Thursday, August 31, 2006

I am on the Weakest Link, Goodbye

Well this isn't socialist news as such, but it is news about a socialist - and hopefully not as dire as Galloway on Big Brother! For those of you who know me, I'm sure you're used to me making a twat out of myself. But if you want to see me make a twat out of myself in front of 6 million people, watch the Weakest Link on Thursday 7th September, 5.15pm BBC2. I'm sure this is going to be terribly embarrassing, and they'll cut it to make me look a complete idiot, but hey, it's all in the name of fun. I got a cutting remark in on her fox hunting, which they may or not let in. And I'm sure they'll be all to happy to name and shame me as a member (at the time anyway) of George Galloway's party. I won't tell you what happens, you'll have to watch and see, and I hope you all have a good laugh at my expense!


Renegade Eye said...

That is wild. No Trotsky question.

Sabrina said...

May I ask you guys an off topic question? Why do you have links to radical feminist blogs in your sidebar, none of which have anything to do with socialism, are reactionary and are often filled with bitterness and hatred towards the male sex, along with non pc women such as sex workers?

The culprit I'm thinking of is 'Not a feminist, but'. Her blog is filled with such hatred it makes me cringe. You guys really should know better than to link to sites which are reactionary through and through and have more in common with fascism than with socialism.

Salman Shaheen said...

I haven't looked at the blog you're talking about, not sure who added the link, but I understand where you're coming from. I support feminist aims and objectives, I support complete equality for the sexes, but I find extremist, man-hating feminism both counter productive to the feminist cause and, frankly, offensive. It's a form of prejudice, and can in extreme examples, I think, can be as reactionary as racism or homophobia.

But we digress, this thread was for my glorification - stop stealing my limelight! Honestly, it seems everyone these days is selling their souls and talking about important issues that shape our world, whilst forgetting about shallow celebrity culture. It just makes me sick. :P

Martin Wicks said...

Which sites are you referring to Sabrina?

Sabrina said...

I said in my post, the 'I'm not a feminist but', sire, Martin. That blog fits the description outlined by Salman.

Phugebrins said...

Sabrina, can you point out what, exactly, you consider "reactionary" in "I'm Not a Feminist, But..."?

ms violet said...

I just realised who you are and that I've read about this on your post on UKHippy. Eh up, small world and all. Anyway, I shall be watching on Thursday and wishing I was brave enough to face dear Annie.

AN said...

Salman, you post to something called "UK Hippy" !!!!

Are there no depths to which you won't go?

You will be admitting to liking Sandi Thom next.


Salman Shaheen said...

I'm just going to hang my head in shame now. I only posted this so everyone would worship and adore me, but look where it gets me! Come the revolution...

AN said...

Well I will deffo watch it if can wrestle control of the TV from my six year old and his Scooby Doo obsession.

Sabrina said...

Phuge - her anti sex nature, her obsession with porn and her patronising view that all sex workers are victims. She objects to men asking women for oral sex, and one of her posts consisted of a long narcisstic rant about how men hate her if they view porn etc yet similtaneously hate her if they deny doing the offending things. Why you link to this (and it would be considered hate lit if it were addressed agains women) I don't know. Precisely what is the political affliation? I cannot see it. The woman does not identify with socialism as far as I can tell. So yes, her blog is reactionary through and through. Unless of course you guys in some way identify with a site that is anti sex, puritanical, patronising to women and hateful to men. Do you support banning porn and prostitution? Do you think all men are abusers?

AN said...

I think this blog was recommended to us by the Stroppy bloggers, but I am not sure.

To be fair, I don't think the list of blogs is meant as any political endoresement, just that they are interestibg, or well written, or generally worth a look.

Louisefeminista said...

I wasn't going to comment but just wanted to say that no, Stroppyblog never recommnended "I am not a feminist but..." to SUN blog. It was already there before Stroppyblog came along. We recommended Mind the Gap, Ms Violet, Gendergeek (already listed), Fetch me my axe and Paleofeminist.

It is up to orgs to decide what they include on their side bar. I know "I am a feminist...." and don't agree with her but I wouldn't take her off. Really up to people to make up their own minds on what they think.

Salman Shaheen said...

Having read through some of the posts, I feel I have to largely agree with Sabrina. It might be worth removing the link if it offends, I don't know how everyone else feels?

AN said...

Thanks for the clarification Louise - well that means it is a complete mystery! Perhaps it was spontaneously generated by the blog tool!

stroppybird said...

"It might be worth removing the link if it offends, I don't know how everyone else feels? "

It depends on the purpose of links. I tend to agree with Andy . I mean I don't agree with everything on all the blogs we at stroppy link to, but I happen to think its good to read things I don't agree with.

Interesting out of all the blogs that people could be offended by its a feminist one that gets mentioned. Whether you are agree or not with rad fems I think it is important to be aware of the issues, especially as so many on the left are critical of feminsits and feminist do not always find the left a welcoming place.

I am not a rad fem btw, but a socialist feminist. As anyone who reads stropy will know we can be critical of much of it, but not attacking of women. There are enough women out there doing that already.

Louisefeminista said...

I agree with Stroppybird and like in my original comment it is really up to people whether they visit the site or not. What will be achieved by removing it?

I also find it rather strange to equate radical feminism with fascism, which Sabrina mentioned in her first comment.

AN said...

A good point there from the stropster. Some of the blogs listed are quite New Labourish (I don't know how they got there or why!) and no-one has objected to them.

Sabrina said...

Stroppybird - why is an attack on rad fems and attack on women? Indeed, I find her blog offensive and insulting to women who have loving relationships with men. It is very patronising of women. If anyone is attacking 'women' it is her, not me. There are enough women out there doing that already....... If you mean by attacking women you mean attacking certain feminisms that is not the same as 'attacking women'. Please. And women are quite right to attack that vile brand of feminism which insults their intelligence.

What 'issues' are you speaking of? All the 'issues' raised in that blog are non issues as far as I can see.

Louise - I drew an analogy between radical feminism and fascism because both are discriminatory of people over factors they cannot help. With fascism it is race, while radical feminism divides people on the grounds of sex. Not very strange.

If some blogs are New Labourish, Andy, perhaps nobody objected because they are not discriminatory in the same way as that one is. It's up to you guys, but were it me I would not have such a link any more than I would to a site that was racist.

stroppybird said...


I don't know if you have a blog, as you don't have a link. But I have read some blogs and comments by women that do attack women .
I don't want to get into picking out people here and personalising it though.

And yes they are issues. Issues such as porn or abortion or prostition. You may not agree with the rad fem view on it, and mostly I do not either, but they are issues. The left needs to engage with those issues or at least be aware of the debate. Not looking at the blogs does not make them go away.

Im not getting into a debate about fascism here, just to say its lazy and inccurate to say rad fems are fascists.

I have seen feminists attacked in a number of places on the web by lefties and women. As with the left there is not one 'type' of feminist. But unfortunately it seems all to easy for some lefties and some women to attack all feminists and not distingush between the differences on views.There are differences within feminism as much as there are within the left. To attack all feminists is a tactic that is best left to the Daily Mail.

stroppybird said...


Why are you so bothered by the link. You may not agree but thats the nature of blogs and politics.

