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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:15 pm 
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TFM wrote:
Moving on, what I'm basically trying to get at with my usage of the term is that an understanding of nationalism shouldn't have to restrict itself to ethnicities or races when groups such as genders and sexual orientations purportedly share many of the same defining characteristics that ethnicities and races are asserted to have -- such as common identity, history, culture and most importantly, interests -- that was basically my theoretical starting point.

If you then consider that most of what we would call "identity politics" or "social movements" have fractionating and subversive effects on communism (i.e. the proletarian movement) which aren't at all dissimilar to those of ethnic and racial nationalisms, then you find there's less and less justification for analysing them as being completely unrelated to one another. Essentially, I think there's some worth in considering them to all be nationalist movements of some shade -- but I do this on the basis of effect on class struggle, not some perceived brutality (such as where nine deduced from an earlier version of this post that I considered feminism to somehow lead to workers shedding each others' blood). I would expand upon this a lot more had my own notes and ramblings on the subject not been completely disorganised at this stage and in need of some minor revision.


Using these kinds of terms when discussing the struggle for bodily autonomy is not getting you anywhere. There is no "nationalism" in this question (the term doesn't even apply, but I get your meaning anyway) because it involves something that is immediately relevant to the question of communism - that is emancipation of the human being. When a woman demands that she be allowed to decide what to do with her body, she is not doing so to protect or promote her identity as a woman (otherwise she wouldn't be getting an abortion), but to protect her status as a human.
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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Well, no TFM, nationalism is nationalism; the term has a specific content, which is the formation of a nation along bourgeois class relations-- that's exactly what informs nationalism and makes it counter the proletarian revolution.

No such content informs the right, the need, the demand that women have unrestricted, free access to safe medical procedures, and that questions of reproductive health and status are exclusively the determination of the woman so involved and her healthcare professional.

This demand is no more "fractionalizing" than the struggle against segregation, the poll tax, and for civil rights was/is. In fact both were and are integral to a class struggle program.... in that every revolutionist has to oppose discrimination as discrimination is the exercise of power by the economic organization to maintain certain specific conditions for the exploitation of labor. And as the struggle for civil rights shows, such struggle is at core a struggle for the emancipation of labor and will not succeed without "growing over" into a class struggle against capitalism. Now that's the materialist analysis that puts the truth to this ******** about the struggle for equality being "identity" politics.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Hey man, like, why ask man, cause like...we won't know man, cause people man, they'll be too out of our mind sto comprehend man, maybe abortion IS BAD MAN! SO IT SHOULD BE OPPOSED IN COMMUNISM MAN! WE JUST DON'T KNOWWWW!!!!

- Brole/TFM

Seriously though, abortion will exist post-capitalism, so you can't just cop out and say "Dunno, fffft". I mean, you have a mind, correct? If Marx can comprehend HOW the system comes about, and what makes the system (the socialist mode of production), I'm sure we can determine an argument that suggests abortion is a "right", or should be something decided by the woman.

Herp, Identity politics, derp.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:08 pm 
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I wouldn't expect you to know TFM, but nationalism refers to a specific historical "bourgeois"moment with a specific bourgeois class content which is designed to establish specific bourgeois relations of power, and bourgeois conditions of labor. No such specificity exists to the demand for free, universal access to safe medical procedures, specifically including abortion.

The civil rights movement at its outset was dominated by liberal, religious, petty-bourgeois leaders, orators, organizers, etc. Nevertheless the driving force was the demand for access to black labor and the obsolescence of the old Southern agricultural based share-cropper "mask" for the wage relation.

"Black power" which represented a break with the allegiance and alliance with the liberal Democrats was an advance, a deepening of the struggle, a drilling down so to speak to its class core, in both North and South.

