working class civil society (was Re: ClassCeiling--Ehrenreich)

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Fri Mar 24 08:18:48 PST 2000

YF: . . . During the welfare "reform" debate, some argued that men owe women a giant amount of child support and that many men are neglecting their fair share of parental responsibilities (both of which are true for some men, while other men may simply have no or little income or are in prison). . . .

[mbs] Underpayment of awarded child support is huge, even though the awards themselves are grossly inadequate. This is pretty important. The main obstacle to better outcomes is the failure of state governments to coordinate enforcement, which stems from 'states rights' politics (don't go interfering in our splendid state judicial system).

My sister-in-law is owed about $40K, not counting ten year's worth of interest by her ex. He's in a different state. The IRS managed to nail him once by snatching his tax refund, but since then nothing. Dealing with the state gov of his residence (FL) has been a gross exhaustion of time and effort.

Neoliberals invoked a feminist-sounding argument: we should make men pay, instead of having women & children dependent on the state. I don't think this is a progressive argument at this point in history, though. The same for household labor, I think. I'd rather *socialize it in a non-gendered fashion* (and/or leave it undone to the extent it's possible), rather than keep it private and try to divide it equally between genders, as Ehrenreich has it. Better Engels than Ehrenreich.

[mbs] Looks like you're to my right on this one, feminist-wise. Why should the state subsidize irresponsible behavior by men?


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