Gay/Lesbian Issues

Capitalism, Not Socialism, Led to Gay Rights

What system better allows people the freedom to live how they choose?

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Credit: CityofStPete / photo on flickr

Some historians like to claim socialist ideas helped bring about gay rights in the modern era. But they're mistaking academic theory for reality.

Jim Downs is a historian at Connecticut College and Harvard. A specialist in the history of race and slavery, he has recently published a new book, Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation, in which he tries to move recent gay history away from an excessive focus on sex and AIDS.

Downs also has a new article in the digital magazine Aeon, in which he writes, "Throughout the 1970s, LGBT people theorised about the benefits of socialism in books and pamphlets and critiqued capitalism in the growing newspaper and print culture." He goes on to discuss "LGBT groups" and newspapers that "made socialism a leading subject of political interest in the movement." Most significantly he argues that "if you want to give credit for gay liberation and marriage equality, credit must also go to socialism."

There are several things wrong with this. First, it's overstated. I was around in the 1970s, and I'd say that socialism was a pretty marginal part of the gay community or even the gay rights movement. Gay activists definitely leaned left, but they were focused on advancing gay rights through the Democratic Party.

Second, there were gay libertarian writers around at the time, too, in academia, in the popular press, and oriented around the Libertarian Party, pointing out the benefits of free markets and the problems with socialism.

Third, the use of LGBT is anachronistic. The term was hardly if ever used in the 1970s. (He doesn't use it much in the book.)

But the claim is more than overstated. It's wrong. And Downs' own article offers the evidence. In the midst of his article on how socialism infused the gay rights movement and led to gay liberation, he notes the work of historian John D'Emilio on how "capitalism enabled LGBT to move to cities and to be independent from the family as a source of income. Once capitalism created the opportunity for people to live autonomously, it unwittingly allowed LGBT people to privilege homosexual desire as a driving force in their lives."

Despite his leftist leanings, D'Emilio saw the world more clearly than Downs does. All the advances in human rights that we've seen in American history—abolitionism, feminism, civil rights, gay rights—stem from our founding ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The emphasis on the individual mind in the Enlightenment, the individualist nature of market capitalism, and the demand for individual rights that inspired the American Revolution naturally led people to think more carefully about the nature of the individual and gradually to recognize that the dignity of individual rights should be extended to all people.

Those intellectual trends quickly led to feminist and abolitionist sentiments. It took longer for people to take seriously the idea of homosexual activity as a matter of personal freedom and to recognize homosexuals as a group of people with rights. But the libertarians and their classical-liberal forebears got there first. From Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham to the Libertarian Party and the Cato Institute (where I work), libertarians were ahead of the intellectual curve in applying the ideas of individual liberty to gay people.

Capitalism is more than an idea, of course. It's a set of social institutions, which Downs correctly notes came under scathing attack from gay socialists. But as D'Emilio recognized, it was capitalism that in fact allowed individuals to live autonomously and to flourish. Capitalism freed people from feudalism and from the family farm. It allowed them to construct their own lives in a market society with space for separate personal and professional lives. It gave them the freedom and affluence to live on their own.

Capitalism led to industrialization, which led to urbanization, which offered the anonymity of the city to anyone who chafed under the strictures of the family and the village, as well as the chance to find people who shared one's interests.

The writer Eric Marcus produced a book of interviews with gay activists called Making History. What his subjects illustrated—even when they didn't realize it themselves—was that it was the freedom to leave home and the affluence that allowed people to do so that enabled them to move and to choose lifestyles they wanted.

In 1982 the Australian scholar Dennis Altman wrote:

The real change in the past decade has been a mass political and cultural movement through which gay women and men have defined themselves as a new minority. This development was only possible under modern consumer capitalism, which for all its injustices has created the conditions for greater freedom and diversity than are present in any other society yet known. For those of us who are socialists, this presents an important political dilemma, namely how to guard those qualities of capitalism that allow for individual diversity while jettisoning its inequities, exploitation, waste, and ugliness.

Of course, anyone who finds "inequities, exploitation, waste, and ugliness" in capitalist countries probably hasn't lived in socialist countries. But like D'Emilio, Altman understood the real institutional foundations for modern gay life and gay identity.

