Sexual freedom is impossible under capitalism

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Fred
Sexual freedom is impossible under capitalism
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Sexual freedom is impossible under capitalism. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
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Fred
aren't we all queer now?

There's a saying to the effect that : All the worlds queer 'cept me and thee, and even thee's a little queer too! I like Jam's piece but don't know why he/she seems to want a distinction between 'gay' and 'queer'. I'll settle for 'queer' as it's more offensive, and anyway, in this perverted society of sadists everybody's queer, even happily married straights trying to adjust to each other's prisons, and trying to cling on to a limited view of love.

But why exactly straights like Obama and Cameron are trying to foist marriage off on queers is difficult to understand. Is it because the bourgeoisie fear for the future of their hallowed, mystical union? Is marriage failing to live up to it's reputation as the cement that holds the crucifying agony of family life together, and therefore they've got to somehow legitimize the generally loathed and detested queers - the love that dare not speak its name, as poor old Oscar put it - by granting them marriage, or partnership rights? I don't get it! The bourgeoisie are really scrambling round in the rubbish tip now, looking for anything that can portray them as 'open' or liberal or even loving! And what could more definitively define capitalism as open to new love, than the embracing of the leprous queer? It's like in the 'sixties when they embraced the nigger. Excuse my use of the ugly word. But capitalism has never embraced anybody: it's all a pretense. The bourgeoisie will allow you to be black, queer, or criminal, as long as you make a profit, and don't flaunt yourself too much. The name of their game is PROSTITUTION. The pursuit of surplus value through the buying and selling of labour power which turns us all into prostitutes. The legitimization of queers is just some phony election game; some feeble attempt to tart up Christianity in certain areas of the world; to show how some aspects of the dreary life of everyday capitalism can be 'modernized' at least in the advanced, 'civilized' West, by allowing queers their right to fuck legitimately and openly - until that is some well-intentioned right-winger, or neighborhood watcher, takes it upon himself to straighten things out with a beating up in the dark.

Jam says: "The argument that gay rights will bring us “closer to full equality” is completely irrelevant, when it is a basic tenet of communists that full equality is impossible under capitalism." Well said Jam. What the hec is equality anyway? I certainly wouldn't want it under capitalism, and doubt its value under communism! I want the marxist right to be unequal. We want the right to love and be loved, and to find out what love actually is, in a society based on love; it's pursuit, elaboration and perfecting whatever different shapes it takes. The future of love awaits our discovery. So to hell with straights, queers, gays, lesbians, circus freaks of all sorts, and all the other divisive differences and labels dreamed up by the bourgeoisie. They after all are the weirdest queers of all.

Fred
Jam's article makes a number

Jam's article makes a number of serious points and should be regarded with rationality in play, not just emotional responses.

Jam writes: "If there is even a grain of sincerity in the ruling class' support of same-sex marriage, it comes from their need to distract workers and immerse them in the circus of electoral politics and legalism. Of course it is true that growing support of sexual freedom is part of humanity developing a deeper scientific understanding, and a greater sense of general human solidarity. But the ruling class cares nothing about these things, and why should they? If you have money your rights are never at risk, or up for debate. “Marriage equality” does not equal a good relationship or economic equality; it equals further class domination from the bourgeoisie." I agree with all that Jam says, and wonder whether the ruling class has a grain of sincerity about anything it does, apart from making money. And as to "marriage equality" ...I know many gays long for it, and the security and respect they assume it brings, but is not the longing for bourgeois legality a little infantile given that bourgeois society falls apart at the seams, and that even the right of the bourgeoisie to rule at all, must be called into question now, given the mess they've made and their furtherance of decomposition.

But it's the idea of 'sexual freedom', the development of understanding of what this means, and 'general human solidarity' which intrigues. The bourgeoisie is crazy about sex. It dominates everything in their world. We are brought to understand that it's all that matters in life, that we shouldn't want to live without it, that you can't get enough of it etc. And it must be admitted, putting it mildly, that sex is 'nice'. But in the bourgeoisie's world it finds itself often separated from 'love'. This needn't diminish the sex of course, but it could. The great thing about sex, from our rulers point of view, is that it can be bought and sold. Whereas love can't. So it might be that the much vaunted sexual freedom we're all supposed to be after, is yet another bourgeois trap, like drug addiction, where the desire to escape for a brief moment from the nightmare world the bourgeoisie have made, only ends in new nightmares, and dead ends, and lousy sex.

