The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth.








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Children's Liberation & Communist Society May 12, 2003 by RedStar2000


Some years ago, I actually witnessed a parent threaten a small child with a belt...at a socialist rally.

It is really quite shocking the number of people who will excoriate the capitalist class for its brutalities...and then replicate those brutalities against children.

These are posts about the family, the raising of free children, and the obstinate stupidity of those who fail to recognize that freedom is meaningless unless it is universal.


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Evidently, you have some mental picture of the "NKVD" roaming through maternity wards, snatching screaming infants from sobbing mothers, knocking over hospital equipment, shoving doctors and nurses out of the way, pissing in the hallways, and just generally acting like a bunch of turds.

And you think I'm unrealistic?

"All you who hate families are fuckin retarded"--believe it or not, "hate" is a rather minor consideration...although some folks may indeed have many legitimate reasons to hate their families.

The question is not one of "should communists hate families"--it's more like: is there a legitimate role in communist society for the old concept of biological families?

That is a question--to be decided by argument and evidence...not ranting!

And we could begin with your assertion that "it's their/her fucking child, god damn it!" Does copulation, conception, pregnancy and birth confer a "right of possession" in the resulting "product"?

Are children the "property" of their biological parents? And if you think this is so, why? And is it a kind of "property" that should be recognized under communism?

If we decide not to have biological families under communism, what sorts of arrangements should we institute?

I would remind you, that just because an idea is new, untraditional, etc., that doesn't mean you can refute it by calling it "dumb", "moronic", etc. The same kinds of things were said in reaction to the Communist Manifesto...but the verdict of history was otherwise.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 10, 2002
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You have a point. In some respects, the traditional biological family does resemble a communal organization.

But there are differences:

1. A real commune is voluntary; in a "family" the kids are stuck...at least until they're old enough to scratch out some kind of living for themselves--something which we communists could make enormously easier.

2. In a real commune, the wealth created is distributed in an equitable fashion; in a biological family, the wealth is distributed according to the whims of one or two adults.

3. In a real commune, political power is equitably distributed; in a biological family, political power usually goes to the physically strongest member of the family.

These differences are usually defended by making reference to the physical and intellectual limitations of some members of the family; small children are neither strong enough nor do they know enough to survive without some form of guardianship.

But is there anything we know (as opposed to traditional prejudices) that says that only the biological parents can perform the functions associated with guardianship in an enlightened fashion?

There actually has been a good deal of research on the traditional family, as well as on some of the variants that emerged in the last century. It's not my field, but my understanding is that traditional families are very good at certain functions, which implies, at least, that they are not so good at other functions.

The main thing that traditional families seem to be really good at is creating social conformity among the young. The kid who grows up in a traditional family is less likely to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, less likely to use recreational drugs, less likely to quit school, less likely to come to the attention of the police, more likely to get good grades, more likely to be popular with other traditionally-raised kids, more likely to serve in the military, more likely to be successful in college, more likely to be successful in business, more likely to marry and establish a new traditional family, and more likely to be strongly religious. They are also more likely to live longer; non-conformity shortens life span.

In short, it seems to me that the traditional family is very good at creating new generations of "good Germans" who will "carry out their orders". But is that what we want?
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 10, 2002
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One of the problems with the biological family--which you yourself may have observed--is a kind of "over-concern" that even small children find quite frustrating. Contrary to parental "wisdom", for example, kids would not live on a permanent diet of candy and sodapop even if they could...they are just as human as we are and they'd get tired of a steady diet of anything just as we would. Forcing kids to eat "what's good for them" is likely to be just as bad as forcing them to "learn what's good for them". In my case, I don't even want to be in the same room with certain cooked vegetables...can you guess why?

If there are only two responsible adults involved in caring for a child (or even just one), a sleeping schedule becomes a practical necessity...but, as far as I know, no child in history has refused to go to bed at a certain time only to remain awake forever.

Except in extremely unusual circumstances, kids will eat when they're hungry and sleep when they're tired...just like we do. It's not the big deal that biological parents make it out to be.

In fact, one of the biggest problems with biological parents is that they don't recognize "their" child as an independent human being with a separate existence. They think that any expression of a child's personality may potentially reflect "badly" on them as parents--in the worst cases, they think "their" kid is them v.2.0!

