-





















-











































- - Patriarchy theory

Patriarchy theory

Ptrirchy Thry

Th thry f ptrirchy, which sys tht thr is fundmntl divisin btwn mn nd wmn frm which mn gin pwr, is ccptd withut qustin tdy by mst f th lft. Th thry ws dvlpd by fminists such s Julit Mitchll nd Mirim Dixsn wh, in hr bk Th Rl Mtild, ws inclind t blm Irish wrking clss mn fr wmn's pprssin, using th thry f ptrirchy s th bsis fr hr rgumnt. nn Summrs hlpd t ppulris th ids in hr bk Dmnd Whrs nd Gd's Plic in th rly svntis. Sh wrt Wmn r xpctd t b scilly dpndnt nd physiclly pssiv bcus this stt is climd t b ncssry fr thir mtrnl rl. In fct it is bcus it nhncs th pwr f mn.

But thr ws sm rsistnc t th id tht ll mn hv pwr vr wmn, spcilly frm wmn nd mn influncd by th Mrxist id tht clss diffrncs r fundmntl in scity. Hidi Hrtmnn, in hr ssy Th Unhppy Mrrig f Mrxism nd Fminism: Twrds Mr Prgrssiv Unin, ttmptd t prvid bridg btwn wht r fundmntlly ppsing viws. Hrtmnn purprtd t prvid mtrilist nlysis f ptrirchy. Whil cpitlists xplit th lbur f wrkrs t wrk, mn gind cntrl vr wmn's lbur in th fmily. This hs bn th thrticl strting pint fr much f ustrlin fminist writing vr th pst tn t fiftn yrs. Hwvr, Hrtmnn did nt chllng th cntrl id f Mitchll nd thrs, which is tht thr is such n idntifibl scil rltin s ptrirchy. Ptrirchy, Hrtmnn sys, lrgly rgnizs rprductin, sxulity, nd childrring.

Th rgumnts f ptrirchy thry hv bn dqutly dlt with by th British Scilist Wrkrs' Prty. Th purps f this rticl is t bgin th much-ndd tsk f xmining th thry f ptrirchy by drwing n th ustrlin xprinc frm th stndpint f rvlutinry Mrxism. I will brifly utlin th thrticl mthd undrlying Mrxism nd hw it diffrs frm th thry f ptrirchy. It is ncssry t d this bcus mst fminist rgumnts ginst Mrxism r in fct rplis t th mchnicl Mrxism ithr f th Scnd Intrntinl frm th rly 1890's t 1914 r f Stlinism. Scndly I will shw tht th histricl rgumnts md by fminists d nt stnd up t ny bjctiv xmintin. Thir dtrmintin t mk fcts fit n untnbl thry lds thm t distrtins nd misintrprttin. S I will lk t th rigins f th fmily in ustrli nd th rl f th cncpt f fmily wg in th wrkplc.

Finlly, but mst imprtntly, I will shw tht th ids f ml pwr nd ptrirchy hv ld th wmn's mvmnt int n byss. Thy hv n nswr t hw wmn's pprssin cn b fught. Rsmry Pringl, in hr bk Scrtris Tlk, xprsss sntimnt cmmn in fminist litrtur tdy: n n is t ll clr wht is invlvd in trnsfrming th xisting (gndr strtypd) ctgris. Is it ny wndr th wmn's mvmnt is plgud by pssimism nd hsittin? n nlysis which sys hlf th humn rc hs pwr vr th thr hlf must in th nd qustin whthr this situtin cn b chngd. thry which sys cpitlism culd b rplcd by scilism, but wmn's pprssin culd cntinu, nds up sliding int th id tht mn nturlly nd invitbly pprss wmn.

Th Mrxist nlysis is tht th histricl rts f wmn's pprssin li in clss scity. Th spcific frms this pprssin tks tdy r th rsult f th dvlpmnt f th cpitlist fmily nd th nds f cpitl. Thrfr th struggl t nd th rul f cpitl, th struggl fr scilism, is ls th struggl fr wmn's librtin. Bcus clss is th fundmntl divisin in scity, whn wrkrs, bth wmn nd mn, fight bck ginst ny spct f cpitlism thy cn bgin t brk dwn th sxism which divids thm. Thir struggl cn bgin t trnsfrm th xisting ctgris.

In Th Grmn Idlgy Mrx rgud tht scil rltins btwn ppl r dtrmind by prductin. Th vrius institutins f scity cn nly b undrstd s dvlping ut f this cr, prductiv intrctin. His rgumnt pplis s much t wmn's pprssin s t ny thr spct f cpitlist scity.

Th histry f humnity is th histry f chngs t th wy prductin is rgnisd. Th nw cnmic rltins stblishd with ch md f prductin xrt prssur n thr scil rltins, mking sm bslt, rmulding thrs. S ny institutin must b xmind histriclly nd in its rltinship t thr scil rltins. Fr instnc, n nlysis f th fmily nds t b rtd in its cnmic nd scil rl nd xmin hw it hlps prptut th xisting rltins f prductin.

Tdy it is vry ppulr fr ths influncd by Luis lthussr nd thrs t brnd this pprch s rductinist. It is usful t qut Lukacs hr gin, s h cn hrdly b ccusd f cvring his bck ftr this bjctin ws risd. Th ctgry f ttlity ds nt rduc its vrius lmnts t n undiffrntitd unifrmity, t idntity. nd th intrctin w hv in mind must b mr thn th intrctin f thrwis unchnging bjcts.

Mrx's prpsitin mn mk thir wn histry, but thy d nt mk it undr circumstncs chsn by thmslvs, sums up th intrctin w must lk fr btwn th ids wmn nd mn us t justify thir ctins nd rspnss t scil vnts nd th mtril nd cnmic circumstncs in which thy prt. This diffrs rdiclly frm th thrticl frmwrk f ptrirchy thry. Th mst cmmn vrsins tk tw frms. Thr r ths lik Julit Mitchll wh s ptrirchy in psychlgicl nd idlgicl trms: W r dling with tw utnmus rs, th cnmic md f cpitlism nd th idlgicl md f ptrirchy. If yu mk such distinctin btwn th cnmic nd idlgicl, thn yu cnnt xplin nything but th dvlpmnt f scity. Why d sm ids dmint? nd why d sm dminnt ids chng?

