May 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm #76818
Kollontai is known for her advocacy of free love. However, this does not mean that she advocated casual sexual encounters; indeed, she believed that due to the inequality between men and women that persisted under socialism, such encounters would lead to women being exploited, and being left to raise children alone. Instead she believed that true socialism could not be achieved without a radical change in attitudes to sexuality, so that it might be freed from the oppressive norms that she saw as a continuation of bourgeois ideas about property.
She was Lenin’s first Minister of Women’s Affairs.
Lenin was not really able to sign on to her ideas though. And then when Wilhelm Reich published “Mass Psychology of Fascism” in 1934, and the Frankfurt School also in 1936 with “Authority and the Family” Moscow disavowed and forbade any attacks on The Family. So the radical element of Communism was lost.
Highly recommended, online or in print:
Kollontai did serve as Soviet Ambassador to Sweden, and she played a huge role in keeping Sweden in the neutral column, instead of going the same way as Norway and Finland.
NomadicMay 11, 2016 at 9:18 pm #76886
Here is something else:
Talked about him, he is a critic of the postmodernists. He is not the only one. There are also specific critics of Deleuze and Guattari.
Well, I think Habermans and postmodernists are both useful. If people want to discuss them, I feel it worth while.
NomadicMay 11, 2016 at 9:37 pm #76887May 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm #76914
So there is actually a great deal of revolutionary potential in Freud, if you take it out of the therapist’s office and the client’s head, and out into the society. But Russian Communism rejected this. So this is why Communism looks so much like Capitalism, as the more radical potential in Marx was rejected.
And also then, Deleuze and Guattari, being more a synthesis of Nietzsche and Marx, are not that totally different from the Freud and Marx syntheses, like Reich and Marcuse.
I have always seen the politics of the Right as being about The Family and sexual control.
NomadicMay 21, 2016 at 11:44 am #77146
From the Communist Manifesto,
Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Reich’s proposed synthesis of Marx and Freud met with approval neither from orthodox Marxists nor orthodox Freudians. The Freudians were disturbed by his explicit sexual radicalism; the Marxist parties had rejected Freud as an example of bourgeois degeneracy. The Marxists were perhaps bothered less by Reich’s theory than by the Sexpol movement he established to promote the sexual and mental health of workers and young people. For Reich took his Marxist psychology seriously and sought a solution in practice to the problem of the class consciousness of the proletariat. “We persist in believing that the fundamental problem of a correct psychological doctrine is not why a hungry man steals but the exact opposite: Why doesn’t he steal?” For an answer Reich brought the insights of Freud directly to the working class, hoping thereby to liberate their sexuality and hence to extricate them from subservient attitudes to authority. Such a direct attack on family life was unacceptable to Social Democrats and Communists. Tampering with “respectable” family life was henceforth banished from Marxist “revolutionary” movements.
Marxism as presented by the German Social Democrats and the Russian communists relied too heavily, they thought, on the concept of the mode of production. Twentieth-century capitalism required new conceptual tools, ones that could account for the failure of the Western European proletariat to revolt. Marxists would have to show, they asserted, how ideological, cultural and psychological factors intervened to deflect workers’ class consciousness from the goal of socialism.
I had tried to speak to this on another thread, about how the dialectic cannot be tied to one place in the mode of production. This has been clear since the 1930’s. And it has been clear that it is really about sexuality and politics since then, and really since the work of Kollontai, going back to 1917.
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