ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
technological advances allow that the working class need not work 8-14 (or more) hours several times a week.
If the working day were reduced, the surplus population could be employed. But capitalism could
not continue without the benefits of a surplus population.
A Response to Aduku’s “Feminism”
Your comments about the way Black men have been criminalized because of “zealots” in the DAs offices is right on. I agree with you that there is no hint of (even bourgeois) equitability when men are made to pay for a child that they did not want. The bourgeois ideology of the “family” leaves childcare and child rearing to the warped system of private property.
Under a system whereby the working class is exploited for a wage that is often less than subsistence, children will never be sufficiently and financially provided for, no matter how many men are imprisoned or made to pay from their meager (and even non-existent) wages for the financial support of a child. (As related to subsistence wages, the statistics indicate that in America, the average worker has 1-1/2 to 2 jobs.)
I would support the abolition of the [bourgeois] family, and that children be financially and socially provided for by a “community.” For children to be provided for in a system such as the [bourgeois] “nuclear” family is to continue to support mental and physical child abuse, and that working class children will continue to live in relative poverty.
The problem is bourgeois private property and exploitation of wage labor by capital. As long as this economic system continues, even a [working class] “community” would be hard pressed to adequately provide for the emotional and financial needs of children.
I agree that men must be seen as part and parcel of the process of reproduction of the species. Men should not be excluded from decision-making as it relates to that process. On the other hand, your article blames the victimblames the women who take advantage of the social safety net that is called “welfare.” I see the “welfare” system as part and parcel of the “gains” that have been won by way of working class struggle in America.
I guess technically the “welfare” system was a decree by a sitting American president, and has developed from there. But that decree was a result of class struggle in the streets.
Another note, the term “Jezebel” is derogatory to women. Maybe that was your intent, but the use of the word “Jezebel” in your article is another example of blaming the victim. Working class women in America, and elsewhere, should not be denigrated for taking advantage of what capitalism allows as income to its surplus population.
Capitalism creates and needs the surplus population, and that surplus population should be allowed to take advantage of itno matter the reason why an individual has decided to do so. The fact of the matter is that technological advances allow that the working class need not work 8-14 (or more) hours several times a week. If the working day were reduced, the surplus population could be employed.
But capitalism could not continue without the benefits of a surplus population. As mentioned above, the reason why this is the case is bourgeois private property and exploitation of wage labor by capital.
I think that at some instances in your analysis, you mix class analysis. You start off with what appears to be an analysis of what is called the “lumpen proletariat” in that you analyze “welfare” mothers/recipients, and specifically those women who you say “hustle” that system. The “lumpen proletariat” does not consistently have the same interests as the working class, although very similar.
On the other hand, your analysis does not deal with the fact that there is more than one “feminist” movement. There are feminists who blame men for the problems of women, and see men as the enemy. There are also feminists that give a class analysis to the feminist movement, and are critical of the “men are the problem” escapism of some feminists. (You might be interested in bell hooks’ book, “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center.”
I don’t suggest that you might want to embark on a study of “feminism,” but just mentioning what I think is a critical analysis, from a fairly consistent working class perspective, in the “feminist” movement from someone who was/is an integral part of it. Let me add that this is the only book by Bell Hooks that I have ever read. Although I have “heard” her name a time or two, I am not familiar with her or her “feminist” analysis other than what I get in the book I have mentioned here.)
I think that the most striking thing about patriarchy is that it drastically neglects the needs of children for the sake of control and indoctrination of a social class. Child rearing is not central in the monogamous family, but bourgeois socialization is. The raising of the child is relegated to a monogamous family structure that is inherently brutal to the psyche of the child, and to the parents.
By brutal, I refer to the way that the child is treated/seen as property of the patriarch. Control of the child seems to be the ultimate objective of “parenting,” not the development of a critical-thinking individual. “Do as you are told” is considered a standard in “parenting.” This lends itself to a society wherein workers are expected to participate in production/society without questioning exploitation or oppression. A complacent/obedient work force lends itself to structural capitalism.
