International Wimmin's Day 2006
Middle class people often find themselves in confrontation with Marxism for their own internal clarity purposes. In her 2003 book, Iranian Azar Nafisi tells us what it was like to leave circles considering Marx, Lenin and Mao. MIM would like to use Azar Nafisi as a typical example of how we have to keep a right-wing in the party and movements the party leads.
Azar Nafisi celebrates reading Nabokov's book about child molesting "Lolita," along with lipstick, miniskirts, pornopop, "Baywatch"--the whole nine yards of "sexual freedom." She's to the point where she is openly on the right-wing in regard to patriarchy, but nonetheless she fooled most calling themselves communist.
The two most important errors in recruiting Azar Nafisi were: 1) Not understanding what is cardinal and what is not; 2) Not having a direction on the feminism question.
Not having a correct direction on the feminism question resulted in Azar Nafisi's ability to name as wimmin's liberation an assortment of gender topics. Ironically, but dialectically, it was the fact that Azar Nafisi became a man in her process of political confrontation with anti-imperialism that socially speaking allowed her a direction on gender questions. What threw off her circles was that she was talking about gender topics and even putting priority on them. Without a direction of their own, her recruiters played a spontaneous womyn-like role, and accepted her claim of feminism at face-value.
RąP=u$A (a party) at the time of interaction with Azar Nafisi was subverting our movement by making homosexuality a de facto cardinal question. In all likelihood, the RąP=u$A made other lifestyle questions de facto cardinal as well and thus had no means to combat Azar Nafisi's slide into the imperialist camp. The RąP=u$A actually shared her overall outlook, just with a different set of lifestyles.
Usually we think of homophobia as a right-wing phenomena and it is, but it's important to understand its twisted ultra-left echo. At that time, RąP=u$A was saying a particular lifestyle was degenerate and de facto raising that up to cardinal question in the name of avoiding imperialist decadence. Implicit is the belief in a subreformist oasis of purity.
The bottom line is that there is a terrible steering question here. The party has to crack down on its ultraleft that might as well be lifestyle anarchists. If it does not crack down on the purists, it is going to drive out the Azar Nafisis. If purists are so pure, they can make more contributions to the struggle than other individuals. It needs to be left at that level.
RąP=u$A was lacking the gender aristocracy concept. Azar Nafisi basically noticed that in Iran, as female she is not allowed to become a man. In Amerika, Azar Nafisi is allowed to become a man. Azar Nafisi did not put it that way: it was the job of the party to do that.
Our response has to be two-fold: 1) "Yes, Azar, we at MIM sympathize with you and do not believe it is right for the patriarchy to prevent females from becoming men. We're not big on having females or gays in the military, but we see the point within their system." 2) "Azar, what you have discovered is sexual liberalism, which is a natural and intuitive ideological expression of being a man in the West." MIM does not discriminate against having men in the party, at least not much. (We also take capitalists like Engels.) What Western heterosexual biological male does not feel intuitively a need for lipstick, miniskirts, freedom of adultery and legalization of pornograpy and prostitution--Azar Nafisi's current gender bureaucratic agenda?
It's easy to go astray with a "false consciousness" substitute for the MIM line. We do not want Azar Nafisis to be staring at their navels wondering why they do not feel intuitively the "natural womyn" thing and thus have "false consciousness." If they feel they want prostitutes and pornography legalized, they feel it! Let's not get bogged down. There could be a lesbian thing here. They could have lost family in violence for lack of sexual liberalism, etc. It does not matter. We know it is going on for real. We have every reason to believe that what Azar Nafisis are feeling really is something like what men feel spontaneously in patriarchy. The key is that taking men into the party does not mean our line will not be scientific feminism.
So the problem that we needed to put forward to Azar Nafisi and her agenda is that it is not feminist. We do see her logic about some kind of biology-based discrimination there, but we need to approach the gender agenda from the bottom up and tell her frankly and from first-hand Amerikan-raised experience that she is raising the man's agenda and becoming in fact a spokespersyn for the gender aristocracy, a relatively elite level of man as man.
In recruiting people before they have reached the scientific stage, we have to distinguish the intuitive pressures people feel from society and group level analysis. If we do not crack on our ultraleft, we are going to lose all the intuitive types who feel that avoiding hypocrisy is the prime directive. That will mean losing Third World wimmin who notice their gender privilege level in the West, either consciously or unconsciously. We have a solution for these people who think fighting hypocrisy is the prime directive: join the "Catholic Worker" or take up Christian communism, which is where you got your idea of hypocrisy in the first place.
Instead, we should say, if you do not feel hypocrisy, you cannot be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutionary in the West. Either you are too dumb to perceive imperialist social pressure or you have capitulated to it at the ideological level. Even if you are 99.9% in synch intuitively with the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, there has to be the 0.1% you have not thought of yet.
Azar Nafisi could not handle the hypocrisy of her lifestyle preferences in contrast with the priorities of the anti-imperialist movement. On page 85 of her book, she says she "began a schizophrenic period in my life in which I tried to reconcile my revolutionary aspirations with the lifestyle I most enjoyed." In response, we don't want to say "Long Live Hypocrisy!" but maybe "Medium long live hypocrisy! Down with militarism and imperialism!" This makes it very concrete what it really means to prioritize anti-imperialism and anti- militarism.
Parasitism has grown in the West. People in the West feel much at ease and even driven toward oppressive goals. This has to be acknowledged and one thing the growth of parasitism is doing is driving children to become adults earlier and females to become men. We have to help people sort that out, what pressure or absolutely voluntary feeling is what and how are they going to maintain an anti- imperialist and anti-militarist outlook.
It's going to take some time to be done with imperialism. In the meantime, it exerts pressure on us. We can accept that pressure as "natural," give it voice and even elevate it to ideology, or we can accept that what is intuitive and easy is not always rational.
At bottom, this means we have to fully understand that lifestyle is not cardinal, not from the right and not from the ultraleft. If Azar Nafisi listens to the Beatles denouncing Mao and watches Baywatch every day, like she says, she is still a far better persyn by virtue of anti-imperialist participation. Even if she is violating the party primer advice on lifestyles regularly, it is not a reason to quit the movement. People are wrong to stigmatize each other and themselves to that extent. MIM would gladly take her into our movement and even the party if she does have the true cardinal questions right. If these gender bureaucrats can go to the trouble of writing books and giving interviews for their gender aristocracy ideology, they could have been doing the same thing for communism instead. Obviously Azar Nafisi is not just watching "Baywatch" and reading "Lolita" to her students. So we suspect that Azar Nafisi was a blown recruiting opportunity.