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Syriza’s gay leader plans surrogacy baby

Stefanos Kasselakis and his American partner, Tyler McBeth. Credit: Getty

October 10, 2023 - 11:00am

Stefanos Kasselakis, 35, caused a stir recently when he was elected as leader of Syriza, becoming Greece’s first openly gay political leader. He has since caused further shockwaves, telling Alpha TV in recent days that he and his American partner, Tyler McBeth, plan to have sons via surrogacy. 

“As a society,” Kasselakis said, “we need to provide complete equality.”  This encapsulates, in one sentence, the whole post-industrial transformation of the Left. Once a movement that sought to redress a critical imbalance of power between social classes — labour and capital — it has become a movement led by capital, to extend the reach of markets ever further into human bodies and relationships in the name of “equality”. 

Kasselakis’s phrasing reveals the bait-and-switch. The real obstacle to his having children with McBeth is not “society” but biology: they are both men. Two men can’t have babies. But Kasselakis implies that this irreducible feature of his and McBeth’s biology is in the gift of “society” to solve — and, by extension, that the fact “society” is not doing so demonstrates the continued existence of prejudices that must be combatted. With this sleight-of-language, normal physiology becomes a social justice issue, and something to which the Left may legitimately demand policy remedies. 

But what, in practice, is the policy remedy to wanting a baby but not having access to a uterus? In this context, “provide complete equality” implies “provide a third-party uterus”. No doubt “equality” isn’t envisaged as some dystopian “Universal Basic Uterus” scenario that would make gestational services available regardless of income. Kasselakis is a shipowner and former Goldman Sachs financier, so we can assume he’s not short of a bob or two and simply expects to pay. He likely only seeks to level the legislative playing field for would-be parents who subcontract gestation to a third party. 

But while we are some way off “Universal Basic Uterus”, we shouldn’t lose sight of the living human women, whose participation is both implied and erased, in calls for “society” to “provide complete equality” in reproduction. And we should treat the moral colouration of this erasure as a social justice matter with deep suspicion. For once we accept in principle that “progress” is conditional on women’s compliance in the instrumentalisation of their own internal organs, the incentives are in place for profoundly disturbing extensions of money and power into our very flesh. 

For even if (as we must hope) such “social justice” were to stop short of legislating for a supply of uteruses, such “equality” still relies on an ecosystem of high-tech medical interventions, plus all the legal and brokerage services needed to ensure a steady supply of “gestational carriers”. As such, the pursuit of “equality” in matters of such basic biology is less a topic for the pursuit of justice in any sense the old Left would have understood. Instead, it is a delivery mechanism for exactly the kind of marketisation that the former version of the Left might once have set out to challenge.

I’m old enough to remember Syriza standing alone, during the 2015 bailout referendum, as a force challenging German-imposed austerity and defending the political interests of ordinary Greeks. It is dizzying, then, to see them now, less than a decade later, led by a former scion of the Goldman Sachs “vampire squid” against which Syriza once battled: a man for whom “complete equality” means the legal right to procure gestational services on the open market and have the law on his side. 

Kasselakis may have been hailed as a new hope for the Greek Left. But his election more accurately represents the complete transformation of the Left into a delivery mechanism for the marketisation of life itself. 


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Steve Hall
Steve Hall
9 months ago

I see. Men can’t have babies because society is prejudiced. No wonder I didn’t get a stellar mark in my O-level biology exam.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hall

I was tempted to quote Alexander Armstrong but it would get me banned

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hall

We read and hear the same thing about women all the time…
Women can’t do this or that (insert some completely normal physical activity) because or their biology/hormones, etc.

Sam May
Sam May
9 months ago

Don’t forget this lede… “he and his American partner, Tyler McBeth, plan to have sons via surrogacy”
They plan to have sons, not daughters. They will abort any females? Will their sons be gay – happy and carefree, living a delightful life of insouciance? No worries? No trials? No agendas that weigh one down.
Think of the downstream consequences of gay men having sons and gay women having daughters.
“Let’s call the whole thing off!” Gershwin and Ella and Louis

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
9 months ago
Reply to  Sam May

That jumped out at me as well.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
9 months ago

The only way that gay male couples can have babies is by stealing them from women. It’s a complete travesty of nature to allow gay male couples to have children. It means that the work of some woman is going to be taken from her by monetary coercion. This should not be allowed.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

That’s crazy talk.
Whoever the woman is, I’m sure she will be a willing and eager recipient of a significant amount of cash.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Shaw
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Well, at least until the time when fertile women will be required to donate a certain percentage of their eggs to the state—kind of like some countries’ requiring a couple years of military service from their young.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

If that ever happens then I suppose men will also be required to donate.
The resulting embryos could then be gestated in artificial wombs to rebuild the population of countries with rapidly declining populations… which frankly is almost every country outside of Africa.
Countries such as China might certainly be expected to invest hugely in such an effort.

