Monday, July 11, 2016

ERADICATION: Unified Leftist Strategy to Rid Activist Spaces of Sexual Predators and Groups That Harbor Them

The Problem

Once again the working class has been repeatedly endangered by a sexual predator. A regionally notorious rapist posted a photo on social media of himself leading a sizable march in a city less than two hours away from where he committed sexual assault, holding a large banner emblazoned with the name of a highly visible group, alongside numerous unsuspecting attendees. The caption boasted of his "comrades." At least two, probably more, activists and community organizers from the city of his "original" brutalities were present at this march and knew he was a predator, but didn't know what to do. One said she hadn't wanted to draw attention to him. She also couldn't recall the exact nature of what he'd done three or so years prior, beyond that it was creepy. She'd been faced with a situation and was not equipped with a widely accepted, go-to response. And that wasn't her fault. A month passed and now he's back in the original city, casually attending events and bragging about it online, surely selecting his next target, almost no one the wiser. One diligent comrade in a respectably populated area is paying close attention and telling people. No one quite recalls the original incidents. The historical knowledge of three to four years ago is gone. Many factors contribute to this collective memory loss, which have been covered in previous posts and range from short-sighted election-based organizing, the Democratic Party's predictable betrayal of the working class and women* (same thing), Dem front groups' enviable ability to convert promising Leftists to their well-funded and guilt-laden liberalism, and the transient population of Florida whether due to DemOps flying their newest crop of recruits to mysterious trainings in Minneapolis and DC or socio-economic conditions, and so on. But when the chips are down, only one segment of the population is responsible for protecting the Actual Interests of the working class: The Left. Yet decade after decade, we fail to collectively craft and adopt a comprehensive strategy to rid our spaces of sexual predators.**

Mirages vs. Potable Water

Sociologists and anthropologists undoubtedly offer insights into the unchallenged "success" sexual predators have historically enjoyed in Leftist spaces. The Feds benefit from planting rapists in Leftist, as well as in anarchist, animal rights, environmentalist, and other activist, spaces to discredit the respective movements, which pose a threat to ruling class interests and private property, but this we shall lay aside temporarily. My hypothesis is simple: Because the Left's unifying ostensible purpose is Improving The World, men who participate in activism are subject to less scrutiny than men who don't.*** They want a living wage! They oppose racism! They believe in equality! It's the Left! Well, this ain't no hippie utopia, comrades. Truly understand: There are no safe spaces. Safe spaces are impossible under current material conditions, and even under drastically different ones until after a long period of purposeful cultural shifts and acclimation as multiple cocoons of alienation and false consciousness are shed. Our goal is not safe spaces. Our goal is to eradicate sexual predators — individuals and the groups who harbor them — from the spaces in which Leftists organize in a widespread, unified, methodical effort which has never been tried, by using a simple, effective strategy that is implementable by anyone willing to prioritize the safety of women.

The Strategy can and should be used locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. While it may require local then regional implementation initially, this in no way negates its international potential and eventual necessity.**** We shall watch the horizon, staying true to our internationalism, while implementing within our capacity. 
We must build incrementally, fine-tuning what works for our surroundings and adjusting when necessary. The usual barriers to international cohesion appear: Language barriers, geographic isolation, State repression, lack of Internet access, cultural differences. The principles and theories underpinning the Strategy are internationalist. However, they are malleable enough to be altered without sacrificing core tools and tactics to allow comrades who live in exceedingly different circumstances than those under which I live to take what they can use and change or leave the rest. It would be fascinating to hear details from anyone who adapts, alters, adds to, or omits portions of the Strategy for such purposes. 

Call to Arms

We must reexamine our priorities now. We must this precise moment accept that the perpetual presence of sexual predators in activist spaces and the undisturbed existence/growth/activity of groups that harbor rapists and their front groups***** are absolutely unacceptable and must be made a top priority. We must also correct the rape apology of individuals and groups that continue to organize and associate with these groups and/or sexual predators even after mass boycotts have been called and enacted.

