An accessibly written distillation of two centuries worth of reproductive class struggle; a revived vision of revolutionary 'beloved community' for an age of climate catastrophe. Spread this book around, and start communizing care!--Sophie Lewis, author of Abolish the Family
"Stunningly urgent and timely...Through an exhilaratingly accessible narrative, O'Brien moves effortlessly between history, current specificities, and future possibilities to show that communized care is not a far-off fantasy"--Lara Sheehi, Assistant Professor, George Washington University
For some of us, the family is a source of love and support. But for many others, the family is a place of private horror, coercion, and personal domination. In a capitalist society, the private family carries the impossible demands of interpersonal care and social reproductive labor. Can we imagine a different future?
In Family Abolition, author M.E. O'Brien uncovers the history of struggles to create radical alternatives to the private family. O'Brien traces the changing family politics of racial capitalism in the industrial cities of Europe and in the slave plantations and settler frontier of North America, explaining the rise and fall of the housewife-based family form. From early Marxists to Black and queer insurrectionists to today's mass protest movements, O'Brien finds revolutionaries seeking better ways of loving, caring, and living. Family Abolition takes us through the past and present of family politics into a speculative future of the commune, imagining how care could be organized in a free society.
M.E. O'Brien writes on gender and communist theory. She co-edits two magazines, Pinko, on gay communism, and Parapraxis, on psychoanalytic theory and politics. She co-authors the novel Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052-2072, and tweets @genderhorizon.
Introduction: The Oaxaca Commune
Part I: The Impossible Family
1. Private Households
2. Family Terrors
3. Lines of Flight
Part II: A History of Family Abolition
4. Industrialization and the Bourgeois Family
5. The Family Politics of Slavery and Genocide
6. Sexual Transgression and Capitalist Development
7. The Family Form of the Workers' Movement
8. Rebellions of the Red Decade
9. Crisis of the Family
Part III: Toward the Commune
10. New Alliances, New Kinship
11. Communist Social Reproduction
12. Around the People's Kitchen
13. Communes to Come