SEX AND GENDER QUESTION?

SEX, GENDER ISSUES, AND ITS RELATION TO THE MODE OF PRODUCTION

“The class is the basic category of social studies. Both the sex and the gender are considered insignificant, if not non-existent; the class is of the uppermost importance. Differentiation between the social roles of men and women is considered to be governed by the class structure of society and the existing social antagonisms” [outlined in the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, August Bebel, Vladimir Lenin, Alexandra Kollontai]

The issue on gender has been the main controversy affecting progressive groups and even social scientists. In feminist jargon, “sex” is merely biological while “gender” refers to roles and is claimed to be “socially constructed”, which means that everything about men and women, other than their reproductive organs, can be altered by changes in the social and cultural environment.

WHAT MAKES A MAN DIFFERENT FROM A WOMAN?

The scientific answer to the underlying question is genetic difference. A man possesses a sperm cell while a woman has an egg cell. In our modern times, people may undergo sexual transplantation (outside changes) but the genetic nature (sperm cell and egg cell) of man and woman will always be there. Emotional feelings, morality, and physical adornment (gender issues) are shaped by societal conditions and therefore cannot be the basis in determining sex difference.

The best way to understand the roles of men and women in the society is by revisiting the historical development of human relationship particularly on family, their sex role, and their participation in production.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE SOCIETY

DURING PRIMITIVE COMMUNAL PERIOD- Hunting and Gathering Societies (Old Stone Age) – For 1 to 2 million years, humans lived in societies based on hunting animals and gathering wild food. The available evidence indicates that the men did most of the hunting, while the women gathered fruits, vegetables, and grains. Therefore, this first division of labor was along sexual lines. In this very limited sense, biological determinist is correct: It appears that the biological facts of childbirth and nursing did limit women’s mobility, so that it made more sense for men to do the wide-ranging hunting.

This does not mean that women played an inferior role. On the contrary, everything indicates that they worked just as long, hard as men, their economic contribution was at least as important, and more stable, and their status roughly equal. One should not think of “status” in its complex modern forms. These were small groups, all relatives, of 10 to 30 people. There was little private property except one’s immediate tools or weapons, and very little wealth or property of any kind. There was no government. People worked as a collective unit and shared collectively by tradition and out of the dire necessity of survival. “The large collective household was the community, and within it both sexes worked to produce the goods necessity for livelihood…. Women usually furnished a large share-often the major share-of the food.” Many hunter- gatherers, such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, depended primarily on the fruits and vegetables that were gathered by women; whereas the meat provided by men was a mere luxury.

When Europeans from capitalist societies first encountered some of these primitive hunting-gathering societies, they were both shocked and confused by the high status of women and the role of the extended family or collective community. For example, in the seventeenth century, Jesuit missionaries encountered the Naskapi tribe of Canada. The Jesuits were shocked at the great power women possessed to decide where to live and what projects to undertake; they scolded the men for not being masters in their own homes “as in France.” They were particularly worried about the degree of sexual freedom that women enjoyed; men often did not know who their biological children were. The Naskapi, however, thought this objection was nonsensical, and that the French were immoral to love only their own children. The Naskapi said, “You French people love only your own children; but we love all the children of our tribe”.

According to Engels, “The study of primitive history, reveals conditions where the men live in polygamy (men having many wives) and their wives in polyandry (women having many husbands) at the same time, and their common children are therefore considered common to them all” – and these conditions in their turn undergo a long series of changes before the monogamous family was born [The Origin of the Family, Property and the State, by F. Engels, p. 96].

Agricultural Versus Herding Societies (New stone Age)- For hundreds of thousands of years, women and men slowly improved their tools and weapons without major changes in social structure. Eventually enough progress was made in improving implements and methods of work to affect social conditions. This change from the Old to the New Tone age is called the Neolithic revolution. It occurred 10,000 to 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, somewhat later in other areas, and not at all in a few still-existing primitive tribes.

Two different “discoveries” occurred in the Neolithic Revolution. One was agriculture, the domestication of plants; the other was herding, the domestication of animals. Most scientists discovered or emphasized one or the other long before they could do both. In a majority of cases, agriculture probably came first. What does this have to do with the relations of men and women? Everything! There was no change in human biology, but a major social change depending on which sex discovered what. Since men had been hunting, men were the inventors of systematic herding. Since woman had been gathering plants, women were the inventors of systematic agriculture.

“It is generally accepted that owing to her ancient role as the gatherer of vegetable foods, woman was responsible for the invention and development of agriculture. Modern analogies indicate that so long as the ground was prepared by hoeing and not by ploughing woman remained the cultivators” (Hawkes and Wooley, p.265)

The business of learning agriculture, selection, planting, weeding, and so forth was an extended process that took place over many hundreds of thousands of years. To accomplish it, women had to invent many other things besides methods of cultivation and better hoes. They learned enough chemistry to make pottery that would hold water and could be cooked in. It has never been doubled that…pottery was both shaped and decorated by women. Women learned enough mechanics to construct looms for spinning textiles, as well as better ways of home building (which is a purely feminine occupation in some Neolithic tribes). They also learned- and shaped tools for- grinding wheat, constructing ovens, and using the biochemistry of yeast to make bread.

In mainly agricultural societies of the primitive hoe type, women were the most important food providers. The meat provided by male hunters was much less in quantity and more unstable in supply. As the earliest Neolithic societies throughout their range in time and space gave women the highest status, she had ever known (Hawkes and Wooley, p). Of course, in class-divided societies the fact that a group does a lot of work does not mean that it has high status-quite the contrary. However, in Neolithic societies these activities were still communal, carrying out work collectively without rulers or bosses. The group that performed a task made all the decisions concerning it. Therefore, the fact that women were often the main food-providing group meant that they made some of the most important social decisions (Leacock, p.34).

On the other hand, the fact that this was still a collective working society meant that men still did their collective part by hunting. Women did not hold power over men; their high status did not put the women in a position to exploit the men. Thus, “matriarchy” probably never existed, if by matriarchal one means those women held as much power over as men have held over women in some later societies (Leacock, p.35). There are some cases, such as the Tchambuli, where women have dominant personalities; and some cases where women were warlike, such as the women soldiers of Dahomey (where cowards were admonished not to “act like men”). There are probably no societies, however, where women acted as an exploitative ruling group over men.

Just as the high status of women is strongly correlated with primitive agriculture, so too is the existence of matrilineal clans. When the number of people in a tribe grew to 300 or 400, the old unstructured family organization was no longer possible. The denser population had resulted from agricultural productivity required a new form of organization. The primitive family was replaced at a very early date in many places, by the clan system. Evidence from contemporary primitive tribes indicates that they are composed of groups of clans, while the family is of little or no social importance. Everyone in the clan is supposed to be descended from some mythical ancestor. This ancestor is their symbol or “totem”, which be a plant or animal that is important in the economic life of the tribe (V. Gordon Chile, What Happened in History, p.24).

The clan system lasted through the Neolithic Revolution. The clan, not the family, normally held the land in common. An individual “family” might be allocated a plot, but only for immediate use, and usually for one year only. Pastures were always held in common by the whole clan (primitive type of communism). This is still the case in man primitive agricultural societies. Where as society is almost totally agricultural and women do most of the agriculture, descent and kinship are usually calculated from the female; that is, the clan is matrilineal. Women usually, but not always, have a fairly high status in matrilineal clans. Where a society is primarily based on animal herding and men do the most of the herding, descent and kinship are usually calculated from the male, that is, the clan is patrilineal (V. Gordon Chile, What Happened in History, p.73). Men are usually, but not always, strongly dominate in patrilineal, herding societies.

In defining the relations of production that obtained in such societies, Engels wrote that they were “essentially collective”, and that “consumption proceeded by direct distribution of the products within larger or smaller communistic communities”. The sole division of labor was by sex, and the society was not as yet divided into class of exploiters and exploited. Lands were held in common and tools and utensils were owned directly by those who used them. Political organization, continued Engels, did not exist apart from the social group {The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, by F. Engels, pp. 18-19].

Many good examples of matrilineal societies with a high status of women are found among American Indian cultures, such as the Navajo and the Hopi. The Hopi technology is similar to the technologies of the New Stone Age, as are their social relations. The Hopi have a matrilineal clan, the leadership of which is mainly in the hands of the older active women. The family group also includes the woman’s brothers, but not the women who marry them. The whole clan owns the land together and there is no privileged class. The group of men collectively owns the livestock; but the group of women owns the houses, the furnishings, and all the vegetable food. Since vegetables provide most of the food supply while livestock constitutes a very small portion, the women are socially and economically secure regardless of whether they are married or not. A woman is always elected clan leader, though her brother leads all ceremonies (Leavitt, p.398).

Predominantly livestock-raising tribes were likely to develop patrilineal clans since male hunters first tamed animals. Men also invented new weapons and other implements needed for animal herding. In these clans, the family group is organized around and related to an older male. This man is usually, but not always, the dominant personality in the extended family. Yet, even where the man is dominant, there is not demeaning subordination of women found in later class-divided and exploitative societies. Therefore, while no Neolithic community shows matriarchal or all-out female dominance, neither does any Neolithic community shows all-out male domination. Each sex continues to do its own important jobs in its own area; there is no oppression by sex.

In a Neolithic community combining some agriculture and animal herding, the men probably cleared the land, built most of the homes, herded the animals, hunted, and manufactured weapons and some tools. The women did all the other agricultural work on the land, made the clothing, made all the pottery, ground the grains, and cooked the food. In these communities, men and women had a rough equality of status (Chile, p.67).

THE ADVENT OF SLAVERY– The Neolithic life was not idyllic; it was a hard life for all, but women were not treated like slaves in any Neolithic society. In fact, the Neolithic clan had a collective economy and no slaves. How did all this change in a few thousand years?

Men provided milk and meat from cows, while women hoed the fields. Then great progress was made in lifting the burden of hovering from women, to be replaced by animal power. The first step, perhaps, was to make a pair of oxen drag over a field- a variant on the hoe that women had hitherto wielded-a plough (Chile, p88). Since men had tamed and herded the cattle and oxen, the man followed the plough and thus took over the main agricultural duties. Agriculture was totally changed by the use of the plough from a female to a male occupation. This ended some of the hardest labor for women, but it also ended their control of the main food supply and reduced their socio-economic status.

Where women’s shoulders were the oldest means of transport, animals pulling wheeled vehicles replaced them. Along with the animals came male drivers. Besides the wheel for vehicles, men also invented the potter’s wheel, and henceforth men made pottery. These male inventions helped women live better but reduced their status. When women no longer carried the heaviest burdens, nor did most of the agriculture, nor made the pottery, the new situation removed the economic bases of women’s equal status. After men took over agriculture, transport, and pottery, as well as cattle rising, most societies became patriarchal. The male dominated the family or household, which included married sons and their families.

Yet, even male economic dominance did not automatically mean the total subordination of women-any more than it did in the predominantly herding societies. What began the subordination of women was the coming of slavery and/or serfdom, which ended both collective ownership and the matrilineal clan system. The clan system slowly gave way to individual families based on private property, beginning with the cattle owned by the male. The process by which the patriarchal family replaced the matrilineal clan as the basic economic unit was always long and usually painful (Leacock, pp.40-41).

The new inventions, utilizing animal power, greatly increased productivity. When, in addition, bronze was substituted for wood and stone, a worker could for the first time produce more than his or her own subsistence. This meant that a surplus of food and other wealth could be accumulated. It meant that specialists could concentrate on one task, such as metalworking, while others could produce their food. It meant, above all, that it became profitable to keep slaves or serfs. Before the time that a worker could produce a surplus, war prisoners were adopted, killed, or eaten. When these prisoners could produce a surplus, however, they were made into slaves or serfs to be exploited for their master’s benefit. As some men accumulated wealth in goods, cattle, or slaves, they gained the power to oppose the more democratic and collective clan structure. Class division, private property became the rule, and internal government and armed forces were formed to support the rule of the wealthy owners over the slaves and serfs, disrupted the ancient commune. The formerly temporarily elected war chief could consolidate his position as ruler with this new wealth. Moreover, the male chief found ways to give his sons, not only his private wealth, but also his authority and this ruling line of wealth and power finally became hereditary.

In such societies, even ruling-class women came to be treated as property, the same as slaves and serfs, sometimes more valuable, sometimes less so. Woman’s value declined both because slaves could do the productive work and because slave women could be used for sexual pleasure. The double standard was instituted whereby a husband could have sex with any woman, but the wife was to be strictly monogamous. The reason for the strict control and seclusion of wives was to ensure that only legitimate sons inherited all of private wealth.

