Gender and Family Abolition as an Expansive and not Reductive Process
This article is the result of many conversations I have had over the past few weeks with friends and comrades concerning the subject of family abolition. Especially central has been the question of how the construction of “chosen families” fits into this conversation, how it does or does not subvert or reify the structure of the patriarchal heterosexual family unit, and to what extent one can deconstruct this category while participating in family life for the purpose of survival under capitalism. After having these conversations, I realized I needed to find new language and a new framing of the dialogue around family abolition and its desirability as a communist political goal, and to forge a new paradigm for understanding family abolition as an expansive rather than reductive process. After thinking through the problem in these terms, I realized that a lot of the deadlocks around the conversation about gender abolition could be resolved in an analogous fashion.
In both these conversations, there is a preoccupation and concern with whether or not the “abolition” (of gender, the family, etc.) takes away from people something they need to survive, or something they find desirable and wouldn’t want to simply dispose of (such as gender identity or familial support systems) under capitalism; parallel to this concern is the question of replacement, or what exact system(s) of organization would be adequate to replace the function of the family or gender, especially in terms of their role in the social reproduction of the laboring classes. If gender and the family are central to the latter, it is argued, then simply getting rid of them will undermine the structures of material support that daily sustain and reproduce laborers as individuals and as a class. In this article, I argue that both of these concerns (about taking away something that people want/need and about the question of what exactly replaces such sources of meeting people’s needs) can be resolved by taking an expansive approach to the question of abolition.
An expansive approach to abolition regards abolition [Aufhebung — Sublation, both preservation and destruction] as a positive process, and not merely a negative one of rejecting the forms of organization that have come before without proposing concrete alternatives. An expansive approach argues that it is by expanding and enhancing the bonds that already sustain us and the relationships that reproduce us on a daily basis that the need to resort to these structures for survival can be overcome. It is only by expanding (1) access to resources, (2) freedoms and autonomy, (3) social relations, and (4) capacities (see below) that we are able to overcome the structures that we understand to be fundamentally limiting of these dimensions of social life. We as communists understand capacities and the ability to transform and act in the world to be fundamentally socially mediated, not merely individual attributes, but a function of the community in which they are embedded. As such, it is only by centering the socially expansive aspect of capacities to act and transform the world that we are able to get a grasp of how the project of family and gender abolition is accomplished.
The further appeal of this solution to the deadlocks in the discourse about family and gender abolition is the avoidance of certain problematic elements that turn the question on its head and become harmful or even violent in policing people’s experiences, values, and practices. Gender abolition historically has a TERF-wing to it, an anti-trans rhetoric of denying trans people the right to self-identify when it comes to their gender on the grounds that any identification with gender reifies the structure of gender hegemony in general, and thus reformulates trans identity as inherently problematic, harmful, or violent. Such formulations of the problem of course ought to be rejected outright, but the virtue of the expansive approach to the problem is in fashioning a direct answer to the practical question of how to abolish gender while still identifying piecemeal with parts of it, and how one can do that without simply repeating or reaffirming the gender system from which it derives. In other words, I am attempting to formulate a pro-trans identity understanding of gender abolition that avoids the pitfalls of a “gender critical” approach while providing a positive solution to the practical question of how to abolish gender. The answer is to expand gender to the limits of its mythological sphere of possibilities to the point at which gender ceases to be an operative term in the distribution of resources and labor, and instead becomes a merely aesthetic or “personal” vector of identification that has less to do with the function of social reproduction or distribution of labor as the system we are familiar with does.
Similarly, with family abolition there has been a less than savory wing of this discourse that argues that any attempt at family-building or participating in family life is at best a survival and coping mechanism under capitalism which solidifies the need for these structures and makes overcoming them impossible. By this account, we need to radically exit family life altogether if we are to make any progress towards overcoming the gendered and familial patterns of group-identity and class conflict and forge positive alternatives.
