BebelandLuxemburgNotes - Bebel and Luxemburg selected...

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Bebel and Luxemburg, selected writings Bebel contests: “Man is the real human being according to numerous passages in the Bible, and both the English and French languages furnish proofs of this conception, since the word “man” denotes both male and human being. When speaking of the people we usually think of men only. Woman is a factor of slight importance, and man is her master. Men generally consider this state of affairs quite proper, and the majority of women still accept it as a divine ordinance.” As to women’s oppression as a socialist issue: “Regardless of the question whether woman is oppressed as a proletarian, we must recognize that in this world of private property she is oppressed as a sex being. On all sides she is hemmed in by restrictions and obstacles unknown to the man. Many things a man may do she is prohibited from doing; many social rights and privileges enjoyed by him, are considered a fault or a crime in her case. She suffers both socially and as a sex being.” As to sexual life: “We may say that the manner in which the natural desires of the sexes are expressed, both in their organic and physical development, in form and in character, marks the degree of perfection of a human being, be it man or woman.” But the results of sexual life in an oppressive condition, including children that fall as a responsibility on the woman alone, render its status as a foundation for ‘creative life’ moot. In fact: “Also suicide is more frequent among those widowed or divorced men and women who are childless. Among the unmarried women who are driven to suicide between the 21st and 30th year, there are many who have been betrayed in love or have “gone wrong.” Statistics show that an increase of illegal births is generally accompanied by an increase of female suicides. The rate of female suicides between the 16th and 21st year is exceptionally high, which also points to the conclusion that ungratified sexual impulse, love-sorrow, secret pregnancy or the deceit of men constitute frequent causes.” So the question becomes: “The question now presents itself: Does society fulfill the demands for a rational mode of life, especially in the woman’s case? If it does not, we are confronted by a second question: Can society fulfill them? If this question also must be answered in the negative, a third question ensues: How can they be fulfilled?” Marriage is the first target of inquiry: “Monogamic marriage as has been sufficiently shown, is the outcome of the system of gain and property that has been established by bourgeois society, and therefore undoubtedly forms one of its basic principles. But whether it is adapted to natural needs and to a healthy development of human society is a different question. We will show that this marriage, which depends upon the bourgeois system of property, is a more or less forced relation, having many disadvantages, and frequently fulfilling its purpose only insufficiently or not at all. We will, furthermore, show that it is a social
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This note was uploaded on 12/20/2010 for the course POLI SCI 365 taught by Professor Buzby during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

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BebelandLuxemburgNotes - Bebel and Luxemburg selected...

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