Hwvr I d nt intnd nswring ths ids mr fully bcus th rgumnts which sm t ffr mr srius chllng t Mrxism r nt ths but th thr vrsin f ptrirchy thry rgud by writrs lik Hidi Hrtmnn. Sh criticisd Julit Mitchll: Ptrirchy prts, Mitchll sms t b sying, (in Psych/nlysis nd Fminism) primrily in th psychlgicl rlm Sh clrly prsnts ptrirchy s th fundmntl idlgicl structur, just s cpitl is th fundmntl cnmic structur. Hrtmnn cncluds lthugh Mitchll discusss thir intrpntrtin, hr filur t giv ptrirchy mtril bs in th rltin btwn wmn's nd mn's lbur pwr, nd hr similr filur t nt th mtril spcts f th prcss f prsnlity frmtin nd gndr crtin, limits th usfulnss f hr nlysis.

Hwvr, Hrtmnn's wn ttmpt t mtrilist nlysis is nt grundd in th cncpt f scity s ttlity in which prductin frms th bsis fr ll scil rltins.

This is dciddly un-Mrxist frmultin, fr ll Hrtmnn's prtnsin t Mrxist ctgris. It hs much mr in cmmn with structurlist nd pst-structurlist thris which tk mchnicl viw f scity s sris f scil structurs which cn xist sid by sid. Thy d nt ttmpt t unit th scil structurs int chrnt whl. In fct, thy r ftn hstil t th vry cncpt f scity s ttlity, prfrring viw f scity s frgmntd nd chtic. ll ttmpts t stblish wrking frmwrk f ids r rgrdd with th dpst suspicin.

Hrtmnn, whil t pins t distinguish hrslf frm th fminists wh tndd twrds psychnlyticl xplntin f wmn's pprssin, uss fundmntlly th sm pprch.

This frmwrk fits ntly with Hrtmnn's viw f scity s bth cpitlism nd ptrirchy. nd lng with ll ths wh hv tkn n brd lmnts f this mthd, Hrtmnn dwngrds clss s th fundmntl dtrminnt - bcus in th nd yu cn't hv tw structurs. n hs t b primry, s hr nlysis ds nt trt ptrirchy nd cpitlism s tw systms in prtnrship. Sh rgus tht it ws cnspircy btwn ml wrkrs nd cpitlists which stblishd wmn's pprssin undr cpitlism. In thr wrds, ptrirchy is mr fundmntl thn cpitlism. This is n inbuilt cnfusin in thris which clim t mrry Mrxism nd ptrirchy thry. gin nd gin, thy hv t rd thir wn prjudic int histricl fcts t fit th bstrct nd mchnicl ntin f ptrirchy.

W cn gr with fminists such s Hrtmnn tht th fmily is th surc f wmn's pprssin tdy. But thir nlysis f hw nd why this cm but is fundmntlly flwd. Summrs sys th institutin (f th fmily) cnfrs pwr n mn. Th rgumnt gs tht, bcus mn suppsdly wntd t hv wmn srvic thm in th hm, thy rgnisd t kp wmn ut f th bst jbs. cnspircy f ll mn ws rspnsibl fr wmn bing drivn int th rl f wif nd mthr, wrking in th wrst pid nd lst skilld jbs - if thy wr bl t wrk t ll.

ctully, w dn't nd cnspircy thry f ny kind t xplin why wmn r pprssd undr cpitlism. Wmn hv bn pprssd sinc th divisin f scity int clsss. Th cpitlist fmily ws stblishd s th rsult f th prticulr dvlpmnt f cpitlism. Th ffct f th industril rvlutin n th wrking clss fmily ws dvstting. Fridrich ngls pintd hrrifying pictur in Th Cnditins f th Wrking Clss in nglnd. Whl industris wr built n th bsis f chp fml nd child lbur during th industril rvlutin in Britin. ngls givs figurs fr th 1840s: f 419,560 fctry prtivs in th British mpir, 242,296 wr fml, f whm lmst hlf wr undr ightn. lmst hlf th ml wrkrs wr undr ightn. Wmn md up 56.25% f wrkrs in th cttn fctris, 69.5% in th wlln mills, 70.5% in flx-spinning mills.

Disss such s typhus rgd in industril slums, drunknnss ws widsprd nd thr ws gnrl nfblmnt f th frm in th wrking clss. In Mnchstr, mr thn fifty-svn prcnt f wrking clss childrn did bfr th g f fiv. Ths sttistics disturbd th mr fr-sightd sctins f th cpitlist clss.

Th wrking clss f th rly industril rvlutin ws drwn frm th psntry, drivn ff th lnd by nclsurs f th cmmn lnds nd thr msurs. But s this surc bgn t dry up, th bsss bgn t rlis thy ndd t find wy t nsur th rprductin f wrking clss t lst hlthy nd lrt nugh nt t fll slp t th mchins. nd mr nd mr thy ndd n ductd, skilld wrkfrc.

Th slutin thy cm up with ws th nuclr fmily. This is hrdly surprising whn w cnsidr tht th burgisi thmslvs livd in th fmily. Wrkrs frsh frm th cuntrysid wr usd t wrking nd living in psnt fmilis. It ws ccptd withut qustin tht wmn shuld b rspnsibl fr childcr nd mst dmstic dutis. Th scnd hlf f th nintnth cntury sw mssiv idlgicl cmpign by th middl nd uppr clsss t rvrs th trnd wy frm th wrking clss fmily nd t frc wmn mr dcisivly int th rls f wif nd mthr. This ws bckd up by ttmpts t mlirt t lst th wrst spcts f wrking clss lif, spcilly ths which ndngrd wmn nd thir bility t prduc hlthy childrn.

