Sexuality and Socialism is a remarkably accessible analysis of many of the most challenging questions for those concerned with full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Inside are essays on the roots of LGBT oppression, the construction of sexual and gender identities, the history of the gay movement, and how to unite the oppressed and exploited to win sexual liberation for all. Sherry Wolf analyzes different theories about oppression—including those of Marxism, postmodernism, identity politics, and queer theory—and challenges myths about genes, gender, and sexuality. “Sexuality and Socialism is the most intelligent and enlightened discussion on sexuality to come from the Left in a long time. No other work that comes to my mind explains the history of sexuality and sexual repression in the United States as comprehensively and compellingly.”—Ron Jacobs, Dissident Voice “Sherry Wolf: Lesbian, Activist, Communist & Badass-ist... spoke to a pre-National Equality March rally. She. Blew. It. Up.”—Austin Chronicle “Sherry speaks with such eloquence and plain common sense that I can't help but want to know more about her ideas and convictions.”—Derek Washington, “In the LV” radio host, Director of LGBT Outreach, Clark County Democratic Black Caucus “The icons of the new generation of activists are people like Lady Gaga, Dustin Lance Black, Judy Shephard, Lt. Daniel Choi (ret.) and Sherry Wolf (author of Sexuality and Socialism).”—Don Gorton, Join the Impact Board Member “Surprisingly funny, very readable and a fitting tome for a new movement in these troubled times.”—Dave Zirin for Progressive's Best Books of 2009 “‘What humans have constructed they can tear down.’ This is the powerful insight of this rare book that is at once politically important, theoretically and historically sophisticated, and clearly written. Sexuality and Socialism is enlivened in its engagement with a number of controversies, including those over the alleged biological determination of homosexuality, the myth of Black homophobia, and the consequences of postmodernist theories for the politics of gay liberation. Above all else, Wolf puts forward a cogent defense of the Marxist tradition—long and wrongly reviled as homophobic in itself—as a way to explain how LGBT oppression arose and what we can do to put it to bed.”—Dana Cloud, University of Texas at Austin Sherry Wolf is the associate editor of the International Socialist Review. She was on the executive committee of the National Equality March Oct. 11, 2009 and has written for publications including the Nation, MRZine, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and Socialist Worker and speaks frequently across the country on the struggle for LGBT liberation as well as a wide range of social and economic justice issue.
The movement for LGBT rights has greatly expanded sexual freedom, but many challenges confront this struggle for equality. Sherry Wolf offers a Marxist analysis that links today's struggles for equal rights to a future based on genuine liberation.
First published in 1991, The Achilles Heel Reader brings together key articles from Achilles Heel, the path-breaking and influential magazine of men's sexual politics. It also includes an important introduction by the editor, setting the magazine in its intellectual and historical context. Achilles Heel, first published in 1978, was a magazine which explored positive conceptions of masculinity and the ways in which men can change in response to the challenge of feminism. It sought to persuade men to take responsibility for the power they share as men in relation to women - and to use this responsibility both in their personal relationships and in challenging the political and social institutions and practices that embody such power. This selection covers crucial issues in men's lives - work, sexuality, children, relationships, family, class, sharing the experience of different masculinities - and brilliantly catches the tensions and anxieties of men trying to cope with the interplay between their sexuality and their political commitments. By bringing the personal and the political together The Achilles Heel Reader reconsiders basic questions of socialist theory and practice. It will be of great value to students of sociology, women's studies, politics and cultural studies, as well as those interested in feminism as part of a process of reworking socialism.
A sharp and insightful analysis of movements against racism, with essential lessons for today's struggles.
Explores the complex relationship between sexuality and socialist politics in Britain, arguing that sexuality has been a key, though often neglected aspect of party politics in the last century and a half. It also explores the relationship between the personal and the political in a wide-ranging study of British society.
The interrelationship of fascism and sexuality has attracted a great deal of interest for some time now. This collection offers fresh perspectives by leading scholars on the history of sexuality under national socialism on such topics as the persecution of Jewish-gentile sex in the "race defilement" trials, homophobic propaganda and the prosecution of same-sex activity within the Wehrmacht and SS, representations of female sexuality in film, prostitution on home and battle fronts, sexual relations between Germans and foreign forced laborers, and reproductive practices among Jewish survivors. Moreover, the authors provide new insights into the relationships between Nazi sexual politics and antisemitism and challenge assumptions of Nazism as sexually repressive; instead they emphasize the interrelationships between incitement to sexual activity and persecution and mass murder.