You seem to share something in common with the rad fems you so dislike and thats not wanting to hear what you don't agree with. If you can argue your case why call for censorship?

AN said...

sabrina submitted the following comment, but for some reason it has not appeared (but i was sent it by e-mail by Blogger as usual)


"Stroppybird - why is an attack on rad fems and attack on women? Indeed, I find her blog offensive and insulting to women who have loving relationships with men. It is very patronising of women. If anyone is attacking 'women' it is her, not me. There are enough women out there doing that already....... If you mean by attacking women you mean attacking certain feminisms that is not the same as 'attacking women'. Please. And women are quite right to attack that vile brand of feminism which insults their intelligence.

"What 'issues' are you speaking of? All the 'issues' raised in that blog are non issues as far as I can see.

Louise - I drew an analogy between radical feminism and fascism because both are discriminatory of people over factors they cannot help. With fascism it is race, while radical feminism divides people on the grounds of sex. Not very strange.

"If some blogs are New Labourish, Andy, perhaps nobody objected because they are not discriminatory in the same way as that one is. It's up to you guys, but were it me I would not have such a link any more than I would to a site that was racist. "

AN said...

Sabrina, surelly you are jusy using fascism as an insult word here, which rather demans the real nature of fascism and its victims.

When you say: " radical feminism and fascism because both are discriminatory of people over factors they cannot help. With fascism it is race, while radical feminism divides people on the grounds of sex". Surely you are conflating racism and facsim to be the same thing.

In fact fascism is incompatible with any form of feminism, due to fascism's relaince on authoritarian structures and rellationships. "K├╝che, Kirche, Kinder".

Louisefeminista said...

Apols. I wasn't going to comment but felt I had to....

But Sabrina fascism and feminism are two entirely different social phenomena and how you have come to this ideological conflation is utterly strange beyond belief.

Feminism, rather like the Left, is a "broad church" (figuratively speaking and speaking as an athiest)and there are differences of opinion and disagreements and splits and so on... I would prefer to argue my politics and positions publically without the fear of being censored. Sure, argue as much as you want against me and I would support your right to oppose me. That is what debate is about.

I think Stroppybird was correct when she argued that radical feminists have a tendency to censor their opposers (we have had experiences of that) and what Sabrina is arguing is rather similar to that brand of censorship.

Louisefeminista said...

Sorry...meant to say

therefore I would support "I am not a Feminist but" staying as a link. I have fundmental disagreements with her but surely it is about having an open and honest debate without having to resort to the delete button?

It is also about having the courage of your convictions as well to argue your position.

Sabrina said...

Andy - firstly I should perhaps give my apologies for disrupting this thread with something off topic. I should have tried to have emailed one of you.

I did not mean to use fascism as an insult word, I simply suggested that it may have a few things in common with radical feminism, despite the incompatibility of the two theories. Radical feminism is just as authoritarian though, albeit in a different sense.

Louise - I was not paralleling feminism per se with fascism, just a particular strand which is as abhorrent to me as racism is. I would object in the same way was there a link here to a blog that was racist. Perhaps I should have simply drew analogies with racism rather than fascism, as those politics discriminate against people simply for being men.

I am not attempting to censor anybody's views - they can say what they like, however abhorrent I find their views. What I am objecting to is their being linked to on a socialist blog, as it does imply that there is at least *some* kind of political affiliation. The type of politics on that blog have nothing to do with the liberation of women and are in fact inimical to it in my view. They patronise, infantalise, and insult me as a woman. They are also authoritarian, demanding that we obey another code of conduct that is just as restraining as any patriarchal one ever was.

AN said...


No apologies necessary, I think there was only so much debate that could be had over Salman's pursuit of 5 minutes of TV stardom. And I am sure there is a bad joke to be made about this debate being relevent to the "weakest link" anyway.

But I think the point that you are miissing is that rad feminism is a response to the oppression of women under capitalism by the privatisation of relations of reproduction, and by the fact that all of us have to sell our labour power as commodities, and that disproportionately disadvantages women, whose sexuality is commoditised.
The ideologogical superstructure built to justify the private family, and the commoditised sexuality of women is a crushing burden for individual women to bear. .

Now I know that probably you know and agree with all that, but it means that when some women develop an ideology or stratgy of resisting oppression that incorrectly identifies men or patriarchy rather than capitalism as the motor of women's oppression, then their mistaken position is still progressive relative to the existing sexist relations of reproduction and position of women. To the degree that rad fems challenge women's oppression they are progressive, even if they are wrong about the cause of oppression, and some of their solutions are reactionary.

Given that all women experience sexism, and nearly all women experience oppression (it is arguable whether the Queen is oppressed perhaps) The ideological opposition to sexism will ineviitably have strands within it that are anti-sexist but accomodating to capitalism, and reflect all the crap, devisiveness and privatised bollocks morality of our capitalist society.

So I think you do rad fems a great disservice by equating them with racists. They won't go away by ignoring them, what we need is more socialist women who take up the arguments.

(and the movement has badly failed in recent years to defend the gains we made 20 years ago over such issues as all women short lists, creches, etc). Look at the women hating bollcks that Sherdian published in his "open letter" about the SSP being a gender dominated discussion group, etc. Those comrades who have backed Sheridan show they are indifferent at the very least to fighting womens' oppression

Sabrina said...

Hi Andy,

I see your point - but the same point could be argued about white working class men reacting to the oppression of capitalism by forming reactionary solutions and supporting the BNP. The left has had trouble addressing this particular issue, but we won't get anywhere by pandering to this mentality. But it does need to be addressed, as they are reacting to capitalism just finding a reactionary solution, in many cases. The BNP do tap into legitimate grievances of the working class and use them for their own ends.

At the end of the day we are all 'commodified by capitalism' in one way or another, although mens and women's experience is different. I like to focus on issues such as working and single mothers, rather than buy into the moralism regarding sex. I don't see porn as being a product of capitalism - the Greeks and the Romans had it (so is prostitution an age old thing). I don't see it as being in itself oppressive either, providing the workers are not being exploited or forced. As with anything forming unions will go a way to helping this. The only thing that does make porn different under capitalism is the mass production. The text beside it may often be sexist, as in the red top tabloids. But what I ultimately see porn as being is an aid to male masturbation, as black lace novels are for women. see it as is.

As for the family - I think Marxist analysis tends to ingnore the fact that it can be a haven for many men and women from a hostile word and is a source of support - not everyone's experience of it is oppressive lest there is abuse taking place (most notably of children who are the most vulnerable to this).

Regarding the Queen - I doubt there is any argument to be made that she is oppressed. If somebody was to make this suggestion to her she'd probably smile and say 'very interesting' - but it would not resonate with any experience in her actual life. Also -perhaps it is just me but I don't find 'sexual commodification' a 'crushing burden', although naturally I am annoyed by and opposed to sexism.

The SSP - from what I can gather the strand of feminism adopted by them is of the puritanical and moralising variety, so I think it's a tad extreme to call Sheridan a 'woman hater'. I loathe their type of victim based politics too - does that make me a 'woman hater'?

AN said...


There is no analogy between feminism of any hue and working class white people adopting racism (in my expereince the middle classes are at least as racist by the way) - becasue that is not a repsonse to racism experienced by white people.