Th sm prcss ws rptd hr in ustrli. If nything, th fmily ws vn mr svrly disruptd bcus f th trnsprttin f cnvicts nd th gnrl lwlssnss f th frntir scity in th first yrs f th nintnth cntury. Shrtgs f lbur wr cut in th rly yrs f th clny, bcus f th distnc frm th hm cuntry nd lck f fr sttlrs. This pushd th clnil ruling clss t try t find slutin vn rlir thn in Britin.

Thy situt th ttmpts t cnfin wmn t th hm, t stblish th fminin strtyp, firmly in th ruling clss's driv t stmp thir uthrity n th nw clny. Thy rgu tht wmn dispprd int dmsticity in th g f th burgis scndncy. Frm this tim n w n lngr s wmn ntrprnurs lik Mry Riby r Rstt Trry wh hd run succssful businsss nd bn prminnt in thr public vnturs in th rlir yrs f th sttlmnt.

Cnnll nd Irving rgu tht by th 1860s th lck f prntl guidnc nd ductin mng wrking-clss childrn ws rcgnisd s mjr prblm f scil cntrl. ftr th 1870s, living stndrds dclind s th citis grw rpidly. In th 1880s, infnt mrtlity rts wr highr in Sydny thn in Lndn. S if nything, th cmpign fr th fmily ws vn mr stridnt hr thn in Britin. nd it crtinly ws nt cmpign by ll mn, but by th ruling clss, ml nd fml, nd its middl clss supprtrs bth ml nd fml.

Th id tht ml wrkrs jind in n llinc with thir ml bsss t crry ut this schm s thy culd gt pwr vr wmn is simply nt brn ut by th fcts. Mn did nt rush int th fmily, chining wmn t th kitchn sink nd smthring thm with bbis' nppis. s lt s 1919, it ws rprtd in th NSW Lgisltiv ssmbly tht thr ws high prprtin f bchlrs in ustrli.

nn Summrs hrslf dmits tht mny wmn rsistd bing frcd int full-tim dmsticity, just s mn rsntd bing frcd t supprt numbr f dpndnt nd unprductiv fmily mmbrs. This gs sm wy t xplining why th tming nd dmstictin f th slf-prfssd indpndnt mn bcm stndrd thm in lt nintnth cntury fictin, spcilly tht writtn by wmn. S mn hd t b cjld nd idlgiclly cnvincd f th bnfits f hm lif - thy did nt g ut t nfrc it. Fmily dsrtins wr vry cmmn. But just vrydy, rdinry lif mnt fr mny wrkrs - wrking n ships, mving rund th cuntry lking fr wrk, ding itinrnt nd ssnl jbs such s cn cutting, drving, shring, whling nd sling - tht thy wr nt srvicd by thir wivs' lbur in th hm much t ll.

In ny cs, whn mn tk n th rspnsibility f fding wif nd childrn frm th lw nd unrlibl wg h rnd, h ctully fcd wrsning f cnditins. Sturt McIntyr hs shwn tht wrking clss fmilis living t th turn f th cntury wr mst likly t suffr pvrty during th yrs whn thy hd smll childrn.

Summrs mks this pint hrslf: indd thy (mn) will gnrlly b bttr ff if thy rmin singl. Sh dismisss it by ssuming tht wif's srvics, th mtinl scurity f rltinship s wll s th flings f prid nd vn ggrndizmnt sscitd with fthring nd supprting childrn utwigh th minr incnvninc f nt hving nugh mny t liv n. This is typiclly middl clss ttitud; tht th bility t surviv culd b lss imprtnt thn mtinl scurity, r tht it culd rlibly xist in lif f pvrty nd dgrdtin. In ny cs, n bth ths critri - mtinl scurity nd th prid f prnthd - it wuld hv t b sid wmn hv stk in th fmily. It is prcisly th yrning t rlis ths ftn unttinbl gls which ds prtly undrpin th ccptnc f th fmily s th idl. Thy tll us nthing but whthr th fmily bstws pwr n mn r nt.

This rgumnt is nt mnt t idlis wrkrs. Sxist ids but wmn r s ld s clss scity. S it is nt surprising tht ml wrkrs wr sxist nd ccptd th stndrd strtypd viw f wmn. But tht is nt th sm s bing in n llinc with ml bsss. nd it did nt mn thy strv t stblish th stifling, rstrictiv xistnc f th nuclr fmily. It simply mns thy wr th prduct f givn scil rltins nt f thir wn mking. Th sxism f nglish scity ws brught t ustrli nd thn mplifid by pnl cnditins.

Th fct is tht it ws th ruling clss, vi mgzins prducd fr wrkrs, wh ctully rgud fr wmn t bcm hmmkrs, wivs nd mthrs bv ll ls. Tht is why vry mss circultin mgzin, vry middl clss vic shutd th virtus f wmnhd - crtin kind f wmnhd tht is (s thy still d tdy). nd it is clr tht th vrwhlming rgumnts fr wmn t b primrily huswivs cm frm wmn.

Cnnll nd Irving rightly drw th cnnctin btwn th stblishmnt f burgis scity in ustrli nd th fight t stblish th fminin strtyp fr wmn: Th wmn (in th scil lit) plyd n ctiv rl in mintining clss cnsciusnss thrugh thir plicing f gntility.

f curs, ths wmn wr nt fminists. But sm f th mst dvncd wmn f th middl clsss f th tim, th suffrgists s thy wr clld, muthd th hnyd phrss prmising wmn th pprvl f rspctbl scity if nly thy wuld dvt thmslvs t th cr f thir husbnds nd childrn. Vid Gldstin ws fmus fminist. In 1903 hr ppr, ustrlin Wmn's Sphr rcmmndd tht wmn's ductin shuld includ instructin n bby cr. Gldstin dfndd th wmn's mvmnt frm ttcks tht sid mnciptin mnt wmn wr rfusing t hv childrn by insisting tht n th cntrry, wmn wr wkning t trur sns f thir mtrnl rspnsibility, nd tht mst wntd crr in mthrhd - hrdly dprtur frm th sxist ids f burgis scity. Mybnk ndrsn spusd wmn's suffrg nd highr ductin fr wmn but ls cmpulsry dmstic scinc fr schlgirls, nd sxul rprssin.