Some form of communal child care...perhaps involving as many as half-a-dozen older kids and adults might well prove to be easier on the children and easier on the adults...and perhaps help raise the first generation of communists from birth.

That would be nice.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 10, 2002
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A kid born into a rich family is, with high probability, likely to have a very favorable opinion of capitalism. He doesn't recognize that his "reality" was a matter of chance.

Likewise, a kid with one or two caring, nurturing parents is likely to have a good opinion of the family as an institution--folks like you don't recognize the huge role of chance in your good fortune.

Now your posts become much more ominous. Consider...

You accuse communists of "mutilating a child's mind" and creating "an abomination of a new religion."

I don't know a gentle way to break this to you, but all religions are "syncretic" religions--"abominations"--that is, a muddle of borrowings from one another. Religions borrow (actually, steal) from each other just like conmen borrow/steal ideas from each other for a good con...and, of course, for exactly the same reason. When it comes to fooling the suckers (believers), whatever "works" is "good".

And then you get even worse: you're already planning to "discipline" (beat the crap out of) "your" future son so "you won't have to see your son on the news" (be publicly disgraced as a "bad" parent) when he goes out and "rapes a 10-year-old girl".

You've already decided that he's a potential rapist and the poor little kid hasn't even been born yet.

Even Stalin waited for his victims to be born before "convicting" them!

And, by the way, you think the kids who do commit horrible violent crimes haven't been exposed to violent "discipline" before? Where do you think they learned to behave like barbarians? Unless you are a remarkably stupid kid, there's one lesson you always learn in a violent home: it is much better to hit than to be hit!
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 11, 2002
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Small children do prefer consistency in their early social lives. That's why I'm inclined to favor an arrangement involving six to twelve people: adults, older kids, small kids that would be on-going in a loose way. A good "mix" is important--all three age groups should be more or less equally represented.

I think by the age of 7 to 10, a kid knows whether or not s/he is happy with his/her living arrangements. If s/he wants a change, I think a communist society should make that not only possible but easy. The details of how that would work can be talked about and might change as experience accumulates...but the principle seems to me to be simple: No one should be compelled to live with anyone they despise.

Groups like the Amish play a deliberately nasty trick on their kids--by "sheltering" them from knowledge of the modern world and then allowing or even forcing them to live in the modern world for a year...they create an overwhelming urge on the part of the kid to return to the "safe" world that "he knows". It is exactly as if I strapped you to a wheelchair for 16 years and then undid the straps and said, "get up, kid, you're free to walk." Some of those groups do embrace communal principles, but in every other respect (treatment of women in particular), they are reactionary assholes!

In the biological family, one or both parents decide how wealth is used and the other parent and especially the kids have little or no say in the matter. If money is handled in a responsible way, fine. If it isn't, the kids suffer...and have little recourse. That can happen in a real commune too, of course, but it's more difficult to do and there are other grown-ups present that one can appeal to.

As regards political power, are you trying to misunderstand me? I'm not talking about political parties or that kind of crap; I'm talking about who is master of the house! Who does everyone scurry to please? Who does no one dare to contradict or else risk being the victim of a violent attack? Who says what church the family will attend, when dinner will be eaten, what schools the kids will go to, etc., etc., etc.? That is what political power means in a biological family context--the monopoly of "legitimate" violence or the threat thereof.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 11, 2002
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You clearly had a hellish childhood and the only response to that you have is to promise to make your kid's childhood slightly less hellish--you'll beat him up, but not as badly as you were beaten up.

Perhaps, in your case, that's the best that can be hoped for...generation after generation of slight improvement until one day very far in the future your great-great-great-great-great grandchild will conclude that beating kids really sucks!

I agree completely that you're not "a fucking communist"--the last thing we need is "communists" like you.

You poor sad fucked bastard!
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 12, 2002
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Of the several books I've read on the experiences of people imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, one of them made an interesting point: it seems that a small minority of prisoners came to identify with their captors to the extent of imitating the guards' mannerisms, wearing disgarded scraps of Nazi uniforms, even believing that somehow they "deserved" the horrors visited on them by the Nazis.

