Market Socialism through Socialist Feminist Analysis

Against the Current, No. 14, May/June 1988

Ilene Winkler

SO HERE I am tonight eating dinner in the local independent Republic of Ukraine coffee shop (bless you comrade Stalin for this food…). I am attempting to read with appropriate interest your articles on market socialism-although between my increasingly dense brain and your increasingly dense style it is a formidable task indeed-and it seems to me that once again a wonderful opportunity was lost to develop a socialist-feminist analysis of bureaucratic collectivism or whatever term we are using these days.

Here’s the point: in all the articles on the subject there is only the most perfunctory mention of anything having to do with women, family, etc. But the question is not only what happens at the point of production, and using the term “consumer goods” misses the point.

There is also the critical question of what kind of “consumer goods” are being produced and to what end, i.e., who is doing the consuming? Families on their own, each with their own washing machine? Is there a relationship between market socialism, use of the surplus, and possible increased privatization of the family? Do the various proponents of market socialism see a connection? What does this mean for the development of class privilege and how will the nature of classes change as families amass wealth from private efforts? And finally, what does this all mean for women?

There are probably a lot of different directions these questions could go in….I hope someone is interested enough to pursue them, as I think you could make a tremendous contribution to the broader discussion if you do.

And on the density question: I’m not entirely joking. Other people have also mentioned to me that they are having trouble reading the magazine. Can you lighten up a little?

May-June 1988, ATC 14

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