Th bsss wntd th fmily nd thy hd t fight fr it. Wrkrs, bth mn nd wmn, hd t b gdd, pushd nd cxd int ccpting ruling clss ids f dcnt lif. Th rgumnt tht wmn's rl in th fmily ws smhw stblishd by n llinc f ll mn simply ignrs th influnc f nt nly middl clss nd burgis rspctbl wmn, but ls th fminists f th tim wh wr vstly mr influntil - bcus f mtril wlth nd rgnistin nd idlgicl influnc thrugh nwspprs nd th lik - thn wrking clss mn.

Hrtmnn rgus: th dvlpmnt f fmily wgs scurd th mtril bs fr ml dmintin in tw wys. First, mn hv th bttr jbs in th lbur mrkt nd rn highr wgs thn wmn. This ncurgs wmn t chs wifry s crr. Scnd, thn, wmn d huswrk, childcr, nd prfrm thr srvics t hm which bnfit mn dirctly. Wmn's hm rspnsibilitis in turn rinfrc thir infrir lbur mrkt psitin. Th rgumnt tht th stblishmnt f fmily wg institutinlisd wmn s huswivs nd mthrs rning lw wgs if thy wnt t wrk is widly ccptd. Lindsy Grmn nd Tny Cliff ccpt tht th wrking clss supprtd th id f fmily wg in Britin. In ugust 1989, I wrt: th fmily wg hlpd stblish th cnnctin btwn sx strtyps nd th wrkplc. nd th gndr divisins in th ustrlin wrkfrc wr cdifid nd lgitimisd by th Hrvstr Judgmnt f 1907. I m nw much mr scpticl but this rgumnt.

Mst fminist histrins hld up th Hrvstr Judgmnt f 1907 s dcisiv in institutinlising th fmily wg nd lw wgs fr wmn in ustrli. Thy rgu it ws turning pint in stblishing th gndr divisin in th wrk frc nd th id tht wmn dn't nd t wrk, bcus thy shuld hv brdwinnr. Justic H.B. Higgins, s Prsidnt f th Cmmnwlth rbitrtin Curt, hrd tst cs invlving H.V. McKy, prpritr f th Sunshin Hrvstr wrks in Victri. Higgins wrdd wht h clld living wg bsd n wht ml wrkr with wif nd but thr childrn ndd t liv n. H wrdd 7s dy plus 3s fr skill. Wmn's wgs wr st t 54% f th ml rt.

It my hv bn usd s th rtinl fr lwr wgs fr wmn, but it crtinly did nt instigt th cncpt. Nr did it initit th gndr divisins in th wrkplc. T prv tht this judgmnt ws dcisiv in stblishing wmn's psitin in th hm nd t wrk, it wuld hv t b shwn tht it stblishd lwr py fr wmn thn bfr nd drv wmn ut f th wrkfrc. Nithr is th cs.

It is wll knwn tht cnvict wmn in th rly yrs f sttlmnt wr lwys rgrdd s chp lbur. nd s Cnnll nd Irving pint ut, sx-sgrgtd lbur mrkt ws stblishd by 1810. In tht yr, f but 190 jbs dvrtisd in th Sydny Gztt, nly svn wr fr wmn. f ths, six wr fr psitins s hushld srvnts. Mst f th wmn immigrnts brught t ustrli by th ffrts f Crlin Chishlm in th 1840s wr mplyd s huskprs nd mids. By nd lrg, wmn's wgs wr lwr thn mn's frm th rlist dvlpmnt f industry. In th 1860s, in th Victrin Wlln Mills, mn rnd 35s wk whil wmn rcivd 10s nd girls 4s. In 1896, th Clthing Trds Wgs Brd in Mlburn fixd wmn's wgs t 44% f mn's - 3s 4d ginst 7s 6d fr mn. Nw Suth Wls didn't vn intrduc minimum wg until 1907. Its im ws t prvnt mplymnt f yung girls in millinry nd drssmking fr nthing fr prids f six mnths t tw yrs!

ny gittin fr fmily wg hs t b sn in th cntxt f th ruling clss's push t stblish th fmily. gin nd gin, th ruling clss hs hd t cmpign rund ths ids, prtly bcus wrkrs hv nt tkn thm up with th nthusism thy wntd, but ls bcus cpitlism itslf cntinully undrmins th fmily. Th slump f th 1890s disruptd fmily lif, with mn trvlling rund th cuntry lking fr wrk, r simply dsrting thir fmilis in dspir. By th rly 1900s, birth rts hd flln t th lwst in th wrld. S it is nt ccidntl tht th ruling clss lkd fr wys t strngthn th fmily nd th ids sscitd with it. It is in this light tht w hv t viw th Hrvstr judgmnt nd th gnrl climt t th tim which hs ld mny fminists t idntify this s th turning pint fr th psitin f wmn in ustrli.

Th fminist rgumnt tht dcisins such s th Hrvstr judgmnt r th dcisins f ptrirchy, n llinc btwn ml wrkrs nd ml bsss, ds nt stnd up ny bttr. Lv sid tht it md n pprcibl diffrnc t th mtril cnditins f wmn, it crtinly cnnt b shwn t hv brught ny grt bn t ml wrkrs. Th munt f 7s wk ws nt living wg fr fmily f fiv. Higgins sid h wntd t wrd mrly nugh t kp bdy nd sul tgthr. In fct, h lft ut ny cnsidrtin f lighting, clthing, bts, furnitur, utnsils, rts, lif insurnc, unmplymnt, unin dus, bks nd nwspprs, trm nd trin frs, schl rquisits, lisur f ny kind, intxicting liqurs, tbcc, sicknss, rligin r xpnditur fr cntingncis. cnfusin in th hring rsultd in th llwnc fr skill f 3s, n shilling lss thn mmbrs f th mlgmtd Scity f nginrs gt fr th sm wrk.