ANCIENT SLAVERY- In ancient Greece, slave women sometimes worked in the fields but most did household drudgery. They were completely the property of the patriarch, who could enjoy them sexually at will. Some of the women were allowed slave husbands, but they were still at the master’s pleasure- and their children could be taken and sold at any time. Yet, it was a crime for any women of the household to have sex with a stranger. In Homer’s Odyssey, when Odysseus returns home, he first kills his wife’s suitors. Then he discovered that 12 of his servant women have had sex (he has gone 10 years), so he orders his son Telemachus: “Take the women out of the hall… and use your long swords on them, till none are left alive to remember their lover and the hours they stole in these young gallants’ arms” (Quoted in Julia O’Faolain and Laura Martines, eds, Not in God’s Image, p.4). Thus, he punished his property.

Later, in Athenian Greece, 80% of all women were slave women, that is, property. The slave owner’s wife was to be seen, not heard. She was well off materially but, even so-called democratic fifth-century Athens, she was not to leave the house. Women were completely secluded-as in some Islamic countries today-and was prohibited from any role in the active political life of the city. She was secluded, not because of romantic love (a modern concept), but to ensure legitimate heirs. In ancient Greece, even in the ruling-class woman’s own home, she could not be present at her own dinner parties unless everyone present was a family member. Moreover, she was required to spend most of her day in the “gynoecium’s”, an isolated area of the house that was off limits to any stranger.

Woman’s place was in the home with children. Demosthenese said: “Mistresses we keep for our pleasure, concubines for daily attendance upon our person, wives to bear us legitimate children and be our faithful keepers” (Quoted in Julia O’Faolain and Laura Martines, eds. Not in God’s Image, p.9). While women were secluded to bear “legitimate children,” men were free to have sex when they pleased. Euripides has Medea say:” If a man grows tired of the company at home, he can go out, and find a cure for tediousness. We wives are forces to look to one man only” (Not in God’s Image, p.15). This was double standard with a vengeance. For lower class and slave women, life was very different. Many, often against their will or from dire necessity, were forced to become prostitutes, mistresses, or concubines.

The ruling-class man did not stay at home with his wife. Concern with household matters was considered demeaning. He spent his time in the market, the forum, or the public baths, talking about economics and politics with other men. Women had no political rights in “democratic” Greece. They could not make contracts for more than a bushel of barley. They always had to have a legal guardian, father, husband, or someone appointed. The guardian could give a woman in marriage and could even will her to someone else at his death. Moreover, a man could easily divorce a wife, provided only that he returned her dowry to her father or other guardian. A woman could get a divorce only on rare occasions under extreme provocation. The husband owned all the property and slaves, and his sons inherited most of it. Ruling-class women usually learned to read and writes, but higher education was reserved for boys. Slaves were never educated, except where their jobs necessitated it.

FEUDALISM– In Western Europe, slavery was followed by feudalism. Under feudalism, other human beings no longer owned human beings; rather, serfdom prevailed. Serfs were slightly better off than slaves were in that they were not owned; but they were bound to the landlord’s land. Serf men and women had to labor a certain number of days a year for the landlord; in return, he was supposed to “protect” them. In the earliest period, serfs did need protection from wandering barbarian tribes, but later they needed protection only from the economic and sexual exploitation of the landlords. The landlords, in turn, held their land at the pleasure of the feudal nobility, to whom they owned military support. The same hierarchy of obligations continued through the less nobility, to the greater nobility, and to the king, who owned allegiance only to God? The nobility was divided into secular and the religious nobles. The Roman Catholic Church was the largest single landowner, the holder of most accumulated knowledge, and the greatest power in Europe during this period. The Church had a very low opinion of women. Although the Church stated clearly that women were the weaker and inferior sex that did not stop either secular or religious landlords from working their serf women in the fields the same as the men. Women did every kind of agricultural labor except heavy plowing.

In England, in 1265, a serf’s widow had the following obligations to the lord of the manor: “From Michaelmas to the Feast of St. Peter in Chains she must plow half an acre every week…And from the Feast of St. John the Baptist until August she must perform manual service 3 days every week…”(An Old Manual, quoted, pp.160-161). One day a week, she was also required to transport goods on her back anywhere that the bailiff told her to go. In addition, she must find four days in the spring to mow the landlord’s meadow, four more days to gather hay for him, and two more days for weeding his land. In some places, female serfs were exempted from work on the lord’s land, but that only meant they did most of the work on the serf’s own plot. Female serfs were also used in the lord’s homes. An English Franciscan monk described their lot in the 13th century. He stated that the domestic serf or chambermaid had to do the heaviest and foulest jobs, was given the poorest food and clothing, had to marry whomever the lord told her to marry, and had to give her children to the lord as serfs. The monk stated matter-of-factly: “Chambermaids are frequently beaten…they rebel against their masters and mistresses and get out of hand if they are not kept down…Serfs and that sort are kept in place only through fear” (An Old Manual, p.163).

Among the feudal lords, the parents arranged all marriages, often while the children were still in their cradles. The important criteria for a good marriage were the joining of another family’s land and military power. Love had nothing to do with it. The feudal lords also generally had the right to decide who they are under lords and ladies should marry.

THE FAMILY UNDER CAPITALISM– We have noted that women gained a little in status with the increase of commerce and industry and the shift from rural to urban life. At the same time, the conflict between the rising capitalist class and the declining feudal nobility led to revolutions in Western Europe and the United states. These revolutions established a capitalist economy and democratic political processes, dominated by the capitalist class.

The rhetoric of liberty and equality in the French and American revolutions raised the consciousness of millions of women and led some women to demand equality with men. Yet, by the middle of the 19th century in the United States and Western Europe, women still had very few more rights than under feudalism. Married women in American society were still treated as property of the husband, possessing no separate legal rights. They had no right to make separate contracts, no right to their own wages, no right to their children in case of separation, and certainly no right to vote. Women organized and fought for these rights. They won some contractual rights in the 1860s. Women did not win the right to vote until 1920. Other rights of equality before the law were won only very slowly over many decades. Such recognition of their rights was by product of long-long struggle of women.

Where Jealousy Originated and why there is Jealousy? Promiscuous (PROMISCUOUS- means the absence of prohibitions and restrictions) sexual intercourse was the common practice among primitive communal formation society but when class society developed, private property concepts were born, and automatically, the feeling of jealousy arises. The separation of the family from the communal way of life and the institution of monogamous marriage were the social expressions of developing private property; so-called monogamy afforded the means through which property could be individually inherited. And private property for some meant no property for others, or the emerging of differing relations to production on the part of different social groups. Therefore, if private property is abolished, the feeling of jealousy and greed will also disappear.

Individualism and collectivism vis-à-vis social and sexual relationship: Ever since humankind has to struggle against nature-wild beasts, the weather, etc, – in order to survive. To succeed in this struggle each individual must rely on the force of large numbers of people, on the collective, on society. Alone, he cannot get the better of nature and subsist. In order to survive, man must also produce to get food and clothing. Production too must rely on the collective, on society. Alone, the individual cannot produce. Our era being a civilized, revolutionary era, one must rely all the more on the force of the collective, of society, in all undertakings. More than ever the individual cannot stand apart but must join the collective, join society. Therefore, individualism goes counter to collectivism; collectivism and socialism will certainly prevail while individualism (or capitalism) will surely disappear.

The mode and forces of production ceasessly develop and change; so do, therefore, man’s thinking, social systems, etc. All of us know that from the past to the present, the mode of production has evolved from the use of free branches and stone axes to that of machines, electricity and nuclear energy. Social systems have also developed from primitive communism through slave-ownership and feudalism to capitalism, and today nearly half of mankind is progressing to socialism and communism. No one can stop this development.

With the coming into being of private ownership, society has been divided into classes- exploiting classes and exploited ones- hence the emergence of social contradictions and class struggle. Any person necessarily belongs to one class or another and no one can stand outside the classes. At the same time, each individual represents the ideology of the own class.

Born and brought up in the old society, we all carry within ourselves, to varying extent, traces of that society in our thinking and habits. The worst and most dangerous vestige of the old society is individualism. Individualism runs counter to revolutionary morality. The least remaining trace of it will develop at this opportunity, smother revolutionary virtues and prevent us from wholeheartedly struggling for the revolutionary cause. Individualism is something very deceitful and perfidious; it skillfully induces one to backslide. And everybody knows that it is easier to backslide than to progress. That is why it is very dangerous.

Where middle and last names Originated and why we have them now? During primitive communal period, there were no middle and family names. The Middle and Family names started when private property immerged. Such were designed to isolate and differentiate a person from the entire community, to promote conjugal private property ownership and for the government to hasten the collection of taxes from individuals/families. The domination of men over women is seen when opposite sex interred into marriage where in the family name of the husband is attached to name of his wife, and this was the result of the immergence of private property concept.

According to Engels, “Such a change is dependent on the abolition of private ownership. With the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, the single family (monogamous family) ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike” [P. 43, Origin of the Family, Property and the State]. Monogamous family will disappear when common ownership of the means of production is established.

WITH THE COMING OF A SOCIALIST SOCIETY- The role of men and women in a socialist society will be far different compared with slave-owing formation, feudal formation & capitalist formation simply because the mode of production will influence the superstructure (both the political and ideological structures of society) and automatically will influence sex and sexual roles in the society. In socialism, the means of production will not be owned by anybody but it will be under the supervision and management of the Socialist State. People will have the spirit of mutual assistance, cooperative, and collectivism for the interest of the entire people.  Women will never be subordinated to men nor men be subordinated to women. Genuine democracy shall prevail which means equal rights regardless of color or sex. Equality of rights within the family could only be attained when the monogamous concept of family is abolished through the seizure of State by the working class through a socialist revolution (both men and women) because according to Engels, “it is crucial to the organization of women for their liberation to understand that it is the monogamous family as an economic unit, at the heart of class society, that is basic to their subjugation.” In the area of economic power (under socialism- communism), this will not be used by any sex for individual gain because economic wealth will be distributed equally among members of the community and that no individual shall be given the right to private ownership of the means of production. In socialism, everyone will be equal in socio-economic and political status.

To summarize the historical development of family, marriage and sexual role, Engels pointed out, “The origin of monogamy [one man-one woman relationship] as far as we can trace it back among the civilized and highly developed people of antiquity, it was not in any way the fruit of individual sex love, with which it had nothing whatever to do; marriages remained as before marriages of convenience. It was the first form of the family to be based not on natural but on economic conditions- on the victory of private property over primitive, natural communal property…the sole exclusive aims of monogamous marriage were to make the man supreme in the family and to propagate, as the future heirs to his wealth, children indisputably his own” [The Origin of the Family, Private Property, & the State, by Frederick Engels, p. 128].

Engels further goes on later to say: “Thus when monogamous marriage first makes its appearance in history, it is not as the reconciliation of man and woman, still less as the highest form of such reconciliation.  Quite the contrary monogamous marriage comes on the scene as the subjugation of the one sex by the other; it announces a struggle between the sexes unknown throughout the whole previous prehistoric period.”

In an old unpublished manuscript written by Marx and Engels in 1846, I find the words:  “The first division of labor is that between man and woman for the propagation of children.”  And today I can add:  The first class position that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male. Monogamous marriage was a great historical step forward; nevertheless, together with slavery and private wealth, it opens the period that has lasted until today in which every step forward is also relatively a step backward.”

I believe Engels makes not only several points but also some profound distinctions here. His central point is that monogamous marriage in bourgeois society is in fact a retrogression based on pre-class primitive communist society as regards the sexual relations and marriage types. He clearly states that monogamous marriage is in fact a class oppression based on male dominance and male rights coinciding with property and division of labor. The class oppression of monogamous marriage indicates not the physical attributes of male and female but a gender issue.

Monogamous marriage is class oppression based on the contradictions of gender as well as other material contradiction. The concepts we have of monogamous marriage are bourgeois concepts based on bourgeois concepts of morality that are fixed and rigid.  Cheap moralizing about the concepts of heterosexual and monogamous marriage and sexual relationships is thus far nothing but an extension of the bourgeois ideology we have been conditioned by and the remnants that we have not yet thrown off. There was a time when Westerners seriously believed monogamy was the end product of civilization and polygamy was considered base and uncivilized. However, based on our discussions above, we have proven that monogamy is not necessarily a hallmark of civilization, nor is polygamy and polyandry are signs of barbarism.

