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  • Anarcho-Syndicalism versus
    Catholic-Conservatism Debate

    Between Punkerslut and
    the Endeavour Forum

    Part #1

    Letters #01-#05

    From RadicalGraphics.org
    Image: From RadicalGraphics.org

    Letter #001

       Gender Equality in the Law   
    Punkerslut to the Endeavour Forum...
    Date: Sunday, August 22, 2010


         The first of your aims sounds very interesting, but it makes me curious: "...to enhance the status of uniquely female roles - we affirm that men and women are equal but different, not equal and the same." I do not recall any Feminist arguing that the equality of the genders meant that they were identical -- such an individual would have difficulty in proving their case anatomically.

         Nor does it seem plausible that any kind of equality was ever pushed because of two groups being the same. It seems, in fact, the exact opposite. If African-Americans and Caucasian Americans were identical, and there was no way of possibly distinguishing them -- that is, if they were the same -- then there would have been no movement for equality. After all, if the two races are in fact the same and you cannot distinguish them, members of both races will be exposed to the same attitudes of society. The only type of equality that could be advanced here is one between the unequal positions of members within either of the races, though it would not be on the grounds of race, but perhaps economic or political inequality.

         So, naturally, to hear the argument that men and women are "equal but different, not equal and the same," is quite startling. Of course they're different. That's how society has been able to distinguish when giving power to the males over females for the past thousands of years. If they weren't different, it would be very hard to impose any form of Sexism, as those in control of society could not distinguish between the genders. And, without Sexism, there probably would not have ever been such a powerful, motivated drive for equality between the sexes. Rather than resting on the premise that the genders are the same, Feminism could not have developed unless they were already different.

         What is so alarming about this argument you're presenting, on the "equal but different" natures of men and women, is that you're using it to recreate Sexism. Or, in your own words, Endeavour Forum "...does not support the 'elimination of sexism', a concept which involves denial of the differences between the sexes..." There must be some difference between the sexes for there to be sexism. Otherwise, how are people going to engage in Sexist discrimination, when it is impossible to uncover someone's gender?

         If men and women are equal, what would their difference have anything to do about it? Two individuals in any free nation may speak their minds with equal rights, may express their thoughts equally -- and, during the whole time, one would not be confused that these two individuals were different. The fact that they are different is as absent from the argument as it is from logic. Of course, any two individuals on the planet are different from each other! This is no justification for granting more rights to one group than to other, or to impose a lifestyle on all that only fits one.

         For example, you're "establishing the status of a wife as an equal partner in the marriage...." but, this 'equal partner' translates to "the right of a women to be a full-time mother and homemaker and to have this right recognised by laws that obligate her husband to provide the primary financial support for her and their children." Why not let couple or group marriages figure it out for themselves? After all, if you're defending the woman's right to stay in the home and next to expand herself beyond that, then you're really defending the right to be a slave. And once that has been accomplished, as it has been over the past two thousand years, all other rights of the slave cease to exist -- except that most precious and traditional of all rights, "slavery."

         Thank you. I patiently await a response...

    Andy Carloff

    "...militancy succeeds in arousing 'married' women to a realisation of their subservience and implants in them and their children the ideal of a new erotic ethic, to that extent will militancy in England have shown itself to be a revolution. That the militants in England are doing this, consciously or unconsciously, is unquestionable, and the most daring of them have been impelled to action by outraged feelings which have awakened their womanhood and inspired them with an extraordinary and amazing courage."
              --Margaret Sanger, 1914
              "Militants in England"

    Letter #002

       Laws Differ According   
       to Gender Differences   
    The Endeavour Forum
    The Endeavour Forum to Punkerslut...
    Date: Monday, August 23, 2010

    Dear Andy,

         Feminists are of two minds about whether the sexes are identical (i.e. in the spread of talents and abilities and desires) and that therefore any observable differences in their outcomes in adult life is due to discrimination, sexism, oppression by the patriarchy etc., or whether they are different in their talents, abilities and desires - I'm talking averages here - but that difference should not make a difference in outcomes and therefore we have to have affirmative action, i.e. discrimination against men until the numbers of men and women in all levels of employment are equal.

         We believe that men and women are different (again talking average spread here) and that they make different choices, and that because of women's additional responsibility for child bearing and breastfeeding, they need special protection and support.

         We believe that the equality of the spouses should be recognised by income-splitting - equality is already recognized in divorce where the wife gets half or more of the assets accumulated during the marriage, it should also be recognised by shared incomes during the marriage.

         Of course we acknowledge the right of couples to decide how they decide on their bread-winning and child-rearing roles, but as only the wife can bear and breastfeed children, she needs to be supported in her role as prime childcarer for the first couple of years of every child's life. (WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years or more).

         Hope this is all clear - we do not oppose women seeking careers, working full-time etc. if that is their choice. But often it is not their choice - they prefer to be with their babies when the babies are young, and to work part-time thereafter, but often they do not have this choice, their is economic coercion on them to have full-time paid jobs. Therefore there will not be true "equality" in the financial sense unless their is income-splitting or special allowances for women based on the number of children they have.