I think this account is wrong for several reasons. First, it positions queer and chosen families in the same analytical framework as biological, heterosexual and patriarchal families, which I think is an unnecessary conflation that does little to answer the fundamental questions that attend family abolition. Second, it unnecessarily polices people’s personal choices and behavior, as though the prospect of radically “exiting” the structure of the family could be reduced to personal choices and piecemeal efforts to destroy it. Third, it underestimates the potential for “alternative” forms of family arrangements to contradict the role of the family in its negative senses as a limiting factor in the autonomy and agency of the working class; it leaves out from its account the ways departing from traditional family arrangements can play an ameliorating and supportive role in the positive project of building communism from the ground up; in other words, it fails to recognize how queer and chosen families can or cannot be (for we haven’t yet answered this question, merely opened a space where it is possible to pose this question) part of a series of resources for overcoming the alienation we face through traditional family life.
This article argues for the “withering away” of the family and gender as the condition for their abolition. When you expand the sphere of people involved in familial life to such an extent that the boundaries between the family and the community become unintelligible, when you expand the relations possibly encompassed by the mythological field of “gender” to such an extent that gender becomes the expression of personal, collective, and aesthetic sensibilities more so than an organizing feature of labor and collective life, then both “gender” and the “family” will cease to exist in meaningful terms.
Kinderkommunismus and the Contradiction of Self-Organized Collectives for the Abolition of Gender and the Family
Much of my analysis of the heterosexual patriarchal family under capitalism and the need for its abolition builds on the work of Jules Joanne Gleeson and Kate Doyle Griffiths in “KINDERKOMMUNISMUS — A Feminist Analysis of the 21st-Century Family and a Communist Proposal for its Abolition”. This piece radically re-centers the need for a principled communist stance on family abolition in a time when abolition of the family has ceased (for many decades) to be an object of communist practice or even a proposal on the agenda for many communist and/or socialist organizations. Gleeson and Griffiths argue for a restatement of this communist goal in the 21st Century, and provide an analysis of both the heterosexual family unit’s function under contemporary capitalism and a path to liberation from the constraints of the unnecessary deadlocks the family creates in terms of survival and social reproduction.
Within this analysis, there are moments in which the force of negativity of the critical-analytical project is broken by the positive force of imagining alternatives. Indeed, much of the later half of Gleeson and Griffiths’ proposal centers on the positive project of the crèche [nursery], an alternative institution to the family that provides much of the social reproductive labor and resources that currently are tied to family life, thus unmooring social reproduction from biological reproduction. However, it is not my intention to recapitulate this account of the crèche here, but rather to highlight how previous proposals (as exemplified by Gleeson and Griffiths) for the abolition of the family already envision the process as a positive, expansive one, rather than a negative, reductive one.
Gleeson and Griffiths highlight the prospect of self-organization to heighten contradictions between the necessities of social reproduction and the institutions that meet those needs, thus leading to a conflict of forces whereby the material underside of ideological institutions such as the family and gender is undermined by a parallel and opposite materiality. This new materiality, running in the opposite direction, provides space and possibility for new forms of institutions that disrupt that previous material underside and hold space for a new organization of material practices along egalitarian principles. As Griffiths and Gleeson put it:
“Moments of intense organizing and conflict have historically provided space for and required militants to take on roles contrary to the normal constraints of gender and family roles and to push against the reinscription of these roles into worker and revolutionary organizations. These activities and other everyday efforts to practice gender egalitarianism or “self-organize” among oppressed gendered and sexualities are not enough to end gender oppression constantly reinforced by the family and the labor market, but they might lay the basis, both politically and organizationally, for imagining and enacting alternatives given the opportunity. Rather than reframing these practices, as has often happened, as a new kind [of] family or a “beloved community” we argue for increased attention to the ways they contradict and counteract the usual logic of family life.”
KINDERKOMMUNISMUS — A Feminist Analysis of the 21st-Century Family and a Communist Proposal for its Abolition
What is important to highlight here is that, although Griffiths and Gleeson are, to say the least, hesitant to embrace these forms of self-organization as a “new kind” of family (and I would share such reservations), they highlight the opposite kind of conclusion, namely that such forms of self-organization “contradict and counteract the usual logic of family life.” Whatever we choose to call the new institutions that expand the boundaries of family life to the point of nonrecognition, whether we call it “chosen families” or the crèche (and I have reservations about both tactics), the point is to highlight how self-organizing the processes of social reproduction has ameliorating effects on both gendered divisions of labor and the reservation of socially reproductive labor for dyadic parental units or, frequently, mothers exclusively. The more we self-organize the forms that social reproduction takes (healthcare, childcare, including watching over and caring for children, educating them, bathing them, clothing them, feeding them, picking up after them, etc.) and expand the social boundaries in which implementation of such care is appropriate, the more the “usual logic of family life” is “contradict[ed] and counteract[ed]” and therefore undermined.