THE ORIGIN OF MEN AND WOMEN’S CONSCIOUSNESS

The human brain in the very beginning is like an “empty plate” (tabula rasa). It is man’s inter-action with his physical (geographical location, kind of food and nature) and social environment (socio-economic, cultural, political, relationship to the means of production) that creates his own ideas, beliefs, ideology, and values in life. Beliefs, ideas, ideologies, and values are transmitted from generation to generations through social institutions (family, school, church, politics, mass media). In a class society, the one who controls the means of production (land, capital, money) has a great access to the social institutions and thereby using the later in promoting and preserving its own kind of beliefs, values, ideologies and ideas. The ruling class therefore possesses the ruling ideas or the so-called dominant beliefs, values, ideas and ideology.

The ruling class (w/ access or control over economics and politics) uses “persuasion (indoctrinations, propaganda, etc) and force (legislations, laws, military, police, colonization, etc)” in preserving and propagating its class interest. In the process, the subordinate class will either accept or oppose the ideas, beliefs, values, and ideology of the ruling class. The more people accept the ideas, beliefs, values and ideology of the ruling class, the ruling ideas becomes the dominant values, beliefs, practices, ideas and ideology of the society. Man’s conscience therefore, is dictated or influenced mostly by everything outside him/her (geographical, nature, socio-economic, cultural, political environments and man’s relationship to the means of production). The conscience of man and woman therefore, is a reflection of the over-all physical, socio-economic, cultural and political characteristics of a given society in a given historical development achieved by man/woman. In short, what we think and act today are the concrete expressions of the existing socio-economic base.

The present class society pushes the poor, oppressed, and exploited working class and peasants into revolution. The ruling class (rich people) and the ruled class (poor people) are in constant conflict in terms of class interest, thus developing two kinds of consciousness: the reactionary conscience and the revolutionary conscience. Reactionary conscience is the prevailing ideas, values, beliefs and ideology of the ruling class that wanted to preserve the status quo while the revolutionary conscience is a kind of consciousness that wanted total change or liberation from the present socio-economic, cultural and political life of the society. The more the working class participates in the revolutionary works and activities, the deeper level of consciousness, and commitment they achieved but the more they become passive, the more they help in intensifying and proliferating the ideas, values, beliefs and ideology of the ruling class which in return continue to worsen the conditions of the working class and the peasantry.

THE THEORY OF GUILT

Man’s guilt is determined by the kind of ideas, orientation, indoctrination, and beliefs stored in his/her human brain, which are by product of the kind of society where man is located, brought up and by the kind of relation to production (mode of production) he/she engaged. For example, a society that has been practicing monogamy marriage would say that polygamy/or polyandry is morally wrong. Therefore, any member who indulges in having many husbands/wives would have a feeling of guilt simply because he/she was brought up in a monogamous society but for a person who was raised in a polygamous/polyandrous society would even feel high honor for having many husbands/wives and eventually be highly esteemed by his/her society. Therefore, the socio-economic, cultural, and political base determines people’s guilt/conscience.

The failure of many people to understand that morality is relative, and man’s religious fanaticism and blind faith to religious and civil authorities, such has made them slave of their own sense of guilt/conscience.

THE THEORY OF NATURAL SELECTION IN RELATION TO HUMAN CULTURE

When two opposing ideas, beliefs, and practices exist in a given situation, the one that could survive shall become the prevailing ideas and values of the society and shall pass them to the next generation while the one that can’t survive will eventually stop its progress and development and shall be inherited by its generation. The level of consciousness reached by each group, they shall pass them to their own generation. Therefore, for ideas, beliefs, ideology and practices to progress, and develop, it must overcome difficulties. Culture varies from place to another. Culture is transmitted from one place to another, from one generation to generations and from simple to complex. Culture clashes with one another but the one that is economically and politically powerful influences and even dominates the weaker cultures. Therefore, it is very important that the working class empower themselves with progressive and revolutionary consciousness so that they shall be able to capture political power so as radically they could change the existing culture for the advancement of socialism but for natural selection to operate, three conditions are necessary. First, natural selection requires variation upon which to operate. Second, there must be differential reproduction, that is, differences in reproductive success. And third, there must be a mechanism for duplicating adaptive traits. In biological evolution, variability comes from genetic recombination and mutation. In cultural evolution, it comes from recombination of learned (or imposed) behaviors and from invention.

IS THERE SUCH THING AS UNIVERSAL MORALITY?

The query of what is morally right or wrong is a question of what the society accepted in terms of their customs, traditions, legal system, and the level of consciousness they attained. Laws are either written or unwritten and they are all man made. The migration of people to different places automatically explains the universality of morality but being practiced in different ways simply because society does not develop in uniformity or in absolutism. The feudal concept of morality we back in the history of ancient Europe spread all over the world because of conquest and colonization. The capitalist concept of morality also spread because of the demand for new market and for further exploitation of natural resources. The more nations accept the concept of morality as propagated by feudalism or capitalism, the more it becomes universal. The concept of morally is not absolute. They always vary from place to another, from one period to the other and depending from the level of struggle waged and attained by the people.

IS MORALITY ABSOLUTE?

Morality from its etymological origin is deriving from the Latin word “moralis”, whose root words are “mos”and “moris”. These words, translated into English, mean conduct, custom, or manner. Morality is sustained by customs. Traditions, habit, personal convictions, public opinion, and socializing agents. For example, there are societies that freely practice homosexuality. The Siwans of North Africa expect all males to engage in homosexual relations. In fact, fathers make arrangements for their unmarried sons to be given to an older man in a homosexual relationship. Almost all men were reported to have engaged in such relationship, when they were 16 and 20, they married girls [Mahmud M Abd Allah “Siwan Customs”. Harvard African Studies, 1 (1917); 7,20].  Heterosexuality is prohibited as many as 260 days a year and is forbidden in or near the house and gardens while homosexuality, on the other hand, is not prohibited at any time [Raymond C. Kelly “Witchcraft and sexual relations, 1974].

V. I. Lenin on the Marxist-Leninist view of Ethics: “In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality? In the sense given to it by the bourgeois, who based ethics on (as if it will never be changed) God’s commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God.”

Marxist- Leninist Resolution On Lesbian/ Gay Liberation:

“A new sexuality, freed of sexism, can only emerge through a long process of open debate and exploration, above all within feminism, for which we have few guidelines or indicators of what the results will be. There is no enlightened vanguard or minority that can claim to know what the ‘correct’, ‘feminist’ sexuality is and we should reject any attempts either from the religious right-wing forces or the various tendencies within feminism, such as the difference feminists, to impose a ‘correct’ sexual line. In many parts of the world, these forces of religious fundamentalism and conservative feminism have sought to legislate sexual codes of conduct, which include criminalization of homosexuality and censorship of sexually explicit materials. Revolutionary Marxists should propose instead a path towards sexual self-emancipation which is critical, but democratic, participatory and tolerant of the diversity of our sexual desires” [Resolution adopted by the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International].

Furthermore, let me give you concrete biblical examples proving that there is no such thing as absolute morality {Even Engels, Marx, and Lenin in their writings uses biblical examples}. The Ten Commandments are believed to be by many as the bases of moral standard of the Hebrew people (and later transmitted into our times). One of the provisions prohibit “killing or murder” (Exodus 20:13) but there were many instances that God commanded the Hebrews to kill non-Jews like the Canaanites, Moabites, Amorites, Hittites, Ammonites, Perizzites, Hevites and Jebusites (Joshua 12:1-24; Deut.20: 13-18). It even allows parents to take the life of their stubborn and rebellious son through the judgment passed by the entire community (Deut. 21:18-21).

Another example is the command of God to the Hebrew people not to engage in adultery (Exodus 20:14) but in the following chapter (Exodus chapter 21) it allows them to marry another woman provided the husband must not deprive the “first wife” of material and marital rights (Exodus 21:2-11). David (1 Sam.25: 43; 2 Sam.5: 13; 1 Sam.27: 3; 1 Kngs.11: 3; 2 Sam.2: 2; 2 Chro.14: 3; 2 Sam. 12:8), Abraham (Gen. 16:3; Gen.26: 34), Isaac (Gen. 28:1-9), Zuphite (1 Sam. 1:1-2), Ashhur (2 Chro. 4:5), Rehoboam (2 Chro. 11:18-21), Abijah (2 Chro. 13:21), Joash (2 Chro. 24:3), Nahor (Gen. 22:24), Eliphaz (Gen. 36:12), Caleb (1 Chro. 2:46), Manasseh (1 Chro. 7:14) and many great men of God happened to practice polygamy. David could take many wives as instructed by God Himself (2 Sam. 12:8) provided they are members of the Jewish people and not another man’s wife. David sinned when he took a non-Hebrew woman (the wife of Uriah the Hittite-Bathseba) as his additional wife (2 Sam. 11:1-27; 1 Kngs 15:5). Morality therefore, is relative and progressive. The passage involving 2 Sam. 12:8 clearly reveals: “And I gave thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto such and such things.” The context of the verse is that God, speaking through a prophet (Nathan), calling out David for David’s sin of taking another man’s wife (Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite), which is adultery indeed, and for setting up the death of Uriah the Hittite to try to hide David’s son. Also, at the point in time of this situation, David had already been married to at least seven known-named wives (1 Sam. 18:27; 25:42-43; 2 Sam. 3:2-5). But, in this verse 12, God was not condemning David for all his wives! In fact, these verse 12 shows God Himself actually saying that HE was the One Who had GIVEN David His wives. If God was against David’s polygamy, He certainly would not have said that He had GIVEN David his wives. But the LORD did not stop there. That verse 12 shows that the Lord took it even one step further than that! The Lord God even went on further to say that if David had wanted more wives; the Lord Himself said that He would have given David even more! It was only because David had sinned, in committing adultery by taking another man’s wife, and then causing that man’s death to try to hide David’s sin, that the Lord was calling him out through the prophet Nathan. There was no sin in the polygamy at all. This is later confirmed that this was the only matter by 1 Kings 15:5, which says “Because David did that which was RIGHT in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite”. Adultery therefore, is committed when a husband took the “wife of others” which is also explicitly prohibited in the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:17).

In the New Testament (1 Cor. 7:10-11 & 27-28), Paul wrote two things: his personal recommendation (v-6, 12, 25) and the real commandment of God (v-10, 11). Verses 10-11 shows that, if a believer WIFE leaves her believer HUSBAND, the believer WIFE is commanded of God to either: (a) remain unmarried, or (b) be reconciled back to her husband while believer HUSBAND is commanded of God to: (a) not put away any wife, or (b) to let any departed wife return back to him.

The key is that the HUSBAND is NOT given the same commandments of instruction. Only the WIFE is commanded to remain unmarried, but the HUSBAND is not given that commandment. Accordingly, the HUSBAND is of course, still free to marry another wife or add more wives. That fact is further proved by the later verses of 27-28. The original Greek text of verse 27 is clearly only addressing married men- whether or not the wife has departed.

Every society has its own concept of morality. Most of them believed and propagated their own kind of morality. Because of different concepts of morality, societies engaged into conflict with one another. Whoever will win in the conflict, the morality of that group shall become the moral standard of the society. Series of conflicts could result to modification of concepts about their morality. This only proves that there is no such thing as absolute morality or static morality.

CULTURE REGULATION OF SEXUALITY: Permissiveness versus Restrictiveness

All societies seek to regulate sexual activity to some degree, but some are generally permissive, others generally restrictive. Permissiveness or Restrictiveness, however, is not always consistent across different ages or for all aspects of sex. For example, quite a number of societies ease sexual restrictions somewhat in adolescence and many become more restrictive in adulthood (David R. Heise, Cultural Pattering of Sexual Socialization,” American Sociology Review, 32 (1967): 726-39). Then, too, societies change over time.

Premarital Sex- The degree to which sex before marriage is approved or disapproved varies greatly from society to society. The Trobriand Islanders, for example, approve of and encourage premarital sex, seeing it as an important preparation for later marriage roles. Both boys and girls are given complete instruction in all forms of sexual expression at the onset of puberty and are allowed plenty of opportunity for intimacy. Among the Ila-speaking peoples of central Africa, girls are given houses of their own at harvest time where they may play at being wife with the boys of their choice. It is said that among these people virginity does not exist beyond the age of ten (p. 306, 5th Edition Anthropology by carol Ember & Melvin Ember). In common with the Hopi, extramarital sex occurs fairly frequently in many societies. According to survey, in about 69% of the world’s societies men commonly have extramarital sex, and in about 57% women commonly do [Gwen J. Broude and Sarah J. Greene “Cross-Cultural Codes on Twenty Sexual Attitudes and Practices “ Ethnology, 15 (1976): 409-29].

