Letters

Clarifying the terms of debate on sex and gender

Issue section: 

Mark O’Brien’s article on Freud and sexuality (“Freud, Sex and the Socialist Imagination”, December SR) is both unclear and wrong.

Consider a question he poses: "Is our mature sexual identification in some sense there at birth, awaiting its cultural triggers; or is the ‘maleness’ or ‘femaleness’ of the infant simply a matter of anatomical labelling, with no intrinsic meaning or later sexual attachment.”

Be fair to Greens' Caroline Lucas

Issue section: 

Just one point with regard to Shaun Doherty’s excellent article, “On Corbyn’s Side for the Wider Left” in last month’s SR. His criticism of Green MP Caroline Lucas was unfair.

On 7 January she was one of the speakers at a very successful Stop the War meeting attended by getting on for 200 people in Brighton. She made absolutely clear not only her opposition to the bombing of Syria but also her regret at the way her resignation as a patron of national Stop the War had been used as a stick to beat Jeremy Corbyn.

Flaws come tumbling down

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

In his intermittently fair review of my book Promised You a Miracle: UK80-82 (December SR) Kevin Devine suggested that I hadn’t included Paul Weller’s band the Style Council because their left wing politics didn’t fit with my argument that some pop musicians of the time turned into “secret Thatcherites”.

In fact, my book mentions quite a few left wing bands approvingly, such as the Pop Group and Gang of Four. I left out the Style Council because they did not form until 1983 — after the period my book covers.

Confidence for a general strike?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Julie Sherry’s article on the state of industrial struggle in Britain today (December SR) was generally excellent. But it is really important to accurately assess the mood among workers.

Looking at the important local disputes during 2015 it is with some pride that in most, if not all, SWP comrades have been central to leading these disputes to victory. Our contribution to the class struggle changes the balance of confidence on our side to fight.

Mind the trap of biological determinism

Issue section: 

John Parrington’s article (Nature, nurture: mind the trap, October SR) ignores the racist use of genetic research and reduces the social problem of mental illness to the micro-level where it cannot be solved.

The human brain is not a super-computer, as Parrington claims, but a super-connector that enables collective problem-solving. Blocking our ability to solve problems is a capitalist system that celebrates individualism and promotes biological solutions. Parrington falls into this reactionary trap.

A charter for social justice not for profit

Issue section: 

It has been encouraging to follow in Socialist Review the correspondence about how we, as Marxists, understand mental health and respond to the controversies around the relevance of Freudian, and other, ideas.

These have also been aired at the debates at the Marxism Festival where users of services and a range of practitioners have engaged with the theories but also reminded us of the immediate and urgent impact of austerity and growing inequalities on the mental well-being of both individuals and the wider society.

Solutions are social

Issue section: 

John Parrington’s article ignores the racist use of genetic research and reduces the social problem of mental illness to the micro-level where it cannot be solved.

The human brain is not a super-computer, as Parrington claims, but a super-connector that enables collective problem-solving. Blocking our ability to solve problems is a capitalist system that celebrates individualism and promotes biological solutions. Parrington falls into this reactionary trap.

Beware what you wish for if you vote no to EU

Issue section: 

Joseph Choonara (October SR) mistakes a Yes in the EU referendum as necessarily meaning support for its right wing institutions and practices. He wrongly assumes that leaving is the only way of opposing them; and he completely ignores the implications of leaving.

Firstly, instead of addressing what I wrote, he fantasises about what I was “maybe” saying or “perhaps” thinking.

In reality, I neither support nor wrote (or thought) anything about an EU “super-state”. I neither said nor implied that internationalism “must…express itself through…EU institutions”.

Don't deny reality of mental illness

Issue section: 
Author: 

Lucretia Packham’s letter (October SR) replying to my article on Freud contains some rather obscure statements.

She agrees with me that it’s important to differentiate the baby from the bathwater in Freud’s work and claims that my attempt to do this is unsuccessful. But she does not offer her own view of the baby/bathwater separation in Freud.

My argument about the German and Russian revolutions was simply that psychoanalysis has a contribution to make in helping us to understand those events. I would never claim that psychoanalysis on its own can deal with this issue.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Letters