Gender and sexual liberation*
Outline Youth School 2021 Gender and sexual liberation
1. A Marxist analysis of women’s and lgbt oppression based on the materialist method a) Why is this important? framework for projecting it can be overcome (rather than male psychology, human nature etc)
2. The family a) The family changes in time and space under patriarchal class society b) Societies analysed in written history - evolution of family form c) Absurd argument that holds that gender oppression originates with capitalism
3. Sex and gender a) Gender identity is socially constructed => origins of oppression lie in material factors of society, gender roles are not fixed, vary with historical period, environment, production methods, class position but intertwined with class society not a separate system "patriarchy”
4. Oppression within the family a) women b) young people c) outside traditional roles => common interests of women’s and LGBTIQ struggles
5. Autonomous movements of the oppressed a) what we mean by autonomous b) our relationship as a party to autonomous movements c) building our programme
Heterosexism is rooted in the heterosexual, patriarchal family institution characteristic of capitalism. The family is the ‘primary socioeconomic institution for perpetuating the class divisions of society from one generation to the next’, in the words of the 1979 resolution on women’s liberation. In the form it has developed under capitalism, it ‘provides the most inexpensive and ideologically acceptable mechanism for reproducing human labour’ - by using unpaid, largely female labour to care for the young and old as well as working-age adults - and ‘reproduces within itself the hierarchical, authoritarian relationships necessary to the maintenance of class society as a whole’. This family form is particularly oppressive to women and children.
To say that within capitalist society women’s oppression and power relations are a necessary consequence of capitalism, and that these phenomena do not have their own independent and proper logic, is not to support the absurd argument that holds that gender oppression originates with capitalism. What is being defended here is a different argument, tied to the particular characteristics of capitalism. Societies in which capitalism has supplanted the preceding mode of production are characterized by a profound and radical transformation of the family.
One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. ... Biology does not determine what makes a woman a woman—a woman learns her role from man and others in society. Woman is not born passive, secondary, and nonessential, but all the forces in the external world have conspired to make her so.