In the waning years of the last century, this came to be known as the "kidnap victim syndrom"--where the victim, far from hating his/her kidnappers, came to "love" them. Thus the heiress Patricia Hearst "joined" her kidnappers--the "Symbionese Liberation Army"--even though they treated her very badly.

You can guess where I'm going with this: some people who have been horribly abused develop a "coping" strategy of "loving" their abusers...and even plan to imitate them when they get the chance. I don't think anyone knows at this point WHY this happens...but, as we have seen in this thread, it certainly does. People who would be expected to be livid with rage at what was done to them...defend the institution and the persons who have oppressed and brutalized them, and want to get the chance to do it themselves.

It is certainly possible that the family in communist society might function in a much more humane and egalitarian fashion than it does under the strains imposed on it by capitalist society. We have no way of knowing that, one way or the other. All we have to go on is how we see the family as an institution operating now and how it has operated in previous class societies. I believe an honest evaluation of the evidence suggests pretty strongly that the track record is very bad.

I suspect you disagree with this and I won't deny that you could be right...anything really resembling unimpeachable evidence is hard to come by. (By the way, a point I neglected to make in an earlier post: I share your scepticism regarding bourgeois social "science"...it's just all we have to go on, as bad as much of it undoubtedly is.)

I suppose what I would fall back on is a kind of "revolutionary bias"--the very project of creating an altogether new social order implies very strongly that everything is up for challenge, reform, or, if necessary, abolition...and that definitely includes the traditional biological family. I flatly refuse deference to this "sacred institution" simply because "we've always done it that way."
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 12, 2002
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I don't know if you were aware of this, but something of what you suggest actually existed once--among the nobility in the middle ages and even somewhat earlier in Scandinavia.

As I understand it, it worked something like this: a child--usually a son, I believe--was raised by his biological parents until age 7 or thereabouts. Then, he would be sent to live with an ally of that particular nobleman up through his teen-age years and even into early adulthood before returning to the family home. Thus the sons (and perhaps some daughters) matured under the "guidance" of someone unrelated to the biological parents; the practice was called "fostering". It may have had its origins in the desire to protect the continuity of the "family line"--if a particular nobleman was defeated by his enemies and killed with all of his nearby relatives, any "fostered" sons would still be alive to continue the family line as well as seek revenge if possible. As far as we know, it "worked".

But, I'm not confident of a system of essentially arbitrary rotation of kids...I don't think the kids would understand or accept being separated from people they really liked.

I would rather see a system of voluntary collectives that form for the purpose of raising children--not having children, raising them. The adults who would initiate the formation would be motivated by a genuine liking for kids...not a vulgar desire to "extend their family line" or a search for a vicarious life.

Kids would be made aware of the existence of such collectives as an immediate, safe, and viable alternative to living with their biological parents...which they could choose to exercise around age 7 and which could be chosen for them at an even younger age in the event of family abuse.

People who already had children, particularly unattached young women, could join such collectives and bring their children with them. They would, no doubt, show some favoritism to "their own" child...but the other adult members of the collective could step in if it got out of hand.

And of course, once a kid has reached the age of 7+ and discovers that the collective he finds himself in is not to his/her liking, s/he can move on to a different one.

The whole point of this idea--and other ideas like it--is to make voluntary what was hitherto considered compulsory or even inevitable. The whole point of Marx's criticism of the family in capitalist society--with which this thread began--is that behind the appearance of mutual affection and concern looms the ugly reality of economic survival or doom. As in Marx's era, so in ours: people try to kid themselves that they stay with people they don't really like out of "love" or "duty"...the reality is that young people who flee abusive homes, unless they are very lucky, find themselves driven by economic survival into some pretty awful situations. That will not be tolerated in communist society.

One can always argue about how many kids would take advantage of such alternatives if they in fact existed...I certainly don't know. Defenders of the traditional biological family will always assert that for most people it works just fine; critics will always counter that mostly it's a fucking snake pit.

Under communism, we shall put the matter to a real test...and then we'll see.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 13, 2002
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How is it treating people like "lab rats" to give them a choice as children as to how and who they will live with?

Does the idea that kids might choose a freer and more egalitarian living arrangement--one that would, by the way, be free of all violence--terrify some people so much that all they can respond with is hysterical rhetoric and personal abuse? What is it really that scares them so badly? Loss of personal authority, perhaps?
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First posted on December 14, 2002
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It may well be that there is no such thing as "ADD"--though it's a great "excuse" to drug kids into obedience and has been a bonanza for the drug industry.

