Sex in the Soviet Union - Peter Myers, October 3, 2001; update July 24, 2009. My comments are shown {thus}.

Write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/sex-soviet.html.

For the last 30 years, the West has been experimenting with the abolition of marriage, as was done in the Soviet Union until Stalin reversed it. This policy has been brought to the West under the label "Feminism", but it is merely "Communism" by another name. Yet, given that the USSR was "Stalinist" for most of its history, the word "Communism" is misleading, since Trotskyism and Stalinism are diametrically opposed.

When co-habitation between the sexes is treated the same as marriage; when "Gay" relationships are called "marriage"; then marriage has been abolished. The only difference is that this step was done openly in the USSR, but our leaders in the West are less straightforward.

Trotsky is associated with the abolition of the state and the family; Stalin with their reintroduction. To re-introduce marriage is not oppressive, as Trotskyists and Feminists argue, but merely a return to the age-old custom of all human societies: a recognition of human nature. Trotskyism, with its promotion of Gay Marriage, reduces the two sexes to one, and Marriage to the status of sexual partner.

Trotsky advocates abolishing the Family; Stalin its restoration: trotsky.html.

Marxists, faced with the imperfection of the Soviet Union, often see it as "not living up to Marxist Principles". They are thus able to remain believers in Marxism as an ideal, while criticising the USSR in practice. This criticism was often directed at Stalin, the scapegoat for all that went wrong.

There is nothing in Marxist theory that says that Jews will rule, yet the USSR was created by a faction of atheistic Jews: zioncom.html. When Lenin died, a triumvirate took power (Kamenev, Zinoviev, Stalin), of whom Stalin was the only non-Jew: ginsberg.html.These Jewish conspirators wanted to appear incognito, and this helped Stalin gain power. He purged the usurpers and restored Russia to the Russian people - although in the end he was murdered: death-of-stalin.html. He is blamed for all the evils of the system, yet after the fall of Communism, when the West bestowed economic "liberalism" on Russia, the Russian people have come to see that Stalin did some good for them.

We in the West are already half-way through a Trotskyist Revolution, which is shattering our family life. Stalinism fell, but the West is in the grip of Trotskyists promoting open borders, Gay Marriage, etc: xTrots.html.

Most of the writers presented here are Trotskyists, condemning Stalin's crackdown on sodomy and his tightening of the marriage laws. One must sift out their "spin" from the historical data they provide. If they do not mention Stalin by name, they insinuate him by referring to "bureaucracy". Thought control was introduced to the USSR by Lenin and Trotsky; because of it, one often had to use indirect means of conveying information, but one can read Newspeak if one has the right dictionary.

Why destroy the family? Karl Kautsky explains, "communism ... tries to convert its community into a new family, for the presence of the traditional family tie is felt as a disturbing influence": http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/works/1900s/christ/ (Book Four, Part I). The whole society is to be one big family, with communal husbands & wives.

H. Kent Geiger's book The Family in Soviet Russia is the definitive study of family life in the Soviet Union. The "feminist" West is following the same path.

(1) Germaine Greer, Sex and Destiny (2) Alix Holt, tr. & ed., Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai (3) Ferdinand Mount, The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage (4) Fannina Halle, Women in the Soviet East (5) Ekaterina Alexandrova, Why Soviet Women Want to Get Married (6) Igor S. Kon, The Sexual Revolution in Russia (7) Alison M. Jagger, Feminist Politics and Human Nature (8) H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia, Cambridge, Mass., 1968

The selections begin with Germaine Greer, who somewhat outgrew her earlier Trotskyist ("UltraLeft") orientation; in these selections, my comments are enclosed {thus}:

(1) Germaine Greer, Sex and Destiny, Secker & Warburg, Melbourne, 1984.

{p. 228} The received idea of the ultra-left is that Soviet moves to weaken the family, by the institution of state nurseries, the facilitation of divorce, the ideology of free love, and the legalisation of birth control and abortion, were modified because the family was found to be the necessary training ground for the submissive citizen, and so it is, but not in quite the way that revolutionary Marxist orthodoxy sees it. What state capitalism realised was that the nuclear family is the most malleable social unit; houses were built for it, social services catered to it, and its descendants were drawn off into training institutions and its parents into state care. State capitalism and monopoly capitalism necessitate the same patterns of consumption, mobility and aspiration. The idea is simple and irrefutable; if all men are to be brothers, then nobody can be anybody else's brother. It is as true for Western Europe and America as it is for those parts of the Soviet Union where Family has been shattered. The operation of the process in the Soviets may be cruder, more brutal

{p. 229} than in, say, Australia, but it is only therefore slightly less likely to succeed. ... If we whittle Family down to nuclear families, the nuclei will continue to act in their own interest, but by division the quotient of self-interest will be reduced to a manageable level. ... Rooted in territoriality, self-defensive, disciplined in aggression, the Family is resistant to any authority but its own, while the biddable nuclear family propitiates its children, unable to check their insistent demands for gratification without experiencing guilt, because self-indulgence is the creed on which their fragile social micro-organism is built. The Marxist-Leninist attack on the Family was inevitable but its attack on the nuclear family was half-hearted and was soon abandoned. {end}

(2) Alix Holt, tr. & ed., Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai, Allison & Busby, London 1977. The back cover says, "Alexandra Kollontai - the only woman member of the Bolshevik central committee and the USSR's first Minister of Social Welfare - is known today as a historic contributor to the international women's movement, and as one of the first Bolshevik leaders to oppose the growth of the bureaucracy in the young socialist state", i.e. she supported Trotsky. Kollontai enables the reader to see that the day care centres, creches etc we now have in the West were copied from the early Soviet Union.

{p. 226} The individual economy which springs from private property is the basis of the bourgeois family.

The communist economy does away with the family. In the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat there is a transition to the single production plan and collective social consumption, and the family loses its significance as an economic unit. The external economic functions of the family disappear, and consumption ceases to be organised on an individual family basis; a network of social kitchens and canteens is established, and the making, mending and washing of clothes and other aspects of housework are integrated into the national economy. In the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat the family economic unit should be recognised as being, from the point of view of the national economy, not only useless but harmful. The family economic unit involves (a) the uneconomic expenditure of products and fuel on the part of small domestic economies, and (b) unproductive labour, especially by women, in the home - and is therefore in conflict with the interest of the workers' republic in a single economic plan and the expedient use of the labour force (including women).

Under the dictatorship of the proletariat then, the material and economic considerations in which the family was grounded cease to exist. The economic dependence of women on men and the role of the family in the care of the younger generation also disappear {day care centres, creches etc: the conspirators steal our children, to mould them as they see fit}, as the communist elements in the workers' republic grow stronger. With the introduction of the obligation of all citizens to work, woman has a value in the national economy which is independent of her family and marital status. The economic subjugation of women in marriage and the family is done away with, and responsibility for the care of the children and their physical and spiritual education is assumed by the social collective. The family teaches and instils egoism, thus weakening the ties of the collective and hindering the construction of communism. However, in the new society relations between parents and children are freed from any element of material considerations and enter a new historic stage.

Once the family has been stripped of its economic functions and its responsibilities towards the younger generation and is no longer central to the existence of the woman, it has ceased to be a family. The family unit shrinks to a union of two people based on mutual agreement.

{p. 227} Thus the workers' collective has to establish its attitude not to economic relationships but to the form of relationships between the sexes. What kind of relations between the sexes are in the best interests of the workers' collective? What form of relations would strengthen, not weaken, the collective in the transitional stage between capitalism and communism and would thus assist the construction of the new society? The laws and the morality that the workers' system is evolving are beginning to give an answer to this question.

Once relations between the sexes cease to perform the economic and social function of the former family, they are no longer the concern of the workers' collective. It is not the relationships between the sexes but the result - the child - that concerns the collective. The workers' state recognises its responsibility to provide for maternity, i.e. to guarantee the well-being of the woman and the child, but it does not recognise the couple as a legal unit separate from the workers' collective. The decrees on marriage issued by the workers' republic establishing the mutual rights of the married couple (the right to demand material support from the partner for yourself or the child), and thus giving legal encouragement to the separation of this unit and its interests from the general interests of the workers' social collective (the right of wives to be transferred to the town or village where their husbands are working), are survivals of the past; they contradict the interests of the collective and weaken its bonds, and should therefore be reviewed and changed.

The law ought to emphasise the interest of the workers' collective in maternity and eliminate the situation where the child is dependent on the relationship between its parents. The law of the workers' collective replaces the right of the parents, and the workers' collective keeps a close watch, in the interests of the unified economy and of present and future labour resources. In the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat there must, instead of marriage law, be regulation of the relationship of the government to maternity, of the relationship between mother and child and of the relationship between the mother and the workers' collective (i.e. legal norms must regulate the protection of female labour, the welfare of expectant and nursing mothers, the welfare of children and their social education). Legal norms must regulate the relationship between the mother and the socially educated child, and between the father and the child. {end}

(3) Ferdinand Mount, The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage, Jonathan Cape, London 1982.

{p. 34} The makers of Soviet Russia were in a somewhat different situation. Like the early Christians, many of the old Bolsheviks were hostile or indifferent to marriage, though of course for opposite reasons. They often believed in free love, which was regarded as a 'Gift of the Revolution'. Many nineteenth-century socialists had subscribed to the view that sex was or ought to be as simple and trivial a satisfaction of physical needs as drinking a glass of water. As for the family, at one time or another, Trotsky, Alexandra Kollontai, Lunacharski and Krylenko all subscribed to the view that it would wither away in due course. The radical view was summarised by A. Slepkov, an influential Leningrad party member:

{quote} Bourgeois ideologists think that the family is an eternal, not a transitory organization, that sexual relations are at the basis of the family, that these sexual relations will exist as long as the two sexes, and since man and woman will both live under socialism just as under capitalism, that therefore the existence of the family is inevitable. That is completely incorrect. Sexual relations, of course, have existed, exist, and will exist. However, this is in no way connected with the indispensability of the existence of the family. The best historians of culture definitely have established that in primitive times the family did not exist . . . Similar to the way in which, together with the disappearance of classes, together with the annihilation of class contradictions, the state will disappear, similarly to that, together with the strengthening of the socialist economy, together with the growth of socialist relationships, together with the overcoming of earlier pre-socialist forms, the family will

{p. 35} also die out. The family is already setting out on the road to a merging with Socialist Society, to a dissolution into it. An openly negative attitude toward the family under present conditions does not have sufficient grounding, because pre-socialist relationships still exist, the state is still weak, the new social forms (public dining rooms, state rearing of children, and so forth) are as yet little developed, and until then the family cannot be abolished completely. However, the coordination of this family with the general organization of Soviet life is the task of every communist, of every Komsomolite [member of Communist Youth League]. One must not shut oneself off in the family, but rather, grow out of the family shell into the new Socialist Society. The contemporary Soviet family is the springboard from which we must leap into the future. Always seeking to carry the entire family over into the public organizations, always a more decisive overcoming of the elements of bourgeois family living - that is the difficult, but important task which stands before us. {endquote; Quoted, H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia, Cambridge, Mass., 1968, pp. 44-5}

Lunacharski, the Commissar of Education, wrote as late as the early 1930s:

{quote} Our problem now is to do away with the household and to free women from the care of children. It would be idiotic to separate children from their parents by force. But when, in our communal houses, we have well-organized quarters for children, connected by a heated gallery with the adults' quarters, to suit the requirements of the climate, there is no doubt the parents will, of their own free will, send their children to these quarters, where they will be supervised by trained pedagogical and medical personnel. There is no doubt that the terms 'my parents,' 'our children,' will gradually fall out of usage, being replaced by such conceptions as 'old people,' 'children,' and 'infants.' {endquote; Ibid., pp. 47-8}

This, according to Lunacharski, was to be an essential part of the transition to the new society - 'that broad public society which will replace the small philistine nook, that little philistine apartment, that domestic hearth, yes, that stagnant family unit which separates itself off from society.' {ibid., p. 68} A genuine Communist would avoid such a permanent pairing marriage and would seek to satisfy his needs by ' ... a freedom of the mutual relations of the husbands, the wives, fathers,

{p. 36} children, so that you can't tell who is related to whom and how closely. That is social construction.' {ibid.} ...

The after-effects of civil war and the new sexual freedoms combined to produce social chaos, a great number of unwanted and abandoned children, venereal diseases and also - a factor not to be underestimated - millions of shocked and puzzled peasants, particularly women, who regarded the new freedoms as dangerous and unhealthy. The Communist Party began rapidly to change its tune.

{p. 37} In 1935, 1936 and 1944, new laws were introduced to compel divorced parents to contribute towards the maintenance of their children, to make abortion illegal and divorce itself more difficult and expensive. Homosexuality became a criminal offence in 1934. In 1936, Pravda commented that, 'Marriage is the most serious affair in life.' {Geiger, Family in Soviet Russia, p. 94} Stalin had changed direction and everyone else had to change too. Entirely spurious interpretations were dredged up to prove that Marx and Engels had never been against the family. The new scapegoats came in handy here:

{quote} The enemies of the people, the vile fascist hirelings - Trotsky, Bukharin, Krylenko and their followers - covered the family in the USSR with filth, spreading the counter-revolutionary 'theory' of the dying out of the family, of disorderly sexual cohabitation in the USSR, in order to discredit the Soviet land. {endquote; Quoted, ibid., p. 104}

Why did Stalin turn? No doubt it was partly because the family had stubbornly refused to die out, and its official revival would be generally popular and help to deal with genuine social problems; but the main reason was surely that the regime had simply allowed too large an area of Soviet life to escape its control. It was not only that the

{p. 38} Soviet concept of 'free marriage' - involving divorce and abortion at will - had proved a social failure. It was rather that no fully articulated Soviet attitude towards marriage and the family existed at all. The only answer was, so to speak, to 'patriate' the family - to glorify it as a popular, essentially Russian institution.

In other words, on this question as on so many others, Stalin resorted to compromise between Marxism-Leninism and the Russian tradition. The family was good because it was created by the Russian people; hence it was good because it was socialist too.

{end}

The West, however, did not learn from the Russian experience, because the Trotskyist & Fabian forces in the West regarded Stalin as a traitor.

A longer extract from Ferdinand Mount's book The Subversive Family is at mount.html.

(4) Fannina Halle, Women in the Soviet East, Martin Secker & Warburg, London 1938. This book shows that Polygamy was abolished, just as other writers (below) show that Homosexuality was being legalised. Also, native i.e. non-Russian peoples had to give up their own traditions about family life, a fate that awaits our own native peoples if the forces of "Tolerance" and "Multiculturalism" win.

{p. 130} WOMEN IN THE SOVIET EAST

So, too POLYGAMY is rendered a penal offence, and is punishable with hard labour for the period of a year or a fine not exceeding a thousand roubles.

{p. 131} Certain republics even used the formulation of supplementary paragraphs to the code for purposes of propaganda, and created a new legal language, not uncommon in the Soviet Union, markedly different from the dry legal style in use in other states. Thus a special law of the Kirghiz against polygamy reads as follows: Only such persons may marry as are living in no other registered marriage nor in a relation similar to registered marriage. Polygamy is absolutely forbidden, as an evil custom, highly injurious to the moral dignity of Kirghiz women, and leading to their enslavement and the exploitation of their persons. Thus the law resolutely attacked all the antiquated forms of social life, for without their abolition no real liberation of Eastern women could be conceived. The manner in which the courts applied the penal paragraphs, especially during the early transition period, bore witness to their good will to make an end of the relics of the past and to clear the way for new developments.

BYT CRIMES IN THE COURTS {"byt" is a Russian word meaning domestic conditions, human relations - p. 127}

It was, of course, not possible to abolish byt crimes at the first attack, in spite of vigorous threats of punishment and an increasingly intense propaganda campaign. Frequently the conditions which made them possible, and in certain cases even inevitable, persisted, and, moreover, the customs now more or less plainly branded as byt crimes were too deeply rooted in the people's lives. At first, especially, there was not the slightest sense of guilt, and the prisoners who experienced the full severity of the law could not understand for what misdeed they were being punished. Nevertheless, some undoubted success has been achieved in abolishing out-of-date marriage forms.

(5) Ekaterina Alexandrova, Why Soviet Women Want to Get Married in Tatyana Mamonova (ed.), Women and Russia: Feminist Writings from the Soviet Union, Beacon Press, Boston 1984. Peter Myers, July 16, 2001; {Trotskyist}.

{p. 39} Let us now turn to a discussion of the laws that regulate family and marital relations in the U.S.S.R.

As is well known, a series of laws governing such topics was

{p. 40} passed in 1917-1918, immediately after the October Revolution. The main result of these laws was the secularization of marriage. Since then, as far as the government is concerned, the only valid marriage is a civil marriage, not a religious one. Therefore, when a Soviet woman speaks of marriage, she always means civil marriage; the word marriage has been used only in this meaning in this article.

In addition, the following policies were proclaimed: (1) freedom from restrictions that had formerly been imposed on marriage (for example, the religious denomination of the bride and groom); (2) freedom and ease of divorce; and (3) equality in every respect between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children. In the next round of legislation - the Laws of Marriage of 1926 - the "freedom" of marriage was expanded even further, practically to the point that it was of no legal consequence whether the marriage was registered or not.

In order for a marriage to be considered as legitimate, it was "sufficient that a man and women living together considered their liaison marriage and not debauchery." 2 Grounds for divorce were even broader and obtaining a divorce was made even easier. Divorce occurred without recourse to a court; it was not even necessary to be physically present. Divorce occurred in the absence of one of the spouses, by the declaration of the other. The equality of legitimate and illegitimate children was underscored. But with the new law of 1926, the period of "revolutionary experiments" in relations between the sexes came to an end. {Stalin came to full power about 1928}

The next legislative acts concerning the family and marriage - the Decree of 1936 and the Edict of 1944 - were pervaded by an entirely different spirit. In the first place, in contrast with everything that had gone before, the new laws emphasized that

2. I. Kurganov, Sem'ya v SSSR, 1917-1967 (Frankfurt/Main: Possev-Verlag, 1967), p. 89.

{p. 41} the only marriage considered valid in the eyes of the government was a registered marriage. The Edict of 1944 stated directly, "Only a registered marriage gives rise to the rights and duties of a husband and wife, as envisioned in the legal code of marriage, family, and child custody."

In the second place, the Decree of 1936 and the Edict of 1944 turned divorce into a difficult and expensive process. Furthermore, the Edict of 1944 pointedly began to separate "legitimate" children from "illegitimate" children. According to the law, the father of an illegitimate child had no responsibilities for his child, just as if he had no relationship to the child whatsoever. He was not obliged to help the mother support the child.

One measure that became highly controversial was the requirement by the Edict that a slash be drawn across the blank marked father on the birth certificate of an illegitimate child. This slash is the first thing that catches your eye when you pick up one of these documents. That requirement alone put both mother and child in a "special," extremely degrading position.

The 1936 Edict also banned abortions; these were permitted again in 1955 for medical reasons, and in 1968 without restrictions.

The other measures were eased only toward the middle of the 1960s when divorce was simplified and the slash on the birth certificate of an illegitimate child was no longer required.

(6) Igor S. Kon, The Sexual Revolution in Russia, tr. James Riordan, Free Press, NY 1995. {Kon does not name Trotsky, but appears to be a Trotskyist, being very critical of the 1930s and the crackdown on sodomy. Kon articulates his own "liberal" views on p. 246.}

{p. 59} Lenin was sceptical of and even frankly hostile to all theories touting the absolute importance of sexuality, above all Freudian theory. {the synthesis of Marx & Freud is a badge of the New Left and associated with Trotskyism}

{p. 70} In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the antisex crusade was all-pervasive. When Wilhelm Reich, the influential German protege of Freud and admirer of Marx {the Marx-Freud synthesis is a badge of Trotskyism}, visited Moscow in 1929, hoping to find there a Mecca of sexual freedom, he was surprised and shocked by its new "bourgeois moralistic attitudes."6 One repressive measure followed another.

The first measure was an official restoration of criminal penalties and reinforcement of persecution for male homosexuality. The initiative for revocation of the antihomosexual legislation, following the February 1917 Revolution, had come not from the Bolsheviks but from the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) and the anarchists. Nonetheless, once the old criminal code had been repealed after the October Revolution, Article 516 also ceased to be valid. The Russian Federation criminal codes for 1922 and 1926 did not mention homosexuality, although the corresponding laws remained in force in some places where homosexuality was traditionally the most prevalent - in the Islamic republics of Azerbaijan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan, as well as in Christian Georgia.

Soviet medical and legal experts were very proud of the progressive nature of their legislation. At the Congress of the World League for Sexual Reform, held in Copenhagen in 1928, Soviet legislation was cited to repre-

{p. 71} sentatives of other countries as an example of progressivism. In 1930, medical expert Mark Sereisky wrote in The Great Soviet Encyclopedia: "Soviet legislation does not recognize so-called crimes against morality our laws proceed from the principle of protection of society and therefore countenance punishment only in those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest."7

The official stance of Soviet medicine and law in the 1920s, as reflected in Sereisky's encyclopedia article, was that homosexuality was not a crime but a disease that was difficult, perhaps even impossible, to cure:

While recognizing the incorrectness of homosexual development, society does not and cannot blame those who bear such traits. . . In emphasizing the significance of sources that give rise to such an anomaly, our society combines prophylactic and other therapeutic measures with all the necessary conditions for making the conflicts that afflict homosexuals as painless as possible and for resolving their typical estrangement from society within the collective.8

Sereisky pinned indefinite hopes for a future "radical cure" for all homosexuals on the possibility of transplanting testicles from heterosexual to homosexual men, as had been suggested by the German biologist E. Steinach.

During the 1920s, the status of Soviet homosexuals was relatively tolerable. Some homosexuals - Mikhail Kuzmin, Nikolai Klyuev, and Sophia Parnok, among others - played major roles in Soviet culture, although the opportunity for an open, philosophical, and artistic discussion of the theme, which had opened up at the start of the century, was gradually whittled away.9 On December 17, 1933, however, the government announced the change in law, which would be compulsory in all the republics in March 1934: accordingly, muzhelozhstvo (buggery) once more became a criminal offense. An item to that effect was inserted in the criminal codes of all the Soviet republics. According to Article 121 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code, muzhelozhstvo, sexual relations between men, was punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of up to five years, and, in cases involving physical force or the threat thereof, or exploitation of the victim's dependent status, or in relation to a minor, a term of up to eight years.

In January 1936, Nikolai Krylenko, people's commissar for justice, announced that homosexuality was a product of the decadence of the exploiting classes who knew no better ...

{p. 78} The middle 1930s saw a gradual, deep, and radical change in official language. Whereas the sexophobia of the 1920s had been reinforced by arguments about class interests and by mechanistic theories ahout the possi-

{p. 79} bility and necessity ot channeling indivldual "sexual energy" into more exalted social goals, the authorities now propagated a strict morality camouflaged as concern for shoring up marriage and the family.

Bourgeois and peasant families that owned private property were not dependent on the state, so the Bolsheviks tried to destroy or at least weaken them through the process of socialization of everyday life and especially the education of children. As the American historian Richard Stites notes, in the 1920s, this policy of "defamilization" of everyday life had been motivated by the noble mission of "rescuing housewives from the slavery of kitchen life," kitchen life being "the strongest symbol of a nuclear family"25 But the state's provision of food and preschool education turned out to be much less effective than domestic family provision. "Student communes," which had been widespread in the 1920s, were also shortlived, one of the difficulties being that "the open-door policy interfered with sexual activity"26

The Soviet return to the ideals of stable marriage and family life in the 1930s seemed a retreat from the original ideology of the Revolution, and many Western scholars trumpeted noisily about it. Yet the appeal for the stabilization of marriage and the resurrection of "family" ideology was merely a manifestation of the growing conservatism of Soviet society {another attack on Stalin}. Having no private property, the "new Soviet family" - all income and living arrangements of which depended exclusively on the state - not only could not be independent of the state but was itself becoming an effective instrument of social control over the individual. To fulfill that mission, the "strong family" had to be an administratively controlled and regulated union.

