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 Post subject: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:26 pm 
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a liberal concept?

I was accused of being a liberal about a month or two ago by Zero and Brole for saying that people should have control over their bodies, and in fact should have the right to this control. I was told that I was adhering to bourgeois liberal conceptions of both rights and ownership, despite the fact that I maintained that the concept of rights merely is merely a social construct which reinforced the liberal ideologies of the Enlightenment during the consolidation of bourgeois society.

Obviously, the whole of our politics as communists should be reflective of the interests of the proletarian class. We support and promote the right of women to have abortions for free and on demand because, for obvious reasons, this it is more advantageous to working class and poor women to have these means in relation to not being able to have them. We also as materialists oppose the religious idealism of the sanctity of life, and as communists oppose the valorization of motherhood and the promotion of all other gender traditions and superstructural byproducts of the bourgeois family structure.

However, if proletarian class interest is the only thing that sustains this attitude toward the ability of women to have access to abortions, what about post-capitalist society, where the working class exists only in the museum? Just as certain as there will be in a post-capitalist society women who do not wish to give birth, there will most certainly be means by which women can access abortions, hopefully with much more ease and less stigma than in bourgeois society.

Hopefully Zero will feel inclined to forgive me should it be the case that I have misrepresented his positions in any way. This was not the result of a direct engagement with him, I had only found out that he felt this away about something I posted on RL through Broletariat on aim.

I can't find the post in question at the moment, but I will admit in advance that it did sound like something someone with liberal politics would say, owing to the fact that it was an offhand post that I had made after a cursory glance at the topic, not meaning to represent any sort of serious analytical exploration I did on the topic.

So Zero, I am not being confrontational here, I am genuinely interested in what you have to say. I am particularly interested in why bodily autonomy as a concept adheres to bourgeois liberal conceptions of ownership.

Also to other viewers I know this seems like some trivial **** but Brole won't let me live it down.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:33 pm 
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If you link to the actual thread where this discussion occurred then I and others may be able to contribute to this conversation.


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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:42 pm 
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Zero will probably be able to locate it. But the post itself isn't really relevant imo, it's the issue that it brought up that is the meat and potatoes of the matter: is bodily autonomy a liberal concept?

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:11 am 
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The conversation happened via AIM, and tbh it was more light-hearted than TC is making it out to be.

The gist of it was, the TC made a post on revleft saying women had the right to abortion because they own their body or whatever generic rhetoric along those lines. This statement is, of course, predicated around the concept of ownership.

The real question, TC, is how YOU could possibly support abortion using that logic in a post-capitalist society where the paradigm of private property has vanished.

I think another important point is that "we" (we being communists) don't exist in a post-capitalist society, so there's no need to concern yourself with how communists could support abortion in a post-capitalist society. Because we won't, we CAN'T exist in a post-capitalist society.

If you want to know how humanity will be able to support and approve of abortion in a post-capitalist society, they will have their own unique ideologies sprung up from their new material conditions that will give them their own logic to defend the position. Or perhaps it will be so trivial no one will give it a second thought, at this point we're really just trying to look into the future, which we're not very good at, being communists not psychics.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:46 am 
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Women have a "right" to abortion because they have a need for safe, efficient, medical services. That's the beginning and the end of it. This has nothing to do with ownership, concept of property, etc. and everything to do with human beings having access to medical treatment.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:20 am 
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Broletariat wrote:
I think another important point is that "we" (we being communists) don't exist in a post-capitalist society, so there's no need to concern yourself with how communists could support abortion in a post-capitalist society. Because we won't, we CAN'T exist in a post-capitalist society.

We communists would actually still exist in a post capitalist-society just in a different forum, i.e there would still be those discussing Marx and such yet in a radically different context

S.Artesian wrote:
Women have a "right" to abortion because they have a need for safe, efficient, medical services. That's the beginning and the end of it. This has nothing to do with ownership, concept of property, etc. and everything to do with human beings having access to medical treatment.

Well it more comes down to the concept of self and the right to ones self. Without even dealing with property right this comes down to viewing humans as self-conscious biological robots that have a right over their being.


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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:53 am 
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S.Artesian wrote:
Women have a "right" to abortion because they have a need for safe, efficient, medical services. That's the beginning and the end of it. This has nothing to do with ownership, concept of property, etc. and everything to do with human beings having access to medical treatment.


I think there's more to it than that, but you are implying everything within your succinct post.

Not only do women need safe efficient medical service, it needs to come free, that is what makes our demand of abortions uniquely marxist, not just for legal abortions, but free abortions, just as we would demand free universal healthcare and such. The implication behind demanding specifically FREE abortions is a marked class demand which is hinged around being in favor of working class interests.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:54 am 
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Psy wrote:
Broletariat wrote:
I think another important point is that "we" (we being communists) don't exist in a post-capitalist society, so there's no need to concern yourself with how communists could support abortion in a post-capitalist society. Because we won't, we CAN'T exist in a post-capitalist society.