These effects of capitalism didn't happen just in Europe and the United States. In China's Long March to Freedom, the Chinese-American scholar Kate Zhou writes that when housing was owned and allocated by the state, it was generally allocated only to married couples. Once housing was privatized, single people and gay couples could purchase or rent accommodations. Freer property markets have also led to the creation of gay bars, something that state housing authorities would not have been likely to allow.

Look around the world, and it's clear that the countries with the most freedom for gay people are those with a high degree of economic freedom. Countries that are actually socialist rank at the bottom of every measurement of political freedom, civil liberties, personal freedom, and LGBT rights.

Of course, some countries that are called "socialist," such as Denmark, Sweden, and Canada, are not in fact socialist. They have political and economic systems based on private property, free markets, liberal values, and high levels of taxes and transfer payments—not quite libertarian but definitely market economies.

That's not what the gay socialists of the 1970s were aiming for. They wanted real socialism, an end to market relationships. The countries that have implemented such a system, from the Soviet Union to Tanzania to Venezuela, have been rather less successful at sustaining both prosperity and personal freedom than the capitalist countries.

Those gay intellectuals talked a lot about socialism, but they lived in capitalism. And it was the capitalist reality, not the socialist dreams, that liberated gay people.

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94 responses to “Capitalism, Not Socialism, Led to Gay Rights

  1. I’m pretty sure the Greeks were gay friendly without capitalism.

    1. Unpossible, the government invented everything and without them we would cease to exist *poof*!

    2. They don’t call it ‘greek style’ in the free papers for nothin’.

        1. + 1 earring in right ear

    3. I’m pretty sure the Greeks were gay friendly without capitalism.

      Depends on how you define “gay friendly.”

      On one hand, they didn’t consider erotic relationships between people of the same gender to be inherently wrong or “against nature.”

      On the other, they certainly weren’t friendly to people who didn’t conform to traditional gender roles.

      IOW, while a middle-aged man having an erotic relationship with a younger man was perfectly acceptable and considered a normal part of “being a man,” unmanly behavior was not tolerated. An Andy Warhol or Truman Capote would have been strung up.

      This was even more pronounced in Roman culture – being a “top” was considered perfectly normal man behavior in any context with anyone, but being a “bottom” was an absolute disgrace and meant you weren’t a “real man,” having been put in the place of a woman. Which is the worst.

      A Roman “real man” would die before allowing himself to be sodomized, but would think nothing of sodomizing another man.

      1. Depends on how you define “gay friendly.”

        Also how you define “Greeks” and “capitalism”. Because, Thucydides’ and Aristophanes’ grumblings aside, being a successful businessman and a leading politician in Athens was nothing remarkable, even if you were not of particularly high birth. Athens being more gay-tolerant than some other places (it may get you shunned and put into a play so we know your name 2400 years later, but not killed or banished).

        1. Also how you define “Greeks” and “capitalism”.

          Especially if you slur it into the Roman Empire. There were plenty of high-brow Greeks beside those whom you mentioned that firmly vocalized or agreed with the notion that homoerotic relationships were amoral, self-destructive, or otherwise explicitly inferior to heterosexual ones on bases other than reproduction.

          As both sides plainly know and conveniently like to forget, the notion hardly originated with the D/B/R of Christ.

      2. Oh and

        A Roman “real man” would die before allowing himself to be sodomized, but would think nothing of sodomizing another man.

        is one of many reason Spartacus TV Series is one of my favorite historical dramas of all times. Because, all tits and blood aside, they did a remarkable job of capturing the historical attitudes of Romans, such as the above.

        1. But wasn’t Julius Caesar just that? “A husband to wives, a wive to husbands” or something like that.

          1. According to his political enemies. Sexaul slurs, founded in fact or not, were a big party of political propaganda in Rome.

      3. Its also worth noting that homosexual relationships were generally confined to the upper class. The equites, senators, and successful merchants all had the time and most importantly, money, to pursue such relationships. The average Roman or Greek just couldn’t afford to spend time and money on a relationship that didn’t produce workers(children). This has been true all the way up to around the 1900s. Acceptance of homosexuality really is a function of societal wealth.

        1. “There’s no *time,* man!”