In 1936, the procedures for dissolution of marriage became more complicated. This change was in certain ways quite reasonable, inasmuch as previously divorce had been practically unregulated - one spouse could dissolve the marriage by a simple declaration at the registry office, without even informing the other. But actually, the increasing difficulty of obtaining a divorce was just one more way in which the state could legally intrude into the life of the individual. After 1944, divorce could be effected only through the courts, which was relatively expensive (although much less so than in the United States) and time-consuming. The court could delay the granting of a divorce considerably, and in some cases could even refuse to grant one. The degree of the judges' liberalism depended upon the instructions given by the Supreme Court. During one period of time, they tried to prevent the granting of any divorces at all, whereas at other times, they acted more liberal.

{p. 246} Homophobia, irrational fear of homosexuality, and hatred of gays constitute one of the main problems in present-day Russian sexual culture {Kon is here showing his Trotskytist allegiance}. ... As cross-cultural research shows, the level of homophobia in a given society depends on a wide range of factors. First, it depends on the overall level of a society's social and cultural tolerance. Intolerance of differences, typical of any authoritarian regime, is ill-suited to sexual or any other kind of pluralism. ... The more antisexual the culture, the more sexual taboos and fears it will have. The former USSR in this respect was, as ever, an extreme case.

Third, homophobia is closely linked with sexism {wrong: the Gay movement is Heterophobic}, and sexual and gender chauvinism. Its major function in social history has been to uphold the sanctity of the system of gender stratification based on male hegemony and domination. Obligatory, coercive heterosexuality is intended to safeguard the institution of marriage and patriarchal relations; under this system,

{p. 247} women are second-class beings, their main- perhaps even sole- function is to produce children {a Gay put-down of Heterosexuality}.

(7) Alison M. Jagger, Feminist Politics and Human Nature, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa NJ, 1983. This book is very important, for it shows that the New Left/Trotskyist/Feminist rejection of Human Nature and the Sexual Division of Labour explicitly contradicts Marx and Engels, supporting my case that Trotskyism is a conspiratorial movement lurking beneath a Marxist mask.

{p. 67} The radical call to abolish sexual distinctions in the market (and, apparently, distinctions based on age as well) represents the dominant tendency in traditional Marxist theorizing about women. But another side to Marxist theory does

{p. 68} emphasize the significance of the biological differences between women and men. On this view, expressed mainly in "asides" rather than in explicit argument, the biological differences between the sexes have not only determined a sexual division of labor in the past, but mean that the future can never be totally androgynous.

Marx and Engels believe that there has always been a sexual division of labor and that this, at least until the advent of capitalism, has taken a remarkably constant form. Apart from "the division of labour in the sexual act," they believe that women have always been concerned primarily with the household and men with obtaining "the food and instruments necessary for the purpose." In many passages Marx and Engels refer to this division of labor as "natural" or "spontaneous." For instance, in The German Ideology they write about the origins of the division of labor as being "originally nothing but the division of labour in the sexual act, then that division of labour which develops spontaneously or 'naturally' by virtue of natural predisposition (e.g., physical strength, needs, accidents, etc.)."36 On the following page, they refer again to "the natural division of labour in the family." These remarks are not just youthful slips. In his mature work, Capital, Marx several times repeats the suggestion that there is a sexual division of labor in the family that is natural. For instance, he writes about the "spontaneously developed" system of organizing labor in "the patriarchal industries of a peasant family, that produces corn cattle, yarn, linen, and clothing for home use." This family

{quote} possesses a spontaneously developed system of division of labour. The distribution of the work within the family, and the regulation of the labour-time of the several members, depends as well upon the differences of age and sex as upon natural conditions varying with the seasons.37 {end quote} {note 37: Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1 (New York: International Publishers, 1967), p. 77-78.}

Later in the first volume of Capilal, Marx repeats the point. "Within a family . . . there springs up naturally a division of labour, caused by differences of sex and age, a division that is consequently based on a purely physiological foundation."38 {note 38: ibid., p. 351}

Marx and Engels clearly believe that the division of labor within the family is natural because it is biologically determined, "based on a purely physiological foundation." Yet they never explain just what the division is, why it occurs nor whether it can be overcome in future forms of the family. In his Critique of the Gotha Programme, moreover, Marx even seems to reconsider his call to abolish the sexual division of labor in the market. He writes:

{quote} The standardization of the working day must include the restriction of female labour insofar as it relates to the duration, intermissions, etc., of the working day; otherwise it could only mean the exclusion of women from branches of industry that are especially unhealthy for the female body or objectionable morally for the female sex.39 {end quote} {note 39: Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, in Marx and Engels, Selected Works, p. 334}

This passage carries the alarming suggestions that women's capacity to enter public industry is limited both by biological and by moral factors. The latter suggestion is repeated in Marx's apparent endorsement of the view of the British factory inspectors that one of the most deplorable effects of the factory system was the moral degradation it imposed on women and girls. It caused them to be dirty, to drink, to swear and to wear men's clothes - none of which Marx considered to be especially injurious for men.40 {note 40: Compare Capital, pp. 257(n), 399, 464, 498-99. I owe these references to Sandra Bartky.}

One more aspect of gender needs to be considered, the "division of labor" that is supposed to occur in sexual activity. In the passage quoted already from

{p. 69} The German Ideology, Marx and Engels write that the social division of labor originates in "the division of labor in the sexual act." If we take this remark seriously, it implies that, no matter how much society may seek to abolish the division of labor, such divisions are always likely to reemerge so long as "the division of labor in the sexual act" remains. Whether or not it is true that divisions of labor, such as the class division and the division of mental from manual labor, will always be regenerated by "the division of labor in the sexual act," it does seem at least plausible that a division of labor in sexual activity will always encourage a regeneration of the more extensive sexual division of labor that constitutes the basis of the institution of gender. This is because, in capitalist society though perhaps not in all others, sexual orientation is one of the defining features of gender identity. If an individual's primary sexual and emotional interest is in members of her or his own sex, then her or his gender identity is conventionally called into question. Thus, gay men are considered conventionally to lack masculinity, to be less than men, and lesbians to lack femininity, to be less than women. If gender is to be eliminated entirely, then, it seems that it may be necessary to abolish normative heterosexuality, the notion that heterosexual relations are more "natural" and legitimate than homosexual relations. In other words, "the division of labor in the sexual act" will have to be abolished. Neither Marx nor Engels, however, considers seriously and explicitly the radical implications of their own suggestion in The German Ideology. In an admittedly early work, Marx writes that "the relation of man to woman is the most natural relation of human being to human being,"41 and Engels always assumes that normal sexual relations are heterosexual. For instance, he condemns the Athenian men who "fell into the abominable practice of sodomy and degraded alike their gods and themselves with the myth of Ganymede,"42 and his discussion of the "mutual sexual love" that will be possible for us all only under socialism is conducted exclusively in heterosexual terms.

From this examination of Marx's and Engels' writings, I conclude that there is considerable ambiguity and even inconsistency in their view of women's nature. They waiver between the radical ideal of full female participation in every area of life and the assumption that, while women's biology may allow for considerable participation, the complete achievement of this goal is impossible. The compromise view seems to be that, under socialism, women's nature would be much more like men's nature than it is under capitalism, especially among the capitalist class, but would not be identical with it. Certain unspecified biological differences between women and men would mean that there could never be a complete abolition of the sexual division of labor, either in the family, in the workplace, or in bed. Consequently, while gender differences under socialism would be considerably muted, complete psychological androgyny would be impossible. {end of selections}

(8) H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1968).

{p. 10} In some ways what men believe to be true is more important than the truth. The statements of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels about the family, though they were often false or misleading, have had great influence on the way the Soviet rulers have dealt with the Soviet family and have also inuenced, we may be sure, the Soviet man in the street.

Since the time when the notions of the founders of marxism were elevated to social dogma, their scientific validity, or lack of it, has ceased to be of primary importance. I shall therefore often be more interesed in exploring the relation of an idea to other ideas, especially to the underlying structure and spirit of Marx's and Engels' thought, than to the real world it purports to represent.

The positions, inconsistencies, and errors of marxism have all been significant because they constitute a large portion of the prologue to the present Soviet attitude toward the family.

{p. 11} ONE | THE FAMILY FROM THE ARMCHAIR OF MARX AND ENGELS

WHEN MARX AND ENGELS wrote about the family from time to time over a forty-year period, they described the family as they saw it about them under capitalism, discussed the family in the past, and were interested in the family's future. The main point about the family which drew their interest was the relation of husband and wife and the way it is affected by property relations and other aspects of economic life in the larger society. The most complete discussion of the marxist theory of the family was published by Engels in 1884, after Marl's death, in the book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan.

Although Engels was the author of this work, he noted in the preface to the first edition that Marx himself had hoped to undertake the task and had made extensive extracts which he, Engels, had reproduced "as far as possible." Actually, many of the ideas in The Origin can be found in the first joint work of the two writers, The German Ideology, not published during their lifetimes. Quite clearly, then, this, like most other products of their collaboration, was in the main a joint work of the two founders of marxism and points to an impressive unity and continuity over four decades in the basic outlines of their thought. Knowledge of this collaboration makes the involved exposition easier to follow. There were apparently some differences between the two men about the family, but since we are unaware of precisely what they were, for the purposes of this book their ideas will be assumed to be both in agreement with one another and of mutual origin.

The Marxist Approach to the Family

One of the conclusions to which Marx and Engels were led, with the support of Morgan's researches, was that the family assumed many different forms as it evolved through history and thus constitutes a "series in historic development," as Marx wrote in Capital. They also felt that these different forms were in rough correspondence with the

{p. 12} principal stages of social development postulated in their vision of human history.

The final typology, developed largely by Morgan and endorsed by Engels (presumably also by Marx), included four major forms of relations between the sexes.

The first form was a stage of unrestricted sexual freedom or complete promiscuity. In the beginnings of human history, in fact, as man became human in the transition from the animal, there was no family or marriage whatsoever. The second form was group marriage, which developed very early and had several subtypes. The main characteristic of group marriage as a whole was the absence of the incest taboo, and the earliest subtype in Engels' system, based on his understanding of the moiety system of the Australian aborigines, was essentially "mass marriage" whereby "not the individuals, but the entire groups are married, moiety with moiety" (p. 38). Since there were in existence only two moieties, the range of sexual choice was indeed a wide one. The next subtype was the "consanguine family," with mating taboo between the generations but in which "brothers and sisters, male and female cousins of the first, second, and more remote degrees, are all brothers and sisters of one another, and precisely for that reason they are all husbands and wives of one another" (p. 32, Engels' italics). The third and highest subtype was the "punaluan family," whose essential feature was "mutually common possession of husbands and wives" by a number of the same sex, same generation, consanguineal relatives on one side, but in which the incest taboo, already effective between generations, was now etended to brother and sister and to opposite-sex cousins (p. 34 et passim). It is interesting to note that the social mechanism proposed by Morgan, and endorsed by Engels, which was to explain the gradual etension of the incest taboo and thus the gradual evolution of the relation between the sexes, was simply the principle of natural selection: "the tribes among whom inbreeding was restricted ... were bound to develop more quickly and more fully" (p. 34).

The third major form of relationship between man and woman was the monogamous family, corresponding to civilization, the era of history in which Marx and Engels were most interested; this form will be discussed at length. Finally, the whole spirit of Marx's and Engels' thinking provides a fourth major type, which I shall call simply "the pattem of the future," under communism. Hence, there are four main stages in the

{p. 13} "historical series": sexual promiscuity, group marriage, monogamy, and the pattern of the future.

The variable element in these forms does not correspond very closely with that of the main typology of evolutionary social orders developed by Marx and Engels and expressed in terms of the division of labor and property forms: primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and socialism. In fact, the correspondence of family form with the major historical epochs of Morgan is also forced: to the period of savagery corresponds group marriage, to barbarism the "pairing family," and to civilization monogamy (pp. 47, 66). In the pairing family, neither fish nor fowl, one man lives with one woman but polygamy and "occasional infidelity" remain his right, though not hers. Furthermore, the marriage tie can be easily dissolved by either partner (p. 41).

Engels notes that the pairing family had already been appearing in group marriage or even earlier, and also that it is a "form of monogamy" (pp. 40, 25). Consequently, it is best considered a transitional form between group marriage and monogamy. Moreover, since the principle of natural selection had taken full responsibility for the earlier development of the family, as the really central principle of the tide of history began to take over the pairing family also represented the transitional form between primitive communism and slavery. With the rise of private productive property, the temporary alliances of the pairing family were no longer adequate. When property existed and had to be transmitted, heirs were needed. Hence still another transitional form appeared, this time a clear subtype of the monogamous family, the patriarchal family. It is the first family form to be found in written history (pp. 50-53).

The concept of a transitional family form will be encountered once more in the proletarian family. First, however, the reader should understand that the rather tortured system of types to which Engels (and Marx) subscribed has, it is agreed at present, little validity as a chronological series. It is perhaps most useful simply to note the main theme and key principle of the relations between the sexes before the advent of private property. The theme is the progressive narrowing of the "circle of people comprised within the common bond of marriage, which was originally very wide, until at last it includes only the single pair, the dominant form of marriage today" (p. 276). The key interpretive principle is natural selection. There is also a trace of another mechanism, a product of the rationalistic spirit of the times - the surrender of the

{p. 14} "woman's" right to complete chastity before marriage and of monogamous intercourse in marriage for the observance of monogamy (partial at least) on the part of the man (pp. 10, 447).

The family owes its origin, it would seem, to the operation of these two principles. In the beginning there was only promiscuity and then came group marriage (pp. 15, 30). Later the pairing family, combining characteristics of both group marriage and monogamy, appeared before the rise of history's main determining principle, private property.

Although the monogamous family, the only one found in civilization, represents a higher stage of historical development than the earlier forms, Engels (and apparently Marx as well) was quite fascinated by the sexual lot of primitive man. Group marriage, for instance, he said, "seen at close hand, does not look quite so terrible as the philistrnes, whose minds cannot get beyond brothels, imagine it to be" (p. 39). "The Australian aborigine," Engels continued, "wandering hundreds of miles from his home among people whose language he does not understand, nevertheless often finds in every camp and every tribe women who give themselves to him without resistance and without resentment" (p. 58).

With civilization, however, "monogamous marriage comes on the scene as the subjugation of the one sex by the other." In fact, while "a great historical step forward," it, "together with slavery and private wealth ... opens the period that has lasted until today in which every step forward is also relatively a step backward, in which prosperity and, development for some is won through the misery and frustration of others" (p. 58).

As the social role of the man in using tools and transforming things into property for other than immediate consumption assumes the center of the stage, it leads to the form of monogamy known to the present. But a difficulty is presented by the fact that Engels sometimes uses the concept monogamous family to refer variously to the pairing family (in a matrilileal gens [clan] in which women are dominant), to the patriarchal family, to the family of the bourgeois, to the proletarian family, and even to the family of the future, while elsewhere he uses it to refer quite exclusively to the bourgeois family under capitalism. I shall avoid this difficulty by concentrating on family types in relation to the structure of property relations.

Clearly, Marx and Engels felt that property played the central role in civilized society, and it was indeed the civilized historical present in which

{p. 15} they were most interested. But the image of the future as they saw it, also constitutes part of the marxist heritage with which the Soviet regime had to deal. Hence, I shall examine at length their concepts of the bourgeois family under capitalism, the proletarian family under capitalism, and the family in the society of the future, when private property ownership would be abolished. The details of each of these types reveal important aspects of marxist thought, as does the role played by the family in Marx's and Engels' social theory, historical materialism.

Marx and Engels eagerly seized upon the ideas of Morgan, ideas which later research has shown to be inaccurate or, at best, unprovable hypotheses, because he, in the name of respected scholarship, supported some of their ideas which were most bitterly contested by their contemporaries: the central role of the forms of economic development and private property in causing social change, the notion that society develops or evolves in a relatively orderly fashion through a series of stages, and a concept of which more will be said later, the "survival." Marx and Engels were particularly happy to analyze the family because it was such a small, manageably observable unit - "a society in microcosm." If it could be proved that the various family forms constituted a historical series, the point would lend not inconsiderable support to their contention that society, too, had had and would take different forms in past and future. Hence the founders of marxism were most receptive to the ideas of a man who, in the modern verdict, is adjudged as no more than another nineteenth-century evolutionist now thoroughly discredited on empirical grounds.

The Bourgeois Family Corrupted

Marx and Engels spoke of the family life of the bourgeoisie in terms of greed, oppression, exploitation, boredom, adultery, and prostitution. The bourgeois family was quite corrupt, but, and this was for them a main point, it pretended to be something quite different. In fact, "boredom and money are the binding factor, ... but to this ... dirty existence corresponds the sacred conception of it in official phraseology and in general hypocrisy." Again and again they stress that the bourgeois family is in a state of de facto dissolution (Auflosung). The "inner bond" of the family ties of "obedience, piety, marital troth" were all gone. Nothing was left but "property relations" and their consequences.

{p. 16} Thoughts of property and money, the spirit of exchange, dominated the ties of the bourgeois with his wife and with his child. Future husbands haggled with future fathers-in-law over the size of the dowry, while fathers and sons sparred greedily over the question of inheritance. Under these conditions there could be no true love between husband and wife a fact institutionalized, claimed Marx and Engels, in the "marriage of convenience." Hence, marriage among the bourgeoisie amounted to forced cohabitation, or, as a favorite phrase had it, de facto prostitution, in which the woman "only differs from the ordinary courtesan in that she does not let out her body on piece-work as a wage worker, but sells it once and for all into slavery" (p. 63). In addition to exploitation of the helpless wife - both of her labor in open or concealed domestic slavery" as "head servant" in the household, and of her body as producer of an heir or simply as an object of loveless lust - there were broader developments. The first, about which gels seemed rather ambivalent, was adultery. The second, about which he had nothing good to say, was prostitution. Both were said to be part and parcel of bourgeois family life, an assertion that is apparently to be understood in quite a literal sense. Of course, Marx and Engels conducted no field studies on these matters, but Engels confidently describes the supplanting of feudalism by the bourgeois social order in France: "The right' of the first night' passed from the feudal lords to the bourgeois manufacturers. Prostitution assumed proportions hitherto unknown. Marriage itself remained, as before, the legally recognized form, the official cloak of prostitution, and was besides supplemented by widespread adultery."

Another concept derived from this situation is the notion of "an exclusive attitude" toward other families. Though a minor theme in the thought of Marx and Engels, it is found repeatedly at both beginning and end of their careers and serves to introduce an idea which came to be more central in the early years of Soviet history - the family as a divisive force in the larger society.

Within the family, as Engels' memorable aphorism put it, the husband is the bourgeois and the wife is the proletarian. And it was not only property ownership which brought inequality of power. In the bourgeois family the husband earns the living and supports the family, a situation which, said Engels, "in itself gives him a position of supremacy" (pp. 65-66). From this twofold advantage of the bourgeois husband Mar and Engels deduced, came the "domestic slavery" of the wife and

{p. 17} all the other sad consequences it entails. The fact that there are some differences between the various types of bourgeois families, that sometimes the German philistine's wife revolts and "wears her husbands trousers," that the French husband often "wears horns," and so on, are all minor eddies in the pool of bourgeois pestilence (pp. 60, 63).

Nevertheless, the concept of the family was indispensable to the bourgeois in order to preserve control over his property. For this reason the greedy, lusty bourgeois fiercely defended the idea of the family as embodied in law and religion. Nothing was the equal, avowed Marx and Engels, of the hypocrisy of bourgeois morality.

{echoing Engels' theme, Germaine Greer wrote in The Female Eunuch, "... if women are the true proletariat, the truly oppressed majority, the revolution can only be drawn nearer by their withdrawal of support for the capitalist system. The weapon I suggest is that most honoured of the proletariat, withdrawal of labour" (Paladin, p.21). Greer was calling on women to destroy Marriage.}

The Proletarian Family

The marxist image of the proletarian family is ambiguous. Perhaps it is akin to a more general ambivalence in marxist thought toward wealth, power, and other things of this world. While there was no question about the depravity of the bourgeois in his relation to wife and children, or about the reason for it, the social relations of the proletarians were free of the corrupting influence of private property. The proletarian was, for instance, more generous than the bourgeois; although he was poor, beggars turned to him, wrote Engels, rather than to the stingy bourgeois. On the other hand, the proletarian family was poverty-stricken. Since the worker was at best an exploited wage earner and at worst a member of the "reserve army of unemployed," his family lacked not only property but income. Food, clothing, and decent shelter were short. The emergence of capital accumulation, monetary exchange, commercial competition, and the concentration of property ownership had left him helpless and exposed. His lot was one of starving, stealing, and suicide, and in his family life were drunkenness, brutality, and sexual irregularity. In fact, his family was "torn asunder by modern industry" to the point where there occurred a "perpetual succession of family troubles, domestic quarrels, most demoralizing for parents and children alike." Engels repeatedly used such phrases as "the ruin of all domestic relations" or asserted that "no family life was possible." He did not blame the workers for this, though; since they were denied all other privilege by the system which gripped them, no one could blame them for turning to those pleasures which were left, drink and sexual indulgence. "The workingmen, in order to get something from life, concentrate their whole

{p. 18} energy upon these two enjoyments, carry them to excess, surrender to them in the most unbridled manner."

The breakup, factual dissolution, or practical absence (all terms used synonymously by Engels) of proletarian family life was owing in the first instance to economic need, but also to one of its immediate consequences - the employment of women and children in industry. Under the conditions of capitalism painted by Marx and Engels, the liberating influence of social production was only a portent. At the moment proletarian women and children were exploited mercilessly, with long hours, low wages, and unbelievable working conditions. Thus, said Engels, the employment of women breaks up the family. As the mother grows away from the children, they are neglected and grow up as savages, and are then, of course, unprepared to form and maintain decent families when they become adults. So the cycle repeats.

From this central thesis, Marx and Engels deduced several subsidiary patterns. The proletarian tends to marry early as a means of self-protection, for then, in true Darwinian fashion, he can procreate many children and put them to work in the sweatshops and the mines. The fact that "the absolute size of the families stands in inverse proportion to the height of wages ... calls to mind the boundless reproduction of animals individually weak and constantly hunted down," wrote Marx.

Moreover, complained Engels somewhat incongruously, the employment of the wife is likely to "turn the family upside down." A situation is created in which the husband cannot find work, but his wife can because she will work for less. Thus he sits at home while she becomes the breadwinner. Engels then treats the reader to the "outrageous episode" of poor Jack who must sit at home and mend his wife's stocking with the bodkin while she is off at work.

But, in positive terms, the absence in the proletarian family of the original source of all the trouble, private property, can have only a salutary effect, in view of the havoc it creates among the bourgeois family. In deference to the logic of their analysis of the bourgeois family, Marx and Engels also conclude that among the proletarians the family is "based on real relations" (reale Verhdltnisse). In the beginning of their collaboration real relations seem to mean several more or less vaguely stated natural or environmental conditions - not only property but social, ecological, and physiological factors. A typical excerpt refers to the "real body of the family" and includes relationships given by "the presence of children, the construction of the contemporary city, for

{p. 19} mation of capital."In Engels' later writing, however, real relations increasingly mean personal preference and mutual love, or as Engels liked to call it, true or mutual "sex love."

Engels also asserted that marital equality existed in the proletarian family. This situation results from the absence of property and also from the fact that the wife is frequently employed, two conditions which give her the power to dissolve the marriage if she wishes and also bring her the position and respect associated with a productive economic role. Among the proletarians, who regard the norms of religion and laws as no more than embodiments of bourgeois interest, "if two people cannot get on with one another, they prefer to separate." Obviously there is also no reason for adultery, prostitution, or religion, and they "play an almost vanishing part" (p. 64).

The positive side of the proletarian family thus contains true love marital equality, willingness and freedom to divorce on appropriate occasion, and disregard of the traditional morality as merely an expression of class interests. In all of these, as well as in the determining conditions, freedom from property ownership and the employment of the wife, the proletarian family approaches Marx's and Engels' image of family life under communism.

Unde capitalism there are important differences, to be sure. When Engels says that the family is still an "economic unit of society," he refers to the continuing fetter imposed upon the wife by the tasks of housekeeping and the care of children. These place her in a position in which "if she carries out her duties in the private service of her family, she remains excluded from public production and unable to earn; and if she wants to take part in public production and earn independently, she cannot carry out her family duties" (p. 65 ).

