Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Did Feminists Attack the Family?

The contemporary cultural and political war against the family has several causes, of which feminism is by far the most significant.

'First-wave' feminists in the early Twentieth Century were not at all anti-family. Indeed, one of their demands was that control of hearth and home should be the domain of women. Reference.

It was only as a result of second-wave feminism, in the late 1960s, that the feminist attack on the family began. Neil Lyndon, in his 1992 book 'No More Sex War', was perhaps the first to trace the origins of second-wave feminist ideology to Marxism. It is worth giving a brief recap of Lyndon's argument.

There had been a spate of high-profile assassinations in the US during the 1960s: The Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and so on. These events, as Lyndon points out, stank of corruption and conspiracy. Yet the political establishment shrugged its shoulders and did nothing. Those who were concerned therefore realised that the political Right was not interested; they were in effect driven to the Left in a search for solutions, and in the context of the Cold War, the political Left meant the Sino-Soviet bloc. As Lyndon puts it, “We had nowhere to go but East”.

The Cold War was in full swing at this time, and the middle-class young in the Western world became politically engaged with issues such as Vietnam, and the US black civil rights movement. There was a radical generation gap between these youth and their parents, amounting almost to a state of mutual incomprehension. The youth found nothing in the political culture of their parents which provided them with the kind of answers they sought; indeed the political culture of their parents was often deemed to be the cause of the problem.

The popular songs of the time often reflected these sentiments. The David Bowie song ‘Changes’ includes the lines “What a mess. You’ve left us up to our necks in it”. There was a popular slogan on lips of the radical youth: Never trust anyone over 30.

The young generation of the 1960s, whom Lyndon refers to as the 'New Left', looked for inspiration to China and the USSR, and adopted Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Marxism was to become the preferred political world-view of many young radicals, feminists included, and Lyndon attempts to trace how this came about.

In brief, Karl Marx described society in terms of a struggle between different economic classes; the powerful factory-owning ‘bourgeoisie’, and the disenfranchised labouring classes of the ‘proletariat’. Marx stated that ‘all history is the history of political struggle’. Thus he saw human society as being essentially characterised by constant conflict between irreconcilable interest groups.

Marx's analysis of society was framed in terms of economic classes, but this, Lyndon claims, was adapted by the Black Panther movement to become framed in terms of race. Instead of society being a struggle of class against class, the Black Panthers saw it in terms of a struggle of race against race, and this, claims Lyndon, was the origin of the fascistic character of New Leftist thinking.

This thinking, in turn, became adopted by the feminist movement of the time. Society was represented by them in quasi-Marxist terms as being an endless historical struggle of sex against sex, in which men are given the role of the powerful bourgeoisie, and women, that of the downtrodden ‘proletariat’.

So Lyndon claims that the feminists of the late 1960s and early 1970s were heavily influenced by the US struggle for black civil rights. Many feminist historians would agree. It is interesting to note that John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote a song at this time called ‘Woman is the nigger of the world’.

The slogan ‘The Personal is Political’ is most usually associated with feminism, and Lyndon claims that it originated with the Black Panthers. Interestingly, Jung Chang in Wild Swans attributes it to Mao himself, from whom it was no doubt taken up by the Black Panthers, and then eventually from there, by the feminists.

This final mutation of Marxist theory into the arena of sexual politics was the last such major paradigm shift in the thinking of the New Left, and consequently, that is the ideological heritage we are living with today.

This adoption of Marxist theory was undoubtedly the most significant reason for the feminist attack on the family. It must be noted that by this time the contraceptive pill and safe legal abortion were available, which meant that for the first time, women were able to control their own fertility. Prior to that, having sex meant running the risk of caring for a child; dismantling the family was not an option in those circumstances. In part, it was the pill that made the attack on the family thinkable.

In order to understand the feminist attack on the family, it is necessary to understand Marxist thinking on the subject. Marx lived during the industrial revolution, and he was impressed by the achievements of machine production. He regarded people as simply one component in a system of political economy, and he believed that we are 'blank slates' at birth - our minds are determined by our environment, not by anything internal. He saw the family as a remnant of an earlier age of pastoral village life, which was no longer appropriate for the machine age. Why not industrialise child production as well?

Marx's collaborator Engels wrote 'The origins of the family, private property and the State' in the 1840s. In it, Engels argued that the male factory worker serves the needs of capital, and his wife serves the needs of the worker. Just as he is a slave to the factory machine, she is a slave to him. She is an unpaid drudge who ensures that the worker is able to get to work. She also has to breed more workers. In this way, she services the needs of capitalism. Thus, Engels paints a picture of the family as dehumanising and highly politicised. This book became very influential among feminists in the late 1960s, and is one of the main reasons why the family has been under attack since then.