  2. Bullshit! Capitalism is de debil All rights are generous gifts from our benevolent leaders.

  3. Most notably, socialist regimes are overwhelmingly hostile to gays and gay rights.
    SDS during the early 70s, at least, was hostile to gay rights. They scoffed at the notion that any form of socialism could or should include rights for gays.

    1. Are you saying Josef Stalin wasn’t fabulous?

      1. Have you seen how he dressed?

        1. Look, no gay man would be caught dead in Stalin’s clothes until post 1943 period, when he finally decided to bling up.

          You want a fabulous Marxist dictator, you go for Tito. That man knew how to enjoy life.

          1. You’re just shilling for Big Yugoslavia.

    2. Those aren’t true socialism. Subtle variations, such as by associating them with the leader who tried to implement them and thereby inventing a new name, make them totally inapplicable as evidence in any modern argument.

      Meanwhile any reduction in govt size leads to Somalia.

      1. True socialism… Which nations are “true socialisms”?

        1. Best I can tell, true socialists are even harder to find than true Scotsmen.

      2. Those damn islamo-libertarians ! Don’t thread on Allah !

    3. The party line in the Soviet Union was that homosexuality was an example of bourgeois decadence, and it was unknown in the glorious worker’s paradise.

      -jcr

  4. Capitalism solves all problems.

    1. No, socialism solves all problems.
      Just ask the 100 million people who were murdered by socialist dictators.
      You don’t hear them complaining, do you?

      1. Perfect.

  5. I dunno, maybe the socialists would be fine with being gay if they thought there were too many of their citizens. Oh wait! Silly me. That’s what bullets and food shortages are for!

  6. Of course, some countries that are called “socialist,” such as Denmark, Sweden, and Canada, are not in fact socialist. They have political and economic systems based on private property, free markets, liberal values, and high levels of taxes and transfer payments?not quite libertarian but definitely market economies.

    Also high degrees of regulation in both public and private spheres, as well as either explicit or effective nationalization of entire industries, price controls and rationing. Yes, beyond US norms.

    I’m all for praising market economy, but let’s not overplay our hand.

    1. That’s not really true.

      http://tinyurl.com/h3ed866

      1. Thanks, but they all miss the biggest point of all. Sweden was the first to realize that high taxes on business were destroying jobs, so they shifted it all to personal taxes. That’s why their personal taxes are so high — twice what Americans pay, partly because of the massive middle class subsidy by the rich.

        That’s why all the bullshit about income inequality. The American left is trying to create the only single-payer health system for a subsidized middle class,

  7. The one thing that socialists always overlook is that socialism, actual real socialism specifically does NOT allow you to pursue your bliss.

    It means that everybody owes a debt to society to conform to societies expectations and demands as defined by the state. So yeah while it is even possible to have a socialist society which is somewhat tolerant of gay sex you’re still going to be expected to be normal, get married, have kids, and fit in.

    Queer, trans, and everything else but LGB is right out.

    1. This just reinforces my idea that progressive society is just neo-feudalism. Noblemen were expected to marry and sire an heir or two, but it was mostly taken for granted that they’d get a little on the side. As long as they fulfilled their duty to their lineage by marrying a suitably noble woman and popping out a kid to carry on their name and title, it was no big deal if they kept a mistress or just generally screwed around. And in many societies, it was quietly accepted that some might prefer handsome young men to pretty young women. Just produce that heir, and you can screw whoever you want on the side

  8. Q: I’ve read a theory about why San Fran became very gay friendly that suggests that it had to do with the large number of WWII soldiers passing through San Fran’s port to get back home from the Pacific front. Anonymity and proximity made it much easier to get hook-ups, and some of the vets who stayed formed a significant part of San Fran’s gay community. Anyone know if there’s any truth to it?

    1. I’ve heard the same sort of story? that’s where they Navy dropped off gay sailors.

  9. True – but even more fundamental was freedom of speech and religion – meaning they can’t persecute you for speaking out or for the things they accuse you of believing. As a result, people could fight for their rights (and they did) without being killed. The risk now is that the Western Secular Caliphate is turning its back on those principles. E.g. “We can kill them because their religion teaches them that they can kill us.”

