Problems of Relativism of Non-Postmodern Varieties

Mark Jones Jones_M at
Sun Jul 26 03:50:58 PDT 1998

Under the guise of abandoning the neurosis, guilt and parsimony of the patriarchal personality, which was a principal social invention of 19th century capitalism, and stimulated by the mass conscription of women into the labour-force, capital attempts to deconstruct the family as a residual instance of solidarity against capital, and to pull away the psychic supports of a personality-template organised around a psychic centre of sacrifice, heterosexual gender identity, sexual control and repression of the feminine. In its place we are witnessing the creation of a new personality-type adequate to global capital which has subordinated the family as well as the nation, commoditising their functions and liquidating the arsenal of atavistic symbols of community, mystery, sacrifice and other- directed struggle, seen as no longer required to legitimise bourgeois hegemony and objectively now only the rags of archaic value-system, absorbed by the deceitful misogynies of the New Right and no more than a menace to Neo-liberalism.

The new ludic, androgynous personality, playful, self-regarding, narcissistic perhaps, is meant to be incapable of solidarity or commitment; post-modern feminism has made of the great feminist issues a study in misanthropic self-glorification and gender-hatred. Conceiving of emancipation as freedom from biology (universally misunderstood as 'sociobiology' by writers like Judith Butler, Teresa de Lauretis, Kaja Silverman, whose followers amplify their own profound ignorance of real science), they wilfully reject any notion of genetic determination of the personality or gender-identity.

Only a dramatic social crisis, removing many social support- systems and throwing individuals back on their own resources, is likely to revive collective forms of activity which in any case are likely to seem contradictory, anachronistic and ineffective, even ludicrously so. The introjection of capitalist-spectacle has overwhelmed forms of mass resistance even in semi-colonial peripheries where people have far less to gain from collusion; nevertheless the symbolic power of capital and its self- aggrandising brand name-imagery and its pervasive suasion of self-provision, even in circumstances where no form of self-help makes any sense, has swept all before it.

Mark Jones

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list