         Thank you for your interest,

    Babette Francis

    "Woman's acceptance of her inferior status was the more real because it was unconscious. She had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her to her lot as a brood animal for the masculine civilizations of the world. In accepting her role as the 'weaker and gentler half,' she accepted that function. In turn, the acceptance of that function fixed the more firmly her rank as an inferior."
              --Margaret Sanger, 1921
              "Woman's Error and Her Debt"

    Letter #003

       Government Institutions   
       Produce Socio-Economic Institutions   
    Punkerslut to the Endeavour Forum...
    Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010


         Thank you for responding to my e-mail. I agree that the nurturing of children is labor and deserves its fair share for its contribution. And, in fact, it may be one of the most important activities that anyone performs in society. But, it does not have to be done by women, nor does it have to be done simply by only one parent. By simply advocating that only those of the female gender have the ability to nurture the young isn't really equality -- it's imposing a behavior role.

         It provides a narrow culture in what is saying what is acceptable or expected from people based on their gender: to be largely uninvolved with the child and working full-time on the one hand, and to be largely involved with the child as full-time employment. This view does not allow the individual the full potential of all their opportunities, whether they're female or male.

         It is true that all mothers must carry and nurse their young, and that this can build a strong connection, but it has not been a strong enough guarantee to make all women good mothers. And, likewise, just because men in the past have lived by the hunt and by fortune does not mean that they are particularly suited to this situation. Nor does it mean that men are incapable of education, nurturing, and development of the youth.

         When they're joining in marriage, couples should establish what kind of circumstances they expect when becoming married. Laws shouldn't be passed that allow someone to force their partner into a particular behavior role -- whether it's laws that require expected behavior of men or women. For there to be "cooperation between the sexes," as is stated in your aims, there needs to be a fair and honest exchange between two partners.

         One of the things you wrote was, "Therefore there will not be true 'equality' in the financial sense unless their is income-splitting or special allowances for women based on the number of children they have." While this may be true, it is not true 'equality' when particular roles are asserted for women, while others are asserted for men. Such behavior roles are the essence of modern Sexism, because they are so subtle and difficult to deconstruct that they are quickly accepted by many. But it is still Sexism, and it still means inequality.

         Thank you for reading this far.

    Andy Carloff

    "The Postmaster did not like the first number [edition] of the WOMAN REBEL. He even took the trouble to tell the WOMAN REBEL so. He advised her not to send any more copies through the United States mails. He said the WOMAN REBEL was unmailable under Section 211 of the Criminal Code, as amended by the act of March 4, 1911. Of course the Postmaster was acting within his rights. He is empowered by the federal government to stop the circulation of any printed expression of honest convictions."
              --Margaret Sanger, 1914
              "Humble Pie"

    Letter #004

       Fixed Roles are Only   
       for Reproductive Purposes   
    The Endeavour Forum
    The Endeavour Forum to Punkerslut...
    Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Dear Andy,

         We only believe in "fixed sex roles" for women as mothers for the first two years of a child's life or for as long as the child wants to breastfeed. So if you add on 9 months of pregnancy, and the 2 years breastfeeding recommended by WHO, that is approximately 3 years per child.

         If a woman has 2 children, that is six years when she has to be supported by her husband and the government and should not suffer economic coercion to work in paid employment.

         Beyond that, couples are welcome to make their own decisions, indeed in western democracies couples are free to make their own decisions even not taking pregnancy and breastfeeding into account. We accept that but don't recommend it - economic pressure leads to abortions, and breastfeeding is important for the health of both babies and mothers (lower risk of breast cancer).

         So we really don't differ much from you in political ideology. What you don't understand is that if women take 6 years off from their careers for their mothering role, they naturally fall behind in the career path compared to men, and this needs to compensated for by monetary and other support, but NOT BY AFFIRMATIVE ACTION which discriminates against men.


    "The inconsistency of the Government of New York show themselves more and more, as it proceeds to interfere with the private relations of the individuals. The latest laughable act in the action of the Court of Appeals of New York State which upheld the Board of Education in New York City in dismissing Mrs. Bridget C. Peixotto because she remained away from her duties as a teacher to become a mother. It was no objection to her as a married woman, but does object to her as a mother. Yet this same government holds it a crime to tell the woman how to prevent conception and thereby avoid motherhood."
              --Margaret Sanger, 1914

    Letter #005

       Feminism Without Government   
    Punkerslut to the Endeavour Forum...
    Date: Friday, August 27, 2010

    Greetings again, Babette,

         It is obvious that for the later parts of pregnancy, women will not want to work. But to say that there is a fixed role of years and years, when it may actually only be four or five months, is rather Sexist. That is, it places a behavior role on women, one which can just as well be fulfilled by the male. In the vast cultures around the world, there are many where this is exactly the case. Or, in others, a community that nurtures and teaches the youth, which sounds far more healthy than leaving those authoritarian powers in a couple, or let alone, one single person. If you want to be treated as a non-Sexist group, then whatever liberties and rights you create ought to be for men as much as for women. Otherwise, you're just creating standards for behavior roles for women.

         Also, Feminism is not equivalent to Affirmative Action. It seems quite clear that Affirmative Action, which tries to undo millenia of oppressive governments, is far too helpless. What is needed is a far more radical reorganization of society entirely. There is economic opportunity wherever there is land and capital, and where there is both the technology and initiative, the workday can be reduced to two or four-hours, while standards of living can easily be doubled or tripled with this. A hundred years ago, any family could grow enough to feed one hundred families, but today, working means you're lucky if you can barely feed your own family. Property relations need to be questioned in their entirety, and not the employment selection process.

    Andy Carloff

    "The working women evidently are not aware that POLITICAL FREEDOM does not mean INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM and it is the object and desire of Socialist women to show the working woman that Socialism stands not only for her political freedom, but for her industrial freedom and her intellectual freedom."
              --Margaret Sanger, 1911
              "Dirt, Smell, and Sweat"

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