  10. And by rights we mean the completely individual right to spousal SS benefits. Totally not socialism at all.

  11. I’m waiting for the usual suspects to show up to argue that buttsex is a gift from the government.

    1. Well that is what the IRS does isn’t it?

      1. STEVE SMITH FIRED FROM JOB AS IRS AUDITOR BECAUSE HE NOT RAPEY ENOUGH.

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  13. Those gay intellectuals talked a lot

    They’re not the only ones.

    Leaving academia for human interest, Goldwater and Reagan were defending gays in the 70s, two decades before Clinton shamelessly signed DOMA and DADT (both supported by Ron Paul).

    Reagan was instrumental in defeating the Briggs Initiative to ban gays from teaching in public schools. The Initiative had been leading in the pols, but lost big. The first defeat for the anti-gay Anita Bryant Crusade, which soon collapsed. His forceful oped included that Homosexuality cannot be a threat to school kids, because it’s not communicable! It’s also NOT a choice.

    It’s hysterical watching brainwashed liberals go ape shit over this. Reagan was especially harsh against homophobes in a 1987 keynote speech to the American Foundation For Aids Research. Several zingers, only room for one

    I read of one man with AIDS who returned to work to find anonymous notes on his desk with such messages as, “Don’t use our water fountain.” I was told of a situation in Florida where 3 young brothers — ages 10, 9, and 7 — were all hemophiliacs carrying the AIDS virus. The pastor asked the entire family not to come back to their church. Ladies and gentlemen, this is old-fashioned fear, and it has no place in the home of the brave.

    1. It’s also NOT a choice.

      Of couse it is- I’ve never stuck my dick in another man’s ass- but there are a lot of “gay” men who have reproduced sexually.

      They chose

      1. The way I always looked at it was did I choose to be straight? Not really, it’s just how I was born. So right do I, or anyone else for that matter, have to say that about a gay person.

        It’s a stupid argument that conservatives tend to bring up all the time.

        A little understanding can go a long way, but maybe some cannot see past their own bigotry.

        1. It’s a stupid argument that conservatives tend to bring up all the time

          SOME social conservatives are rather adept (or easily brainwashed) at inventing “justifications” for bigotry on many fronts. Even things that are none of their business. But they favor an intrusive government anyhow, despite the lame excuses.and word games.

      2. They chose…

        (lol) They were gay. Not “gay” … or your point would be useless instead of merely ignorant.

      3. Ever hear of peer pressure? Many societies throughout history (and, I’m sure, stretching back into pre-history) pressured men to hook up with a woman and pop out a kid or three, even if the man in question would really rather be sucking dick. Thus, “gay genes” were passed on. (And yeah, the latest research suggests that there is a genetic component to homosexuality. There’s no “gay gene”, but genetics do seem to play some role.) If you really want to breed gayness out of the population, you should probably be encouraging gays to gay it up to the max instead of trying to straighten ’em out.

        1. If I was a hate-spewing bigot, and you’re not being sarcastic …

  14. RE: Capitalism, Not Socialism, Led to Gay Rights

    This can’t be right.
    Stalin and Castro openly persecuted homosexuals.
    If they persecuted homosexuals, then all socialists in Amerika should too.
    Socialism can do no wrong.
    We all know that.

    1. Reminds me of an old Yakov Smirnov bit. He explained that in Soviet Russia, homosexuality was illegal. The penalty? They put you in prison. With other men. There was a six month waiting list.

  15. It took longer for people to take seriously the idea of homosexual activity as a matter of personal freedom and to recognize homosexuals as a group of people with rights.

    This is correct, and completely undermines the author’s point. In a true conception of individual rights there are no “women’s rights” there are no “black rights” there are no “gay rights”. There are no “groups of people with rights”. There are only universal “rights”, which apply to every person and to persons in any number or configuration. It’s only because the concept of individual rights was already dead that collectivized rights for particular groups pitted against other groups became necessary in the first place. In the weak sense that “capitalism” can exist within a framework of collective rather than individual rights, capitalism at the very least coincided with “gay rights”, and many other group-based, collectivized rights, in the United States and parts of the Western world. This is more an accident of history than due to any principled notion of liberty. A point made manifest in the fact that protected class legislation and the extension of privileges by the government to one group entails the loss of business, association and religious rights for some other group (or groups).

    1. A group of people with rights is not group rights. It’s the exact opposite
      In the former it’s the people with rights.
      In the latter it’s the group.

  16. Socialism, the word, means social ownership of the means of production.

    What does that say about gay rights?