I am not saying this very well, and don't want to fall into moralizing and so will stop. I had wanted to link somehow to general human solidarity but can't do it just now. Perhaps somebody else can.

.
.

jk1921
I don't know Fred, the issues

I don't know Fred, the issues of sexual identity and sexual preference, etc. are highly contentious. It used to be that homosexuality was regarded by "science" (psychiatry) as a mental illnesss--the result of inflated narcissism and self-love. That view no longer holds. It has been replaced by a new "scientific" assumption that sexual identity is something you are "born with." It is in your genes. You can't change it. This view has become a kind of orthodoxy among "gay rights" activists, who like to equate their struggle for equality before the law with the civil rights movement. etc. For them, sexual idenity is not a "lifestyle choice"--it is a hard wired neurochemical fact about our bodies. This view has become so predominant that anyone who argues otherwise is generally regarded as a "quack." This is often a response to the right-wing Christian facsists who think gayness can be deprogrammed, etc. but the notion that sexual identity is something immutable is now the dominant cultural meme--backed up by the (relatively) new biological determinism in "science."

On the other had, there are some "queer theorists" who contest these ideas and argue that sexual identity is mutable and the result of social, psychological, economic, cultural etc. factors. In fact, some go further--and seem to argue along the lines you do--that sexual idenity itself is a form of alienation--a reification of the self that is inherently problematic. Its important to recognize though that these ideas are probably not held by the majority of people engaged in the debate over "gay rights." This is an interesting question that has implications for the discussion on Marxism and science, but it is also a very thorny question that has the potential to get politically very nasty if we aren't careful.

I think the importance in Jams' article is to denoucne the political games the bourgeoisie is playing with this issue at the moment and make the case that the real triumph over alienation will not happen through bourgeois legalism. Gays may get the right to marry in the U.S. someday--as they have in a number of different countries and in some U.S. states--but with the right to marry also comes the right to divorce--which suggests that perhaps the right to marry is not such the rosy prize as those deprived of it might think. All this raises very deep questions about human sexuality and perhaps even "human nature" itself.

Fred
This is a very good response

This is a very good response jk, that is to say i like it. It's a difficult subject, little is clear, but you done well. I love the idea of 'sexual identity' as a form of alienation, and as a reification of tbe self, but have to admit I'd never heard of this before, but find it strongly compelling and must think about it. You are right to insist that Jam is really denouncing the political games our rulers play; but the games have now been extended to include people's emotions and deepest instincts. Questions are raised about sexuality, human nature, and finally about "love"! What is it? I doubt there's much of it under capital's rule. Will a more genuine understanding of what it may be begin to be experienced if we ever re-attain the solidarity of proletarian struggle and class consciouness? Trotsky and John Reid appear, in their descriptions of 1917, to be experiencing a different and quite new kind of human condition and response to human and communal life. Will we ever see this again?

Fred
The more I read Jam's article

The more I read Jam's article the more I find things in it to admire and think about, because Jam isn't merely and just talking about queers, but about this whole domineering and bullying society. What can happen to queers, Jews, Blacks, frightened women, a lot of kids, most workers, and even animals, in a society where the will to dominate is the order of the day, means that their very obvious kind of suppression is only the tip of a towering iceberg. Because just about everybody is suppressed in this dying society, even the bourgeoisie, who spend a lot of time and money trying to suppress each other. And I don't only mean the glaring example of Syria, but even peaceful, friendly and "democratic" events, like the election lunacy in the USA.