In spite of this seemingly crippling defect, in his last major work Engels paints a positive picture of the proletarian family. Freely contracted marriage and true love are the rule. Perhaps there is, concedes Engels, "something of the brutality toward women that has spread since the introduction of monogamy" (p. 64), but he apparently now thinks of it as a pure survival, with no source in the conditions of proletarian life.

In general, Engels' thoughts on the proletarian farnily constitute a clear example of the conflict between analytical principles that work in opposite directions. On the one hand, there is the corrosive effect of exploitation and poverty: "The great overturn of society through com-

{p. 20} petition, which dissolved the relationship of the bourgeois among themselves and to the proletarians into relationships of money, changed the various 'sacred things' listed above into items of commerce, and destroyed for the proletarians everything natural and traditional, for eample, family and political relationships together with their entire ideological superstructure." Turning the coin over, the absence of private property makes social equality and love possible: "Sex-love in the relationship with a woman becomes, and can only become, the real rule among the oppressed classes, which means today among the proletariat" (p. 63).

In his first work, The Condition of the Working Classes in England in 1844, Engels emphasized the first principle and neglected the second. In his last work, he emphasized only the liberating absence of private property among the proletarians. There is scarcely a reference to the dire effects of poverty in the entire book. Because of his tendency to impute concreteness to an analytical notion, Engels' propositions have outstripped him, a fiaw that frequently appears in the writing of Engels and Marx. In this case, the interpretive principles clash in the direction of infiuence they are supposed to exert to such a degree that one of them tends to push the other completely out of the picture.

The Pattern of the Future: Equality, Freedom, and Love

Under communism life would be better. Classes would disappear, the state would be unnecessary and would wither away, and the antagonisms between town and country and between physical and mental work would end. There would be no such deadening division of labor with its strict and narrow work specialization as eisted under capitalism, and there would be no religion, because the social contradictions from which it had risen would have disappeared. Marx and Engels were quite explicit about what would happen to the family under such conditions. A good part of it would disappear, consigned like the state to "the museum of antiquities." Property-holding, work, consumption, and the rearing and education of children would be surrendered to society. All these activities, according to the founders of marxism, in one way or another breed inequality within the family and hence oppression, marital or parental.

Curiously, other than to note that all children would be reared on

{p. 21} a communal basis, Marx and Engels had little to say about the future relationships of parents and children. Apparently they would not continue to live together, because society was to rear and educate. Whether they would see each other and, if so, how frequently are questions left unanswered. It is only asserted that the communal rearing of children would bring "real freedom" among all members of the family. The union of man and woman clearly would continue to be a close one, however. The promise discernible in the proletarian family would then be unmistakably fulfilled, and its two defects, poverty and maintenance of a private household, would have ended. Women would have been drawn into the liberating sphere of "social production" and freed from the domestic slavery of the individual family household. As a first approximation, then, it seems that under communism the family would disappear, but marriage would remain.

Rather than marriage, perhaps the word love should be used - love purified and exalted, free from all economic considerations which "exert such a powerful influence on the choice of a marriage partner. For then there is no other motive left except mutual inclination" (p. 72). But would inclination not lead to the "free love" or "sexual communism" that horrified the nineteenth century. Engels replied to this criticism early in his career, in 1847, by answering the question: What will be the influence of communist society on the family?

It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage, the dependence, rooted in private property, of woman on the man and of the children on the parents. And here is the answer to the outcry of the highly moral philistines against the "community of women." Community of women is a condition which belongs entirely to bourgeois society and which today finds its complete expression in prostitution. But prostitution is based on private property and falls with it. Thus communist society, instead of introducing community of women, in fact abolishes it.

In other words, it will be nobody's business but the man and woman concerned; and, since things can hardly get worse, they have to get better.

Later a more substantial clue was given. Relations between the sexes would revolve around the nature and significance of love, about which

{p. 22} Engels had very definite ideas. He considered it "by its nature exclusive." Hence, a marriage based on it would be an "individual marriage" (p. 72). But he did not see such a bond as indissoluble: marriage would continue only so long as love continued, and "the intense emotion of individual sex-love varies very much in duration from one individual to another, especially among men" (p. 73). Obviously, then, and Engels makes this explicit, if love comes to an end or is supplanted by a "new passionate love," separation will benefit all concerned. Divorce will not be needed, however, only separation. As a matter of course, under such conditions both adultery and prostitution will also disappear, for they will simply be unnecessary. Complete sex equality, complete freedom of choice, perfect love - such was the promise of communism.

Further than this - the emergence of those features of family life which were emphatically absent in the bourgeois monogamous family - Engels did not go, but he reiterated his stand of the early years with these words: "But what will there be new? This will be answered when a new generation has grown up ... When these people are in the world, they will ... make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of each individual and that will be the end of it" (p. 73).

Moreover, in the family of the future, after the abolition of private property ownership and the assumption of social responsibility for children, there would be no anxiety about the material consequences of unwanted pregnancy. Similarly, illegitimacy would carry no stigma, for society would care for legitimate and illegitimate alike. And, of course, there would be no anxiety about inheriting and bequeathing wealth.

The thoughtful reader will perceive some difficulties in these formulations. Parenthood, for instance, is given short shrift. The question of mutuality in love, a very troublesome matter, and the related fact that in Engels' own words men are "by nature" more polygamous than women are not adequately settled (pp. 10, 447, 73). Neither is the question of whether there will be individual dwellings for men and women.

But the founders of marxism had written in The Communist Manifesto that "the theory of the Communist may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." And now, it seems, they were seeking to be consistent in drawing out the implications of this commitment. Hence the concepts of the family and marriage were

{p. 23} greatly overshadowed by the concern with liberation of the individual from all external constraint. The family of the future was essentially a naturalistic unit rather than a social institution, for social relationships were regarded as little more than the extension of the individual's potentialities for equality, freedom, and love.

{p. 24} TWO | HISTORICAL MATERIALISM AND THE FAMLY

THE FAILURE OF Marx and Engels to clarify the eact relation of the family to historical materialism left the main axiom of historical materialism unbowed but led to weakness and ambiguity in the marxist theory of the family. As a result, the gates were open wide for a rich tide of supplementary theories as well as legislative experimentation in the post-revolutionary USSR.

On the Withering Problem

Historical materialism clearly extends priority, if not exclusive reign, to the influence of economic factors. In the causation of social change, the "mode of production" is seen as the prime mover. In marxian terminology, the conditions constituting this force have come to be designated as the "base" (Unterbau) and the phenomena of change which are dependent upon it as the "superstructure" (Vberbau).

Although this conceptual scheme dramatizes effectively the determinist facet of Marx's and Engels' theories, it is unfortunate and misleading and does not reflect the best thinking of the two originators of marxism. Not only does it suggest an overly rigid notion of the direction in which causal influence is exerted from base to superstructure but it also leads to an unproductive dualism in ordering social forces. That is, it suggests only two conceptual dimensions: the economic (sometimes, more broadly, materialistic) base and all those other phenomena dependent on it, the superstructure. Actually, Marx and Engels most frequently thought in terms of a three-dimensional scheme made up of cultural forms or patterns of social institutions, the proper realm for "survivals"; social relations as they "really exist" (for example, in the proletarian farnily under bourgeois capitalism); and economic or materialistic conditions. Unfortunately, because of the base-superstructure scheme, apparently taken from the building trade, and because of the presence of careless or elliptical statements in which Marx and Engels seem to be working with a dualistic scheme, in marxist theory only the first and third elements

{p. 25} can be identified with certainty as superstructure and base. The middle element, social relations, responds to changes in the third and also can be seen as itself causing changes in the first. Hence, it can be located according to desire either in base or in superstructure.

Marx and Engels made use of Morgan's term "survival" to refer generally to components of an outmoded superstructure. The state, law, religion, morality in general were all part of that superstructure, and, consequently, since superstructural elements were presumed to be the result of contradictions at a lower level, they would all disappear under communism. The fate Marx and Engels assigned to the family was not unrelated to their general discussion of life under communism. Their interpreters have frequently contended that they felt the family was also part of the superstructure, and hence that it took a form which was essentially a function of the state of economic forces at a given moment in history. As such, the family not only was a totally dependent institution, and therefore unimportant, but would ultimately disappear completely.

This conclusion is supported on at least four grounds. First, Marx and Engels do occasionally speak quite plainly of abolishing the family, as in the following: "That the abolition of [the] individual [household] economy is inseparable from the abolition of the family is self-evident" (Ideology, p. 18). Another is found in the Communist Manifesto: "Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie, but this shape of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital" (The Communist Manifesto, p. 77).

Secondly, Marx and Engels suggest an analogy between social classes and state on one side and spouses and family on the other. The state, clearly a superstructural element that was developed by the bourgeoisie to protect its property interests inevitably falls with the fall of classes (Origin, p. 158). The family would suffer the same fate, for its function apparently was analogous to that of the state. It was an institution to protect the husband's interest in exploiting the wife. He was the bourgeois and his wife the proletarian.

{p. 26} Thirdly, at both the beginning and the end of their writing careers Marx and Engels made statements that seem to treat the family as a survival from an earlier era. The cultural ideal (or social institution) of the family no longer corresponded with the underlying reality they saw. Thus, Marx wrote that under capitalism the exercise of parental control over children became anachronistic, indeed evil. "The capitalist mode of production, through the dissolution of the economic basis for parental authority, made its exercise degenerate into a mischievous misuse of power" (Capital, I, 535). And Engels felt the accepted relationship between man and wife was no longer possible in a case where the wife took outside employment. In fact, their relationship was turned "upside down"; the reason - "simply because the division of labor outside the family had changed" (Origin, p. 147). Such instances could easily be multiplied, for time and again the founders of marxism seemed to forget the complexity of the conditions and forces determining a given concrete phenomenon and to attribute the properties of necessity and sufficiency to a single factor.

Finally, the student of marxism knows that the pattern of the future is not without its precedent in the past. The merging of future and past is especially prominent in The Origin. Ostensibly on the basis of Morgan's research into the North American Iroquois and other preliterate societies, Marx and Engels concluded that primitive man was in a happier condition than his civilized cousin. They wrote of the Iroquois:

{quote} And a wonderful order [Verfassung] it is, this gentile order, in all its childlike simplicity! No soldiers, no gendarmes or police, no nobles, kings, regents, prefects, or judges, no prisons, no lawsuits - and everything takes its orderly course. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole of the community affected, by the gens or the tribe, or by the gentes among themselves ... Although there were many more matters to be settled in common than today - the household is maintained by a number of families in common, and is communistic, the land belongs to the tribe, only the small gardens are allotted provisionally to the households - yet there is no need for even a trace of our complicated administrative apparatus with all its ramifications ... There cannot be any poor or needy - the communal household and the gens know their responsibilities towards the old, the sick, and those disabled in war. All are equal and free - the woman included ... And what men and women such a society breeds is proved by the admiration inspired in all white people who have come into contact with unspoiled Indians, by the personal dignity, uprightness, strength of character, and courage of these barbarians. [Origin, pp. 86-87.] {endquote}

{p. 27} Against the "simple moral greatness" of the old "gentile" society Marx and Engels juxtaposed the corrupt civilization they saw around them, with its "base greed, brutal appetites, sordid avarice, selfish robbery of the common wealth" (Origin, p. 88). The cause, of course, was the development of private property and classes, as Marx and Engels had long since concluded. Morgan's research was doubly attractive to them because it detected a pattern of life in the past which corresponded in many respects with the hopes nourished by Marx and Engels for the future and hence united a happier future with a happier past in a comforting similarity. This point is explicitly stated on the last page of The Origin, where Engels cites with approval Morgan's judgment of the coming "next higher plane of society," and even underlines the book's concluding words: "It will be a revival in a higher form, of the liberty, equality and fraternity of the ancient gentes" (p. 163).

The unification of the two utopias - past and future - is not without significance to our interest. For, "under the gentile order, the family was never an organizational unit [Organisationseinheit], and could not be so, for man and wife necessarily belonged to two different gentes" (Origins, pp. 991). This statement anticipates the ultimate prediction of Marx and Engels. It almost but not quite explicitly indicates that there will be no family under communism. Again, Engels resorts approvingly to ideas of Morgan:

{quote} When the fact is accepted that the family has passed through four successive forms, and is now in a fifth, the question arises whether this form can be permanent in the future. The only answer that can be given is that it must advance as society advances, and change as society changes, even as it has done in the past. It is the creature of the social system, and will reflect its culture. As the monogamian family has improved greatly since the commencement of civilization, and very sensibly in modern times, it is at least supposable that it is capable of still further improvement until the equality of the sexes is attained. Should the monogamian family in the distant future fail to answer the requirements of society ... it is impossible to predict the nature of its successor. [Origin, p. 74.] {endquote}

This passage very strongly implies that the monogamous family will indeed fail to answer society's requirements in the future.

All of the above lends support to the view that Marx and Engels felt that the family would wither away. However, passages can also be found which suggest that they thought of and used the term family in two distinct senses: (1) to refer to the social relations clustering around

{p. 28} the facts of sex and age differences, sexual attraction, sexual intercourse, and reproduction; and (2) as a strictly cultural or institutional entity, a survival of the past in relation to the conditions appearing on the scene with modern bourgeois capitalism. Examples of the second usage have alredy been given, and the following is an example of the first, more general, connotation: "Modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes" (Capital, I, 536; my italics).

This semantic problem caused difficulties similar to those brought on by the dualism suggested in the concepts of base and superstructure. The family would indeed wither away if the term meant the cultural forrn of the detested "monogamous family of civilization," but it would not wither, at least not entirely, if the term referred to the observable clustering of certain kinds of behavior and social relations around sex, age, and reproduction. In addition to the semantic confusion, there were other complexities.

Underlying Thought-Models: An Emerging Multi-Factor Theory

Marx's and Engels' major concept was the central place of economic factors in social change. But the world of facts is stubbornly complex, and the marxist treatment of the family has been particularly shaky because of certain facts relating to biological ties and to sexual reproduction which seem to be materialistic but yet are not economic. This clash of social theory, with its inherent press toward completeness and closure, and the world of observable facts resulted in two fissures, possibly a third, in the structure of economic determinism, both of which are of the greatest interest for students of marxism and students of social theory in general. Two of these "underlying thought models" are presented in some detail in this section, and a third is briefly alluded to. Neither of the first two was ever made very explicit in the writing of Marx and Engels, thus have led to considerable confusion and uncertainty among marxists about the role of the family in historical materialism. The third analogy is almost entirely latent.

As noted previously, the tendency in Marx's and Engels' writings on the family is to treat the family principally as a function of economic

{p. 29} developments. Throughout Engels' major work on the subject there are references to the determining effect of property relations, the division of labor, the employment of women, and, as an extension of the latter, a kind of "reflection" theory of the family. For example, Engels argued that as wealth increases, the man overthrows the traditional order of inheritance - reckoned in the female line, according to him, a fact which "was the world historical defeat of the female sex" (Origin, p. 50; Engels' italics). Two different but closely related economic factors are held directly to influence the positions of husband and wife: an increase in wealth, with subsequent change in the inheritance role, and the wage-earning work role of the husband. In both cases an advantageous economic position is seen as inevitably leading to unbalanced personal power which in turn leads to oppression and inequality. This mode of analysis is certainly consistent with the main thesis of Mar and Engels' thought.

At first sight, then, it does not seem inconsistent to find such depictions of the family as the following, in which Engels is speaking of the monogamous family: "It is the cellular form of civilized society, in which the nature of the oppositions and contradictions fully active in that society can be already studied" (Origin, p. 58). Such descriptions can easily and conveniently be interpreted simply as elements in a reflection theory of the family, for they are explained entirely by the portrayal of the economic circumstances reigning in society as a whole.

But this leads us to our first underlying analytical model. Early in their career the two collaborators spoke of the "latent slavery in the family" (Ideology, p. 21), and in Capital Marx wrote about a division of labor in the family which "spontaneously developed" and which depends upon or is caused by "differences of age and sex" (pp. 90, 386). Surely these must be reckoned as references to a noneconomic factor, unless Marx and Engels are simply being elliptical, which seems unlikely. To call "differences of age and sex" aspects of property relations, or of economic forces of any kind, would be stretching the meaning of this latter concept to the breaking point. More likely, Engels and Marx saw age and sex differences in themselves, that is, as facts of nature, as a source of inequality (ultimately of power) and oppression. From this point of view, then, insofar as Marx conceived them to be capable of variation, as is implied by the use of the term slavery (which obviously could not be eternal), family relationships can be seen as a superstructure over a biological base.

{p. 30} A further analogy, also focusing on a biological fact, is found in the earliest exposition of historical materialism made by the two writers (Ideology, pp. 127). There they assert that three basic premises support their analysis: (1) the production of material things to enable man to live; (2) the infinity of human needs - as soon as one is satisfied, new needs appear; and (3) reproduction. They then continue their exposition to develop the idea that to each mode of production or industrial stage - see premise (1) - there corresponds a "mode of cooperation" or "social stage." This mode of cooperation (Weise des Zusammenwirkens) is, they say, itself a force of production (Produktivkraft) and thus becomes also a condition (fact, moment, premise), the fourth, of the historical process.

These ideas were considerably refined in later writings. The important fact in the present context is what appears to be the assignment by Marx and Engels of an independent and fundamental role to the process of reproduction, premise (3). There is little doubt that this is what they meant. They wrote: "The production of life, both of one's own in labor and of fresh life in procreation, now appears as a double relationship: on the one hand as a natural, on the other hand as a social relationship" (Ideology, p. 18; my italics). If The German Ideology were the only place in which such an idea was presented, one would be inclined to assume that they later thought better of it. But the notion recurs in similarly explicit form in the last major work of the founders of marxism, The Origin of the Family, and again in a letter of September 21, 1890, from Engels to Bloch. In The Origin Engels referred to the earlier book and repeated with approval the following: "The first division of labor is that between man and woman for the propagation of children" (p. 58). Engels did not propose to abolish this division of labor, though he may have wished to, but he did consider reproduction to be of such importance to historical materialism that it receives explicitly equal weight with production. In the preface to the first edition of The Origin of the Family, he wrote:

{quote} According to the materialistic conception, the determining factor in history is, in the final instance, the production and reproduction of the immediate essentials of life. This, again, is of a twofold character. On the one side, the production of the means of existence, of articles of food and clothing, dwellings, and of the tools necessary for that production; on the other side, the production of human beings themselves, the propagation of the species. The social organization under which the people of a particular

{p. 31} historical epoch and a particular country live is determined by both kinds of production; by the stage of development of labor on the one hand and of the family on the other. The lower the development of labor and the more limited the amount of its products, and consequently, the more limited also the wealth of the society, the more the social order is found to be dominated by kinship groups. However, within this structure of society based on kinship groups the productivity of labor increasingly develops, and with it private property and exchange, differences of wealth, the possibility of utilizing the labor power of others, and hence the basis of class antagonisms: new social elements, which in the course of generations strive to adapt the old social order to the new conditions, until at last their incompatibility brings about a complete upheaval. In the collision of the newly-developed social classes, the old society founded on kinship groups is broken up; in its place appears a new society, with its control centered in the state, the subordinate units of which are no longer kinship associations, but local associations; a society in which the system of the farnily is completely dominated by the system of property, and in which there now freely develop those class antagonisms and class struggles that have hitherto formed the content of all written history. [Pp. 5-6; Engels' italics.] {endquote}

Apparently Marx and Engels vere inclined somehow to look upon reproduction as part of the base. It seems quite clear that they were on the verge of an analogy between the mode of production and the mode of reproduction, to which would correspond, respectively, two separate and parallel sets of modes of cooperation or social stages.

The social stages which correspond to the different stages of development of the mode of production were of course the stages in the historical development of society: primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, and so forth. The social stages which presumably would correspond to "variations" in the mode of reproduction were the different forms of social relationship, group marriage, monogamous family, and so on, which Marx and Engels saw as clustering around sex and reproduction a line of thought much encouraged by Morgan.

The analogy is obviously faulty, since the process of reproduction is hardly a variable in the same sense as the process of production. Moreover, Marx and Engels never developed it in any explicit and systematic way, and to their followers it has proved to be either embarrassing or mystifying. Heinrich Cunow, for example, found it "almost incomprehensible how Engels could have made such a mistake," and soberly asserted that the "production of men" had always been accomplished "in the same way and with the same means." His colleague, Karl

{p. 32} Kautsky, noted that the phrasing in The Origin corresponded almost word for word with that in The German Ideology and found it "very remarkable" that nothing more was said about it in the intevening years. Even Lenin, in reply to criticism by the sociologically inclined N. K. Mikhailovski about this phrase of Engels' was not able to give an effective defense or explanation. Nor have efforts by Soviet theorists been very successful. For some time it was simply dismissed as a mistake or an inaccuracy on the part of Engels, while more recently the view has been taken that Engels' reference in The Origin to the determining importance of reproduction was meant to refer to the earliest period of human history, when "people were still more like beasts than people" and the means of production had little influence on their relations.

In fact, however, a careful reading of the quotation above makes such an interpretation dubious. The forthright manner of its presentation and the persistence of the idea over forty years of more or less continuous thinking and polemical activity by the two founders of marxism strongly suggests that the family was not seen by them as of the same ilk as the state, religion, and so forth - that is, as an element of the superstructure dependent entirely on contradictions arising out of material circumstances - and that they felt the family, insofar as it was a part of the superstructure, was "originally tied" with a base other than an economic one.

It is not impossible to conclude from this review that Marx and Engels were for their time unusually acute sociological analysts and were close on the track of the essentials of modern sociological theory. In these scattered comments they seem to be moving in the direction of a multifactor theory of the determination of concrete social structure. Thus their thoughts about the family tended to lead them in a direction opposite to that in which they wanted to move, which was toward economic determinism, a single-factor theory. But Marx and Engels were moralists and political activists as much as they were social theorists, and these interests had their influence on the theories they developed. Admittedly, even the most indignant of men are unlikely to become very exercised over the injustice arising from the division of labor in reproduction.

According to still a third pattern, implicit in the writings of Marx and

{p. 33} Engels, the family can be analyzed in terms of an analogy with the main axiom of historical materialism. This belief extends the parallel between the mode and relations of production (in the economic realm) to the mode and relations of reproduction. In both cases important needs are involved, certain objects can satisfy those needs, and rights are at stake. To the need for food, clothing, and shelter correspond the sexual need of the individual and the (derived) need of society for new members. To the means and instruments of production correspond the sexual characteristics and organs of men and women. And to the economic commodity and to property rights correspond both seual satisfaction and sexual rights and the fruit of intercourse - a new life - and parental rights.

Carrying the analogy further, the element corresponding to socialization of the means of production is clearly the socialization of the bodies of men and women and of their children or, if one prefers, the abolition of private sexual and parental rights. Ad, of course, to the economic greed and exploitative nature of the bourgeois correspond the sexual jealousy and sense of parental ownership which are part and parcel of the institution of the monogamous family.

Marx and Engels were clearly willing to consider a certain abolition of parental rights, since under communism the rearing of children would be the responsibility and right of society as a whole; but the abolition of sexual rights (which they tended to see as simply the right of the husband to his wife's body) was another matter. As a problem in their scheme, it was solved by means of an image of what would happen once women were freed from their economic and legal inferiority. Marx and Engels apparently felt that once women had obtained a position of equality with men, there would be no need for any kind of rights, for natural man and natural woman would engage in sexual relations strictly according to mutual inclination. This naturalistic humanism protected them against the charge of proposing a onesided socialization of women. They did not, however, envisage the possibility that in the future society women themselves might wish, in numbers large or small, to treat their own bodies as public property, in which case the criteria of both naturalism and mutuality would be satisfied. Their presumption that sexual love is individual is one of the unscientific elements present in their ideas.