Neither the civil rights movement, nor the "equal rights" movements explicitly recognized the "class basis" of their struggles; and if fact in almost all iterations sought to smother that class basis, something unfortunately that your position would facilitate in abandoning the terrain of program to the anti-class conscious elements.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:22 pm 
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[quote="TFM"]"Bodily autonomy" doesn't exist in a vacuum; nothing ever does. I fully agree with S.Artesian's statement that pregnant women need access to access to appropriate medical treatment, should they need or otherwise desire it, but I don't even try and pretend that the political movement actively working towards attaining it in the present—the same one that actively devotes a large share of its energies to installing women into positions of political and economic power, and where an explicit class issue exists, extends its real practical response onto the entire gender irrespective of class, and in doing so actually erodes away at and mystifies the real class basis of the issue ... in short, replaces the old bosses with new ones and accommodates the ruling class—has got a thing to do with the immanent movement of our class.


Do you live under a rock? There is no unified feminist movement - it just does not exist in this day and age. Indeed, there are people who demand abortion rights while pushing for women to ascend into the bourgeoisie. But there are also women demanding abortion rights while opposing wage discrepancies between men and women, and criticizing capitalist society's patriarchal structure overall. The latter is in line with class struggle, the former is not, but the two are not one in the same.

[quote="TFM"]I have never argued that nationalist movements struggle for the "protection or promotion" of "identity"; you pulled that accusation right out of your ***. I'm not an idealist, so I recognise that national identities—including their "protection" and "promotion"—are products of the movements and not vice versa.

This doesn't make any sense. Either you're arguing that these things are nationalist or you're arguing that they are something else. We already pointed out why the term "nationalism" does not apply here.
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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:03 pm 
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Maybe my earlier post contributed to it somewhat (it isnt how I intended it), but most of the vitriol in this thread seems pretty unnecessary and over the top.

I wanted to make responses to a lot of comments in here, but I am working around seventy hours a week in addition to some other stuff going on in my life at the moment and am really strapped for time, so I'm just going to make a few points more generally.

First of all, I'm not arguing that cross-class 'movements' for abortion rights are something to 'support' (incidentally I also don't think that the 'civil rights movement', or 'black nationalism', was something to support). I'm saying that I think the issue of abortion is largely a class issue (in many situations, attacks on abortion rights serve as concerted attacks on the standard of living of working class women, and go hand in hand with attacks on the working class more broadly), even if the single-issue organizations* that are dedicated to the subject obviously aren't class organizations. So in light of this, it seems that simply dismissing the subject as "identity politics" and as something that is "irrelevant to the proletariat" (or whatever) is a really awful approach, and is indicative of a tendency in some quarters (granted most of the left has the opposite problem) toward a really grss sort of class reductionism, where--for example--you can sneer at issues that primarily effect working class women because they don't 100% exclusively effect workers and "there are female CEOS!!1".

There are a few more comments that I wanted to make but I need to go, so I will try to find the time to come back to it later, or in the next couple days.


*'organizations' as opposed to 'movements', as there really aren't are any 'movements' for abortion rights in existence as far as I am aware
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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:02 pm 
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The communist objection of identity politics is that it is always a politics of representation, thus a politics incapable of going beyond bourgeois social relations, not simply that it pertains to minorities rather than the working class as a whole. The question with agitation for access to safe abortions, then, is whether it represents such a representational politics, and while certainly it might, and at present usually does, this isn't necessarily the case and is never the whole of the case, and the possibility of exceeding this representational logic is always present. To say that we should remain indifferent to this agitation because it is currently dominated by bourgeois institutions is to say that we should remain indifferent to strikes that are organised under the banner of a bourgeois union, which is on the face of it ridiculous.


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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:38 am 
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OK, TFM, good. And takes a bit of courage to accept the validity of criticisms in public.

For me, it boils down to I don't think that we can take an issue, question, need that impacts more than 50% of the population and dismiss it as "identity politics" because certain organizations of a liberal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois etc. composition respond to, or organize around, that same issue, question, need.

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