    What does that say about, hell, slavery, for that matter?

    Socialism only treats gay rights, black rights, slavery, etc, to the extent that they enlarge their thinking past socialism and embrace concepts of human rights, none of which have anything to do with actual socialism. You’re more likely to get human rights violations in a society that wants everyone to own everything: who are you, and what gives you the right to pretend being gay is OK, etc, in our grand society? It’s not yours.

    People just love pretending that everything is socialism except actual socialism, now, apparently. It’s practically lost all meaning.

    Hell, next thing you know, someone will tell me that property rights are socialism.

    It’s socialism, all the way down.

    1. “Socialism, the word, means social ownership of the means of production.”

      Correct.

      “What does that say about gay rights?”

      “What does that say about, hell, slavery, for that matter?”

      Not much, but go on…

      “You’re more likely to get human rights violations in a society that wants everyone to own everything: who are you, and what gives you the right to pretend being gay is OK, etc, in our grand society? It’s not yours.”

      I think the evidence is pretty mixed on that account. Yes, the “socialist” countries of the USSR, the PRC, and Castro’s Cuba did possess a number of truly horrendous human rights violations. Show trials, mass purges, incarceration of political prisoners, etc. Then again, the same could be said of “capitalist” countries such as the United States, Great Britain, France, etc. The U.S. economy was reliant on the private ownership of black slaves, and even after Emancipation blacks in the South were subject to draconian Jim Crow laws and mass terror campaigns from the KKK. Great Britain and France were involved in the imperialist squabbles of the 19th and 20th centuries; Britain alone killed millions of Indians via famine. Not to mention the case of King Leopold and the Belgian Congo…

      “People just love pretending that everything is socialism except actual socialism, now, apparently. It’s practically lost all meaning.”

      Yup.

      “It’s socialism, all the way down.”

      You know it, baby.

      1. Even when I look through the lens of history, I can understand human rights and capitalism, but I can’t get human rights out of socialism.

        I’d roughly describe capitalism as people exchanging goods and services markets, abstaining from aggressive violence, philosophically based on self-ownership and, by extension, property rights.

        Similarly, I would describe socialism as the social ownership of the means of production, embracing the labor theory of value, and idolizing the concept of “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.”

        OK, so slavery and capitalism: how is slavery consistent with self-ownership, exchanging goods and services in free markets, etc? Not only does it have nothing to do with markets, it’s completely contrary to the concept of self-ownership and property rights. The same concepts of individual rights that lead to capitalism also condemn slavery. No one can capture people in chains, force them to work against their will with no property rights, and say, “See? I’m doing capitalism! This is free markets!” with a straight face. Clearly, it is not.

        1. OK, socialism: If I take the labor theory of value to it’s conclusion, then the only producers of value are laborers. This implies that the social ownership of the means of production directly implies the direct ownership of people.

          Great. So, with socialism, we tell a plantation slave, “Hey: you don’t have to be owned by a plantation owner anymore. You get to be owned by society!”

          What if he wants to own himself? Sorry, he’ll be put to work producing according to his maximum ability, while receiving only according to his bare needs, i.e., the same exact set up he had as a plantation slave. And, that’s not the practical reality, or an imperfect case; that’s the ostensible conclusion of the socialist theoretic ideal. It goes a long way to explaining socialism’s track record. In result, it seems very consistent with the theory.

          1. What if he wants to own himself? Sorry, he’ll be put to work producing according to his maximum ability, while receiving only according to his bare needs, i.e., the same exact set up he had as a plantation slave. And, that’s not the practical reality, or an imperfect case; that’s the ostensible conclusion of the socialist theoretic ideal. It goes a long way to explaining socialism’s track record. In result, it seems very consistent with the theory.

            You’re vastly overthinking all this.

            Simply classify slaves as something not quite human, or if possible have them recognized as property instead of people. Boom, no more logical vortices ineluctably leading you back to principles of self-ownership or any of that jazz.

          2. Also, when we’re talking about the means of production, we’re not talking about

            labor

            per se. Marx made the distinction between

            labor

            and

            labor power.

            In capitalism, the capitalist controls a worker’s “labor power” in exchange for wages; “labor” is his, mainly because he is an individualized version of the abstract concept of “labor”.

