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No. 34 SPRING 1988 Women and Revolution Journal of the Women's Commission of the Spartacist League -$~~ X 523 $1.00 Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky! How the Bolsheviks Fought for Women's Emancipation
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No. 34 SPRING 1988 Women and Revolution Journal of the Women's Commission of the Spartacist League -$~~ X 523 $1.00 Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky! How the Bolsheviks Fought for Women's Emancipation SEE PAGE SIX V,ktor Bulla Petrograd, March Working women raise banner: Comrade Workers and Soldiers, Support Our Demands. American Capitalism: Child Abuse, Inc 12 Leprosy and AIDS: Bigots Blame the Victims For Science, Not Superstition! 16 'The Clash OVer...iioooiiiooii.. The Lindy Chamberlain Case: Anti-Woman Witchhunt in Australia 23 Mexican Women Workers Arise Class Struggle in the Global Sweatshop ~Ie. '.. 2 WOMEN AND REVOLUTION Letters Our Winter issue (No. 32) generated a great deal of correspondence, centering on Neanderthals, dogs, Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich-that is to say, prehistory and psychiatry. Our general policy on letters is to print as many as possible, based on editorial considerations including general interest and particularly controversial questions. We reserve the right to excerpt letters as necessary for space, and advise readers that a two or three page double-spaced typed letter has a far better chance of appearing uncut than a longer one. Cuts in letters are indicated by ellipses (... ). Blacks and the Civil War: The Fort Wagner Debate The Editor: * * * Melbourne, Australia 8 December 1986 I enjoyed reading your Winter '86-'87 edition [Women and Revolution No. 32], but I have a couple of points of clarification on some matters mentioned. Re J.M. Robertson's theory being that perhaps semiwild canines helped to protect early hunter gatherers by discouraging big cat attacks, I suggest he does some research on the matter. In fact leopards in both Africa and Asia are well known to enter villages to specifically take dogs, finding canine flesh a particular treat. I suppose that as a sacrifice inasmuch as humans are a second choice the dog does provide some manner of protection. Another point I have is regarding the first all Black attack on Fort Wagner, S.c. in July This was a cynical use of gun fodder known to be a suicidal venture doomed to failure by the commander of the Union Womenand Revolution Journal of the Spartacist League Central Committee Commission for Work Among Women DIRECTOR OF PARTY PUBLICATIONS: Liz Gordon EDITORIAL BOARD: Helen Cantor (editor), Amy Rath (associate editor), Helene Brosius, Liz Gordon, Elizabeth Kendall, Ellen Rawlings, James Robertson, Joseph Seymour PRODUCTION MANAGER: Susan Fuller CIRCULATION MANAGER: Jon Lawrence Published by the Spartacist PUblishing Company, Box 1377, GPO, New York, New York Telephone: (212) Opinions expressed in signed articles or letters do not necessarily express the editorial viewpoint. * * '. , Library of Congress 54th Massachusetts regiment charge at Fort Wagner, 18 July Forces. Those poor men never had a chance as Tubman pointed out. In fact the U.S. Army used racist methods right up to the 1960s a full century from emancipation. By all means check my claims, I trust you are interested in getting the facts straight free from subjective emotional bias? Keep up the good work. Yours, James Walby W&R replies: The famous Civil War assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina was carried out by the Massachusetts 54th, the first regiment of free Northern blacks, under the command of the young white abolitionist Robert Gould Shaw (see Harriet Tubman: Fighter for Black Freedom, W&R No. 32, Winter ). The attack failed with heavy casualties, including Col. Shaw, who died on the field. From the time blacks were first armed after the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, the Union treated them as second-class soldiers: they were segregated into separate regiments (this continued through World War II), paid less and often armed with inferior equipment. While they were used as shock troops in the war, as W.E.B. Du Bois has charged, how widespread this was is controversial; blacks also were often kept out of combat for menial tasks such as trench digging. Thousands of white troops also died in hopeless or failed assaults in this most destructive war in the Western world in the century from 1815 to But James Walby does not understand the profound contradiction of arming black soldiers in time of war and then denying them citizenship-a contradiction particularly acute during the Civil War. As General U.S. Grant said about arming the blacks, This, with the SPRING emancipation of the negro, is the heaviest blow yet given the Confederacy... Black