Sexuality and Political Economy

Family Abolition: Capitalism and the Communizing of Care:

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 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.

ME O’Brien is the editor of two magazines, Pinko and Parapraxis, and the co-author of the novel Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052–2072. Her new book is Family Abolition: Capitalism and the Communizing of Care.

Dan Berger is Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington at Bothell. He is the author most recently of Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power Through One Family’s Journey.

Jules Gleeson is a writer, historian, and comedian. She is the co-editor of Transgender Marxism and has published essays in outlets including Viewpoint Magazine, Invert Journal, and VICE.