The idea of industrialised child production was taken to its logical conclusion - and satirised - by Aldous Huxley in his classic novel Brave New World.

Dominic Lawson, in his essay You can blame it all on Karl Marx, describes how these ideas were tried - and abandoned - in the Soviet Union:

In the early years of the Soviet Union, there was a genuine attempt, best described in Ferdinand Mount's The Subversive Family, to apply Marxist thinking on the family. Lunacharski, the Commissar of Education, declared that "Our problem now is to do away with the household and to free women from the care of children ... the terms 'my parents', 'our children' will gradually fall out of usage.'

This, claimed Lunacharski, would enable the transition to "that broad public society which will replace the domestic hearth, yes, that stagnant family unit which separates itself off from society. A genuine Communist would avoid such a permanent pairing marriage and would seek to satisfy his needs by a freedom of mutual relations ... so that you can't tell who is related to whom and how closely. That is social construction."


The consequences of this policy were exactly as they have been in the "social construction" we now see in parts of our own inner cities: social chaos, abandoned children and a rapid rise in venereal diseases. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union soon began to abandon the Marxist approach to family life. New laws were introduced to compel divorced parents, not the state, to contribute towards the maintenance of their children. Divorce itself was made more difficult and expensive.

The feminists of the early 1970s were obviously unaware of the Soviet experiments in family re-engineering, or they chose to ignore them. Erin Pizzey describes her experience of joining the feminist movement in 1971.

“My first meeting filled me with doubts. It was held in a very middle-class home in Chiswick and I gazed at the Mao posters on the wall of the drawing-room. When asked why I was there by the hostess, I replied that my husband was a television reporter and was very rarely home and I felt lonely and isolated with my two children. 'Your problem is not your isolation but your husband. He oppresses you and he is a capitalist.' I pointed out that she too had a mortgage so she therefore was a capitalist, and far from oppressing me my husband was baby-sitting so that I could attend this meeting… I was given Mao's little red book and SHREW magazine. I took it home and was horrified at the hatred it spewed against men”.

Pizzey was eventually expelled because she refused to condemn men and the family.

“I realized through reading the Women's Movement literature that those thousands of women working in all caring fields, the journalists, the television makers, were determined to destroy family life in England. 'Make the personal political,' was one of their many banners. So thousands of violent and very disturbed women attacked normal happily married women and our traditional way of life. Secret meetings were held (everything was done in secret) and I received a letter '… you should no longer work in the office or attend meetings of any of the collectives.'”

Marxist-Feminists came to believe that as the family was an aspect of capitalism, capitalism cannot be destroyed without destroying the family. This is a nonsense argument even to orthodox Marxists. In Marxist terms, the Capitalist mode of production is the 'underlying economic base' of society, and the family is part of the 'ideological superstructure'. The economic base determines the ideological superstructure. Thus, the argument that one cannot destroy capitalism without destroying the family is the wrong way round; to a Marxist, one cannot destroy the family without destroying capitalism; if capitalism creates the family, then once capitalism disappears, the family will disappear with it. The reverse is not the case. The Soviets no doubt understood this, but the feminists of the 1970s either hadn't read their Marx properly, or were intellectually corrupt.

French feminist Simone de Beauvoir, in a 1976 interview with Betty Friedan, stated that “no woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children…because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

Many others were of the same mind.

"The nuclear family must be destroyed... Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process." Linda Gordon

"We can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage." Robin Morgan

"In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them" (Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist and assistant professor of education at Wellesley College, and associate director of the school’s Center for Research on Woman)

"Marriage has existed for the benefit of men; and has been a legally sanctioned method of control over women.... We must work to destroy it. The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not to live individually with men ... All of history must be re-written in terms of oppression of women. We must go back to ancient female religions like witchcraft" (from "The Declaration of Feminism," November, 1971).

To summarise, the second-wave feminist attack on the family was post-Pill, and based upon a misreading of Marxist theory. While Marxism was eventually defeated on the international stage, the Marxist attack on the family has never even been addressed. It is only now that some are beginning to articulate the problems.

In trying to trace the origins of the War Against Families, another important factor to consider is the rise of the radical gay lobby. In the early 1970s, a coup d'etat took place within the feminist movement in Britain and the US.

The Lavender Menace was an informal group of lesbian radical feminists formed to protest the exclusion of lesbians and lesbian issues from the feminist movement. The phrase "Lavender Menace" was first used in 1969 by Betty Friedan, president of NOW, to describe the threat that she believed associations with lesbianism posed to NOW and the emerging women's movement. Friedan, and some other straight feminists as well, worried that the association would hamstring feminists' ability to achieve serious political change, and that stereotypes of "mannish" and "man-hating" lesbians would provide an easy way to dismiss the movement. Reference

However, eventually the lesbian lobby won the day, and lesbians came to dominate NOW, and much of the feminist movement. As Rene Denfeld comments in her excellent book “The New Victorians”, “This is a bit like the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People] deciding to prioritise gay issues just because some black people happen to be gay”.