Your article highlights just how damaging patriarchal monogamy is to raising children — the issue of reproductive legislation is presented by you as one of them (women) against us (men). This “them/us” presentation is most blatantly expressed in your depiction of mothers who scapegoat fathers as “Jezebels.” Now, I know that the “technical” meaning of “jezebel” is “a woman who is evil and scheming,” but the societal connotations of a “jezebel” come from the Bible, that claimed that “Jezebel” was promiscuousidolotrousand unfaithful. I believe that as scientists, we should try hard to stay away from name-calling.
Your comments about the “economy” of women using the/a welfare system instead of seeking work lacks statistical information. Are you saying that your research indicates that women who receive welfare are largely unskilled? If so, what does that have to do with the economy of staying on welfare as opposed to seeking employment? I have not taken a survey, but my observations are that a large percentage of welfare recipients work, as well as receive welfare.
Statistically, the welfare check has never been seen as adequate for existence in the U.S. economy. Subsidized housing is much more sought after by poor and working class women than is the welfare check. (As an aside, subsidized housing is not the purview of welfare recipients.) In other industrialized countries, the “welfare” system is seen as the product of the working class struggle, as a “safety net,” if you will, for workers that are unemployed. These countries like France, Germany, Sweden present the “welfare” system as part and parcel of the gains of the working class struggle.
Only in America do we view the “welfare” system as something derogatory to the working class mother or father who is taking advantage of it. The “welfare” system in this country is as much a part of the gains of the American working class as is the 8-hour day!! The system was formerly named “AFDC” Aid To Families With Dependent Children and was seen as part of what working class taxes paid for as a “safety net” for the unemployed and underemployed.
When you get the chance, if at all, I would welcome any comments you could make to mine above.
la luta continua,
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By Mukoma wa Ngugi
Her womb pressed against the desert to bear the parasite
that eats her insides like termites drill into dry wood.
He is born into an empty bowl, fist choking umbilical cord.
She dies sighing, child son at last. He couldn’t have known,
instinct told him – always raise your arm in defense of your
own -Strike! Strike until they are all dead! Egg shells
in your hands milk bottle held between your toes,
you have been anointed twice, you strong enough to kill
at birth and survive. You will want to name the world
after yourself but you will have no name- a collage of dead
roots, tongues and other things. You will point your sword
to the center of the earth, duel the world to split into perfect
mirrors after your imperfect mutations but you will be
too weak having latched your self onto too many streams
straddling too many continents, pulling patches of a self
as one does fruits from an from an orchard, building a home
of planks with many faces. How does one look into a mirror
with a face that washes clean every rainy season?
He has an identity for every occasion – here he is Lenin
there Jesus and yesterday Marx – inflexible truths inherited
without roots. To be nothing to remain nothing, to kill
at birth – such love can only drink from our wrists. We
storming from our past to Jo’Burg eating wisdom of others
building homes made of our grandparent’s bones. We
gathering momentum that eats out of our earth, We standing
pens and bullets hurled at you, your enemies. Comrade, there
are many ways to die. A dog dies never having known
why it lived but a free death belongs to a life lived in roots,
roots not afraid of growing where they stand, roots tapped all over
the earth. Comrade, for a tree to grow, it must first own its earth.
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By Marcus Rediker
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Wild Women Dont Have the Blues
By Ida Cox
I hear these women raving ’bout their monkey men About their fighting husbands and their no good friends These poor women sit around all day and moan Wondering why their wandering papas don’t come home But wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have the blues. Now when you’ve got a man, don’t ever be on the square ‘Cause if you do he’ll have a woman everywhere I never was known to treat no one man right I keep ’em working hard both day and night because wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues. I’ve got a disposition and a way of my own When my man starts kicking I let him find another home I get full of good liquor, walk the streets all night Go home and put my man out if he don’t act right Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues You never get nothing by being an angel child You better change your ways and get real wild I wanna tell you something, I wouldn’t tell you no lie Wild women are the only kind that ever get by Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues. Born Ida Prather,25 February 1896 in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia, United States. Died 10 November 1967 (aged 71) Genres Jazz, Blues Instruments Vocalist.
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 8 January 2012
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