In th nd, th dcisin ws vrturnd yr ltr. But Higgins ws still wrding 7s mny yrs ltr, in spit f 27% infltin. N wndr Buckly nd Whlwright pint ut dryly tht trd uninists t th tim (unlik histrins ltr) shwd littl intrst in th Hrvstr judgmnt. If ml wrkrs wr invlvd in sm llinc with cpitl, thy crtinly gt vry littl mntry rwrd fr thir prt in it.

Th id tht th cpitlists wr in sm kind f llinc with wrking clss mn t gt wmn int th hm is ludicrus whn w lk t th cnditins mn wrkd undr. In th dprssin f th 1890s, thusnds wr sckd, wgs plummtd nd mst trd unins wr ithr cmpltly dstryd r rducd t misrbl rump. In 1905 thr wr 2500 t 3000 whrf lburrs nd cl lumprs in Sydny. t lst 1500 f thm culd nt rn nugh t liv n. nd t this tim ml shp ssistnts, sm f th fw wrkrs wh cnsistntly wrkd full wk, culd nt ffrd t mrry unlss thir wif wrkd. Such rwrds wr hrdly clcultd t kp mn n sid fr th dubius (nd mstly unrlisd) bnfit f hving wif t wit n thm. Furthrmr, givn tht th bsss wr in such strng psitin, thr is n rsn why thy ndd n llinc with ml wrkrs. Thy gt wht thy wntd nywy. mr rsnbl xplntin is tht ths cnditins cnvincd mn tht th fmily wg wuld ris thir living stndrds.

Th cncpt f fmily wg ws thn f sm idlgicl imprtnc. It strngthnd th lrdy prvlnt cncptin but wmn's rl in th hm, nd hw dcnt ppl shuld liv. But tru fmily wg ws nvr rlity fr mr thn smll minrity f wrkrs. n imprtnt fct which shws tht wrkrs' fmilis culdn't liv n n wg ws th hug numbr f mrrid wmn wh cntinud t wrk. In th hlf cntury frm 1841 t 1891, th numbr f wmn in Britin's txtil mills grw by 221%. In ustrli, th pictur ws much th sm. Wrking clss wmn hv lwys wrkd in lrg numbrs. In 1891, 40% f wmn gd 18-25 wrkd. nd thy cntinud t wrk in sizbl numbrs in th twntith cntury, vn bfr th mssiv grwth in thir numbrs fllwing th Scnd Wrld Wr.

Mn did tk up sxist ids but wmn's rl - this is hrdly surprising givn th ruling clss cmpign ws bckd up vn by th fminists f th tim. But it is nt th cs tht mn rgud fr th fmily wg r prtctiv lgisltin nd th lik n th bsis tht thy wntd wmn t b thir unpid chttls in th hm. Th situtin is mr cmplx thn tht.

W might nt gr tht th slutin ws fr wmn t b cnfind t th hm. But th mn qutd ds nt tlk f wmn mking lif sir fr mn. H sys quit clrly tht th fmily wg is sn s wy f llviting th hrribl cnditins ndurd by wmn in th wrkplc.

This is n utrgus ssrtin with n fcts t bck it up. Th nly bsis cn b hr wn prjudic. Sh ds nt dcumnt ny xmpls f ml wrkrs ppsing py riss fr wmn, r rguing tht thy shuld srvic thm in th hm. Th fminist intrprttin misss th cmplxity f th rltinship f ids nd mtril circumstncs. Wrkrs r prducts f this scity, nd th ids f th ruling clss dmint thir thinking. But thy r nt mpty vssls which simply tk up vry phrs nd id f th ruling clss just s it is intndd. Wrkrs fund thir mtril circumstncs unbrbl. n rspns whn trying t find wy ut ws t tk up ids prpgtd by th bsss nd us thm in thir wn wy nd t thir wn dvntg. S th dmnd fr wmn t b bl t liv in th fmily is t th sm tim rpting burgis ids nd n ttmpt t ris living stndrds.

Ml wrkrs, whthr fr xclusin f wmn, fr fmily wg, r fr uninistin f wmn, wr mstly wrrid but th us f wmn s chp lbur t undrcut cnditins nd py gnrlly. Ry Mrky, wh hs dn dtild study f th ustrlin wrking clss in th lttr hlf f lst cntury, nts tht brdly, th lbur mvmnt's rspns t fml ntry int th wrkfrc ws twfld: n f humnitrin cncrn nd wrkrs' slidrity, nd n f fr. 1891-2, th Nw Suth Wls Trds nd Lbur Cuncil mintind strng cmpign ginst swting, prticulrly f wmn, nd ssistd in th frmtin f unins f unskilld wrkrs, f which sizbl minrity wr wmn. In this cs, ml trd uninists wr invlvd in rgnising wmn s wrkrs - nt driving thm ut f th wrkplc.

Hrtmnn implis tht ml wrkrs supprtd prtctiv fctry lgisltin bcus this rstrictd th wrk wmn culd d. This ws th rsult f much prtctiv lgisltin. But t lst hr in ustrli, it ds nt sm t hv bn th mtivting frc bhind unin supprt fr it. nd nc gin, middl clss rfrmrs sw prtctiv lgisltin s n wy f imprving th cnditins f wrking wmn.

