The Issue of Sex, by Hertha Barwich

The Issue of Sex
Hertha Berwich
1929
Der Frauen-Bund

 

At the centre of a truly socialist education will be sexual education, the prevention of sexual debauchery and the development of sensual love. On all these issues, bourgeois education answers with a great silence. The attitude towards gender in the current social order has until now prevented the development of any more emancipated ideas. Women are in every relationship subservient to men. In contrast, men are the lords and owners of women. In this sense, bourgeois education works towards making girls good housewives and maids, and to educate me to be real men. Girls’ games, girls’ company and girls’ tasks are degrading for them. Consciously and unconsciously, the ruling instinct over the female sex is developed in boys. With such an education, marriage can have no meaning for men, they look for their satisfaction in alcohol and brothels. Capitalist exploitation has destroyed not only proletarian marriage, but also petty bourgeois marriage. Socialism demands the equality of the sexes, and workers understand this demand the fastest. Necessity and class interest force them to recognise women as colleagues and comrades. Such comradeship will only be possible if we totally get rid of the bourgeois moral lies about intercourse. The liberation of sexual life holds the danger of unrestrained intercourse. We don’t want to and can’t fight this danger with another system of constraint, complete education will prevent any misunderstanding and any wandering off from the natural way of morality. We refuse the current bourgeois concepts of morality. Natural morality is an egalitarian relationship between the sexes which finds its expression in companionate marriage. Maturing youths find in the anarcho-syndicalist youth movement a community of joyous comradeship, ideal enthusiasm, and serious work. The blooms which flourish in a decaying society cannot thrive in them. The class-struggle organisation is the best system of defence against youthful excesses. The love between man and wife is no longer a forbidden fruit for the socialist youth, it is the fulfilment of true comradeship. The solution to the issue of sex is true community between the sexes on the same work, the same worries, the same fights, joys and victories. Marriage is no longer legally-sanctioned prostitution, but a bond of friendship which is agreed upon with full conscience. In the anarcho-syndicalist youth movement, young men and women find the way to class struggle, to the liberation of their minds and the solution to the issue of sex. Through social revolution, in which men and women stand side by side in true comradeship, we will achieve the economic, moral and mental liberation of everyone and start to build a world of freedom, love and prosperity in common solidarity.

School and War, by Madeleine Pelletier

[From a French original made availble on Marie-Victoire Louis’ blog http://www.marievictoirelouis.net/index.php?id=327&auteurid=251 originally published in La Fronde, 31/12/1926]

School and War
Madeleine Pelletier
1926
La Fronde

Mr. Herignhoc, a professor at the Law Faculty in Toulouse, has just written an article, in the journal “Scientia”, about “The Rational Organisation of the Society of Nations”. He would like it to organise, on top of its organisms of direct defence against war, world education, by example by fighting illiteracy.
That is all well and good, but I think we could go further along this path of civilisation.

The mass of workers and peasants is infected with jingoism. To assert this, you only have to try and have a discussion in a foreign language in a workers’ cinema or any other popular setting. Immediately, you will attract disparaging remarks: “What are they mumbling there! Couldn’t they stay in their countries!”, etc.
This xenophobia of the people doesn’t grow unaided; obviously, tradition transmits it, but school, as it is today, only intensifies it.

History should be entirely reformed. It centres, as we know, around wars; we could even say, according to primary school history books, that history is only a succession of wars and treaties.

We must write a history which speaks less of kings, of their ministers and of their generals and more about the people. How people lived in the olden days, how work was organised, what the living conditions of workers and peasants looked like. How people lived, their food, their clothes, their houses, their furniture. What women’s conditions were, how were families organised, what influence religion had, what people did for leisure, etc.

Even for small children in primary school, it could draw an abridged picture of every nation on earth, with their language, their governments, their customs.

To talk about wars would be necessary, but only to condemn them; we could say who made up armies; how recruitment was made; what the life of a soldier, a life of looting, a given death sentence; say how little human life was worth.

After such an education, people would no longer believe that foreigners are savages and that only France is civilised.

In the school courtyard, war-like games would be banned. We could replace them, for example, by something of the same kind, but with a benevolent idea: make kids play firemen, rescuers, etc.

I think it wouldn’t be hard, with a ministerial decree, to ban the selling of any military toy: no more guns, swords, helmets, uniforms or tin soldiers. We could replace tin soldiers with, for example, football players, or athletes doing exercise.

Nothing pops into the brain which doesn’t come from senses.

When all jingoism will be banned from education, it will disappear from people’s mentalities.

Is it possible? by “a mother”

Is it possible?
A Mother
1908
L’Exploitée

I read in La Voix du Peuple that, In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, there are some working-class mothers who send their sons in cadet corps and let them get a murderer’s education!

Do you not know these cadet corps have been used by governments to repress proletarian demonstrations? Here, in Bern, it happened in October last year, and, since then, proletarian women did what they had to do so that their sons hate the cadets’ exercises.

If, in French-speaking Switzerland, they have not yet dared to abuse of your children against yourselves and your movements, think about us, women, have no interest to give our sons a military education, quite the contrary.

We all know full well that men are never as rude and violent towards us than when they come back from their military service; they are never more authoritarian and selfish. It is as if discipline took its revenge.

I ask you then: is it necessary to unleash in our sons, at their most tender age, all these evil instincts? In such a way that the son too would come back as the commander of his mother and sisters?