Jam says: "There is no question that the repression of the gay and queer community is real. We see homophobia, heterosexism, and patriarchy manifested everywhere in capitalism..." Homophobia, heterosexism, and patriarchy, are a bit like faith, hope, and charity only in reverse; but whereas the latter are constantly claimed as the underpinnings of bourgeois rule, the first three are what we actually get. And although homophobia may be the most talked about, and feared by homosexuals, I'm not sure that it isn't the other two which are the worse and most fearsome diseases. Why? Because, while they are so dominating, so taken-for-granted as not even to be noticeable to most of us most of the time, they excercise a total control on society, via the family, schooling, factory discipline, the police, the army - and probably other ways I can't think of. They are perhaps the most powerful form of bourgeois ideology around, quite invisible, and one of capital's greatest supports and medium of captivity, making escape truly difficult, especially for the young. So, heterosexism and patriarchy, these are what we should really be afraid of, and these are what we are fighting as we struggle against capital.

Jam also raises another point and asks: do we need a ruling class to tell us what marriage is and who we can and cannot marry? This is high rhetoric! In reply all that can be said is: do we need a ruling class at all....? The answer of course is YES!! Yes we do! We need the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as a transitional rule while we build communism. This alone will dispose of all the phobias and all the secret dominations and suppressions. To the dustbins with them all. Aux poubelles! Forward comrades.

Pierre
Thanks cdes for the kind

Thanks cdes for the kind words and rich discussion, which I am sorry for only now discovering..

My sexual ortientation* is completely besides the point--- the point is the success of bourgeois representative democracy and the workers faith in the state in many ways come from the ability of all these bourgeois institutions to pressure us into catergories. Why? For the sake of appealing to us through advertisements, in regards to who we should cast our votes for--- or that we should even be voting at all!

I think before writing this article, I was not familiar enough with the issues. It gave me a good oppurtunity to explore them, but looking back I would have probably approached some of these points differently, brought certain things I said to the forefront..

Like Joe said we also have to keep in mind Marx's theory on human nature, the concept of nurture over nature. As children, we cannot remember who we were infatuated with, and Im sure in most cases situations regarded as "cute" between a young girl and a young boy are discourgaged in same-sex situations. Likewise, young girls are discourged in many homes from "doing things boys do." How much of an effect does this have on us as we grow into adults? Hard to objectively say, considering it happens to most all of us.

Another thing is the use of the word "queer." Here on my side of things, its a term which the gay and, ermmmm otherwise use and are comfortable with. Im not sure how it is in other places around the world where English is spoken. Basically, you could have a man who wants to stay anatomically male but present herself as a woman--- and could very well still be heterosexual (Dennis Rodman lol). Or someone going through a transition to another gender. These are all examples of people you cant call "gay" outright, and my understanding is at least here the prefered and P.C. term is "queer." But youre right cde Fred, the ruling class is really the most queer out of all of us.

Also, about "equality" under communism. Could the comrades expand on this? I understand the point, it was a bit of an epiphany to me. But how do we go about telling other socialists/communists/anarchists we are not exactly "for equality"??

- p_p

*edited
 

Fred
Hi, p_p long time no read. I

Hi, p_p long time no read. I don't really like having to say this, but I wish you hadn't felt the compulsion - irresistible? - to write: "Anyways, I myself am a heterosexual male. But that is completely besides the point-"
You're absolutely right, it's completely beside the point. But sometimes it seems like straights can't help boasting about their good fortune. As to "equality ", it's an enormous topic. But feeling a little pissed off, let me share the piss a little by saying that as a 'heterosexual male" - and I trust your organs are in good working order, this is essential - that, as a straight, you rule the world, have nothing to fear, and nothing to be ashamed of. This gives you - as far as this repressed society is concerned - as much 'sexual freedom' as you may feel you need. Lucky old you.

Dear friend and comrade p_p, I don't mean to snap at you but you did leave yourself generously open to attack. Have you read jk's excellent comment above mentioning 'sexual identity'? Is that where some aspects of being 'unequal' begin? As to the wider aspects of not being equal, I hope somebody else speaks.

Pierre
Re:

Fred wrote:
Hi, p_p long time no read.

Apologies cde. I have been busy with the PF and section discussions, my music, as well as college and the personal life. I'll try to start posting more frequently.

Fred wrote:
I don't really like having to say this...sometimes it seems like straights can't help boasting about their good fortune...as a 'heterosexual male" - and I trust your organs are in good working order, this is essential - that, as a straight, you rule the world, have nothing to fear, and nothing to be ashamed of. This gives you - as far as this repressed society is concerned - as much 'sexual freedom' as you may feel you need. Lucky old you.