As far as ending gender, Griffiths and Gleeson describe themselves as “agnostic” with respect to whether gender abolition and family abolition will take place coextensively, although they argue that the crèche would certainly ameliorate the most outrageous and harmful fields of gender’s violent hold on family life:
“We can offer no informed speculation as to whether the crèche would “end gender,” as various radical and materialist feminists aim to. It’s unclear whether gender would continue to exist, and we declare ourselves agnostic on this vexed issue, while suggesting that whatever form it might continue in would be most likely difficult to recognise. Irrespective of this categorical-analytical issue, ending the existing system of child rearing would alleviate much of the current suffering experienced by sexual/gender minorities and women. Unpredictable permutations of gendered experience would arise from experimentation no longer operating against the grain of societal expectations, and economic necessity. Without the dyadic pressures currently reproduced both actively and structurally through families and schooling systems, many fewer lives would be lost to suicide, neglect, and murder.”
I am more gnostic on the issue of the coextensive nature of gender and family abolition, and argue that the two go hand-in-hand. However, I am in complete agreement with Gleeson and Griffiths that “whatever form it [gender] might continue in would be most likely difficult to recognise [sic],” only I argue that this claim is in fact understated, in that the very notion of difficulty of recognition presupposes a logic of gender that is untethered from its previous logics and therefore no longer intelligible as a meaningfully gendered system in the first place. A “meaningfully gendered” system is one which distributes labor and social reproduction along gendered lines; isolated from this aspect or logic (or grammar/mythology) of economic organization, gender ceases to be gender in any meaningful way. What it would survive as, whether personal or aesthetic diffentiation or collective sensibilities and aptitudes, is beyond the question. The point is that gender can be abolished while preserving the rights and dignities of people to identify however they like, and also while destroying its role in the organization of collective economic life.
Griffiths and Gleeson agree that family abolition is a primarily positive project:
“The project of this provision would be primarily positive: whereas currently labour is tacitly demanded of all those who bear children, our communist institution for upbringing would replace at once the brutality of the family and the foster home (not to mention the streets, which too often serve as the center of enculturation for so many children in the 21stcentury). The transformations that what is currently termed “motherhood” would undergo in conditions in which de facto obligation to oversee upbringing is normatively-enforced are difficult to foresee. But the abolition of material obligation implicit in the vast majority of pregnancies today is a minimal material requirement for any movement toward overcoming existing obligations instilled by womanhood as a sex role.”
Here, Gleeson and Griffiths highlight the dual-aspect of the communist project of abolition: destruction of the oppressive structures of the past and their replacement with new structures. It is perhaps useful here to insist on a phrase I have used in the past to explain communist approaches to abolition, namely the principle of non-analogous replacement. Just as one might replace a smoking habit with, say, a habit of chewing on mints whenever one gets a craving, equally and analogously it is possible to replace things like the state, the family, and gender with “non-analogous” forms of structures that occupy the same “space” as the previous institution but without serving the same function. The “non-analogous” space of replacement is this differentiated space of functionality, in which the previous role of the institution is radically undermined and “replaced” with something that occupies the same sphere of activity in people’s lives but which does not reduce to the function the previous institution served. Instead, it expands the sphere of this function to the point of non-recognition, hence its non-analogous aspect.
In conclusion of this section, I return to the question of abolition as a positive project. The function of this project of expansion of access to resources, freedom and autonomy, social relations, and capacities will be explored in the sections below. In the meantime, what I want to note by way of conclusion is how expanding these aspects and dimensions of social reproduction into new spheres renders the question of family and gender abolition a moot point, not requiring their destruction by fiat, but undermining the material conditions for their reproduction as institutions. The result is the rendering of discursive categories such as gender or the family as non-meaningful units of analysis, thus making their preservation unnecessary. Or, as Gleeson and Griffiths finally put it:
“this socialist establishment would advance communist relations by leaving biological reproduction unmoored from an attendant nexus of obligation, and in the process leaving familial ties and manhood firstly redundant, and later inconceivable.”