{p. 41} II THE SOVIET REGIME CONFRONTS THE FAMILY

{p. 44} In Pursuit of the Marxist Theory of the Family

Perhaps the most lively question posed by the writing of Marx and Engels, and the one receiving the most ambiguous response, was on the future of the family: Would the family, like the state, religion, and other institutions, wither away with the attainment of the classless society? More specifically, three questions, or at least three elements of the issue, seemed to be at stake here: Would the family disappear at some future, unspecified, time? If so, what implication did this have for the young socialist society; that is, would the disappearance or withering begin immediately? And again, if so, should the party and its followers take an active role in bringing about such a process? Among the positions taken on the far left was that of the leader of Bolshevik feminism Alexandra M. Kollontai, who tended to answer all three with a vigorous yes. On the far right were those who, like the German Social Democrat, Karl Kautsky, argued that the family would not disappear, now or in the communist future, and that in any case little could or should be done by the communists themselves, for such action would be "unmarxist." For example: "The communists see the only lever to a real transformation of human relations in a change of the productive base, the economic foundation of social life, over which the various ideological forms constitute multiform superstructures in which are clothed human consciousness, morals and customs."

Somewhere between these two extremes, but closer to Kollontai, the views of the majority can probably be found. In the years between 1917 and 1934 most party members apparently subscribed to the following formulations, written by an influential member of the Leningrad party organization:

{quote} Bourgeois ideologists think that the family is an eternal, not a transitory organization, that sexual relations are at the basis of the family, that these

{p. 45} sexual relations will exist as long as the two sexes, and since man and woman will both live under socialism just as under capitalism, that therefore the existence of the family is inevitable. That is completely incorrect. Sexual relations, of course, have existed, eist, and will exist. However, this is in no way connected with the indispensability of the existence of the family. The best historians of culture definitely have established that in primitive times the family did not exist ... Similar to the way in which, together with the disappearance of classes, together with the annihilation of class contradictions, the state will disappear, similarly to that, together with the strengthening of the socialist economy, together with the growth of socialist relationships, together with the overcoming of earlier pre-socialist forms, the family will also die out. The family is already setting out on the road to a merging with Socialist Society, to a dissolution into it. [But] an openly negative attitude toward the family under present conditions does not have sufflcient grounding, because pre-socialist relationships still exist, the state is still weak, the new social forms [public dining rooms, state rearing of children, and so forth] are as yet little developed, and until then the family cannot be abolished completely. However, the coordination of this family with the general organization of Soviet life is the task of every communist, of every Komsornolite [member of Communist Youth League]. One must not shut oneself off in the family, but rather, grow out of the family shell into the new Socialist Society. The contemporary Soviet family is the springboard from which we must leap into the future. Always seeking to carry the entire family over into the public organizations, always a more decisive overcoming of the elements of bourgeois family living - that is the difficult, but important task which stands before us. {endquote}

To summarize, the family will eventually die out, is in fact starting to do so now, but nonetheless will be needed for the duration of the transition period, and the party and its followers should take an active role in helping things along, mainly by setting a good eample.

Preconditions for the new social ordering of the relations between the sexes were required. The most crucial was the entrance of woman into social production, which would give her economic independence and hence social equality. Her work in social production would then have to be balanced by society's assumption of the responsibilities of childrearing, supplying and preparing food, washing clothing, and so on. All such patterns - the entry of women into the labor market, the socialization of household chores, the assumption of public responsibility for childrearing - were originally subsidiary links in the causal chain

{p. 46} leading to the end of the family, and to equality and freedom for the individual, but in early Soviet writing they tended to assume the status of end-goals in themselves, and to be justified in their own terms.

Lenin himself elaborated slightly the position of Marx and Engels on social equality for women. He was as strongly opposed as they, perhaps even more so, to the individual household with its "stinking kitchen," and, like them, asserted that only socialism and an end to small households could "save woman from housewifery." Also, like Fourier, Marx, and Engels, Lenin saw in the liberation of women, the weaker sex, a symbol of a more general liberation, though he placed more stress on the psychological factor of participation in social production as a source of personality development, which would then serve generally to put women on a more equal footing with men. Conversely, Lenin seemed more irritated with the specific nature of the housewife's tasks than Marx and Engels had been when they had confined themselves more to the general factors of property relations in the family and the wife's entry into social production. Lenin wrote: "Women grow worn out in the petty, monstrous household work, their strength and time dissipated and wasted, their minds growing narrow and stale, their hearts beating slowly, their will weakened." In this, he continued, it is not only the woman who suffers: "The home life of a woman is a daily sacrifice to a thousand unimportant trivialities. The old master right of the man still lives in secret. His slave takes her revenge, also secretly. The backwardness of women, their lack of understanding for the revolutionary ideals of the man, decrease his joy and determination in fighting. They are like little worms which, unseen, slowly but surely rot and corrode." These subtleties constituted a relatively small shift of explanatory emphasis. For the rest, Lenin agreed that the development of public restaurants, creches, and similar facilities was crucial, and that the abolition of the small household economy was, in the words of one of his colleagues, E. A. Preobrazhenski, "theoretically indisputable for every Communist."

Further arguments in support of the socialization of household chores were that the maintenance of an individual household was uneconomical and perpetuated the small, isolated, shut-off family unit, a source of hostility toward the new socialist way of life. During the 1920's, considerable effort was expended in the calculation of how many hours of labor were required to run an individual household, and a comprehensive survey of the life of Moscow workers conducted in

{p. 47} 1923-1925 reported that some twelve working hours per day were needed, on the average, to carry on individual family life. At one time it was estimated that in Russia 36,000,000 work hours were spent every day only on the preparation of food in individual households, whereas centralized production would have required only 6,000,000 work hours. Later, in the middle of the First Five Year Plan, the complaint was made that 30,000,000 individuals were giving their full time to unproductive household work.

As a corollary to such information, the liberation of women in itself was seen as a condition for economic development. Thereby the family became by implication a direct obstacle to the "development of the base." Trotsky went even further, reversing the usual order of precedence in the marxist theory of the relation between family and economic life: "Until there is equality in the family, there will be none in social production."

The rearing of children by society was hailed by all not only because it saved time and released the mother for outside work, but because it could be more scientific, more rational, more organized than rearing within the individual family. Some carried the argument even further and contended that in a society organized around a collective work system it was more appropriate to accustom a child from the earliest years to life in the collective rather than to train him in the individualistic small family. Kollontai's early formulation is characteristic: "The contemporary family, as a specific social collective, has no productive functions and to leave all care for posterity in this private collective cannot be justified by any positive considerations ... Logically speaking, it would seem that care for the new generation should lie with that economic unit, with that social collective, that needs it for its further existence."

To many observers the most striking feature of early Bolshevik family theory concerned the future of parent-child relations. Marx, Engels, and even Lenin had left the field open for the most radical pretensions of the leftists. Perhaps it is significant that neither Engels nor Lenin ever became a father. In any event, the writing of Marx and Engels clearly disregarded the positive contribution to society of motherhood and fatherhood. As a result, A. V. Lunacharski, Commissar of Education, could write in the early 1930's: "Our problem now is to do away with the household and to free women from the care of children. It would be idiotic to separate children from their parents

{p. 48} by force. But when, in our communal houses, we have well-organized quarters for children, connected by a heated gallery with the adults' quarters, to suit the requirements of the climate, there is no doubt the parents will, of their own free will, send their children to these quarters, where they will be supervised by trained pedagogical and medical personnel. There is no doubt that the terms 'my parents,' 'our children,' will gradually fall out of usage, being replaced by such conceptions as 'old people,' 'adults,' 'children,' and 'infants.' Kollontai, prominent opponent of motherhood, saw it as an unjust burden and, in her zest for feminine emancipation, seemed to want to see women and men placed in identical social roles.

{Feminism in the West has developed 'benchmarks' for 'equality', meaning 'sameness'}

At times the radical image of the future took on very concrete form. In a series of publications of the late 1920's L. M. Sabsovich urged an immediate and complete change in all phases of everyday life - a radical cultural revolution. He advocated complete separation of children from parents from the earliest years and said that those who argued for recognition of such concepts as the natural biological tie between parents and children, were "soaked in petit bourgeois and 'intelligentsia-like' prejudices." He held that social and economic factors accounted entirely for the feeling of exclusive love toward one's own children: in the future society there would be only love for children in general. Moreover, he pointed out that since the child was the property of the state, not the individual family, the state therefore had the right to compel parents to surrender their children to special "children's towns" to be built "at a distance from the family." This was but one element in a broader scheme devised by Sabsovich for the construction of a new type of "socialist city" (the contemporary form of city was a "capitalist invention") in which not only work but all aspects of leisure and consumption activities were to be organized on a collectivist basis. The family dwelling would be completely eliminated, to be replaced by individual rooms for individual persons (though married persons could have adjoining rooms). Sabsovich urged that such reorganization of life into a "truly socialist" form start immediately: "Down with so-called 'transitional forms'!" The workers should not be furnished with gas, electricity, and other conveniences, but instead provided with a thorough socialist reconstruction within the next five to eight years.

We may doubt that such views were widely shared. One opponent of Sabsovich referred to "various strange ideas about home life under

{p. 49} socialism," such as, "all individual home life (not only family life) will disappear under socialism," and, "the whole life of a person, physical and mental, can be lived within the collective." Nadezhda Krupskaia, Lenin's widow, noted that children belonged neither to parents nor to the state, but to themselves. Furthermore, the state was due to wither away, and "the parental sense will not be suppressed, but will flow in another channel; it will afford much more joy to children and to parents." Hence, parents would be justified, she wrote, in refusing to turn their children over to children's towns in the manner proposed by Sabsovich.

All in all, on the level of ideology the first decade or so of post-revolutionary thought brought a rich and often quite interesting tide of theories about the family. With no official party line on the subject, the writings of Marx and Engels were ambiguous enough to elicit a variety of theories, and the emerging problems seemed to justify the number of them evoked.

Property and Inheritance

Some marxist ideas about the family found concrete embodiment in the realm of legal actions. Since marxist thought insisted so vigorously on the corruptive influence of private wealth, it was only natural that its presumed power should be curtailed. On April 27, 1918, it was decreed: "Testate and intestate succession are abolished. Property of an owner (movable as well as immovable) becomes after his death the domain of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic." Other legal measures were taken to forestall immediately the detested "marriage of calculation." The 1918 family code proclaimed that "marriage does not establish community of property" and that "agreements by husband or wife intended to restrict the property rights of either party are invalid, and not binding."

Nevertheless, the retreat from the abolition of inheritance began immediately, even in the very decree in which it was abolished. Though succession was repealed in principle, immediate relatives who had been living with the deceased were permitted to inherit if the value of the estate did not exceed 10,000 rubles, close relatives who were incapable of working were to receive an amount necessary for support, and so on. This situation was an early example of one which was to be

{p. 50} come prototypical: the bolsheviks were simply not in a position to carry out their declared aims. In 1919 the Commissariat of Justice decreed that the 10,000-ruble limit did not apply to peasants' farmsteads, in 1922 the Civil Code explicitly permitted inheritance up to 10,000 rubles to specified persons, and in 1926 the upper limit was abolished entirely. However, hostility to the principle of inherited property continued and was expressed by a strongly progressive inheritance tax until 1943, when the tax itself was abolished. All that remained after that was a fee, progressive but never higher than 10 per cent.

The abolition of the concept of community property of husband and wife was also a source of trouble to the Soviet leaders. Motivated largely by the desire to abolish marriage for money, the decree seemed a logical corollary to the marxist devaluation of household labor. All agreed in principle that women must be drawn out of the home and into social production, but the difficulty was that many married women could not, or would not, be so drawn out. There were large families to care for, there were not enough creches and kindergartens, and there was unemployment during most of the years of the New Economic Policy from 1921 to 1928. But in those families where the wife did not work, such goods and money as were acquired after marriage could be interpreted as the legal property of the husband. In case of divorce, a phenomenon of increasing frequency in those days, the purpose of the law - to protect both spouses, but especially the woman, from exploitation - could boomerang to the disadvantage of the housewife. Thus, practice showed that laws of good intention could lead to bad results. So, in 1926 the principle that property acquired after marriage is community property of the spouses was restored to the code of laws on marriage and family.

One of the main functions of private wealth in most societies, whether accumulated or inherited, is to provide for times of sickness, old age, or other need for self or relatives, and the 1918 code recognized that legal responsibility for maintenance of children, the aged, and the invalid would have to continue for a time. In the 1918 decree on inheritance, for example, certain relatives (if propertyless and disabled) were authorized to receive, from an estate exceeding 10,000 rubles in value, a sum necessary for self-support. This exception was justified by a condition - "until a decree for universal social insurance is issued." Although the idea of societal support for the individual was central to marxist socialism, it is an index of developing problems that in the 1926 code the individual's legal responsibility for support of

{p. 51} needy relatives, instead of being narrowed, was widened to include brother, sister, grandparents, and grandchildren. Presumably "marriages of calculation" continued with much the same frequency as before, though as time went on the determining factor came to be more a matter of selecting a husband who was a "big specialist" rather than wealthy. The continuing importance of money in famly life was also shown by the large number of lawsuits about problems of alimony.

Parents: A Hotbed of Traditionalism

Though the theme is barely present in Marx and Engels, largely because of the limited importance of the transition period in their thinking, it was not long before their Soviet followers decided that the family was definitely not on the side of the Revolution. Kollontai put it very well: "The family deprives the worker of revolutionary consciousness." She, like many of her colleagues, fulminated against the "small, isolated, closed-in family" and awaited the time when first loyalty would be to society, while family, love, all of personal life would come second.

Such theorists saw not only that in the family the spirit of acquisition and the sense of private property were born and nourished, but also that the family was intimately connected with religion. Life's most significant personal events - birth, marriage, and death - were after all those of family life, and somehow even the most convinced Communists found it hard to see the revolutionary "Dead March" supplant a Christian burial. Among the rank and file clearly there was nothing to take the place of the church, as the party members complained among themselves, and so the struggle against religion often was carried over into antagonism toward its everyday social context - the family.

One can gain an understanding of the spirit of the time by looking more closely at the strand of bolshevik social thought which might be called "totalism." The search for a total, though as yet voluntary, monopoly of the individual's personal loyalty is an early harbinger of the political totalitarianism that came later. The rationalistic Bolsheviks simply had no use for the "anarcho-individualistic disorganization" of the family, which demanded loyalty and time that they felt to be due the Revolution and the Cause. In fact, one influential party leader, A. A. Solts, even pointed to a contradiction between sexual needs, a "very individual matter," and the building of a collective society.

{p. 52} The intractability and hostility of the family were demonstrated when it became apparent that it was not only the peasant and worker masses who stubbornly clung to their traditions. Trouble developed in the party itself. The old-fashioned family explained why workers did not join the party in the first place, and family pressure as well as church weddings caused misunderstandings among party members and exclusions from the membership ranks. There was some discussion in the early years about what to do with Communists who took wives from an "alien class." In those years revolutionary political activity, especially at the lower levels, was a masculine one to which wives often responded with lack of enthusiasm. In 1923, one author argued, probably with considerable truth, that since only 10 per cent of the party members were women, the bulk of party wives must be politically unresponsive and "philistine."

This situation led to an interesting conflict between the marxist principle of sex equality in the family and the Communist's obligation to impose his communist ideas. The outcome of this dilemma suggests the relative importance of the two norms: "We have the right to demand and we must demand from party members that the spiritual supremacy rn the family belong to them - communists."

In still another way, not at all foreseen by Marx and Engels, the family presented problems. It is the family, and the older generation, complained a writer in 1927, through which "the filth of the old world is passed to the youth." Here, then, were a myriad of relatively inviolable self-oriented groups with an acquisitive attitude toward property, too often professing belief in religion, showing sexual self-indulgence, and even harboring open hostility to the new order. Truly the family seemed to be the enemy of everything the Revolution represented. It is little wonder that the bulk of bolshevik theorizing placed the family in the same boat with prostitution; in the future, both would disappear. The concept of the family as "the most conservative stronghold of the old regime" therefore reinforced the more doctrinaire thought inherited from Engels, that the monogamous family was not worth much even in itself because of its internal structure.

To a considerable extent, perhaps, the family was also a favorite scapegoat. Many party leaders were surprised and chagrined to find that the workers, to say nothing of the peasants, were often neither enthusiastic about the Revolution nor much interested in the new way of life.

{p. 53} The family was most likely slated for extinction anyway, and its deep conservatism could account for the fact that bolshevism was not accepted more quickly. Thus, attacks on the family helped assuage the conscience of the more democratic and utopian-minded in the party.

The "family" is of course a rather abstract notion, but the individual persons who make it up could be held more immedtely accountable. The targets of the most direct and concrete hostility were parents. They were seen as conservative or even reactionary toward the new way of life: mothers were religious and fathers were drunken or obsessed with private property. Since classical marxism, as we know, had nothing positive to say about the parent-child relationship under any circumstances, its relative silence about the tender love of mother and child, the closeness of father and son, and the like could be called upon for support. Actually, Marx and Engels tended to depict the parent-child relationship under capitalism in only one way: as tainted with exploitation. Perhaps they found it even more hopeless than the relationship between husband and wife, for if the latter tie was to be redeemed and purified in the future society, the same could not be said of the former because the state would rear the children.

Then, too, there was a certain inviting feasibility about destroying the family by attacking the parents. If parents could somehow be bypassed, the children could be used for the purposes of the regime. They were accessible to influence in the schools, their unformed minds were still suggestible, and they represented the future, for which hopes were high. As early as the Second Komsomol Congress in 1919, Komsomolites were being urged to split young people away from their parents, to induce, as one phrasing put it, "a psychological stratification in the rural family, drawing rural youth over to the side of the toilers' government." A resolution of the Congress urged Komsomol members to give special help to young Cossacks "who are rising up against their fathers."

In the mid-twenties, an active party publicist, A. B. Zalkind, urged in books and pamphlets that children should respect their fathers only if their ideas were correct; neither respect nor obedience was due a reactionary father. Children who had parents with lagging revolutionary consciences were asked to criticize and reform their mothers and fathers. Parents, in turn, were to adopt a new and comradely attitude toward their children. To give teeth to the new image of parent-child relations, speakers and writers announced that the use of physical punishment by

{p. 54} parents was forbidden. Indeed, a 1927 publication of the Commissariat of Justice described Soviet law as, among other things, "a new law which categorically denies the authority of the parental relationship."

At the Seventh Congress of the Komsomol in 1926 Krupskaia urged upon the delegates the importance of the Young Pioneer organizations in the task of rearing the new generation. "The Pioneer detachment," she asserted, "must be, for the Pioneer, something like what the family used to be." Six years later, at the Ninth Congress in 1931, one delegate asserted that the Soviet regime had done away with the "fetish of the family, the subordination to the parents," and that children were now concluding "social contracts" with their parents. Contrasting the interests of the regime with those of the individual family, she continued, "We have taught children to proceed from higher interests - from the interests of the proletarian class." A resolution of the Congress spoke of the "extension of our influence in the family through the children themselves." Along with parents, schoolteachers were demoted. In 1931 a prominent party leader urged that leadership in the schools be exercised predominantly by the organized children.

During these years some children actually brought their parents into court. The most dramatic episode, which colored the tone of the entire era, was the case of Pavlik Morozov, who when he took the side of the regime in the war being conducted with the peasantry denounced his own father and was subsequently killed for that act. He became an official martyr, and The Great Soviet Encyclopedia tells the story this way:

{quote} Morozov, Pavlik (Pavel Trofimovich, 1918-1932) - A courageous pioneer who, after selflessly struggling against the kulaks [rich peasants] of his community during the period of collectivization, was savagely killed by a kulak gang. The pioneers were carrying on an active struggle against the kulaks. M. exposed his own father, who had been at that time (1930), chairman of the village Soviet, but had fallen under the influence of kulak relatives. After telling his representative of the district committee of the party about how his father was secretly selling false documents to exiled kulaks, M. then testified in court in his father's case, and labelled him a traitor. The kulaks decided to settle matters with M. He was killed, together with his younger brother, on September 3, 1932, in a forest, by kulak bandits. The name of Morozov was given to the kolkhoz which was organized in Gerasimovka after his death, and also many other kolkhozes, pioneer palaces, and libraries." {endquote}

{p. 55} A more vigorous symbolization of the discrediting of the older generation, the rising power of youth, and the regime's willingness to trample family loyalty underfoot could hardly be devised.

These policies were not without their effect. As the power and the responsibility of the parent were gradually being relaxed, the rearing of children was becoming, it seemed, more and, more a function of the larger society. But the new society was not equipped to deal with such a heavy duty. Ideological pretensions had again outrun institutional capacities, and to the extent that parental authority declined, Soviet children were more and more on their own, for the authority o youth organizations and "society as a whole" was largely chimerical.

Social Equality for Women

The equalitarian reformist zeal of the early years must not be underestimated. After all, the traditional form of the parent-child tie was considered unsatisfactory by the bolsheviks not only because parents were apt to be conservative or reactionary toward the new regime, but also because it epitomized the old moral system - based on blood ties and sympathy for relatives. Hence, just as in capitalist society, this tie bred further inequality by virtue of the differential capacities of parents to give their children edudcation and a suitable general upbringing. But the epicenter of communist equalitarian aspirations was in the relation between the sexes. After the abolition of private property ownership, the assumption of family functions by the state, and the engagement of all women in social production, a situation was to arise in which "marriage will no longer have the appearance of a family as its obligatory consequence." The author of this phrase went so far as to allege that the separation of the kitchen from marriage is "a more significant historical event than the separation of church from state." In fact, as we have seen, there was not a little sentiment in favor of residential separation of husband from wife. As one radical young woman wrote in an "open letter," "It is precisely a separate life [of husband and wife] which creates full 'equality of rights' for both parties, guarantees spiritual growth, liberates the woman."

Many were in disagreement with this, but all were willing to vote for the desirability of economic independence for women. In countless pamphlets, posters, and speeches Russian women were urged to enter

{p. 56} the factory and office. Since this goal could obviously be achieved only gradually, it soon became clear that an additional measure was needed: motherhood deserved special economic support. As Kollontai, the most enthusiastic proponent of independence for women, had written even before the Revolution, only with "all around security of motherhood" could marriage be cleansed of that "bourgeois scum," that calculated self-interest which had nothing in common with love. A later writer, with a fine nair for phrasing, carried on the Kollontai tradition by referring to the need of a "social correction factor for the biological inequality of the sexes."

In addition to its programs, proclamations, and exhortations, the new regime did actually take some important legal measures. It repudiated the conservative, patriarchal Church, decreeing that henceforth only, civil marriages were to be legal. It granted substantial freedom of marriage and divorce to all except near relatives. Mutual consent was the main requirement for marriage, and for divorce the desire of either of the spouses was deemed sufficient cause. The new freedoms were taken with sufficient seriousness by enough people so that in a few years the divorce rate began to rise, and the complaint could be made that the courts were "buried under alimony cases." Actually, even the party itself played a role in the trend, since from time to time members were encouraged to look closely after the political education of their wives and to divorce those who were hopeless laggards.

In addition, full equality of legal and political rights was accorded to women in the marriage relationship. Alongside those securing freedom of choice in marriage and divorce, several provisions attracted considerable attention at the time because of their symbolic importance, especially those providing that the wife "need not follow the husband" in case of change of residence and concerning the surname to be taken by the woman after marriage. The former is best interpreted as an epression of resentment against an explicit provision of Tsarist law which did require the wife to follow the husband if he should for any reason change his residence; it was easy for communist thinkers to see this as intentional and unjust interference with the right of the wife to pursue an occupational career independently, and hence as constituting the real underpinning of inequality. The article on surnames gave three possible choices: husband's, wife's, or joint surnames. For some reason, in the first code of laws on marriage and family, permission was not given to allow each party to retain his or her premarital name. This lack

{p. 57} aroused some criticism at the time and was suitably amended in 1926.

Once women had also been accorded full rights to vote, to participate in public associations and activities, and, of course, to enter into occupational life, or social production, on a basis of full equality with men, the problem was then seen as one of persuading women to seize their new opportunities. A special section of the party, the Women's Section (Zhenotdel), occupied itself mainly with the task of drawing women into broader public activities. However, no special rights were accorded at this time to women for those "biological infirmities," pregnancy and childbirth.

