[Marxism] [lbo-talk] Polanski

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Wed Sep 30 13:00:55 MDT 2009


S.Artesian wrote:

> He's a child rapist.  That's all there is to this.  I don't advocate 
> putting
> Polanski in prison.
>
> At the same time, should the victim, or should her parents, or close
> relatives, blow Polanski's brains out in the street (as I most certainly
> would have done should he have raped either of my daughters),  I 1) 
> wouldn't
> care  2) wouldn't feel a bit of sympathy for Polanski or mourn the loss of 
> a
> "great artist" 3) wouldn't advocate putting Polanski's victim, or parents 
> in
> prison.
>
> I would however contribute to her/their legal defense-- as opposed to
> Polanski's.
>
This is the sort of talk that belongs on far-right forums, not here. With 
your Old Testament ideals of justice, you support capital punishment, 
provided it's carried out on an unofficial vigilante basis, then? Take your 
sentiments to a Republican Convention or British Conservative Party 
Conference and I guarantee you a standing ovation. Or maybe try Poland, 
where the neo-fascists in charge have imposed mandatory chemical castration 
for anyone convicted of sex with a child?

I would oppose any extradition to the US. If it's wrong for Khalid Sheikh 
Mohammed, then it's wrong for Polanski. And, as Shane Mage says, you are 
sentencing someone to rape camp, and a thoroughly corrupt justice and penal 
system. What is the chance of Polanski receiving a fair trial after all this 
media publicity (with the lacklustre contempt of court laws, by which views 
on the guilt or otherwise of defendants can be pronounced upon on prime-time 
television before or during a trial)? He has pleaded guilty to and been 
found guilty of statutory rape, as mentioned before - we have the victim's 
testimony for the rest, but I don't believe someone is guilty until proved 
innocent - whether those events took place as she says needs to be 
determined in a court, if he is to be charged with them.

That said, I find it sickening the way in which artists and others are 
leaping to the defence of Polanski on the grounds of his status and being a 
'great artist' (a mystification if every there was one). The same went on 
when conductor Robert King over here was convicted of sexually exploiting 
children. Some of my own research is about how various figures in post-1945 
West German musical life were deeply complicit with the Third Reich, to the 
extent of acting as its propagandist, or disseminating its hideous 
nationalistic propaganda. Yet, even from some musicians self-identifying as 
Marxists, one encounters ferocious opposition even to investigating this 
fact. Far too many people still buy into the idea that artists exist in some 
realm in which they are above considerations which apply to the rest of the 
population. If somehow the Third Reich was sustained even for a few hours 
less than it was, but as a result we had lost every performance and 
recording of Fürtwängler, Karajan, Gieseking or Schwarzkopf, I think that 
would be a price worth paying. And for justice for a victim of statutory 
rape it's worth sacrificing every film Polanski made after 1977 (including 
Tess and The Pianist).

Solidarity,
Ian 





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