Abolition as an Expansive Project
“The end of the patriarchal family and gendered division of labor, which involves reorganizing reproductive labor on a completely new basis, including child-rearing, is an important socialist objective. It is an integral part of doing away with gendered oppression in general, taking aim at its material root. This is what it means to “abolish gender,” which is not so much “abolished” — gone in one stroke — as transitioned out of, much like how the state which begins with the dictatorship of the proletariat withers away.”
Trans-cending the Market: How Socialist Planning Can Meet the Needs of Transgender People, by Stani Bjegunac
In this section I briefly precis the expansive dimensions of the project of abolition for both gender and the family. Below, I explore the notion of abolition with regards to four aspects or dimensions of social reproduction, (1) access to resources, (2) freedoms and autonomy, (3) social relations, and (4) capacities. Together, these aspects of social reproduction form the nexus of relations that together constitute the expansive project of abolition. In concretizing this nexus, we make clear and familiar the ways that the project of abolition starts to sound less “scary” to otherwise like-minded leftists and even (perhaps) some liberals, and starts to sound like a more appealing agenda for the support of communities and building stronger institutions and connections between individuals, “families”, and communities.
(1) expansion of access to resources
If a child could freely choose to emancipate themselves from their parents and live in public housing while still being able to have their health, educational, nutritional and psycho-social needs met, they could also free themselves from an abusive situation. This would also massively help gender non-conforming and trans youth who often find themselves limited by their family who refuses to accept their “gender non-conforming” behavior and their demand to transition. (ibid.)
Stani Bjegunac neatly highlights how expanding access to resources for vulnerable children will liberate them from both the patriarchal family and from the exigencies of gender conformity, ultimately paving the way for a world beyond gender and the family. Providing free (a.) housing, (b.) education, (c.) healthcare, (d.) food and other material resources, and (e.) care labor to children in vulnerable situations (whether abusive or involving the “slow death” of gender conformity and anti-trans mistreatment) allows them to have autonomy over their lives, liberating them from the need to rely on potentially harmful dyadic parental units and allowing them to access these resources freely and independently of such familial units. Thus, expansion of access to resources such as HRT inherently expands the second dimension of social reproduction, namely freedoms and autonomy (see below). The nexus of social reproduction I have outlined therefore is mutually reinforcing and self-sustaining. As Bjegunac puts it, describing the current situation trans youth face:
The general situation of poverty, social exclusion, and repressive family environments that transgender people face restricts access to HRT and surgery, even if they are made available for free by a public healthcare system. Trans liberation is inseparable from the problem of the family as a social reproductive unit. Furthermore, arbitrary gatekeeping by medical professionals often determines which transgender people are “genuine” enough to be deserving of transition-related healthcare. (ibid.)
Thus, these resources need to be directly and freely accessible, without the mediation or arbitration of either the family unit or medical professionals, in order for children to be liberated from the sphere of socially-mandated reproduction as overseen by the family unit and the gendered division of labor. Only then can we achieve the freedom and autonomy necessary to end gender and the family as the sole sources of support for social reproduction, and separate social reproduction from the sphere of coercive familial and gendered systems, rendering social reproduction an aspect of collective power and not a delimiting and individualizing factor in the regulation of collective life (what one might call “biopower,” following Foucault).
(2) expansion of freedoms and autonomy
“Where the family reduces social ties to individual connections, narrows cultural exposure, and limits social contact along homosocial lines, communist education would unambiguously seek to develop the individual against history (rather than a circumscribed nationalist or communalist ideological assembly, intended to induce an ontologically differentiated subjecthood). Having been confronted with the scope of human variations (both through peer group, and pedagogy) during their education, developing workers would be better prepared to set their own terms of affinity, and preferred terms of reference.”
(Griffiths and Gleeson)
With the above quotation, Griffiths and Gleeson attend to how socialist education expands the autonomy and freedoms associated with social reproduction. Having the ability to choose how one affiliates and refers to other relationships, having the ability to navigate the world within “the scope of human variations,” would, then, empower the individual to enter into collective relationships that enhance their autonomy and their freedoms to the benefit of the whole. We have already seen how the expansion of access to resources directly entails the expansion of individual and collective autonomy and freedoms. This expansion in turn will directly entail an expansion of (3) social relations.