(There is an analogy between rad fems and black seperatists though)

I did not say Sheridan is a woman hater, I saiid his open letter was full of woman hating language.

I am glad for you that your experience of family is so supportive. It is not my experience, nor the experience of many people that I know.

If you look at what I write more carefully I dodn not say that commotisation of sexuality was alone a crushing burden, but in combination with the provatised relations of reproduction it explains why women still earn less than men, and carry out the bulk of housework and childcare. There are of course exceptions in the case of individuals, but that is the general case.

Louisefeminista said...

Sabrina: Yes, there are times when the family can provide a safe haven but majority of the time the family reflects the patriarchal capitalist society we live under. Therefore women and kids are usually the ones who the most powerless. The dynamics within the family set-up is overall oppressive and that's why Marxists call for the abolition of the family under its current form. From Engels to good body of feminist work about the family (I would recommend that you read the "Anti-Social Family" eds McIntosh and Barrett... very good in their analysis as both socialist feminists.

Capitalism feeds off patriarchal norms therefore sex, for example is a commodity. Porn is part of this but I see far more contradictions in relation to the functions. Again,porn has changed over the centuries and the term "pornography" was not really used until around 1850 but the very nature of capitalism changed the function of porn (Walter Kendrick's bk The Secret Museum which I would recommend as it is about language etc.)

There are also power relationships between men and women under patriarchal capitalism. And that men do benefit from the oppression of women at the end of the day.

Louisefeminista said...

Yes, there is an analogy between black separatism and radical feminism.

And it wasn't "puritanical" feminism which screwed-up the SSP but it woz Sheridan.

And the "open letter" from Sheridan was an attack on feminism and yet originally he was in favour of the 50:50 position.

What impact on morale has this had on feminists active on the Left (not just the SSP)? As the Left is hostile to feminism and this will have wider implications for the future and for the short-term.

AN said...

I suspect what happened Louise is that Sheridan deleiberatlay played the "gender based discussion grup" card in an attempt to appeal to that constituency of the party who oppossed the leadership over the 50:50 issue.

Incidently, he also humiliated women, including his former lovers, by cross examining them about their sexual istory in public court. Disgraceful behaviour by any standard.

Louisefeminista said...

That is probably so and it smacks of opportunism and cynical behaviour. If that wasn't bad enough at the open meeting in May feminist activists in the SSP had some choice sexist verbal abuse thrown at them ("f*cking c*nts")
Also shows the level of awareness and education.

Is that a way for socialists to behave? Obviously it is as yes, Sheridan cross-examined women in the most appallingly sexist way. This would have been condemned if it had been by any one else but not true Class Fighter perma-tanned Sheridan and his loyal missus (who makes Dolly Parton look disloyal)

Oh and this is a good example of hypocrisy and what the family represents and bourgeois morality.

Sabrina said...

Andy - my experience of family has not been pleasant, in fact I was abused. Please don't make assumptions about my background that you don't know. I try to avoid basing my politics around my personal experience and I recognise that not all families are like mine was. I even recognised that as a child.

I read Sheridan's letter and I didn't see any 'woman hating' there - although he did seem negative towards feminism. A dislike of certain policies does not equate with an attack on the female sex, a criticism of some women is not a criticism of all.

Louise - as for 'the abolition of the family in it's current form' - I think it should be down to individuals how they want to arrange their living conditions, ultimately. If they want to live in socialised communes this should be an option, but it cannot be enforced. I appreciate the rest of your points (and thanks for the reading tips), save for a small quibble over men per se benefitting from the oppression of women, I don't think hierarchical social or gender relations ultimately benefit anybody, they don't benefit humanity.

I would go along with some of your criticisms of Sheridan - I don't like the sexist way he treated the women in court either, and the whole thing is an example of hypocritical morality. But I saw Bindel's piece in the Graun and didn't like what Grant said either - that the war was 'not about class but gender'. As for the language she said was used we only have her word for that (and maybe her supporters) and I don't take what they say as gospel either. I know the puritanical policies of the 'feminist activists' in the SSP and I can't say I have any sympathy with them. In short, the whole thing is a mess.

AN said...

Sabrina, I don't understand how you have concluded from what Louise said that 'the abolition of the family in it's current form' implies that people would "live in socialised communes ", and even more bizarrely that this would be "enforced".

Who have you been reading? Pol Pot?

The privatistaion of the relations of reproduction is all about denying choice and enforcing responsibility for children and the elderly and infirm onto the private family, particularly women. (And let us not forget that although men may benefit from some aspects of women's opression, they certinaly do not benefit from this)

Were there adequate social provision in terms of free or very cheap creches and nurseries, very cheap and enjoyable restaurants that catered for children and their carers, and a trusted baby sitting service. On top of which if parents did not have to work long hours just to make ends meet, those changes alone would transform family life.

What is needed is simple recognition that child rearing is a social repsonsibility that the whole of society must take responsibility for, not leave as the private responsibility of individual families.

Louisefeminista said...


Sheridan said, " "We are a class-based socialist party. Not a gender-obsessed discussion group. Our socialist principles and class identity define us first. Not our gender or sexual orientation".

This utterly smacks of a hierarchy of oppression, with class firmly at the top of the apex. No, as a Socialist you have a duty to fight all forms of oppression.

You use a class analysis as a strategy to fight oppression. Sheridan is wrong. But it is essentially an attack on feminism and women activists overall. Anyone who raises the issue of women's oppression, will they be accused as "gender obsessed". Utter nonsense.

I do have sympathy with the Bindel article (even as a Socialist feminist) and Cat Grant (who I have a hell of a lot of respect for as she's an active trade unionist)assertion that it was a "win for machismo" as it certainly was. There is an issue of male power which needs to be confronted. Who came off badly from that trial? Women! While Gail "Stand By Your Man" Sheridan was gee, fragrant and came up smelling up of roses!

I don't think it was totally about gender but it played a significant part.

But what impact do you think this has had on feminists re: morale active on the left? Many feminists don't touch the left with a 6 foot barge pole and why should they. Hostility towards feminism is pretty much de rigueur.

The "mess" was caused by Sheridan and responsibility should rest with him.

I think the Socialist Resistance statement re: Sheridan is very good and a gives a fulsome account of events. Viewed on Liam MacUaid's blog @

Btw: I disagree with the SSP position on prostitution and pornography but that doesn't mean I wouldn't work with feminist activists on other issues and find common ground. Just because I disagree with various issues doesn't mean I would junk them.

Sabrina said...

Andy - I have heard much rhetoric about 'abolishing' the family as it is and much of it seems unworkable. I didn't mean living in communes as a put down, for some people it is a viable lifestyle choice even under society as it currently is. Talk is given of free nurseries without talking about how they would be funded, who would work there and their wages, etc. Caring work is undervalued as it is, and I don't think that simply socialising it will make it any more valued. I don't think State run institutions can compensate for personal relations. This goes for private institutions too - hence my distaste for the wealthy dumping their kids permanently at boarding school. I do, however, support the idea of a wage for housework, and investment in caring, this will leave it to the individual families concerned on how they want to organise. If they wish to put the money into a co-operative creche they can.