You've been arrested at the site of a young man's wrongful, senseless death at the hands of State thugs. You've been dragged out in handcuffs for shouting at a Trump rally. You've shut down intersections to commemorate the victims of misogyny and racism. You've occupied parks to represent the reclaiming of the Commons, to defy the ruling class, to show international solidarity. You've publicly confronted national leadership of a shadowy cult that protects rapists. You've named and shamed rapists. You've held internal investigations within your democratic centralist organizations, and disciplined and ejected offenders. These things I've seen. These things we know. But are you willing to take concerted, strategic action — at times with groups and persons you may strongly dislike or outright disagree with — to rid activist spaces of sexual predators?

There is a way out of the mire, an exit from the circular failure, away from the blight of sexual predators and rapist harboring groups operating with impunity in your backyard, unchecked, endangering women on your watch. The road will be muddy. Hands will get dirty. 'Cuffs will get slapped on. Charges will be caught. How far down this road are you willing to travel? What are you willing to do to for the working class? Exactly how important is preventing violence against women to you and/or your organization? In essence, who's ready to do what has never been done — prioritize the eradication of rapists and those who harbor them, shame rape apologists into compliance, and put women first?

Here I call on you to adopt a multi-tiered, multi-faceted strategy designed to (better) protect the working class and to implement it with the highest level of intensity, immediately, without hesitation or delay.

The Players

Listkeepers: A handful of trusted women experienced in theoretical and on-the-ground activism, survivorship, victim's advocacy, and feminism. Listkeepers will be bound by a solemn oath of privacy to protect survivors' details and stories. Any violation of the massive responsibility of this role will be met with severe, swift, and just consequences. Listkeepers should be (at least) regionally established, relevant, and trusted. Listkeepers will be appointed and approved by other Listkeepers. No one is entitled to know Listkeepers' identities. Listkeepers will be endangering themselves in several ways by maintaining a List of Sexual Predators and Groups That Harbor Them, as well as a subcategory for rape apologists who fail to support the Strategy and continue to interact with rapists and rape harboring groups, that contains personal details of victims, survivors, and other sensitive information. Listkeepers are not bound to disclose their Listkeeper status to any individual, organization, or government. Regarding the government, Listkeepers will not involve the State in any capacity without the survivors' explicit permission/request, and certainly never before deep reflection and productive conversations with the survivor and perhaps even other Listkeepers, as permitted by the survivor. Any interaction between survivors and the State is unrelated to the Listkeepers' role as related to the Strategy. That is, if a Listkeeper happens to be a professional Victim's Advocate, she is probably required to deal with the State at work. However, that interaction does not bleed into her role as Listkeeper. The State shall not determine for the Left who is a sexual predator, which groups harbor rapists, or who is a rape apologist. Listkeepers shall determine that based on a solid combination of experience, knowledge, documentation, and sound judgment. No applications will be accepted to join the Listkeepers. Membership will be determined by express invitation only.

Pointperson: A designated individual from any group that formally adopts the Strategy. Preferably a woman and preferably someone who has been involved in on-the-ground local, regional, national, or international Leftist activism for a respectable amount of time. That is to say, someone the Listkeepers know and who is dedicated to successful communication of relevant information between their group (leadership or membership, depending on the group's structure and size; this is all up to the group) and a Listkeeper. Pointpeople will inform Listkeepers and Implementers of their group's level of commitment. 
A group may change its level of commitment, but preferably not during an event, only afterward or in advance. Pointpeople will ask any questions groups or Listkeepers may have of each other. Pointpeople may not need to involve their entire group in decision-making processes or discussions, depending on group size and structure. The Strategy requires committed supporters, but it does not demand all (or even much in many cases) of a group's time and resources. 

The Pointperson is the sole liaison between Listkeepers and their group. They relay select information to their group leadership on a need-to-know basis and similarly bring back relevant information to a Listkeeper. Because unknown variables and last minute changes are common in activism, it is critical that Pointpeople have their group's trust and are vested with the authority to make decisions on behalf of their group spontaneously on the ground. Pointpeople must keep secure any private information about survivors, groups, rapists, etc. they may be subjected to in the process of implementing the Strategy. Good judgment is required. Harsh penalties will be the consequence of leaking protected information unnecessarily, carelessly, or maliciously. Pointpeople should inform Listkeepers of upcoming events in which their group is involved or about which they have heard, even if they are not participating. Open communication about events is critical to the Strategy's success. Additionally, Pointpeople should notify a Listkeeper of any allegations or observations of sexual predation within their own group or any breaking of the boycott of rape coverup groups by their fellow group members or other organizers and activists. Pointpeople's personal survivor experiences in activism are welcomed as well, but always at their own discretion. Pointpeople can also be individuals who attend many events, work for various Dem front groups, and are generally present in activist spaces. Unaffiliated Pointpeople must also act as Implementers