I am so sorry, I didn't mean to be "boasting" about my "good fortune." Trust me, my sex life isn't exactly the bees knees.

I think some motivation for refering to my personal sexual preference came from Fred refering to me as "he/she." But looking back maybe this was done intentionally, in a thought-provoking manner?

I think me wanting to let readers of the article/this thread know who/what I am is an instinct we get sometimes in this class society. Still though, Fred's point is vaild, would I necessarily have done the same as a young gay person? "Boasting" about my sexual identity (for the record I really didn't intend to seem like I was "boasting")?

Quote:
Dear friend and comrade p_p, I don't mean to snap at you but you did leave yourself generously open to attack.

I didn't realize Left comms were in the businees of snapping on each other, just because someone is "generously open to attack." For someone with such a good grip on my theoretical misguidedness, it seems it would be more useful to respond in a way which wasn't so apprehensive.

Quote:
Have you read jk's excellent comment above mentioning 'sexual identity'? Is that where some aspects of being 'unequal' begin?

Yes, before my last post actually.

Cheers

-p_p

Fred
sexual orientations

Hi, p_p it's me. Is it really true that one's sexual orientation is "besides the point"? In many ways, for many people, in this awful society, I think it may be the only point, and the only thing we think we have; like it's the only thing that really seems to belong to us, and is something that THEY can't take away from us. But that could be yet another sign of our deep alienation from.....from what? I dont know. From something better? More genuine? From something "less inherently problematic" as jk might say? But I think what you meant p_p is that it's beside the point politically speaking, and on this thread. Though, ironically speaking, this thread is actually about sexual orientations and the way the bourgeoisie is able to manipulate them for it's own devious purposes. What a confusion it all is, like nearly everything in this decaying society, where nothing is straightforward anymore, and most things appear to have their deceitful side, and serve Machiavellian purposes.

And, in fact, when we have communism, perhaps then we will find out exactly what this sex thing is all about, and how it relates to a fully developed and humanized humanity living communally, and know what it is for the first time. Or will it be the second time? as I think I hear baboon muttering that the neantherdals were no second-raters when it came to sex, and shouldn't be forgotten. And then of course there's that fascinating article on here, about homosexuality and colonialism in Africa, with an appendix about what Trotsky and Freud said. Thoughtful stuff.

Fred
Jam wrote: "The argument that

Jam wrote: "The argument that gay rights will bring us “closer to full equality” is completely irrelevant, when it is a basic tenet of communists that full equality is impossible under capitalism. Why as revolutionaries should we be fighting to get “closer” to an egalitarian society? .... Many of these same “revolutionaries” would call the legal and electoral decisions in favor of gay marriage rights “victories” for the workers. But these victories do nothing but bolster the appeal of bourgeois civil society."

Concepts like "full equality", "egalitarian society", "legal and electoral decisions", are all part of the claptrap associated with bourgeois civil society. They all sound quaint now and outmoded, because they are, and they never meant anything to workers anyway. Did they in fact ever mean anything to the bourgeoisie, or was it all part of their need for mystification and their enchainment of life through exploitation.

When we have communism, these concepts, and others like sexual freedom, democracy, the family, marriage, individuality, right and wrong, friendship, learning, being human and so on, will have so changed their meaning, or disappeared for ever, that historians looking back will wonder how anyone ever survived at all under bourgeois rule.

One reason was that we were all reared on the illusion that money was the answer to everything: especially to sex and the purchase of happiness.

Pierre
Fred your points have been

Given the oppurtunity for a revision I would probably remove this languge from the article, seriously. I took out some before the last edit, but apparently some still slipped through :P . Thanks for your dedication to theoretical clarity comrade.

