Link to a video:
Link to a review by Liza Featherstone of Kristen Ghodsee’s book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence (2018):
But Ghodsee is open to criticism of the same sort Jodi Dean leveled at Naomi Klein: why is “unregulated capitalism” the problem rather than just “capitalism”? Isn’t Ghodsee just making typically vague (left) populist claims? We can critique that position by saying that “populism is simply a new way to imagine capitalism without its harder edges; a capitalism without its socially disruptive effects. Populism is one of today’s two opiums of the people: one is the people, and the other is opium itself. *** What remains of the passionate public engagement in the West is mostly the populist hatred, and this brings us to the other second opium of the people, the people itself, the fuzzy populist dream destined to obfuscate our own antagonisms.”
Link to an interview with Kristen R. Ghodsee conducted by Meagan Day:
Link to an article by Julian Vigo:
“one should . . . admit how problematic it is to anchor one’s political demands to status of victimhood. Is the basic characteristic of today’s subjectivity not the weird combination of the free subject who believes themselves ultimately responsible for their own fate and the subject who bases their argument on their status as a victim of circumstances beyond their own control? Every contact with another human being is experienced as a potential threat – if the other smokes, if he casts a covetous glance at me, he already hurts me; this logic of victimization is today universalized, reaching well beyond the standard cases of sexual or racist harassment.”
“They play the Beautiful Soul, which feels superior to the corrupted world while secretly participating in it: they need this corrupted world as the only terrain where they can exert their moral superiority.”
“PC anti-racism is sustained by the surplus-enjoyment which emerges when the PC-subject triumphantly reveals the hidden racist bias on an apparently neutral statement or gesture”
“In short, the extreme horror of Auschwitz did not make it into a place which intrinsically purifies every single one of its surviving victims into ethically sensitive subjects who got rid of all petty egotistic interests.”
“The beautiful soul attitude finds a particularly fertile ground in what many call the ‘infantilization’ of our societies. We are encouraged to behave as children: to act primarily upon how we ‘feel,’ to demand — and rely on — constant protection against the ‘outer world,’ its dangers and fights, or simply against the world of others, other human beings.”
My only disagreement with Vigo’s article is her characterization of “motherhood privilege” (more broadly, “parenthood privilege”) as “delusional nonsense”. Laws and corporate policies do sometimes grant benefits to parents that are not given to the childless — isn’t that a parenthood privilege? For instance, assume that parenthood is burdensome but socially beneficial; could someone benefit by avoiding more burdensome and less socially beneficial work in a capitalist society through parental leave that is not available to other workers who would like to have time off from work to engage in burdensome and socially beneficial activity other than parenthood? If so, then there is a parenthood privilege. There is a trace of chauvinist defensiveness in Vigo’s argument there, though this doesn’t undermine her larger point.
By declining to confront our anti-egalitarian social structure at its roots, an individualistic, corporate feminism will never transform society. It can only offer a select few the entirely insufficient hope of catching up; of taking their turn; of being represented. The patience of the oppressed is rapidly transformed into a strategy of their oppressor.