Faculty Writing: On Expropriation and Social Reproduction in Ukraine, and Coerced Reproduction in the US

BISR faculty Olena Lyubchenko and Suzy Schneider both address the issue of reproduction—social and biological—in the context of the war in Ukraine and the latest threats to reproductive rights in the US.

Writing for LeftEast, Lyubchenko situates the ongoing war in Ukraine within broad, global patterns of production and social reproduction. Since the events of 2014, she writes, the enormous uptick in military spending has gone hand-in-hand with harsh austerity measures, detailing how the costs of national security “trickle down” onto working-class households, who are at the same time being called on to “sacrifice” for “the nation”: “Since 2014, a dramatically larger number of Ukrainians has been mobilized as cheap social-reproductive labour [in the EU], remitting much of their income to cover the gaps in state provision at home and compensate for the damage of war and militarization. These workers were not greeted with hot soup, phones, and EU benefits on any border of the European Union as their country was being plundered by ‘European-oriented’ neoliberal reforms.”

And, in a guest post on Spencer Ackerman’s Forever Wars substack, Schneider rehearses the realignment of the American right’s anti-abortion position over the last several decades in order to rebut the carefully orchestrated assertion that the current debate hinges on matters of religion or “culture” more broadly. Rather, she writes, “the GOP’s culture-wars pivot largely tracks the neoliberal realignment of American politics, occurring against the backdrop of deindustrialization, declining union strength, deregulation, and a massive upward wealth redistribution, all of which have conspired together to produce record levels of economic inequality.” Further: “In lieu of robust public investment to support the work of voluntary social reproduction, the Right’s strategy has been one of coercion and now, criminalization. You will bear children whether you want to or not, whether you can afford them or not, even if it might kill you.”

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