Recently someone asked us again the question how does the gender aristocracy benefit from oppressing Third World wimmin. We gave our answer about contraceptive testing, wet nursing and nanny care as usual. Then we started drawing contrasts. Lately we've also talked about out-groups or the national question as it intersects.
In thinking about this though, maybe the real problem is that the question arises because of the lack of proper method behind it. To disentangle theory from a narrow and static reality is important.
Through decades of experience the trade union bureaucracy taught us Marxists about an in-between group and how it can ally with imperialists. Then came the labor aristocracy. Today there are many who would not ask MIM how the labor aristocracy benefits. Lenin taught us about super-profits. All of that happened over a slow grind of history.
Now when MIM comes forward to say that the labor aristocracy allies with the imperialists and it is the labor aristocracy even more adamant than the imperialists about keeping the borders closed, many understand what MIM is saying, without question.
When we come forward and say there is a gender aristocracy propping up the patriarchy, we get blank stares. At least we are making some headway with people that biology is not the same thing as social group status. Those studying the evils of sociobiology have some connection to understanding this problem.
MIM has rejected reproduction as the center of gender, but the rest of gender can encompass many things. Is there one central concept organizing gender like superprofits that organizes the labor aristocracy concept for us?
Can we turn Catharine MacKinnon on her head and come up with something? MacKinnon starts and ends in the superstructure with her idea about pornography determining what is pleasurable and against the subjective interests of wimmin. She also tends to see pornography as unfavorable to male students and prisoners. She thus expands the ranks of wimmin inside u.$. borders. Here is where MIM starts looking comparatively, so that is part of the problem and how we have to depart from MacKinnon.
Next we said that the gender totem pole is tied up with biological development, age and health status--all material factors. That is where the suspicion arises that people looking at MIM may miss the dynamic element.
When we are stuck in the same reality--the same place and time period--we risk getting our thinking stuck in a rut. This problem we solved gradually and at great expense in historical class struggle was to understand the labor aristocracy and labor bureaucracy. We are talking about countless lives ruined, people bribed by corporate cops, strikes squashed. The job of epistemology and theory is to speed up the proletariat's mental grasp of this gender aristocracy that already tangibly exists, in order that we may take swift and tightly organized action.
Marx's theory of surplus-value is for a very specific time in history. It's not something for all history, and correspondingly, the modes of production he talks about break history into chunks.
MIM has not really escaped Marx's influence when it comes to patriarchy either. Profit drives the pornography business. So one choice is to say we live in capitalist pornography.
Returning us to our usual frustrations with patriarchy as something ancient, Foucault and some pessimistic post-modernists generally say pornography has always existed. It's only our limited minds that fail to recognize the Catholic confession to a priest as pornography for example. So then post-modernists return us to the superstructure.
Against Foucault, we cannot help returning to Marx and getting our majority of ideas there. However, MIM has said that the oppression of children is really gender in its own right-- child molestation. The sharpest and purest gender oppression occurs before the child is aware of money.
Once a child becomes aware of money and becomes allowed to spend it, we enter more into Marx's territory. We cannot help that class is tied up with gender oppression. The pornography machine as we know it right now stimulates the child with money in exchange for sex. Even what is pleasurable to the child starts to be shaped by money.
In the stereotype of the caveman who had no money, we see him hit the womyn with a club and drag her away. Even if it has origins in capitalism right now, child molestation is not much different than sex among apes. Some would say it is capitalism's special contribution to be able to equate sex across ages. (I'm not going to pretend I know if apes or pre-money tribes ever sexually attack offspring years before they are capable of reproduction.)
The central organizing concept of gender similar to superprofits as we see it is access to the leisure-time body, as it existed before money. Now this is where maybe the problem with rut thinking comes in. How does the gender aristocracy have access to bodies thousands of miles away? Marx and Lenin taught us all about how superprofits flow. How does gender aristocracy benefit flow?
To answer this, we need to answer pornographically in two separate groups, class and gender. In terms of gender, the dynamic part of the analysis comes in imagining the alliance of the gender aristocracy to close the borders. Because class and gender are intertwined, we have to utilize a special thought trick here--a magic wand to make sure we really answer the question and not stray into the mode of production and go back to our usual ruts.