Louise - I would say that part of the reason feminists don't touch the left is not just the hostility of the former - I think in many cases they have a different analysis of society, often a liberal one. I could work with any kind of people I disagree with on a single issue (including Conservatives, I agree with some things Boris Johnson says some of the time) but this doesn't mean I identify with them in any other way. With the SSP feminists it is more than simply their positions on prostitution and pornography. It is symptomatic of something deeper - lets call it a libertarian approach rather than a socially conservative, moralising and somewhat authoritarian approach to all issues.

AN said...


You seem to have a problem with actually addressing what people are saying, rather than what you imagine they are saying. Or what some numpty in a pub (who has been a socialist for 5 minutes and read one article about the subject in socialist worker) has told you is the socialist position.

A socialist society would put satisfaction of human physical and emotional needs at the top of its agenda, and caring for people would be valued. Even within capitalism there is considerable growth in the nursery sector, as in particular housing cost means both parents have to work. this often causes anguish to parents who know that the standard of care is not as high as they could provide themselves, and the extended family has often become too geographically dispersed to offer much help.

Has anyone on this thread suggested that "State run institutions can compensate for personal relations". Absolutley the opposite is involved in "abolishing the family in its present form".

It is not the loving personal relationship that need to be abolished, it is the privatised responsibility for social care of children and the elderly and infirm. The current lack of choice means that the working class family bears a considerable burden in bringing up children, often involving long hours of overtime, money worries, etc. That in turn puts a strain on the emotional realtionships.

It is also more than commonplace that the financial burdens and responsibilities for care force couples to stay together for practical or financial reasons, often after any loving bond between them is over - leading to habitual misery. If social housing was availble to make the choices easier a lot of people would be happier. There is less social stigma about relationship breakdowns than there was, but I know of two women who left their children, as the only way of leaving their bloke, and have endured considerable hositilty and diaapproval.

These are typical of aspects of the familly that need to be abolished.

Obvioulsy people would want to continue to care for their loved ones, but this should be in the context of widespread practical and financial support from the whole of society. That is what we mean by abolishing the family.

How could it be paid for, well even under capitalism huge advances could be made by abolishing or reducing arms spending, and taxing the rich.
Indeed the single biggest immediate benefit would be to provide affordable social housing, that would remove the burden of both parents being forced to work whether they want to or not (Working tax cerdits also force single parents to work), and the answer to "how would it be funded" is that council housing is self funding and indeed profitable, but councils are banned from extending it.

Sabrina said...

Andy - I agree with a lot of what you say, but the rhetoric of 'abolishing the family' is what I take a distate to. If you are in favour of investment in caring then I can't argue - but for society as a whole to take responsibility is a long way off. Under capitalism care homes for the elderly and nurseries are far from ideal, the workers are badly paid etc. I agree with you about cutting funds from the military and investing it in caring, along with social housing.

Regarding mothers who leave their children - I can't say I approve of them any more than I approve of 'deadbeat dads'. Fathers may walk out on their children on the grounds that 'it is the only way they can leave their wives'. Surely if a relationship breakdown is inevitable there must be some way the pain of the children can be lessened? I put the needs of the children before the wishes of the adults, and it is children who suffer from this. How must these children have felt having their mothers walk out on them? It couldn't have been pleasant for them, so there is no wonder some people dissapproved.

I wish you wouldn't caricature my position the way you do either. I do understand the 'socialist position' - but is often not outlined well enough and often looks like unworkable slogans. Because I am not so opposed to the family as you doesn't mean I haven't thought about it. I see your points, some of which I have agreed with. But I can't reconcile myself with all that you say. I think in many cases where a relationship is in difficulty parents should make a go of it and try to make it work for the children's sake. That's my position. I would only advocate seperation as a last resort - either when one parent is abusive or they are constantly at each other's throats, fighting constantly and doing the kids more damage.

Louisefeminista said...

Sabrina: I agree with what AN says about the family. I heard of a woman due to my union activity who was experiencing domestic violence. The house she lived in came with her partner's job and she too had kids. She had to leave the kids where they were as she didn't want them to be homeless as she was. She couldn't get rehoused by the state cos the state has appalling bureaucratic procedures and won't automatically rehouse you. What choice did this woman have? Absolutely none. She did what she felt was best in the circumstances. But it is still a horrible situation to be placed in and she had no support except from the union.

People should not be forced to stay together 'cos of the kids' because that can have a detrimental impact on kids as well. Kids will pick up there is something wrong. It should be easier to leave and should be about choice.

There should be indeed more social housing which is affordable and not having to stick with a relationship due to the high mortgage repayments. And people should not feel guilty or bad for leaving. This society already screws-up your mind in other ways.

Also.. would say more about bourgeois morality etc but i need to type a letter... :)
Working for the rat race and all that....

AN said...

Actuallly there is little symmetry between men who leave their children and women sho leave their children.

I believe that according to the CSA after one year only a quarter of men stay in regular touch with the children. On the other hand women who leave their children are very rare, but in nearly all cases are stigmatised.

Personaly i wouldn't presume to advise a women who had left her children, or make judgement upon them - as I have no idea what went on behind closed doors.

However, i am a bit astounded that after you described some in the SSP as "puritanical and moralising ", you then come out with positions on families staying together for the sake of the children, that could come straight out of the mouth of Anne Widdicombe.

Don't you dare presume that those of us whose relationships have broken down and who have children are somehow morally lightweight and irresponsible. It is cheap tory rhetoric to talk about putting "the needs of the children before the wishes of the adults".

Do you put so little store on the idea of people being unhappy? Do you think children prosper being brought up in an atmosphere of a couple forced to live together after affection between them has died?

As to the charicature point, the question here is that you were not addressing what Loiuse and I were actually saying. Maybe some people use unworkable slogans, but that does not mean that there is no substance to the argument. You were only arguing against the sloganisers.

Louisefeminista said...

Oh yeah, Working Tax Credits are a nightmare to work out as I know this from my job... Even the people who train welfare rights advisers in this area say it is a pain in the neck as it is not straightforward nor simple.

AN said...

sorry , all of that last post was to sabrina, in case that wasn't clear.

Louisefeminista said...

Yeah, I agree with you AN on the family and family breakdowns. People are moralised and pressurised enough in this society.

A little off topic but linked. There was a piece in the Guardian yesterday about the Association of Local Government (ALG) making a 33% in the £28m which is distributed to voluntary orgs in London. There's a lack of clarity especially as there's been reassurances by the ALG (Oh Yeah?) that there wouldn't be any budget cuts. The reason being is the swing to the Tories who now dominate the ALG.

This could potentially have a detrimental impact on voluntary services and advice in London and the very people who seek advice and support.

Sabrina said...

Andy - what do you mean 'don't I dare?' Who will I be afraid of in expressing my views?

Deadbeat mothers may be 'rarer' than deadbeat dads, but this doesn't mean it is ok. I dislike the idea of both. As for the CSA, why do you take their stats as gospel? They have been known for mess ups. There are absent fathers who do see their children. As for absent mums there are fewer of them, as you point out. I was criticising SOME absent parents, not all of them.

Expressing the view that parents should, when possible, try to work out the relationship for the children's sake, is not 'cheap tory rhetoric'. I may be a libertarian but I do believe in putting children first. That's my view. I was not suggesting that divorced people with children are 'morally lightweight'.