Implementer: A person who implements the Strategy online and/or on the ground, depending on willingness and ability. Implementers are a crucial part of the Strategy and must be trustworthy and well-known by Pointpeople and/or Listkeepers. Implementers must be able to follow strict protocol and stay calm under duress. They may serve as both an Implementer and a Pointperson for their group. 
Implementers on the ground must memorize the order and details of the Levels of Escalation and exercise self-restraint and self-discipline during events. Implementers will face harsh censure for skipping levels, therefore unnecessarily escalating situations, on the ground or online. Implementers must exercise total discretion with any sensitive information regarding survivors, groups, predators, etc. they may be exposed to in the course of duty or face consequences. A gender-based division of labor will exist among Implementers on the ground during Levels 2 and 4. Implementers will rely on information from their Pointperson regarding their group's level of commitment to the Strategy. Unaffiliated Implementers decide their own level of commitment and are their own Pointperson. Implementers are (currently) responsible for their own bail and legal fees, which should only apply to those fully committed to all Four Levels of Escalation. Crowdfunding for Implementers who accrue fines and fees may be an option for unaffiliated Implementers or Implementers from groups with small or no budgets. Interested potential Implementers may inquire to a Listkeeper, who will then discuss the candidate with other Listkeepers, but denial of application must be respected. Listkeepers may watch a prospective Implementer's actions for a few events then decide they are indeed Implementer material. Prospective Implementers should never infringe upon or interfere with active Implementers performing their duties. An Implementers in Training program may be developed as the Strategy is more widely adopted. 

Levels of Escalation

Level 0 

The baseline. Possibly the most time-consuming level. The foundation of the rest of the levels. The bare minimum that individuals and groups must adhere to and support, onsite and online, vocally and actively. Obligations (both types required) - Passive: Non-affiliation. Refusal to associate with sexual predators, including denial of enrollment or refutation of membership in your group and social shunning. Forbidding them from carrying signs, leafleting, or conducting any activities, paid or unpaid, for you or your organization. Active: Information dissemination. Informing everyone at and/or RSVPd for an event that a predator is expected to attend/is present. The method of information dissemination will depend on the type of event. Materials will be available for Implementers to download and print and/or copy and paste. It is crucial that Level 0 is done thoroughly so no one is triggered by the potential actions of the predator. Informed decision-making by the crowd is integral: They need to know we are ultimately doing this for them. We inform them so they may choose to stay or not. If Level 0 inadvertently triggers someone, remember that it is better to be triggered than targeted (although we obviously want neither). Information dissemination should continue as long as necessary to ensure that every single person present is aware of the background and current situation.

Level 1 
Level 0 plus asking predator(s) to leave. Once information dissemination is nearly complete (there can be slight overlap if there are many Implementers and a large crowd), Implementers, preferably women, will escalate to Level 1. Several Implementers will approach the predator together. One pre-designated Implementer should evenly and at a normal conversational volume say, "You are a predator. Please leave now." No other Implementers should speak but should stand firm at a socially acceptable conversational distance as obvious supporters of the speaker's request. The Implementer who speaks should engage in no conversation with the predator. They may repeat the request up to three times. Most predators do not want attention drawn to them. They want to blend in and seem harmless, nonchalant, invisible. If the predator complies, they should be escorted off the premises by several Implementers, who should gather as much visual intel as possible, noting vehicle details, anyone accompanying them, distinguishing marks, etc. There is no need for further spoken communication during the escorting away. We informed the public and protected women without disrupting the event. We won that battle. If the predator refuses to leave after being asked one to three times, immediately escalate to Level 2.

