The structure of the relations of production determines the places and functions occupied and adopted by the agents of production, who are never anything more than occupants of these places, insofar as they are the ‘supports’ of these functions. The true ‘subjects’ are therefore not these occupants or functionaries, are not, despite all appearance, the ‘obviousness’ of a ‘given’ of naive anthropology, ‘concrete individuals’ ‘real men’ - but the definition and distribution of these places and functions. The true ‘subjects’ are these definers and distributors: the relations of production
Farrrrr. That’s so amazing. You should email it to Tiopira from the department because he’s compiling Maori students’ undergraduate journal. He kindly put some of my…
It’s Kōrero Tīrairaka. I’m not sure if it’s been printed yet because he only just finished editing it a couple of weeks ago. I can send you a pdf if you can’t find it.
In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
Trans women experience corporeality in a unique way. While capital hopes to continue to use the female body as proletarian machine to reproduce labor-power, trans women’s bodies cannot produce more workers and is constantly already viewed as denaturalized. Perhaps in valorizing this inoperability in reproduction, and willfully extending it to all forms of reproductive labor, we see the potentiality of human strike. Ways of extending this remain to be seen, but in this affront to capitalist-produced nature and matrices of heteronormativity which are crucial to the functioning of capitalism, we see the kinship between the human strike of trans women and the materialization of a non-reproductive, purely negative queer force. It seems that the trans woman too has no future, and thus through the building of this negative force might have a stake in wrecking everything and abolishing herself in the process. In any case, we do not have the answers that will render society inoperable, that will end the social reproduction of this world. Yet as trans women, we know that every strike against capital is a strike against the mechanisms of gender oppression, and that every strike against the gendered violence in our lives is a strike against the machinations of capital.
So some dudes were complaining lately, “Women are telling guys to stop telling them how to dress, but not all guys are total misogynists! Women do it to each other too!”
So. People. Let me tell you a thing.
This is a picture of a panopticon. It’s a kind of prison. See, it’s a giant circle, with all the cells around the rim. The tower in the middle is where the guards are. The guards can see into all the prisoners’ cells, but the prisoners cannot see each other, and they have difficulty seeing the guards. Each prisoner knows that at any time, they are being watched, and if the guards see them behaving incorrectly, they will come with truncheons and beat the prisoner up. They learn to feel that gaze on them, all the time; every movement makes them think, “What if this breaks the rules, and they see, and they come and punish me?” Soon, prisoners don’t need guards standing over them all the time to follow the rules; they do it themselves, because that gaze is omnipresent. Even when the guard house is empty, they still think, “What if someone is watching me?” (This is all from Michel Foucault. You want more on this, go read Discipline and Punish, enjoy the descriptions of medieval torture.)
The panopticon is a metaphor. In our society, we are constantly watched, tracked, disciplined, and punished, from childhood. The school says you skipped class today. The babysitter says you wouldn’t follow the rules. The police saw you at the park with your friends. We are held to valid rules, and to bullshit rules; some of them are necessary to make our society safe, and some of them just make us easier to exploit.
You are held to rules. I am held to rules. They vary. As a woman, I am held to rules that say be small be pretty defer to someone else and I’m punished in different ways if I don’t obey. My brother is held to different rules, that say be strong don’t feel dominate the situation. We end up policing each other; we meet and he says, “Looking good,” and I remember: people are watching how I dress and how I look. If I disobey, they will notice, and I could be punished. I meet him after his job and ask, “Do you think you’ll be promoted soon?” and he remembers: people pay attention to whether or not I’m in charge, and if I’m not dominant, I could be punished.
Sometimes the guardhouse is empty. Sometimes nobody is paying close attention to what I’m wearing. Sometimes the guards don’t come to punish me, so whether or not I am pretty or attractive does not affect whether I get to own property. (It used to: whether or not my ancestresses were married affected their legal and economic statuses hugely)
Feminism is about the work of dismantling the prison when it comes to bullshit rules. It’s about saying that we shouldn’t be held to stupid rules based on gender. So it’s about the work of getting rid of the cells and the watchtower, and getting rid of the guards with truncheons. We can stop telling each other these stories about all the rules we’re held to, and we can stop punishing each other for breaking them. My brother stops telling me, “You’ll never get a date if you dress like that.” I stop telling him, “You need to be strong and work hard so you come out on top.”
