Karl Marx (via man-of-prose)
I wondered where this one came from, so I did some digging. A little different from the commonly quoted version
Via marxists.org, Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868, Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann In Hanover:
Tell your dear wife that I never ‘suspected’ her of serving under Madame General Geck. I queried only in jest. Incidentally, the ladies cannot complain about the ‘International’, since it has appointed a lady, Madame Law, as a member of the General Council. Joking aside, very great progress was demonstrated at the last congress of the American ‘Labor Union’, inter alia, by the fact that it treated the women workers with full parity; by contrast, the English, and to an even greater extent the gallant French, are displaying a marked narrowness of spirit in this respect. Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included).
Perhaps not quite as strong as one might hope when in context, but there it is. It makes one think what exactly is meant by “progress” or what might be a broader view of Marx’s position on women. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions, as some might out of defense of Marx, to say that he was a saint in this department or a champion of women’s rights, but it’s definitely worth investigating. Perhaps one could start with this one by Hal Draper. Then again, it would be good to find more critical perspective. Recommendations please!