In addition to such positive measures as these, the fight was carried on against "survivals of the old regime." The chief targets relevant to sex equality were the Church, the Islamic tradition with institutions perpetuating the inferior status of women such as the bride price, and those basic attitudes of the population, especially among the peasantry, which were so strongly linked to the old patriarchal mores. The prevailing communist attitude toward sexual jealousy was particularly revealing. It was seen as an extension of the private property spirit: "Nowadays it is one of the worst crimes to kill a woman for jealousy, because we are trying to free our women, not regard them as the property of man any more. If a man kills his wife or lover out of jealousy, he is given the maximum penalty - ten years - and in Central Asia he is shot."

But good marxist regarded such details as minor, for their central verbal commitment was to the development of facilities which would accord de facto release from kitchen and children. Virtually every public utterance on family and women from the time of the Revolution forward was to be permeated with this thought. Unfortunately, with the exception of the period known as War Communism, when ration cards were issued on the basis of employment, the drift of women into social production was very slow. It was no secret that for many there were no opportunities. During the New Economic Policy (NP) period, and in glaring contradiction with the goal and intention of the party, unemployment was widespread, and those women who could find work often faced the unsolved question of providing for children and maintaining the household.

In spite of repeated assertions of the intention to establish communal kitchens, dining halls, laundries, and a network of children's homes and creches, it was hard to accomplish much. The extensive communal institutions of War Communism could not be continued for financial

{p. 58} reasons, and owners and managers of private enterprise during the NEP period were reluctant to invest in such uneconomic ventures as creches and public restaurants. In the press, side by side with the stated intention of doing better, there were constant complaints about the insignificant extent of communal feeding. For example, the party's leading publicist on such affairs, Emelian M. Iaroslavski, counted "public dinners" served on November 1, 1925: 20,000 in Moscow, 50,000 in Leningrad, and 67,000 in the provinces, a total of 137,000. At the same time he noted that only three out of 100 children were coming to the creches. All the rest were being reared entirely by individual families. With the end of the NEP period further efforts were made in the direction of socializing the family's functions, but as resources and personnel were committed to the "harder" part of the Five Year Plan, the claim of establishing creches and public dining rooms began to sound more and more hollow.

This problem concerned quality as well as quantity. In the early communal facilities the food was bad and poorly served, often in crude, unpleasant surroundings. The children's creches were dirty and understaffed and, as one writer put it, "the public laundries tear and steal more than they wash." Reactions were understandably negative, and the tendency of some of the party theorists to identify the institutions of War Communism as a first step toward the achievement of the idealized classless society could hardly have been more ill conceived. All in all, it was a poor beginning, and the population was skeptical about such communal activities for years afterward.

Apparently there was little improvement in later years. Various epert estimates and surveys established in the early 1930's that few in the population were interested in communal housing, and that Russian women did not care about communal dining halls and were avoiding the creches, while the "better-placed workers" who ate in the public dining halls were glad to return to their family dining tables as soon as rationing was abolished (in 1935).

Within the family nobody could be certain whether women were becoming more nearly equal, but many opinions were expressed. Some pointed to greater sex equality in everyday life as an accomplished achievement of the Revolution. More writers stressed the slowness of change in everyday living and complained about the continued presence of prostitution, "calculation in marriage," and the fact that "men remain superior and continue to exploit the women." An especially bitter pill

{p. 59} was the discovery of a new social type, the party member who was reactionary in domestic life. One woman wrote to the newspaper about her husband, an important activist, who had forbidden her to work or engage in political activity: "And in those very meetings which he forbids me to attend because he is afraid I will become a real person, what he needs is a cook and mistress wife - in those very meetmgs where I have to slip in secretly, he makes thunderous speeches about the role of women in the revolution, calls women to a more active role."

A widely recommended proposal for correction of the "temporary" inability of the state to take over the family's functions was that men share women's household work. In 1920 Lenin, in commiseration with the much pitied housewife of marxist theory, had complained to Zetkin: "So few men - even among the proletariat - realize how much effort and trouble they could save women, even quite do away with, if they were to lend a hand in 'woman's work.' But no, that is contrary to the 'right and dignity of a man.'" A few years later E. O. Preobrazhenski, noting that there was as yet no socialist childrearing available, called for an "elementary equality" between man and woman in discharging this responsibility, asserting that in no case should the burden lie fully upon the woman. In later years others carried on the theme: Lunacharski wrote that he would shake the hand of a comrade - an "honest Leninist "- who would rock the baby's cradle so his wife could go out to a meeting or to study. And Krupskaia, lamenting in 1928 that the rationalization of daily life was still not complete, urged that all members of the family share the housework. She was glad to report that: "The new is already starting to break into the pattern of daily life; even now one sees a grown worker take a child out for a walk, a husband help a wife at home." One suspects, however, that the Soviet husbandly masses were as a rule little inclined to take over duties that in other bolshevik speeches were described as trivial and properly social rather than familial functions. Possibly the problem is best epitomized by the eperience with the new freedom about surnames. As of 1928 ninetenths of the women marrying were still taking the name of the husband, and cases in which the man would take the wife's name could "be counted absent."

Probably closer to reality was the view held by some that the first decade or two of Soviet history saw a worsening rather than an improvement in the status of Soviet women. The great mass of women, illiterate

{p. 60} and submissive, were little interested in their new freedoms and equality. Legal rights were often completely unappreciated. Peasant women, for example, rarely sought alimony in the event of divorce. In urban families the right to work, if it existed in the form of a concrete opportunity, was more often seen as a financial necessity than as a new freedom.

Without replacing childrearing, food purchase and preparation, and the like by the family, the Revolution simply brought an additional burden to women. They remained tied to the family and home and often, in addition, had to work in a factory or office. Studies made in these years showed that women were on a day-to-day basis generally busier than men. Since they could spend less time in public or political work, study, and even sleep, they were less able to develop themselves and become the equals of their husbands. Trotsky wrote in 1937: "One of the very dramatic chapters of the great book of the Soviets, will be the tale of the disintegration and breaking up of these Soviet families where the husband as a party member, trade unionist, military commander or administrator, grew and developed and acquired new tastes in life, and the wife, crushed by the family, remained on the old level. The road of the two generations of the Soviet bureaucracy is sown thick with the tragedies of wives rejected and left behind."

All in all, it was the men who profited most surely and immediately by the new freedoms intended to bring equality to women. The women who remained tied to the family often seemed more liable to exploitation after the Revolution than they were before. Perhaps the most spectacular, if relatively rare, variety of male who exploited the situation was the crafty peasant who married a peasant girl in the spring to get himself an extra harvest hand and divorced her in the fall to save the epense of feeding her over the winter. Much more common was sexual exploitation.

The Sex Problem

Though they originated in the most admirable of motives and were based on years of socialist thinking about the proper pathways to individual freedom and social equality between the sexes, the regime's doctrinal position and policies with regard to the family caused a sex problem. The devaluation of family life and the introduction of such policies

{p. 61} as easy divorce, free abortions, and de facto marriage (in the 1926 code), had their repercussions. Of course, responsibility for the social patterns of the 1920's and early 1930's cannot be placed entirelyt the door of the bolsheviks: war, civil strife, poverty, and the general atmosphere of revolutionary social reconstruction also contributed, perhaps crucially, to the disorganization. Nevertheless, the party must bear considerable responsibility, for the sexual problem is very closely connected with an important marxist principle - that promise of complete freedom in private life which plays such a prominent role in Engels' writings.

Correspondingly, the predominant view in the early years was that family life was not a public function and that sex life was "outside the area of regulation of the Communist Party." Indeed, the strength of feeling can be gauged by a statement made in 1923 by Lunacharski, Commissar of Education, to the effect that the state regulation of a person's life was one of the "dangers threatening communism." Furthermore, "the morality of communist society will be found in the fact that there will be no precepts; it will be the morality of the absolutely free individual." If there will be freedom in personal life, then, said Lunacharski, there will be a great variety in the relationships found, and so much the better. Paraphrasing Engels, Lunacharski foresaw not only the absence of the government regulation of private life, but "no pressure of public opinion is permissible either; there must be no 'comme il faut'!" Moreover, "all of this or most of this applies also to our own time; in relation to so-called sex life there can be only one precept: it is necessary to defend the weak in that unique type of struggle which boils in the soil of love." But even this is not moral regulation, he argued, but a juridical matter. For the rest, said Lunacharski, "all the freedom possible."

To most party members these statements seemed good marxist doctrine. In spite of growing opposition to the idea, a scholarly monograph published as late as 1929 could cite both Marx and Engels as authorities for the strict separation of private and plblic life. It therefore also seemed appropriate to hold that sex life was an individual matter, entirely outside the party's purview. Sofiia N. Smidovich, an influential feminist and party member, wrote on the subject: "We are inclined to excuse a lot, to close our eyes about a lot, when the matter concerns so-called personal life. 'You can't do anything about a given act from the point of view of communist ethics,' we often say. 'Where is it written that

{p. 62} a communist can have only one wife, and not several?' ... And not a little more is heard and said in such cases. We are apprehensive lest we fall into dogmatism, carry on like the priests, and so on."

It was not long, however, before some among the party leaders came to the conclusion that "freedom in private life" was easily interpreted by the masses as an invitation to sexual misbehavior. Arguments were soon put forth in favor of "interference in private life": "It is not hard to see which is socially more expedient - to treat 'personal life' as an inseparable part of some whole, defining a person in all his manifestations, or to close our eyes on 'personal life,' supposing that one or another Morgunov, Romanov [noted sexual exploiters of the times], and others can't be avoided." The cases used as a basis to urge interference in private life all center on young women who are exploited by men. Interestingly, what was at stake here was essentially the "mutuality problem" so glaringly overlooked by Engels in his formulation of sex love. These young women continued to love their masculine partners after the latter had grown tired of them, thus making themselves liable to exploitation.

By 1927 even Lunacharski, who in 1923 had justified sex freedom in the name of natural man ("The slogan, Back to nature! Back to the animal! is quite appropriate."), was in a much more sober mood: "That which until the present has been called private life cannot slip away from us, because it is precisely here that the final goal of the Revolution is to be found."

The best-known defender of sexual freedom, Alexandra Kollontai, differed from her fellow communists in her willingness to follow to their logical ends the implications of current thinking about such matters and thus to arrive at conclusions which seemed incorrect, but could not be refuted within the limits of marxist theory. First of all a feminist, she devoted considerable effort to writing about the equality of men and women and in proposing ways to achieve it. Throughout her polemical and fictional writings, polygamous sex interests are defended as a right of women as well as men. She became best known, however, as a champion of love as a feeling, to be distinguished from the sex act. Writing in 1923, she drew this picture of the proper communist approach to the question: "The morality of the working class, insofar as it has already crystallized ... consciously discards the external form in which the love relation of the sexes is cast. For the class problems of the working class it is completely a matter of indifference whether love

{p. 63} takes the form of a prolonged and formalized union or is expressed in the manner of a transient tie." This clear denial of the validity of institutional forms was carried out in the name of "full, many-sided love" or, to dramatize the concept, the "winged Eros." Kollontai's basic idea was clearly that love is to reign supreme, and sex is to be its servant. Sex without love is taboo: "The ideology of the working class does not place any formal limits upon love. But on the other hand the ideology of the toiling class already thoughtfully takes a stand on the content of love, toward the shades of feelings and experiences which tie the two sexes. And in this sense the ideology of the working class will persecute the 'wingless Eros' (vice, one-sided satisfaction of the flesh with the aid of prostitution, transformation of the 'sex act' into a self-oriented goal from the pool of 'easy pleasures') much more strictly and mercilessly than bourgeois morality did. 'The wingless Eros' contradicts the interests of the working class."

Along with feminism and the enshrinement of love, another major strand in Kollontai's thought was the notion that love was eventually to change its form, was to be generalized to the collective:

{quote} In the achieved communist society, love, "the winged Eros," will appear in a different, transformed, and completely unrecognizable form. By that time the "sympathetic bonds" between all members of the new society will have grown and strengthened, the "love potential" will have been raised, and solidarity-love will have become the same kind of moving force as competition and self-love are in the bourgeois order ... the stronger the new humanity is linked together by the firm ties of solidarity, the higher will be its spiritual-mental ties in all regions of life, creativity, and the smaller the place which will remain for love in the contemporary sense of the word. Contemporary love always sins in that, absorbing the thoughts and feelings of "the two loving hearts" it at the same time isolates, separates off the loving pair from the collective. Such a separation of "the loving pair," the moral isolation from the collective, in which the interests, tasks, aspirations of all members are interwoven in a thick network, will become not only superfluous, but psychologically unrealizable. In this new world the recognized, normal and desirable form of relations of the sexes will probably rest upon a healthy, free, natural (without perversions and excesses) attraction of the sexes, on a "transformed Eros." {endquote}

It is not hard to imagine the effect that this sort of argument had on meetings of factory workers, peasants, and young Komsomol groups. More widely shared was the much simpler notion that the old sex

{p. 64} morality was part of the corrupt bourgeois superstructure. In the words of Preobrazhenski: "How about the so-called spontaneous amoralism, quite widespread among a part of our proletarian youth? If one looks upon it as a negation in practice of bourgeois and petit bourgeois morality and practice, and a dispersing of the 'non-class' fog over class norms, then this 'amoralism' is, in essence, marxist, the historical-materialist relation to the morality of other classes." In any case, the permissive aura of these theories presaged the trouble ahead.

Regarding sexual life itself, in 1920 an article published in a nationally distributed party journal asserted that "an unimaginable bacchanalia is going on," and that "the best people are interpreting free love as free debauchery." The actual extent to which sexual promiscuity seized the country is not known, but there was no shortage of persons ready to point to various bits and shreds of evidence and to draw the conclusion that disorder prevailed. Smidovich reported a conversation with a Komsomol member who asserted that he found it unnecessary to visit prostitutes: "I don't have to, because I can have any Komsomol girls I know whenever I want them." Another defender of feminine virtue reported the existence of a "League of Free Love" in the Ukraine. Demyan Bedny, poet of the Revolution, wrote a satire, "Seriously ... and Not for Long or The Soviet Wedding," and "Young Correspondent" Koltso wrote to a newspaper about how "sleeping" had become a profession and that one Ivanchuk had a record of 80.

In any event, there was wide agreement that an extraordinary amount of pre- and extra-marital sexual activity was taking place. At the Fourteenth Party Congress, N. I. Bukharin felt called upon to denounce what he referred to as "decadent and hooligan groups with names such as 'down with innocence' and 'down with shame.'" That such sentiments were prominent among communist youth themselves is also suggested by the title of a popular Komsomol song of the times, "Away, Away, with the Monks."

On the other hand, if those who believed in sexual freedom represented a left wing, there was also a right-wing deviation. Among this group one could find ascetics, "people taking it as a duty to deny themselves the satisfaction of their sexual needs." Though the fight for communism twenty-four hours a day could lead to a radical separation of sex from love, for which there was no time left, and thus to a matter-of-fact promiscuity, it might also lead, quite logically, to a complete denial of sexuality as well as other forms of self-expression, such as drinking,

{p. 65} dancing, games, recreation in general. The latter tendency produced an interesting social type who was "dreadfully serious; he does everything according to the program. He even sleeps according to the program [and] in him everything cheerful, alive, hides itself underground; he and the Komsomol, too, ... have begun to freeze over." One writer characterized this as a professional disease of the Komsomol activists, who consequently became "onesided in their outlook on life." Again, this trend was reflected in organizational rules. One young woman, in organizing a party cell, decided, along with several comrades, that the Program of the Communist Party prescribed an "ascetic mode of life." Several years later it was reported that a newly organized youth commune had prohibited its members the right to a sexual life.

Finally, still another unacceptable variant of the conduct of sex life was the return to bourgeois marriage. Weak-willed "philistines" retired to the narrGw family circle and gradually left their circle of comrades.

When, soon after the Revolution, some of the party leaders began to feel troubled about the situation, they had only minimal factual information. Lunachaski pointed out in the mid-1920's that he could rely only on indirectly derived impresisons received from individual observations, events reported by others, and "reflections of life in literature." Thus even the question of who exactly was being promiscuous was not clearly settled. It was taken for granted, naturally, that it was primarily the young people, but writers differed about whether worker youths were more unrestrained than peasant youths, Komsomol members more promiscuous than nonmembers, and so on.

University students tended to be in the ideological vanguard, and more independent of the control of traditional communities. They were also scrutinized more frequently because of their accessibility, and surveys showed that not only behavior but opinions and theories about sex were showing a luxuriant proliferation among them. Such theories and opinions have considerable interest as examples of the popular culture of the day. They were primarily justifications for sexual freedom, ranging from the most transparent and unadorned to the most sophisticated and disguised of rationalizations. The simplest, most traditional, and probably most widespread had little to do with marxism or the Revolution; it was simply the view that sexual abstinence was injurious to the health: "This is for some reason considered an indispensable truth ... (I will not try to judge how we in the North have developed these African passions. ) ... Somebody heard it somewhere, where

{p. 66} he doesn't know!" The likelihood is, it would seem, that concern for health is also a rationalization - working in the service of a still deeperlying factor, the sex identity of the Russian male. As the same writer tells it, in another place: "Often a raw youth, to show he isn't 'some kind of girl' drinks up for bravery in the company of those who are like him, then goes to visit the prostitutes and starts the shameful page of his life."

Most of the theories about sexual freedom sprang up in connection with marxist thought and with the Revolution; and a good proportion of them share the axiom that communism and greater sexual freedom went hand in hand. Thus at Saratov in 1918, the "right of private ownership of women" was abolished by decree, and in a remote part of one of the Ukrainian provinces the "League of Free Love" was said to have "hid itself under what were supposed to be 'principled motives of the Communist Program,' requiring complete freedom, and in the first place, 'sexual freedom.' Eight more or less distinct varieties of this popular subject of everyday folklore may be identified.

1. A gift of the Revolution. The view that sexual freedom was simply a pleasure to be enjoyed to the full, as a gift of the Revolution, was found among at least some of the simple peasantry. It is revealed, for example, in a chastushka (popular verse) of the time: "Now there are new rights and you don't have to get married. Just stand at a table in the committee room and sign up." And some of the university students believed that "a correct communist life ... will be to live with one woman, and at the same time both she and I ought to feel free in relation to each other."

2. The glass-of-water theory. A slightly more sophisticated and much better known outlook had a respectable position among many nineteenth-century socialists and was outlined most succinctly by Bebel. Sexuality was elevated in a relative sense. That is, it was separated off from love and accorded independent legitimacy. Love in turn tended to be denied completely or to be regarded as a "physiological phenomenon of nature," as a Komsomol organization's circular put it. At the same time, however, this theory also devalued sexuality as a simple and inconsequential action akin to drinking a glass of water.

This view was connected with a certain tendency to link material property and sexual property; that is, sharing the wealth tended to include, by generalization, the latter kind of property as well as material property. Apparently the notion was widespread. Lunacharski spoke of

{p. 67} the "extraordinarily broad currency of the glass-of-water theory," and a 1927 poll of students in ten institutions of higher learning at Odessa revealed that in answer to the question, "Does love exist?" only 60.9 per cent of the women and 51.8 per cent of the men answered yes. Moreover, opposition to the theory often seemed suspiciously conservative and could easily be associated with bourgeois morality, and philistinism (meshchanstvo).

3. Elemental nature. Closely related to the glass-of-water theory was the more defensive stress on sex as one of the aspects of daily life that cannot be changed or controlled. As described by Smidovich, "It is put in me by nature. I have to satisfy my instincts." This approach is, of course, perfectly legitimate for any careful reader of Marx and Engels, who exalted natural man, as did at least some of their authoritative followers.

4. A symbol of opposition to the old order. Among the more politically conscious members of the population there was a strong tendency in the first two decades of Soviet history to equate sexual restraint with the bourgeois and aristocratic classes, along with polite manners, personal cleanliness, and fineness of language, to say nothing of neckties, jewelry, and elegant clothing. Sexual promiscuity, then, took on a certain aura of patriotism, so to speak, as a revolt against the moral vestiges of the old way of life, as a "revolutionary protest against the former philistine morality."

A variant of this theme concerned the patronage of prostitution. For the Komsomol member, visits to prostitutes were in violation of marist dogrna. In consequence, sexual freedom with his feminine comrades assumed a virtue of its own.

5. The heroic soldier of the Revolution pose. A more pragmatic basis for justifying sexual freedom was linked with the crusading ideal of serving the cause of the Revolution and communism: "We have no tirne to settle down with a family; we are too busy ... Fatigue, the overstraining of forces suffered during the time of the Revolution, has made us prematurely old. The usual confines of age and all kinds of norms are not suitable for us." A variant stressed the maintenance of ideological purity: "How can I enter a permanent union with a girl when she might turn out to be a philistine after a time?"

6. Poverty justifies promiscuity. The study of Odessa students revealed that 19 per cent of those analyzed (some 2,328 respondents out of 3,500 given questionnaires) did not have a private bed to themselves,

{p. 68} and that 52 per cent of the men and 45.5 per cent of the women asserted that they did not get enough to eat. Hence, if it was true that seual promiscuity was most pronounced among university students, they could explain their devotion to sexual freedom as a purely practical response to poverty and the inability to establish a family, and as "ideologically" quite justified. Some of them were likely to quote Marx: "It is not the consciousness of people that defines their existence, but the contrary, their eistence defines the forms of their consciousness."

7. Free love as part of the new way of life. In the marist lexicon "free love" is an ambiguous notion. In the writing of Marx and Engels it is best interpreted as referring to the separation of love from economic concerns - in which case a more adequate expression would be "freed love." But it can also literally mean, as it has to many interpreters, that the old ethical norms do not apply to the relations between the sexes and that love follows nothing more than mutual inclination. The latter view, which can also be justified by reference to the marxist classics, particularly to The Origin of Engels, was of course very popular among those who were interested in justifying sexual freedom. Their thinking was picturesquely paraphrased by Lunacharski in 1927:

dquote} Husband, wife, children - husband and wife who bear and rear children, this is a bourgeois business. A communist who respects himself, a soviet person, a leading member of the intelligentsia, a genuine proletarian ought to be on his guard against such a bourgeois business. "Socialism," say such 'marxists,' "brings with it new forms of relationship between man and woman - namely free love. A man and a woman come together, live together while they like each other - and after they no longer like each other - they part. They are together for a relatively short period, not setting up a permanent household. Both the man and woman are free in this relationship. This is the transition to that broad public society [obshchesvennost] which will replace the small philistine nook, that little philistine apartment, that domestic hearth, yes that stagnant family unit which separates itself off from society! "A genuine communist, a soviet person," they say, "must avoid a pairing marriage and seek to satisfy his needs by changez vos dames, as they said in the old cadrille, with a definite changing, a freedom of the mutual relations of the husbands, the wives, fathers, children, so that you can't tell who is related to whom and how closely. That is social construction. {endquote}

Such views, reflecting a liberal but on the whole not inaccurate interpretation of a tendency in Engels' thought, were supported by argu-

{p. 69} ments that sometimes took a direction that calls to mind the implicit invitations to analogy of marxist theory. A recent Soviet discussion recalls how "back in those days" partisans of the "free love" theory argued that if private ownership of the means of production corresponded with monogamy (understood as private ownership of women), public ownership of the means of production should correspond with free love, that is, public ownership of women.

8. Sex and love as base and superstructure. The more inventive minds among the youth, attracted simultaneously to the marxist way of thinking and to the appeals of the flesh, soon began to propose a sophisticatedly "marxist" formulation of the whole problem. Rather than being parallel to the drinking of a glass of water, and hence without further significant consequence, the sexual attraction of two humans was said to constitute the "base" of love. And since sexual love between man and woman enjoyed a high moral position in the thought of Marx and Engels, the marxist could easily conclude that the determining, and therefore truly important, aspect of the matter was sex. A student observes: "The basis of love is the sexual attraction of two individuals for one another. If some 'misunderstanding' enters into the seual relationship, then the whole poetic superstructure falls to pieces." Of course, the ultimate result in terms of personal behavior was not dissimilar to that of those who preferred their sex without any poetry. An even more liberal adaptation to the spirit of marxism was found in the theory that "eroticism defines consciousness," one of several "alien theories" about sex referred to by Iaroslavski.

