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The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, August 06, 1920, Image 5

Image and text provided by Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-08-06/ed-1/seq-5/

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PKIDAY, AUGUST 6, 1920.
THE TOILER
PAGE 5.
Communism and the Family
By ALEXANDRA KOLLONTAY,
Commissar of Social Welfare of the Russian Soviet Government.
(Continued from last week.)
THE INDUSTRIAL WORK OF WOMAN
IN THE HOME.
In the days of our grandmothers this dom
estic work was an absolutely necessary and
useful thing, on which depended the wolf-being
of the family; the more the mistress of the
house applied herself to these duties, the better
was life in the house and the more order and
affluence it presented. Even the State was able
to draw some profit from this activity of wo
man as a housekeeper. For, as a matter of fact,
the woman of other days did not limit herself
to preparing potato soup either by herself or to
be prepared by the family, but her hands also
created many products of wealth, such as
cloth, thread, butter, etc., all of which were
things which could serve as commodities on the
market and which, therefore, could be con
sidered as merchandise, as things of value.
It is true that in the time of our grand
mothers and great-grand-mothers their labor
was not estimated in terms of money , But every
man whether he was a peasant or a worker,
sought for a wife a woman with "hands of
gold" as is still the proverbial saying among
the people. For the resources of man alone,
"without the domestic work of woman" would
have been insufficient to keep their future
household going. But on this point the interests
of the State, the interests of the nation, con
cided with those of the husband: the more
active the woman turned out to be in the bosom
of her family, the more she created products of
all kinds: cloth, leather, wool, the surplus of
which was sold in the neighboring market; and.
thus the economic prosperity of the country as
a whole was increased.
The Married Woman and the Factory.
But capitalism has changed all this ancient
mode of living. All that was formerly produced
in the bosom of the family is now being manu
factured in quantity in workshops and factor
ies. The machine has supplanted the active
fingers of the wife. What housekeeper would
now occupy herself in moulding candles, spin
ning wool, weaving cloth? All these products
can be bought in the shop next door. Formerly,
every young girl would learn to knit stock
ings. Do you ever see a young woman
now knitting her own stockings? In the
first place she would not have the time.
Time Is money, and no one wants to waste
money in an unproductive manner, that is with
out getting some profit from it. Now every
housekeeper who is also a working woman is
more interested in buying her stockings ready
made than losing her time by making them
herself. Few and far between are the working
women who could take up their time in pickling
cucumbers or in making preserves when they
remember that the grocery store next door has
pickles and preserves ready to sell. Even if the
product sold in the store is of a inferior quality,
and even though the factory preserves are not
as good as those made at home by the hands
of an economical housekeeper, the working
woman nevertheless has neither the time nor
the strength which must be applied in any
extensive operations of this kind for her own
household. However this may be, the fact is
that the contemporary family is becoming more
and more liberated from all domestic labors
without which concern our grandmothers could
hardly have imagined a family. .What was
formerly produced in the bosom of the family
is now produced by the common labor of work
ing women in factories and shops.
Individual Housekeeping Doomed.
The family consumes but no longer produces.
The essential labors of the housekeeper are
now four in number; matters of cleanliness
(cleaning the floors, dusting, heating, caro of
lamps, etc.) cooking (preparation of dinners
and suppers) washing and the care of the linen
and clothing of the family (darning and mend
ing). These are painful and exhaustig labors; they
absorb all the time and all the energies of the
working woman, who must in addition furnish
her hours of labor in a factory. But it is never-

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