Regarding some of Ms Gimenez's criticisms of my comments

Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:00:04 -0500
Charles Brown (

Thank you for the criticism. We need criticism , self-criticism. In part, my critique of male supremacy in Marxism is meant to be self-criticism,as I am a Marxist.
My calling Marx and Engels cowardly is somewhat tongue in cheek. That I could have as much courage as they did. I tried to indicate this by pointing out how the powers that be ruin and murder those who take them on in poltical economy. Marx himself lived a ruined economic life, in terrible poverty , because he had so much courage. Engels fought in revolutionary wars in Germany. Let me say I think they were two of the most courageous people in history.
Courage is an important Marxist issue in general, like production, because of the importance Marxism places on the unity of theory and practice, and revolutionary action takes courage, like Angela Davis has, or Harriet Tubman.
Also my point is isn't it interesting that these two guys who had more courage than the average person to take on the system, found the taboo on gender issues greater than the taboo on overthrowing the government. It is interesting not because they weren't brave, but it indicates we might have to dig up more courage to irradicate male supremacy than the great courage it took and still takes to challenge the bourgeoisie. That is an indicator of how powerfully determining relations of reproduction are in capitalism and all class societies before. If you will excuse the expression, a sort of secret mother lode of history.
I am not certain what you mean when you say " is more within the current political and academic fashion to proceed differently and I ask myself, what are the political latent or unintended consequences or functions of this kind of
argumentation ?"
I am not a professional academic,although I was a professional student up until about 15 years ago. So, I am not academically a la mode, but I'm in the academic ballpark. Politically, our movement is in an ebb, so I am politically active but not in political fashion. For example, I walk on the Detroit newspaper workers' picketline and try to support the interests of the working class as a whole a le Manifeste in other concrete ways; and I work in womens' campaigns for local government and other office, etc., etc. etc. However, this may not be what you are asking. Is it ?
I heard Maurice Godelier give a lecture at Michigan in about 1975. However, I learned that kinship not economy dominates stone age cultures from my teacher Marshall Sahlins (see Culture and Practical Reason). But this was sort of derived in anthropology from ,and Sahlins and Godelier are carrying on the tradition of Lewis Henry Morgan and Engels in the Origin in this regard. Before that was The German Ideology passage I quoted in an earlier comment. My criticism of all of them is that even after classes arise. reproduction or kinship or family or domestic labor continue to "latently" determine history because of the impact of reproductive or domestic labor on individual psychology or subjectivity. Even though alienation shapes subjectivity as a byproduct in the productive process (see "economic" part of Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 on alienation). Domestic labor shapes subjectivity as its main and direct purpose. This is the point of reproduction and determination
by the domestic workers even if silent and unacknowledged by everybody. There is a conspiracy , nay a system of silence on this powerful determinate. A taboo on talking about it.
Just as the working classes in slavery, feudalism and capitalism play a part in determining history through the class struggle even though for most of the actual time of history working classes are exploited and oppressed by ruling classes; domestic workers play a part in determining history through domestic struggle even though dominated (after classes arise) by the male supremacist class as "reproduction is subordinat(ed) to production". Healthier history will be made with productive and domestic worker liberations.
It seems to me better for practice if our theory organically connects workers'liberation and women's liberation rather than just adding on the latter.
All Power to the People