Instead of letting in all the undocumented workers into the united $tates to work and drive down wages, what would happen if adult males managed to open the borders to females, but only on the legal condition that they cannot work or own assets? Females are free to date and co-habitate, but they can have no economic power that would upset the labor aristocracy. (This does happen now with sex slavery but we want people to think of it on a huge scale, everywhere.) Are you picturing this? And let's just say the laws on marriage went out the window, so there are no restrictions on the number of wives or if there were, still many men chose not to marry and just took in more girlfriends.
Now imagine this: magazines and websites to arrange dating proliferate. Wimmin start to compete for men. The flyers for wimmin to date are on every street corner.
So MIM's first step to stand MacKinnon on her head is "yo, MacKinnon, it's not subjective. It's demographics." There is a concrete ratio of bodies to bodies. There is so much sexual time of people available and what percentage of that time is spent in contact with other people. If a man can take minimal care of wimmin, there is no limit other than the economics behind demographics.
In fact, the subjective state of wimmin depends on demographics. What they are willing to accept depends on ratios of men available. What they might call rape in MacKinnon's logic in one situation they would not in another.
So whatever the situation became, maybe men started dating four wimmin a night. When he wakes up, there is a womyn there as his "friend." Another is waiting in the kitchen and so on. It's not that the migrant wimmin are working for wages, just dating.
Now imagine in the midst of that at first there was a lot of competitiveness in the pornographic communications business. Then came a group of wimmin that struggled like hell and somehow managed to monopolize the pornographic communications business. Now instead of seeing wimmin of all colors speaking all languages in the porno brochures for dating, a whole fleet of fashion, art and even psychology magazines and television programming come out with a unified pornographic message. You can even see that the pictures in the porno start to look the same. The amazing part that no one can figure out is that it works! Whereas before Amerikkkan males were dating wimmin of all colors, now definitely one color is on the upswing. This white-oriented pornography really works.
Next thing you know, bam, and the borders are closed. Something called the "Gender Aristocracy Trade Association" gradually evolved into something called a "Gender Aristocracy Cultural Advancement Society." Anyway, they closed the border! Now not only the supply of labor-power is limited, but females just allowed to date cannot hang around in the united $tates either.
Next the gender aristocracy goes for class benefits. Laws come into being that divide a man's assets in half if he gets divorced for any reason. The gender aristocracy also outlaws prostitution and allies with the labor aristocracy to keep waged prostitutes out. So now the cost of any kind of interaction with the gender aristocracy goes up.
So would you our reader say that the gender aristocracy "benefitted" from oppressing Third World wimmin yet? Didn't they kick them out in a sexual sense? Didn't they limit Third World's womyn's "choice"? Crucially in agreement with MacKinnon, MIM says pornography determines the pleasurable, but in distinction with MacKinnon, MIM sees the largest and most dominant pornography business as necessarily restrictive, and thus a tool of the gender aristocracy.
Excluded from the gender aristocracy are the too young, too old, the handicapped, the visibly very unhealthy and most of the Third World. How the gender aristocracy excluded the fat, I have no answer here. But when we think about pornography, it was always a lie that the largest corporations dominating it degraded all wimmin. If the porno corporations degraded all wimmin it was only by raising some up as worthy. It's possible that porno corporations could arise to degrade all wimmin simultaneously and evenly, but they did not.
The benefits to the gender aristocracy did not stop there. Now the Third World wimmin are back in the Third World, subject to contraceptive testing and super-exploited wages. In the event that the gender aristocracy wants to pay the men for physical labor, the gender aristocracy can pay, if it so wishes, in money worth the sexuality of several Third World wimmin. If the gender aristocracy has nothing of use to trade with men, the pornography machine has still guaranteed them higher sexual status. Just "borrow" or loot the money and give it to the men to use on Third World wimmin. This even gives the gender aristocracy relief from the pressure of sex with men--"choice" of asexuality without conflict.
Where the gender aristocracy is obtaining super-profits, the gender aristocracy also benefits from keeping Third World wimmin as Third World wimmin because they reproduce the super-exploited labor force. The more the Third World labor force reproduces, the higher the surplus-value the gender aristocracy can benefit from, which means more leisure-time.
Oddly enough, the benefits do not stop there. Because the pornography machine has exalted them and resulted in men's leaving them their assets through divorce and death, the gender aristocrats have privileged daughters. The daughters will get higher pay in modeling and similar entertainment than both men and Third World wimmin. The dominance of the pornography machine means that the daughter can even choose among Third World mates if she so desires!
