||CHAPTER 7: PERSONAL INTEGRATION VS. BURNOUT||Page 21|
One method that the State uses to repress movements for peace and justice is to outlaw organizations and force the membership underground where personal integration is much more difficult to achieve. For example, in the biography of Sandy Pollack, one misses any description of the struggle it must have been for her to integrate her affiliation with the Communist Party, which must have been secret to some extent, with all of her other social relations. The tension of such a struggle may help explain why it is that she blossomed after she began to work internationally in solidarity movements with Cuba and Nicaragua where she could be openly proud of being a Communist.
The repression of sexuality in our society makes personal integration more difficult. This is such a problem that the profession of psychoanalysis has developed largely to deal with it. The personal costs of society's sexual repression have been described well by W.E.B. DuBois:
On one aspect of my life, I look back upon with mixed feelings: and that is on matters of friendship and sex ....Indeed the chief blame which I lay on my New England schooling was the inexcusable ignorance of sex....In my hometown sex was deliberately excluded from talk and if possible from thought....As teacher in the rural districts of East Tennessee, I was literally raped by the unhappy wife who was my landlady. From that time through my college course at Harvard and my study in Europe, I went through a desperately recurring fight to keep the sex instinct in control. A brief trial with prostitution in Paris affronted my sense of decency. I lived more or less regularly with a shop girl in Berlin, but was ashamed. Then when I returned home to teach, I was faced with the connivance of certain fellow teachers at adultery with their wives. I was literally frightened into marriage before I was able to support a family.
The cost of sexual repression helps explain why DuBois' marriage of 53 years was not well integrated with his political development. Instead, "it suffered from the fundamental drawback of modern American marriage: a difference in aim and function between its partners." And the repression of sexuality in our culture also helps to explain why DuBois was led to make a serious mistake when he dismissed "a young man, long my disciple and student, then my co-helper and successor to part of my work" because he was arrested for homosexual behavior. Afterwards, DuBois "spent heavy days regretting my act."
Both Jane Addams and Emily Balch may have been hampered in their attempts to achieve personal integration of their anti-war work by the repressive attitudes about sexuality, including homosexuality, in our society. Both were victims of burnout. When Jane Addams was attacked viciously by the press for her opposition to World War I, abandoned by many of her friends from social work, she fell ill and suffered from "three years of semi-invalidism" and "a bald sense of social opprobrium....very near to self-pity." And Emily Balch suffered from nervous fatigue which forced her to interrupt her work for long periods. Although each had the support of a close woman companion, Mary Rozet Smith in the case of Jane Addams and Helen Cheever in the case of Emily Balch, it seems likely that prevailing sexual mores may have limited the extent to which they could be fully integrated into their life. Emily Balch regretted having only "the half-life of the unmarried woman." Whether or not their relation ships were homosexual (and we may never know), they could not be made public and thereby integrated with their political lives. As their mutual friend Alice Hamilton explained to a biographer of Addams, such topics were not discussed in those days, and "the very fact that I would bring the subject up was an indication of the separation between my generation and hers."
The work of earning a living is transformed when it becomes integrated into work for peace and justice. Raising money for the "movement" is not the same as raising it for yourself and your family. It is removed from the private, "selfish" domain of capitalist society, into the unselfish, collective domain and becomes a part of one's political work. Dorothy Day describes how, after founding the Catholic Worker, she took to the road to seek contributions to keep the paper in print. And Helen Caldicott describes how, after joining the physician's movement, she would approach her physician colleagues at meetings to sign petitions and give one dollar so that the petition could be published.
For most people, including many activists for peace and justice, the step of personal integration is the highest step of consciousness development. But the peace movement needs leadership and for that a higher step of consciousness is needed, world-historic consciousness.
(end of Chapter 7)