So no, feminists don’t believe that all men everywhere are 100% misogynistic. It’s just that a lot of women are conditioned to think that 100% of the time, there is a risk that someone is watching us, and we will be punished if the break the rules. It is really hard work to break the social structures and the internal attitudes that imprison us.
And yes, women can enforce the panopticon. Hell, I’ll even tell you a womanly secret: I cannot count the number of times I’ve received cruelty at the hands of fellow girls for the way I looked or dressed. My entire middle school experience was basically that and algebra. We’re working on fixing that! Please, do not doubt that we’ve been working on that among ourselves as a gender. Women have spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to change how we treat each other. Now we’re asking you to pitch in.
Many of “Western Civilization’s” alleged achievements—for instance, the conquest of political liberties—were not handed down to us, as if through a legal transaction, by qualified representatives of the “Western Spirit.” Far from it, most of “the West’s” celebrated gains, particularly at the level of political rights, were worked and fought for by many who were not considered “Westerners.” Indeed, many of our political rights were wrenched into existence against the resistance of the most typical “Westerners.” The “Western Civilization” “legacy” metaphor also hides the role European and non-European workers (both were considered outside the pale of “civilization”) have played in building the wealth and culture of Europe and America. Typically, credit for technological development is laid at the doorstep of Greek Rationalism or is presented as the logical unfolding of a Promethean inner “Western” predisposition; rarely is it asked “Who built the factories?”
The point is that genocide was not an accident, not an “excess”, not the unintended side-effect of virile European growth. Genocide was the necessary and deliberate act of the capitalists and their settler shock- troops. The “Final Solution” to the “Indian Problem” was so widely expected by whites that it was openly spoken of as a commonplace thing. At the turn of the century a newspaper as “respectable” as the New York Times could editorially threaten that those peoples who opposed the new world capitalist order would “be extinguished like the North American Indian.”
Because we don’t speak about sex, there is no socially acceptable language surrounding it. So the language of porn has jumped in to fill that space, and that’s an issue, because in a male-dominated industry the language of porn is all too often male-generated. The person who coined the term “finger blasting” didn’t have a vagina. The person who coined the term, “getting your ass railed” never got their ass railed. Pounding, hammering, banging… And language matters, because when the only language you have available is abusive and one-directional, in terms of having things done to you, it creates a very weird view of how sex works.
When Audre Lorde made that much quoted yet often misunderstood cautionary statement warning us that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” she was urging us to remember that we must engage in a process of visionary thinking that transcends the ways of knowing privileged by the oppressive powerful if we are to truly make revolutionary change. She was, in the deep structure of this statement, reminding us that it is easy for women and any exploited or oppressed group to become complicit in structures of domination, using power in ways that reinforce rather than challenge or change.
The capitalist system doesn’t lie some of the time; it lies all of the time. And for the last year its been trumpeting a little tune about ‘socialism’s fallen, socialism’s collapsed.’ This is nonsense.
You never judge a system by its adherence. You do not judge Christianity by Christians. You judge no system by its believers. You judge it by its principles.
If we were to judge Christianity by Christians, it should have been smashed millions of years ago, even before it came to earth. As a matter of fact, if you were to judge Christianity by Christians, then Christianity fell with Judas. But you don’t judge Christianity by Christians. You don’t judge socialism by socialists. You judge Christianity by its principles irrespective of Christians. You judge socialism by its principle irrespective of those who call themselves socialists. Where’s the confusion? You think socialism has fallen? Don’t go nowhere. It’s coming right here to America because it’s the only just economic system.
There are only two economic systems in the world: capitalism and socialism. There could only be two because there’s only one fundamental difference between them. Who owns the wealth of the country? Under capitalist system, a few people own. Under a socialist system, all own. That’s all.
[In capitalism] Freedom is one of the commodities that is for sale, and if you are affluent, you can have a lot of it.
What would you expect to find when the muzzle that has silenced the voices of black men is removed? That they would thunder your praise? When these heads that our fathers have forced to the very ground are risen, do you expect to read adoration in their eyes?
Revolution is the negation of labor and the affirmation of joy.