On the other hand, in many societies premarital sex is discouraged. For example, among the Tepoztland Indians of Mexico, a girl’s life becomes “crabbed, cribbed, confined” from the time of her first menstruation (p. 306, 5th Edition Anthropology by carol Ember & Melvin Ember).

Extramarital Sex- A Hopi, speaking to an ethnographer, reported: “Next to the dance days with singing, feasting, and clown work, love-making with private wives was the greatest pleasure of my life. And for us who toil in the desert, these light affairs make life more pleasant. Even married men prefer a private wife now and then. At any rate there are times when a wife is not interested, and then a man must find someone else or live a worried life” (Lea Simmons, Sun Chief, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1942, p. 281).

In common with the Hopi, extramarital sex occurs fairly frequently in many societies. According to survey, in about 69% of the world’s societies men commonly have extramarital sex, and in about 57% women commonly do [Gwen J. Broude and Sarah J. Greene “Cross-Cultural Codes on Twenty Sexual Attitudes and Practices “Ethnology, 15 (1976): 409-29]. In several societies, then, there is quite a difference between the restrictive code and actual practice. The Navaho of 50 years ago were said to forbid adultery, but young married men under thirty were said to have 27% of their heterosexual contacts with women other than their wives. Moreover, although Americans almost overwhelmingly reject extramarital sex, 41% of married men and about 18% of married women have had extramarital sex.

These findings fit the cross-cultural finding that most societies have a double standard with regard to men and women: restrictions are considerably greater for the latter. A substantial number of societies openly accept extramarital relationships. Among the Toda of India, there was no censure of adultery. Indeed, “immorality attaches to the man who begrudges his wife to another” (Ford and beach, Patterns of sexual behavior, p. 113). The Chukchee of Siberia, who often traveled long distances, allowed a married man to engage in sex with his host’s wife, with the understanding that he would offer the same hospitality when the host visited him (Ford and beach, Patterns of Sexual Behavior, p. 114).

HOW DO PEOPLE MARRY?

When social scientists (anthropologists) speak of marriage, they do not mean to imply couples everywhere must get “certificates or have wedding ceremonies, as in our modern societies. All societies have social ways of marking the onset of marriage, but these vary considerably. Some cultures mark marriages by elaborate ceremonies; others have no ceremonies at all. In addition, many societies have various economic transactions. For social scientists, marriage is merely means a socially approved sexual and economic union [economic union- among class societies] between women and men with no regard of whether there is a ceremony (civil or religious) and no ceremony at all. Marriage is not confining to one-man-one-woman relationship. In fact, as society develops, the concept and practice of marriage also develops. It started from consanguine family, followed by punaluan family, and then pairing family, then followed by monogamous family.

Marriage in a class society (slave, feudal and capitalist) is the union of male and female, the economic union, reproduction of human species, biological-sexual pleasure, and separation and division of individual or groups from one another. The concept of marriage in primitive communal societies is only a matter of biological-sexual drive, and reproduction of species. They were married to the entire community and not to the individual. Children were children of the community, and husband and wife were husbands and wives of the entire community. Properties were property of the community. All of these were by product of their communal mode of production. Polyandry/polygamy is not a mark of barbarism neither monogamy marriage a hallmark of civilization.

According to Engels, “Marriage according to the bourgeois conception was a contract, a legal transaction, and the most important one of all because it disposed of two human beings, body and mind, for life [p. 140 of the Origin of the Family…]…Sex love between men and women can only become the real rule among the oppressed classes when it is done with mutual desire or mutual love, which means today among the proletariat- “whether this relation is officially sanctioned or not” [P. 135 of the Origin of the Family…].

Sex therefore is a matter of biological need/pleasure, and for reproduction of species. The question of sexual morality and the raising of children fall under society’s function.

In Socialism, women will be liberated and be afforded by economic equality and a collective approach to child raising. Free love, based on mutual attraction in freely chosen relationships, would then be feasible, according to Alexandra Kollontai, the first woman in the revolutionary government of Soviet Russia (Alexandra Kollontai- was a commissar for public welfare in 1917-18, a popular and controversial advocate for a radical sexual politics and a writer who explored the politics of love and sex in her stories (Revolutionary Sex and Free Love, Green Left Weekly Publication).

According to Engels, “Full freedom of marriage can therefore only be generally established when the abolition of capitalist production and of the property relations created by it has removed all the accompanying economic considerations which still exert such a powerful influence on the choice of a marriage partner” [p. 144].

HOW MANY DO PEOPLE MARRY?

Monogamy- There was a time when Westerners seriously believed monogamy was the end product of civilization. Polygamy was considered base and uncivilized. However, monogamy is not necessarily a hallmark of civilization, nor is polygamy a sign of barbarism. Only about one-quarter of the 565 societies in Murdock’s World Ethnographic Sample are strictly monogamous in the sense of permitting no other form of marriage. At any given moment, however, the majority of adults in societies have enough women to permit most men to have at least two wives. According to Engels, “the origin of monogamy as far as we can trace it back among the civilized and highly developed people of antiquity, it was not in any way the fruit of individual sex love, with which it had nothing whatever to do; marriages remained as before marriages of convenience. It was the first form of the family to be based not on natural but on economic conditions- on the victory of private property over primitive, natural communal property…the sole exclusive aims of monogamous marriage were to make the man supreme in the family and to propagate, as the future heirs to his wealth, children indisputably his own.”[The Origin of the family, Private property, & the State, by Frederick Engels, p. 128].

Engels further goes on later to say: “Thus when monogamous marriage first makes its appearance in history, it is not as the reconciliation of man and woman, still less as the highest form of such reconciliation.  Quite the contrary monogamous marriage comes on the scene as the subjugation of the one sex by the other; it announces a struggle between the sexes unknown throughout the whole previous prehistoric period.  In an old unpublished manuscript written by Marx and myself in 1846, I find the words:” The first division of labor is that between man and woman for the propagation of children.”  And today I can add:  The first class position that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male. Monogamous marriage was a great historical step forward; nevertheless, together with slavery and private wealth, it opens the period that has lasted until today in which every step forward is also relatively a step backward.”

Engels further commented, “The concepts we have of monogamous marriage are bourgeois concepts based on bourgeois concepts of morality that are fixed and rigid. Cheap moralizing about the concepts of heterosexual and monogamous marriage and sexual relationships is thus far nothing but an extension of the bourgeois ideology we have been conditioned by and the remnants that we have not yet thrown off”.

Polygamy- (one man with many wives) although it is not permitted in Western and other highly industrialized societies, polygamy is found in many societies throughout the world. Murdock’s World Ethnographic Sample reports that over 70% of societies allow it, and there is ample evidence for its existence in our own cultural background. In many societies polygamy is a mark of a man’s great wealth or high status.

Polyandry- (one woman with many husbands) Murdock’s World Ethnographic Sample includes only four societies (less than 1% of the total) where polyandry, or the marriage of several men to one woman, is practiced. Polyandry can fraternal (when the husbands are brothers) on non-fraternal.

MARXIST-LENINIST IDEOLOGY ON SEX AND GENDER QUESTION

According to the said ideology (outlined in the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, August Bebel, Vladimir Lenin, Alexandra Kollontai), “The class is the basic category of social studies. Both the sex and the gender are considered insignificant, if not non-existent; the class is of the uppermost importance. Differentiation between the social roles of man and women is considered to be governed by the class structure of the society and the existing social antagonisms.”

According to Marxism, “The situation can change, and women can obtain equality with men only after the victory of the socialist revolution. It is claimed that women do not have interests of there own and separate from those of men other than the strife of classes. Therefore, they must act as men’s “allies and helpers” in that class struggle of theirs. The self-declared women’s movement in this country has historically been middle class and largely oriented toward a fight for the same options as middle-class men within the system –“a fight for equal rights”. The fight for equal rights can only be possible after the victory of the socialist revolution; therefore, both male and female working class must focus their attention first to the mission of dismantling the capitalist- political power. Through a socialist revolution, men and women will eventually destroy the contradiction brought about by monogamous concept of family”.

Frederick Engels on the Marxist-Leninist view of sociology: “With the transfer of the means of production into common ownership [socialism, communism], the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society…. The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike, whether they are legitimate or not.”

Sexual Relations and the Class Struggle

Among the many problems that demand the consideration and attention of contemporary mankind, sexual problems are undoubtedly some of the most crucial. There isn’t a country or a nation apart from the legendary “islands”, where the question of sexual relationships isn’t becoming an urgent and burning issue. Mankind today is living through an acute sexual crisis, which is far more unhealthy and harmful for being long and drawn-out. Throughout the long journey of human history, you probably won’t find a time when the problems of sex have occupied such a central place in the life of society; when the question of relationships between the sexes has been like a conjuror, attracting the attention of millions of troubled people; when sexual dramas have served as such a never-ending source of inspiration for every sort of art. As the crisis continues and grows more serious, people are getting themselves into an increasingly hopeless situation and are trying desperately by every available means to settle the “insoluble question”. But with every new attempt to solve the problem, the confused knot of personal relationships gets more tangled. It’s as if we couldn’t see the one and only thread that could finally lead us to success in controlling the stubborn tangle. The sexual problem is like a vicious circle and however frightened people are and however much they run this way and that, they are unable to break out.

The conservatively inclined part of mankind argue that we should return to the happy times of the past, we should re-establish the old foundations of the family and strengthen the well-tried norms of sexual morality. The champions of bourgeois individualism say that we ought to destroy all the hypocritical restrictions of the obsolete code of sexual behavior. These unnecessary and repressive “rags” ought to be relegated to the archives — only the individual conscience. The individual will of each person can decide such intimate questions. Socialists, on the other hand, assure us that sexual problems will only be settled when the basic reorganization of the social and economic structure of society has been tackled. Doesn’t this “putting off the problem until tomorrow” suggest that we still haven’t found that one and only “magic thread”? Shouldn’t we find or at least locate this “magic thread” that promises to unravel the tangle? Shouldn’t we find it now at this very moment?

The history of human society is the history of the continual battle between various social groups and classes of opposing aims and interests gives us the clue to finding this “thread”. It isn’t the first time that mankind has gone through a sexual crisis. This isn’t the first time that the pressure of a rushing tide of new values and ideals has blurred the clear and definite meaning of moral commandments about sexual relationships. The “sexual crisis” was particularly acute at the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, when a great social advance pushed the proud and patriarchal feudal nobility who were used to absolute command into the background, and cleared the way for the development and establishment of a new social force — the bourgeoisie. The sexual morality of the feudal world had developed out of the depths of the — tribal way of life — the collective economy and the tribal authoritarian leadership that stifles the individual will of the individual member. This clashed with the new and strange moral code of the rising bourgeoisie. The sexual morality of the bourgeoisie is founded on principles that are in sharp contradiction to the basic morality of feudalism. Strict individualism and the exclusiveness and isolation of the “nuclear family” replace the emphasis on — collective work — that was characteristic of both the local and regional economic structure of patrimonial life. Under capitalism the ethic of competition, the triumphant principles of individualism and exclusive private property, grew and destroyed whatever remained of the idea of the community, which was to some extent common to all types of tribal life. For a whole century, while the complex laboratory of life was turning the old norms into a new formula and achieving the outward harmony of moral ideas, men wandered confusedly between two very different sexual codes and attempted to accommodate themselves to both.

But in those bright and colorful days of change, the sexual crisis, although profound did not have the threatening character that it has assumed in our time. The main reason for this is that in “the great days” of the Renaissance, in the “new age” when the bright light of a new spiritual culture flooded the dying world with its clear colours, flooded the bare monotonous life of the Middle Ages, the sexual crisis affected only a relatively small part of the population. By far the largest section of the population, the peasantry was affected only in the most indirect way and only as, slowly, over the course of centuries, a change in the economic base, in the economic relations of the countryside took place. At the top of the social ladder a bitter battle between two opposing social worlds was fought out. This involved also a struggle between their different ideals and values and ways of looking at things. It was these people who experienced and were threatened by the sexual crisis that developed.

The peasants, wary of new things, continued to cling firmly to the well-tried tribal tradition handed down from their forefathers and only under the pressure of extreme necessity modified and adapted this tradition to the changing conditions of their economic environment. Even at the height of the struggle between the bourgeois and the feudal world the sexual crisis by-passed the “class of tax-payers”. As the upper strata of society went about breaking up the old ways, the peasants in fact seemed to be more intent on clinging firmly to their traditions. I, spite of the continuous whirlwinds that threatened overhead and shook the very soil under their feet, the peasants, especially our Russian peasantry, managed to preserve the basis of their sexual code untouched and unshaken for many centuries. The story today is very different. The “sexual crisis” does not spare even the peasantry. Like an infectious disease it “knows neither mansion to the rank or status”. It spreads from the palaces and crowded quarters of the working class looks in on the peaceful dwelling places of the petty bourgeoisie, and makes its way into the heart of the countryside. It claims victims in the villas of the European bourgeoisie in the fusty basement of the worker’s family, and in the smoky hut of the peasant.