As Marx himself puts it:
“Only in community [with others has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible. In the previous substitutes for the community, in the State, etc., personal freedom has existed only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, and only insofar as they were individuals of this class. The illusory community, in which individuals have up till now combined, always took on an independent existence in relation to them, and was at the same time, since it was the combination of one class over against another, not only a completely illusory community, but a new fetter as well. In the real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association.” (Marx, The Marx-Engels Reader, Tucker, 197)
Thus, freedom is obtained “in and through” association with other individuals. In “the real community” (communism), people find their freedoms and autonomy enhanced rather than limited by other individuals. This understanding is fundamental to the framing of the project of abolition as expansive, insofar as it takes the associations between individuals as a given to be acted on and politicized in an expansive direction. We want to improve, not abandon, the freedoms people obtain through working together, and politicize these freedoms in the direction of building communism. This expansion and improvement, then, leads to the building of new social relations that allow new institutions to become sustainable to “cultivate” one’s “gifts in all directions”.
(3) expansion of social relations
At the risk of sounding repetitive, the expansive project of abolition has now reached the point of articulation in which the different dimensions of social reproduction become so entrenched that one cannot talk about one without immediately bringing to consideration the other dimensions of the problem. Expansion of social relations, the affiliations and associations one makes with other individuals and collectives who share goals with oneself, directly follows from the principles of expanded resources and expanded individual freedoms and autonomy. Freedom and autonomy derive not from the individual, but “in and through” the association of the individual with others.
Likewise resources are not acquired in a vacuum. They inherently entail receiving these resources from other individuals working to provide them and meet needs. As one receives these resources, one inherently interacts with and builds associations with the individuals providing these resources, and enters into a form of intercourse that revolves around the meeting of needs rather than their exploitation (as under capitalism).
The meeting of needs is, according to Marx, the first historical act. By organizing a community around the meeting of needs, one participates in the production of a historical community exercising its freedoms to act on history directly and self-determine the direction in which it is going and the mode of production by which it gets there. As one begins to meet needs in a more socially-mediated way (and not mediated by the institutions of family and gender which delimit which needs can be met and in what way) one begins to participate in a form of intercourse that builds and expands social relations to their properly human scale, which is to say, the whole of society acting as one upon the conditions of history and economic production that determine that society. In other words, individual voluntary associations such as “chosen family” are not enough to “undo” gender or the family, but can be a part of a larger project of acting directly on the meeting of needs in a socially-integral manner, a collective movement of expanding the sphere of social relations accessible to the individual in a way that ultimately realizes and expands her capacities in the direction of building communism. As long as “chosen families” are integrated into a community of care beyond the scope of those “families” themselves, we can say that they do indeed expand and undermine the patriarchal understanding of family in the direction of building a communist world without families per se, but with plenty of community resources for raising children and building relationships. In short, this is the “it takes a village” approach to child-rearing.
(4) expansion of capacities
Some may wonder if transition-related healthcare will be needed once gender is abolished. After all, what meaning will gender dysphoria have when there is no gender to live in reference to? A person born with a penis will not be “male” and a person born with a vagina will not be “female”, and there will be, according to this view, no need to change one’s anatomy. It is hard to tell what people of the future will do, but this line of reasoning asserts some simplistic assumptions. It sees transition as a reaction to a negative state, similar to the way that food resolves hunger, which is an experience of pain, of lack…But what about a positive motivation, a simple desire to transform one’s body to how one wants it to be, unbound by gendered restrictions? There is already a tendency toward loosening patriarchal bonds, allowing more possibilities to be gender-non-conforming. If we take this to its logical conclusion, we may one day live in a world where it is normal to change one’s sexual characteristics like the sliders on a character creation screen in a computer game and have bodies as polymorphous as our desires: to have transsexuality without gender. Far from wanting a world of bland universal androgyny, we should say: let a hundred sexes bloom. (Bjegunac)
The culmination of the project of abolition is in the dimension of the expansion of capacities that results from the solidifying of the dimensions of provision of resources, increased freedom and autonomy, and expansion of social relations. Capacity is the ability to transform the world in terms of one’s needs and to restructure it along dialectical lines of constructing an environment that conforms to one’s needs, the dialectic between need and its realization in the material world that makes up the most important parts of human living.