It is clear that the effort to define the nature and origin of love brought, as it still does, much interesting discussion but no very solid conclusions. The older generation tended to see it as more closely related to reproduction and childrearing, while the younger theorists were likely to connect it more closely with sexuality as a materialistic and hence proper pleasure of the individual. In any event, the most consistent marxists were sure that sex was not a base for the family, for any reader of Engels' last book could see that in primitive times the family did not exist (and, consequently, perhaps would not in the communist future.

The justification of sexual freedom in the name of marxism aroused considerable indignation among some of the party leaders. They suspected the obvious existential basis of such theorizing. Lunacharski paraphrased the young man wooing the reluctant virgin as follows:

{p. 70} "'Well,' she says, 'what if I do, and you leave me, and I get a baby. What do I do then?' He answers, '... what philistine thoughts! What philistine prudence! How deeply you are mired in bourgeois prejudices! One can't consider you a comrade.'" Lunacharski continues, "the frightened girl thinks she is acting like a marxist, like a leninist, if she denies no one."

Most of the population, one suspects, and a good proportion of the inner circle of the older comrades themselves urged the youth to abstinence or at least to moderation in sex behavior. But it is most revealing that no good marxist theoretical arguments immediately at hand could provide a reasoned and principled underpinning to the case for self-discipline in sex, especially in a land where the old social order had been overturned and where the canons of Marx and Engels were supposed to guide the way to communism.

It was increasingly clear that sex had become a complex social problem. There were not only the continued presence of prostitution and the usual transgressions and indiscretions of youth, but also a good number of mature adults, including many party members, who were "enjoying the new freedom." Stories circulated about sexual exploits of herculean proportions, about men with twenty wives, each with a baby. This problem was of the sort most painful to serious marxists, for it involved exploitation of the weak by the strong. In fact, the parallel between the individual freedom and sexual exploitation of the female of these times and the individual freedom and economic exploitation of the proletarian worker described in classical marxism is quite striking. Both freedoms were purely formal.

As early as 1923 the essential facts of the case were recognized in this frank analysis:

{quote} The new quality of all social relations, the new style of life, already created under capitalism and not at all by us long ago made the new forms of marriage indispensable. They are characterized by our freedom, by the absence of any restraint whether that be juridical restraint or the power of economic relations. In principle we separated marriage from economics; in principle we destroyed the "family hearth," in which was centered the power of economics, which independently of juridical norms, transformed marriage into an externally forced union and sentenced woman to a many-sided slavery. We destroyed the hypocrisy of the family hearth. We said that marriage ought to be a union of love, and not a juridically or economically

{p. 71} required union. We said that marital ties must not be converted into marital "bonds," that is, into marital chains which connect the husband with the wife like one chain gang member to another. But we carried out the resolution on marriage in such a manner that only the man benefited from it, and the woman was left in a tragic position ... the woman remains tied with chains to the destroyed family hearth, to the ruins of the family hearth. The man, happily whistling, can leave it, abandoning the women and children. {endquote}

If women were forced to conceive and then were abandoned by husbands who wanted to live according to the new way of life, opinion studies showed quite clearly that the two sexes actually held different views about sex and love. It was mainly the men who wanted sexual variety, or at least sexual gratification, whereas the women tended much more to be interested in love. Thus the double standard continued to prevail, and writers began to stress the fact that "the girl is the person who suffers."

There were two main views on the role of the new regime in these unfortunate developments. One group held that the law itself was at fault: it did not accord sufficient protection to the woman. The other side put responsibility not upon the law, which was plainly well intentioned, but upon people's abuses of the law. The anticipated assumption by the state of responsibility for childrearing, they believed, would clear up the problem.

Finally, while only a minority of the population indulged in the new sex freedom, they were sufficiently numerous to be troublesome and many were in social positions of high visibility. The attitude of the majority of the population varied from one individual to another and from social group to social group, of course, but it seems fair to say that the main response was widespread moral indignation. Freedom of divorce and abortion, for instance, seemed to many an open invitation to sex debauchery. Attitudes about sex and family attitudes were very deeply rooted, and the "good intentions" of the party leaders were rarely recognized. In fact, quite the contrary was true. The average citizen was apt to see the communist and his way of life not as a model of virtue and principle, but as purely and simply licentious. As a sociologist reported in a book published in 1929, "A reaction has been observed in our country against such ... sexual anarchism, at times reaching as far as the resurrection of the fine morality of the priests."

{p. 72} The Plight of the Children

As I have already shown, among the Soviet communists it was a foregone conclusion that parenthood was a declining occupation that was to be replaced by social rearing. Upbringing of children by the state would not only free the women for work but also provide a more effective means for rearing better citizens. The "program maximum" of the early years was expressed by Z. I. Lilina, wife of G. E. Zinoviev, in 1918, in words which were to become famous: "We must rescue these children from the nefarious influence of family life. In other words we must nationalize them. They will be taught the ABC's of communism and later become true communists. Our task now is to oblige the mother to give her children to us-to the Soviet State." That this was not idle talk was proved by an immediate legal measure, the prohibition of adoption by childless couples in article 183 of the original family code of 1918. The Bolshedid not wish to support the creation of new families and thus reinforce the parental role.

The assumption that state rearing of children would be widely established was not actually borne out by subsequent events. Instead, during the turmoil and chaos of the Civil War the young society's resources proved inadequate. The need for state institutions was in fact growing because of the tide of children rendered homeless by the death, destruction, and mobility of the times, but there were too few children's homes, creches, and kindergartens, and in those few that were set up conditions were very bad. Lack of space soon led to restrictive admission policies. Creches and kindergartens became in effect emergency care institutions, into which only "complete orphans" or the children of the poorest workers were taken.

Apparently facilities were so poor and personnel in such short supply that it proved impossible to stop the alarmingly high death rate of babies entrusted to the care of the state. In the city of Moscow, as early as 1924, babies were being farmed out to private families by arrangement with the Moscow Soviet, although party representatives showed little enthusiasm for the idea. But the head of the Department of Motherhood and Infancy of the Commissariat of Health stated that health was more important even than the "principles of social training." She explained that collective education could be only partial because funds were lack-

{p. 73} ing, because methods had not been worked out to organize it, and because the population was not ready for it. In Izvestiia of January 2, 1926, it was announced that "many homeless children" were being "settled" amongst the peasantry.

The realities of the early years after the Revolution forced a quick retreat from principles. Poverty forced the organizations responsible for children to settle them in private families, and adoption was again legalized in the 1926 family code.

But such actions did not strike at the roots of the evil. They could not, of course, prevent the extended period of revolution and civil war that produced so many orphans, but even after those social convulsions had ended, they could do nothing to restrict the number of orphans already present.

Another problem, which seemed potentially more permanent but was basically more susceptible to ameliorative action, was abortion. The figures for Moscow, Leningrad, and other large cities were pronounced "massive" and "horrifying" by some of the more respected older party members. Smidovich wrote that she had seen young women who had undergone four or five abortions within a year. While abortion was of course regrettable, it was also "understandable" to the same writers who were dedicated to social equality between the sexes. Vinogradskaia wrote in Pravda, July 26, 1923, quite reasonably, that women turned to abortion so they could stay at work and "keep up with their husbands." Existing conditions made motherhood a handicap, and many Soviet wives in those days, as today, were forced to choose between motherhood and social equality.

A corollary of the rise in the abortion rate was the fall in the urban birth rate. As early as 1926 Lunacharski expressed anxiety that this would be a decisive factor in reducing the enthusiasm of those who still favored the abolition of the family forthwith. He argued that it was only thanks to the peasantry, not yet touched in such degree by "pseudo-revolutionary ideas" so as to reflect them in their family life, that the birth rate had not suffered even more.

{In the West - the USSA - there is no peasantry, because farming has been mechanised (powered by fossil-fuels). As a result of following the path pioneered by the Soviet Union, it is reliant on immigration from "third world" countries where family life is still traditional: where girls know how to be mothers, and want to be mothers}

A problem with long-run implications was abandonment. A "constant chain of wanderers" through the undermanned and numerically scanty state institutions created a feeling of helplessness among the personnel assigned to deal with them. Although no tallies of the number of homeless children are reliable, estimates for the year 1922 ranged as high as 9,000,000, and the number was obviously great enough to cause

{p. 74} serious concern. Not only did the homeless children present a pitiful spectacle, become diseased, and die, but they gradually became a public menace, roaming the streets in gangs and committing every crime and violent act. Among the peasantry in the countryside, where there were practically no government institutions or other responsible agencies, abandonment often took place in the forest and was in fact infanticide. It was nevertheless a lesser evil in the eyes of the village peasants, who were intolerant of illegitimacy.

Dislocation and poverty were major factors here, but there were clear indications that the problem of abandoned children might become permanent. A writer presented this vignette of the situation: "As has been rightfully indicated already in the press, there exists among our youth a licentious, an irresponsible, attitude to woman and the consequences of marriage. He marries several times and produces babies, but who is going to rear them and what will happen to them - about that who cares, for we are 'growing into the future,' for 'we are communists, and in communist society there is no family.' This is an abscess, bourgeois depravity of its own kind turned upside down." Of course, nonsupport was illegal, but only in a formal way, not as a part of the ethos supported by party at the time. "Support" was legally defined for divorced persons as a proportion, depending on the number of children, of the wage earner's income, and even this responsibility was often disregarded. Solts wrote in 1926, "Right now there are among us many party members who refuse to support their children." Easy divorce, a matter of firm principle, was beginning to show its seamy side.

In about 1925 a Communist's wife wrote a dramatic letter to the newspaper concerning her husband's behavior. He had another woman, had already left his family several times, and now wanted to go for good. But, wrote his wife, his sick son worshipped him and needed a father. She continued: "If the matter concerned me alone, I would have left long ago. But there is a sick child involved. I have really worn myself out. But you can't allow the child to see that his father is carrying on with another woman right in front of his eyes. The child loves his mother and his father, too. Tell me, in what way are children guilty in all these dramas? If there were social rearing, then it would be another matter. But there is not enough room for even the full orphans ... Later on things will be fine. But now, in the transition period-what can one do?"

What seemed to many the best way out of the impasse, contracep-

{p. 75} tion, was not suitable for a number of reasons. The methods and devices available were often ineffective; the people, especially the peasantry, per cent of the population, were not used to them; and, as a matter of principle again, it did not seem right to manufacture and distribute birth control devices and information. For one thing the birth control practiced by the bourgeois pair in capitalist society had been scornfully derided by Lenin as defeatism. For another, government sponsorship of contraception would have struck the population as still another effort to introduce sexual libertinism. To the party leadership, things seemed bad enough already on the home-life front. As a result little was done to produce or publicize contraceptives.

All in all, individual sex love was proving an inadequate support for a lasting tie between husband and wife, to say nothing of that between father and children. And it was becoming increasingly evident that fathers, about which Marx and Engels had little good to say, were very important. The social problems of the early years were a fitting prelude to the new family policy of the 1930's and thereafter, in which the major legitimate function of the family became that of rearing the children.

{p. 76} FOUR | NEW THOUGHTS AND POLICIES: REVISING THE MARXIST THEORY OF THE FAMILY

BY THE MIDDLE of the 1920's public as well as private expressions of concern about the social problems connected with family life were becoming more frequent. In discussions held at the highest levels of the party and government, divorce and abortion figures were cited and references were made to such further problems as the link between the growing number of orphans and the "current sex ethic," which was believed to be associated with the "disintegration of the family." In 1926 a publication based on letters written to Pravda by women readers about their personal problems was aptly titled "Painful Questions," for that phrase expressed both its content and the author's conclusion: "The human documents presented below produce a painful impression. There is an aura of inconsolability about them. They invariably end in urgent questions to which it is not easy to give a simple and satisfactory answer." At about the same time, such Bolshevik leaders as Iaroslavski and Lunacharski began to assert that there was great interest in and desire for new advice about moral problems, especially sexual ones, among the youth: "Each of us has been repeatedly approached by students, by Komsomolites, with an invitation to give a report on the subject of 'the sexual question,' 'sexual relationships,' 'marriage and the family,' 'the problem of sex,' etc." Among some of the people, it was argued, there was a growing dissatisfaction not only with the current arrangements of marriage and family life, but also with the formulations of Marx, Engels, and their more orthodox Soviet followers. A recurrent complaint was that the communists gave no answers to the concrete questions asked of them. One of Trotsky's respondents, for instance, told of a lecturer on the subject "Marriage and the Family" who began by announcing, to the general chagrin of his audience, that he would talk about nothing but Engels' Origin of the Family. Another reported that the workers "think that we [communists] are deliberately silent on the question, and we really are." Several years later the problem was still pressing. "Current problems need current answers," argued the young,

{p. 77} "and we have had enough of the prescriptions of the future." A sharply worded example appeared in an "Open Letter to Comrade Smidovich": "When the new base is laid, then relations of the sexes will be wonderful. That's true. But what do you say we should do while waiting for the 'new base'? ... Iet us not argue about principles; here we are in agreement with everything. Let us speak instead about the earthly utilization of heavenly principles."

Such reactions marked the beginning of the end of the first phase of the regime's policy toward the family. By and large it was, for almost the entire first decade, an era of individual freedom, and the party's policy remained one of hands-off. During the first five years, there simply was no explicit and concrete line about the conduct of daily life, for relatively little attention was paid to it. As Trotsky wrote in 1923, the fact was that "the party did not and could not accord specific attention to questions of the everyday life of the working masses. We have never thrashed out these questions concretely as, at different times, we have thrashed out the questions of wages, fines, the length of the working day, police prosecution, the form of the state, the ownership of land, and so on. We have as yet done nothing of the kind in regard to the family nor in general the personal, private life of the worker." As a result, it must have seemed to many that since the communists had no answers, such questions were being solved quite simply by the youth themselves.

Theoreticians in Debate

As the party became aware of the growing dissatisfaction, it came to see that the first step toward a more active party role in everyday life was recognition of the existence of social problems; the second was explanations of what had happened that would put the growing difficulties into some kind of marxist perspective. The writings of Marx and Engels were unfortunately of little help, but Soviet theorists nevertheless made occasional efforts to show that Marx and Engels had not really meant to say that the "family in general" would disappear but only the "bourgeois family," or that they had opposed "sexual communism," which some writers sought to equate with what was now called "disorderly sexual relations."

In 1927 a work that purported to be a thorough coverage of the views of Marx and Engels on the sexual question was published by D. B.

{p. 78} Riazanov, Director of the Marx-Engels Institute, whose ideas had also been presented earlier in the course of the prolonged discussions carried on in 1925 and 1926 about the new code of law on the family and marriage. Riazanov's central argument was that Marx, in his early writings, opposed sexual promiscuity. He asserted that in a manuscript unpublished until 1927 Marx referred to: "the sanctification of sexual intercourse by its exclusiveness, the linking of intercourse with legal norms, the moral beauty transforming the demand of nature into a force of spiritual unity, the spiritual essence of marriage." However convincing this statement was at face value, Riazanov had to admit lamely that it was written by Marx in his presocialist days when "Marx was not a communist and undoubtedly not a marxist." Riazanov attempted nevertheless to surmount such a substantial obstacle by pointing to later work in which Marx attacked "vulgar communism": "Fina]ly, this government [vulgar communism] seeking to contrast general private property with private property, is expressed in a completely bestial form when it contrasts marriage (which is, of course, a recognized form of exclusive private property) and the communal ownership of women; when, as a consequence, the woman becomes for it social and undervalued property." There is nothing in common, continued Riazanov, between satisfaction of a need such as for food with a need for sexual intercourse. Satisfaction of the latter involved another human being directly, and "man is the highest being for man." Marx saw, he said, that "human feelings become more and more humanized and include spiritual and practical feelings (will, love, etc.) which arise thanks only to the being of their object-humanized nature." Riazanov also pointed out that some forty years later Engels came to the same conclusions: that individual sex love was an emergent in the process of historical development, that it was "by its nature exclusive," and that it was an indication of "the greatest moral progress."

Though Riazanov made about as much effective use as anyone could of materials left by Marx and Engels, he himself seemed to realize that his position was weak, for as often happens in the absence of a really convincing argument his ideas were buttressed by name-calling and an appeal to the living authority of Lenin and Kautsky. He stated that "Lenin shared fully his exposition" of their views and cited Kautsky to the effect that "economic development will make the carrying on of the individual household more and more unnecessary, will more and more undermine the economic basis of the family. Does this mean that the

{p. 79} family itself will disappear? No. There is already a new, higher basis for it - individuality ... Together with individualism, a type of individual sex love will grow which will find satisfaction only in a union and mutual life with one definite individual of the opposite sex."

None of this seemed very relevant by the mid-twenties, however, for the feeling was developing that some problems were urgently in need of solution and that life itself, coupled in the view of some with "the best from the inherited past," would have to show the way. This attitude opened the door, if not to "anti-marxist" ideas, at least to approaches that were outside the scope of Marx's and Engels' theory of the family.

In dealing with contemporary social problems, some of the older party leaders tended to ascribe the sex problem, which was at the head of the list, to the natural impulsivity and impatience of youth. Iaroslavski wrote: "No matter how much many Komsomolites want to quickly transform all of life into communist harmony (and such moods-give us the commune immediately, give us a communist way of life immediately-are found among our youth), we must not forget that the social system in which we are living is a transition one." In the same sentence, however, Iaroslavski put his finger on the most significant factor: not only were young people naturally impatient, but the transition period in Soviet Russia was assuming certain properties not foreseen in classical marxist writings. "The transition period in our economy and in all of our construction has thrown a significant part of our youth off the rails. They have been torn away from the customary conditions of existence, but have not yet become strong in the new ways."

Any good marxist could see that economic backwardness and poverty were the roots of such difficulties. "We need socialist accumulation," wrote Trotsky. "Only under this condition will we be able to liberate the family from all the functions and cares which now oppress and destroy it." A solution to the sex problem, wrote Iaroslavski, is linked with a "new type of family" and an improvement in the position of women, but, he continues, "here we must say quite plainly that without a radical reconstruction of our entire economy, we cannot solve this question properly."

As it also became evident that the transition period would last for some time, the issue was seen to be not merely economic. Family life and sexual attitudes change very slowly, and if some of the youth were too far ahead of the times, most of the rest of the population seemed too far behind. As one writer put it, "superstructures (and of course

{p. 80} daily life is a superstructure) are very sluggish, tightly organized." Preobrazhenski even argued that older people, even party members, were not able to change, that they were "too spoiled by capitalism" to be able to live under communism.

Such sober reassessments pointed up the fact that communism was still distant, but the ideal image of a communist society continued to induce many to overlook the limited possibilities of the present. Critical voices were ranged against these attitudes however. Already in 1923 one writer analyzed the sex problem in this way: "Our youth are struggling with the contradictions between our principles and our institutions. They are crippling them. We must act!" And, in 1926 Solts complained that many proposals made at the discussion of the draft law on marriage and the family were "based on idealistic principles, that is, upon conditions which are conceivable only in a communistic society: people are free, the sex union is free, we do not interfere. But we are marxists. We know that without taking account of th material base nothing can come of it."

Once this point had been understood, it was not difficult to conclude also that the monogamous family was still needed. Lunacharski, thinking better of some of his earlier thoughts, went through a revealing metamorphosis. In 1927 he wrote that yes, there will be a great amount of individual freedom later, but "not now!" He continued: "People can come together, and then part. This depends upon circumstance and upon temperament. One person finds another who will be a friend for his entire life, but the next does not; one person has one kind of temperament, a kind of personality such that he gets an especially great joy out of the serious building-up in life of a deep and specially chosen union with another individual, but the next prefers a flashing, fleeting transition from one to the next. Both the first and the second are possible in socialist society, but in our society of the transition period? No. In our society the only proper form of family is the prolonged pairmg family.

To Lunacharski, a man of principle, the concessions to the realities of the transition period were obviously unpleasant. The right to divorce, for instance, was very important to him: "We consider that both man and woman ought to be free in their fate." But, he continued, it ought to be a rare occurrence, "perhaps once in a lifetime, perhaps twice, if you are really so unhappy." He who made a mockery of the freedom to divorce was to be shamed by public opinion as a person who is a

{p. 81} "daily life counterrevolutionary." The question of abortions was approached in the same manner: the watchword for many people in arranging their sex life should be restraint, but "we are not hypocrites, and sometimes abortions are necessary."

Other writers, such as Smidovich and Iaroslavski, argued that not only would the family continue to be important for some time, with new and stronger bonds being created between man and woman, but that the promised freedoms were too costly for the proletariat. "Individual sex love," it appeared, was foundering in the mire of sex debauchery, and the latter term (raspushchennost) was becoming more and more popular. As Smidovich said, "The transition period is a period in which the proletarian state, socialist elements, and public society, will become manifest, and not laxity and all sorts of 'freedoms,' the cost of which the proletariat well knows."

The idea of natural man was becoming less popular, and already by the mid-twenties some well-known party members wanted, as apparently Lenin had, to see less freedom and a little more responsibility. For a considerable period, until Stalin ended intellectual controversy in Russia, the rightists attacked the leftists for "refusing to modify their principles," for their "spontaneous surrender to nature," and for "waiting for manna from heaven." The following is a sample of statements reflecting the latter flaw: "The new man will come by himself, will come about on the basis of the new socialist system. Without a new economy you can't build a new man in any case. What is there, then, to get excited about? The time will come and all the filth, all the force of habit will disappear by itself."

The rightists, in turn, were accused by the leftists of wanting to give up the gains of the Revolution, of bourgeois philistinism and the like. N. V. Krylenko's statements rebutting opposition to the legal recognition of de fcto marriage, a topical question in the year 1926, provide a good eample: "We hear arguments from the lips of our opponents, and accusations about us that we want to 'destroy marriage,' 'destroy the family,' 'legalize polygamy.' How these arguments smell! And won't the more acute readers catch in them the smell of other arguments, which once were spread against us from the core of the most reactionary strata? Isn't it desirable by custom to add to these accusations for company also the accusations that we want to 'destroy religion' or 'destroy the state'?"

The antagonists on either side found it difficult to sustain a high level

{p. 82} of debate, and the discussion frequently declined to the level of simple name-calling. A vicious attack against Kollontai's theories about the winged and wingless Eros by a member of the editorial board of the journal in which her article was published took her to task for an unmarxist preoccupation with love. It labeled her an idealist, a petty bourgeois feminist, and a "socialist intelligentsia philistine," in addition to the less serious charges of being a sloppy thinker and an irresponsible writer: "How is it possible, considering oneself a marxist and a revolutionary, to talk so much about the Eros of love and sexual morality ... The problem of love does not have in our life one tenth of the significance that Comrade Kollontai wants to give it in her articles, vainly wasting here her pathos and enthusiasm. It is really shooting at sparrows with a cannon."

A later apology in the pages of the same journal sought to soften the condemnation of Kollontai herself, but it confirmed the theoretical differences: "Differing from Comrade Kollontai in the solution of questions of morality, sex, and daily life posed by the Soviet scene, the editorial board considers it indispensable to emphasize that Comrade Kollontai remains a distinguished fighting comrade."

Even Riazanov, the party's expert on marxism, buttressed his scholarly position by calling his radical opponents lowbrows, "on as low a cultural level as the passionate-sweet baboons from the nobility or the bourgeoisie, or those mobile types from the working class whom the workers neatly call 'factory bulls.' Preobrazhenski summed up the whole first phase of argumentation in a much quoted passage:

{quote} Concretely, is it possible to pose an answer from a point of view of proletarian interests to the question, what forms of relationship of the sexes will be most compatible, if not with the present social relations and social interests, then with the relationship of socialist society: monogamy, transitory ties, or the so-called disorderly sexual intercourse? Until the present the defenders of one or the other point of view in this question have been more likely to base all manner of arguments upon their personal tastes and habits in this area, rather than to give a correct sociological and class-based answer. He who liked more the somewhat philistine personal family life of Marx, and he who, by inclination, preferred monogamy attempted to dogmatize the norm of the monogamous form of marriage, selecting medical and social arguments. Those who incline to the opposite attempt to hand out "temporary marriages" and "sexual communism" as the natural form of marriage in the future society and moreover sometimes the carry-

{p. 83} ing into practice of this type of relations between the sexes is proudly viewed as a "protest in fact" against the bourgeois family morality of the present. In fact such a posing of the question shows that people are recommending their own personal tastes to communist society and representing objective need in terms of their own personal sympathies. {endquote}

Such, it seemed likely, would often become the lot of disputation when marxism could not point the way to the proper conduct of life in the transition period.