"Let parents be parents"? Why not "let bosses be bosses"? Let "archbishops be archbishops"? Let "fuhrers be fuhrers"? No.

"You can't experiment with people's lives"--life is an experiment. Everything we think and do is "trial and error"...except for religious rituals and bullshit like that.

What you are clearly opposed to is any kind of substantive freedom for children, especially regarding their right to choose who will raise them.

That your reactionary position prevents you from comprehending any alternative is understandable. That you will stop the liberation of children is...well, doubtful, no matter how often you reach for your belt.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 15, 2002
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"You can't see it working" and yet you're unwilling to permit it being put to the test, even when I made it clear that I was talking about voluntary measures.

*shakes head in disbelief*
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 15, 2002
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And the present traditional biological family hasn't "fucked up people mentally"? In very large numbers?
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 16, 2002
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quote:

I'm not fucked up.


Yet another thing we disagree on.

If you had taken the trouble to read what I wrote, you would know that no one is going to kick your door down and drag you and your brother off to an unwanted freedom from your parents. What I proposed was that kids from the age of 7 or so have a real choice about who they live with.

Your incoherent, not to say down right hysterical reaction to this even-handed idea probably has psychological explanations that I'm not competent to discover.

But "fucked up" summarizes it pretty well.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 16, 2002
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I certainly knew by the age of 8 or so that I wanted to live someplace else...and it had nothing to do with candy or bedtime.

How dare you tell kids they are "stuck with their parents or guardians for life"?

You would tell slaves they are "stuck with their masters for life?" You would tell workers they are "stuck with bosses for life"? You would tell Che that people in other countries are "stuck with U.S. imperialism for life?"

Or perhaps you'd tell abused wives that they are "stuck with their husbands for life"?
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 17, 2002
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quote:

Parents love their children and are looking out for their well-being.


Without evidence, you have no right to assert that; I have seen many cases where that was not true.

I have already granted that you feel otherwise, and that therefore the "People's Child Police" are not going to kick your door down and drag you away from your crying parents. Ok???

What you folks will not grant is that other kids might feel very differently...for reasons that have nothing to do with candy or bedtimes. Your stupid infatuation with the traditional biological family forces you to simply ignore reality...even when you yourself are a victim of brutality. That is really sick!

What your point of view really boils down to is that kids have two choices: 1. submit to outrageous treatment or 2. run away and survive on the streets through petty theft and prostitution.

As it happens I was not physically mistreated as a child; instead I grew up watching two people who really hated each other progressively destroy themselves with their own hatred. By the age of 7 or 8, I would have joyfully left that poisonous atmosphere behind...especially for the kind of collective that I proposed in this thread; a collective formed of volunteers who like kids.

Do you wonder that when you people talk of "warm, happy, close families", I recoil in disgust at the reality that underlies that "Hallmark" mentality?

I do laugh, though, when people say: "Oh, you're only a communist because you're rebelling against your parents." At present, who else do we learn from...that the world that permits our own oppression is a world that needs changing a lot!

But then, since I already know you are both opposed to communist revolution, I don't imagine that you think the world really needs much changing at all.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 17, 2002
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quote:

...ask the whole goddamn community if they will support your 'communist revolution'...


And then what? If they all say no, just shut up?

As far as your platform goes, the Socialist Party USA has been the "left" tail of the Democratic Party since the 1940's. Anyone who would take that ancient rhetoric seriously now would probably buy stock in Enron. It is fake...not intended ever to be implemented. Why do you think so many members of the SPUSA are leaving to join the Greens; they are sick and tired of supporting Democrats who are, in fact, conservatives.

Yes, I am "extremely bitter" about many things; unlike you folks, I hate the world of oppression in all of its aspects. Do I have a "fantasy" of rescuing abused children? Actually, my "fantasy" is one of giving them a real chance to rescue themselves---sort of like my "fantasy" of giving the working class a real chance to emancipate itself.

To you, all real change is "fantasy".

