Mindspring censorship

Apsken at aol.com Apsken at aol.com
Sun Feb 7 14:15:16 PST 1999

churlishgrrRl wrote

"Great stuff about Chicago politics Ken, but can you honestly say that it somehow was *obvious* at the time and didn't take a lot of complaining from the grrRls."

It was and must remain obvious to Marxists and New Leftists that all women have the right to free abortion on demand, and to the full and free exercise of all other democratic rights. As necessary, we have organized combat groups to escort and protect women's access to abortion clinics when threatened; no Marxist I know has neglected nor forgotten the central importance of these rights. If this is not a settled question among Marxists today, then nothing is.

I have never argued, and do not argue today, that Marxists are paragons of political virtue, nor do I believe Marxists are free of the bourgeois ideology and practice that permeates our culture, including male-supremacist beliefs and practice.

It is bad enough that the bourgeoisie has been able to undo so many of our victories, but if this discussion can be regarded among Marxists as open, then I would be driven reluctantly to agree with Carrol that the left no longer exists as a meaningful force, and that our legacy has been squandered. Will Marxist creationism be next?

Then we have Alex again, this time saying that he wants a Marxist justification for supporting democratic and human rights rather than a bourgeois and liberal one. For shame! How long must it take for people to learn that liberals champion democratic rights only when it is safe to do so, and conditionally? Marxists, on the contrary, support those rights unconditionally and, as enumerated from the Magna Carta to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a constantly expanding arena of human freedom won against oppression and exploitation. (That is also why we value texts critical of Marxists, including some that Kelley listed.) If there is a separate "Marxist" justification for human freedom, I want no part of it, because that would be a step along the road to mystification, and to the creation of a new priesthood.

Beyond his reluctance to embrace democratic rights, it is exceptionally sad that Alex has such contempt for the experience of struggle, and the lessons one might hope he could draw from it. That too is a rerun from previous LBO debates.

For what it may be worth, the abortion issue evoked the most vigorous debate ever held in the People's Chamber (parliament) of the German Democratic Republic, with all parties except the Christian Democrats upholding women's rights. (Even the East German Christian Democrats supported the rest of the package -- free child care, no discrimination, etc., which led their western counterparts to label them puppets of the SED -- until the Wall came down, when they were recast as saviors.) These were literally the very first rights to be challenged and largely lost immediately following German unification, even before industry, agriculture, and real estate were confiscated from the state and the cooperatives, and privatized.

Similarly in Nicaragua, among the most dramatic advances under Sandinismo were those of women's rights, vigorously prosecuted by AMNLAE, the Sandinista women's mass organizaton, and those were among the first rights that were lost under the post-Sandinista regime.

Ken Lawrence

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