There is “no defense, no bolt” against sexual conflict. To imagine that only the members of the well-off sections of society are floundering and are in the throes of these problems would he to make a grave mistake. The waves of the sexual crisis are sweeping over the threshold of workers’ homes, and creating situations of conflict that are as acute and heartfelt as the psychological sufferings of the “refined bourgeois world”. The sexual crisis no longer interests only the “propertied”. The problems of sex concern the largest section of society they — concern the working class in its daily life. It is therefore hard to understand why this vital and urgent subject is treated with such indifference. This indifference is unforgivable. One of the tasks that confront the working class in its attack on the “beleaguered fortress of the future” is undoubtedly the task of establishing healthier and more joyful relationships between the sexes.

What are the roots of this unforgivable indifference to one of the essential tasks of the working class? How can we explain to ourselves the, hypocritical way in which “sexual problems” are relegated to the realm of “private matters” that are not worth the effort and attention of the collective? Why has the fact been ignored that throughout history one of the constant features of social struggle has been the attempt to change relationships between the sexes, and the type of moral codes that determine these relationships; and that the way personal relationships are organized in a certain social group has had a vital influence on the outcome of the struggle between hostile social closes? The tragedy of our society is not just that the usual forms of behavior and the principles regulating this behavior are breaking down, but that a spontaneous wave of new attempts at living is developing from within the social fabric, giving man hopes and ideals that cannot yet be realized. We are people living in the world of property relationships, a world of sharp class contradictions and of an individualistic morality. We still live and think under the heavy hand of an unavoidable loneliness of spirit. Man experiences this “loneliness” even in towns full of shouting noise and people, even in a crowd of close friends and work-mates. Because of their loneliness men are apt to cling in a predatory and unhealthy way to illusions about finding a “soul mate from among the members of the opposite sex. They see sly Eros as the only means of charming away, if only for a time, the gloom of inescapable loneliness.

People have perhaps never in any age felt spiritual loneliness as deeply and persistently as at the present time. People have probably never become so depressed and fallen so fully under the numbing influence of this loneliness. It could hardly be otherwise. The darkness never seems so black as when there’s a light shining just ahead. The “individualists” who are only loosely organized into a collective with other individuals, now have the chance to change their sexual relationships so that they are based on the creative principle of friendship and togetherness rather than on something blindly physiological. The individualistic property morality of the present day is beginning to seem very obviously paralyzing and oppressive. In criticizing the quality of sexual relationships of modern man is doing far more than rejecting the outdated forms of behavior of the current moral code. His lonely soul is seeking the regeneration of the very essence of these relationships. He moans and pines for “great love”, for a situation of warmth and creativity which alone has the power to disperse the cold spirit of loneliness from which present day “Individualists” suffer. If the sexual crisis is three quarters the result of external socioeconomic relationships, the other quarter hinges on our “refined individualistic psyche”, fostered by the ruling bourgeois ideology. The “potential for loving” of people today is, as the German writer Meisel-Hess puts it, at low ebb. Men and women seek each other in the hope of finding for themselves, through another person, a means to a larger share of spiritual and physical pleasure. It makes no difference whether they are married to the partner or not they give little thought to what’s going on in the other person, to what’s happening to their emotions and psychological processes.

The “crude individualism” that adorns our era is perhaps nowhere as blatant as in the organization of sexual relationships. A person wants to escape from his loneliness and naively imagines that being “in love” gives him the right to the soul of the other person — the right to warm himself in the rays of that rare blessing of emotional closeness and understanding. We individualists have had our emotions spoiled in the persistent cult of the “ego”. We imagine that we can reach the happiness of being in a state of “great love” with those near to us, without having to “give” up anything of ourselves. The claims we make on our “contracted partner” are absolute and undivided. We are unable to follow the simplest rule of love — that another person should be treated with great consideration. New concepts of the relationships between the sexes are already being outlined.

They will teach us to achieve relationships based on the unfamiliar ideas of complete freedom, equality, and genuine friendship. But in the meantime mankind has to sit in the cold with its spiritual loneliness and can only dream out of “better age” when all relationships between people will be warmed by the rays of “the sun god”, will experience a sense of togetherness, and will be educated in the new conditions of living. The sexual crisis cannot be solved unless there is a radical reform of the human psyche, and unless man’s potential for loving is increased. And a basic transformation of the socio-economic relationships along communist lines is, essential if the psyche is to be re-formed. This is an “old truth” but there is no other way out. The sexual crisis will in no way be reduced, ‘whatever kind of marriage or personal relationships people care to try.

History has never seen such a variety of personal relationships — indissoluble marriage with its “stable family”, “free unions”, secret adultery; a girl living quite openly with her lover in so-called “wild marriage”; pair marriage, marriage in threes and even the complicated marriage of four people — not to talk of the various forms of commercial prostitution. You get the same two moral codes existing side by side in the peasantry as well — a mixture of the old tribal way of life and the developing bourgeois family. Thus you get the permissiveness of the girls’ house side by side with the attitude that fornication, or men sleeping with their daughters-in-law, is a disgrace. It’s surprising that in the face of the contradictory and tangled forms of present-day personal relationships, people are able to preserve a faith in moral authority, and are able to make sense of these contradictions and thread their way through these mutually destructive and incompatible moral codes. Even the usual justification — “I live by the new morality” — doesn’t help anyone, since the new morality is still only in the process of being formed. Our task is to draw out from the chaos of present-day contradictory sexual norms the shape, and make clear the principles, of a morality that answers the spirit of the progressive and revolutionary class.

Besides the already mentioned inadequacies of the contemporary psyche — extreme individuality, egoism that has become a cult — the “ sexual crisis” is made worse by two characteristics of the psychology of modern man:

1. The idea of “possessing” the married partner;

2. The belief that the two sexes are unequal, that they are of unequal worth in every way, in every sphere, including the sexual sphere.

Bourgeois morality, with its introverted individualistic family based entirely on private property, has carefully cultivated the idea that one partner should completely “possess” the other. It has been very successful. The idea of “possession” is more pervasive now than under the patrimonial system of marriage relationships. During tile long historical period that developed under the aegis of the “tribe”, the idea of a man possessing his wife (there has never been any thought of a wife having undisputed possession of her husband) did not go further than a purely physical possession. The wife was obliged to be faithful physically — her soul was her own. Even the knights recognized the right of their wives to have chichesbi (platonic friends and admirers) and to receive the “devotion” of other knights and minnesingers. It is the bourgeoisie who have carefully tended and fostered the ideal of absolute possession of the “contracted partner’s” emotional as well as physical “I”, thus extending the concept of property rights to include the right to the other person’s whole spiritual and emotional world. Thus the family structure was strengthened and stability guaranteed in the period when the bourgeoisie were struggling for domination. This is the ideal that we have accepted as our heritage and have been prepared to see as an unchangeable moral absolute).

The idea. of “property” goes far beyond the boundaries of “lawful marriage”. It makes itself felt as an inevitable ingredient of the most “free” union of love. Contemporary lovers with all their respect for freedom are not satisfied by the knowledge of the physical faithfulness alone of the person they love. To be rid of the eternally present threat of loneliness, we “launch an attack” on the emotions of the person we love with a cruelty and lack of delicacy that will not he understood by future generations. We demand the right to know every secret of this person’s being. The modern lover would forgive physical unfaithfulness sooner than “spiritual” unfaithfulness. He sees any emotion experienced outside the boundaries of the “free” relationship as the loss of his own personal treasure.

People “in love” are unbelievably insensitive in their relations to a third person. We have all no doubt observed this strange situation two people who love each other are in a hurry, before they have got to know each other properly. to exercise their rights over all the relationships that the other person has formed up till that time, to look into the innermost corners of their partner’s life. Two people who yesterday were unknown to each other, and who come together in a single moment of mutual erotic feeling, rush to get at the heart of the other person’s being. They want to feel that this strange and incomprehensible psyche. With its past experience that can never be suppressed, is an extension of their own self. The idea that the married pair are each other’s property is so accepted that when a young couple who were yesterday each living their own separate lives are today opening each other’s correspondence without a blush, and making common property of the words of a third person who is a friend of only one of them, this hardly strikes us as something unnatural. But this kind of “intimacy” is only really possible when people have been working out their lives together for a long period of ‘time. Usually a dishonest kind of closeness is ‘substituted for this genuine feeling, the deception being fostered by the mistaken idea that a physical relationship between two people is a sufficient basis for extending the rights of possession to each other’s emotional being.

The “inequality” of the sexes — the inequality of their rights, the unequal value of their physical and emotional experience — is the other significant circumstance that distorts the psyche of contemporary man and is a reason for the deepening of the — sexual crisis”. The — double morality” inherent in both patrimonial and bourgeois society has, over the course of centuries poisoned the psyche of men and women. These attitudes are so much a part of us that they are more difficult to get rid of than the ideas about possessing people that we have inherited only from bourgeois ideology. The idea that the sexes are unequal, even in the sphere of physical and emotional experience, means that the same action will be regarded differently according to whether it was the action of a man or a woman. Even the most “progressive” member of the bourgeoisie, who has long ago rejected the whole code of current morality, easily catches himself out at this point since he too in judging a man and a woman for the same behavior will pass different sentences. One simple example is enough. Imagine that a member of the middle-class intelligentsia, who is learned, involved in politics and social affairs — who is in short a “personality”, even a “public figure” — starts sleeping with his cook (a not uncommon thing to happen) and even becomes legally married to her. Does bourgeois society change its attitude to this man? Does the event throw even the tiniest shadow of doubt as to his moral worth? Of course not. Now imagine another situation. A respected woman of bourgeois society — a social figure, a research student, a doctor, or a writer, it’s all the same — becomes friendly with her footman, and to complete the scandal marries him. How does bourgeois society react to the behavior of the hitherto “respected” woman? They cover her with “scorn”, of course! And remember, it’s so much the worse for her if her husband, the footman, is good-looking or possesses other “physical qualities”. “It’s obvious what she’s fallen for”, will be the sneer of the hypocritical bourgeoisie.

If a woman’s choice has anything of an “individual character” about it she won’t be forgiven by bourgeois society. This attitude is a kind of throwback to the traditions of tribal times. Society still wants a woman to take into account, when she is making her choice, rank and status and the instructions and interests of her family. Bourgeois society cannot see a woman as an independent person separate from her family unit and outside the isolated circle of domestic obligations and virtues. Contemporary society goes even further than the ancient tribal society in acting as woman’s trustee, instructing her not only to marry but also to fall in love only with those people who are “worthy” of her.  We are continually meeting men of considerable spiritual and intellectual qualities who have chosen as their friend-for-life a worthless and empty woman, who in no way matches the spiritual worth of the husband. We accept this as something normal and we don’t think twice about it. At the most friends might pity Ivan Ivanovich for having landed himself with such an unbearable wife. But if it happens the other way round, we flap our hands and exclaim with concern. “How could such an outstanding woman as Maria Petrovna fall for such a nonentity? I begin to doubt the worth of Maria Petrovna.” Where do we get this double criterion? What is the reason for it? The reason is undoubtedly that the idea of the sexes being of “different value’’ has become, over the centuries, a part of man’s psychological make-up. We are used to evaluating a woman not as a personality with individual qualities and failings irrespective of her physical and emotional experience, but only as an appendage of a man. This man, the husband, or the lover throws the light of his personality over the woman, and it is this reflection and not the woman herself that we consider to be the true definition of her emotional and moral make-up. In the eyes of society the personality of a man can be more easily separated from his actions in the sexual sphere. The personality of a woman is judged almost exclusively in terms of her sexual life. This type of attitude stems from the role that women have played in society over the centuries, and it is only now that a re-evaluation of these attitudes is slowly being achieved, at least in outline. Only a change in the economic role of woman, and her independent involvement in production, can and will bring about the weakening of these mistaken and hypocritical ideas.

