Family Ties

Really, I don’t understand the left sometimes. They’re very upset at the practice of “family separation” of migrant children at the border (a practice that goes back many years, keep in mind), but then I return to my Communist Manifesto to remind myself that a key demand for achieving socialism is abolishing the family. Nationalizing the children has been a staple of socialist visions at least since Plato. So when it comes to the voters the left wants to attract from immigrant populations, mission accomplished! U.S. border policy is just giving the left a head start.

If you think I jest about the “abolishing the family,” just check out this recent item in The Nation:

Want To Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family

Arguably the most infamous demand of The Communist Manifesto is the “abolition of the family.” The family, Marx and Engels noted, was where patriarchy and capitalism worked in tandem to produce willing, alienated workers, where women became little more than “instruments of production” for the men who lorded over them. Radical queer politics in the 1960s and ’70s added to their critique of the bourgeois family when activists challenged the heteronormativity of familial relations. That demand, however, has since almost completely vanished from the leftist imaginary.

Sophie Lewis, a feminist theorist and geographer, takes up this forgotten struggle in her work. Her new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (Verso, 2019) specifically links family abolition to a radical reconceptualization of pregnancy itself. The act of carrying a child to term, she insists, is work—labor that has long been exploited and overlooked by the academy—and so is mothering.

By thinking through the logic of commercial surrogacy arrangements, Lewis lays bare the ways motherhood has been weaponized as an ideological construct. She gives us an account of the material conditions—the biological and societal violence—that gestators, or people who are carrying fetuses, have to bear. Her book shows us that the ostensibly feminist objection to surrogacy arrangements underwrites the ossified and alienated familial relations that make capitalism possible.

I’ll spare you the rest (though if you do get through it, you learn a new term: (“repro-utopianism”), since of course it rests on a false premise: I don’t want to abolish capitalism at all. I want more of it.

Meanwhile, about those “migrants” surging to our southern border that Trump is aiming to control with his tariff threat against Mexico. I have several times before asked the logistical question of how these migrant caravans are being organized and provisioned. Strange that our news media seems uncurious about this aspect of the story. Maybe they are just cowards, as there is good reason to think the Mexican drug cartels may be behind a lot of this, as a destabilized and chaotic border makes it easier to smuggle drugs across the border.

There’s an interesting item up right now at the Conservative Review that says the Mexican drug cartels actually control most of the country:

Several weeks ago, the Mexican investigative journal Contralínea posted a map of Mexico prepared by the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), showing that 80 percent of the country’s 266 districts recently targeted for enforcement by the Mexican National Guard in a new counter-cartel operation are either controlled (57.5 percent) or disputed (23.3 percent) by the cartels. . .

Thus, we now see from an internal document of the Mexican government an admission that Mexico has essentially lost control over every important populated area in Mexico outside Mexico City and a few others, and particularly the most sensitive areas of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The cartels have long passed the stage of simply profiting from drugs. They are international organizations that are engaged in endless criminality, most prominently human smuggling, but they seek to control territory and terrorize populations as well. Mexican drug cartels seek to replace local governments by imposing their own law.

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