Crl Bcchi rgus tht mst suffrgists fvurd spcil fctry lgisltin fr fctry wmn. Sh cmmnts tht fw rlisd tht this plcd thm undr cmptitiv hndicp. Tht is why I sy th fcts hv t b distrtd nd misintrprtd t drw th cnclusin tht prtctiv lgisltin ws dlibrt ply by mls t limit wmn's mplymnt pprtunitis.

Mrky sys f th ttituds f wrkrs: Hpfully, it ws th thin dg f th wdg: nc prtctin fr sm wrkrs ws ccptd n th sttut bks, it might b sir t xtnd it ltr. vrll, prtctiv lgisltin did imprv wrking cnditins. Childrn spcilly gind frm rstrictins n th hurs thy culd b md t wrk.

nn Summrs criticiss ml trd uninists fr nly supprting uninistin f wmn fr fr f thir wn cnditins bing undrcut, nt fr th cnditins f th wmn. Mrky rplis t this criticism; h sys th mritim strik f 1890 tught mny wrkrs f th dngr f hving mss f unrgnisd wrkrs.

Similr frs hd prbbly mtivtd th ml tilrs in ncurging th rgnistin f th tilrsss. Hwvr, fr frm dnigrting th `clss slidrity' f th unin mvmnt, this mrly mphsiss th mtril bsis f clss rgnistin.

Mrky mks n imprtnt pint. Summrs xprsss fundmntl misundrstnding cmmn nt just mng fminists: tht is, cnfusin btwn th mtril circumstncs ppl rct t nd th ids thy us t justify thir ctins. Mstly ppl ct bcus f thir mtril situtin, nt simply bcus f ids. Whtvr th rsns givn fr trd unin rgnistin, it is prgrssiv stp. S whil it is tru tht unins such s th Printrs nd th nginring Unin prir t Wrld Wr II trid t xclud wmn, thr ustrlin unins hd quit gd rcrd f dfnding wmn wrkrs. In th rly 1890s, strik by wmn lundry wrkrs vr n wrkr bing victimisd t Pyrmnt in Sydny gt wid supprt, s did th Tilrsss' Unin in 1882 in Victri. Nithr th ctins, nr vn th rgumnts md fr th wrst psitins, pint pictur f sm unitd cmpign by ml wrkrs in cnnivnc with ml cpitlists t frc wmn t b simply thir dmstic srvnts.

Whil th fcts suggst tht by nd lrg wrkrs did nt shw vrwhlming nthusism fr th fmily, it ds sm tht this cmpign did nt fll n cmpltly brrn sil. Wrkrs grdully cm t s th fmily s hvn in crul wrld. It ffrd th prspct f hm whr childrn culd hv sm cr, whr wmn culd hv thir childrn wy frm th dbilitting cnditins f th fctry. nd grdully, th fmily tk rt, bcming n f th mst imprtnt institutins fr th mintnnc f cpitlism. In this wy wmn's pprssin bcm structurd int cpitlism.

Th fmily bcm bslutly cntrl fr th rprductin f th lbur frc - nt minr cnsidrtin fr th systm. It prvidd chp mns f rprductin nd scilistin f th nxt gnrtin. Individul wrking clss fmilis wr frcd t tk rspnsibility fr child cr, th hlth f thir childrn, tching thm hbits f cnfrmity nd rspct fr uthrity t miniml xpns t th stt r individul bsss. Th xistnc f th fmily hlps rinfrc th rltins f prductin; cpitlists buy th lbur pwr f wrkrs lik ny thr cmmdity, nd its pric is kpt s lw s pssibl by th rl f th fmily. S lbur prfrmd in th hm ds nt bnfit thr mmbrs f th fmily - it bnfits th cpitlist clss wh buy th lbur pwr f wrkrs.

prt frm this cnmic rl, th fmily plys n idlgicl rl f cntrl imprtnc fr th mintnnc nd stbility f th scity. Th cnslidtin f th fmily ntrnchd th sxul strtyps f mn nd wmn, living in mrrid bliss nd rising hppy, hlthy childrn. This in turn prvidd n xcus fr lw wgs fr wmn. Th ssumptin ws mr nd mr tht thy wuld hv ml brdwinnr. ch gnrtin is scilisd t xpct mrrig nd fmily rspnsibilitis, s gtting jb nd ccpting th drudgry f wrk sms nrml nd unqustinbl bhviur. t tims it frcs wrkrs t ccpt pr cnditins fr fr f lsing thir jb nd nt bing bl t prvid fr thir fmily.

s th sx strtyps bcm stblishd, nyn wh stppd utsid this nrrw viw f lif ws sn s strng, s chllnging th vry fbric f scity. This ws n ccidnt. It ws prt f th vrll cmpign t curtil th sxul rltins f th lwr rdrs nd stblish unifid, rdrly cpitlist scity in ustrli. s th cycl dvlpd, it ws incrsingly prcivd s nturl fr wmn t sty t hm with th childrn. This ws rinfrcd by th fct tht thir wgs wr invitbly lwr thn wht mn culd rn. S wmn with smll childrn wr ftn frcd ut f th wrkfrc nd int th hm.

nc w lk t th dvlpmnt f th fmily s stisfying vry rl nd f cpitlism itslf, nd th mssiv idlgicl ffnsiv by th ruling clss nd thir supprtrs, th pictur is vry diffrnt frm tht pintd by th fminists. Thr ws n cnspircy btwn ml wrkrs nd cpitlists. In s fr s wrkrs ccptd th fmily, it ws bcus thy xpctd it t bring n imprvmnt in thir living stndrd. Thr is n sprt pwr structur f ptrirchy. Th cpitlists nd thir llis in th middl clsss fught fr nd wn vry imprtnt chngs in rdr t tk th systm frwrd. T wrkrs t th tim, it smd lik gin fr thm t. nd in sm wys it ws. Givn th lw lvl f prductin t th tim, th pr mthds f cntrcptin nd th bsnc f stt wlfr, it is histricl nd utpin t xpct tht wrkrs culd hv hd xpcttins vry diffrnt frm ths f th right t fmily wg, nd th suppsd shltr f th fmily hm.

