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beginning of the end of collective and individual male

supremacy. Since men in all races and classes are dependent

on female support and submission for practical tasks and

feeling superior, our refusal to submit will force some to

examine their sexist behavior, to break down their own

destructive privileges over other humans, and to fight

against those privileges in other men. They will have to

build new selves that do not depend on oppressing women

and learn to live in social structures that do not give them

power over anyone.

H

eterosexuality separates women from each

other; it makes women define themselves

through men; it forces women to compete

against each other for men and the privilege which

comes through men and their social standing. Hetero–

sexual society offers women a few privileges as

compensations for g1vmg up their freedom: for

example, mothers are respected and 'honored', wives or

lovers are socially accepted and given some economic

and emotional security, a woman gets physical protection

on the street when she stays with her man, etc. These

privileges give heterosexual women a personal and political

stake in maintaining the status quo.

The lesbian receives none of these heterosexual privileges

or compensations since she does not accept male demands

on her. She has little vested interest in maintaining the

present political system since all of its institutions --church,

state, media, health, schools--work to keep her down. If she

understands her oppression, she has nothing to gain by

supporting white rich male America and much to gain from

fighting to change it. She is less prone to accept reformist

solutions to women's oppression.

E

conomics is a crucial part of woman oppres–

sion, but our analysis of the relationship

between capitalism and sexism has just begun.

We know that Marxist economic theory does not

sufficiently consider the role of women or lesbians, and we

are presently working in this area.

However, as a beginning, some of the ways that lesbians

threaten the economic system are clear. In this country,

women work for men in order to survive, on the job and in

the home. The lesbian rejects this division of labor at its

roots; she refuses to be a man's property, to submit to the

unpaid labor system of housework and childcare. She

rejects the nuclear family as the basic unit of production

and consumption in capitalist society.

The lesbian is also a threat in the job because she is not

the passive/part-time woman worker that capitalism counts

on to do boring work and be a part of surplus labor pool.

Her identity and economic support do not come through

men, so her job is crucial and she cares about job

conditions, wages, promotion, and status. Capitalism

cannot absorb large numbers of women demanding stable

employment, decent salaries, and refusing to accept their

traditional job exploitation. We do not understand yet the

total effect that this increased job dissatisfaction will have.

It is clear however that as women become more intent upon

taking control of their lives, they will seek more control

over their jobs, thus increasing the strains on capitalism and

6

enhancing the power of women to change the economic

system.

LESBIANS MUST FORM OUR OWN MOVEMENT

TO FIGHT MALE SUPREMACY

Feminist-lesbianism, as the most basic threat to male

supremacy, picks up part of the Women's Liberation

analysis of sexism and gives it force and direction. Women's

Liberation lacks direction now because it has failed to

understand the importance of heterosexuality in

maintaining male supremacy and because it has failed to

face class and race as real differences in women's behavior

and political needs. As long as straight women see

lesbianism as a bedroom issue, they hold back the

development of politics and strategies which would put an

end to male supremacy , and they give men an excuse for

not dealing with their sexism.

Being a lesbian means ending your identification with,

allegiance to, dependence on, and support of

heterosexuality. It means ending your personal stage in the

male world, so that you join women, individually and

collectively, in the struggle to end your oppression.

Lesbianism is the key to liberation and only women who

cut their ties to male privilege can be trusted to remain

serious in the struggle against male dominance. Those who

remain tied to men, individually or in political theory,

cannot always put women first. It is not that heterosexual

women are evil or don't care about their sisters. It is

because the very essense, definition, and nature of

heterosexuality is men first. Every woman has experienced

that desolation when her sister puts her man first in the

final crunch: heterosexuality demands that she do this. As

long as women still benefit from heterosexuality, receive its

motive