men in arms terrified the slaveholders, who threatened to re-enslave or execute captured black soldiers and their officers. As a battle Fort Wagner was insignificant; but as a testament to the courage of the newly armed black soldiers it electrified the nation. It followed by two days the bloody anti-draft riots in New York City, where white mobs lynched at least a dozen blacks and burned down the Colored Orphan Asylum. The courage of the martyrs at Fort Wagner helped to turn opinion in the North strongly for emancipation. As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said of the Civil War, Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S.; let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship. Walby's points on dogs are taken up in our reply following the next two letters. Cats and Dogs Dear Comrades, * * * * Toronto, Canada 9 February 1987 IApropos the early man/canine alliance, John Pfeiffer (The Emergence of Man, 1972) notes that the hunting territories of wolves/wild dogs and early man appear to be of comparable size ranging from 500 to 1500 square miles. It is not hard to imagine, over time, increasing congruence of dog/hominid hunting territories and the implications for familiarity leading to co-operation and semi-domestication. Comrades, Warmest greetings, Oliver * Iowa City, Iowa 1 January 1987 I would like to make a few comments, mostly about W&R 32. First of all, I am glad to see that you have finally (!) gotten off the back of Neanderthal man. You might note that in addition to the reasons for the brutish hunched appearance, that was attributed to Neanderthals you cited, also it is now well known that the skeleton that was used for the early attempts to determine their appearance was that of an elderly, arthritic (at time of death) individual, not a young, or healthy mature individual at time of death. You were correct to note that much about Neanderthals is currently under debate, this includes whether they have any living descendants. I do note however that (unfortunately) primitive cultures and people from these cultures do tend to enter history on the side of the oppressors, in the modern world, the capitalists. Examples are the San (bushmen) of Southwest Africa (Namibia) allied with South Africa, the Indochinese hill tribes, many of whom allied with United States Imperialism against the revo- lutionary forces, and of course the situation in Afghanistan. The reasons are notobscure, I don't think, both in specifics and generalities. I also noticed the letter of James M. Robertson to the Institute of Human Origins. As W&R has no association with the Institute of Human Origins that I know of, why is it there? The letter asks a speculative question, with no particular relevance to a scientific, Marxist, understanding of the development of human society, at least as raised. The letter neither presents nor interprets any real information on the relationship of the domestication of dogs to the development of human society, which would be potentially relevant. Nor does the author seem to be familiar with research on the question of the domestication of dogs, there is some. I assume that the James M. Robertson of the letter is the same as the James Robertson of the editorial board and the S.L.leadership. This of course raises the question of why should a member of the editorial board (or anyone else for that matter) be publishing their private, personal, correspondence in a party organ? He certainly has a right to write speculative personal letters to whom he wishes, or to write for non-party groups (who ever the Prometheus Research Library is). But this is just that, a personal matter (or a matter relating to another organization), not a party matter. One sign of the deformation or degeneration of a political (or any other) movement is when personal matters of a great leader suddenly become important, usually this is called a cult of personality. From what I know Jim has rendered valuable service in building the Trotskyist movement nationally and world wide. Let's not spoil it, that would be a lot of ground to have to cover again. I thought that your article on Harriet Tubman was good. However some of the other articles in the issue Gary Larson Co It's Bob, all right... but look at those vacuous eyes, that stupid grin on his face -he's been domesticated, I tell you. 4 Letters seemed hastily done and to have more to do with screaming at someone than providing good political reporting, analysis, and course of action. These comments are intended constructively, and I hope you take them that way. In solidarity, Loren Schutt W&R replies: It seems from the response generated by comrade Robertson's letter on dogs that the subject of early mankind's relationship with canines is of interest to many of our readers-which is why we printed the letter. The prehistory of man generally gives us