            In socialism, the social ownership of the means of production imply the social ownership of land, “labor power”, and capital. The worker is not owned by society; rather, his labor power is controlled by society in exchange for the fulfillment of his needs (all of them, or else “each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” makes little sense). In either capitalism or socialism, the worker does not own himself nor does he directly reap the fruits of his labor, for doing so would undermine the productive capability of either system. But in socialism, the worker is given the power to influence his conditions, both in society via the ballot and in the workplace via self-management.

            Socialism’s track record has more to do with the nature of establishing a revolution surrounded by actively hostile nations (and a strong internal opposition) than with anything “inherent” in the system itself. Likewise, the “revolutionary tyranny” of the liberal French Revolution has more to do with the intervention of Austria and the royalist uprising in the Vendee than with “liberalism”.

            1. Your argument reveals the inherent intellectual contradiction of socialism with the labor theory of value. Socialism claims that the ultimate source of value is laborer’s working, as justification for the goal of the social ownership of the means of production, but insists that this doesn’t imply the ownership of the people themselves. This is clearly self-contradictory. If labor is the source of value, then people are the means of production, and socialists want to both own and not own the people and the means of production. Thus, the socialist ideal collapses upon itself, even at the purely theoretical level.

              I understand why they insist that owning the means of production doesn’t imply owning people: at that point, it would be all to easy to see the inherent slavery that such a system implies, and it’s obvious sociopathy. So, socialists try to sound nice, and insist that they don’t own people, just every material thing that they may touch and use to produce anything of actual value: a distinction with practically no difference. I don’t give too many brownie points to someone who’s happy to take control of every material thing, considering themselves generous for claiming not to own people in the process, which is slavery in everything but name.

              1. Karl Marx couldn’t have popularized a more fitting definition of slavery than “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Under socialism, people are supposed to work to the maximum of their ability, while receiving only what they need, because if they get less than that, they die, and they couldn’t really produce according to their abilities for society, then, could they? The ideal is a fitting description of plantation slavery. It’s no surprise, then, that in practice, the inherent contradiction of socialism in terms of owning production and owning people collapses into slavery, and produces horrendous results, of which the large scale 20th century experiments within living memory are a great testament. Indeed, it lived up to the theory quite well. The only thing that shocks me is how often people parrot that famous quote, while never noticing it describes an ideal of slavery.

                But, of course, I understand that socialists blame everyone around them except themselves. It’s rather convenient, but unconvincing.

                1. You seem to misunderstand the slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. The terms implies a stateless, classless society (or as Marx called it, the higher stage of communism) where individuals work and then receive the fruits of their labor (indirectly) via simple requisitioning of what they need. Marx didn’t define “need” as the bare necessities of food, shelter, etc; if he did, then the entire utopian implications of socialism (higher productivity, higher standards of living, etc) would make little sense. The individual has no limit on what he or she can requisition from society; indeed, much of the socialist imagination had ordinary citizens owning material goods only controlled by elites and major institutions, such as airplanes and automobiles. To define “needs” as the bare necessities of life and socialism as “slavery” is an act of great historical and grammatical stretching.

                  But of course, I understand that libertarians need to distort the definition and meaning of socialism, given that their own ideology lacks popular allure and imagination.

              2. You seem to mistake the “source of value” with the “means of production”. The means of production do play a role in producing value, but they do not (in and of themselves) do so; that involves labor. Socialists argue for labor (i.e. the working classes) to seize the means of production; you seem to be saying that they are enslaving themselves in the process, which doesn’t really make sense since it is virtually impossible to “enslave” oneself (slavery being reliant on the absence of consent).

                Also, you seem to have a very narrow definition of socialism and “social ownership”; in the socialist tradition, the latter term meant anything from “labor exchanges” under the Proudhonist view to worker’s councils (left-communism) and state ownership (Leninism and social democracy). To imply that “social ownership” means slavery essentially states that people are enslaving themselves by subjecting their productive faculties to democratic control. To do that extends the definition of “slavery” such that the term loses all meaning; do modern nations “enslave” their rulers by subjecting their decisions to popular referenda and constraints?

                1. Your own comments reveal the inherent contradiction of socialism and the labor theory of value. Here: let me play them back to you:

                  In socialism, the social ownership of the means of production imply the social ownership of land, “labor power”, and capital. The worker is not owned by society.