You say that I am using "my fucked up life" to screw up others? And how am I able to perform such a miraculous deed? What mysterious powers am I supposed to possess that enable me to "screw up others" over the internet on a message board? Am I sending out evil rays over the planet: "kids, hate your parents."?

Don't you people have any real arguments to bring to this discussion? What have you offered in recent pages? That you "love" your abusers, I will grant. That you are utterly terrified of giving kids the freedom to choose who they will live with and under what circumstances--yes, I understand that. That you firmly believe that "kids are stuck with their parents for life"--yes, I understand that's your position. That you think I am outrageous for even suggesting that your views might be mistaken--yes, I understand you both are really pissed.

See, if your position had any real strength in reality, you wouldn't get so mad. You'd figure that since "most parents love their kids" and "most kids love their parents", that any efforts to set up alternatives would be trivial. Most kids would "want" to stay with their parents. If you really had any confidence in that, you would have shrugged off my remarks days ago.

Behind all the bluster and outraged rhetoric and assertions of parental "love", the worm of doubt is chewing away at both of you. The worm is saying: "if your parents love you and want what's best for you, why do they abuse you?"

You're not really mad at me; you're both mad at "the worm".

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 18, 2002
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quote:

Why aren't more kids running away from home?


Many do...and many more probably would were it not for the fact that they have been made aware of what awaits a teenager on the streets by the media. When I lived in San Francisco, I used to see the teenage boys hanging out at the corner of Geary & Larkin...waiting for customers. Not a good life.

Your other point: I am using my fucked-up childhood as "an excuse to want to fuck up others"? I don't even understand what you mean by that? Does that mean that I have a deep urge to fuck up others and need some kind of excuse for it? Am I the devil?

And you still haven't explained how what I write on a message board could "fuck up" anybody. If what I say is "bullshit", then no one will listen, right?

Or do you fear that people do listen when someone comes along and tells them they have a right to be free? I can certainly understand your desire to "shoot the messenger"...but it's too late. When parents lost the legal right to put their kids to death for disobedience (see the "Old Testament" for the gory details), the first crack in parental authority was made...and it's been downhill for you reactionaries ever since. You can scream your heads off at me...it won't do you any good at all.

Communist revolution will abolish parental property rights over children...and if you can't stand that idea, get your ass over on the other side of the barracades where you belong.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 19, 2002
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What a muddle!

"My parents don't own me"--actually, in law, they pretty much do. They can't sell you to someone else (they used to be able to do that), but the government has to "show cause" before a judge before you can be "taken away" from them.

"The government is sterile, heartless, and cold." That certainly describes the one we have now. And in the future...

"Will the state love me as much as my mother?" Actually, that's a meaningless question since the "state" is just an abstraction. Would a collective of volunteers set up for the purpose of raising kids--volunteers whose most important qualification for membership would be that they genuinely liked kids--"love" you as much as your mother? Probably not; but they might like you and respect you a great deal more.

"It wastes government money." That's pathetic. Is there anything more important to spend resources on than the welfare of children?

"It's unreasonable." No, it's quite reasonable.

Marx was neither "for" nor "against" the family, either in the abstract or in the case of the family under capitalism. What Marx observed is that the traditional pre-capitalist family was dissolving in the reality of capitalist relations...in which all relationships become commodity relationships. The acid has eaten much deeper since Marx's day...to the point where the whole idea of the traditional biological family is legitimately questionable.

"Society is more prosperous than ever [because] people are raised in families"--a good quote for the Junior Chamber of Commerce; I am not impressed.

"Your ideas will undermine the early years of socialist economies"--highly dubious and unsupported by evidence. Socialists economies are shaky in their first years because of the strain of reorganizing productive relations...a shift of 1% of the GDP towards the welfare of children isn't going to make a meaningful difference.

So, there are 450,000 runaways...I assume that's an annual total from the U.S. So what are you saying here? That it's "ok" that 450,000 kids hit the streets every year and peddle their asses to survive? That they "should" have stayed home and submitted to abuse? Or do you now admit that the need for the alternative I suggested is justified?

Yes, I am using my own childhood as a starting point in my reasoning; I knew from personal experience before I ever read a word of Marx that the "family" was a pile of shit. Had the alternative I have proposed in this thread existed, I would have grabbed it in a New York minute.