AN said...


i thought you might be afraid of offending people by making glib and faclile moral judgements about deeply personal and traumatic situations they have lived through. But if you don't care about that then feel free to be as shallow and judgemental as you like when "expressing your views"

Who are you to say that women who have left their children with their partners are "deadbeat". If you don't know their personal circumstances?

What on earth are you talking about when you say "putting childen first" - have you any idea how offensive you are being? Very many couples with children break up, and it is almost always after a long process of attempted and failed reconciliations, and very few people do so lightly. It is completely posible for parents to live away from their children and still love their children and particpiapte as much as possible in bringing them up.

Have you any idea how hard it is to continue living with someone once a relationship has broken down. Oftentimes this is done becuase the way our society leaves the financial burden of childcare with private families, and people are literaly trapped into financial commtments, etc.
In fact having started out by saying you think socialists don't recognise what a supportive place the family is, what you describe as a family - parents stuck together for the children in an unloving relationship, shackled together by financial commitments, and with moralistic shit from people like you telling them they are "deadbeats" if they leave , is a fucking prison. Some "libertarian" you are!

Sabrina said...

Andy - there really is no need for the personal abuse. I stated more than once that I was not talking about all absent parents, just the ones who want nothing to do with their children.

I have expressed these views to other fathers who are seperated and not one of them has reacted as you are doing now.

Perhaps it is because it is harder to express online, but there really is no need for this namecalling. 'Deadbeat dad' is an acceptable word for fathers who want nothing to do with their kids. The same would go for mothers. I wasn't saying that ALL mothers or fathers who leave their children are 'deadbeat' - I don't know all their individual circumstances. But to do it with no good reason as fathers have so often done would be an awful thing for any mother to do. Imagine how the kids would feel - I know how I would have felt. In the situation Louise described it is understandable why the mother did what she did, the point I am making is that I think it wrong for parents to up and leave kids. My reasons do come partly from experience but I don't want to go into that.

I'm sorry if I have offended you by what I have said. I was not being shallow or judgemental. Perhaps I am old fashioned, even deem me right wing on this particular issue if you must. Marriage and children are not light responsibilities. I understand that sometimes breakdown may be inevitable. But sometimes it is due to a whim, often on the part of fathers. It can be due to one partner not trying to make it work (in my experience the father more often). I have seen it happen, it devastates children. As these are my views on fathers I wish to apply them evenhandedly to mothers, although absent mothers are more rare.

I may be libertarian, but my views on this issue are primarily concerned with the feelings of the children. This is my motivation. Divorce comes lightly these days, relationships are often seen as business arrangements, consumer items to be ditched when something better comes along. This is not pointing the finger at individuals but rather criticising this aspect of capitalism and how it breaks down personal relations. There is nothing socialist about this type of breakdown, it has everything to do with capitalism. Financial issues can break down relationships - I recall all the arguments I've had over money myself. This is not good, and children involved makes it tragic for more people.

Again, I'm sorry to have offended you. But your emotional response really doesn't do your argument any favours.

AN said...


I am not being emotional, I am being irritated.

If we rewind, you will recall this all started when you accused one feminist blog of being fascist, and then accused women activists in the SSP as being "puritanical and moralising ". then you have the cheek and hypocracy to critice me by saying: "there really is no need for this namecalling"

Sorry, did i miss the bit where calling someone a fascist is not namecalling? Or are you so politically illiterate that you really think rad fems are fascists?

Then it turns out you reduce complex arguments to facile cliches such as "my views on this issue are primarily concerned with the feelings of the children"

Ahhh, well if you care about children you MUST be right! well you aren't the only one who cares about children, so why use that as some sort of trump card for your arguments? that is simply moralism.

And your arguments are compleely inconsistent. Firstly you say: "I was not talking about all absent parents, just the ones who want nothing to do with their children.
" Then you say "I think it wrong for parents to up and leave kids." and "Divorce comes lightly these days".

So you are criticing parents who are "not trying to make it work" - but when challenged on that you say something entirley diferent: "I was not talking about all absent parents, just the ones who want nothing to do with their children."

But that isn't true, becasue you wrote: "Regarding mothers who leave their children - I can't say I approve of them any more than I approve of 'deadbeat dads'. "

So you are not criticisng only mothers who want nothing to do with their children, but criticising all mothers who leave their children, who you describe as "deadbeats.

You have employed the straw man fallacy to argue against the socialist position on the family, accusing us of wanting "socialised communes". You have said you "understand the socialist position", but then say: "I don't think State run institutions can compensate for personal relations. ". Sorry - who has ever argued that state run institutions should "compensate for personal relations".

So honestly how can I take seriously your complaint about the "I'm not a feminist .. but" blog, when it seesm you whole approach to the issue is based upon intellectual laziness, and rose tinted wistfullness about a myth of fmailly that for most people never has nor never shall exist.

AN said...

BTW well done to Salman, I think that is the only time Ii have ever watched the "weakest link" - what a dreadful prog.

AN said...

Oh yeah, just an erlaier point of sabrina's I meant to mcomment on:
According to sabrina:

"I did not mean to use fascism as an insult word, I simply suggested that it may have a few things in common with radical feminism, despite the incompatibility of the two theories. Radical feminism is just as authoritarian though, albeit in a different sense.

Sorry - "just as authoritarina" !!!!!

so rad feminism is "just as authoritarian" as Mussolini, and Hitler and Franco?

where are the rad fem concentration camps, how many wars have been started by rad fems? where are the rad fem skinheads who beat up trade unionists, and murder men in the streets.

Salman Shaheen said...

Haha, thanks Andy, it was a lot less embarrassing than it could have been. I noticed the sly photo you added, I'm touched:)

Louisefeminista said...

Sabrina: The example I gave exposes the appalling limited choices people are given. This woman should have been re-housed who was experiencing DV as she was an emergency but the council didn't and it was only due to the pressure by the union did they relent!
I just don't believe you can make assumptions about other people's experiences and people already face so much moralistic and lecturing crap in this society.

But you use words like "disapprove" as this to me exposes your own moralism and who are you to say this as people make choices and it is theirs to make whether you like what they decide or not. I also think it shows up your own hypocrisy.

Sabrina said...

Andy - I don't see why you feel the need to be so abusive. I called nobody a fascist - I simply drew an analogy with a certain type of politics and facism, hardly a personal attack. I can do without the slurs of 'political illiteracy. Perhaps I have not articulated my views as best as I can, but this is not the ideal medium to explain the complexity of them (and it is clearly a sensitive and complex issue, as your obvious anger has shown). Make allowances for the limitations of the medium. I have already apologised for having offended you, so there is no need to continue with personal abuse.

The people I spoke of in the SSP are puritanical and moralising in their politics, and they ask the State to impose it for them (not something I do with my morals). I won't hesitate to say I despise their anti sex stance and their patronising attitude against sex workers etc, but most of all the Statism involved. This is not name calling - to me it is a political description. Am I ot even to express my strong distaste of a set of policies? They support criminalisation of prostitution, banning porn and they infantalise women by claiming they are all victims. There views offend me as much as mine obviously do you. So does 'radical' feminism. And please keep it right, I did not call them fascists just that they have a couple of things in common with that ideology in my view. Please don't distort what I say, it's not helping your argument.

