(This article appeared in the New Worker newspaper of the New Communist Party, No 1767, dated 21.3.14, Pages 6-7.)
Bourgeois capitalist society is premised upon inequality. This is to state clearly, and unambiguously, that such a system exists because of the inequality that has created it. Bourgeois capitalist society can not exist without its inherent inequality. If the reality of inequality were to be removed, then bourgeois society would cease to exist. The contemporary drive toward ‘equality’, although very important for everyone involved, is nevertheless based upon the misconception that a fundamentally unequal society can lose its ‘unequalness’ simply through pressure group action and legislation. It is true that through such actions, the bourgeois state sometimes begrudgingly grants a small concession here, or a token reform there, but never actually addresses the true issue at hand. The bourgeois system is shot through with an inequality that facilitates exploitation of every living person within its society. This inequality creates social classes and allows money (i.e. capital) to change hands in a thoroughly exploitative manner. The middle and upper classes are overwhelmingly benefitted at the expense of the majority of the populace that comprise the working class. This social organisation is based upon a socio-economic rupture that favours one thing or entity, over another.
This imbalance leads to competitiveness throughout society and ensures that the fight for survival is inherently linked to the fight for profit. Like a fixed poker game, no matter how hard the workers try to conform to the hypocritical standards of their bourgeois over-lords, victory (i.e. emancipation through equality) can never be achieved as those who control the game are forever one step ahead of the players. Every so often a worker may obtain a bourgeois social ranking through the accumulation of money, but will be forever excluded from real political power due to social background. Accumulation of money often serves as enough to answer immediate survival issues, and to allow for a certain experience of a luxury that dulls the senses and removes any political insight and yearning. This is the working class ‘paid’ not to agitate. The bourgeois must allow this to happen every so often, so that a mythical objective can be formed for the majority of workers who will never be rich. In the UK, institutions such as the national lottery – brought in by a Conservative government – not only allows for the unashamed public acceptance of gambling, but encourages the working classes to throw away their meagre and hard earned money on chasing a dream in the form of winning millions. This jackpot is paid for by millions of workers who pay their £1 out of hope and desperation. The workers, trapped in the Judeo-Christian myth that heaven (and salvation) is just around the corner, pay weekly into this divine delusion, whilst mistakenly eulogising those who ‘win’ the lottery as some kind of success story. The national lottery is nothing other than the poor paying for their own poverty, whilst absolving the middle and upper classes for the poverty they suffer!
Gender inequality is a historical issue that pre-exists bourgeois capitalist society, but one which has been enthusiastically embraced by the exploitative system. Marx, through his works, talks about the division of labour between the sexes involving child bearing, premised upon sexual function manifest as social difference. A pregnant woman carries a child and gives birth, whilst a man does not. Prior to this situation, men and women can perform tasks throughout society and social living premised entirely upon physical effort (i.e. labour) unencumbered by any notions of limitation based upon gender. However, patriarchal society has developed entirely through the principle of male domination – as if each and every woman (and girl) – is in a state of continuous late term pregnancy that some how impedes their potential (and function) as a human being. The temporary physical incapacity some times associated with the birthing process, (which can be arduous and potentially dangerous to woman and child), is used as an excuse to limit all and any social achievement and meaningful interaction for the woman (or girl) throughout her life. This is further exasperated by the distorted fiction that as birthing is a highly instinctive experience, women can not ‘think’ in a logical manner. Physical incapacity within society is defined by the convention as having each and every door of opportunity closed to a woman (or girl). The physical reality of impotency generates a psychology of inadequacy which is the product of conforming to bourgeois (male) standards. The bourgeois patriarchal state ensures that every physical avenue of meaningful expression is closed-off, and encourages the attending dysfunctional psychology it creates, as being both ‘normal’ and ‘correct’. Limited (meaningful) physical function is reflected in the mind as an attitude of low self-esteem and an inability to be creative. Implicit in this dysfunction is a lack of awareness of the entire situation. This is a specific aspect of the false consciousness that Marx explained the workers suffer from whilst under the influence of the oppressive bourgeois state. Seeing through this conditioning – which is nothing less than what has to be described as ‘radical’ feminism – is the answer. Only Karl Marx has explained this situation and given an answer to it. For progressive Marxists, women are free human beings exercising a mind unencumbered by the tyranny of historical conditioning. In this model women free themselves and are not dependent upon any outside agency. Such true self-consciousness, as Marx calls it, does not require the loss of femininity (i.e. the denial of biology or its function), but rather the loss of oppression operating through the body and the mind.
Bourgeois feminism is very different. This is the feminism of the middle class, and already socially privileged women. These women, as wives of the rich and famous, have had historically a remarkable amount of leisure time and relative freedom compared to their working class counter-parts. This apparent ‘freedom’ exists only within the framework of an unquestionable bourgeois patriarchy. It is freedom at a cost and the cost is humanity living free of oppression. Middle class women have had access to a greater array of educational facilities, be they teachers, books, or academic instruction. Middle class women fought for, and finally secured the vote because their privileged socio-economic conditions allowed them the insight to see partly beyond their own negative conditioning. Bourgeois feminism is nothing more than the exercise of political compromise as whatever concessions are granted to a middle class woman, they can not be allowed to directly challenge or alter the essential framework of the bourgeois exploitative state. Exploitation and class difference must be allowed to continue unopposed, in the old way. As a capitalist society becomes ever more affluent at the price of the oppressed, the riches generated are asymmetrically distributed with little of any value reaching the working class. Part of this affluence is the granting of various rights to groups and individuals. In a bourgeois society, equality can never be allowed to manifest as it would be the end of the accumulation of capital. True equality is the end of the bourgeois system and indicative of the transition of society to Socialism and Communism. Within the bourgeois state there is no such thing as equality. Bourgeois feminism is the privileged search for pseudo-equality by middle class women who already hold more real social influence and political power than the masses of working class women who are the actual foundation of the country. Bourgeois feminism is predicated upon the secular manifestation of the Judeo-Christian myth; a myth which declares all women to be ‘saints’, and consequently all men to be ‘demons’. This is despite the fact that academic research suggests that just as many women commit child abuse as do men, and that domestic violence also involves women physically abusing their male partners. This is the typical bourgeois misrepresentation of the facts. As the unequal foundation of the bourgeois is not be touched, and given that this foundation is the essence of all discrimination and inequality throughout society, it logically follows that it is the oppression inherent in the bourgeois state that is responsible for all the abhorrent behaviours associated with a wide and complex range of abuse. The bourgeois state blames the working class men for the oppression it inflicts upon them – demonising a gender in the process. It also blames the working class women for not taking advantage of female freedoms that are only accessible to women of the middle class. Bourgeois feminism is a confidence trick that enjoys official sanction. It is designed to ensure that middle class women experience a greater level of relative freedom, whilst simultaneously ensuring that working class women remain firmly under the yoke of oppression. It also turns working class men against working class women with its laws that permanently exclude fathers from access to their children, and that criticise working class mothers for the lack of wealth and resources they experience. The reality is that true and ‘radical’ feminism requires that men and women come together in solidarity and support the raising of conscious awareness so that the paradox and contradictions of the bourgeois system is seen through and effectively transcended. The masses do not need to be dictated to by a thoroughly exploitative system that does not care about its interests. Patriarchal abuse is real and the product of the bourgeois system. The very same bourgeois system would have us believe that it is a matter of individual psychology and the choices we make. This is like saying that the strings that move the puppet are not related to the puppet that moves! The working class can solve its own problems without being disempowered by an uncaring state that deliberately pits one gender against the other, whilst persisting in the fiction that it is trying its best to end the problem.