Fwd: For women's liberation: final installment, en fin

Tue, 10 Mar 1998 12:07:11 -0500
Charles Brown (charlesb@CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us)

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Sorry to clutter up the board. Somehow most of what I wrote didnt show up =
on what came back to me.

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 11:56:43 -0500
From: "Charles Brown" <charlesb@CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us>
To: PSN-Seminars@csf.colorado.edu
Subject: For women's liberation: final installment, en fin
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Production makes objects; reproduction creates subjects.
This conception of reproduction is consistent with Marx's basic =
reasoning in Capital (the book). In his famous development of the concept =
of the labor theory fo value (beyond Adam Smith and Ricardo) and surplus =
value, he asserts that human labor is the only source of new (emphasis) =
value in the production process. The human laborer and the means of =
production (tools and raw materials) all add exchange value to a commodity.=
But the means of production add no more value to the commodity than the =
values added to them by a previous human laborer in the production of the =
means of production. The human labor power is the only element in the =
process that can add more value to the commodity than the values that went =
into producing the labor power itself. The labor of a worker in one-half =
day (or now one-quarter of a day) produces enough value to pay for the =
necessities creating the worker's labor power for a full day's work. The =
value produced by the worker in the second half of the day is the surplus =
value exploited by the capitalist. The creation of the worker's labor =
power is done in reproduction, in the broad sense I have been using that =
concept in these comments. Thus, reproduction is the "only source" of the =
only source of new value (that is not a typo). Subjectivity is the =
"source" of the unique ability (over the means of production) of the human =
component in the production process to produce more value than went into =
producing it.
Subjectivity is the source of a sort of Marxist "mind over matter." =
Reproduction is the source of subjectivity. In relation to the discussion=
, supra, of the primacy of reproduction as the original division of labor =
(Marx and Engels said that; not me) over the division of predominantly =
material and predominantly mental labor, we might deduce that it was (and =
is) within reproduction that the mind and matter are non-antagonistically =
related as opposites (when "men" were simultaneously theoriticians in =
their practice as mentioned in The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of =
Sociology (and Ms. Gimenez will correct me, as I see she is at a =
sociology department) and common experience teach that historically, women =
have been the primary reproductive laborers - from childrearing to =
housework, from elementary and high school teaching to nursing. Beyond =
pregnancy, women's "assignment" to reproductive roles is historically and =
ideologically caused , not biologically or genetically caused or necessary =
( see, for example, Not in Our Genes, by Lewontin, et al.). But as a =
result, women are a historically constituted, exploited and oppressed =
reproductive class, whose defining labor is as fundamental to our material =
life as that of the productive laborers Marx and Engels focussed on. =
Thus, the materialist conception of history and the new Red Feather =
Manifesto, must be modified, and women's liberation put on equal footing =
with workers' (women and men) liberation in the Marxist project.
It is especially incumbent on we male Marxists to be and become =
known as champions of feminism.
Thank you to Mr. Ruyle for the passage by Engels from The Origin. I =
have read it several times over the years. It is , of course, very =
advanced for 1884 and still advanced for today. To critique the theme of =
my main comments, I think part of the reason Marx and Engels were =
especially cautious in this area was for a very wise reason: They had not =
"studied" much with women, and they knew that women would have to play the =
major role in developing this aspect. The positive development of this had =
to await more input from women. We have a lot more of that now than they =
did then.