of their political desires, however much they assure their younger sisters that involvement in political life promises immeasurable benefits for the women of the working class, the bourgeois spirit that pervades the whole feminist movement gives a class colouring even to the demand for equal political rights with men, which would seem to be a general women’s demand. Different aims and understandings of how political rights are to be used create an unbridgeable gulf between bourgeois and proletarian women. This does not contradict the fact that the immediate tasks of the two groups of women coincide to a certain degree, for the representatives of all classes which have received access to political power strive above all to achieve a review of the civil code, which in every country, to a greater or lesser extent, discriminates against women. Women press for legal changes that create more favourable conditions of labour for themselves; they stand together against the regulations legalising prostitution etc. However, the coincidence of these immediate tasks is of a purely formal nature. For class interest determines that the attitude of the two groups to these reforms is sharply contradictory. ...

Class instinct – whatever the feminists say – always shows itself to be more powerful than the noble enthusiasms of “above-class” politics. So long as the bourgeois women and their “younger sisters” are equal in their inequality, the former can, with complete sincerity, make great efforts to defend the general interests of women. But once the barrier is down and the bourgeois women have received access to political activity, the recent defenders of the “rights of all women” become enthusiastic defenders of the privileges of their class, content to leave the younger sisters with no rights at all. Thus, when the feminists talk to working women about the need for a common struggle to realise some “general women’s” principle, women of the working class are naturally distrustful.