Mrx wrnd in his writings f thr cnsquncs f sing scity s n undiffrntitd whl, f nt putting prductin t th cntr f ur nlysis. First it cn ld t th viw tht scity is unchnging, sing scity in n histricl wy, with scil rltins gvrnd by trnl lws. Scnd, it cn ld t idlism, with th dynmic f scity lying in sm mysticl frc utsid it. nd third, it cn ld t th viw tht wht xists tdy cn nly b grspd in its wn trms, thrugh its wn lngug nd ids.

It is ppulr tdy t try t grft structurlist nd pst-structurlist thris nt Mrxism. This hs bn th rd t ccpting th thry f ptrirchy fr mny Mrxists. Hwvr, ll ths thris disply th prblms Mrx tlkd but. Fucult, wh hs bcm ppulr with mny fminists, quts vry rltinship btwn humns with pwr struggl, cmpltly histricl cncpt, nd crtinly nt nw n. Thms Hbbs, th burgis philsphr f th svntnth cntury, ws cnvincd tht th bsic driv in scity ws th wr f ll ginst ll.

Th pitm f th prblm is th fscintin with discurs r lngug. It hs tkn n n xplicitly idlist cntnt. Chris Wdn, n mricn fminist mks ths typicl cmmnts: Fminist pst-structurlist criticism cn shw hw pwr is xrcisd thrugh discurs. nd pwr is invstd in nd xrcisd thrugh hr wh spks. Cnsquntly sm fminists s litrry criticism s thir min r f struggl.

Rsmry Pringl tks up th thm hr in ustrli, illustrting wht it mns t ccpt wht xists in its wn trms, thrugh its wn lngug nd ids. Sh rgus tht w hv t find wy t privilg th fminin discurs. Wmn shuld find wys t us thir fmininity t dismpwr mn. Sh dsn't knw hw. But is it ny wndr sh cn't tll us hw? Ids d nt cm frm ut f th blu, thy r nt divrcd frm th mtril cnditins which giv ris t thm:

Th prductin f ids, f cncptins, f cnsciusnss, is t first dirctly intrwvn with th mtril ctivity nd th mtril intrcurs f mn - th lngug f rl lif.

Fmininity is prt f th idlgicl bggg f cpitlism nd th fmily. It is prt f th wy wmn's pprssin is rinfrcd dy in nd dy ut. It cnnt b usd t undrmin wmn's pprssin. Th mst pt rply t Pringl is tht md by Mrx t th idlist Yung Hglins in th 1840s:

This dmnd t chng cnsciusnss munts t dmnd t intrprt th xisting wrld in diffrnt wy, i.., t rcgnis it by mns f diffrnt intrprttin.

Wmn's fmininity mns flirting, pssivnss, bing sxy, vilbl nd yt chst. Such bhviur rinfrcs th id tht wmn r trivil, pssiv nd purly f dcrtiv vlu. Fr it t dismpwr mn (ssuming thy hv pwr, which I dn't), wmn wuld hv t smhw cnvinc mn t intrprt such bhviur t mn wmn r srius, ggrssiv nd vlubl humn bings. S instd f rguing t chllng th strtyps, f fighting fr librtin s th rly wmn's mvmnt did, fminism hs gn full circl t spus prfundly cnsrvtiv utlk.

This is th dd nd t which th ids f ml pwr nd ptrirchy hv ld. Fminist rticls in jurnls nd pprs r vry gd t dcumnting th hrrific cnditins mst wmn ndur. But thy hv prcius littl t sy but hw t bgin t chng th scity which crts thm. Tk Gndr t Wrk by nn Gm nd Rsmry Pringl. It ctlgus vry wll th prblms f wmn t wrk. It is vry gd t srching ut ffnsiv bhviur by ml wrkrs. But nwhr, nt nc, is thr mntin f th pssibility f slidrity btwn mn nd wmn in struggl t chng th situtin. In 1981, nly tw yrs bfr it ws publishd, thr ws strik f 200 wmn txtil wrkrs in Brunswick, Mlburn. Th Krtx strik ws grphic nd inspiring xmpl f hw clss struggl cn rdiclly ltr rltins in th hm. Husbnds, brthrs, sns nd lvrs willingly did huswrk, ckd nd mindd childrn s th wmn culd mr ffctivly fight fr thir $25 py ris, which thy wn. Bcus thy ignr such xmpls, Gm nd Pringl cn ffr n wy ut f th ntrnchd discrimintin nd gndr strtyps wmn suffr frm.

Mst fminists hv bndnd ny idntifictin with scilism. This is nt surprising, bcus if ptrirchy is pwr structur sprt frm cpitlism th lttr cn b vrthrwn, lving th frmr intct. This id is givn sm crdnc by th Stlinism f mst f th lft, which hs kpt liv th ludicrus id tht th Stlinist cuntris rc scilist, in spit f th cntinuing pprssin f wmn.

Bcus Mrxism rcgniss tht clss divisins in scity r fundmntl, tht wmn's pprssin riss frm th prticulr wy cpitlism dvlpd, it lcts th wy frwrd in th struggl ginst th vry scity itslf. Mn d bhv bdly, d ct in sxist wys, d bt nd rp wmn in th hm. Fminists intrprt this s th nctmnt f ml pwr. Th Mrxist rply is nt t simply sy ths r th ctins f mn shpd by th scity thy grw up in. Tht is nly n sid t th rgumnt. Th thr is t pint ut, s Mrx did, tht mn mk thir wn histry. Whil humns r th prducts f scity thy r ls cnscius, thinking bings. s I shwd, ids prpgtd by th ruling clss r nt simply tkn up by wrkrs in strightfrwrd wy. Thy r rfrctd thrugh wrking clss xprinc nd intrprtd in vrius wys. Th middl clss wmn wh fught fr th fmily did s by rguing tht wmn shuld b fminin nd rstrictd t th rl f huswif nd mthr. Wrking clss mn sw in th fmily th prspct f imprvd living cnditins, s thy rgud fr fmily wg n th grunds it wuld imprv wmn's lt.