a sense of what human beings are and are capable of-after all, today's '''civilization'' represents only a tiny fraction of the existence of our species. More specifically, the domestication of wild canines certainly did extend mankind's power over nature, a subject of some importance to Marxists. What seems to upset Loren Schutt, however, is the fact that the letter raised a genuine question, speculating as to whether adjacent semi-domesticated canine packs protected men from the bigger cats, especially at night. This isn't the party line, but a hypothesis we thought appropriate to print in W&R, which we hope SPARTACIST LEAGUE/ U.S. DIRECTORY NATIONAL OFFiCE (212) Box 1377 GPO. New York, NY ATLANTA Box 4012, Atlanta, GA BOSTON (617) Box 840, Central Station, Cambridge, MA CHiCAGO (312) Box 6441, Main PO, Chicago, IL CLEVELAND (216) Box 91037, Cleveland, OH DETROIT Box , Detroit, MI ITHACA Box 6767, Ithaca, NY LOS ANGELES (213) Box Los Feliz Station, Los Angeles, CA MADiSON (608) Box 2074, Madison, WI NEW york (212) Box 444, Canal Street Station, New York, NY NORFOLK Box 1972, Main PO, Norfolk, VA OAKLAND (415) Box 32552, Oakland, CA SAN FRANCiSCO (415) Box 5712, San Francisco, CA WASHINGTON, D.C (202) Box 75073, Washington, D.C TROTSKYIST LEAGUE OF CANADA TORONTO (416) Box Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 1X8, Canada WOMEN AND REVOLUTION can be in part a vehicle for some provocative and even speculative inquiry into varied fields. We think that not only our readers and sympathizers, but also our members and leading members have the right to raise interesting questions to which they may not have the answer. It should be obvious that this is the polar opposite of a cult of personality (wherein any casual comment of glorious leader is taken as gospel). Perhaps the suspicious tone of Schutt's letter reflects some nasty experience with local Iowa City-type gods that failed of the petty New Left variety-it is certainly not our practice. To clear up a few details: the Prometheus Research Library is the archival and research center of the Central Committee of the SL/U.s. It is also currently a sponsor of the Institute of Human Origins, which is a publicly supported foundation promoting original anthropological research which, to our knowledge, espouses that wing of anthropology which is secular and humanist. Regarding Walby's leopard snacks, it's a long way between Siberian wolf packs and half-starved little dogs in contemporary South American or Asian villages. Even so, small Indian wild dogs, which travel in packs of up to 30 strong, are avoided by all other animals, including even tigers, according to the National Geographic documentary Land of the Tiger. The documentary also cited the case of one tiger which after killing 12 dogs was itself killed and eaten by a dog pack. In Not from the Apes, the renowned Finnish paleontologist Bjorn Kurten notes that some predecessors of today's dogs were highly predatory. He also points out, Hunting dogs attack and finally overpower tigers even though the dogs themselves may be killed in the fight. It is all too common in academic fields, including archeology and ant.hropology, for people to jump on each other; we would like to avoid that style, better suited to a Saturday night wrestling match. Thus we would welcome some specifics on the research our readers have alluded to, in order to help correct or extend the hypothesis raised. On Freud and Homosexuality The Editorial Board Women and Revolution Comrades, Randwick, NSW, Australia 30 January 1987 Jack Shapiro does Freud a disservice by equating Reich's pathological anti-homosexuality with Freudian thought when he writes, ... Reich maintained the orthodox Freudian position that homosexuality is arrested development, the failure of the child to overcome primary narcissism... ( The Trouble with Sexual Utopias, W&R No. 32, pg. 19). Freud himself never considered homosexuality a SPIUN~ 19~8 5 Sigmund Freud sickness and in fact consistently fought against this conception within the psychoanalytic movement and without. In Letter to an American Mother, in response to a woman so ashamed of her son's homosexuality that she cannot bring herself to mention the word, Freud states: Homosexuality is assuredly n? advantage, bu.t it i.s nothing to be ashamed of, no Vice, no degradation; It cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function... By asking me if 1can help you, you mean, I suppose, if I can ~bolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality t~ke its place... What analysis can do for your son runs In a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him har~ony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains homosexual or gets changed... (1) It is surprising that jack Shapiro has not cited this letter, as it has been so widely publicised in the last fifteen years. Perhaps