Radical feminist theorists do not seek to make gender a bit more flexible, but to eliminate it. They are gender abolitionists, and understand gender to provide the framework and rationale for male dominance. In the radical feminist approach, masculinity is the behaviour of the male ruling class and femininity is the behaviour of the subordinate class of women. Thus gender can have no place in the egalitarian future that feminism aims to create.
I was in favour of the death penalty, and disposed to regard abolitionists as people whose hearts were bigger than their heads. Four years of close study of the subject gradually dispelled that feeling. In the end I became convinced that the abolitionists were right in their conclusions...and that far from the sentimental approach leading into their camp and the rational one into that of the supporters, it was the other way about.
You point out that war is only a symptom of the whole horrid business of human behavior, and cannot be isolated. And that, even if we abolish war, we shall not abolish hate and greed. So might it have been argued about slave emancipation, that slavery was but one aspect of human disgustingness, and that to abolish it would not end the barbarity that causes it. But did the abolitionists therefore waste their breath? And do we waste ours now in protesting against war?
What created democracy was Thomas Paine and Shays' Rebellion, the suffragists and the abolitionists and on down through the populists and the labor movement, including the Wobblies. Tough, in your face people... Mother Jones, Woody Guthrie... Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez. And now it's down to us.
Who freed the slaves? To the extent that they were ever u2018freed,' they were freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, which was authored and pressured into existence not by Lincoln but by the great emancipators nobody knows, the abolitionists and congressional leaders who created the climate and generated the pressure that goaded, prodded, drove, forced Lincoln into glory by associating him with a policy that he adamantly opposed for at least fifty-four of his fifty-six years of his life.
I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both inperson and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait until they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.
There are Harvard grads, free thinkers, feminists, abolitionists, well-to-do people who want to go write poetry and live on a farm and cook and laugh and have a good time. As they themselves described it, it was an "inward facing" community. They were focusing on making a better existence for themselves, which I think is also the driving force of 20th century communalism in the US, the thought being that the world is corrupt, and we're going to build this little garden of innocence.