[Love and the new woman]
Aleksandra Kollontai was a Marxist revolutionary. After the Russian Revolution, she was the most prominent woman in the Soviet administration. She was a champion of women’s liberation, but she firmly believed that it “could take place only as the result of the victory of a new social order and a different economic system”, and has thus been regarded as a key figure in Marxist feminism. She believed that true socialism could not be achieved without a radical change in attitudes to sexuality, so that it might be freed from the oppressive norms that she saw as a continuation of bourgeois ideas about property. Kollontai believed that, like the state, the family unit would wither away once the second stage of communism became a reality. She viewed marriage and traditional families as legacies of the oppressive, property-rights-based, egoist past. Under Communism, both men and women would work for, and be supported by, society, not their families. Similarly, their children would be wards of, and reared basically by society.
This book gathers some of her writings where she exposed all these ideals. In many ways, her words are incredibly current, and I honestly can’t believe we still have to fight for these things.
I found her thesis about how the concept of family we have today correlates to an entire economic system, and how it’s been imbued into society as something completely “natural”, very interesting.
Even though I don’t fully agree with all of her ideas, there’s a lot to take and learn from her lifework.