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'Anarchism and sex' article

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James Woolley
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Nov 29 2006 17:23
madashell wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
I feel sorry for you if you think a revolution would involve a large amount of death. I find that idea repugnant.

That's the reality of it, what do you expect, the workers rise up and take away power, wealth and privilege away from the bourgeoisie and then the bourgeoisie...what? Go home for dinner? Take up basket weaving?

Things would be distributed equally, and I expect the bourgeoisie would simply assimilate into this communisitic society.
I do not think the bourgeoisie are innately corrupt because I think no human is, and so I feel the need to murder people unnecessary.

Grace
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Nov 29 2006 17:26
James Woolley wrote:
madashell wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
I feel sorry for you if you think a revolution would involve a large amount of death. I find that idea repugnant.

That's the reality of it, what do you expect, the workers rise up and take away power, wealth and privilege away from the bourgeoisie and then the bourgeoisie...what? Go home for dinner? Take up basket weaving?

Things would be distributed equally, and I expect the bourgeoisie would simply assimilate into this communisitic society.
I do not think the bourgeoisie are innately corrupt because I think no human is, and so I feel the need to murder people unnecessary.

And you think they'd just go ah well, yes, after all these years I realise that I shouldn't have had the privelege I've enjoyed in life, here y'go, redistribute my wealth, I'll go without my power and just settle down nicely?

James Woolley
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Nov 29 2006 17:31
Grace wrote:
And you think they'd just go ah well, yes, after all these years I realise that I shouldn't have had the privelege I've enjoyed in life, here y'go, redistribute my wealth, I'll go without my power and just settle down nicely?

I don't pretend to be in anyway prescient but I suspect a proportion of the bourgeoisie would ostracise themselves from this society, then realise what a bad idea this would be and assimilate!
What do you suggest would happen to the bourgeoisie, Grace? Surely you're not a proponent of the 'murder them' approach? Y'know I always thought one of the strengths of anarchism was its fortitude and moral strength...

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Serge Forward
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Nov 29 2006 17:33

I think that's just a tad naive, James. Sure, some members of the boss class will 'assimilate' but I suspect the vast majority will fight tooth and claw to defend their interests. But surely, this is another thread, is it not?

As writer of the original article, and as someone who believes in sexual freedom, openness and diversity, I'm slightly disappointed that the discussion has degenerated into a slanging match over radical feminism - which when all said and done, has nothing in common with anarcho-communism and has never been an ideology which is that big on sexual freedom, openness or diversity but rather prefers the 'right-on' cloister.

Grace
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Nov 29 2006 17:35
James Woolley wrote:
Grace wrote:
And you think they'd just go ah well, yes, after all these years I realise that I shouldn't have had the privelege I've enjoyed in life, here y'go, redistribute my wealth, I'll go without my power and just settle down nicely?

I don't pretend to be in anyway prescient but I suspect a proportion of the bourgeoisie would ostracise themselves from this society, then realise what a bad idea this would be and assimilate!
What do you suggest would happen to the bourgeoisie, Grace? Surely you're not a proponent of the 'murder them' approach? Y'know I always thought one of the strengths of anarchism was its fortitude and moral strength...

I honestly don't know, I was just pointing out that I don't think things would turn out that simply.

It's a difficult point to consider, and I'm only little, gimme a couple years and I'll get back to you smile

arf
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Nov 29 2006 17:35
revol68 wrote:
see if your gonna do ad hoc you got to make it funny, it's the humour that carries it through.

oh btw hello random.

hello revol. still banging the same old drums? you poor boy sad

(((revol)))

James Woolley
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Nov 29 2006 17:37
Jess wrote:
...there are many other strands of feminism such as anarcha- and socialist.

Anarcha-feminism, as I have already mentioned, I interpret as radical feminism within an anarchist framework. Both anarcha- and radical feminism inveigh against the patriarchy and recognise the patriarchy as the form of domination to be overcome.

arf
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Nov 29 2006 17:39
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radical feminism - which when all said and done, has nothing in common with anarcho-communism and has never been an ideology which is that big on sexual freedom, openness or diversity but rather prefers the 'right-on' cloister.

radical feminism is all about women's sexual liberation.

openness and diversity sounds like liberal jargon to me.

