Capitalism and Heterosexism: Butler & Fraser

Peter Kilander peterk at
Sat Jul 11 10:15:28 PDT 1998

Yoshie says,

>Finally, when she says, "Change the relations of recognition and the
>maldistribution [for gays and lesbians] would disappear" (144 in NLR; 283
>in ST), it begs more questions. How do we change the "relations of
>recognition"? Isn't there a material base for the current "relations of
>recognition" that needs to be changed?

Elsewhere in the post as well, you raise some interesting points and questions. (I know this type of sentence is frowned upon, but I want to show where I'm coming from. Obviously, it's wrong to consider racism, heterosexism, and patriarchy only in terms of scapegoating, where the underlying problem, the base, is capitalism. So called anti-I.P.ers argue that if we tackle the narrowly defined economic problems first, then the scapegoating will melt away like the dew. I don't think this is true. One could conversely argue that if we rid ourselves of the scapegoating and alter the "relations of recognition" then all would see where the economic problems really lie. Fraser seems to be saying that this isn't true either. My simplistic view is that capitalism, racism, heterosexism, and patriarchy are dialectically intertwined, each affecting the other. If someone, personally, want to focus on one, fine. Most don't fight any of them. But people shouldn't argue that the movement should ignore any one of the above. And, for example, people who are combatting racism should take into account how the scapegoating of women and gays and lesbians hurts their cause by shifting the blame, alienating potential allies, etc. Maybe some of this is obvious, but I'm just trying to clarify my thoughts.

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