The reactionary nightmare of ‘gender fluidity’
We do not advocate and we cannot allow the bourgeoisie to impose this divisive ideology upon us.
This is a very interesting debate, comrades. I find it both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.
Why are we having this debate? I would like to say that I agree with motion 8. It’s quite clear that this is an issue which is causing genuine confusion – and not only in our party. Our party is the reflection of society, and so if it is confusing us, you can be sure there is a far greater confusion outside our ranks – and that, if you like, is why we’re having this debate. While I am sympathetic with the arguments put forward by those opposed to motion 8, we clearly do need to have a debate. Clearly some people have taken on identity politics (idpol) as a very central part of their political discourse: people in our schools, people in society, in every mainstream paper that you turn to. A mere reference to gender identity and idpol, without expressing an opinion, is enough to make many people incandescent with rage. We have to ask ourselves why that is, because when I grew up some years ago, this wasn’t an issue affecting peoples’ minds. People didn’t talk about it; they didn’t debate it: it wasn’t an issue. Marx and Engels and Lenin and Stalin didn’t devote much attention to the politics of gender fluidity because it did not exist as an issue. This concept – contrary to the opinion of those opposed to this motion – is not “as old as humanity”.
Sex, gender and gender fluidity
Is sex important? Attempts are being made to confuse us as to what ‘sex’ is. Are ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ synonyms? Well they are synonyms, but a certain group of academics in the seventies in the United States decided that they weren’t synonyms. They were going to use ‘gender’ in their own way; they were going to use ‘gender’ to mean the social construct of behaviour surrounding what was expected of the biological differentiation among human beings (men and women).But biological differentiation between male and female is a real thing. It doesn’t just exist in humanity, it exists in many species throughout the natural world. Sexual reproduction is a natural biological process that has persisted in nature due to the diversity it engenders; it is a phenomenon encountered in the natural world.
And let’s not forget how this debate impinged upon us. We’ve been following this ideological trend, and encountering identity politics among supporters and candidates for membership of our party, and amongst people we’ve been working with for at least four or five years. Because idpol has become a fashion in that period.
And it is a fashion; it is a trend. And it suddenly – from being very marginal to certain academic institutions in the 1970s – became mainstream globally worldwide; it was actively promoted. Not promoted by communists, not by socialists, but picked up on and accepted by many of them, because they are led by, and they blindly followed, bourgeoise society down this dead-end.
Sex and sexual identity
So the question is sexuality: how does this tie up with the question of sexuality? And we come back to that innocuous post on Twitter, which I thought was obviously hilarious because I thought it was non-controversial.
We wrote: “There is a group of self-proclaimed ‘socialists’ who are not actually any longer fighting against our oppression, they’re fighting against reality!” and posted a link to an article. Why did we say that? They’re a circle of people who broke away from a very small group which you may know, called the RCG. This circle wrote a blog called ‘Red Fightback’, and the bottom line is, their position is that there’s no such thing as gender.
Rather, gender, they claim, is some kind of medical conspiracy where, at birth, the doctors go away and huddle together and they ‘assign a gender role’ to you. So, pregnant mothers: when you have your 20-week ultrasound scan, you’re not having a scan to see whether your baby is a boy or a girl (say ‘Red Fightback’). No; that’s all medical conspiracy! And when the baby is born, they inspect the baby to say it’s a boy or a girl – well that’s all medical conspiracy, too! These things (boys and girls, men and women) aren’t real – don’t you see??
Now, that seemed to us to be so absurd and preposterous that we posted it. And the post seemed popular! It had, like, 100,000 views, with hundreds of comments saying: “You’re a Terf!” I didn’t know what a Terf was at that point but, but I have since found out. It is an acronym for ‘Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist’ – which I’m not, because I’m not a feminist! But essentially, their line is that anyone who would purport to say there really is such a thing as gender (men and women), is some kind of fascist. Who is pushing this ideology that there is no such thing as gender? That there is no such thing as sex? That it’s not real?
There is even a movement termed ‘ableism’ or ‘trans-ableism’. There exist people who say: “I look as if I’ve got two arms and two legs, but actually in reality, I feel like I was born disabled.” There are people who are petitioning for the right to have an arm or a leg cut off; to have an operation which will make their physical form conform to how they feel; “my inner essence”.
It’s the ultimate idealism isn’t it? Idealism in the philosophical sense that that “the material world doesn’t exist”; “it’s whatever I think that is most important”. So actually, by that rationale, ideas are prime and matter will have to conform with my ideas, and the ultimate result is this kind of solipsism where you are alone in the world – the lone conscious force and the ultimate determiner of your own reality without reference to other people or the material reality of the word’s environment around you.
Morally, it means whatever you want subjectively is right and correct. So it can be used to justify doing anything, committing any crime against anyone.
As a philosophy it is totally isolating, and totally gets rid of the idea, as the previous speaker was saying, of having things in common, uniting on a class basis around the real things that oppress us; real material and economic phenomena.