On Males, Well-Meaning and Otherwise

November 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



Do men have a role to play in the struggle against harassment and abuse of women that has now erupted? Yes, most definitely. To the many men who have been shaken by glimpsing the daily reality of most women, and to those who have come face-to-face with the implications of what they’ve done or what they have “let slide,” but who really don’t want this and want to know how to end it—there is much to do. First of all, there’s treating the half of humanity that is female as being fully human! There is listening and learning and reflecting, there is studying and researching to get to the roots of this problem and to explore the solution, there’s joining in and supporting actions and forums, speak-outs and marches, that take this on. We need a better world, and everyone who wants one needs to be part of fighting and working to bring it into being.

At the same time, among some men there is a lot of mystification being spread about, “Oh, this is so-o-o-o-o hard to figure out, what is right and what is not right.” There’s a lot of pseudo-scientific nonsense about the “raging male sex drive” that can only maybe be tamed with therapy and introspection. This gets obscured with talk about “human nature.”

But let’s be really scientific, and not pseudo-scientific. When you study the history of human societies and the tremendous variation among them, when you use science to understand both what the values of different societies are rooted in and how those societies change, you learn something. You see “human nature” has varied from society to society, based on the different ways that production has been organized, the social relations between people that flow from that, and the consequent values of society. So while it may conform to and flow out of the culture that is promoted and reinforced by the structures and relations of the system we live under for “boys to be boys”—that is, to prey upon women—it does not flow out of some unchanging “human nature.” Men have a choice to make as to whether they will participate in tightening these chains, or join in breaking them.1

Then there’s the religious notions that talk about the “sinful, fallen nature of man” and then point to the religious strictures on women as the way to control this. This mystification is then used to justify removing women from access to social and professional space used by men and leads then to the Mike Pence biblically-based code of objectively isolating women within, and eventually from, public life altogether, while those who remain get treated to Trumpian piggism.2

No. We need a radical revolt against a revolting culture. Take a look at the section from REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on this that we’ve been featuring on this website. Look at what BA draws out there, and ask yourself where you want to stand.

Look, there is really a whole better way to be and move through this world. Do you really want to be an exploiter, a dominator, a “mini-me” of a Trump or a Pence or a Bill Clinton, for that matter? The fascists like to sneer at “social justice warriors”—well, what’s wrong with fighting for a better world, what’s wrong with justice? There’s a fight right now over whether this society is going to be plunged into an even worse and more grotesque form of capitalism, and there’s a morality that goes with both sides of that fight. Beyond that, and again, the only way to fully break out of this trap, there is a revolutionary morality based on being emancipators of humanity; a morality based on bringing into being a better world and doing all we can to live consistently with the world we are fighting to bring into being.

The question to ask, and answer, is this: Which Side Are YOU On?


1. On the variation of “human nature:” during slavery the ruling class said that it was human nature for some people to be born slaves and some to be born masters; in the case of the U.S., they concocted a whole pseudo-science of racism to justify that. Today, in capitalist society, we are taught that it is human nature for each person to seek advantage over others, to relentlessly compete, and so on, as that both mirrors and serves the production relations. In regard to women, the status of women and the view of what is “natural” has varied tremendously between gatherer-hunter societies to feudal societies to capitalist societies. See Ardea Skybreak, Primeval Steps and Future Leaps. [back]

2. For all the ways in which this Christian fascism whips people up against Islamic fundamentalist jihadism, they share a great deal with their fundamentalist opposite numbers in their views of women and men... and the position of male privilege and domination that each claims to sanctify. [back]




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