Marx and Woman (was Re: Gender & Free Speech)

Catherine Driscoll catherine.driscoll at
Thu Mar 23 18:16:38 PST 2000

Yoshie wrote:

>In the passage you quoted, I was contrasting the late Marx (whose main
>problematic is history) with the early Marx (whose main problematic is

Are they really so easily pulled apart?

>In the early Marx, there definitely is the idea that sexual
>relations are "natural" -- "natural" in the sense of being expressive of
>the original "essence" of Man (from which He became alienated through

yes. and do you think this is really absent from 'later Marx'? even if it is absent is there any alternative understanding of 'sexual difference'?

>...The Marx whom I find valuable, & who I think gives us clues about how to
>move beyond gender, beyond humanism, is the late Marx: the Marx of "Theses
>on Feuerbach," _The Grundrisse_, _Capital_, etc. The late Marx thinks of
>human beings as ensembles of social relations. We are our histories.
>Goodbye to "the human essence" as "abstraction inherent in each single
>individual" or as "'genus,' internal, dumb generality which merely
>_naturally_ unites the many individuals" ("Theses on Feuerbach"); hello to

yes, but... doesn't _the grundrisse_ still presume a 'real and concrete' on to which is laid social relations, even if those relations shape how the real is organised socially? isn't there still something outside of the history which should be analysed without these abstractions. marx here does think about human beings in their social relations as ensembles. but i'm not convinced he includes 'sexual difference' within these. happy to learn otherwise.


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