Dear Editors

I’d like to take up a couple of points made in the ‘Transgender Issues and Capitalism’ article from the December Socialist Standard.

Whilst I agree with the first half of the article that gender is a social construct and gender roles are learned, I would argue that biological sex is significant. Women the world over tend to be smaller physically, obviously with exceptions, and is the sex that, if she chooses to, carries a pregnancy and breastfeeds a child, which, certainly in this society affects an equal place in the workforce.

Further into the article, I read what appears to be a contradiction. ‘Many binary transgender people often seem to not challenge capitalist gender at all but rather perform its stereotypical features aggressively to make themselves the gender they identify as’. But the writer then goes on to say ‘A person who is willing to cross the lines of socially conditioned gender is revolting against ideas of womanhood and manhood’ As if being transgender is a revolutionary act.

I also agree with the latter part of the article in that ‘capitalism as always sets people against each other’, but the writer gives a one-sided example of this with the story of Lily Cade calling for the lynching of transwomen. No mention is made of the hundreds of death and rape threats from trans activists against prominent feminists whose crime is to fight to preserve women-only spaces.

The mainstream media and capitalist hegemony deliberately endorses and encourages identity politics as a way of dividing the working class. Instead of obsessing over personal pronouns workers should be promoting class consciousness with a view to ending this oppressive and divisive system that we live in.

C. Dee

A defence of Christmas

Call it Yuletide or Winter Solstice festival if you like. I am aware that many socialists don’t celebrate Christmas. Do they know that in disdaining it, if for different reasons, they are behaving like the evangelical protestants today, and the early Christians too?

Every society cosies down for Winter and marks the season with festivity. In the Roman world, Christmas was the Saturnalia, where revelry was practically compulsory. Christians disdained it, and the Church Fathers banned Christians from garlanding their homes with holly, ivy and mistletoe. Pagan homes were lavishly garlanded.

In the Middle Ages Christmas lasted the whole Winter, from November 11th until February 2nd. All garlanding was in, including Christmas trees, holly, etc. No one did any work, except for castle servants, and to replenish firewood. The serfs had got in the harvest and, unlike today’s wage-slaves, had no clock to tick, but plenty of time for festivity.

With the rise of the bourgeoisie came Christian puritanism and the cutting down of Christmas. Wage-slaves cannot be allowed too long without producing surplus value for their masters, whose only god is money. The churches complied.

The old festival was always about excess and revelry. People today who moan, ’Christmas has lost its meaning’, blah, blah, are Christians who want a Christian-based memorial to the Jesus myth along Puritan lines. They are not, in their moaning, going back far enough! Yuletide isn’t Christian.

I don’t see why socialism wouldn’t retain Yuletide. Regions of the Earth will have inherited cultural traditions, and I don’t see why those which are harmless wouldn’t continue – especially the universal one of being cosy and festive over Winter.


Reply: We tend to agree. Socialists for obvious reasons concentrate their current fire on the ills of capitalism, but we are not the fun police, and think it very likely that people in a post-capitalist free society will find any and all excuses for festive celebrations, whether based on celestial calendars, harvests, anniversaries or some other pretext.

Next article: Cooking the Books 1 – profit restraint ⮞

Leave a Reply