Preobrazhenski was quite correct. Personal tastes, along with deeper lying impulses, did seem important factors in calling forth opinions. Even Lenin took a strong stand against the glass-of-water theory, though he also asserted that it was "repulsive to poke around in sexual matters." He vitiated the effect of his conservative views even more by contending that questions of sex and marriage were simply not very important at the time (1920) and admitting that he had been "accused by many people of philistinism in this matter although that is repulsive to me." Presumably, among his accusers were some whose opinion was important; Iaroslavski noted in 1926 that in the views he expressed on this subject at the Third Congress of the Komsomol in 1920, Lenin "somewhat differed from other communists."

The arguments eventually centered around two major substantive emphases. The leftists in the party tended toward the humanistic side of marxism, and the leninists sought to elevate the success of the Revolution, the class struggle, and the building of communism into the supreme value of the time and to deduce maxims of personal conduct from that value. Among the defenders of the first emphasis was Lunacharski, who had early argued that the only normative restriction on complete freedom in sex life should be the precept that "it is necessary to defend the weak [the child and the woman] in that unique type of struggle ... in the soil of love."

Within the wing of social theorists who gave precedence in their hierarchy of values to the Revolution, to the party, to the cause, several subthemes were emphasized. One of the earliest stressed eugenics and was proposed by Preobrazhenski, ordinarily ranked as a leftist, but in this respect occupant of a transitional position between left and right. In his book, Morality and Class Norms (1923), he argued that once sex life is separated from the family "it becomes a social question first and foremost only from the point of view of the physical health of the

{p. 84} race." From this argument he drew the conclusion that the norrns of sex conduct ought to be left to medical science. He insisted, however, that in principle society had the right to regulate sexual life in the interests of improving the race through artificial sexual selection. But this eugenicist approach had no practical consequences, for the shortage of facilities and medical personnel made it impossible even to take the simple step of requiring a medical test for marriage.

Other arguments in favor of interference on behalf of society were more down-to-earth, stressing restraint in sex, as in the use of tobacco and alcohol, as a factor in the conservation of health. Further, excessive sexual activity took time and strength which then were not available for work and for the party. From this argument it was only a short step to the most coherent post-marxist theory developed in the realm of sex

The Theory of Revolutionary Sublimation

Lenin was the prime mover in the view that the Revolution demanded more discipline and less freedom. It was understandable, if regrettable, Lenin wrote, that sexual relations were problematic: "The desire and urge to enjoyment easily attain unbridled force at a time when powerful empires are tottering, old forms of rule breaking down, when the whole social world is beginning to disappear." But, he continued, the Revolution "cannot tolerate orgiastic conditions ... no weakening, no waste, no destruction of forces. Self-control, self-discipline, is not slavery, not even in love." Lenin also argued that sexual promiscuity was not simply a "personal and private affair," but a social matter because "a new life arises. It is that which gives it its social interest, which gives rise to a duty toward the community." This hardly profound but fundamental reminder was to become the cornerstone of the new family policy. Finally, as mentioned above, Lenin did not hesitate to express his own personal tastes. He disposed of the glass-of-water theory by pointing out that the normal man prefers not to drink out of the gutter, nor out of a glass "with a rim greasy from many lips."

Though Lenin set the tone for the most forceful principled argument against sexual freedom, it remained for Aaron B. Zalkind, a Sverdlovsk professor, to translate it into more explicit and concrete terms. In a

{p. 85} series of articles and books publishcd between 1923 and 1930 Zalkind presented a reasoned case for conservatism in sex.

He claimed that his argument had three most immediate goals: the welfare of posterity, the proper distribution of "class energy," and orderly mutual relations within the (proletarian) class. The theoretical novelty of his proposals centered in the notion of energy. Defending the view that both sexual activity and social activity drew from the same pool of energy, he argued that where socially constructive activity was not possible, energy tended to flow into sexual interests and activities. Hence all of bourgeois society was suffused with sex, for in the exploitative capitalist system, the rich develop great sensitivity to sexual affairs and spend a great part of their time and energy on sex. The poor follow suit, for they are unable to spend excess energy constructively, and the results are the sexual poisoning of the human organism, the "sexual inflation" characteristic of capitalism, and the symptoms of excessive sexuality among children: onanism, extreme curiosity about sex, and early amorousness. To the "opium of religion" corresponded the "dope of sex."

On the other hand, continued Zalkind, under the dictatorship of the proletariat excessive preoccupation with sexual matters could not be tolerated, for it was "robbing the Revolution." It was necessary that sexual interests give way to a return of social interests, that that which had been stolen from the working class be given back to it. In fact, argued Zalkind, in a manner reminiscent of Kollontai, one must draw closer to the social collective than to the love partner. Indeed, in designating sex activity as energy stolen from the working class and the Revolution, Zalkind went further than Kollontai, who had argued that people were not yet able to center all their love interests on the social collective, and that therefore individual sex love, purified of any economic aspect - her winged Eros - was for the time quite permissible. Zalkind, less generously, contended that it was necessary to take back from sex all it had stolen from human creativity, and to give it its rightful due, which was a "serious affair," but ranking far from first place.

Zalkind asserted that his theory of revolutionary sublimation, in which he made selective use of the ideas of Freud, was a logical result of the basic principles or criteria of proletarian morality: collectivism, organization, dialectical materialism, and activism. In the service of these basic principles - and their operational equivalent, "revolutionary ex-

{p. 86} pediency" - sexuality had to take second place. Most important, sex was not a private affair; the proletarian class had the right to interfere with the sex life of its members. In fact, Zalkind informed his readers that "every joy must have a productive purpose," and "a genuine citizen of the proletarian revolution should not have unnecessary sexual feelings."

Zalkind did not leave things at this abstract level. He presented a list of twelve "norms of sexual behavior" that included such standards as sexual life should not start early, continence should be observed before marriage, and the sex act should not be repeated frequently. These norms were claimed to be deductions from the more general principles of collectivism, organization, and the like, and from the principle of "revolutionary expediency." Zalkind also looked ahead and argued that sex life in the future communist society would have many of the same characteristics as the life he recommended to his contemporaries. Sexual relations would be richer, more tender, more modest, more organized, and would involve less frequent repetition of the sex act and less variety of partner.

In his enthusiasm for applying the principle of revolutionary expediency, Zalkind arrived at a position about the feeling of jealousy that did not displease the radical leftists. With his concluding recommendation, "Struggle against the feeling of jealousy," there was general agreement, but Zalkind's rationale was less acceptable. Instead of opposing sexual jealousy as a form of the property motive or the spirit of bourgeois possessiveness, or as a transgression against the right of the individual to his own freedom, which were the orthodox views, he placed the class struggle first. "If my partner leaves me for a person more valuable to the class struggle, my protest is anti-class, shameful." This view was apparently too extreme, and he was taken to task for it. Bukharin, for example, mocked this particular idea as "scum from the cauldron of philistinism." In general, however, Zalkind's revolutionary norms of sex conduct received widespread attention in the twenties as a serious effort to come to terms theoretically with a situation that was becoming more and more disturbing to the party leadership.

Zalkind did not argue his case purely from abstract principles; he strengthened it by pointing to the problems connected with undesired pregnancies and births. Moreover, his appeal to another aspect of revolutionary expediency, authority ("Lenin and others among the best party members are with me") was doubtless correct. The theory of revolutionary sublimation presented two features attractive to the Soviet

{p. 87} leaders, several of whom went on record in favor of it. Iaroslavski, for example, wrote in 1926: "The youth are not attracted to the laws of nature, to the fact that these elements of inner sexual secretion, generally speaking, signify the same things as the elements of our nervous energy. And since the line of satisfaction of sexual needs at times seems both the most pleasant and the easiest, for it is the line of least resistance, this energy - extraordinarily precious nervous energy - is spent precisely on sexual life and not for the intellectual work of the brain, for current business, for the huge struggle awaiting the young generation which will, in the opinion of all of us, build communism; for this they have few powers left."

The revolutionary sublimation theory seemed to offer a solution not presented in established marxism, one which struck at the root of some of the most pressing social problems of the day. Thus, it seemed an important starting point in the struggle to work out some kind of ethical system for the everyday life of the transition period, to which Marx and Engels had devoted little attention.

In his writing Zalkind did not refer to the marxist classics, and with good reason, for he proposed the overthrow of two of Engels' most important principles. Engels had written of the moral superiority of individual sex love; it would "engender a feeling stronger than for life itself." Equally central was the principle of no interference in private life. All in all, Zalkind's approach represented an application of the bolshevik tendency to reverse the traditional marxist view of the role of base and superstructure: "The proletariat, attempting now to build a social economy in organized fashion, cannot fail to interfere also in a different social disorder, because a badly adjusted superstructure (even the sexual part of the same daily life superstructure) often can be reflected in a crudely negative fashion on the healthy development of the base itself (that is, the economy)."

Zalkind's theory was also an elaboration on the clearly emerging Machiavellian ethic of Lenin. In Lenin's own words: "We say that our morality is wholly subordinated to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. We deduce our morality from the facts and needs of the class struggle of the proletariat." To go from the "facts and needs of the class struggle" to the concrete rules of proper conduct in private life seemed for some time an unbridgeable gap, but Zalkind's concept of a limited pool of energy, which could be drained in the service of social or personal goals, provided the crucial link.

{p. 88} It remained only to add the positive side to the act of sexual sublimation. As a proper channel for the expression of the excess of youthful energy, the party leadership recommended sports, exercise, the cultivation of intellectual and cultural interests, and, of course, participation in organized political life. Apparently the theory of sexual sublimation also fitted in well with the inclination of some in the party, including Stalin, to undertake a task of such proportions that the ascetic heroism of the Revolution, its sense of sacrifice and self-denial, would be again repeated. From this point of view, the Five Year Plan era was a massive project in sublimation, for after an inverse relationship had been postulated between progress and sexuality, between heroic struggle and unhealthy preoccupation with the realm of private pleasure, the sex problem could fade into the background - in a word, take care of itself. And, quite consistently, during the entire five years of the First Five Year Plan virtually no attention was paid by Stalin's regime to it or to other problems linked with family life. By 1934, however, new developments suggested that the theory of revolutionary sublimation had not been enough to turn the course of events in the desired direction.

The New Family Policy

In family policy there were some minor retreats from principle during the very first years of the regime's life, such as the exception made of estates worth 10,000 rubles and less in the law prohibiting inheritance and the repeal in 1926 of the prohibition against adoption. It was also generally recognized that some in the party and many in the population never approved of the radical marxist ideas about family life. Finally, a slow but unmistakable shift can be discerned in the tenor of most of the published materials during the second half of the 1920's. Nevertheless, during the first half of the 1930's policy continued as before, until the great turning point came, between 1934 and 1936, when official propaganda directed its attention to the family with vehemence. The press filled with editorial and didactic material, posters appeared, party members were told to set a good example, and laws were passed that explicitly represented a new policy. On the theoretical plane the tolerant and future-oriented nature of the earlier writing now gave way to a more exhortatory and moralistic tone, which represented for the first time a

{p. 89} very definite and unified line. The accumulation of fifteen years of experience had led to a decision at the highest level.

At this time a new figure, Anton S. Makarenko, with the obvious blessings of Stalin, rose to national prominence. School teacher, camp director, writer, and educational philosopher, he spent the years from 1920 to 1935 working with the abandoned, neglected, homeless waifs (bezprizorniki). This task was not easy, for many of his charges had become thoroughly criminal and depraved. But he was remarkably successful in helping them organize their thoughts and behavior, raise their hopes and self-respect, become economically productive and independent, and often return to society as useful citizens. The story of his experiences was told with considerable literary skill in two books, Pedagogicheskaia Poema (An Epic of Educaion or, as most commonly translated, The Road to Life) and Flagi na Bashniakh (Flags on the Battlements or Learning o Live), first published in 1933-1935 and 1939, respectively.

As director of camps for homeless children, first under the auspices of the Kherson Regional Department of Education, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and later (1927-1935) under those of the Soviet secret political police, Makarenko instituted a demanding and strict - even martial - camp regimen. The young people, he found, usually responded with relief and pleasure to the end of their previous self-destructive anarchism and to incorporation into highly organized, militaristic yet self-governing groups or collectives, which performed under his own close supervision and active participation. Makarenko's faith in his method, his unusual patience and skill, and his considerable warmth and charismatic leadership eventuated in Soviet society's most genuine, even dramatic, example of the creative power of the organized collective. His pragmatically oriented conquest, at least in principle, of one of the new society's greatest social problems together with his unconcealed contempt for the "progressive," "child-centered," and experimental pedagogical theories of the 1920's and early 1930's, and for the olympian "bureaucrats" who sought to give life to such "abstract ideas and principles" brought him into continuing conflict with educational officials. By 1935, however, experimentalists had been repudiated, the new party line supported discipline and traditional pedagogy, and fame with honor came to Makarenko. Since his death in 1939 his influence has continued to grow to the point where, like Marx, Engels, and Lenin,

{p. 90} an institute has been established to carry out research on him and his work.

Makarenko also became the most authoritative writer on the family to emerge in the Soviet period. A Book for Parents, written in 1937 and published in 1940, presents in the form of short stories and instructive episodes with commentary the thesis that "in moulding their children, modern Soviet parents mould the future history of our country and, consequently, the history of the world as well."

The main themes have a familiar ring. The family is, or should be, a collective in which the parents, with loving but strict authority, prepare their children for life in Soviet society. Among the principles Makarenko recommended were consistency, unanimity of parental requirements, orderliness, and great respect for the children coupled with high expectations placed before them. By learning to accept and carry through ever more difficult tasks willingly, the children would learn discipline, and by coming to accept the values imposed upon them by their parents, delegates of the larger society, they would become properly dutiful. The content of duty was made up of official Soviet values: heroic work effort, faith in the party and its ideas, and, of course, collectivism.

The parents' responsible leadership was all-important; they had to unswervingly and devotedly set themselves before their children as examples by, for instance, firmly pursuing worthy goals. Makarenko recommended large families because the true collective spirit could not develop with only one child in the family. In general, Makarenko's ideal Soviet family was close to a mirror image of the total society, thus "every attempt it [the family] makes to build up its own experience independently of the moral demands of society is bound to result in disproportion, discordant as an alarm-bell."

The eager acceptance of Makarenko's ideas is symptomatic of both the type of social problem and the characteristic solution of the Stalin era. Discipline, duty, and subordination of the individual to group values as defined by unquestionable authority was exactly to the taste of Stalin, who was, moreover, quite ready to look upon his peoples as delinquents and moral defectives. But as a man of his era, Makarenko merits appraisal in his own right. In some ways he was a paradox: a man who was intensely involved, protective, and warmly human with his bezprizorniki, who at the same time took as ideal types the officers of the dreaded and detested secret police; a strict disciplinarian in his camps

{p. 91} who was nevertheless in constant feud over his authoritarian methods with his superiors in the educational field and in the higher administrative echelon; a Soviet writer on the family whose books carry hardly a reference to the views of Marx, Engels, or Lenin; and a man of creative literary capacity who was remarkably anti-intellectual, in this respect much like his spiritual father, Maxim Gorky.

In the present context, however, Makarenko's ideas about the family are most interesting. Focusing on the difficult task of combating individualism in order to produce citizens who would find no contradiction between their needs and society's, he supported and rationalized the authority of Soviet parents at a time when it had become increasingly clear that some kind of authority was badly needed. Nevertheless, one cannot escape the suspicion that he continued to feel distrustful toward the family and probably would have preferred to find some other solution to the organization of life in his ideal Soviet society. His field experience with delinquent and homeless children could well have suggested that a social collective other than the family could adequately perform the function that the family in the hard times after the Revolution had failed to perform.

Probably as a matter of practical politics, Makarenko saw that no matter what future policy would bring, the family was going to have to rear a lot of children in the years ahead. His work also made him very conscious of the defects and failures of Soviet parents. In this sense, then, the man who showed how effective the nonfamilial social group can be in forming and changing the human personality had no alternative other than to recommend the family for the job.

As other Soviet writers began to refer to the family as a basic cell, the foundation of Soviet society, or, following Makarenko, a small collective, it was urged upon the populace that strengthening of the family had become one of the basic rules of communist morals. The urge to domesticity, previously regarded as something of a social crime, as petty bourgeois philistinism, was now praised. Soviet wives and mothers could hear and read that achieving a "comfortable home life" was a legitimate and even praiseworthy goal. By the late 1940's points of view were published that even more directly contradicted Marx, Engels, and Lenin. For instance, household work, described by Lenin as petty, drudging, and monotonous was now redefined as "socially useful labor." The activities of father and mother in the role of parents, instead of being dominated by the "exploitative attitude," "ignorance," and "individualism" of the

{p. 92} traditional marxist view, now became socially important - and hence matters of patriotism. For the children, love for parents became an ethical absolute; in contrast to the earlier conditional love urged upon them, Soviet boys and girls now were told to love and respect their parents, even those who were old-fashioned and did not like the Komsomol. To fortify the newly recognized importance of parenthood and set the tone for his subjects, Stalin's propagandists began to laud the sober and stable family lives of such great examples as Marx, Lenin, Liebknecht, and Chernyshevski. Stalin himself engaged in a most unbolshevik act in 1934 when, to the accompaniment of full publicity, he visited his old mother in the Caucasus; previously the Soviet press had published virtually nothing about his personal life.

On the legal side, parents were accorded specific new liabilities. In the spring of 1934 a decree was passed denouncing hooliganism and urging parents and teachers to supervise their children more rigorously. Parents became liable under criminal law for the delinquent acts of their children and also were made subject, by legislative enactment, to considerable social pressure for lack of adequate supervision of their children. The militia were empowered to fine neglectful parents up to two hundred rubles without court action, parents were to be financially responsible for their children's misdemeanors, parental neglect cases were to be reported to the place of parent's occupation, and a procedure was set up to transfer children into childrens homes if parental supervision could or would not be exerted. The pressure on the children themselves was also increased. Minors from the age of twelve were to be held accountable for criminal acts such as larceny, violence causing bodily injury, and murder, and from the age of fourteen, jointly liable with their parents for civil damages.

The new responsibility of parenthood was even refiected in a reduction in scheduled operation of creches for preschool children, which were opened each day only for the period that covered the mother's work shift and the time she required to deliver and call for her children. The change in attitude could also be traced in fictional literature, for unsuitable ideas expressed in earlier editions of novels were changed or left out in editions published after the new family policy. For example, in Bruski, volume IV, by F. I. Panferov, the original sentence, "I know the party is not concerned with family matters," disappeared in later editions, along with similar passages.

The rehabilitation of parenthood went hand in hand with a new pro-

{p. 93} priety in marriage and sexual life. While previously the terms marriage and man and wife had been indiscriminately used to apply to the most casual and temporary alliance, the Soviet propaganda machine now began to distinguish between sexual frivolity and marriage, the latter being "in principle a lifelong union with children." Instead of seeking to separate marriage from the family, which had been the tendency earlier, the joys of motherhood and fatherhood now were closely tied to marriage.

{Either Stalin saved his people or, as the Trotskyists, say, was reactionary and counter-revolutionary}

Again, the new policy was reflected in both legal measures and less explicit changes. One of the main problems in the domestic law of the first fifteen years concerned the recognition of a state of marriage in the event of litigation about the disposal of property, alimony suits, and so on. The 1926 code, passed after considerable discussion, gave legal status to de facto or common law marriage, and was widely considered for this reason to be a more radical code than the first one promulgated by the new Soviet government in 1918. From the mid-thirties, however, the balance of relative significance attached to de facto and to registered marriage began to shift back, and finally in 1944 only the latter was recognized as legally binding. The seriousness with which Stalin wanted his people to regard permanent, registered marriage was manifested in the un-marxist sanction imposed by the law upon a child born outside such a union: he was to be without the right to claim the name or estate of his (biological) father and thus could easily be identified as illegitimate. In combination with the natural tendencies of men and women, and the abolition of legal abortion, the 1944 law thus introduced the likelihood that many Soviet citizens would in the future occupy this unfortunate status and help reinstitute a concept - illegitimacy - which Soviet and other marxists previously had considered a bourgeois prejudice.

Efforts were also made to stress the positive side. The locale of marriage registration, the ZAGS or civil registry office, was to be brightened up, and local officials were urged to see that the registration procedure took on some of the solemnity of the marriage ceremony. Local industries were authorized to manufacture wedding rings, and presumably the venereal disease posters occasionally to be found in ZAGS offices were also removed.

The new sacredness of marriage had several corollaries. It implied a fresh attitude toward sexual expression, one opposed to the original attitude which had been very rationalistic. Since, for example, medical science could not prove that incest was physiologically harmful, the

{p. 94} criminal code had said nothing about it. Similarly, homosexuality had not been illegal for the first seventeen years of Soviet rule. According to the prevalent official attitude adultery was entirely a private matter, and hence hardly cause for concern. Even bigamy was punishable only in the Moslem areas of Central Asia where the bolsheviks wanted to stamp out polygamy as a "survival of the past."

Actually, earlier Soviet justice had not been entirely unresponsive to sexual deviance. Defined in a very special way, it was closely associated with the concept of exploitation. The conditions under which rape could occur, for example, stressed the regime's desire to give legal support to sex equality. A husband could (and still can) be prosecuted for the rape of his wife, and in the days of easy marriage, a man who entered into that state solely to gain sexual access, and with intent to divorce subsequently, could also be prosecuted for rape. Similarly, article 154 of the criminal code provided for the conviction of an employer who forced a female employee into sexual relations.

But, after marriage had been made newly important, the regime took a much more stern position toward sexual deviance, especially that which could destroy a marital union. Homosexuality was made a criminal offense in 1934, and an energetic nationwide campaign against sexual promiscuity, quick and easy marriage, bigamy, adultery, and the exploitative approach toward women was carried on during most of 1935 and 1936. On August 11, 1935, Pravda printed a story about a drunkard with three wives and another about a woman who quarreled with her new husband on the way from the ZAGS, and returned there, within an hour of the marriage, to divorce him. Bigamists, exploiters, deserting husbands and fathers, and the more innocent but still wayward young persons too easily mistaking infatuation for love were all busily exposed. One can imagine the rueful feelings of Iaroslavski, that veteran counsellor who only a few years earlier had pointed out that it was unbolshevik to be forever "looking under the bedsheets." Many, we may be sure, inside the party and out, still held to the view that sex activity was part of private life and no concern of the party's.

If "so-called free love and loose sexual life are altogether bourgeois and have nothing in common either with socialist principles and ethics or with the rules of behavior of a Soviet citizen," and if "marriage is the most serious affair in life," as Pravda commented in 1936, then it seemed logical to introduce a new conception of love. The priority given by Engels to individual sex love had already been devalued by some

{p. 95} writers even before the new family policy. One line of thought sought to play down the natural, presumably sexual, basis of love as described by Engels, and to substitute common work, participation in building communism, and shared cultural interests as a basis for marital love. A variant of this trend was simply to reduce or even deny the importance of love as an experience and as a unifying bond. During the First Five Year Plan the almost complete lack of attention given to the family in the official mass media was paralleled by the expression in the literature of the time of such sentiments as "It's work that matters, not wives," and by such period types as Uvadiev, a party secretary in Leonid Leonov's novel, Sot (1930), who banished smoking, drinking, and tenderness from his life, looking upon love as "merely a fuel to treble his strength on the next day's path." Even later, when love had again become more legitimate, it still occupied a low rank on the scale of officially recommended priorities. It was not as important as, say, labor and struggle.

More significant was the effort to introduce a distinction, completely overlooked by Engels, between love and infatuation. Operationally, it was a simple distinction to make: love was a lasting tie, and infatuation was not. Mutual sexual attraction, so central in Engels' scheme of things, was thus newly labeled, and natural man's freedom was defeated by the rule of discipline and responsibility.