Level 2 
Levels 0-1 plus containing and confronting the predator(s). Implementers who only committed to Level 0 should continue to disseminate information to late arrivals and have productive conversations. Several Implementers of various genders should surround the predator with a wall or circle, depending on the venue layout, creating a barrier between predator and crowd. Implementers should refrain from getting too close to avoid any accidental physical contact or video footage that could be misinterpreted. Personal space should be slightly infringed. Two pre-designated Implementer(s) should take turns saying, "You're a predator. Women asked you to leave, but you won't. We are protecting people from you. Leave now." There should be no other exchanges. The Speaking Implementers must focus on repeating their phrases in calm, level tones, and refuse to be manipulated into engaging about any other topic or into getting angry or upset. 

Implementers should stay focused on physical position because the predator may move around a lot and histrionically pretend to be bullied. Some of the crowd may be videoing at this point. Levels 2, 3, and 4 can progress very quickly, depending on the predator's experience level with predation and personality. Implementers should be prepared for erratic behavior at Level 2 and beyond. If the predator doesn't leave, quickly proceed to Level 3 when they become too loud to hear the two Speaking Implementers, too agitated and aggressive to contain with a human barrier, or based on other factors at Implementers' discretion. Level 3 is the most essential after Level 0.   

Level 3 
Levels 0-2 plus verbal hostility. Within seconds of moving to Level 3, Implementers should break any circle (to avoid concentric circles), form/keep a linear barrier between the predator and the crowd (near the predator but not as close as Levels 1 and 2), and chant, "You are a predator. We demand you leave now." Give them some space to display their anger publicly; much of the crowd will have gathered by now even at a large event. Chant until the predator leaves. If they stay, the predator will shout accusations of racism, sexism, witch hunts, police operatives, and threats. Implementers must stay calm. The crowd, which is well-informed thanks to Level 0, will witness the predator's erratic behavior and the display of solidarity from men and women against rapists. The crowd will spontaneously join the chant, increasing the odds that the predator will leave. 

As Level 4 approaches, Implementers only committed to Level 3 should back away and focus on surroundings while continuing to chant. All Implementers, especially those committed only to Level 0 and 1, should know from observation if the predator has anyone with them, who in the crowd seems receptive/helpful, who might need to be escorted offsite, and any other noteworthy data. If the predator still refuses to leave, either they or fully committed Implementers will escalate to Level 4. The Strategy works best with proper timing of the Levels of Escalation and when each level is progressed through in turn. It is possible, not probable, that the predator could stay in Level 2 or 3 for the duration of the event. That is how Level 4 is avoided. It is advantageous for Implementers to choose when to escalate at any level, not to let the predator decide.    

Level 4 
Levels 0-3 plus physical removal. Continue the chant from Level 3 throughout Level 4. If they don't leave, it is time for fully committed Implementers to physically remove the rapist. Here the gendered division of labor used in Level 2 becomes useful again. A pre-selected group, previously discussed and decided among Implementors for that event, should calmly usher the predator away. If the predator escalates to Level 4 first, bear in mind that a man predator will not likely physically attack a woman publicly and that women predators tend to physically attack any gender. Avoid a fistfight even if the predator suckerpunches someone. It is simple for a couple of Implementers to pull a predator off of one person. Either way, Implementers should take them by the armpits with a little help pushing from behind as needed. The crowd may attempt to help if Levels 0 and 3 were particularly successful. However, beware an angry mob. Being videoed is an inevitability. Implementers may prefer to appear to be helping an intoxicated friend to their car rather than seeming to incite a riot. Above all, Implementers should never lose their tempers.

If proper communication occurs among all roles, there will be no surprise predatory attendees and no surprise police calls. Pointpeople will communicate to Implementers and Listkeepers in advance whether or not their group will call the fuzz. Perhaps those with faith in the State can be reasoned with, perhaps not. Specialized police avoidance tactics will be divulged privately to Implementers during a mandatory training session for Levels 1 through 4 during which Implementers will practice all Levels of Escalation and different scenarios. 

