[Marxism] The Pharisee and the socialists (rape culture in our movement)

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Fri Feb 21 19:09:40 MST 2014

*"God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners,
unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican/." (//Luke/*/*18:11)*

/*  *  *

Thano has taken me to task over my use of the terms "rape" and 
"cover-up," whether the San Diego ISO did address the issue finally (if 
belatedly), whether the alleged sexual assault in Solidarity in the 
1990s that Kate referred to in an email to was, at that time, faced up to.

I will grant each and every one of his objections but I don't think they 
have anything to do substantively with what needs to be confronted: in 
fact, they detract from it.

My comment wasn't really about the precise definition of coverup and if 
that fit the mishandling of some outrage; or the right characterization 
of this or that event in terms of degree of violation of consent.

I wrote, in relation to the ISO's San Diego incident:

"Perhaps a year ago everyone could pretend this sort of thing was just 
an issue of the British SWP, but since then I've become aware that it 
happened in the US SWP; it happened in Solidarity; it happened in 
Occupy; it happened among anarchists; and it happened in the ISO.

"Painful as it may be, I think it is time the rape coverups end; 
including an alleged one that, in the wake of my looking at these ISO 
documents, someone in Solidarity that I trust pointed me to emails 
saying has been covered up by my organization, apparently for roughly 
two decades."

WE NEED TO STOP PRETENDING that there is some big difference between the 
British SWP and us, that we or the ISO or the anarchist comrades are 
somehow "better."

The revolutionary socialist left is profoundly penetrated by a culture 
that is tolerant of rape and gendered violence in a way that would be 
/unthinkable /if this were about race or nationality. How long would a 
group last TODAY if it had segregated, white-only branches before it got 
blown to smithereens? Or even if it just had a member of two that 
insulted Latinos as "wetbacks," never mind laying a finger on them?

It is time to stop splitting hairs about gendered violence. It is like 
claiming that it wasn't really a lynching because they didn't kill him, 
that it wasn't really a lynch mob because they were so few people involved.

One of the main reasons I publicized the availability of the ISO 
documents, and if they had come to me first I would have taken the 
initiative to make them public --"security culture" and "internal 
democracy" be damned (just like I made public the draft resolution on 
gendered violence from a Solidarity working group last summer, BTW)-- is 
from a profound conviction that /*we*/ are a /social product.

/For better or for worse, we are all part of a /common movement./

The socialists in the United States, --and especially the revolutionary 
socialists, using that term in an all-encompassing way, including 
anarchists, council communists, and more varieties of "Leninists" than 
Baskin Robins has flavors--, are the product of a long and complicated 
historical evolution that is especially marked by our movement's loss of 
an organic relationship with our own class's movement, because until 
/this /decade and Occupy, there had not been anything that could 
conceivably be called a CLASS movement of working people in the United 
States for a half century or more.

And though I speak of the United States, there is a commonality, a 
shared political, ideological and social space and heritage with the 
rest of the "Western" (imperialist) socialist and revolutionary 
movement, and most of all in the white anglophone sphere, the "five 
eyes" countries of the Snowden revelations.

STOP SAYING AND STOP THINKING, thank God we're not /as bad/ as that 
other group. That "other" group is not the other. It is /us./

/*... never send to know for whom the bell tolls; *//*
*//*It tolls for thee.                      --John Donne*//*


NEEDLESS TO SAY I will /not/ keep this "internal." I would consider it 
treacherous and disloyal /not/ to make it generally available to 
comrades generally, which I will do through the Marxism list.

On 2/16/2014 2:07 AM, Thano Paris wrote:
> Joaquin you need to be much more careful than you have been because 
> you are irresponsibly spreading false and inaccurate information-both 
> about the ISO and Solidarity. If you're honest and self-critical 
> you're going to rethink how you have handled and addressed this set of 
> situations. 

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