“so you can activist more”
it honestly seems like some leftists believe that only conservative politics are promulgated within the family so we should just ignore kids and wait until they get to college
which would be repugnant even if it were true
but it’s not true
lots of radicals have kids, lots of them pass their values onto their kids, you just don’t see them, because you push them out of your collectives and sharehouses and radical reading groups
but probably they don’t even wanna see your misogynist, racist, anti-working-class, child-hating face
This is just off the top of my head, but it’s not just to do with children, maternity or family responsibilities, it’s broader and to do with internalised capitalist assumptions about work… there’s been heaps written about “activism” and the tendency towards hyper-commitment and burnout, and how capitalist work ethics are partly behind that. I think the assumption is that it’s an individual responsibility to facilitate being able to do work/activism, however they manage that - the partner who has less $ to lose by staying at home with the kid (a woman, 90+% of the time) does so, you pick menial jobs and deliberately structure your life so you’ll never have to support anyone else (even people you probably should be supporting) so you can activist more… and that’s why there’s so much gross scrutiny about peoples’ personal choices in food/hairstyle/shoes - these personal choices are all supposed to facilitate doing more work.
But there’s never any discussion about how “the movement” or “the campaign” might actually be responsible for any of that. Or why it should be, or how. Because that’s “service delivery” not actual politics - with the subtext being that people who need “service delivery” aren’t important to “the movement” or to politics, because politics is something that can be abstracted from life. And so uni students are more important to “the movement” than anyone else because they’re deliberately cosseted into an environment where they have minimal responsibilities for others, and due to class barriers, inaccessibility, ablism, racism, and a whole lot of other structural inequality built into tertiary education, tend to have few personal needs of their own.
Ugh, too much rambly. I should go to bed.
totally. I remember thinking it was really weird that Melbourne Uni had a more visible and active Student Activist population than the more working-class Victoria University — I mean, what did Melbourne Uni students really have to protest about? Now I get it — the whole concept of the Student Activist is set up for this. and getting out of caring responsibilities to spend more time doing activism is somehow seen as being more responsible! serious! yet activism, like caring, is seen not as a social responsibility, but as a personal choice, one that requires sacrifices and can’t, indeed shouldn’t, be supported by broader social structures.
it’s like a weird vanguardism or something, except Lenin had way more of an idea of how, exactly, the vanguard’s actions would radicalise and mobilise the general population. there’s certainly no serious expectation that the majority of people will be able to join this activist class — after all, somebody needs to do the actual productive labour. somebody needs to grow the food, make the trains run on time, care for the old and the sick and the young, pay the taxes that go towards the activists’ dole, throw out the food they dumpster…like, I’m not against dumpster diving, I’d do it if it was a bit easier where I lived, I’m on the dole myself, partly because I want time to do other things so I’m being picky about jobs, I’m thoroughly implicated in this, I’m not just having a kneejerk “lazy hippies” reaction.
it’s just that on a very basic economic level, this activist lifestyle is predicated on being a small fringe group. our society could not support a significantly larger activist class. can the activist class act to destroy itself as a class? because that is what a significant attack on the power of capitalism, imperialism, etc would entail and indeed require. but in a lot of ways it’s a sweet fucking lifestyle. can they (we?) act against their own class interest like that?