James Woolley
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Nov 29 2006 17:48
revol68 wrote:
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Things would be distributed equally, and I expect the bourgeoisie would simply assimilate into this communisitic society.
I do not think the bourgeoisie are innately corrupt because I think no human is, and so I feel the need to murder people unnecessary.

see this is your problem your reifying social roles into individuals.

the bourgeois will be wiped out by removing it's social function, it won't or shouldn't be about Year Zero for people who look abit well off.

This is why your so fucked when it comes to your feminism because you are mistaking the social role of men as oppressors, rapists, priests, bosses and chauvisnists for men as in the biological entity with a cock.

It's like conflating people who wear top hats for capitalists even if every capitalist owned one it wouldn't follow that top hats are the enemy. The enemny is the capitalist as a capitalist, as a social relationship!

revol68, all I can presume is that you're* scared of being emasculated.

Okay, I think I'm not going to post on this thread any more... it's getting tedious and has just descended into contumely.

*Note spelling: 'you're', a contracted form of 'you are', as opposed to the possessive pronoun: 'your'.

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madashell
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Nov 29 2006 17:49
James Woolley wrote:
Things would be distributed equally, and I expect the bourgeoisie would simply assimilate into this communisitic society.
I do not think the bourgeoisie are innately corrupt because I think no human is, and so I feel the need to murder people unnecessary.

This is probably best off being split into another thread.

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Serge Forward
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Nov 29 2006 17:50
arf wrote:
openness and diversity sounds like liberal jargon to me.

Hmmm... I suppose it would to many radical feminists. Perhaps fettered and chained would be better... but that sounds like a good name for a pretty neat club wink

arf
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Nov 29 2006 17:55

it is liberal jargon, you do know that, right?

diversity is like a watered down version of anti racism and anti homophobia.

openness is like the liberal version of honesty, ie, not very.

they're the sort of terms that pepper local government reports.

Grace
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Nov 29 2006 17:57
James Woolley wrote:
revol68, all I can presume is that you're* scared of being emasculated.

Okay, I think I'm not going to post on this thread any more... it's getting tedious and has just descended into contumely.

*Note spelling: 'you're', a contracted form of 'you are', as opposed to the possessive pronoun: 'your'.

Look, I know some of us get pissed off about spelling (believe me, I'm one of the biggest pedants you'll ever meet) but it's not productive to rip someone's spelling apart in debate - not only does it annoy people, but it also makes you look like you've got no decent arguments to come back at people with. I'd advise my approach - to correct the spelling and grammar when you quote posts and not say anything about it. You get the satisfaction without looking like as much of a knob wink

Also your first point is a bit rubbish, I don't think revol could possibly have any fear of emasculation grin

arf
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Nov 29 2006 17:58
revol68 wrote:
thanks for the spelling tips i'll ponder them rather than waste my time thinking about the issues.

i'm afraid of being emasculated? No not at all, I put no value in my "masculinity", infact what pisses me off about radical feminism is that it is blind to the fault lines within "masculine" identity, to how it constrains and stunts men's self development and how narrow essentialist concepts of masculinity and femininity serve to reinforce each other.

Still i suppouse it's a pleasant change to find out someone thinks i'm masculine enough to worry about emasculation. 8)

you're hypermasculine revol. give it a few more years and you'll be cultivating the hair on your upper lip and wearing a leather thong.

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Serge Forward
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Nov 29 2006 18:00

Of course I know local government uses terms like that. This however shouldn't exclude its use by revolutionaries. What I'm saying is, if you don't go for open and honest sex and sexuality, then what's so different between radical feminism and 'victorian values' in this area?

Pepe
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Nov 29 2006 19:10

what's wrong with victorian values?

Pepe
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Nov 29 2006 19:27

You talk about it as if its a mass trend, when its actually just me.

embarrassed

arf
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Nov 29 2006 22:33
revol68 wrote:
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you're hypermasculine revol. give it a few more years and you'll be cultivating the hair on your upper lip and wearing a leather thong.

I'd really prefer it if you refrained from objectifying me in that manner!

uptight.

arf
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Nov 29 2006 22:34
Serge Forward wrote:
Of course I know local government uses terms like that. This however shouldn't exclude its use by revolutionaries. What I'm saying is, if you don't go for open and honest sex and sexuality, then what's so different between radical feminism and 'victorian values' in this area?

radical feminism is pro honest sex and sexuality. why do you think it isnt?