But that doesn't discredit my arguments a nanometer; it turned out my personal experience was not unique and, hey, not my fault. I can't even begin to tell you how good it felt to learn that! To know that behind my personal misery was a system that creates misery as one of its natural byproducts...that was a liberating experience.

Being a nice guy, it's an experience that I encourage others to enjoy.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 20, 2002
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If "the majority of families are not abusive", then what are you griping about? In trying to set up a system for kids who don't want to live with their parents or other relatives, I will be throwing a party that no one wants to attend.

But you really know better than that, don't you? 450,000 kids in the U.S. are willing to hit the streets every year, not because they've read redstar2000 and decided that he's right, but because reality has shown them that the family is shit. Think about that number for a second; it's more people than live in the city where I reside.

"We should make sure that less families are abusive"--and how is that to be accomplished? A cop in every kitchen? A weekly survey asking every kid in the country: hey, were you abused this week?

Why should we disrupt a system that "most" are fine with? Well, hell, let's close all the hospitals...most people aren't sick.

Under capitalism, you are property and so am I and so is everyone who doesn't have capital. (To be technically precise here: we are our labor power under capitalism and we must sell it--that is, ourselves--in order to survive.)

And it is capitalist law that confers parental rights to the possession of their children, thus reducing them to a kind of property...not me. (It used to be that husbands had similar rights over their wives...somehow we've largely managed to get by without that.)

Once more, you raise the issue of "being stripped away from the love of your parents" and once more I remind you that the alternative I propose is voluntary; how many times do I have to say it? If you like your parents and want to stay with them, it's OK! No one will make you leave or take you away from them!

So what is your gripe? That I propose that kids who don't like their parents have a right to a safe and nurturing alternative to life on the streets? If that's what's bothering you, then that's just tough shit...because it's going to happen!

As to your sentimental rubbish about "love", may I suggest a good career choice for you: writing "poetry" for the Hallmark Greeting Card Company. You would do much better there than in left politics.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 20, 2002
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"I am stuck in the illusion that I will be the next Lenin"--I have repeatedly made the point on this board that I am not a Leninist.

"Am I vulcan[sic] and devoid of human emotion?" Are you out of your mind?

Put kids in foster families like they do now? Have you ever even spoken to a kid who has actually been "placed" in one of those shitholes? I have actually known two young women who, as 13-year-old girls, were "placed" in foster homes...one was raped by her "new daddy" and the other went running down the street at midnight in her bed clothes to escape her would-be rapist. If I'm "vulcan", just what planet are you from?

And you certainly have a fixation of "calling the cops", don't you?

*ring*

"Police Department, 15th Precinct"

"Hi, I'm 7 years old and my parents fight all the time and it makes me feel really rotten. Please come and get me out of this shithole."

"Tough shit, kid, you're stuck with your parents for the rest of your life."

*click*


Good idea, I wonder why I didn't think of that?

On the "abolition of the family"---

1. The family will no longer be a legal entity recognized and upheld in law. Instead, it will be a voluntary association, freely entered in to and freely dissolved by the persons involved.

2. Any person who has reached the age of 7 shall be free to leave such an association upon request.

3. Persons between the age of 7 and 13, if they choose to leave such an association, shall be "raised" by voluntary communes set up specifically for the purpose of raising kids...and may leave one such commune and join another upon their request.

4. Persons reaching the age of 13 may be furnished independent housing on the same basis as all other citizens upon their request.

5. The physical and/or sexual abuse of persons under the age of 13 shall be a class A felony...serious prison time.


I believe those measures would do nicely. People who were really happy in the bosom of their "warm and loving families" could stay in them without any interference from the state at all. People who were not happy could freely leave. People who physically and/or sexually abused young children would find themselves head-down in a barrel of shit...where they belong!

And, not to overlook your funniest question: "how are you going to fight in a revolution if you can't even call the cops?" Only someone with your politics would link those two concepts together!
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 20, 2002
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"Do I want to start a revolution?" Individuals don't "start" revolutions, classes do. Would I like to be a "revolutionary celebrity"? Definitely not. Would I like people to find my arguments so convincing that they would act on them and even improve them? Yeah, I'd like that...I'd feel like I'd made a real contribution.