We communists would actually still exist in a post capitalist-society just in a different forum, i.e there would still be those discussing Marx and such yet in a radically different context

S.Artesian wrote:
Women have a "right" to abortion because they have a need for safe, efficient, medical services. That's the beginning and the end of it. This has nothing to do with ownership, concept of property, etc. and everything to do with human beings having access to medical treatment.

Well it more comes down to the concept of self and the right to ones self. Without even dealing with property right this comes down to viewing humans as self-conscious biological robots that have a right over their being.



I disagree, much in the same way that there cannot exist a capitalist revolutionary in our present time, there cannot exist a communist revolutionary under communism.

I'll also say that you are making the same mistake I accused the TC of making. "Right to ones self" is effectively a right to own yourself, which is all that the working class owns as it were, and sort of one of the biggest requirements for capitalism to function/exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Broletariat wrote:
I disagree, much in the same way that there cannot exist a capitalist revolutionary in our present time, there cannot exist a communist revolutionary under communism.

I never said revolutionary simply that communists would exist in a different context

Broletariat wrote:
I'll also say that you are making the same mistake I accused the TC of making. "Right to ones self" is effectively a right to own yourself, which is all that the working class owns as it were, and sort of one of the biggest requirements for capitalism to function/exist.

That is dualism where the mind is a separate entity thus why the body becomes property, if the mind is a function of the body this concept of the body being property becomes illogical because the body and mind become one and the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Is bodily autonomy
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:34 am 
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Broletariat wrote:
The conversation happened via AIM, and tbh it was more light-hearted than TC is making it out to be.

The gist of it was, the TC made a post on revleft saying women had the right to abortion because they own their body or whatever generic rhetoric along those lines. This statement is, of course, predicated around the concept of ownership.

The real question, TC, is how YOU could possibly support abortion using that logic in a post-capitalist society where the paradigm of private property has vanished.
I support the demand for abortion rights in bourgeois society as a political initiative, for reasons that I outlined in my original post. It is advantageous to the proletariat and proletarian families, especially those of which that are potentially burdened with the prospect of motherhood and all of the negative effects it can have on day-to-day existence in an alienating society.

I oppose on materialist grounds the nonsensical mysticism of the 'sanctity of life' concept, on the premise that there is no material basis on which to be able to measure such a characteristic. I oppose, as a communist, the condemnation of women to "motherly duty" and other such bourgeois drudgery and fiercely reject all values and ideologies that uphold and reinforce the bourgeois family unit.

Now, obviously, if working class women couldn't even exercise such a right or experience great financial or legal obstacles in exercising such a right, it would be practically worthless and not worth defending or fighting for, because as you noted above, it would mean nothing for our class as only women from bourgeois or more affluent backgrounds would be able to benefit from it. That is why 'free abortion on demand' is the necessary form of the demand, because it is what makes it genuinely class-oriented and reflective of proletarian interests. I fully agree with and endorse your position in this regard.

And, yes, I reject and oppose any conceivable notion that there is any circumstance in which it is OK for me not to be able to make decisions regarding my own body, i.e. a scenario in which I am not guaranteed the authority to reject non-consensual sexual advances. Or a scenario in which I'm not guaranteed access to the means to have an abortion, or any other such medical practice. Or in which I'm not allowed to terminate my own life. Or in which I'm thrown in a hushed up forced-labor camp and coerced into back-breaking work for whatever reason.

I think the issue of bodily autonomy is related to the termination of coercive social relations. I don't think that it's some inherent or universal right that just fell out of the sky or that we're born with by virtue of some weird alchemy. That would indeed be a liberal and idealist position, as it would take for granted that the concept of rights is a social construct, an idea, and like all other social constructs and ideas has a material basis. I think a post-capitalist global community of freely associated human beings, in this sense, lays the foundation for people to have complete and thorough guarantees against any type of coercion or non-consensual activity regarding their own body.

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I think another important point is that "we" (we being communists) don't exist in a post-capitalist society, so there's no need to concern yourself with how communists could support abortion in a post-capitalist society. Because we won't, we CAN'T exist in a post-capitalist society.

If you want to know how humanity will be able to support and approve of abortion in a post-capitalist society, they will have their own unique ideologies sprung up from their new material conditions that will give them their own logic to defend the position. Or perhaps it will be so trivial no one will give it a second thought, at this point we're really just trying to look into the future, which we're not very good at, being communists not psychics.
I don't think that a post-capitalist society would need to be inconvenienced with new ideologies in order for women to be granted access to such a basic medical procedure as an abortion, as I tend to think that ideology in its entirety would have no social function in a society without exploited or alienated classes, so I'd probably lean toward your latter possibility.

But I think that ties into what I was saying above in that in a post-capitalist society there wouldn't be any ideological justifications for any form of coercion because there wouldn't be a basis for it.

Hopefully this will clarify some things and not provide fodder for more ridicule.

I will concede that the original post being referred to was liberal in nature in that it came off as universalist and with no contextual nuance or class content, but not for the position that I've elucidated upon now.

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