Clara’s Column
Clara Fraser
volume:  
volume 3
issue 1
Spring 1977

SIGMUND FREUD once groaned that he would never understand women.

Well, Siggy, likewise, I’m sure. There are some men — and I speak particularly about radical men — whom I cannot for the life of me fathom.

I cannot understand men who live in the very midst of — but ignore — a giant-sized, worldwide and historic new movement that bid fair to attain revolutionary dimensions from its earliest beginnings.

• • •

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND men whose only advice to an army of militants enraged by irrational and brutal treatment is to save its hot breath and wait around for the final stage of communism before it presumes to raise any grievances.

I cannot understand men who react with derision to the curses and cries of sorely pressed and scorned workers who are exploited beyond belief on the job and oppressed almost past caring when away from it

• • •

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND men who rigidly limit the definition of “worker” to those who look like men.

I cannot understand men who view leaders in the class struggle — worker vanguards in the fight against bosses, conservative labor fakers, phony government arbitrators, and hypocrites of every stripe — as provocateurs disrupting working class unity.

I cannot understand men who loftily announce that they are for Freedom Now, Equal Rights Now, and Non-Discrimination Now — except for one strata of untouchables.

I cannot understand men who continue to uphold the discredited fetish of last-hired, first-fired.

I cannot understand men who advise active unionists not to raise vital political matters which might “turn off” workers.

• • •

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND men who coldly gaze upon the process of subjugated people emerging out of the depths into political awareness and organization, and brand this process as divisive.

I cannot understand men who are literate and knowledgeable but never bother to read anything from a vast new source of political literature created by extremely talented analysts of the socioeconomic and cultural scenes.

I cannot understand men who inflict upon suffering and despised toilers a peevish scolding to the effect that the just demands of these ancient lowly are secondary or tertiary or quadruciary in comparison with the demands of some other segment of toilers.

I cannot understand men who garrulously address every minor and obscure question engendered by life under capitalism but have zilch to say about a major and explosive issue that has absorbed the country for ten long years.

I cannot understand men who are accustomed to making their own decisions on every aspect of their physical and medical welfare standing idly by as the bourgeois state continues to nationalize the bodies of an entire segment of the population, designating these bodies as state property under government control.

I cannot understand men who respond with alacrity and huzzahs to the demands of an oppressed minority, but remain blind to the bitter fate of a majority of the human race.

• • •

I CANNOT — but why go on? The list is endless, which is unfortunate for the prospects of socialist democracy in our time. The list, after all, is only one more infuriating reflection of the chronic subjection of women by men through the long, dark centuries since the tragic eclipse of the matriarchal gens.

Radical men hail every tiny hint and hope among anybody, anywhere, of upsurge, ferment, rebellion, protest, outbreak, eruption, dissension, mutiny and insurgency. But they urge only farewell and dissolution as the proper tactics for the women’s emancipation struggle.

Millions of radical men around the world stand convicted of a century of politically criminal underestimation of woman and her plight and her work and her worth. The sex-centric lack of any respect from these men for the human, ideological and strategic values of the dynamic women’s movement adds up to nothing less than political rape and doctrinal counter-revolution.

Radical men too often expect radical women to be not leaders but brides of the revolution, not comrades-in-arms but comrades in strait jackets.

• • •

“BUT — BUT — BUT —,” you sputter, “What about women radicals who also downplay socialist feminism?”

Women? Women revolutionaries who reject and insult their own beleaguered sex?

I cannot understand them, either.