Would it be possible for kids to be sexually abused in the kind of child-raising communes I propose? Yes, but in practical terms it would be much more difficult. There would be half-a-dozen adults around, not just one or two. There would probably be several older kids around as well. It could still happen--nothing is perfect--but I think it would be much rarer.

Could kids who moved into a commune change their minds and return to their parents? I don't see why not. The only exception to this would be in the case where the parent had been tried and convicted of physical and/or sexual abuse...but I doubt if a kid would want to go back to that kind of "home" anyway.

"The cops can't allow you to remain in a family where you feel neglected or abused."--they do it every day. Remember those 450,000 runaways; what do the cops do for them?

"Puberty isn't the time to be unsupervised."--why is that? Are you afraid that the kids might (whisper) have sex? Guess what, they "do it" now.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 21, 2002
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Once again, you seem to insist on cramming people into a box...even when they don't fit. Most 13-year-olds probably would not want to live alone...but some would. You admit that. But you won't allow that.

"They won't clean their apartments or go to school." How, in the absence of any real evidence, can you presume that will be the case? People in real life have different standards of cleanliness; one person's "lived in" apartment is another person's "pigsty". And, no matter what the social system, we are never all going to be like Martha Stewart!

"I'm not Peter Pan and this isn't Never Never Land". Funny you should bring that up; it was one of my favorite movies when I was young. The only thing I couldn't understand is why the kids left. Make of that what you will.

"a lot of those [runaway] children don't trust the police"--very true. It is the police who will haul their asses back to their abusive families.

Trust the police? Why not trust the President? Or the Pope? What makes you think any "authority" is trustworthy? What is their collective track record? Have they ever shown that they are anything besides bastards?

"In churches there are lots of adults around; how then did the boys get molested?"--well, yes and no. I'm not an authority on church matters (as I'm sure you've guessed), but in the case of the Catholic Church, the priest is often alone with altar boys prior to and after dawn masses...which are usually sparsely attended. And who would have the nerve to suggest that a priest couldn't keep his hands off little boys' penises?

Curiously enough, it is capitalist legality that has come to the "rescue" of the kids...not by preventing abuse but by making the church pay compensation through lawsuits. The Catholic Church never gave a damn whether priests molested children and neither did the police or any other public authroity; but some lawyers saw a chance to "make a buck" and the lid was blown off. Now the church has to stop the molesting because otherwise they'll have to pawn that new $200,000,000 cathedral they just built in Los Angeles to pay the legal judgments against them.

"I think you are taking this argument far too seriously"--it obviously is serious.

One way to look at things: people "need" to be guided, restrained, channeled, harnessed, or otherwise controlled by one or several kinds of authority or otherwise they will "run wild".

The other way: people who are not free are not yet really people...it is freedom that makes us truly human.

Some folks are so badly brainwashed that the first option has already been chosen for them...and they can't even imagine that the second choice exists.

Others, somehow, make that second choice...I did.

It seems to me that you really do view communist society as "Never Never Land" and real human freedom as "an impossible dream." And that is very sad.

But time does funny things to people. If you live long enough to see a real revolutionary period (like the 1960s only much bigger) and can smell it and taste it and feel it...well, then we'll see how you do. Personally, I think that hunger to be free is in everyone...though dormant in most. From time to time, it awakens, stretches...and the world changes.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 21, 2002
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The things I've suggested are based on a very different kind of society than we have now...namely, communism.

But there are some trends in late capitalist society that point in the direction that I suggest.

Item: the "bonds" of the traditional biological family are growing weaker--in spite of considerable propaganda from both fundamentalist religions and bourgeois social science trying desperately to shore up a collapsing structure. If memory doesn't betray me, the majority of children born in Sweden today are born to unmarried women. In the U.S., about six out of every ten marriages end in divorce. And so on.

Item: there now is a kind of early "children's rights" current in legal theory. I've only seen a few examples and it's certainly very limited...but it's there The idea that children have "certain inalienable rights" even against the wishes of their biological parents is still quite weak, but...

Item: the tide of public opinion seems to be clearly turning against the idea of physical violence against small children. A number of E.U. countries now explicitly prohibit "spanking". Even in the U.S.--laggard as always when it comes to human rights--prosecutions of parental violence and even convictions are beginning to occur.