Few topics evoke so much anxiety and pleasure, pain and hope, discussion and silence as sexuality. Throughout the Christian era it has been a major moral preoccupation. Since the eighteenth century it has also been the focus of 'scientific' exploration and political activity. But, despite this obsessive concern, we are still as baffled as our predecessors about the 'true' meaning of sex. In this book Jeffrey Weeks unravels the dense web of historical, theoretical and political forces that have culminated in the contemporary crisis of sexual meanings and values. The book begins with a powerful evocation of our present discontents and their potent signs: the rise of the New Right, the retreat of progressive forces and a wave of moral panics around sex. It argues that this crisis is rooted in a tradition which has ascribed an inflated importance to sexuality, whilst claiming a privileged access to truth. The author then examines radical debates of recent years, and asks whether they contain the potentiality for taking us beyond the existing boundaries of sexuality. From this analysis emerges a controversial 'radical pluralist' approach to sexuality built on an acceptance of diversity and choice. By linking our present discontents to a clear understanding of the past, Jeffrey Weeks presents a rational, optimistic and challenging vision of a realizable future.
"Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism" uses queer theory as a hermeneutic tool with which to read against the grain of heterotextual narratives of the Holocaust and as a way of locating alternative pathways of meaning in dominant Holocaust research. Specifically addressing the racialization of sexuality, the book asks how the politics of sexuality can be more explicitly and systematically theorized, along with state-sanctioned homophobia under Nazism, with a clear recognition that homophobia seldom operated alone, but worked in conjunction with other axes of power, including race, gender, eugenics, and population politics. In theorizing gender and sexuality as entangled axes of analysis, the book allows the specificity of lesbian difference to emerge and challenges the received wisdom that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted under National Socialism. William J. Spurlin questions the wisdom of received scholarship that reduces Nazi fascism to latent homosexuality, and examines the possible implications of Nazi homophobia, and its imbrication with other deployments of power, for the study of contemporary culture where the homophobic impulse continues to reverberate, thereby challenging understandings of history steeped in notions of progressive modernity.
This is the first account of sexual liberation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Kateřina Liskov reveals how, in the case of Czechoslovakia, important aspects of sexuality were already liberated during the 1950s - abortion was legalized, homosexuality decriminalized, the female orgasm came into experts' focus - and all that was underscored by an emphasis on gender equality. However, with the coming of normalization, gender discourses reversed and women were to aspire to be caring mothers and docile wives. Good sex was to cement a lasting marriage and family. In contrast to the usual Western accounts highlighting the importance of social movements to sexual and gender freedom, here we discover, through the analysis of rich archival sources covering forty years of state socialism in Czechoslovakia, how experts, including sexologists, demographers, and psychologists, advised the state on population development, marriage and the family to shape the most intimate aspects of people's lives.
Around the world, consciousness of the threat to our environment is growing. The majority of solutions on offer, from using efficient light bulbs to biking to work, focus on individual lifestyle changes, yet the scale of the crisis requires far deeper adjustments. Ecology and Socialism argues that time still remains to save humanity and the planet, but only by building social movements for environmental justice that can demand qualitative changes in our economy, workplaces, and infrastructure. Chris Williams is a longtime environmental activist, professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University, and chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute. He lives in New York City.
This book showcases extensive research on gender under state socialism, examining the subject in terms of state policy and law; sexuality and reproduction; the academy; leisure; the private sphere; the work world; opposition activism; and memory and identity.
This book explores childhood and schooling in late socialist societies by bringing into dialogue public narratives and personal memories that move beyond imaginaries of Cold War divisions between the East and West. Written by cultural insiders who were brought up and educated on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain - spanning from Central Europe to mainland Asia - the book offers insights into the diverse spaces of socialist childhoods interweaving with broader political, economic, and social life. These evocative memories explore the experiences of children in navigating state expectations to embody “model socialist citizens” and their mixed feelings of attachment, optimism, dullness, and alienation associated with participation in “building” socialist futures. Drawing on the research traditions of autobiography, autoethnography, and collective biography, the authors challenge what is often considered ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ in the historical accounts of socialist childhoods, and engage in (re)writing histories that open space for new knowledges and vast webs of interconnections to emerge. This book will be compelling reading for students and researchers working in education, sociology and history, particularly those within the interdisciplinary fields of childhood and area studies. ‘The authors of this beautiful book are professional academics and intellectuals who grew up in different socialist countries. Exploring “socialist childhoods” in myriad ways, they draw on memories, and collective history, emotional insider knowledge and the measured perspective of an analyst. What emerges is life that was caught between real optimism and dullness, ethical commitments and ideological absurdities, selfless devotion to children and their treatment as a political resource. Such attention to detail and examination of the paradoxical nature of this time makes this collective effort not only timely but remarkably genuine.’ —Alexei Yurchak, University of California, USA
Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel argues that the creation of such “desiring subjects” is at the core of China’s contingent, piece-by-piece reconfiguration of its relationship to a post-socialist world. In a study at once ethnographic, historical, and theoretical, she contends that neoliberal subjectivities are created through the production of various desires—material, sexual, and affective—and that it is largely through their engagements with public culture that people in China are imagining and practicing appropriate desires for the post-Mao era. Drawing on her research over the past two decades among urban residents and rural migrants in Hangzhou and Beijing, Rofel analyzes the meanings that individuals attach to various public cultural phenomena and what their interpretations say about their understandings of post-socialist China and their roles within it. She locates the first broad-based public debate about post-Mao social changes in the passionate dialogues about the popular 1991 television soap opera Yearnings. She describes how the emergence of gay identities and practices in China reveals connections to a transnational network of lesbians and gay men at the same time that it brings urban/rural and class divisions to the fore. The 1999–2001 negotiations over China’s entry into the World Trade Organization; a controversial women’s museum; the ways that young single women portray their longings in relation to the privations they imagine their mothers experienced; adjudications of the limits of self-interest in court cases related to homoerotic desire, intellectual property, and consumer fraud—Rofel reveals all of these as sites where desiring subjects come into being.