The three basic circumstances distorting the modern psyche — extreme egoism, the idea that married partners possess each other, and the acceptance of the inequality of the sexes in terms of physical and emotional experience — must be faced if the sexual problem is to he settled. People will find the “magic key” with which they can break out of their situation only when their psyche has a sufficient store of “feelings of consideration”. When their ability to love is greater, when the idea of freedom in personal relationships becomes fact and when the principle of “comradeship” triumphs over the traditional idea of Inequality” and submission. The sexual problems cannot be solved without this radical re-education of our psyche. But isn’t this asking too much? Isn’t the suggestion utopian without foundation, the naive notion of a dreaming idealist? How are you honestly going to raise mankind’s “potential for loving”? Haven’t wise men of all nations since time immemorial, beginning with Buddha and Confucius and ending with Christ, been busying themselves over this? And who can say if the — potential for loving” has been raised? Isn’t this kind of well — meaning daydream about the solution of the sexual crisis simply a confession of weakness and a refusal to go on with the search for the “magic key”?

Is that the case? Is the radical re-education of our psyche and our approach to sexual relationships something so unlikely, so removed from reality? Couldn’t one say that, on the contrary, while great social and economic changes are in progress, the conditions are being created that demand and give rise to a new basis for psychological experience that is in line with what we have been talking about? Another class, a new social group, is coming forward to replace the bourgeoisie with its bourgeois ideology and its individualistic code of sexual morality. The progressive class, as it develops in strength cannot fail to reveal new ideas about relationships between the sexes that form in close connection with the problems of its social class. The complicated evolution of socio-economic relations taking place before our eyes, which changes all our ideas about the role of women in social life and undermines the sexual morality of the bourgeoisie has two contradictory results. On the one hand we see mankind’s tireless efforts to adapt to the new, changing socio-economic conditions. This is manifest either in an attempt to preserve the “old forms” while providing them with a new content (the observance of the external form of the indissoluble, strictly monogamous marriage with an acceptance, in practice, of the freedom of the partners) or in the acceptance of new forms which contain however all the elements of the moral code of bourgeois marriage (the “free” union where the compulsive possessiveness of the partners is greater than within legal marriage). On the other hand we see the slow but steady appearance of new forms of relationships between the sexes that differ from the old norms in outward form and in spirit.

Mankind is not groping its way toward these new ideas with much confidence but we need to look at its attempt, however vague it is at the moment, since it is an attempt closely linked with the tasks of the proletariat as the class, which is to capture the “beleaguered fortress” of the future. If, amongst the complicated labyrinth of contradictory and tangled sexual norms, you want to find the beginnings of more healthy relationships between the sexes — relationships that promise to lead humanity out of the sexual crisis — you have to leave the “cultured quarters” of the bourgeoisie with their refined individualistic psyche, and take a look at the huddled dwelling-places of the working class. There, amidst the horror and squalor of capitalism amidst tears and curses, the springs of life are welling up.

You can see the double process which we have just mentioned working itself out in the lives of the proletariat, who have to exist under the pressure of harsh economic conditions, cruelly exploited by capitalism. You can see both the process of “passive adjustment” and that of active opposition to the existing reality. The destructive influence of capitalism destroys the basis of the worker’s family and forces him unconsciously to “adapt” to the existing conditions. This gives rise to a whole series of situations with regard to relationships between the sexes are similar to those in other social classes. Under the pressure of low wages the worker inevitably tends to get married at a later age. If twenty years ago a worker usually got married between the ages of twenty and twenty-five, he now shoulders the cares of a family only towards his thirtieth year. The higher the cultural demands of the worker — the more he values the opportunity of being in contact with cultural life, of visiting theatres and lectures, of reading papers and magazines, of giving his spare time to struggle and politics or to some favourite pursuit such as art or reading etc. — the later he tends to get married. But physical needs won’t take a financial situation into consideration: they insist on making themselves felt. The working-class bachelor, in the same way as the middle-class bachelor, looks to prostitution for an outlet. This is an example of the passive adjustment of the working class to the unfavorable conditions of their existence. Take another example — When the worker marries, the low level of pay forces the worker’s family to “regulate” childbirth just as the bourgeois family does. The frequent cases of infanticide, the growth of prostitution — these are all expressions of the same process. These are all examples of adjustment by the working class to the surrounding reality. But this is not a process characteristic of the proletariat alone. All the other classes and sections of the population caught up in the world process of capitalist development react in this way.

We see a difference only when we begin to talk about the active creative forces at work that oppose rather than adapt to the repressive reality and about the new ideals and attempts at new relationship between the sexes. It is only within the working class that this active opposition is taking shape. This doesn’t mean that the other classes and sections of the population (particularly the middle-class intelligentsia who, by the circumstances of their social existence, stand closest to the working class) don’t adopt the “new” forms that are being worked out by the progressive working class. The bourgeoisie, motivated by an instinctive desire to breathe new life into their dead and feeble forms of marriage, seize upon the “new” ideas of the working class. But the ideals and code of sexual morality that the working class develops do not serve the class needs of the bourgeoisie. They reflect the demands of the working class and therefore serve as a new weapon in its social struggle. They help shatter the foundations of the social domination of the bourgeoisie. Let us make this point clear by an example. The attempt by the middle-class intelligentsia to replace indissoluble marriage by the freer, more easily broken ties of civil marriage destroys the essential basis of the social stability of the, bourgeoisie. It destroys the monogamous, property-orientated family. On the other hand, a greater fluidity in relationships between the sexes coincides with and is even the indirect result of one of the basic tasks of the working class. The rejection of the element of “submission” in marriage is going to destroy the last artificial ties of the bourgeois family. This act of “submission” on the part of one member of the working class to another, in the same way as the sense of possessiveness in relationships, has a harmful effect on the proletarian psyche. It is not in the interests of that revolutionary class to elect only certain members as its independent representatives, whose duty it is to serve the class interests before the interests of the individual isolated family. Conflicts between the interests of the family and the interests of the class which occur at the time of a strike or during an active struggle, and the moral yardstick with which the proletariat views such events, are sufficiently clear evidence of the basis of the new proletarian ideology.

Suppose family affairs require a businessman to take his capital out of a firm at a time when the enterprise is in financial difficulties. Bourgeois morality is clear-cut in its estimate of his action: “The interests of the family come first”. We can compare with this the attitude of workers to a strikebreaker who defies his comrades and goes to work during a strike to save his family from being hungry. “The interests of the class come first”. Here’s another example. The love and loyalty of the middle-class husband to his family are sufficient to divert his wife from all interests outside the home and end up by tying her to the nursery and the kitchen. “The ideal husband can support the ideal family” is the way the bourgeoisie looks at it. But how do workers look upon a “conscious” member of their class who shuts the eyes of his wife or girl-friend to the social struggle? For the sake of individual happiness, for the sake of the family, the morality of the working class will demand that women take part in the life that is unfolding beyond the doorsteps. The “captivity” of women in the home, the way family interests are placed before all else, the widespread exercise of absolute property rights by the husband over the wife — all these things are being broken down by the basic principle of the working-class ideology of “comradely solidarity”. The idea that some members are unequal and must submit to other members of one and the same class is in contradiction with the basic proletarian principle of comradeship. This principle of comradeship is basic to the ideology of the working class. It colors and determines the whole developing proletarian morality, a morality which helps to re-educate the personality of man, allowing him to be capable of feeling, capable of freedom instead of being bound by a sense of property, capable of comradeship rather than inequality and submission.

It is an old truth that every new class that develops as a result an advance in economic growth and material culture offers mankind an appropriately new ideology. The code of sexual behavior is a part of this ideology. However it is worth saying something about “proletarian ethics” or “proletarian sexual morality”, in order to criticize the well-worn idea that proletarian sexual morality is no more than “super-structure and that there is no place for any change in this sphere until the economic base of society has been changed. As if the ideology of a certain class is formed only when the breakdown in the socio-economic relationships, guaranteeing the dominance of that class has been completed! All the experience of history teaches us that a social group works out its ideology, and consequently its sexual morality. in the process of its struggle with hostile social forces. Only with the help of new spiritual values, created within and answering the needs of the class, will that class manage to strengthen its social position. It can only successfully win power from those groups in society that are hostile to it by holding to these new norms and ideals. To search for the basic criteria for a morality that can reflect the interests of the working class, and to see that the developing sexual norms are in accordance with these criteria — this is the task that must be tackled by the ideologists of the working class. We have to understand that it is only by becoming aware of the creative process that is going on within society, and of the new demands, new ideals and new norms that are being formed, only by becoming clear about the bash of the sexual morality of the progressive class, that we can possibly make sense of the chaos and contradictions of sexual relationships and find the thread that will make it possible to undo the tightly rolled up tangle of sexual problems.

We must remember that only a code of sexual morality that is in harmony with the problems of the working class can serve as an important weapon in strengthening the working class’s fighting position. The experience of history teaches us that much. What can stop us using this weapon in the interests of the working class, who are fighting for a communist system and for new relationships between the sexes that are deeper and more joyful?

[Source: Alexandra Kollontai, Selected Writings, Allison & Busby, 1977; Translated: by Alix Holt, 1972; Written: 1921; the first woman in the revolutionary government of Soviet Russia (she was commissar for public welfare in 1917-18), a popular and controversial advocate for a radical sexual politics and a writer who explored the politics of love and sex in her stories. (Revolutionary Sex and Free Love, Green Left Weekly]

THE EMERGENCE OF MONOGAMY AND THE SUBJUGATION OF WOMEN

According to Marx, “The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus) but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services. It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state”[The Origin of the Family… p. 123].

According to Engels, “This is the origin of monogamy as far as we can trace it back among the most civilized and highly developed people of antiquity. It was not in any way the fruit of individual sex love, with which it had nothing whatever to do,; marriages remained as before marriages of convenience. It was the first form of the family to be based not on natural but on economic conditions-on the victory of private property over primitive, natural communal property” [p. 128, The Origin of the Family…].

According to Engels, “The Greeks themselves put the matter quite frankly: the sole exclusive aims of monogamous marriage were to make the man supreme in the family and to propagate, as the future heirs to his wealth, children indisputably his own. Otherwise, marriage was a burden, a duty which had to be performed whether one liked it or not to gods, state, and one’s ancestors… Thus when monogamous marriage first makes its appearance in history, it is not as the reconciliation of man and woman, still less as the highest form such a reconciliation. Quite the contrary monogamous marriage comes on the scene as the subjugation of the one sex by the other; it announces a struggle between the sexes unknown throughout the whole previous prehistoric period… The first class opposition that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male… The old comparative freedom of sexual intercourse by no means disappeared with the victory of pairing marriage or even of monogamous marriage” [pp. 128-129, The Origin of the Family…].

With monogamous marriage, “two constant social types, unknown hitherto, make their appearance on the scene-the wife’s attendant lover and the cuckold husband. The husbands had won the victory over the wives, but the vanquished magnanimously provided the crown. Together with monogamous marriage and hetaerism, adultery became an unavoidable social institution-denounced, severely penalized, but impossible to suppress,” was according to Engels.

Engels’ further point- that “Individual sex love can characteristically be expressed more fully outside marriage than within it in our society”[p. 132, footnotes, The Origin of the Family…] -suggests that marital relations may well have been more fulfilling than ours, not less, in classless societies…If there were any real love affairs between free men and free women, these occurred only in the course of adultery” [adultery -as defined by the present capitalist world].

POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF ENGELS’ ARGUMENT ON WOMEN’S SUBJUGATION:

Engels writes, “the peculiar character of the supremacy of the husband over the wife in the modern family…will only be seen in the clear light of day when both possess legally complete equality of rights,” although, in itself, legal equity affords no solution. Just as the legal equality of capitalist and proletarian makes visible “the specific character of the economic oppression burdening the proletariat”, so also will legal equality reveal the fundamental change that is necessary for the liberation of women. Engels goes on to say: “Then it will be plain that the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry, and that this in turn demands that the characteristic of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society be abolished [Origin of the Family, Private property and the state, by F. Engels, p. 43]. Such a change is dependent on the abolition of private ownership. “With the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike. Only when this is accomplished will a new generation of women grow up” [p.44].