Dominance of the pornography machine means less sex for more money for the gender aristocracy. So it returns to surplus-value. MIM has to almost apologize for that as economic reductionism, and rather too obvious. That's why it's better to use the mental trick to imagining gender strictly in its own right by imagining dating in a demographically lopsided situation.
The labor aristocracy is gung-ho on keeping out undocumented workers. The gender aristocracy is the ally of the patriarchy, and it works partly through similar control of the border and access to female bodies. Concretely how it works is that if a man wants to be in a rich country, he has to adjust his tastes to the existence of the gender aristocracy there.
This is dynamic analysis, because it's about what happens across time and struggle. We could imagine other situations. For example, more realistically, what if Third World wimmin could enter the united $tates and get jobs only on condition of dating biological males? Whose interests would this offend?
Then there is the reproduction twist. Though he wanted to win the war, Hitler restricted his reproduction camps to Aryans. What would happen if you would get citizenship if you provided a baby to an Amerikkkan male?
So there are a lot of ways to think of gender, class and nationality dynamically by moving in the direction of lopsided male interest and then seeing how it would come apart.
If we speculate on the pre-conditions of the gender aristocracy, we should manipulate class dynamically in our own minds. What would happen to Amerikkkan females if suddenly we distributed Amerikkka's assets equally around the world? Now suddenly it becomes hard to work the situation of citizenship and wimmin moving to the united $tates to date. In addition, suddenly Amerikan females find themselves in competition with other poor wimmin. It will be Amerikans migrating to richer places. In that situation, she will still benefit from monopolizing pornography against competitors. On the other hand, it seems that some may have to work too much, and thus endanger health status and time available to work the 'ho-system. The final answer on that situation might depend on the ratio of Amerikan wimmin to the rest of the world. If Amerikan wimmin are rare enough yet in demand enough via pornography, then they may manage to escape their class fate.
Another interesting speculation would be what would happen if suddenly all the world's men preferred Black wimmin? What if for example, initially at least, Africa allowed any male to move there? That could become very lopsided demographically.
Lopsided situations favoring females exist in China and India now. Money comes into the picture to try to equalize exchange between male and female in that situation. What will please the womyn subjectively in that situation will be different than in others. Probably the only means of struggle for men in that situation is the gay or asexual option.
Generally, the Western gender aristocracy understands "choice" in all things. Yet there is a sense in which the "choice" of adult males degrades the conditions of the would-be gender aristocracy. Is it really so hard to see that the gender aristocracy has its own gender-specific reasons for closing the borders to Third World wimmin as wimmin and dominating the pornography machine? The gender aristocracy benefits from keeping Third World wimmin Third World wimmin.
Gender is about intimate living conditions, so it is different than class and nation. In class and nation, there is a possibility that outnumbering the enemy is a way to win a physical combat. The gender aristocracy is a competitive group, so hauling in Third World wimmin to conquer First World men does not seem to be in the gender aristocracy's sexual interests.
Even for nanny and wet-nurse services, the gender aristocracy benefits from the pornography machine, because the gender aristocracy will need money to afford those services. If the gender aristocrat were equal with the Third World womyn on the gender totem pole, she would not be able to convert her gender privilege to cash.
The labor aristocracy and gender aristocracy are the front lines against the joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations. The labor aristocracy and gender aristocracy fear socialism for their own distinct reasons. Socialism redistributes the assets and labor that make leisure possible and socialism also takes apart the pornography machine.
Rising wealth and exploitation is actually a factor neutralizing the gender aristocracy's venom. At some point of wealth, the gender aristocracy loses interest in heterosexuality at all. Even preferences for having children decline. Wealth is a neutering factor for the gender aristocracy, so dialectics works against the patriarchy.
It seems likely that the gender aristocracy is not as favorable to war as the labor aristocracy. The gender aristocracy receives a stark physical reminder of its fighting incapacity relative to biological men in war. The projection of men abroad also comes with a constant risk of intimate competition from Third World wimmin that undermines the gender aristocracy's closing of the borders. To the extent that the gender aristocracy puts more time into raising children, the gender aristocracy's accomplishments through their children go to waste in war. The best way for MIM to shake the gender aristocracy despite its fear of socialism is to point to war and again war. Anti-militarism is not only tied up closely with our goals of internationalism, but also it is strategically essential to shake the props of the patriarchy.