This is the final post in the series of the previous 3, on the historic connection between radical feminism (the abolition of gender) and communism/socialism.
In my last post I talked about how a weakening of gender identification would enable socialist revolution to progress without being prevented or deflected by the preference for domination (power over others) relative to freedom (power over personal circumstances) that is engendered by the masculine identity (and the ineffective passivity engendered by the feminine identity). I summarised this by saying that communists and other socialists should look not merely to ‘the proletariat’ as a revolutionary agent, but to ‘the genderqueer proletariat’.
But the creation of this genderqueer proletariat was left unexplained.
Is it something simply ‘to be created’ by going around telling people not to identify strongly with gender identities? That seems to place too much weight on voluntary decisions, as if social change can just be willed into existence by a few dedicated agitators.
Or is it something that will just happen, as an inevitable consequence of impersonal social evolution? That seems to place too little weight on voluntary decisions, as if social change is something that happens independently of the actual people who make up society.
In my view, the great merit of class analysis in Marx’s tradition is that it manages to get between these two extreme options, to reconcile the undirected nature of social change with the need for individual effort – by making that effort, specifically in the form of class struggle and class agency, a key part of social change.
So what I want to do today is to locate the weakening of gender identification as the consequence of a class struggle. In doing so, I will draw heavily on previous posts about the idea of ‘sex classes’, male and female groups defined by their relationships to sex(ual access to women) which becomes a resource in sexist society.