                  Go on.

                  rather, his labor power is controlled by society in exchange for the fulfillment of his needs (all of them, or else “each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” makes little sense).

                  Oh, so he’s not owned by society. However, society controls his labor and gives according to his needs, so that he doesn’t die. Like a slave.

                  In either capitalism or socialism, the worker does not own himself nor does he directly reap the fruits of his labor

                  OK, so it’s defined to be different by slavery, but he doesn’t own himself, not does he directly reap the fruits of his labor…like slavery.

                  But in socialism, the worker is given the power to influence his conditions, both in society via the ballot and in the workplace via self-management.

                  So, he has control of himself by voting (?), and he engages in “self-management”, even though, previously, you said “his labor power is controlled by society” and “he doesn’t own himself”?

                  1. Your vague references to socialist bureaucracy aren’t very compelling. The inherent contradiction is clear, and I would say that socialists have defined “ownership” and “self-management” in a bizarre framework that makes the concepts, along with slavery, nonsensical, to the point of conveniently defining them away in order to avoid the implications of their theoretical model.

        2. Your definitions of capitalism and socialism are rather biased and ahistorical. I get the socialist definition (with a few caveats), but capitalism has little (if anything) to do with violence or lack thereof. Historically, capitalism was established

          with violence

          . After all, peasants on feudal estates were generally loathe to give up their legally-guaranteed rights to the natural commons, and colonial subjects in the New World (as well as Africa) had to be literally beaten with a stick to appreciate the “self-ownership” inherent within capitalism. You keep conflating “capitalism” with “markets”; the two are related, but not necessarily mutually inclusive. After all, you can have markets in feudal societies as well as socialist societies (see market socialism).
          I’ll acknowledge that slavery isn’t an intrinsically capitalist institution; after all, it has existed in virtually all modes of production and across most continents and cultural regions. Nevertheless, as mfckr pointed out below, people can be very creative at rationalizing contradictory institutions: simply call slaves “property” and it all falls neatly within the capitalist framework.

          1. Nevertheless, as mfckr pointed out below, people can be very creative at rationalizing contradictory institutions: simply call slaves “property” and it all falls neatly within the capitalist framework.

            One can be creative and rationalize themselves out of anything.

            That’s not exactly a failure of what they’re rationalizing themselves out of.

            1. Furthermore, since you don’t recognize self-ownership and how it relates to capitalism, and admit that socialism doesn’t recognize self-ownership, why, exactly, do you have a problem with someone rationalizing themselves into slavery in the first place?

              Apparently, your issue is that it’s too easy to rationalize away a principle you don’t even agree with in the first place.

              Is the problem that the slave’s labor was being distributed to a plantation owner, instead of a worker’s council?

      2. “Socialism, the word, means social ownership of the means of production.”

        Correct.

        Wrong. Most often a lie spread by socialists to “prove” they aren’t really socialists.
        Socialism can include private ownership but social CONTROL, regulations and/or taxes purportedly for “the common good.” (See Hitler’s and Mussolini’s) Property rights is much broader than property ownership. It includes control of that property.

  17. I’m? totally unsure as to why anyone should be giving a fuck about this. Let alone climbing over each other striving to claim who got there 1st.

    I guess Progs are drawn to gay things though, so maybe this’ll be like an intellectual trap to bait them into Libertarianism.

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  19. It must be said that West is no longer about tolerance for homos. I do believe some people are born homosexual, and we should accept this fact. And we should tolerate the fact that some men do fecal penetration and some women have ‘sex’ by grinding hole with hole.

    But the homo agenda is no longer about Tolerance. It is about Coercion of making all of us praise, celebrate, and worship homos. If you want wealth and status in the West, you must worship the Homo just like North Koreans must worship Kim and just like Cubans must worship Che and Castro. If you say homosexuality is gross or that you despise homo lifestyle(even as you tolerate it), you will be destroyed. You won’t be send to gulag or shot in the back of your head, but you will lose your job, the media will denounce you, and you will be made a non-person. Homo agenda isn’t about freedom for homos to express their views. It is about silencing those who find homosexuality to be gross or opposing stuff like ‘gay marriage’ that would associate the bio-moral foundations of true marriage with sexual deviancy.

