in all of it we still have along way to go.iyt seems to me for example that people with disabilities are still an "add on"to consideration in society,and that people with disabilities are still effectively to manage their conditions privately.this has come home to me with new force as i myself cope with ageing deterioration and ill health some of which takes the form of disability.
and i would suggest that in britain we are still sufferring in the wider community for soem of our semi-collective "blindness"to those issues in the recent past and from which we are still reaping the poisoned fruits now.
im thinking of a number of rock musicians from the 1960s and on,who from working class backgrounds were thrown into stardom,perhaps struggled to manage it,and possibly via addiction ended up with mental health problems or committing suicide.
one of the things virtually any notion of personal politics brings together is actually the explosive mix of thoughts and feelings.until that revolutionary feminism of the 1960s it seems to me to have been extremely exceptional to relate the two phenomena together.
those exceptions for me would include wilhelm reich who built the sex-pol movement within the german workers movement,that showed the relationship between our bodies/psychologies in the context of our wider individual self and any wider community.he argued and demonstrated in his sex pol writings and pamphlets that even in the revolutionary movement sexual and emotional energies were not just distorted by our alienation as a species being but that the process was actually compunde by the distorting sublimation of those "embarrassing"energies to political activity and that releasing those energies in healthier relations would benefit the revolutionary movement.the other was alexandra kollontai,who whilst apparently personally disliked by lenin wasw initially the only woman member of the bolshevik government.surprise,surprise what did she get landed with but social welfare!that said she talked,wrote,campaigned and fought for the diverse needs of not just women but mens emotional and family needs.that included a personal battle for her intellectual and emotional needs from her class background and within revolutionary organisation.she campaigned for social care of children and for major changes in the relationships between men and women,which is not as far as i am concerned simply reducible to an issue for after the revolution.but kollontai would not be boxed in.she was i believe and active and leading member at various times of both the left and workers opposition within the bolshevik party although i understand there is not a simple straight line to be drawn from the former to the latter.stalin did not do away with her in the purges,perhaps because she was a woman though she was sidelined and became a diplomat for the soviet union.indeed i believe she palyed a part if the partial freeing of finland from both the soviet union and nazi germany.she remained soviet ambassador to sweden for a number of years.
let me add a personal not here.firtsly that somehow i was lucky enough to discover both reich and kollontai not long after becoming arevolutionary socialist when i was 16-17 years old.both spoke to and influeneced me and my politics and my outlook to this day.
those were times when at least some of their writings became available and i devoured everything i could find.they both took my breath away.
it was sometime later that i came across pictures of alexandra kollontai.i saw pictures of her as a young activist and later when she was much older.i do not want at all to denigrate women,but i also admit that as an impressionable young man of say 19 years old, i caught my breath again.i found her one of the most beatiful women ive ever seen then and now as i myself am a lot older.
i only wish time allowed me to meet her.i think if i was asked which historical figure i would want to meet it would be her.when my eldeswt daughter was born we could not resolve quite which name to give her,although we followed the naming tradition of my paternal line.my daughters second name is alexandra after comrade kollontai and i have explained why to her.
i must add more tha aword about rosa luxemburg.she was somewhat late in involving herself in the woman question as such,but her letters to her partner and paul frohlichs biography of her relate anumber of relevant things-that she fought for a life as alife as well as a revolutionary activist and leader and clearly took her relationships with people as central to her existence and that of the revolution.she appears never to have reduced others to cyphers in her life or in the movement.i belive that this outlook is a contributory factor in all her dealings with others and in her attitude to anti-militarism and building the revolutionary movement.she argued not for some abstract historical line but for a movement and for social relations made of living humanity.she was always fighting for a fully realised human society in which we can all be giants.it seems to me that whilst the contribution of her long time partner was also immense,it neither stands equal alongside luxemburg and he remained some kind of emotional pygmy,personally prickly and adopting a kind of revolutionary asceticism that sound like the worst form of monasticism.
it is however luxemburgs rich emotional and political life that makes her a real giant in our pantheon,as well as making her terriible death more brutal.i do not want to be bitter about that end but to contribute my small part to the creation of a better world in which it is not just better economic,social and structured conditions but in which we can all live the fullest of creative lives.
luxemburg and kollontai continue to inspire me along the way.
-to be continued-