Types of Events

Because rape coverup groups have a history of hiding behind vigils for people of color, transpeople, and other marginalized groups, the Strategy should be modified slightly for such events but always implemented. Flyers with a clear Trigger Warning at the top followed by a simple statement that a sexual predator is present will be available to download and print and should be distributed to everyone in attendance. The predator need not be identified. The awareness of their presence is paramount. If an audience member is seeking more information, Implementers should feel free to quietly inform them about the background and current situation. Implementers who are uncomfortable speaking to others in this setting may refer them to other Implementers, as designated beforehand in the Implementers' discussions and planning. Once the literature is distributed (Level 0), proceed with Level 1. If they don't leave, proceed to Level 2. If they don't leave, proceed to Level 3 with a slightly quieter chant than a less sensitive event. Unless the predator escalates to Level 4 first, stay at level 3. Once the event ends, Implementers who are only committed to Levels 0-1 should offer to walk attendees to their cars. After the event has clearly ended or the end time of the event arrives and the rapist is still present, escalate to Level 4.      

If faced with doubt due to bourgeois notions of manners and etiquette, ask yourself, "What's more important: the event message, or outing and ousting a predator and preventing potential sexual assaults? The answer is always the latter. And if your doubt persists, then stop at Level 0, 1, or 2, and don't call yourself a Communist or a feminist.


Proceed through the Escalation of Levels.

This type of event has the most unknown variables, which means it will require the most group cohesion and good judgment during on-the-spot decision making. With the extensive network of activists supporting the Strategy on any level, private venues should be known ahead of time. The longer the Strategy is in place, the more informed we will become regarding venue rules, owners, political leanings, police relationships, noise ordinances, and other relevant information. For new/untried venues and depending on the amount of advance notice, online-only Implementers and/or Listkeepers will contact the venue manager, owner, or other petit bourgeois authority figure. A businessperson will likely cancel a reserved room before risking a "rape scandal" or disruption of their profit-making. If the owner/authority figure does not cancel or is unreachable, Pointpeople and Implementers will make a judgment call about how to proceed at a given venue based on experience and observation. Most likely, we will proceed through the Four Levels of Escalation until the event is shut down or disrupted whether Implementers stand outside a building or sit in the room. For ticketed events we cannot attend, Listkeepers will attempt to connect with Pointpeople for the hosting group and make them aware of the List and persuade them to adopt the Strategy. The tactics used to disrupt FRSO's (Tampa Bay SDS) International Women's Day event may be a good model for certain settings although it should be modified to adhere to the Four Levels of Escalation.

Events Hosted by Organizations Who Coverup Rape (and Their Front Groups) and Harbor Rapists
Stringent measures will be taken against groups claiming to be Leftists that protect and defend rapists. Tampa Bay SDS, a front group for FRSO, will no longer hold any events without disruption. They have openly admitted on video and in front of a roomful of people that they harbor multiple sexual predators, who they move around the country like chess pieces in order to avoid detection. The Strategy, once applied broadly, could stop that threat to and betrayal of the working class. All groups who fit into this category will be ruthlessly pursued until our demands are met.

Information sharing is key. Many of the rape harboring groups have blocked Strategy supporters from seeing any of their events. Listkeepers will rely on everyone, especially Pointpeople, to inform them of upcoming events as early as possible. Membership lists of secretive organizations are also useful. Those who frequent campuses where FRSO and SDS are actively recruiting and tabling should regularly collect as much hard data, such as photos of tabling, information on flyers, audio recordings, and meeting times and places as possible and provide it to a Listkeeper. Anyone not blocked by suspected rape coverup group members should gather information. All of this is crucial to our struggle, to the Strategy.

No matter where a rape harborer group's event is, no matter what the topic is, the Correct thing to do is shut it down until our demands are met. We will be labeled insensitive racists, callous opportunists, egotistical wreckers. We do not care. We know what we are. We are Communists. We prioritize women. We prioritize the working class. We prioritize ridding the Left of rapists. We will shut them down, vigil or moment of silence, march or rally, graveside or curbside, church podium or stage podium. If in doubt about bourgeois notions of sensitivity and gentility, ask yourself, "Should a vigil hosted by a group that openly protects rapists proceed even if the symbolism is meaningful and important to many people?" The answer is no. No vigil should be a hideout for rapists. Any event hosted by a rape coverup and rapist harboring group should proceed through all Four Levels of Escalation, in order, no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.