This book brings together a diverse range of critical interventions in sexuality and gender studies, and seeks to encourage new ways of thinking about the connections and tensions between sexual politics, citizenship and belonging. The book is organized around three interlinked thematic areas, focusing on sexual citizenship, nationalism and international borders (Part 1); sexuality and "race" (Part 2); and sexuality and religion (Part 3). In revisiting notions of sexual citizenship and belonging, contributors engage with topical debates about "sexual nationalism," or the construction of western/European nations as exceptional in terms of attitudes to sexual and gender equality vis-à-vis an uncivilized, racialized "Other." The collection explores macro-level perspectives by attending to the geopolitical and socio-legal structures within which competing claims to citizenship and belonging are played out; at the same time, micro-level perspectives are utilized to explore the interplay between sexuality and "race," nation, ethnicity and religious identities. Geographically, the collection has a prevalently European focus, yet contributions explore a range of trans-national spatial dimensions that exceed the boundaries of "Europe" and of European nation-states.
This edited volume explores the cultural life of capitalism during socialist and post-socialist times within the geopolitical context of the former Yugoslavia. Through a variety of cutting edge essays at the intersections of critical cultural studies, material culture, visual culture, neo-Marxist theories and situated critiques of neoliberalism, the volume rethinks the relationship between capitalism and socialism. Rather than treating capitalism and socialism as mutually exclusive systems of political, social and economic order, the volume puts forth the idea that in the context of the former Yugoslavia, they are marked by a mutually intertwined existence not only on the economic level, but also on the level of cultural production and consumption. It argues that culture—although very often treated as secondary in the analyses of either socialism, capitalism or their relationship—has an important role in defining, negotiating, and resisting the social, political and economic values of both systems.
Demonstrates shortcomings in Western feminist conceptualizations, and shows how insights from African feminist thinking may enhance understandings of gender, both in and beyond Africa.
A spirited, deeply researched exploration of why capitalism is bad for women and how, when done right, socialism leads to economic independence, better labor conditions, better work-life balance and, yes, even better sex. In a witty, irreverent op-ed piece that went viral, Kristen Ghodsee argued that women had better sex under socialism. The response was tremendous -- clearly she articulated something many women had sensed for years: the problem is with capitalism, not with us. Ghodsee, an acclaimed ethnographer and professor of Russian and East European Studies, spent years researching what happened to women in countries that transitioned from state socialism to capitalism. She argues here that unregulated capitalism disproportionately harms women, and that we should learn from the past. By rejecting the bad and salvaging the good, we can adapt some socialist ideas to the 21st century and improve our lives. She tackles all aspects of a woman's life - work, parenting, sex and relationships, citizenship, and leadership. In a chapter called "Women: Like Men, But Cheaper," she talks about women in the workplace, discussing everything from the wage gap to harassment and discrimination. In "What To Expect When You're Expecting Exploitation," she addresses motherhood and how "having it all" is impossible under capitalism. Women are standing up for themselves like never before, from the increase in the number of women running for office to the women's march to the long-overdue public outcry against sexual harassment. Interest in socialism is also on the rise - whether it's the popularity of Bernie Sanders or the skyrocketing membership numbers of the Democratic Socialists of America. It's become increasingly clear to women that capitalism isn't working for us, and Ghodsee is the informed, lively guide who can show us the way forward.
This pioneering study explores the surprising extent and limits of the GDR's forgotten sexual revolution.
Toward a New Socialism offers a critical analysis of capitalism's failings and the imminent need for socialism as an alternative form of government. Dr. Richard Schmitt joins with Dr. Anatole Anton to compile a volume of essays exploring the benefits and consequences of a socialist system as an avenue of increased human solidarity and ethical principle.