    And Reason is fully on the side of homomania. But worse, homomania is now the ally of Globalist Imperialism. And this doesn’t bother Reason one bit.

    1. Some people use the term Anglo-Zionist to characterize Globalism, but I suggest Anglo-Zio-Homo Imperialism.

      Anglo-Zionists have recruited homo-globalists as their main imperialist allies.

      Wherever the tentacles of Anglo-Zionism spreads, homo victory marchers follow.

      In Old Imperialism, whenever Anglo-Brits conquered new land, they hoisted the British Flag.

      In Palestine that became Israel, Zionists hoisted the Jewish Flag. And in the US that has succumbed to Zionist control, Southern Flag is out and Zionist flag is in. It is everywhere.

      But it wouldn’t do for Anglo-Zionists to hoist British or American flags in all their globalist-imperial conquests. And it would look pretty stupid to hoist Zionist flags in such places also. If people see American Flags hoisted all over, they will see it as American Imperialism. If they see Zionist flags, they’ll see it as Jewish imperialism.

      Also, there will resistance from the Western domestic Left that is prominent in academia and even media. If US conquers new lands and hoists the US victory flag, Western Leftists will cry foul and holler ‘imperialism!’

      So, why not hoist the homo-flag to spread Anglo-Zionist Imperialism?

      1. In the de-spiritualized West, the new religion is homomania. Western Leftists and Liberals worship the ‘Gay’ Anus. They see trannies as godly. They think homos, especially Jewish ones, are holy and made of angelic skin. Ahhhh, the Socialism of the Skin. I don’t believe Western Leftists worshiped even Karl Marx, Lenin, or Gramsci as much as they do the holy homo. Why not? Because Western Leftists are hedonistic and vain, and they see the holy homo as more fun and flamboyant than Marxism that was actually quite priggish and spartan about lots of stuff.

        Because the Western Left is so much into holy-homomania, their ire can be neutralized if Western Imperialism is wrapped in the homo crusade, aka frusade(fruit crusade). It’s like when the West was Christian, much of the imperialist plunder could be hidden or justified on account of spreading Christianity and God.

        Today, much of the destruction and plunder is covered up by holy homomania.

        Old Imperialism was justified with the help of Christian missionaries.

        New Globo-Imperialism is justified with the help of homo missionfairies.

        1. In a way, the Globalist Imperialists fear the rage and resistance of domestic Western Left more than anything. Domestic Left is rich, powerful, and well-organized in the way that Third World darkies are not. So, in order for Western Imperialism to be successful, the Western Left must be persuaded that it is NOT imperialism but a holy frusade to spread ‘tolerance’ for homos and ‘love’. ‘War is Homo Love’ is the New Orwellianism. And homos are so vain and narcissistic that they are willing partners in this to spread homo-supremacism all over with the help of Anglo-Zionists.

          So, it must be seen as a case of Anglo-Zio-Homo Imperialism.

          Notice how Hillary Clinton praises the Zionist crushing and killing of Palestinians on the basis that Israel has ‘gay pride’ parades but Muslims/Arabs do not. So, display of homomania justifies militarism, imperialism, and colonialism. Jewish-supremacist Wall Street and Western Left are agreement in their homomaniacal worship of the ‘Gay’ Anus.

          And even Western Leftists, being so worshipful of homos, go along with this.

          In the name of holy homo, any amount of wars and oppression are justified.

          This is why whenever we discuss Anglo-Zionism, we need to associate or ass-ociate it with the homo-globo-agenda. We need to tell the world that homos are among the main collaborator-agents of the Western Neo-Imperialism.

          Anglo-Zio-Homo Imperialists!

  20. The assholery is strong with this thread…

  21. I’m not a historian, but then neither is Boaz. What strikes me is that state interest in sexuality and marriage was low under the old regime; it was a matter for the individuals, family, community. So if capitalism can be given credit for gay rights, perhaps it should also be given credit for creating the conditions under which articulating and defending gay rights became necessary. While admittedly 1930s Germany was an aberation, capitalism and the cleansing of homosexuals coexisted comfortably. All civil rights are repressed in authoritarian/totalitarian states whether they are of the right or the left.

    In short, I think the question is complex and requires more than a hagiography of capitalism in response.

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