It was very soon decided that heterosexuality itself was a socially constructed instrument of capitalism. Therefore, the only really liberated woman – and the only ‘real’ feminist - was a lesbian.

In a very enlightening article, My crime against the lesbian state, the actress Jackie Clune describes how she became a lesbian at university:

There were growing numbers of working-class students like me who got involved in student politics. There were weekly demos, rallies, anti-government motions passed at UGMs. We were angry about most things Mrs Thatcher instigated...Alongside my growing political awareness came a burgeoning interest in feminist politics...It was at about this time that I happened upon an essay by Adrienne Rich entitled Compulsory Heterosexuality And Lesbian Existence. In it, Rich posits that most women are capable of making the choice to be lesbian if they can overturn the internalised homophobia - the "cluster of forces" - they experience with regard to same-sex union. She argues that the heterosexual hegemony is a subtle yet forceful psychological prison from which most women could break free by force of will.

Lesbianism, it seemed to me then, was a logical extension of my feminist thinking, and a radical way to overthrow the capitalist prescription for womankind.

Taking that next step came fairly easily to me: 1988 saw fierce resistance from the gay community to the government white paper on local authority "promotion" of homosexuality in schools and colleges.


Clune's essay is a good example of that political tendency which taught that you must be gay in order to be a good radical; you can't be straight and be a good Socialist or Feminist.

Young people were urged to engage in gay relationships in order to demonstrate their left-wing credentials. Hanif Kureishi, in his novel The Buddha of Suburbia, touches on this in the scene when the young bisexual Indian actor asks his Socialist friend to kiss him to prove his commitment to the Socialist cause.

This strand of thinking eventually developed into an attempt to completely demonise heterosexuality. This was the climate which produced insane-sounding statements such as these:

"Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies."
Andrea Dworkin

"In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent."
Catharine MacKinnon, quoted in Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies.

"The institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist".
Ti-Grace Atkinson, Amazon Odyssey (p. 86).

"(Rape) is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear".
Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will p.6.

"When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression..."
Sheila Jeffrys.

In her essay, Feminism's Third Wave, Angela Fiori describes endemic heterophobia on US campuses in the 1990s.

The campus date-rape campaigns of the early 1990s weren't motivated by a genuine concern for the well-being of women. They were part of an ongoing attempt to delegitimize heterosexuality to young, impressionable women by demonizing men as rapists.

Daphne Patai and Christina Hoff Sommers have described how academic feminists, particularly in Women’s Studies, have created an environment very similar to a religious cult.

"If the classroom situation is very heteropatriarchal--a large beginning class of 50 to 60 students, say, with few feminist students--I am likely to define my task as largely one of recruitment...of persuading students that women are oppressed." said Professor Joyce Trebilcot of Washington University, as quoted in Who Stole Feminism

The satanic child-abuse witch-hunts of the 1990s were, similarly, another attempt to demonise men, the family and heterosexuality, and to forcibly break-up existing happy families, in order to provide more fuel for the divorce and 'child-protection' industries. This was perhaps the high-water mark of the Marxist-inspired feminist anti-family movement.

These, in brief, have been the ideological origins of the war against families and fathers. The consequences of this social revolution are now becoming clear.

In his excellent essay ‘Divorce as Revolution’, Steven Baskerville describes the wider political and economic implications of the situation.

Virtually every major personal and social pathology can be traced to fatherlessness more than to any other single factor: violent crime, substance abuse, unwed pregnancy, truancy, suicide, and more. Fatherlessness far surpasses both poverty and race as a predictor of social deviance.

The result of three decades of unrestrained divorce is that huge numbers of people – many of them government officials – now have a vested professional and financial interest in encouraging it. Divorce today is not simply a phenomenon; it is a regime – a vast bureaucratic empire that permeates national and local governments, with hangers-on in the private sector… Whatever pieties they may voice about the plight of fatherless, poor, and violent children, the fact remains that these practitioners have a vested interest in creating as many such children as possible. The way to do it is to remove the fathers… So long as fathers remain with their families, the divorce practitioners earn nothing.

Once the father is eliminated, the state functionally replaces him as protector and provider. By removing the father, the state also creates a host of problems for itself to solve: child poverty, child abuse, juvenile crime, and other problems associated with single-parent homes. In this way, the divorce machinery is self-perpetuating and self-expanding. Involuntary divorce is a marvelous tool that allows for the infinite expansion of government power.

