NZ section of IST (the SWO)

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMstudent.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon May 29 01:31:05 MDT 2000


I have just received from SWO national organiser Grant Morgan the below
statement re Scott Hamilton and the anti-Bill Logan stuff.  Interestingly,
Hamilton chose to leave the SWO, presumably aware that he faced expulsion
at the weekend just gone.  I still wonder about the membership norms which
would allow someone of this ilk to belong to the organisation.
Nevertheless the outright condemnation of his actions is welcome.

I do, however, find several things in the statement troubling.  I have no
time for the politics or organisational practices associated with Bill
Logan, and have frequently attacked them, but I have *never* seen or heard
of him
'advocating' paedophilia.  Nor do the SWO national committee cite one
single piece of evidence showing Logan 'advocating' this.  I find it
worrying that this is still being used by the SWO national committee, as it
still helps to set him up for state harassment and persecution.

For instance, the claim that the activities which the SWO supported,
initiated by Peter de Waal, had nothing to do with using the state is
disingenuous.  This campaign attempted to interest the mass media,
including state TV, in Bill Logan around the idea that Logan was a
paedophile or an advocate of paedophilia.  The campaigners, involving SWO,
got particularly excited that an 'expose' of Logan was going to be on
prime-time news (it wasn't).  It is simply not credible to claim that such
a campaign was in line with any kind of principled, class politics.  If the
SWO want to attack Logan's politics or organisational practices, let them
do so.  But this is something quite different.

In Christchurch we had the Civic Creche case, where a group of (mainly
female) child care workers were the subject of an absurd moral panic, in
which it was claimed - among other things - that they baked children in
ovens, hung them in cages from the ceilings and so on.  The charges against
the female workers were dropped, although they all lost their jobs, but the
charges against the male worker (who, of course, just happened to be gay)
were pursued with the result that he was convicted in the midst of the
moral panic and has only just finished a ten-year sentence.  There is now a
strong groundswell to have those convictions set aside, as calmer opinions
have increasingly recognised this as a classic moral panic, similar to a
whole series of panics which took place in the USA and which resulted in a
string of unjust convictions, many of which were eventually overturned.

The last thing the left should be encouraging is a moral panic on this kind
of issue, especially when it links gay men with child sexual abuse.

So, although it is good to see the SWO totally repudiate Hamilton, I think
they should rethink - and hopefully abandon - the attempt to continue to
link Logan with paedophilia as this continues to open him up for state
attack and plays into very dangerous moral panic scenarios.

Philip Ferguson


PS: In relation to the SWO national committee statement, below, Hamilton's
emails weren't exactly 'anonymous'.  He used the name and email address of
his good friend and fellow SWO member Miriam Bellard.  Bellard has publicly
defended Hamilton's emails and continued for months to allow him access to
her email - both name and address - to send deranged emails, largely to me
(and possibly other people he decided to vent his lunacy on).  I understand
that Bellard has recently departed the SWO as well.



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 17:39:18 +1300
From: Grant Morgan <gcm at actrix.gen.nz>
Subject: Homophobia & paedophilia
To: Phillip Ferguson <plf13 at its.canterbury.ac.nz>
MIME-version: 1.0
X-Priority: 3
Original-recipient: rfc822;plf13 at cantva.canterbury.ac.nz

The fight against homophobia, paedophilia and other forms of oppression

Statement by the national committee of the Socialist Workers Organisation
27 May 2000

Recently the Socialist Workers Organisation (SWO) was informed that one of
its Auckland members, Scott Hamilton, had sent an anonymous email message on
13 March to a gay person in Wellington, Bill Logan, which was extremely
homophobic and threatening.

The email used abusive phrases like "fat fuck" and "stinking poof", told
Bill Logan to "kill yourself" and issued the threat that "Peter is going to
finish you with his SAS knife, then we are going to disembowl you".

Peter de Waal was the other person implicated by the email. Yet Peter is
completely innocent. He had nothing to do with the email and, as soon as he
became aware of it, stated his total opposition to its contents.

Likewise, the SWO totally opposes everything in the email, which stands in
absolute contradiction to our organisation's on-going fight against
homophobia and all other forms of oppression.

The SWO national committee requested Scott Hamilton to appear before our
next meeting on 27 May to face "serious charges" over his email.

Scott Hamilton resigned from the SWO before this national committee meeting.
If he hadn't resigned, the SWO national committee would have expelled him.
This was the unanimous view of the national committee. Someone who makes
homophobic smears and threats of individual terroristim cannot remain in the
SWO.

After Scott Hamilton resigned, he made internet postings owning up to
sending the email.

The SWO is opposed to the tactics of individual terrorism. We therefore
condemn Scott Hamilton's threats against Bill Logan for his advocacy of
"consensual paedophilia".

Peter de Waal had petitioned the civil (not the state) authorities to
prevent Bill Logan from graduating as a counsellor while he refused to
repudiate his advocacy of "consensual paedophilia".

The SWO supported Peter's campaign because this is an issue of public
safety. To counsel vulnerable people, including the victims of paedophilia,
while secretly supporting "consensual paedophilia" is against the ethics of
the counselling profession.

In the SWO's view, advocacy of "consensual paedophilia" is an attempt to
give ideological legitimacy to adult sex with children. What makes it worse,
Bill Logan recognised no lower age limit on sex with children.

As the SWO stated in a leaflet issued near the beginning of this year:

"Children are unable to consent to sex with adults. They lack the
information and experience to make an informed decision, so they cannot know
what they are consenting to. They are unaware of the social meanings of
sexuality, unaware of the rules and regulations surrounding sexual intimacy
and what it's supposed to signify. They are inexperienced about what
criteria to use in judging the acceptability of a sexual partner. Opposition
to adult sex with children is consistent with today's most progressive
viewpoint on the legitimacy of sexual acts - genuine consent should be the
real measuring standard."

Scott Hamilton's email was used by Bill Logan to discredit Peter de Waal's
legitimate campaign. This was an intellectually bankrupt manoeuvre by Bill
Logan, since Peter's campaign was the antithesis of Scott Hamilton's email.

Scott Hamilton told the SWO that he felt particularly incensed by Bill
Logan's views because children he knew had been victimised by paedophiles.

But this does not excuse Scott Hamilton's email threats and homophobia.

The SWO is sending this statement to Bill Logan by way of explanation. We
are also asking Scott Hamilton to apologise to Bill Logan, although we have
no way of insisting that this happens because Scott Hamilton is no longer an
SWO member.

And we are sending this statement to others on the left so they know the
SWO's actual position, as opposed to any smears that political enemies of
>the SWO may spread.

The indefensible actions of Scott Hamilton illustrates the importance of
fighting against all forms of oppression, including homophobia and
paedophilia.

The SWO will continue to support the struggle for gay liberation and for a
free society where all people are valued for their intrinsic humanity.

* If you would like to respond, contact the SWO's national organiser Grant
Morgan at gcm at actrix.gen.nz









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