I can say that I find the slogan of 'abolishing the family' innappropriate and wrong. I support a 'wage for housework', investment in caring and so forth. I did not mean 'commune' as an insult, for some people it is a valid way of living and it is what many socialists seem to support - communilised child rearing and living to some extent, so it was a description of sorts of a position. But when people call for the 'abolition of the family' it implies more than simply co-operative caring or social responsibility for caring. You outlined earlier what you understand by it and I appreciate that.

Obviously I don't know the situations of individual mothers so I can't make a blanket judgement. But to put it this way - the mother is more often than not the primary care giver, and it would be traumatic for the children were a mother to walk out, more so than if it was the father. If I feel this way about it why should I not be able to express it? I know how I would have felt had my mother walked out, we were all children once. Am I not allowed to make criticisms of ANY women? A criticism of some mothers does not amount to a criticism of all.
A criticism of some women (I.e certain feminists) does not amount to a criticism of all. As an example - whatever his faults are I did not see evidence of 'woman hating' in Sheridans open letter, I just saw a criticism of feminism and a criticism of some of his female comrades. Despite his sexism in court etc I did not read his letter as being an attack on all women, or even having 'woman hating' language. Yet you did:

"Look at the women hating bollcks that Sherdian published in his "open letter" about the SSP being a gender dominated discussion group, etc. Those comrades who have backed Sheridan show they are indifferent at the very least to fighting womens' oppression"

The first part of your paragraph expresses that view. As for his backers being indifferent to fighting women's oppression I cannot say. I wouldn't like to make those assumptions about Rosemary Byrne, for instance. However, the feminism adopted by the rump may be unnappealing for some of his supporter s for similiar reasons as they are for me. I don't know.

Back to the main issue - In the case of domestic violence surely it is better the children stay with the mother if the father has abused the mother, as it seems likely he may turn on the children were he to live alone with them.

To answer a few of your points:

"Firstly you say: "I was not talking about all absent parents, just the ones who want nothing to do with their children."

Yes. Sometimes relationship breakdown may be inevitable, and in some cases it is the parent with custody who has initiated the divorce. I'm not that simplistic. Ao they are not all deadbeats, obviously. I know people who are divorced or seperated and they are not such, and they don't react to my views in a personal way like you do.

" Then you say "I think it wrong for parents to up and leave kids." and "Divorce comes lightly these days".

Up and leave without a good reason - yes. I don't like the idea of parents breaking up and the children being traumatised, and I am angered that some fathers do seem to do this lightly. Divorce does come lightly these days, I won't deny it.

You quoted " But that isn't true, becasue you wrote: "Regarding mothers who leave their children - I can't say I approve of them any more than I approve of 'deadbeat dads'. "

I apologise for my clumsy language initially about mothers leaving their children, as it did appear that I described them as you accuse me of.

I have no 'idealic' myth of the family, you wrongly assumed my own experience was positive, after which I had to reveal to you that I was abused. I have not chosen to personalise this discussion but you clearly have. If I have offended you you have more than compensated for it by now by your persistent abuse, despite my apologies. If this conversation has upset you it has upset me just as much, so maybe we should call an end or a truce to it.

As for accusing me of moralising - it is not me who supports the rump SSP nor links to 'I'm not a feminist, but'. You seem quite happy to make allowances for the moralism of these people (to an extent and to regard their views as being somewhat progressive to an extent that they 'recognise their oppression as women), yet it seems I am not allowed to have any morals at all regarding anything. If you disagree with my own morals, fine. But one thing that differs me from them is that I am not arguing for the State to enforce mine. I am not arguing to ban divorce or even restrict it, but they are happy to ask for the State to enforce their morals on others. All I have is a personal opinion, I'm not asking the State to enforce it for me by forcing parents to stay together, though some people would.

What my view is on the socialist position on the family is that it tends to assume the family is always an oppressive institution. I believe in investment in caring and social responsibility, as I have repitively stressed. But if people want to live together in the traditional manner this should not be a problem. Much rhetoric I have seen talks of 'socialisation', 'free 24 hour child care' etc without going into how this will happen, who will work there etc. I don't support the 'free 24 hour child care' slogan, I prefer posing a wage for housework and the enabling of neighbourhood or community babysitting on a co-operative and personal basis. So it is a question of emphasis.

Regarding your second post - there has never been a radical feminist State, whereas there have been fascist States. But I did read Andrea Dworkin's depiction of what a 'women's State' would look like and the vision was far from appealing, believe me.

Rad fems do seem to believe in excaberting a 'sex war' - pitting men against women and excacerbating divisions in society and the working class. Hence it is inimical to egaliterianism and socialism, like racism is. It is the flip side of male sexism and potentially just as destructive as it fuels it. No, they don't 'beat up trade unionists' or 'murder men in the streets', though they have apologised for female violence. They also organise 'reclaim the night' demos through Soho without caring about the feelings of the sex workers there. You seem to feel the need to apologise no end for these people yet make me out to be a monster for even having my views and daring to express them.

So when you call me a moraliser, remember - at least I don't ask the State to enforce my morals for me, more than can be said for them. I don't hold vigils outside the offices of divorce lawyers.

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sabrina said...

Louise - I don't think I'm a hypocrite. what I have been trying to get at is when there are children involved the choices adults make do not only affect themselves but kids who have no say in matters that will affect their lives permanently, for better or for worse. If it was just a couple involved with no children my reasoning would be different, as the matter would affect only them and them only ( although this isn't denying that break ups can be painful and that people shouldn't treat them as consumer items either).

I don't know why this has caused such difficulty. I am not asking for the State to enforce people stay together against their will, it's just a view that couples try work on a difficult relationship when there are children involved rather than rush to split.

The example you gave me is pretty dire and a condemnation of the state with social housing. I also would worry about the safety of the children - as if he has been violent towards his wife it is not too improbable that he would take it out on them too.

AN said...


It is surely a subtle distinction between

She is a facsist


her politics are like fascism

But if you tell me one is a personal insult and the other is not, then I can only marvel at your sophistry.

The point is that under our present system the state DOES enforce people to stay together against their will - by making responsibility for the children a private one of the parents.

Take one example. If a mother is unwaged she can only get money through Working Tax Credit if she works 16 hours a week. But if she cannot get a job then she cannot get Working tax Credit, and will have to stay with the father - otherwise she will not be able to afford housing for her and the children. What is more the state forces single mothers to work, and pay other people to look after their children.

The lack of social provision and the lack of financial support for mothers to be independant does indeed force many couples to stay unhappily together.

Real choice may indeed involve many couples working through difficulties, but currently the private relations of reproduction removes choice from many people, and as Loiuse points out this disproportionatley disempowers women and children.

the reason I am exaspertaed with you is that you persist in arguing against a "straw man" position that no-one is putting forward, when you say:

"What my view is on the socialist position on the family is that it tends to assume the family is always an oppressive institution. I believe in investment in caring and social responsibility, as I have repitively stressed. But if people want to live together in the traditional manner this should not be a problem. Much rhetoric I have seen talks of 'socialisation', 'free 24 hour child care' etc without going into how this will happen, who will work there etc. I don't support the 'free 24 hour child care' slogan,"

Who on earth has put forward this mythical position that you are arguing against? Who has ever said that the familly is only oppressive? What socialist has ever said that couples should not be able to live together in what you describe as the "traditional way" What socialist has ever raised the slogan of "free 24 hour child care"?