Engels further writes, “it is crucial to the organization of women for their liberation to understand that it is the monogamous family as an economic unit, at the heart of class society, that is basic to their subjugation…By demanding that society assume responsibility for their children, they are attacking the nature of the family as an economic unit, the basis of their own oppression and a central buttress of class exploitation”[44,45]. [Suggested readings: Barbara Sinclair Deckard, The Women’s Movement, 2nd Edition, 1978; Rayna Reiter, Toward Anthropology of Women, 1975; Frederick Engels, the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1972; Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies, 1971; Julia O’Faolain and Laura Martines, eds, Not in God’s Image, 1973; Howard Sherman and James Wood, Sociology, 1979]

THE ISSUE OF WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION [The writings of Lenin to Clara Zetkin on the Women’s Question]

According to Lenin in his writings to Clara Zetkin on Women’s Question, “The thesis must clearly point out that real freedom for women is possible only through communism. The inseparable connection between the social and human position of the woman, and private property in the means of production, must be strongly brought out. That will draw a clear and ineradicable line of distinction between our policy and feminism. And it will also supply the basis for regarding the woman question as a part of the social question, of the workers’ problem, and so bind it firmly to the proletarian class struggle and the revolution. The communist women’s movement must itself be a mass movement, a part of the general mass movement. Not only of the proletariat, but of all the exploited and oppressed, all the victims of capitalism or any other mastery. In that lies its significance for the class struggles of the proletariat and for its historical creation communist society. We can rightly be proud of the fact that in the Party, in the Communist International, we have the flower of revolutionary womankind. But that is not enough. We must win over to our side the millions of working women in the towns and villages. Win them for our struggles and in particular for the communist transformation of society. There can be no real mass movement without women.

IMMEDIATE DEMANDS

Lenin further states, “That is why it is right for us to put forward demands favorable to women. That is not a minimum, a reform programmed in the sense of the Social Democrats, of the Second International. It is not a recognition that we believe in the eternal character, or even in the long duration of the rule of the bourgeoisie and their state. It is not an attempt to appease women by reforms and to divert them from the path of revolutionary struggle. It is not that or any other reformist swindle. Our demands are practical conclusions, which we have drawn from the burning needs, the shameful humiliation of women, in bourgeois society, defenseless and without rights. We demonstrate thereby that we recognize these needs, and are sensible of the humiliation of the woman, the privileges of the man. That we hate, yes, hate everything, and will abolish everything which tortures and oppresses the woman worker, the housewife, the peasant woman, the wife of the petty trader, yes, and in many cases the women of the possessing classes. The rights and social regulations which we demand for women from bourgeois society show that we understand the position and interests of women, and will have consideration for them under the proletarian dictatorship. Not of course, as the reformists do, lulling them to inaction and keeping them in leading strings. No, of course not; but as revolutionaries who call upon the women to work as equals in transforming the old economy and ideology.”

Clara Zetkin assured Lenin that she shared his views, but that they would certainly meet with resistance. Nor could it be denied that our immediate demands for women could be wrongly drawn up and expressed. “Nonsense!” said Lenin, almost bad temperedly. “That danger is present in everything that we do and say. If we were to be deterred by fear of that from doing what is correct and necessary, we might as well become Indian Stylites. Don’t move, don’t move, we can contemplate our principles from a high pillar! Of course, we are concerned not only with the contents of our demands, but also with the manner in which we present them. I thought I had made that clear enough. Of course we shan’t put forward our demands for women as though we were mechanically counting our beads. No, according to the prevailing circumstances, we must fight now for this, now for that. And, of course, always in connection with the general interests of the proletariat. Every such struggle brings us in opposition to respectable bourgeois relationships, and to their not less respectable reformist admirers whom it compels, either to fight together with us under our leadership–which they don’t want to do–or to be shown up in their true colors. That is, the struggle clearly brings out the differences between us and other Parties, brings out our communism. It wins us the confidence of the masses of women who feel themselves exploited, enslaved, suppressed, by the domination of the man, by the power of the employer, by the whole of bourgeois society. Betrayed and deserted by all, the workingwomen will recognize that they must fight together with us. Must I again swear to you, or let you swear, that the struggles for our demands for women must be bound up with the object of seizing power, of establishing the proletarian dictatorship? That is our Alpha and Omega at the present time.

That is clear, quite clear. But the women of the working people will not feel irresistibly driven into sharing our struggles for the state power if we only and always put forward that one demand, though it were with the trumpets of Jericho. No, no! The women must be made conscious of the political connection between our demands and their own suffering, needs, and wishes. They must realize what the proletarian dictatorship means for them: complete equality with man in law and practice, in the family, in the state, in society; an end to the power of the bourgeoisie.”

Lenin continued. “Soviet Russia puts our demands for women in a new light. Under the proletarian dictatorship those demands are not objects of struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. They are part of the structure of communist society. That indicates to women in other countries the decisive importance of the winning of power by the proletariat. The difference must be sharply emphasized, so as to get the women into the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat. It is essential for the Communist Parties, and for their triumph, to rally them on a clear understanding of principle and a firm organizational basis. But don’t let us deceive ourselves. Our national sections still lack a correct understanding of this matter.

They are standing idly by while there is this task of creating a mass movement of workingwomen under communist leadership. They don’t understand that the development and management of such a mass movement is an important part of entire Party activity, indeed, a half of general Party work. Their occasional recognition of the necessity and value of a powerful, clear-headed communist women’s movement is a platonic verbal recognition, not the constant care and obligation of the Party.

According to Lenin, “Our ideological conceptions give rise to principles of organization. No special organizations for women. A woman communist is a member of the Party just as a man communist, with equal rights and duties. There can be no difference of opinion on that score. Nevertheless, we must not close our eyes to the fact that the Party must have bodies, working groups, commissions, committees, bureaus or whatever you like, whose particular duty it is to arouse the masses of women workers, to bring them into contact with the Party, and to keep them under Its influence. That, of course, involves systematic work among them. We must train those whom we arouse and win, and equip them for the proletarian class struggle under the leadership of the Communist Party. I am thinking not only of proletarian women, whether they work in the factory or at home. The poor peasant women, the petty bourgeois–they, too, are the prey of capitalism, and more so than ever since the war.

The unpolitical, unsocial, backward psychology of these women, their isolated sphere of activity, the entire manner of their life–these are facts. It would be absurd to overlook them, absolutely absurd. We need appropriate bodies to carry on work amongst them, special methods of agitation and forms of organization. That is not feminism that is practical, revolutionary expediency.”

WHAT ABOUT THE MEN?

According to Lenin, “Agitation and propaganda work among women, their awakening and revolutionisation, is regarded as an incidental matter, as an affair which only concerns women comrades. They alone are reproached because work in that direction does not proceed more quickly and more vigorously. That is wrong, quite wrong! Real separatism and as the French say, feminism à la rebours, feminism upside down! What is at the basis of the incorrect attitude of our national sections?

In the final analysis it is nothing but an under-estimation of woman and her work. Yes, indeed! Unfortunately it is still true to say of many of our comrades, ‘scratch a communist, and find a philistine’. 0f course, you must scratch the sensitive spot, their mentality as regards women. Could there be a more damning proof of this than the calm acquiescence of men who see how women grow worn out In petty, monotonous household work, their strength and time dissipated and wasted, their minds growing narrow and stale, their hearts beating slowly, their will weakened! Of course, I am not speaking of the ladies of the bourgeoisie who shove on to servants the responsibility for all household work, including the care of children. What I am saying applies to the overwhelming majority of women, to the wives of workers and to those who stand all day in a factory.

“So few men–even among the proletariat–realize how much effort and trouble they could save women, even quite do away with, if they were to lend a hand in ‘women’s work’. But no, that is contrary to the ‘rights and dignity of a man’. They want their peace and comfort. The home life of the woman is a daily sacrifice to a thousand unimportant trivialities. The old master right of the man still lives in secret. His slave takes her revenge, also secretly.  The backwardness of women, their lack of understanding for the revolutionary ideals of the man decreases his joy and determination in fighting. They are like little worms, which, unseen, slowly but surely, rot and corrode. I know the life of the worker, and not only from books. Our communist work among the women, our political work, embraces a great deal of educational work among men. We must root out the old ‘master’ idea to its last and smallest root, in the Party and among the masses. That is one of our political tasks, just as is the urgently necessary task of forming a staff of men and women comrades, well trained in theory and practice, to carry on Party activity among working women.”

MILLIONS BUILDING NEW LIFE

Lenin further states that, “The Government of the proletarian dictatorship, together with the Communist Party and trade unions, is of course leaving no stone unturned in the effort to overcome the backward ideas of men and women, to destroy the old un-communist psychology. In law there is naturally complete equality of rights for men and women. And everywhere there is evidence of a sincere wish to put this equality into practice.

We are bringing the women into the social economy, into legislation and government. All educational institutions are open to them, so that they can increase their professional and social capacities. We are establishing communal kitchens and public eating-houses, laundries and repairing shops, nurseries, kindergartens, children’s homes, and educational institutes of all kinds. In short, we are seriously carrying out the demand in our programme for the transference of the economic and educational functions of the separate household to society.

That will mean freedom for the woman from the old household drudgery and dependence on man. That enables her to exercise to the full her talents and her inclinations. The children are brought up under more favorable conditions than at home. We have the most advanced protective laws for women workers in the world and the officials of the organized workers carry them out. We are establishing maternity hospitals, homes for mothers and children, mother craft clinics, organizing lecture courses on childcare, exhibitions teaching mothers how to look after themselves and their children, and similar things.

We are making the most serious efforts to maintain women who are unemployed and unprovided for. “We realize clearly that that is not very much, in comparison with the needs of the working women, that it is far from being all that is required for their real freedom. But still it is tremendous progress, as against conditions in tsarist-capitalist Russia. It is even a great deal compared with conditions in countries where capitalism still has a free hand. It is a good beginning in the right direction, and we shall develop it further. With all our energy, you may believe that. For every day of the existence of the Soviet State proves more clearly that we cannot go forward without the women.”

HOW CLASS RELATIONS AFFECT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS?

In the medieval period, the dominant view was that all governments and god divinely ordains laws as interpreted and propagated by his prophet (the current prophet being whoever was Pope). The 18th century Rationalist thinkers of then very revolutionary bourgeois class attacked this view and all other supernatural explanations. The Rationalists believed that governments and laws are rationally devised by a great man (a king or president) or by a whole group of great men sitting in a legislature. Some went further to say that laws reflect (or should) the rational decisions of all the people taken together based on their shared values. In a similar way, some modern political sociologists assert that laws and government emerge out of the competition of opposing ideas and movements and represent the prevailing values. But if institutions reflect prevailing views- then and institutions are used to reinforce the prevailing views-then we must ask from where these views arise, how they come to prevail, and why they are eventually replaced by new views. The point is that government and legal systems do not evolve by themselves, nor do judges, lawyers, and legislators operate in a nonpartisan vacuum above social realities. Rather, lawyers and legislators operate, live and act within a particular social and economic environment; they always represent the interests of one class or another, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. In this perspective, it is the socio-economic variables that determine the character of the legal system, according to the needs and requirements of the most powerful economic class or classes. Changes in government and legal institutions are thus determine by changes in (a) ideology, (b) class relations, and (c) productive forces (Sociology by Howard Sherman and James Wood, pp.302-303).

HOW IDEAS AND INSTITUTIONS AFFECT CLASS RELATIONS?

We have seen how the interests and power of different classes have enormous impact on the character and operation of institutions and, indirectly, on which ideas dominate society. At the same time, these dominant ideas and institutions strongly affect class relationships. For example, one principle of the prevailing legal system in feudal England was called “primogeniture.” This law made the entire feudal estate goes only to the eldest son of the feudal lord and no one else. It arose from the interest of the ruling class in keeping each feudal estate in one piece, with no division among large numbers of children. In turn, it did preserve the large feudal estates and hence preserved the power of the feudal lords as a class.

When the British and French revolutions put the capitalist class in power, it was in their interest to be able to buy and sell anything, from products to land to sex. Consequently, the laws on primogeniture and possession were changed. Capitalism introduced the ideology of the sacred right of private property ownership. The laws were changed so that anything, including land could be bought and sold without restrictions, and could be divided among children in any way the owner desired. Such laws of private ownership, enforced by the police and the courts, do play an important role in support of the class relations of capitalism (Sociology by Sherman and Wood, pp.305, 306).

HOW CLASS RELATIONS AFFECT PRODUCTIVE FORCES?

The humans, class relations of production are decisive in determining how fast or slow the productive forces may develop. For example, it has been observed that there was little technical innovation of any kind in the ancient Roman Empire. Why did technology stagnate among the Romans? The mystery is easy to solve when we remember that Rome was building on the economic relations of slavery. Slaves have little or no interest in productive innovations because they receive none of the greater production. On the other hand, the slave owners consider that manual work is only for slaves, so they come to have disdain for the whole work process. Since they pay so little attention to the technical side of production, and seldom use any tools themselves, the slave owners also seldom make any technical innovations.

Under capitalism, the forces of production are rapidly expanded in the interests of the capitalists. However, the demand for goods is limited because capitalists try to hold worker’’ wages as far as possible. Therefore, there are crises of “overproduction” and depression, in which there are too many goods for the money available to consumers. In every depression, the development of the forces of production is drastically curtailed, the amount of capital equipment declines as machinery depreciates and is not replaced, research money is reduced and innovations postponed, and workers’ skills are no longer upgraded, as millions are unemployed. The basic unequal relation between capitalist and worker thus has impact on these forces of production (Sociology by Sherman and Wood, pp. 306,307).

