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Our Heritage - Alexandra Kollontai
Russian revolutionary leader. During the 1917 Russian Revolution, she was a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party. She is renowned for her feminist writings.
Thus the assertion that women are men's most dangerous labour rival can only be accepted with a number of reservations. Leaving aside the question of the competition existing in the professions, we will note only that in the proletarian milieu, the woman worker only constitutes a rival to the man when she is isolated, not involved in the joint proletarian struggle. The woman worker is a rival to the male, a 'threatening' rival who lowers his wages and mercilessly destroys the fruit of his successes in his organised struggle against capital, only when she is not drawn into the general class and professional movement. However, is not every unorganised proletarian just such a rival, whether he be a hungry village 'yokel', a 'has-been' pushed out of his profession, or simply a worker deprived of a permanent job? The woman worker has a detrimental effect upon the conditions of work insofar as she is, as yet, the less organised section of the working class. Capital readily makes use of her to counter the more conscious and united section of the working class. However, the moment she enters the ranks of the organised fighters for working-class liberation, the assertion that she - the woman worker - is the worst rival of the working man - ceases to be categorical. The organised proletariat of whichever sex loses his or her capacity for harming class comrades.
Excerpt from The Social Basis of the Woman Question (1909)
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