Where are you getting this from? You describe "THE socialist position" on the family, but it is unrecognisable to me.

I know of no mainstream socialists who argue any of the positions that you attribute to the left. Perhaps some nutcases who support Pol Pot might, but they are hardly socialists.

AN said...

Actually "free 24 hour child care" is an odd slogan.

Child care should be free, but what would "24 hour" availability imply?

Yet you say you have seen it actually raised as a slogan? who by?

AN said...

Hah, has Sabrina's secret identity been revealed, Liz. :o)

I note that you posted the following comment under your own name and then deleted it.

Posted by Liz to The Socialist Unity Blog at 9/07/2006 09:19:22 PM
"Louise - the question is the children, who don't have much say. If it was a couple without children break ups are often sad but children being involved adds another dimension to the whole thing. Otherwise I'd say nothing about the choices made by individuals that affect nobody else. I'm not a hypocrite either.

"The woman you mentioned - was there no place in a refuge for her where she could have taken the children? It's appalling she wasn't rehoused immediately anway, just goes to show the appalling state of social housing these days. I can't say I don't worry about the children being alone with the father as he was violent towards the mother, men who are violent towards their wives can sometimes be towards children too.

"As for liking (or not) what people decide to do surely this implies an opinion either way? I wouldn't suggest people don't voice opinions on what other people do - the issue is whether or not you ask the State to enforce it for you. I would no way be in favout of the State forcing mothers to stay with their children, whatever I personally think. "

stroppybird said...


I think a few of us had guessed it was Liz. Why go under a different name though, it the same arguments she makes on her own site, so why hide. Liz is usually open and upfront on her views, which I respect even if I disagree.

I thought she was up for debate and argument and no censorship (except of course on her own site which is moderated and people get deleted, bit like the old 'recycle bin' of some of the rad fems. As i said before some surprising similairites between Liz and the rad fems there).

Louisefeminista said...

AN: "Actually "free 24 hour child care" is an odd slogan."

The women's liberation movement argued for "free 24-hour community-controlled childcare" as one of their seven demands. The 24 hour bit got dropped and became just free childcare provision.

Oh and Sabrina/Liz: I find the wages for housework demand wrong as it will reinforce gender roles and keep women in the home. But also how would you pay women? Who would know how many hours worked? How would you work out the hours? Would it be a flat rate? Would you have a timesheet? How would the State regulate it? And so on. I find the argument for wages for housework purely economistic and fails to explain the power relationships between men and women and sexual division of labour within the family set-up. Housework and childcare alienates many women as they are stuck in the home. Ann Oakley's Sociology of Housework and Housewife. She argues that:

"The family’s gift to women is a direct apprenticeship in the housework role. For this reason, the abolition of the housewife role requires the abolition of the family, and the substitution of more open and variable relationships….people living together in a chosen and freely perpetuated intimacy, in a space that allows each to breathe and find her or his own separate destiny."

I agree.

Liz said...

Stroppybird - It was rather silly of me to decide to post here under an alias (in fact a stage name I used to use for dancing!).

I am usually upfront. I had my reasons for posting on this topic under an alias but it was still daft of me. Apologies, the intention was not to cause trouble. I did not foresee how far this thread would go or where it would lead either. I figured some of you may have suspected it was me by now. Thank you for saying you respect my views.

However - regarding my blog. It is not moderated now, comments are free again. The man whose posts I did delete - I only did so because he engaged in personal abuse that ended up being of a sexist variety. He is a hypocrite because on the 'a feminist' blog (which he likes) he was all anti sexist and even bemoaned how men engaged in name calling. He subscribes to what I call a 'victim ideology' in regards to women. He is a tad creepy as he has Grant Mitchell as a hobby (not the actor Ross Kemp but his character!) I saw this on his own blog, as well as the fact he is a racist too. But even this wouldn't be enough for me to delete anyone's posts - he was abusing me on my blog in a way I deemed unnacceptable. I put up with it long enough before losing my patience. You may argue I handled it badly if you will, but my aims were not to censor anyone's genuine views. But enough of that - anyone who wants to post comments disagreeing with me in a polite way is welcome to do so, I don't support censoring people's views. You and Louise would be welcome to post there, as you are capable of disagreeing without being abusive. He was not, there was the difference.

Andy - free 24 hour child care I have seen raised as a slogan. My partner, for one, supports it and even said he would come on here defending it against me! I have also seen it used by weekly worker and I recall by a few other Trot groups (the Spartacists for one use it, I cannot recall where else I saw it but I have done and have heard other people defend it).

I think Louise is right as to it's origins, it has just so happened that with some people the 'community controlled' bit also got dropped. WW have other appalling positions, among which are 'The establishment of laundry and house-cleaning services to be undertaken by the state. This to be the first step in the socialisation of housework.'
Housework and childrearing even (yes!)are activities which are 'dull'. Very subjective, and such language is offensive to mothers who enjoy being with their children. It also expresses a negative view about children themselves - it implies that they are 'dull'. See:

What the gender would be of the people they expect to work for the State, to provide these services is obvious, they would be women. So it seems to me a case of ill thought out logic.

I see your points, Andy, about people being forced to stay together financially - I don't approve of economic coercion for people to do anything! Indeed the situation as it stands in regards to work and the family does hit the hardest on mothers. The workplace often fails to meet their needs, and I have no doubt that investment in caring will help relieve this burden.

What I have been reacting against is not a 'straw man' but what seems to be the position of some socialists. Not you, obviously, but some.

Louise - on the wages for housework demand. What I propose is not that it reinforces gender roles but that it is a wage given to families, be they single or two parented. It should be calculated on the basis of how many people are being cared for, with a citizens wage for everybody. I suppose it would be a flat rate. I will have to read up on it more, But I think Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James outlined it quite well. I'll have to familiarise myself with them more. I have another book on it which I've been meaning to read but it is very technical.

It could be up to the families concerned who stays at home and who works, it could be the mother or the father. Or a community itself could decide to invest it in a co-operative creche or community care centre for the elderly, run by the neighbourhood.
As for the division of labour - I recognise the fact that it has been used for the oppression of women. But it need not do inherently - the problem we have is that society has undervalued caring, the work that women have traditionally done. If we lived in a society where caring was valued we would not have this problem. There are some women, some mothers, who prefer to stay in the home. I support them if they make this choice. That is what it should be, a matter of choice whether mother choose to work or stay at home. Parenting can be a full time job and it should be respected and valued as work, this is what the WFH campaign argues.

It may seem economistic, but there are ways of addressing power relations from the framework of it. And a division of labour is not inherently oppressive in itself (least I think not) it is just the way it has been used.