he is a practising psychoanalyst. Much less known is the debate which took place between Freud and Otto Rank on the one hand and Ernest jones and the Dutch Psychoanalytic Association on the other, about ..,the propriety of accepting as a member (in the Psychoanalytic Association) a doctor known to be manifestly homosexual. I advised against it... , writes jones. Freud and Rank replied: Your query dear Ernest concerning pr?spective membership of homosexuals has been considered by us and we disagree with you. In effect we cannot exclude such persons without other sufficient reasons, as we cannot agree with their legal prosecution. We feel that a decision in such cases should depend upon a thorough examination of the other qualities of the candidate. (2) Much earlier, in an interview with Die Zeit, dealing with the arrest of a Professor Beer for allegedly molesting two underage boys, Freud states: I am ever of the firm conviction that homosexuals must not be treated as sick people, for a perverse orientation is far from being a sickness. Wouldn't that oblige us to characterize as sick many great. think.ers and scholars of all times, whose perverse Orientation we know for a fact and whom we admire precisely because of their mental health? Homosexual persons are not sick, but they also do not belong in a court of law! (3) In 1930 Freud was a signatory to the appeal to the Penal Justice Commission Concerning the Repeal of the' Law on Homosexuality, the infamous Paragraph 175 outlawing homosexual relations in Germany. The Appeal states: This law represents an extreme violation of.human rights, because it denies homosexua!s thel~ very sexuality even though the interests of third parties are not encroached upon. The most terrible consequence is blackmail, which the police officially expect as a matter of course and which drives many homosexuals to suicide. Penalization thereby directly aids and abets the felony of blackmail. (4) I don't believe Freud's statements in defence of gay rights are in contradiction to psychoanalytic theory. The following passage from Three Essays on Sexuality is worth quoting in full: Psychoanalytic research is most decidedly opposed to any attempt at separating homosexuals from the res~ of mankind as a group of a special character. ~y studyii:g sexual excitations other than those manifestly displayed, it has found that all hu~an bein.gs are capable of making a homosexual : bject chol~e and have, indeed, made one in their unconscious. Indeed, libidinal attachments to a person of the same sex play no less a part, as factors in normal mental life... than do similar attachments to the opposite sex. On the contrary, psychoanalysis consi.ders that the choice of an object independently of ItS sex-freedom to range equally over male and female objec~s-asit is found i! , childhood, in pr.imitive st.at.es of so~lety and e~r1y periods in history, IS the orlgmal basis from which, as a result of restriction in one direction or the other, both normal and inverted types develop. Thus, from the point of view of psychoanalysis. the exclusive sexual interest felt by men for women IS also a problem that needs elucidating and is not a self-evident fact ba~ed upon an attraction that is ultimately of a chemical nature. (5) By developing theoretically what he observed empirically in the analysis of his patients, Freud postulated that the same mechanisms which operate in mental illness-psychosis and neurosis-in fact operate in everyday normal life. Freud freed psychology once and for all ofthe compu Isory categorisation of sexuality of the pioneers that went before him, such as Havelock Ellis. The sociopolitical manifestation of the theories of Ellis et al. was the sad dead-end of the Uranian movement, which categorised homosexuals as an historically lost Third Sex worthy of tolerance and compassion, but nonetheless an aberration. Freud completely challenged and revolutionised human thinking about what is normal and abnormal sexuality. juliet Mitchell puts it nicely: He realized that instead of a pool from which tributaries ran, the tributaries were needed in the first place to form the pool; these tributarie~were di~erse, could join each other, never reach their goal, fmd another goal, dry up,.overflow ~nd S? get attach.ed ~o something quite dlfferent... m childhood all IS diverse or perverse; unification and normality are the effort we must make on our entry into human society. (6) By extreme contrast, Reich's chemico-biological mechanicism classified only penis-in-vagina sex as normal: only then could a proper discharge of sexual energy take place and anything else represented a continued on page 11 6 WOMEN AND REVOLUTION Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky! How the Bolsheviks Fought for 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 t
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