Simon wrote:
> I would agree with you that communal living is far cheaper for
> the reproduction of labour than individual consumption. But we were talking
> about the family, which is effectively communal living minus.

Did you mean to add anything to this sentence 'minus.' what?

If communal living is far cheaper and if capitalism has proved that 
the maintenance of drudgery is possible within the institution of the 
family then surely it must be in its interest to defend the family.

> The ideal for
> capitalism is what it has pushed the lower end of the working class towards
> - and which I am now in - communal houses where workers share in the
> facilities, cleaning, etc. but there is no institutionalized resistance to
> the capitalist economic process.

I would have thought the communal houses DO offer the possibility of 
institutionalised resistance or are you referring to the family here. 
Again this is not a new Marx well knew the existence of the workhouse 
and the asylum where those who could not maintain a proper family 
household could be provided for - in poor conditions - on mass. 

> One of the classic features of the family
> is the "housewife"performing tasks individually for her family which would be
> more efficiently done communally by creches, launderettes, etc.

Yes more efficiently done but not profitably done. Again these 
communal facilities are nothing new. The launderette has - and is - 
the centre of many working class communities, as is the voluntary 
playgroup or some form of inter-family childcare. the point is that 
these task are paid for by free labour based on the sole income of 
the worker (and / or the 'housewife's' part-time employment).

> the campaign for paid housework has already
> progressed as far as capitalism wants it to, in the shape of strict
> benefits like family credit, covering the reproduction of the family as a
> contract.

Well the welfare state in Britain may be able to provide family 
credit but the rest of the world's working class (who provide the 
profit to the West to allow such extra benefits) have only starvation 
to look at if they do not provide these service for free.

> Only if that drudge is fooled into having an artificially low standard of
> living. Feminism destroys the patriarchal family, which is the family as a
> unit with a worker and a drudge. 

They are not fooled they are force there are not enough full-time 
jobs in the system most of the time to provide any employment to a 
vast proportion of the population, so they are forced into drudgery, 
just like single people were forced into the workhouse (or now onto 
the streets!) The one great blow to the family was not feminism 
(which IF it had succeeded within capitalism would have had the 
effect you suggest) but the 2nd Imperialist War where women left the 
family (or the family left them) and filled the factories. 

> But my argument would be that the call for wages for housework is already
> answered, as pointed out above. Many of the jobs that person then does are,
> as I have pointed out, paid for by the state as if as a contract.

I do not think the call for wages for housework (I presume you mean 
the concept rather than the organisation, but either way) has been 
met at all. You refer to family credit but the work of the 
houseworker if it only took 10 hours a day (from preparing 
breakfast to clearing away after the evening meal) and was paid 
for at the rate of the minimum wage would cost capitalism over 220. 
This does not take into account the fact that they are on call 24 
hours a day, they may have elderly relatives or people with 
disablilities who need extra care, it does not pay for clothing or 
materials, it does not include tax contribution, sickness benefit, 
extra pension contributions, holiday pay.......

I think that if it was totalled up - and Wages For Housework did a 
calculation via the UN of the cost globally - I expect it would come 
as a great shock to many of us and would deal a near fatal blow to 
capitalism if those houseworkers demanded it. 

> I've never really had to deal with the question before - though I would fit
> the argument on needing a non-capitalist sector of the family as broadly
> Luxembergian (on the "capitalism needs non capitalist societies" approach).

Do you have a reference? I know nearly nothing about Luxembergianism.

One other point on which I am not clear is whether you are mourning 
the loss of the family in history or whether you are merely pointing 
out its decline due to capitalism. Does it have any validity?

Comradely regards

John Walker

P.S. I'll try to be less verbose next time.......
John Walker

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