Inspiring words in regards to looking back from the future.

jk1921
I think the issues of

I think the issues of democracy, civil rights, equality, etc. are complicated. I think in the period of ascendance these concepts really did have tangible meaning for both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In his early writings, Marx made the distinction between "political emancipatio"n and "human emancipation." He was very clear that the things that count as political emancipation: such as the extension of the franchise and the elimination of legal distinctions between people could not be substitued for the true human emancipation of communism; but, he nevertheless argued that political emancipation was not meaningless--it was an important step forward in human history that prepared the grounds for the future possibility of true human emancipation--by eliminating the legal distinctions between individuals, thus rendering the essential contradictions as social and economic rather than political. This only served to ripen the conditions for the historical possibility of communism.

To be more "economic" about it: the extension of equality before the law was in many ways a necessary precursor to the emergence of wage labour as the dominant for of labour exploitation under capitalism. Only individuals who are equal under the law can engage in a legal contract where one sells his labour power for a determinate period of time and receives what appears to be a fair price for it on the market.

Of course, Marx was also keen to point out that political emancipation was not straighforward "progress" either. The establishment of legal equality of persons tended to "hide" the exploitation that occurs from the selling of labour power (surplus value). The worker appears to receive a fair price for his labour; he/she is not exploited, not bound to his boss and is free to withdraw from the market at any time. Similar to his critque of commodity fetishism--Marx thus formulated a critical approach to the labour contract pointing out the exploitation inherent in the employment of labour power as a unique commodity that in its consumption produces more value than the market appears to justify.

To bring it back to the question of gay marriage-- we are long past the historical point where the legal recognition of same sex couples to marry represents some form of historical progress. All the campaigns around this issue only serve to reinforce all the ideology ("claptrap" as Fred calls it) surrounding democracy, equality, etc. that distracts from the goal of ending class society itself. Still, it is important that we recognize the progressive role played by democracy in previous historical periods so we can distinguish its true historical content from the ideological distractions played by the bourgeoisie today.

commiegal
oh my god YES! Your first

oh my god YES!

Your first paragraph hits the nail on the head completely as to why a lot of people agree with nationalism, religious/political ideologies etc. Not beside the point but appearing to be the only point, I've got lots more to say on this but it will have to wait. Great post.

Fred
The trouble is as Shakespeare

The trouble is as Shakespeare said: Love is not love that alters where it alteration finds.  But this is rubbish isn't it? We all know what love is don't we? In the end it's sex, isn't it?  We love what suits us, and if it doesn't suit us any more then we stop loving it, or her or him. It's pretty simple. What love and sex are all about is personal gratification. Or, to put it crudely, orgasms. The trouble with orgasms is that other people can mess them up. They're much more reliable if you do it yourself. But not everybody likes that, or thinks it's right.  But then most of the problems in this society seem to stem from other people. If it wasn't for "other people" lots of things could be much better. Personal gratification  might be easier and that's what life's all about, isn't it?  We all want satisfaction and gratification. "I can't get no satisfaction" as Jagger sang.  When the Twin Towers fell, that must have been like an orgasm for Bin Laden and his mates, who has been waiting for this for years. A shame though they couldn't have found a less destructive way of getting one.  After all, sex and love are just commodities like everything else and they are for sale every where, arent they, so why is it necessary to embody one in some mass destruction of other people?  It's marvelous isn't it, that the bourgeoisie, through the wonderful way of life they've brought into existence for us where everything is for sale, even managed to make sex and love reliably available  - I mean that if you've got the money well there they are, you just pay and that's it.  At least from a man's point of view. You get what you need pretty quick. I'm not so sure about women though. Are  they only in it for the money or for some never satisfied longing for security? As the Beatles said: Can't buy me love. But they were joking weren't they?

 

 

So you might conclude that in this paradise of a society there is no love and that even sex is so debased that its hardly worth bothering with, though aren't we all conditioned to see it as the bees knees.  If you aren't getting lots of it then you are missing out on the whole purpose of life. Well, that was how it was seen before AIDS. I don't know about today. But given all the bourgeoisie's  monkeying about  with prostitution, child abuse, and all the cruel substitutes for sex and love cf. their passion for pointless war, maybe things haven't changed much. 