Under capitalism we are severely limited in our capacity to accomplish the basic function of a healthy organism, which is to transform the environment by behaving with it, and to come to understand this environment by transforming it. Behavior and transforming the world are an epistemology, a way of knowing the world. Simultaneously, this epistemology is a way of expanding our capacity to act on the world and change it. Hence the dialectic between acting on the world, understanding it, and synthesizing the two valences of this dialectic by changing the world. Acting, understanding, and changing thus form a triangle of capacitation, which is a process of building and enhancing (expanding) our ability to act in and transform the world.
Capacitation is the ultimate goal of the socialist project of abolition: building positive alternatives to the limiting structures of the present so that we may become stronger, more powerful, and more resourceful in the future. This statement is no ableist slogan for evaluating people based on their physical capacities; on the contrary, it understands capacity to be fundamentally social rather than physical. Thus, disabled people are empowered and capacitated by a society that accommodates their embodied capacities and incorporates these into its very structure (such as providing wheelchair accessible ramps to those who use mobility devices with wheels). Likewise, children and gender non-conforming people are capacitated through their education, through their access to resources and especially socially-meaningful and -empowering relationships, and through their expanded autonomy. Autonomy becomes capacity insofar as the ability to choose and determine one’s own path in life becomes a liberating feature of the social world from which capacities are derived, the ability of people to work together to solve problems.
Ultimately, it is the process of capacitation that leads to the doing-away with systems of support and social reproduction such as gender and the family that we rely on as vicarious means of providing for needs we cannot meet ourselves. Directly meeting one’s own needs in the context of a community empowered to do so means that one is no longer obliged to conform to the exigencies of a vicarious institution such as the family or gender, and instead can meet those needs through affiliation and association with people who share one’s own goals. Once children become capacitated to determine their own path in life, once parents become capacitated to meet their children’s needs without the tremendous amount of socially reproductive labor currently required to raise children, once trans and gender-nonconforming and intersex individuals are capacitated to act directly on their own bodies and determine their own social relations to others, the family will become integrated into the community to the point of non-distinction, and gender will cease to be an organizing feature of human economic life. Both the family and gender as institutions will “wither away” as vicarious institutions for human capacities, once their material raison d’être is no longer operative, and human capacities will become distinctly human for perhaps the first time in history.
What we (Really) Want to Abolish
All of the above really begs the question as to what exactly family and gender abolition entails in terms of the literal sense of the (English) term “abolition”. Family and gender abolition are frequently very “scary” topics of conversation for many leftists and others like us, simply because the term “abolition” seems so final and all-encompassingly negative that it becomes hard to flesh out exactly what we mean when we say “abolish the family!” or “abolish gender!”. I hope that the above serves as a pathway into the conversation for anyone who needs it, a way of framing the dialogue about the desirability of family and gender abolition in a more positive sense, and a way of focusing on the expansive nature of the project of abolition that (no doubt) registers as more appealing to many.
But why exactly use the term “abolition” if it is being reframed as a positive, expansive project and not a negative, reductive one? What is being abolished anyway?
The answer is simple: the intolerable conditions of the present. The way in which those who physically reproduce and have children are shamed and coerced into providing nearly all of the social reproductive labor to sustain, educate, and raise them, or otherwise outsource this burden of responsibility onto sectors of the formal and informal economy that are inherently exploitative, poorly waged, and arguably abusive (such as the care industry). The power parents have over their children to determine their lives for 18+ years without regard for their children’s own wants and needs. The power of parents and doctors to determine a child’s sex and gender assignment. The whole notion of assigned sex at birth (ASAB), a severely dehumanizing and alienating practice that is at the heart of gender’s materializing force. The intolerably disproportionate amount of socially reproductive labor that falls to women and other non-men within the institutions of gender and the family. The practice of surgically “correcting” intersex individuals’ genitalia for the sake of rendering them more in conformity with sexed and gendered expectations of society, often resulting in severe trauma comparably analogous to childhood sexual abuse. The massive and unacceptable rates of childhood sexual abuse within the confines of the family. The horrendous abuse of women and non-men by men that occurs within the confines of our gender system. In short, everything we currently despise and suffer from under the conditions of the present organization of society under capitalism, we will destroy once and for all. And we do so by a positive, affirmative, expansive, and triumphant realization of our collective capacities to act on and transform the historical conditions of the present into the possibility of a truly human, communist future.