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Serge Forward
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Nov 29 2006 22:54
arf wrote:
radical feminism is pro honest sex and sexuality. why do you think it isnt?

Because from my experience, the radical feminists I've encountered seemed to be incredibly judgemental and had a very narrow definition of what is honest sex and sexuality. I'm sure there are exceptions to this, I've just never met any!

arf
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Nov 29 2006 23:07

have you met many? i know quite a few radfems and id disagree with you. of course, they're all different, so i wouldnt like to generalise.

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Serge Forward
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Nov 29 2006 23:16

I'm going back a few years now, but I had a good few friends who classed themselves as radical feminists. However, they were so judgemental and puritanical that the friendship eventually became untenable. Obviously, I can't tar all radical feminists with the same brush and it would really be a pleasant surprise for me to be completely wrong about them... yep, I'd be incredibly surprised.

arf
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Nov 30 2006 00:21
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Obviously, I can't tar all radical feminists with the same brush

as long as you obtain consent first, is the main thing.

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judgemental and puritanical

you been here long?

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Serge Forward
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Nov 30 2006 07:44

So I suppose nipple clamps are out of the question then?

Edit: Actually, this reminds me, back in the early 80s, the friends I mentioned earlier invited me to a viewing of the film Pornography is not a love story. If you haven't seen this, basically it's an anti-porn film where the bulk of footage used is from bondage/SM flicks in which the woman plays the submissive/bottom role. During the showing of the film, a lot of the women in the audience were in tears because the strong images, without any explanation other than 'this what evil porn does to women', hinted that all the women were involved totally non-consensually. I tried to make the point that this kind of thing was consensual and 'normal' people do this kind of thing quite a lot, but I might as well have been talking in Klingon. Moreover, as about 75% of BDSM images actually involve men in the submissive/bottom role with women usually in the dominant, then why hadn't the filmmakers used any of those images? Basically, they'd selected images to fit their argument and shown them completely out of context and with false explanation of what was going on. Well, I was about as welcome as a fart in an astronaut suit and they didn't want to be friends anymore. The weird thing was, I was actually quite anti-porn at the time.

ticking_fool
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Nov 30 2006 09:16
arf wrote:
as long as you obtain consent first, is the main thing.

Who are you reading, because that is not the radical feminist position. BDSM, pornography and sex work are always and everywhere unacceptable regardless of any consent given by those involved. This is exactly the point that the radical feminists use to distinguish themselves from the sex positive feminists.

The argument used is a variant of false consciousness, with all the problems that that implies, with consent being largely meaningless in a patriarchal society because heterosexuality itself is structured around patterns of dominance and submission. It doesn't necessarily lead to separtism, although it often does, but it does lead to an extremely restrictive view of what sex is and is not acceptable. What were the battles in eighties about if not about defining the limits of 'acceptable' sex?

arf
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Nov 30 2006 11:41
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does and cannot exist

at the same time?

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if you actually read your radical feminism namely MacKinnon you would realise that under a patriarchial society consent in any meaningful sense

is this where you get things wrong again? do you actually understand this argument and the context in which its made?

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Who are you reading, because that is not the radical feminist position.

Radical feminists. I find it helps, when, you know, you want to understand a position.

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BDSM, pornography and sex work are always and everywhere unacceptable regardless of any consent given by those involved.

Depends what you mean by "unacceptable". Politically, the radical feminist position is that all of those things are the results of patriarchy, and the last two of capitalist patriarchy, with an unhealthy dose of white supremacy and heteronormativity chucked in. Politically, radical feminists say we can't understand what non coercive sexual practice would look like without patriarchal influence, what they aren't saying is "all sex is rape".

Again, it's worth noting that many radical feminists, certainly the ones I know, have been involved in those practices, sometimes quite heavily and for years. Organisations set up to help women come out, where they want to, inevitably contain many radical feminists. We don't live in an academic vacuum, and our politics are developed from personal experience, and sharing information with each other. In effect, by denying the validity of the radical feminist position, you would deny the experience of a number of women who have been into BDSM, have made pornography, and have been sex workers.