HOW PRODUCTIVE FORCES AFFECT CLASS RELATIONS?

The relations of production between groups of human beings-which have been class relations in most societies of the 2,000 years, are the most vital link in social analysis from Marxist viewpoint.  Analysis must begin here because relations of production condition the character of all institutions and human activities and purposes. It is the relations in the economic base that directly affects human institutions and thought. For example, under capitalist substitution of atomic power for coal power would not directly change ideology. Thus, more use of atomic power might increase size and concentration of ownership, thus creating more monopolies by big business. The greater economic power of big business would in turn affect the political structure and ideological structure or ideology of our society (Sociology by Sherman and Wood, p.307).

WHAT IS THE CLASS INTEREST OF DIFFERENT SOCIAL CLASSES IN SOCIETY?

In primitive communal societies, there was no “class interest” simply because there was no social classes, therefore, no exploitation (Philippine History- A Past Revisited, vol. 1 by Prof. Renato Constantino, pp.31, 32.38,39,350). However, with birth of Slavery, people were divided for the first time into social classes: the slave-owners vs. the slaves. The “class interest” of the slave-owners is to preserve their control and ownership over slaves, the means of production and their production. The opposing “class interest” of the slaves is for them to free from slavery. In feudalism, the “class interest” of the feudal lords, nobles and kings are directed towards the extraction of more wealth from land rent, usury and private ownership of the land while the opposing “class interest” of the peasants is towards the liberation from land rent, usury and for them to own a piece of land they till.

With the birth of capitalism, the “class interest” of the capitalists is towards the accumulation of profit out of the surplus value produce by the working class and the continuous private ownership of the means of production. The opposing “class interest” of the working class is towards the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and for the socialization of both labor and capital. Since all wealth including money, factories and machines are by product of human labor, therefore, the means of production must be socialized, and labor must be socialized. The Bible made it clear that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, they that build houses dwells in them, those who planted eat their fruits. No longer will they build houses and others live in them or plant and others eat (Isa. 65:21-23), in short, socialism. Such “class interest” produces “class conflict or class struggle” simply because of the presence of social classes. In primitive communal societies there was no class struggle simply because there was no social classes. History therefore tells us that there exists a “continuous class contradiction” between the “class interests” of the rich vs. the poor.

Even King Solomon made mention of this kind of class conflict: “The rich rule over THE poor, and THE borrower is the slave of THE lender” (Prov. 22:7). Furthermore, “The WEALTH of the RICH is their fortified city, and POVERTY is the ruin of the POOR” (Prov. 10:5). Social classes beget social discrimination (Prov. 14:20).

“HUMAN NATURE” VERSUS CLASS RELATIONS

It is one of the oldest social myths that social relations are determined by “human nature”. Aristotle wrote: “It is thus clear that there are by nature free men and slaves, and that servitude is agreeable and just for the latter… Equally, the relation of the male and the female is by nature such that one is better and the other inferior, one dominates and the other is dominated” (Aristotle, Politics, 1255 and 1255b).

This view is incorrect and must be refuted before any real social science is possible. In the first place, the physical nature of humans- our level of physical evolution- changes much too slowly to explain social evolution. Societies change in a hundred or a thousand years; significant changes in human physical make-up, including our brain capacity, take at least a hundred thousand years (See, for example, V. Godon Childe, Social Evolution –London: Watts and Co., 1951).

In the second place, our psychological characteristics and behavior- what is usually meant by human nature- often change because of socio-economic changes. Humans are each born into a functioning society, and are shaped psychologically largely by that society-though; of course, we are born with a certain physical brain capacity. Once our ideas are shaped, they certainly play an important role in future social environment. Thus, modern human “nature” is very different from that of the ancient Egyptian, even though there has been no perceptible evolution in our physical and mental capacities.

Children in each society are conditioned by their social environment, as shown dramatically by many graphic books of Margaret Mead about New Guinea and Samoa. In the United States, when a child born in the slums has been orphaned and brought up from birth in an affluent family, the child shows all the cultural habits and aptitudes of the affluent. Even the geographical location of a society changes that society’s of human nature:

“In desert societies- including the American Southwest- water is so precious that it is money. People connive, fight, and die over it; governments cover it; marriages are even made and broken over it. If one were to talk to a person who has known only that desert and tell him that in the city there are public water fountains and that children are even sometimes allowed to turn on the fire hydrants in the summer and to frolic in the water, he would be sure one were crazy. For he knows, with an existential certitude, that it is human nature to fight over water” (Michael Harrington, Socialism, New York: Saturday Review Press, 1970, p.373).

The notion that there is an eternal human nature, that it cannot be changed, and that it shapes society, is largely supported by a variety of myths. Why do these myths have so much life to them? The answer is that they play an important functional role as an ideology helping to support the status quo. “: If it is ‘human nature’ that determines the historical process, and if this ‘human nature’ is unalterable, then all attempts to achieve a radical transformation of the human character and of the foundations of the social order are necessarily doomed to failure”(Paul Baran, Marxism and Psychoanalysis, New York: monthly Review, 1960, p.6). Radicals reject all such pessimistic assumptions.

THE CLASS CHARACTER OF LAW AFFECTING THE POOR

It has long been argued that the law is not neutral instrument, but rather that it is oriented in favor of those groups or classes in society having the power to bend the legal order to their advantage (F. Engels, The Origin of the family, Private Property and the state; K. Renner, The Institutions of private Law and Their Social Institutions). The contention is that today as in the past the law primarily serves to protect and enhance the rights and interests of property holders and those in positions of wealth and authority. Three types of bias are considered: (1) favored parties; (2) dual law- de jure denial of equal protection; (3) de facto denial of equal protection.

Favored Parties- The law frequently favors certain parties or roles in a relationship, and the poor are less likely than the rich to be found in these roles. Thus, substantive and procedural law benefits and protects landlords over tenants, and lenders over borrowers (G. Katona, Survey of Consumer Finances 43, 53-54; D. Caplovits, op. cit. supra note 2, at 111). Let us examine these two examples of favored party bias in the law.

Landlord-Tenant. The common law has generally promoted the interest of the landlord against the tenants; this has had a special impact on poor tenants living in slums. According to traditional legal doctrine the tenant’s obligation to pay rent is independent of his lessor’s covenants to repair and maintain the premises (See J. Levi, supra note 8 at 1; N. BeBlanc, “Why Tenants Need lawyers,” paper presented at the conference on the Extension of legal Services to the poor, Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 1964, 11-12; E. Richey, supra note 10. at 341-42; Note, supra note 8, at 844, 845; J. Fossum, rent Withholding, 53 Calif. L. Rev. 304, 313). Thus, unless there are statutes to the contrary, the tenant cannot withhold rent as a means of compelling landlord compliance with health and safety codes or contractual obligations. This posture of the common law has particularly relevance to the poor because they often live in vermin-infested substandard housing where landlords perpetually fail to provide needed services and repairs.

It has been observed that tax law benefits the slum landlord to the detriment of the tenant. Julian Levi contends that, “If the tenement is old and in bad condition, allowable depreciation under the Internal Revenue Code will be high; while poor condition and deterioration will be recognized by the real estate tax assessor as the occasion for reducing appraised values” (J. Levi, supra note 8, at 3, 5/ A. Sporn, Some Contributions of the Income tax Law to the Growth and Prevalence of Slums, 59 COLUM. L. REV. 1026)

Procedural law as well as substantive law may be biased in favor of the landlord. For example, New York requires a violation of record before tenants can invoke certain defenses against landlords who have failed to provide essential services (N. LeBlanc, supra note 18, at 10-11). This requirement may subvert the rights of tenants because of the difficulties involved in establishing an official record of violation (E. Richey, supra note 10, at 340, 341, 345).

Borrower-Lender. In the consumer, area favored-party bias is perhaps most clearly seen in the creditor-debtor relationship. With respect to laws governing interest rates it has been observed that “such interest ceiling as legislatures impose on retail installment credit and small loans… are seat at the behest of credit extenders and without study” (G. Brunn, “Legal Aspects of the Rights of creditors and debtors,” p. 8- paper presented at a seminar on research needs in Consumer Economics, Sept. 11, 1964, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley). Further, the contention is that “few states have any real penalties for usury” (C. Neal, The Known and Unknown in Consumer Credit, p. 8), that generally the sanctions are too mild to discourage illegal lenders (W. Mors, Small Loan Laws 1-2 Cleveland, Bureau of Business research, Western reserve Univ., 1961). Usury laws may also be rendered ineffective by exemption provisions. According to Brunn such provisions in the California constitution exempt almost everyone professionally in the business of lending money. Moreover, creditors can obtain special state permits or licenses, which allow them to charge more than the basic usury rate. Neal argues that most lenders today have such permits. “Banks, credit unions, loan companies, finance companies, and even retailers, now can charge more than the simple interest rate defined as ‘tops’ under state usury code” (C. Neal, supra note 31, at 9).

There are many other loopholes favoring the creditor. For example, credit extended by a seller is not generally subject to the provisions of interest and usury statutes, the theory being that the vendor is not engaged in lending money but in selling goods. The credit charge is supposedly not interest. It merely represents the difference between the cash price and the installment price.

DUAL LAW- DE JURE DENIAL OF EQUAL PROTECTION- A second kind of bias is seen in the development of separate and unequal systems of law for the poor and racial minorities. As a result, many lower class whites and Negros are in effect relegated to a position of second-class citizenship. Such persons are denied de jure the protections and benefits, which the law provides for middle and upper class whites. To the extent that de jure discrimination arises from or is supported by a “state action,” it may of course be challenged under the Fourteenth Amendment.

According to tenBroek there are two separate systems of family law, one for the poor and one for the poor and one for those in comfortable circumstances. The rules differ with respect to property and support relations of husband and wife, creation and termination of the marital relationship and responsibility for the support of relatives. His contention is that the family law of the rich is “civil family law,” created, developed and administered by the courts-not designed in either substantive provision or judicial administration to meet the needs of the poor. The family law of the poor is public law, administered largely through state and local non-judicial agencies, and more concerned with minimizing the costs of relief than maximizing the rights and interests of recipients (J. tenBroek, supra note 38, at 257-313). Tenbroek asks whether a dual system of family law is less unequal than school racial segregation, generating among recipients a feeling of inferiority that may affect the hearts and minds of the poor in ways unlikely ever to be undone.

The dual law argument applies to welfare law in general. In considering many types of welfare programs (e.g. public assistance, unemployment insurance, public housing), Reich contends that the government has one set of rules for dispensing benefits to the poor and another for dispensing largess to the rich (e.g., licenses, subsidies, contracts) he argues that entitlement to government largess is less likely to be protected as a right when the recipient is poor (C. Reich, Individual Rights, supra note 13 at 1245), and concludes that this constitutes a denial of equal protection under the federal constitution.

DE FACTO BIAS- A third type of bias in the law may be termed de facto bias. On paper the law treats rich and poor alike, but in fact the correlates of poverty make equality impossible. Ehrlich suggests that de jure equality may actually accentuate de facto inequality. He argues that “the more the rich and the poor are dealt with according to the same legal propositions, the more the advantage of the rich is increased (E. Ehrlich, Fundamental principles of the Sociology of law 238, 1936).

De facto bias is pervasive because so9 many correlates of poverty such as indigency, ignorance or insecurity can serve as barriers to justice. In essence, it is bias by default. It represents a failure of the law to take into account the differential capacity of rich and poor to realize the protections and benefits, which the law provides.

A number of illustrations of de facto bias can be given. In each case, a law that is impartial on its face with respect to social class is biased in its effects. New York’s highly restrictive divorce laws are presumably applicable to all classes in society. In practice, however, they are more likely to prevent the poor than the rich from legally terminating their marriages, because poor people lack the resources to obtain out-of-state divorces. Laws, which specify the conditions under which legally enforceable bargains may be made, are often biased against the poor. George Brunn maintains that while an inequality of bargaining power underlies all transactions of buying and borrowing, the poor are especially disadvantaged. They lack the information, training, experience, and economic resources to bargain on equal terms with sellers and lenders (George Brunn, “The Consumer Speaks to the Research Experts,” Sept. 10, 1964). Thus the common law, which embodies the laissez faire rule of the market place-let the buyer beware- is biased against the poor because they find it especially difficult to beware of abuses in the market place.

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