Eve K
Eve K
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I don’t think you understand what gestation entails

Babs
Babs
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Thus, Aldous Huxley’s book, Brave New World, will become reality…
Great

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

So are some of the people who give their kidnies

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Women construing their bodies as industrial complexes that exist to siphon and produce money is the problem.

Maighread G
Maighread G
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Well, Gay Couples should be allowed to adopt, if they meet the criteria.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

Come now Mary; Alexis Tsipras himself joked after gaining power that the party didn’t have more than a few years to ‘change society’ because in that time they’d have become as bad as everybody else (cue cheesy canned laughter).

Pragmatic, realistic or just plain cynical ? Starmer, and all the other Lords and Ladies in the current Labour Party can’t seriously believe any of their lukewarm, half-hearted pseudo-Socialist rhetoric any more, can they ?

As for Wombs’R’Us (I’m open to capital offers for my exciting, new, niche venture – being a G myself, I think I understand the market and can bridge the gap between the consumers and producers) the vampire squid has successfully colonised every corner of our lives.

I can’t imagine any change now apart from the complete collapse of the whole pack of cards but the fallout is too mind-boggling to contemplate.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
9 months ago

It always struck me that the liberal feminists who were all too eager to cosplay as “handmaidens” at the time of Donald Trump’s election might have had their sights trained in the wrong direction….
 
(And yes, they certainly did seem “over-eager” in their dressing up. This might be indicative of some sort of repressed desire, but I really don’t want to go there….)

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
9 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale? I did, when it first came out. I was chilled to the bone by the opening scenario: Guess how the repressive Christianist government gained such total and instant control over women?
They froze their access to money. Froze their bank accounts, ATM cards, credit cards—that’s how.
Back then, I consoled myself with the idea that this sort of power could never be exercised overnight in the real Western world.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago

Both those guys would look at home in a uniform by Hugo Boss.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
9 months ago

“Universal Basic Uterus.” I love it! Could also be phrased as “Universal Basic Uterine Access.”
But I’m just a uterus-haver with a front-hole—what do I know?

William Amos
William Amos
9 months ago

There is one figure even more powerless, voiceless and coopted in this transaction than the unnamed mother and that is the child who is brought forth into this world in a situation of manufactured motherlessness.
We are utterly adrift.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
9 months ago

Equality would be that gay couples were considered as potential adoptive parents according to the same metrics and conditions as straight couples, neither favoured nor disadvantaged for being gay.

As Mary says, the ‘inequality’ here is biological, not social, and therefore not a matter of legislation regardless of the sex or sexuality of the people wanting this ‘service’.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 months ago

This is a good characterisation of the modern identitarian Left as wedded both to the neoliberal impulses of today’s market societies AND these new tendencies towards transhumanism betraying a F-scist instinct which has arisen in a somewhat accelerated form in the last 10 years.
My only explanation for this phenomenon is that the Internet and partisan realignment along ‘culture war’ lines (liberal vs conservative blocs) have remoulded the human psyche, and this has been particularly pronounced for the liberal Left.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

PS Presumably, Tyler is a shoe-in for Lady MacBeth. If she doesn’t get the ‘baby they deserve’ according to their busy schedule, it won’t be long before she’ll be tweeting ‘Come to my woman’s breasts (? I saw that YT video – I kid you not) and take my milk (oatmeal latte?) for gall’.

Frank Scavelli
Frank Scavelli
8 months ago

Really great insight into the way the ‘Left’s’ various social issues all represent the apex and speartip of capitalism’s increasing control over every aspect of reality.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago

At some point in the future the artificial womb will make all of this controversy irrelevant… and probably (at least initially) replace it with an alternative controversy.
A massive Chinese effort in this area to replace their declining population is a real possibility.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Shaw