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This is exactly the point that the radical feminists use to distinguish themselves from the sex positive feminists.

This is backwards, the whole label "sex-positive" is a reaction to radical feminism, which was never sex-negative. The label has always been controversial because it is propaganda, and not all people who fall into the (extremely broad) category use it because of that reason. Also, within the category there are socialists, capitalists, individualists and libertarians, and the largest group are just plain old liberals, which makes the entire thing confusingly diverse. There are also plenty of anti feminist "sex positives", which kind of misses the point. Sex positive feminism is about empowerment through sexual liberation, and that is not possible without women's liberation.

I have some socialist and anarchist feminist friends who would fall into the category "sex positive", although as I said the label is constantly under dispute, amongst themselves as well as from without. I understand the empowerment/liberation angle and I think it's very important, I just don't think its goal of women's liberation is ultimately possible for all women, whilst patriarchy exists. Sex positive feminism may be able to enable the sexual liberation of individual women but on it's own it cannot free us all.

Quote:
What were the battles in eighties about if not about defining the limits of 'acceptable' sex?

That was a necessary process. It is ongoing, but radical feminism and sex positive feminism have come a long way in the past three decades. Of course there are hard line radfems, and I think there has to be and the work that seperatists do is essential to the whole, but whilst the majority of us critique sexual practices under patriarchy, we don't condemn the people who are practicing them.

What it comes down to, is why do you think sexual practice is off limits? Libertarian Communists can critique everything except sexual practices, is that it? It seems insane to me to know about the extent of violence against women, to know that much of it is sexual violence, and yet to dismiss a political critique of sexual practice and violence from women who have been through it.

It's not as if radfems are going "ooh thats icky, you shouldnt do it". That's not where this is coming from.

Thora
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Nov 30 2006 12:14

Thanks for that arf - interesting stuff!

I don't really know too much about radical feminism, could you recommend any reading/links?

arf
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Nov 30 2006 13:40

loads, and i'll pm you. smile

i thought it might be worth posting up an article I read recently, and have been looking through again this morning. Yeh, there are pretty constant battles between the sex-positives and the anti-porn fems (not all of whom are radical feminists). this is aggravated by the fact that the "sex positive" category is just so huge, as i said before, and whilst it does contain some really amazing feminist women, who aren't all pro porn or het, it also contains some real individualist capitalist anti feminist fuckheads. but then, i can see too, that the anti-porn "side" does contain the moralizing religious nuts as well as the radical feminists, but you have to understand that we are not aligned, in any way, in the same way that i know the genuine and political sex positive feminists are not MRA porn lovers.

Anyway, i was going to say that alongside the odd battles, there is a huge amount of dialogue going on between us, that I am hopeful about. I also don't believe that the non-feminist or anti feminist left (and that includes any of you libcommers that dismiss feminism full stop) really has much understanding of either side of this argument, because it simplifies the sex positive argument so much that it loses its important feminist perspective, whilst simultaneously dismissing the radfem argument because of its feminist perspective.

anyway, i wanted to throw this out to you and see what you make of it.

Quote:
(this was written by SM Berg and posted on this thread, which is well worth a read as a sort of beginning point on what SPs and the radfems are discussing between us - please bear with the thread, there are couple of trolls in there as always, and some of the better stuff comes towards the end).

There’s a fascinating book by Thomas Kuhn called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s the guy who came up with the much-abused term “paradigm shift”, but there are good reasons why the book is famous and for me its outline of how revolutions happen was illuminating.

Basically, science is assumed to be based on hard data and solid theories, but if that were true then we would not see a succession of new scientific theories replacing old ones, a sun-centered universe replacing an earth-centered one. The data sets were almost the same (new technologies can reveal new data), so what accounts for the sudden sight of new scientific “truths” from observing what has always been observable? Revolutions in thought happen when the current frame of thinking – a paradigm - fails to effectively solve key puzzles in the data. A conflict crisis occurs and an “intellectually violent revolution” happens where believers in the old paradigm struggle against the changes newly seen as possible by the new one.

How does this apply to the terse debate over how to solve prostitution’s many harm-inflicting problems? Glad you asked! Kuhn talks about status quo resistance to change and believes conflict is crucial to working out new paradigms, and I think that’s why this debate gets so acrimonious and seems insolvable. In a way it is insolvable because we are operating from entirely different worldviews and accordingly look at the same data differently.