For the first two decades after the Revolution the regime used only advice and persuasion, but by 1935 Stalin was ready to resort to more concrete inducements. For men and women who insisted upon "mistaking infatuation for love," penalties were assigned. The laws of 1935-36 provided relatively mild sanctions, fees of 50, 150, and 300 rubles for first, second, and subsequent divorces, and, probably more important, required entry of the fact of divorce in the personal documents of those involved. Though considerable success in lowering the divorce rate was claimed immediately, even heavier sanctions were introduced in 1944. A judicial process of divorce was instituted, and the fees for divorce raised to at least 500 rubles and at most 2,000 rubles. In the judicial process the lower court was required to make every effort to effect a reconciliation; if this proved impossible, the case was to be carried to a higher court, which was the one that could actually grant the divorce. Consequently, the Soviet citizen who wished to divorce was faced with substantial ideological, financial, and judicial obstacles. Freedom of divorce, to many communists one of the most prized achieve

{p. 96} ments of the Revolution, had become for the majority of the Soviet population little more than a formal right without content.

Another achievement of the Revolution, equally dear to feminists and to large sections of the poorly housed urban population in the USSR, was the right of women to legal and free abortion. The 1920 enabling decree referred to the "gradual disappearance of this evil" and pointed to "moral survivals of the past" and "difficult economic conditions" as the main reasons why women still felt compelled to resort to abortion. By 1936 the "survivals" and "difficult conditions" had hardly been wiped out, and it was also clear that the Soviet State was not preparing seriously to take responsibility for childrearing upon its own shoulders. Nevertheless, after a nationwide discussion in which many expressed opposition, abortions were made illegal in that year.

All in all, this move seemed a crushing blow to the idea of sex equality, and also to one of the few areas of personal freedom remaining to Soviet citizens. To be sure, provisions were added to grant material aid allowances to mothers of large families and provide more maternity services, and the people were promised that within eighteen months the number of nursery beds for children would double and the number of permanent kindergartens increase threefold. The exposed position of the Soviet mother was further recognized by raising to two years' imprisonment the penalty for divorced fathers' refusal to pay alimony in judgments awarded for the maintenance of their children. In 1944 the responsibility of unmarried fathers was curtailed, but at the same time assistance to mothers was made more generous, and also extended to unmarried mothers.

To sum up, all these measures make it clear that responsibility, reproduction, and childrearing were in favor and that stable marriages, large families, and self-discipline were now more important to the regime than individual freedom, sex equality, and ideological consistency.

Equally as fascinating as the story of how Stalin's regime decisively changed its position on the family is the question of why it did so. A great deal has been written on the subject, and many writers have concluded that the Soviet experience proves that the family cannot be dispensed with. This conclusion is certainly too strong, but it is difficult to establish a definitive interpretation. Perhaps all the evidence on why the new position was adopted will never come to light, for it may be that Stalin simply made a personal decision which he never bothered to explain to his colleagues or to justify in any other form. Inter-

{p. 97} pretations of the new family policy offered by both Soviet and Western analysts are often overly monistic, assigning exclusive weight to only one condition or reasonable cause. It is more likely that the switch in policy was overdetermined, and that at least five sets of conditions were at work: (1) the specific and concrete social problems of the kind described in the preceding chapters, which called for attention to the family's function of social control; (2) the concessionary mood of Stalin's regime, anxious to gain a measure of popular unity and loyalty among the people, who were by and large in favor of the new, more conservative family policy; (3) a new international situation with a reassessing of the Soviet Union's immediate future on the world political scene and the link between family life and birth rate; (4) the general shift in Soviet policy toward discipline and control over individual freedom, which may simply have swept the family, as it did other institutions of social control and indoctrination, back into a more legitimate status; and (5) a significant and explicit reorientation in Soviet marxism, stressing the active role of the superstructure in inducing social change.

{p. 99} Evidence from refugees suggests the general unpopularity of the central plank of the original bolshevik program for the family, free divorce. Three out of four among those questioned recorded their approval of the legislation which made the procurement of divorce considerably more difficult. Reactions to some of the more detailed provisions of the law are significant. While it is not possible to vouch for the representativeness of these views, they suggest prewar attitudes. As to the substantial expense involved: "(It costs a lot of money to get a divorce.) That is good. There will be less prostitution" (296 B 20). As to the long and difficult court process: "People just say, 'Right now we are not getting along, so let's get a divorce.' It brings depravity to the people. It should go to the court, to make a person think. If not, he just pays a couple of rubles and gets a divorce. That is not good" (279 B 41). To be sure, proof that most features of the new family policy met with approval, even if it could be found, would not indicate that such a fact had been taken into account by Stalin.

{p. 102} When the policy did change, with official dogma supporting the monogamous husband, the responsible father, and the joyous mother, who set aside leisure time to spend with the family, and so on, it was possible for an official apologist to claim that the leftist theories of the early years had gone uncriticized. Though this is not strictly accurate, after Stalin's accession to power, we must remember, "criticism" had taken on a new meaning; it was now equivalent to condemnation.

{p. 103} No authoritative writers attempted to find justification for the new family policy in Marx, Engels, or Lenin, and the efforts that were made by little-known persons seem quite clumsy, internally contradictory, and embarrassed. Evading theoretical argumentation of any sophistication, they relied on indoctrination, and especially upon that peculiar Soviet form that has been aptly termed the "imperative-indicative." Clearly, the truth was too awkward to be faced, and had to be covered up.

{p. 104} Use of scapegoats also became common: "The enemies of the people, the vile fascist hirelings - Trotsky, Bukharin, Krylenko and their followers - covered the family in the USSR with filth, spreading the counter-revolutionary 'theory' of the dying out of the family, of disorderly sexual cohabitation in the USSR, in order to discredit the Soviet land."

... The list of taboos was widely advertised, and the Soviet citizen was left in no doubt about what was expected of him.

{p. 106} ... To give one recent example, it has become quite usual to blame Soviet juvenile crimes upon the irresponsibility and mistakes of the delinquent's parents, and the conclusion which emerges might be expected: "In connection with this, the interference of public organizations into family upbringing must be considered an appropriate and beneficial phenomenon."

Post-Stalin Problems and Trends

The new family policy began in the mid-thirties and was brought to full scope in the legislation of 1944. In the decade following there were no significant changes, but since the death of Stalin some momentous new developments have occurred. Illegal abortion was the first portion of the new policy to fall. In 1954 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet annulled criminal responsibility of women for obtaining an abortion, and in 1955 rescinded the rest of the law originally passed in 1936. ...

A second development, of the greatest consequence for family policy

{p. 107} as well as for all of Soviet society, was the denigration of Stalin and the cult of personality, which led the way to sharp social commentary and criticism of a kind that had not been possible since the 1920's. ...

Even the law itself, promulgated in the name of people, party, and the sacred cause of communism, lost its untouchable quality. A 1960 newspaper discussion of the 1944 law on the family referred to it as "obsolete" and as containing "decayed norms." Indeed, one of the most popular topics concerning family and married life in the daily press in the 1954 to 1963 decade was the lack of correspondence between the 1944 law and the code of morality and actual life of the Soviet people. The main target of criticism was the heavy administrative and financial barrier to divorce, which forced a great part of the population into evasions of the law and de facto marriages.

Some of the writing shows a remarkable degree of indignation and concern over social justice - remarkable, that is, within the framework of the usual practices of the Soviet press. Especially attacked has been one of the main instrumentalities of the new family policy, that which made thc woman entirely responsible for the support and rearing of children born out of legal wedlock. "A bitter feeling arises when one realizes that certain provisions of the law of July 8, 1944 ... aid in the revival of the shameful view that women are the guilty parties in the 'fall from grace' of man. They aid in spreading narrow views that indiscriminately brand any woman who has dared to have a child 'without a husband.'" ...

{p. 108} An equivalent measure of antagonism has been directed against the stigmatization by the 1944 law of millions of Soviet children as illegitimate. The children of mothers who were literally without husbands as well as those who had husbands but had to live with them in de facto or unregistered marriage were identified in their personal documents with a dash in the place of the father's name. Moreover, they had neither the right nor the opportunity to take their father's names. The man on the street, it seems, considered both categories as illegitimate, and school children were to be heard addressing certain of their peers as, "Hey you, fatherless." ...

Finally, ardent adherents of social logic discovered a corollary set of most distressing anomalies. From time to time the Soviet organized public found it necessary to heap scorn on unmarried fathers who had, by refusing to marry, incurred no legal responsibility whatsoever. This practice, it appeared, was giving a "'legal' right to sexual promiscuity for some and the responsibility for it to others," and the 1944 law prolonged the helpless and exposed position of the Soviet mother which had been one of the most unsavory consequences of the earlier, easydivorce policy. There was also the tragicomic spectacle of the mass adoption by men of their own children, who were otherwise "illegitimate," born to them by their own "wives," whom they could not marry because of inability to get divorces from their previous (legal) wives. ...

{p. 109} All in all, the time was indeed ripe when, "in response to many letters of inquiry," a new law on marriage and the family, several years in preparation by a representative subcommittee of the Supreme Soviet, was revealed in February 1964 and went into effect on December 10, 1965. It was admitted that the existing (1944) legislation contained "certain flaws." Readers who were not already well familiarized with them could discover what they were by studying the changes. In the future birth certificates issucd for children born out of wedlock would no longer show a line drawn through the place for the father's name; paternity outside marriage would be made subject to voluntary admission and, "in certain cases," to the determination of the court; obligatory public announcements in the newspapers of the filing of a divorce action would be ended; and divorce cases would be heard and decided only in the people's courts.

The changes clearly represent a compromise position; the post-revolutionary pendulum has come to a vertical rest. There is apparently to be no complete "return to the principles of Lenin," that is, absolute free divorce as some have urged, but the most pressing sources of injustice and trouble appear to be at an end.

A third development of the post-Stalin years may prove in the long run to be the most significant of all: the growing fund of accurate information about family life, and the rise of new methods and personnel to gather more such information in the future.

{p. 252} In the years from 1917 to 1936 divorce was legally easier to bring about than marriage in the USSR, for the consent of two was required for marriage, whereas one partner could divorce the other without the latter's consent and without any court process, at least from 1926 to 1936. It is now the generally accepted view inside the USSR, as it always has been in the outer world, that such a policy is a seriously disruptive influence on the stability of marriage.

{p. 255} Divorce was free and easy from 1917 to 1935. In 1936 a new code was issued which required a graduated set of fees for divorce: 50 rubles for the first, 150 for the second, and 300 for the third and any subsequent divorces. Since average monthly earnings of workers and employees amounted to 238 rubles in 1936, it is obvious that these fees must have acted as a powerful deterrent to registration of more than one divorce, at the least, and to any registration of divorce, particularly among the peasants, at most. Also, both parties were henceforth required to appear at the registry office, and the divorce was to be registered in the personal passport. Even though no court procedure was required, a continuing campaign of agitation and propaganda was waged against thoughtless marriage, frivolous divorce, foolish girls, and licentious rakes.

Toward the last years of World War II the now famous "law of 1944" was promulgated, introducing not a single but a double court procedure. It imposed a fee of 500 to 2,000 rubles for those couples who wanted a divorce badly enough, could get judicial approval, and had enough money to pay the cost. In addition to the fee, payable upon issuance of the divorce decree, applicants had to pay 100 rubles to the court when filing for divorce and to pay a similar sum for the publication in the local newspaper of the intention to seek a divorce. The lower or people's court then could hear the case, but all such courts were instructed to do everything in their power to reconcile the couples, a mission fortified by the code's failure, to provide a specific list of grounds for divorce. Although the lower court was empowered to conduct a thorough investigation, the divorce itself could be granted only if

{p. 256} reconciliation failed and another application was made to a higher, city or regional court.

It is evident without further details that the new procedure was indeed a radical change from the past, a departure from the socialist attitude toward divorce, and an extremely tough divorce policy. Its intention was made maximally clear by the further proviso that no legal claim or right was to be extended to a wife or children resulting from an unregistered marriage, thus introducing for the first time since the Revolution an officially sponsored concept of the illegitimate child. Furthermore, "the decree was directed primarily at women; it said to them, 'If you wish to establish a sound and stable family and if you wish your interests and the interests of your children to be protected, do not be casual about intimate relations.'"

{p. 259} A Soviet legal specialist estimated that there were 11,000,000 illegitimate children in the USSR in 1947, a year in which 3,312,000 unmarried mothers were receiving grants for support of their children.

{p. 304} The Decline of Parental Influence

Everyday encounters sometimes illustrate dramatically basic social patterns. The writer Sergei Mikhalkov tells of a Soviet family in which the father was trying to reason with his five-year-old son: "Look how badly you are behaving - you don't obey Mama and Papa. We do everything for you - we show you every concern." The son answers: "It is not you who show concern for me. It is the party and the government that show concern for me." Mikhalkov comments: "He listened to the radio and watched television. And, being a child, he absorbed like a sponge everything he heard and saw."

Probably no generalization about trends in the Soviet family finds more support from all sources than that of a decline in parental influence over children. Among the refugees in the Harvard Project, the younger generations were less influenced by their parents than the latter had been by theirs, even when seeking a model for their own roles as

{p. 305} parents. Often the point is made by stressing the new qualities of Soviet youth. The precise adjectives and phrasings used by parents to describe the younger generation varyÑ"quite fearless," "raised in a new spirit," "more developed," "get about easily by themselves" - but their common meaning is summed up by the word independence. As a Soviet analyst put it in 1964, young people in the USSR have a veritable "greed" for independence, a need which is nourished in part by the tendency of their parents to accord considerable importance to the autonomy of their children's "personal life." However, Soviet parents confronting this pattern display a mixture of feelings, as if they are a little amazed, a little disgusted, a little proud, a little fearful at what they see in their children.

Why have Soviet parents, even those most in opposition to the Revolution and regime, lost so much ground in the shaping and control of their children?

{p. 306} Even though the family was looked on with more favor in 1935 than it had been in the two previous decades, it continued to be an institution of relatively low priority. The more actively involved, successful elements in the population were likely to include in their political orthodoxy the view that society comes before family. They would subscribe, at least in principle, to the assertion of a twenty-nine-year-old sports instructor: "The Soviet Union does not need a closely knit family. It needs people who are ready to part with their life for the goals of the world revolution. In the Russian family you had the authority of the father. In the Soviet family you have the authority of the party" (189 A 44). In families where all subscribe to this view, it has seemed quite proper for parents to entrust the task of childrearing to the state. They are apt to share some of the official contempt toward the family as expressed, for instance, in the continued use of the derogatory term semeistvenny (family-like) to describe the illegal informal relations of mutual benefit and protection which tend to develop in Soviet bureaucratic structures.

Even the main responsibility of the Soviet parent recognized in the exhortatory literature - childrearing - is a delegated responsibility. Parental influence is always conditional. First, it is stressed that the leading role in the rearing of children belongs to the school. Secondly, parents are expected to refrain from exerting influence in a direction contrary to the interests of the state. They are strongly urged, or ordered, for example, not to give religious instruction. Furthermore, the whole context of the parent-child relationship is affected by the still lively ideological premise that the future will bring an even greater diminution in the influence of individual parents and a correspondingly greater increase in the influence exerted by special state institutions and society as a whole. Soviet discussions of the family still carry occasional references to that future time when the state will be able to take over all responsibility for childrearing, although the 1961 party Program promises that the ultimate decision is to be made by the parents, not the state. The attitude of the regime is now more moderate than it was be

{p. 307} tween the Revolution and the mid-1930's, but it still upholds the children's position above that of the parents.

Finally, if the Soviet parent's enthusiasm for the Revolution and zeal for communism fail completely, if he stubbornly persists in contradicting the party line in his childrearing practices, he can be reminded of Pavlik Morozov, who had his father arrested. Statues and posters still admonish the Soviet people that no sacrifice is too great for the cause. The Soviets reverse the roles in the Old Testament story of Abraham, who stood ready to offer up his son Isaac as a measure of his love for God, and it is the boy hero-martyr who makes a sacrifice similarly commendable, and whose action is even now recommended as a symbol of proper priorities for a well-trained child.

Pavlik Morozov may serve as a model to Soviet children; to parents he functions as a warning. In fact this epic story has contributed greatly to the popular image of what typically happens in the Soviet parent-child relationship, and what, by inference, could easily happen in one's own family. A girl received the following impression while living in the USSR: "Films and books always showed us these things - that children tore themselves away from their parents and went their own way. But I cannot say that everyone did it. I do not know how many did it, but this was the popular kind - this was what people talked about and this is what we learned" (258 A 72).

The whole question of official policy on the family raised the issue of loyalty to a problematic status within the family. Soviet parents were often deeply concerned about this uncertainty of position. An institute instructor discusses the problem in respect to his son: "I would not say that my son always agreed with me, but he was always loyal to me. Once during the Finnish War, I said in his presence, 'How can one believe that a small country like Finland could attack the USSR?' He spoke up and said that he thought it was entirely possible. Then during the German War, I came home on leave and told my wife and son that the Soviet soldiers did not want to fight for the regime. My son immediately wanted to know how it was possible that soldiers would not fight for their fatherland. I imagine that, had I remained in the USSR, my son and I would have had many sharp conflicts of opinion. And perhaps, like so many of the Soviet youth, he would have left his family and gone to live in a dormitory" (307 A 17).

If feelings became too divisive the two sides could separate. Such a serious step was most likely at a time when not just opinions but a

{p. 308} decision about educational career or job choice had to be made. The theme cropped up repeatedly, almost in a matter-of-fact way, as in the case of a young woman whose occupational choice differed, just as did her political and religious outlook, from that of her father and mother. They had arguments, she reports, but: "I always won the arguments because I knew my parents could not do anything about it. I had my own passport and the full right to leave my parents if I wished" (85 A 16).

At times Soviet parents played a role in the minds of their children similar to the one they often seemed to play in the eyes of the Soviet leaders. They were simply obstacles to progress. Inasmuch as home and a good life were in direct opposition, leaving home became a prerequisite for personal advancement. A young worker narrates his feelings at age fourteen: "My primary intention was to become a cultured man. As a boy I was afraid of factory work. When I looked at my brother, who was still young but already disgusted with life, I always intended to run away from home and to get to school. I was convinced that school was the only means of elbowing my way into life" (1582 A 29). In consequence, leaving home also became a special weapon for Soviet youth, and another echo in youthful behavior of the official policy of urging young people to leave home in spirit.

However, even children too young to leave home exerted a disproportionate influence. Alongside the air of self-righteous independence and vigilance so encouraged in the school was a trait that appeared to parents as political naivete. One of the most salient norms of parental behavior during the Stalin era, when there was maximum antagonism between regime and people, called for the exercise of great care in expressing political sentiment openly in front of young children. A girl tells us: "Everyone was afraid of his children. A small child can betray his parents unwittingly and therefore my parents were always careful in what they said before me and my brother" (1684 A 14). A doctor and administrator reports that: "A father couldn't be free with his son. I never spoke against Stalin to my own boy. After the story of Pavlik Morozov you were afraid to drop any kind of unguarded word, even before your own son, because he might inadvertently tell it in school, the directorate would report it, saying to the boy, 'Where did you hear this?' and the boy would answer, 'Papa says so and Papa is always right,' and before you know it you would be in serious trouble" (40 A 15-16).

{p. 309} We may conclude that feelings of helplessness and alarm were common among Soviet parents. They conformed to the dictates of the regime's policy, especially while their children were young, because they felt they could not do otherwise, even if they wished, for fear of punitive sanction. These feelings corresponded to the regime's policy toward the family, especially toward the role of parent, and explain why the policies were successful in persuading parents to reduce the extent of their influence over their children.

2. New opportunities for children. In the meantime there developed opportunities for children which their parents could not give them on their own. First came school and associated extra-curricular activities. As the country advanced, education became more and more important, and the state had a monopoly on its control. Even the most rabidly anti-Soviet of parents were faced with this fact. As an old Cossack said of his children and their attitude toward school: "Since the upbringing at home in the family circle differed greatly from a moral standpoint, they could not feel any special love for the school, but they had to study" (626 B 12). From their earliest years, Soviet children are impressed by the widely publicized (though not always true) assertion that: "There is no dependency of the son on father's position and on father's ability to pay for his education out of his wage" (136 B 9, 7). This claim applies to chances for occupational success as well as education. As a consequence a political police officer-father believes that responsibility, not only for education in a narrow sense, but for the whole "upbringing of a child and a young man" rests with the school, the Komsomol, and the party: "The family influence is not predominant because the parents, due to the existing atmosphere, try to bring up their children in the spirit of the school and of the party. The parents are really the supporters of the Komsomol education, maybe not always according to their own wishes but because they have no other choice. The choice of a profession, of an activity depends more on the party. There might be a sudden campaign on. Young men are needed for military schools ... After that a son would not listen to his father. He would say, 'Papa, you are old-fashioned, I shall attend a military school.' There could be campaigns for other professions as well" (136 B 9, 7).

{p. 311} 3. Circumstantial incapacity. Some features of Soviet family life foster the trend toward early juvenile independence. Foremost is the large number of incomplete families, in which the guiding hand of a parent is missing because there is no father and the mother has to earn a living. Even in complete families it is hard to be a good parent. Although indulgent and careless mothers receive some attention in Soviet writings on the subject of childrearing, complaints about fathers are more frequent. Too often fathers are not properly concerned about their children and their own responsibilities as a parent, a fact that has given rise to the view that not only manifest but covert fatherlessness (skrytaia bezotzsovshchina) is a major problem in the life of Soviet families. ...

These circumstances result in the development of a pattern previously mentioned, the grandmother who is assigned the role of mother. A striking example is reported by the young son of an army officer and party member. He declares that the most important person in his life as a child was babushka, grandma: "I spent my whole day with my grandmother. In fact, I called her 'Mother.' She was always the one who asked where I went and why I went. She took the place of my mother. This is very characteristic in Russia. Mothers are usually young, they want to go out and often they want to work. But the grandmother always stays home to take care of the children" (110 A 41-42). ...

{p. 317} Taking a larger view, such as that from a window in the Kremlin, the decline in the infuence of the Soviet parent has helped to shape Soviet youth to the desired mold, but it has brought its own new problems with it. Youthful independence means that some boys and girls will join the Komsomol and become patriotic Soviet citizens, but it also means that some will choose other paths. There is good evidence that juvenile misbehavior is common in the USSR, and it is obvious that Soviet authorities are very concerned about what we might term the "control gap" in which parents have relinquished more responsibility for the conduct of youth than the society as a whole is able to assume. The main official reaction to wayward youth is to blame the family: "It is the family which is most responsible before the state and society for the bad conduct of children." However, many Soviet parents, it seems, feel that society should be held responsible ...

{end}

Trotsky advocates abolishing the Family; Stalin its restoration: trotsky.html.

Bronislaw Malinowski debates Robert Briffault on Marriage. Malinowski, an Anthropologist who specialised in Sex-life and Marriage, condemns the attempt to abolish Marriage as a "disaster". Briffault puts a Marxist view: marriage-malinowski.html.

Alexis de Tocqueville observed of family life among slaves, "The Negro has no family: woman is merely the temporary companion of his pleasures, and his children are on an equality with himself from the moment of their birth." (Democracy in America, Vintage Books, NY 1945, p. 545).

Is this not what Trotskyism made of family life in the early Soviet Union, and what Feminism has wrought in the West in recent decades?

The Murder of Josef Stalin: (1) from Stuart Kahan & Lazar Kaganovich: kaganovich.html (2) from Edvard Radzinsky: radzinsk.html.

Trotskyism's role in the West, Destroying the Family: engagement.html.

Trotskyists have been promoting Free Trade, to destroy the independence of economies: xTrots.html.

Stalin's restoration of Marriage was not anti-sex, but anti-anarchy. Trotskyism reduces people to the condition of anomic isolated individuals. We do not need a new era of repression; but pornography, factory-style prostitution, and "Gay Marriage" are not "liberation".

Freud and the Bolsheviks: freud-bolsheviks.html.

Freud as Jewish Avenger: freud.html.

Ferdinand Mount's book The Subversive Family, about the Marxist-Feminist attack on Marriage and the Family: mount.html.

To purchase H. Kent Geiger's book THe Family in Soviet Russia, second-hand: http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BookSearch?an=geiger&tn=family+in+soviet+russia

Write to me at contact.html.

HOME