 

 

So, to return to Shakespeare. What on earth did he mean by saying that love doesn't change; that its an "ever fixed mark" ? Did he have a view of "love" quite different from and superior to the understanding of love that predominates under the bourgeoisie?  Shakespeare was a bit like Marx, in that he took everything very seriously and thought about things. Traits we could all share but don't. I think maybe his concept of love is one we have yet to reach.  But I will not fall into the trap of trying to say what this might be.  Because its difficult if not impossible for us, living in this commodified society, on the brink of self destruction, to imagine what "love" and "sexual love" - if there'll be a difference - will be like under communism. 

 

Fred
There's been some stuff

There's been some stuff recently on libcom about sexuality and gender.  I'm not sure I really know what's meant by "gender". And even some of those who talk about it seem unsure exactly.  Somebody even suggested that gender precedes sexual awareness.  Does this mean that children (and others) may feel insecure in, or unsure of, the gender doled out to them by interaction with others, or by Mother Nature herself.  (Why do we assume she's female?)  How many genders can there be? Does a person remain attached to one particular gender or move around inside a variety?  When a boy I recall not wanting to grow into a man because they were always being recruited for and by and large killed in the Second World War.  I had other more secretive reasons too.  I really thought I wasn't up to "being a man".  Does this reflect an unacknowledged imposition by capitalist society of gender roles?  I used to think that the idea of gender was spawned by one's biological label as either male or female. But I dont think thats right anymore.  In fact I find it all very confusing. Nowadays, the bourgeoisie in a sudden outburst of generosity of spirit, has said its okay to be homosexual.  Not everywhere of course. Not in Russia and certain African countries.  But the question of sexual preference appears a simple matter in comparison to questions of gender. Is gender all about role play, or self-protection, or imaginative projections?  Is it the product of some deep, largely unknown, psychological process?  

 

The ICC has pointed out elsewhere in an article, that we probably have to wait for communism before beginning to understand the true  reality of human sexuality.   Does that mean that when we do  the concept of gender will disappear? 

jk1921
Gender is a socially

Gender is a socially constructed bifurcation of society into different roles or positions. It is not the same as biological sex. It often has (or has had) implications in the labor market, i.e. in the construction of "feminized labor." Of course, today not everyone who does feminized labor is bilogically female. Many maleimmigrants preform this kind of work--care work in nursing home, etc. The reproduction of feminizied labor is even a problem within the revolutionary organization itself, as certain "contributions" are valued over others. Overtly political tasks are given more status than reproductive ones (like translating, etc.). Its something we have to watch out for.

Fred
Thanks jk.  Are you saying

Thanks jk.  Are you saying that the concept "gender"  is really an invention of capitalism? 

jk1921
No

Fred wrote:

Thanks jk.  Are you saying that the concept "gender"  is really an invention of capitalism? 

 

No, but it has something to do with it now for sure. Gender roles have been around for awhile. The questions is does captialism require this kind of bifurcation or can it exist without it? You could ask the same thing about racism, homophobia, etc.

Fred
gender roles

If gender roles - if that's the way to see it? - have been around for a long time, then perhaps capitalism's helpful contribution is to have "bifurcated" them. Reduced them to two. Like homo and hetero sexuality. You can behave like a man or behave like a woman. Bourgeois society usually hopes  that if you behave like a woman you will actually be one, and not be a "lady boy" unless on the stage. But you're really only allowed a choice of two, male/female, straight/gay, in the more "advanced" democracies that is. Rather like democracy itself. A phony choice between right and left; straight male, straight female; gay male, gay female.  Everything sealed off from everything else. No crossing the barriers allowed. 

 

Doesn't capitalism like to cash in on people's apparently "natural" prejudices?  Like racism, homophobia, the assumption that women are inferior to men, that pornography and prostitution are good for folk (a panel of experts were arguing largely in favour of pornography as "sex education" last night on the BBC, though they kept it strictly "straight")?  There's nothing like people's natural prejudices for helping keep society divided, each against all, as a safeguard for the continuation of the bourgeoisie's rule, is there?  