In the area of what I called "freedom to learn", the internet is clearly a dagger at the throat of all forms of traditional education. How is traditional "authority" to stand in the face of factual refutation available at the click of a mouse? (talk about the mouse that roared!)

When a child's only source of knowledge about the world was a parent, a clergyman, or a teacher, it was easy enough to maintain all kinds of really disgusting and oppressive forms of traditional authority. Now it's beginning to get a little tougher for the bastards...and it will get even tougher as time passes.

From the standpoint of a defender of traditional values, society is already "collapsing". From a revolutionary standpoint, that is a process to be welcomed, encouraged, and applauded.

Ever since the middle ages, each revolutionary period has been more radical than the ones that preceeded it. As difficult as it may be to believe, even I may look a little "conservative" when the next uprising comes...because it will be really something.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 23, 2002
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"People are evil, not religion"

Religion is evil, not people.

And which way did you vote?
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 23, 2002
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On what grounds do you assume that we communists will fill a whole generation's minds with "propaganda"?

Only those who are enemies of communism (mainly capitalists but also those who are addicted to superstition) would regard communist ideas as "propaganda".

I thought you were sympathetic to communism...
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 26, 2002
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The whole point of communist society is to enable individuals to flourish as they can never do under capitalism. You've surely seen enough of my posts to realize that I would be against "blind faith" in anything.

I would regard it as child abuse to fail to teach kids to be critical in their thinking, to fail to teach them to use their minds.

It seems to me you ought to know that.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 27, 2002
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Granted, no one ever has "the whole picture"--but why waste brain cells with nonsense? Do you fill up your hard drive with spam?

I think it sufficient to teach children that some unfortunate folks "believe" in things that don't exist...ghosts, vampires, devils, witches and gods. One should be patient with "believers", as one would be considerate of someone missing an eye or a leg. But one should not believe a word "believers" say, any more than one would put out one's own eye or cut off one's own leg out of misplaced courtesy to the eyeless or legless.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 27, 2002
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When a "god-believer" says that the sky is blue...better check for yourself; it's at least highly probable that the weather is gray and overcast.

Yes, I'm teaching "prejudice"--just as kids should be taught to be prejudiced against racists, against sexists, etc., they should also be prejudiced against those who believe in imaginary entities.

Why? Because just as we have learned that racism "as an idea" is horseshit and just as we have learned that sexism "as an idea" is horseshit, we will have also learned that religion "as an idea" is horseshit.

People should be prejudiced against horseshit ideas...and those that advocate horseshit ideas.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 28, 2002
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I wouldn't say "aren't they stupid" any more than I'd say "look how funny that cripple walks". I know we disagree, but I'm not an insensitive barbarian.

I would explain to a small child, 4-6, that there are people whose minds don't work quite the way they should...they believe in and even see things that don't exist. I would continue by saying that they may be otherwise perfectly normal people...except you can't trust anything they might say. It is something like a missing leg or a missing eye...an unfortunate handicap.

By 8 or 10, I'd get them a really good book on the history of torture and murder in the name of religion...with very realistic pictures. I'd explain that this is the kind of thing that used to happen when god-believers had real power to hurt people...but now we don't let them do that any more. (That book doesn't exist yet...but we would have it written.)

By 13 or 14, if they wanted to read scholarly works on religion, I'd have no problem with that...there are a lot of good ones. They could even read the "Bible" if they wanted to...but a scholarly version, like the Anchor Bible...only with more critical footnotes and explanations.

I think that would do it.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 31, 2002
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Hypocrite? How so? Force? In what way?

Telling kids the truth about things, in as much detail as they can grasp, seems to me to be a good idea.

Of course, we'd be depriving the churches of a fresh crop of suckers...but that is what we are supposed to do.

Tell me, are you one of those who believe that "creationism" and evolution should be taught in schools on an "equal" basis...where the two ideas are just put forward in a neutral voice, as if they were genuinely equivalent?

If you don't think that, then I don't see how you can disagree with my approach on religion. But if you do think creationism is just as valid as evolution, then I can see your objection to my approach on religion...but that doesn't make me hypocritical or guilty of using force.

It makes me guilty of not playing "fair" with bad ideas. And to that charge, I agree, I'm guilty! I'd be ashamed not to be.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 31, 2002
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