I would characterize the old paradigm as one that sees prostitution as a women’s problem and thusly suggests fixing women as the solution. Markers of this paradigm that circles around prostituted women are permits for women, STD & AIDS checks for women, condoms for women, panic-buttons for women, bad date lines for women, unions for women, “whore college” for women, etc.

It’s no shocker I believe the new paradigm is in drawing prostitution’s circle around tricking and pimping men. Markers are criminalizing tricking men, fining tricking men, “john schooling” men, tracking traffickers, punishing pimps, etc.

I would call the “key puzzle in the data” that legalization’s paradigm of building better prostitutes fails to fix is protecting prostituted women from men’s violence. According to the hypothesis, regulated legal prostitution should result in decreased violence perpetrated against women, decreased sexual slavery, decreased child prostitution, decreased crippling drug addictions, decreased STD & AIDS, and decreased trafficking. Legal prostitution theory is not holding true to its hypotheses any more than the blown-apart theory that the more users and more mainstream pornography gets the more woman-friendly porn and the porn industry will become.

Recent news from the Netherlands adds more fuel to the growing bonfire of the “fix prostituted women” paradigm’s death, ”the number of brothels in the Netherlands has decreased dramatically since they were legalised. The organisation notes, however, that the number of saunas and massage parlours has increased. It seems the illegal sector is growing.

My solution, coming from the “fix prostitute-(ab)using men” paradigm, would be the Swedish solution, but others are possible from this new vantage point. One element of paradigms is that they provide new ways of looking at problems, but do not provide all the solutions. They create the atmosphere from which new solutions can emerge after a creative roadblock has been hit.

Instead of the Swedish model, one could suggest tricking men be licensed and should have to openly register with governments in countries where they use prostitutes. Maybe implement a 5-hour course in responsible tricking similar to responsible driver or gun permit courses. Instead of brothels under control of pimps and madams, tricking men could be made responsible for providing a house, apartment, or hotel room to individual, independent sex workers.

Building better prostitutes is the old way of thinking about prostitution and it has failed to liberate women through centuries of theory testing. We need to unstick from the idea that men’s “need” for prostitutes is an immovable force of nature and therefore all you can do is fix prostituted women to withstand the elemental force of men’s appetites. Battered wives know there’s no such thing as building a dinner good enough to avoid attacks or keeping the house clean enough to please men into nonviolence. It’s not about the prostitute, meal, or house, it’s about communities confronting the male privilege that lets them get away with abusing wives, prostitutes, any and all women. We still inhabit a world where the dominant paradigm blames battered women for not leaving and asks rape victims what she wore, how pretty she was, what her job was, and so on.

True to Margaret Mead’s most famous axiom, Kuhn says paradigm-shifting revolutions are begun by a small group of committed persons. The paradigm’s ability to solve more of the problems, though not all of the problems, than the previous one ultimately determines whether the shift becomes a revolution replacing old truths with new truths. Unfortunately, these processes are crazy slow and the resistance to them often results in paradigm-shifters like Darwin, Copernicus, and Susan B. Anthony getting proper due for their foresight posthumously.

I’m excited to be living in the molasses thickness of a feminist revolution, and I’m trying to be more patient regarding prostitution evolution because I trust its time will come. I don’t work against legalization because I think it might someday work and prove me wrong, I do it because I hope to decrease the number of prostituted bodies piled up by the time everyone else figures out it doesn’t work and shifts to better solutions.

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madashell
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Nov 30 2006 13:59
arf wrote:
What it comes down to, is why do you think sexual practice is off limits? Libertarian Communists can critique everything except sexual practices, is that it? It seems insane to me to know about the extent of violence against women, to know that much of it is sexual violence, and yet to dismiss a political critique of sexual practice and violence from women who have been through it.

Which is exactly the problem, radical feminists fail to recognise the clear, qualitative difference between consensual BDSM and sexual violence.

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 30 2006 14:36
Jack wrote:
It's not like it would make it great, but I think it's a mistake to say sex workers organising to make their work a bit safer is 'meaningless'.

er he said they should organise :? ("can only rely on themselves, creating their own forms of organisation")