But on libcom posters have been arguing, i think, for a different understanding of gender outside the bifurcation imposed by the bourgeoisie.  And as being something that can precede sexual maturity and possibly be a part of, or a contribution to, psychological growth. It seems to be an issue that interests women mainly, though I don't see why this should be so.  As presented there it comes across as a very compartmentalized matter. But then "women's issues" so often do, don't they?  Is that another effect of gender roles?  Men want to change society, while women are happy to stay at home. Oops, oops and oops again and lol. 

d-man
2 references

The Third Sex: Hold On, It's Coming, by James Nolan, in Ramparts Magazine, December 1973, pp. 21-26

Mary Beard's 1946 Woman as a Force in History: A study in Traditions and Realities

 

Fred
Thank you d-man for providing

Thank you d-man for providing me with some links.  The first article was a very 1973 take on the issue of sexuality and was fun to read. Just think: even the ICC  didn't exist in 1973, except maybe as a subterranean branch of consciousness.  The second article I gave up on.  The sort of potted history approach to "topics" isn't one I can accommodate to anymore.  Doubtless my loss.  But it struck me  that you must spend a lot of time rummaging around for stuff to read.  Is that right? 

d-man
You're welcome Fred. I linked

You're welcome Fred. I linked Mary Beard's book because it also looks at the realities, not just the law or rights (she found that eg in practice often women could own property, thanks to equity). She challenged the dogma that women had always been the subjected sex (btw this perspective today is voiced by Zemmour, French media star). For example Mary Beard writes:

'All things considered, men’s monopoly over politics under systems of manhood suffrage, never complete, was brief, compared with the ages in which royal and aristocratic women exercised power in affairs of State and Society. Moreover, when women’s campaigns for enfranchisement are contrasted with the violent and often bloody contests which masses of men had to wage for their enfranchisement, it is patent that women won the right to vote by men’s consent with relative ease, including as ease a smaller span of time. To the women who spent their adult years in agitating for the ballot, the contest seemed so severe and so prolonged as to try their souls to the uttermost. Nevertheless man, the “tyrant” and “usurper” of 1848, yielded the suffrage to women quicker and with more grace than women of royal and aristocratic families had bowed to the tempest of rising democracy, with its cry of “votes for men.” '

I found only negative reviews of her book.

I think in the past homosexuals had in reality a lot more freedom than we are usually told (eg the Abraham Lincoln case whether he slept with a man lover once).

Also, there is perhaps a parallel to how it was the world wars (the period of decadence) which gave women suffrage.

Fred
I just want to say thank you

I just want to say thank you to Jamal for having written this great article about sexuality, it's various expressions, and its general ruination at the hands of the bourgeoisie and other ruling classes. The piece certainly bears  re-reading and I believe I just got more out of it this time than I have on previous occasions.  But then I am not the same person now as I was in 2013 having changed my understanding and appreciation of human life under the influence of this web site, it's writers and posters.

The final paragraphs of d-man's post above also caught my eye.  What are you saying oh d-man!  I suspect you are suggesting that the world wars (especially maybe World War 1) opened doors to changes in the nature and practice of sexual relationships such that the ruling class could never have anticipated.  World War 1 brought together literally vast armies of men in a close intimate contact not normally a part of everyday life. In the overall absence of women men were led into taking care of and caring for each other.  Close comradeship was engendered in the face of looming death. Intimacies, and the realization of the enemy as just another working man worthy of love as well,  were generated.  And of course ultimately the revolution itself was spawned out of  the emotional destruction, the pointless maiming and all the death. The realization that the bourgeoisie was corrupt and played out. 

Women stayed at home in World War 1 but started rapidly to change at that time, with the suffragettes, and changes of consciousness about the role and function of women, the clothes they hid themselves under, and the marriage relationship in general.  But World War 2 saw the great liberating change for working women. From being enslaved  housewives they were transmuted into fully fledged working class automatons, tethered to factory floors, to the kitchen and the kids at home on scant rations, and exposed to the fully flowering exploitation of capitalist rule during midnight in the century. 

i don't know but doubt that men involved in the second World War experienced feelings similar to those undergone by men in the first.  After all, the class had been defeated. This alone  permitted the joyous unleashing of World War 2. And the vile hatred of male homosexuality reached its triumphant apotheosis at this time did it not?  Even the discoverer of the solution to the Nazi Enigma code, himself an admitted homosexual and thus criminal, was punished by psychological conditioning and chemical castration.