Ruling clss ids r nvr cmpltly hgmnic. In vry clss scity, th xplitd nd pprssd hv fught bck ginst thir rulrs in n wy r nthr. S n mttr hw tightly th ruling clss try t rgnis thir hld n scity, thy cnnt cmpltly wip ut th ids nd trditins f struggl nd rsistnc which cm dwn t ch gnrtin frm th pst.

f curs thr is n irn rul tht scity will b sthing with rvlutin t ny prticulr pint in tim. In th lst tn yrs, w hv sn mssiv shift t th right in th pliticl ids mst currnt in scity, cntinuing drift which ws idntifibl frm th mid-svntis. This chng in th pliticl climt is undrpinnd by th Lbr gvrnmnt's tlk f cnsnsus, nd dmnds tht wrkrs mk scrifics in th ntinl intrst. s Lbr hs ld th bsss' ttmpts t cut living stndrds nd rrgnis thir cnmy, wrkrs hv suffrd numbr f dfts nd hd thir trd unin rgnistin wknd. n th n hnd w s ffirmtiv ctin fr sm wmn, rflcting gins wn during th prid whn th wrkrs' mvmnt ws n th ffnsiv. n th thr, w s n nd in sight t vilnc in th hm, s fmilis struggl t cp with wrsning living stndrds, th strin f unmplymnt, pr hlth cr nd th lik.

In Britin nd th Unitd Stts nd t lssr xtnt hr, w hv sn ttcks n brtin rights nd gy nd lsbin rights. Th fct tht thy hv mt with militnt nd vigrus rspns shws th situtin cn b rvrsd. ll f histry shws tht th xplitd nd pprssd cnnt b kpt in submissin indfinitly. nd histry ls shws tht it is whn thy bgin t fight bck tht th hrribl ids f cpitlism cn bgin t b brkn dwn, prcisly bcus th circumstncs which prptut thm r rippd sundr. nyn wh sw th wmn trmwys wrkrs n pickts, pprching shpprs fr mny nd supprt in th lckut by th Victrin Lbr gvrnmnt rly in 1990 gt glimps f wht w mn.

Tny Cliff hs shwn th rltinship f th high pints in pic clss struggls nd th psitin f wmn nd th struggl fr librtin. cupl f xmpls will sktch th pint hr. In th rvlutin in Chin, 1925-27, ld by th wrking clss in th citis nd supprtd with gust by th psntry in th cuntrysid, thr wr mvs t stp th brbrus prctics such s ft binding which pprssd wmn s hrshly. In rvlutinry Spin, in 1936, cuntry dmintd by th sxism f Cthlicism, wmn culd g but mng ml wrkrs withut fr f rp, nd prticipt in th mst untypicl ctivitis withut drisin. Th vry ris f th wmn's librtin mvmnt ws rltd t th high lvl f struggl by th wrking clss in th lt sixtis, s wll s th ntry int th wrkfrc nd ut f th isltin f th hm by grtr numbrs f wmn. nd n f th first dmnds f th rvlutin in Rmni in 1990 ws brtin n dmnd fr wmn.

vry tim thr hs bn lull in th struggl, ids f pssimism, ids which sy th wrking clss cnnt ffr wy frwrd, r sung frm th rf tps. But ths kinds f struggls will brk ut gin. Th vnts in strn urp r shking th wrld systm nt just in th st. In vry strik, vry dmnstrtin f prtst, n mttr hw smll, thr lis th sd f struggls which culd rip cpitlism prt. It is nt simply mttr f ids, f ductin which cnvincs wrkrs f diffrnt ids. Th struggl crts mtril rsn t chng - th nd fr slidrity in ppsitin t thir rulrs cn, in crtin circumstncs, quit rpidly brk dwn th divisins which in thr tims hld wrkrs bck.

Th fight fr wmn's librtin bgins thr. Th id tht mn hv pwr vr wmn cn d nthing but gt in th wy. It rinfrcs th divisin f sxism. Mn r sxist tdy. But wmn's pprssin ds nt qul ml pwr. If w s th fight ginst sxism s sprt frm th clss struggl, w cn sily fll int sing wrking clss mn s n nmy. In rlity, thy r ptntil llis. In th svntis whn building wrkrs wr cnfidnt f thir unin strngth th Buildrs' Lburrs' Fdrtin (BLF) supprtd wmn's right t wrk n building sits. vry dfnc f brtin rights ginst th Right t Lif hs rcivd supprt frm lrg numbrs f mn. In th mss brtin cmpign ginst Qunslnd's Bjlk-Ptrsn gvrnmnt in 1979-80, mn wr bl t b wn t supprt th struggl, including trnsprt wrkrs t mil, wh stppd wrk t jin pickt. In 1986, BLF supprt fr th nurss' strik in Victri chllngd thir sxist ids but th rl f wmn.

nc w undrstnd tht wrking clss mn hv nthing t gin frm wmn's pprssin, w cn s th pssibility f brking thm frm sxist ids. Thn w cn b cnfidnt tht wrkrs, wmn nd mn fighting sid by sid in slidrity, cn bgin t chng th xisting ctgris. Thr is nthing utmtic but chngs in cnsciusnss in struggl. But with n undrstnding f th rts f wmn's pprssin, scilists cn intrvn rund ths issus nd rlt thm t th xprinc f wrkrs' struggls.

Wmn r bttr plcd tdy t fight fr librtin thn in ny tim in histry. Thy r n lngr simply huswivs. Thy r hlf th wrking clss nd bl t xrcis th pwr f tht clss lngsid ml wrkrs. Ultimtly, it is th struggl f th wrking clss which cn dstry th vry scil structurs which gv ris t wmn's pprssin in th first plc.

© , 2012