To address one more of Andy's points (on the fascism/rad fem parallel). I think I sort of acknowleged earlier that it may have been unhelpful. But really, it was not meant as a personal insult to anybody, even if I despise their politics. Parallels have been drawn, for instance, between Stalinism and fascism. I don't find this comparison unjust, yet there are people I know who identify as Stalinists too! And of course the ideology is totally different but radical feminism does have something in common with Stalinism in as much as it stifles dissent and is unopen to dialogue. It likes to define itself as THE true feminism, and puts itself in a position of deciding who can and who cannot be defined as feminist - just as Stalinism used to define itself as the true socialism. The Statist policies espoused by radical feminism are of course the policies that the State favours -Stalinism is also Statist.

if you remember me from when I used to post on the UKLN list, Andy, I hope you understand why I take such strong objection to the SSP feminists. I had a few personal run ins with them on that list, and ended up unsubbing because it became nothing but a combination of their moralising and grumpy middle aged men splitting hairs. The rhetoric they were using about prostitution was very inflammatory and offensive towards sex workers, and it ended with one of them doing the rad fem sex police business, claiming that nobody had a right to choose to engage in S&M, also arguing that the State ban all porn.

Sorry this post has been long but I did want to address everyone's points.

AN said...

Blimey Liz, so we have gone all round the houses, and now we are all friends again ;o)

To be fair - I don't really think that the Sparts or weekly worker are representative of mainstream socialist opinion!

Also to be fair to you, although i often disagree with your positions, you do always introduce an element of forcing people to think about how their positions affect real people, which i do respect you for.

My approach to UKLN is to remian subscribed, but only visit it on the web raher than etting individiual e-mails, And i only dip in when i want to get involved witha particular issue, such as defending the SSp from the Sheridan carve up.

Liz said...

Thanks Andy, I was hoping we hadn't fallen out. I admit I did feel a bit bad yesterday as I thought some of my comments had upset you, and I didn't mean for that. I expressed myself rather badly. I'm glad there are no bad feelings.

You're right, the Sparts or WW aren't representative of the left generally (and that's thankful!). Their positions on the issues we've discussed do tend to be rather crude.

Phugebrins said...

Back to the main topic, I think we've missed something of vital importance: Salman has colluded with an authoritarian tyrant in repeated purges that resulted in the gradual removal of all opposition for the sake of a monetary bribe. Forget Sheridan, it's Shaheen we should be worried about!

(I was working at the time, so I'm afraid I didn't catch it.)

AN said...

Not only that, but Salman didn't even get any money!

Ms Byronic said...

What amusing bilge, An. The state no more forces couples, ahem, adults, to stay together and thus provide the best upbringing for their progeny than it forces them to donate to charity, shower daily, treat puppies in a manner befitting their canine dignity or anything else advancing the common good.

In fact, whereas charitable donation and all the rest meet with tax breaks and civic celebration, it can plausibly be argued that the state irrationally and irresponsibly does everything possible to facilitate, if not encourage fractured families and abandoned children, even though the costs to individuals and society are increasingly unsustainable.

Economics as well as justice will force radical reform of family law. Divorce will become far harder and there will be fiscal incentives for couples to provide the optimum upbringing for their children.

Ms Byronic said...

Oh and given the increasingly active children's rights and human rights industries, children will engage in litigation against absent parents pursuing them for maintenance, denial of their human right to a family life and compensation for the suffering meeted upon them by their parents' divorce.

AN said...

Ms Byronic.

If you look at the way we oraganise society as an unchanging given then perhapos the state doesn't promote couples staying together (though I think you are wrong there - from personal experience)

Also if you take the abstract position of legal equality, seperate from the issue of economic equality, then individuals can all do what they want.

However in the real world, choices are limited by economic necessity, and the choices for working class women can be quite limited.

Salman Shaheen said...

What can I say, I'm a trainee fascist. Many moons ago, as a young sociology student, I was sitting in my school library reading one of those 'Beginners guide to..' books. It just so happened that I was learning about fascism and so, being caught by a fellow student reading 'A Beginners Guide To Fascism' he naturally assumed I was learning how to become a fascist...

Liz said...

Andy - I'd like to add to Ms Byronic's comments. You mention the lack of choices for working class women - but you have not really said that much about the issues I have raised regarding the feelings of the children if their mothers were to leave. The feelings of the children should be accounted for as much as the wishes of adults. Another factor which I mentioned but seemed to have gotten lost among the shouting was the tendency of modern capitalism to add to family breakdown via economics, i.e issues surrounding money, also the lack of secure jobs for life. Surely these are issues worth thinking about.

AN said...

Enough - this is becoming like Groundhog day, we have been round and round this Mulberry bush.

Salman Shaheen said...

I concur Andy, I think we can all agree what a great celebrity I could be....

AN said...

So sis you grow your hair long to look more like Paris Hilton?

AN said...

bad typo sis should have been did

Did you grow ....

Salman Shaheen said...

And there I was thinking you were questioning my masculinity:P

As it happens, my life's ambition is to be just like Paris Hilton.

I think Banksy agrees...

AN said...

N0 - but as George galloway found out, his celebrity paled to nothing compared to a girl who looked a bit like Paris.

Although I did establish by Google rankings that galloay was in fact the most famous of the people to enter the BB house.

Based upon the frequency of their names on web-sites as measured by Google, then this is their ranking approaching the end of the ordeal.

Google hits Search String

1,760,000 "George Galloway"

1,030,000 "Dennis Rodman"

885,000 "Jodie Marsh"

815,000 "Traci Bingham"

403,000 "Michael Barrymore"

377,000 "Pete Burns"-

256,000 "Rula Lenska"

190,000 "Faria Alam"

55,800 "Samuel Preston" Preston+"Ordinary Boys"

22,800 "Goldie Lookin' Chain"+Maggot

12,600 "Chanetelle Houghton"

Ms Byronic said...

Yeah, round 'n' round the Mulberry bush we go in ever decreasing circles.

And its possible that some people, like An, will continue to hold forth on subjects of which they know little, be that family law, rhythmic gymnastics or peanut oil futures.

Pop goes the weasel

Salman Shaheen said...

716 "Salman Shaheen"

It's a mountain, but I'm climbing it - because it's there...

AN said...

Ms Bryonic, I am afraid my knowldege of family and benefit law is only that I have derived from practical experience as a seprated father of two small children, and the nightmare that me and my ex-wife had in sorting out a financially secure arrnagemtn for the children.

I of coourse defer to you knowledge from the sunday papers, and ill informed dinner party chatter with your middle class chums.

AN said...

It's harder to be accurate for me Salman, as I have a more common name, but combining it as

"Andy Newman" + swindon

to weed out other Andy Newman's

and I am on 1310.

Ms Byronic said...

An my knowledge of family law and the research evidence on family breakdown is rather more extensive than a newspaper cuttings file.
It may be that as a divorced parent you don't want to read reports detailing just how damaging family breakdown is for children. But I respectfully say that you can't hide from the facts indefinitely.
I don't know your personal circumstances and would not comment on them. In fact, I'm sure that you are an excellent and committed father.
Your comments on the nightmare of securing financial arrangements with your ex-wife merely underscore for me just how hopeless family law is.
The tragedy with people like you is that you seem to defend a system which does you and your children no favours at all.
Divorce is a hellish business and takes some time to get over. I hope that everything turns out well for you and the kids.

Salman Shaheen said...

My penis is still bigger...

Salman Shaheen said...

There, I've skillfully tied up both threads of this debate by linking my greatness to the issue that we all know is at the heart of feminism:

Penis envy...

AN said...

Thank Goodness Salman has managed to find a happy ending.

And ms bryonic, thanks for your kind words ;o)

I don't think I have ever said anything in defence of the current situation in familly law???

But I think we should leave this thread in common admiration of salman.