“[...] and the bourgeois family will die out. In its place will come a new type of family – the working collective. In this new basic form people do not live together on the basis of any blood ties, but they are united in solidarity by their common work, their ... (Show more)
“[...] and the bourgeois family will die out. In its place will come a new type of family – the working collective. In this new basic form people do not live together on the basis of any blood ties, but they are united in solidarity by their common work, their common interests and duties, and they educate each other.” (Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai)
For Russian revolutionary and politician Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai, born in 1972, the liberation from her own marriage at the age of 21 was the impulse for her active struggle for the right of all women to live and work in conditions freed from normative constraints. As Commissar for Social Affairs of Lenin's Cabinet of Councils in 1917, she was the world's first ever female minister. She introduced legal maternity protection, kindergartens, public cantinas (“Volksküchen”) and labor protection for women. For the so-called women’s question (“Frauenfrage”) could not be considered independently of the capitalist mode of production. At the same time, however, a successful revolution overcoming capitalism would not only have to transform labor conditions, but above all would have to entail a “revolution of traditional habits of life and ways of thinking.” In particular, the legalization of abortion introduced by her, but also the opening up and collectivization of reproductive work previously done unpaid by women, made it clear that, according to Kollontai, a change in wage labor conditions alone was not sufficient for the liberation of women: man would also have to revolutionize his habits and ways of thinking from the bottom up.
The lecture will analyze Kollontai’s ideal of a society whose cohesion is based neither on economic dependence nor on reproductive “blood ties”. For what she called a free love and sexuality of women, she relied on mutual education. This educational principle will be traced through her lectures on the situation of women in social development to women workers and peasants at Sverdlov University in 1921. (Show less)