The swelling hysteria over ‘domestic violence’ appears fomented largely for similar ends. ‘All of this domestic violence industry is about trying to take children away from their fathers,’ writes Irish Times columnist John Waters. ‘When they've taken away the fathers, they'll take away the mothers.’ Donna Laframboise of Canada’s National Post investigated battered women’s shelters and concluded they constituted ‘one stop divorce shops’, whose purpose was not to protect women but to promote divorce. These shelters, often federally funded, issue affidavits against fathers sight-unseen that are accepted without corroborating evidence by judges to justify removing their children.

Fathers are further criminalised through child-support burdens, which constitute the financial fuel of the divorce machinery, underwriting unilateral divorce and giving everyone involved further incentives to remove children from their fathers.

Last summer Liberty magazine published documentary evidence that ‘deadbeat dads’ are largely the creation of civil servants and law-enforcement agents with an interest in giving themselves criminals to prosecute.

Drawing all of these elements together, what began as an off-shoot of Communist-era radicalism has grown, a generation later, into an international multi-billion dollar men-hating industry, a monster which exists purely to employ people to destroy families. This is what we are up against.

To most women (and men) around the world, the idea that they would be better off without their families would seem absolutely absurd. The fact that the feminist movement took this particular tack is a quirk of history. If it had not been for the influence of Marxism and the emergence of a radical gay rights agenda, it would almost certainly never have happened.

These ideas are allowed to fester unchallenged, because, as Pizzey commented, everything is done in secret. There is no reality check, with the result that the unreasonable very quickly comes to seem reasonable. Combine this with the arrogant contempt for democracy and individual choice exhibited by people like de Beauvoir, and we have a mechanism for foisting insane policies onto those who don't want them.

It is only now that the symptoms of the malaise have become publicly visible in the form of dead children, that we have to sit up and take notice. The feminist movement is due for some long-neglected scrutiny. As an American judge once said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant".

7 comments:

angryharry said...

Gobsmacking piece, Heretical.

ze german said...

Beautiful!!

"French feminist Simone de Beauvoir, ..., stated that “no woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children…because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”"

This shows the morally superior highgrounds these feminists think they are at. Undermining all other women for their assumed lack of ability to choose right. They themselves know all, know best and are the only ones with any holding on universally correct ideals.

Anonymous said...

It is a great blog.

But to be frank, if anyone wants, how in India, these kinds of problems are avoided, we need to look at India No Sexual Problems.

Anonymous said...

Women have been taught that they're weak and unable to fend for themselves in a competitive environment. Add to that a majority work public sector and/or are on support or subsidy and it's a natural choice.

I see the whole commie bit as a method of keeping the divide in language and ideology while (American) republican ignorance adds fuel to the fire. (check local boy/girl ratio's at your schools... heh).

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it, it has to play out. She has no friends, her family has become strangers to exploit and she is her own worst enemy. Personally I'd choose not to fight or at least I'd choose my battles carefully because conflict plays a large role in defining us all (“as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”--- now would be a time to choose your enemies carefully).


(side note: we were not all on board and we were not all being truthful because many of us have conflicting agenda's while sharing a mutual threat. Opportunity always exists and can be turned on or off as easily as a light switch. “Proliferation of nuclear weapons” in the middle east and abroad was at the core of what needed to be said. A consequence, much of the world (in particular Israelis are living that likely eventuality over the next 25 years while Americas' (as an idea or belief) death becomes evident in the form of embezzling Medicare to fund the corruption)).

Anonymous said...

Hi "Heretical":

I'd invite you to join Clum Kam at

http://clubkam.ning.com

It is a forum for Male Empowerment at all levels, and I strongly believe that your knowledge and experience will prove to be very useful in fighting for the men's cause.

Please consider our invitation seriously, and we can achieve a lot by working together on this.

Caesar J. B. Squitti said...

We must learn that The Truth is made up of many 'colors of truths'...

It was also Capitalism that became part of the agenda against family, (ie You've come along way baby...cigarette ad) by seeking to promote liberation from family, responsibility and promote more consumption.

Then there is the obvious, the reality that cult-feminists, including some lesbian-feminists, and some bi-sexual feminists have no interest in promoting 'positive male/female relationships'.

Its a conflict of interest.

Caesar J. B. Squitti

Author: The Faces of Feminism; The Cult that deceived the World.

Anonymous said...

It is those two things combined that give feminists an edge:
- no fault divorce (together with alimony, child support)

and

- restraining orders for (claimed) domestic violence. I would include here false rape accusations.

They both rely on the power of the state to crush the male. And the state relies on the taxes it collects (mostly) from males to feed its law enforcement machines.

That is why it is to the (substantial) disadvantage of the man to marry, procreate and support such an arrangement. It is enough for this to happen to you once in a lifetime to turn your life upside down. So fight it now, before the monster sinks its claws in you.