[Marxism] Contra Polanski

Pierre Lespoir pierre.lespoir at gmail.com
Wed Sep 30 10:12:09 MDT 2009

Could we please have a slightly more "marxist" discussion on this topic,
please (as opposed to a "café du commerce" ranting as we say in France)?

The case in itself is not that important (even though we as individuals may
have more or less strong feelings about it one way or the other because it
concerns a well known and talented artist, with a tormented biography and an
obvious dark side); however it has some quite crucial social implications :

- the US judicial (based inter alia on the quaint tradition of bargaining
and never ending Kafka like procedures) and penitentiary systems (one of the
most "overdeveloped" in the world) are obviously at stake here (although
this is overlooked in most comments). This may contribute to explain the
almost unanimous and spontaneous rejection of Polanski's arrest in artistic
circles at large worldwide. It seems obvious to me that "fait trials" are
not always to be expected, to say the least, in the country of Guantanamo
and extraordinary renditions. The situation might be slightly different if
the whole thing had happened in a European country... Switzerland is a very
dubious case indeed : hosting dictators of the worst kind as long as they
have a proper bank account but  suddenly caving in when ghosts from the past
fall on an aging artist!

- there is also a lot of social hysteria (as usual in these cases) linking
sex, "children" and the "powerful" : I do not think this is the kind of
unhealthy resentment one should help propagate. It is obvious that Polanski
should be treated as "anybody else", but he seems to be getting slightly
more than his proper share to say the least, in terms of demonization. In
times of crisis of the social fabric thanks to the dysnamics of capital,
moral scapegoating is an all too easy way out. Unfortunately, we might see
more of this  in the future.

- last but not least, I have this strange feeling of having witnessed the
slow evolution over the years of some social norms and behaviours, for
better or worse, (which by the way is a kind of "pudding eating proof" of
the possibility of radical changes...); except for really extraordinary
cases (such as genocides and tutti quanti), I do not think it is wise to
indulge into the settling of too long overdue accounts. The ideology of
"inifinite justice" is a dangerous one indeed.

Pierre Lespoir

2009/9/30 S. Artesian <sartesian at earthlink.net>

> I'm with Kate.  Polanski raped a child. She was 13.  She said "no."  Even
> if
> she said yes, which she did not, he raped a child.  Beginning and end of
> story. I don't care really what happens to him, but if gets extradited to
> the US and put in prison, well... he raped a child.

More information about the Marxism mailing list