Implementation by Liberals vs. Implementation by Reds

While the Left is to blame for our historical and continuing failure to construct, adopt, and implement a unified Leftist anti-predator strategy, we are not responsible for the failures of liberals to adopt and implement it once we do. At this stage, we logistically cannot, and perhaps should not, monitor every single election-cycle pop-up Democratic Party front group's acceptance and execution of the Strategy. Our expectations of liberals' commitment to the working class and the safety of women must be realistic. But when a group in our own backyard outright defies our existing demand — first issued, I believe, by Leftists Against Predatory Organizations and adopted by many groups in the US and perhaps beyond — to boycott rape coverup groups, we must loudly denounce them at every turn. We will track and continually remind everyone that those who openly associate with known predators and rape cults are rape apologists. Only when they commit to Level 0, which is the baseline, will they cease to be labeled as rape apologists.

We will hold self-proclaimed Leftist organizations and individuals to the highest standard.****** All Communist groups, formations, parties, and organizations must commit to Level 4 or face ruthless, relentless denunciation as enemies of the working class until they begin actively aiding the implementation of the Strategy of their own impetus, with their own resources, effective immediately. We are eager to explain details, present at meetings and conferences, answer questions, and help everyone start using the Strategy to the best of our ability, but once comprehension of the basics is achieved, ultimately it is every Communist's obligation to proceed without hand-holding, without prodding, without hesitation, to prioritize ridding our spaces of rapists and rape coverup groups, as well as harshly criticizing the rape apologists who break the boycott against such vile groups. Women are the working class. Rape survivors are the working class. Rape victims are the working class. It's high time Communists began to aggressively act like it.

* Once again I remind you that throughout BAMF, I tend to refer to men as men and women as women. Transwomen are women; transmen are men. I utilize the semantic simplicity of the gender binary here for brevity's sake, not to discount attacks on men, not to erase other genders, not to imply that women can't be predators, not to imply that some women's needs are different than other women's needs, and not to disavow that the violence perpetrated on some women is motivated by different causes than the violence perpetrated on other women. I also wish to avoid falling into the alphabet soup of today's rapidly changing gender lexicon with which a good deal of readers, and perhaps the writer, may be unfamiliar. The terminology continues to morph, and I do not wish to confuse current or future readers or render the strategy obsolete due to the use of outdated terms. If "man" and "woman" are someday completely abolished as categories, great! That would immensely simplify the implementation of the Strategy.

** Our intent is not to foist these putrid characters into apolitical, religious, right-wing, or other spaces, about which I lack insight regarding the prevalence of rape coverups and predator presence. A popular adage springs to mind, if inaccurately. Something about unpaid domestic labor, bourgeois ideals of cleanliness, and private property: "Clean up your own house before criticizing other people's mess." A sound strategy should accomplish a given aim, as long as there are broadly shared material conditions. Anyone may utilize the Strategy. If it prevents a racist, pro-forced birth, bourgeois woman from being raped, good. But we are the Left, so we address Leftist problems.

*** For an even starker contrast, compare the perception of Leftist men with the perception of men outside health clinics that provide safe, simple medical procedures, shouting slurs based on Judeo-Christian bourgeois notions of propriety, piety, chasteness, and the inferiority and inherent uncleanliness of women and their duty to be submissive to the Rule of Man at vulnerable victims of unwanted pregnancies, "values" and tactics that even the most dedicated religious fundamentalist women must silently question at some point.

**** A specific strategy for international implementation may be needed if the strategy doesn't spread organically as predicted.

***** When I refer to groups who harbor rapists and participate in rape coverups, their front groups are always already understood to be included. Leftists are acutely aware of the lack of division between the underlying political groups or parties and their front groups. Membership often almost completely overlaps. Front groups are often "secretly" run by a given main political group or party, typically as a result of concerted tireless attempts to take over existing groups with name recognition, demographically diverse membership, political credibility, presence on college campuses, ability to vote or participate in other direct action, and potential recruits to the underlying political group or party. Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back) has front groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine, RaĆ­ces en Tampa, (some or all branches of) Dream Defenders, all SDS chapters except UT Arlington, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and more. Most US chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) are controlled by FRSO. FRSO attempts to recruit members of SDS. If they choose not to join FRSO but remain in SDS, they inevitably continue to organize and associate with FRSO and soon learn about FRSO's numerous rape coverups and rapists in the organization's ranks. Armed with the knowledge of FRSO's class traitorship, they can choose to continue to associate with SDS (in which case FRSO makes them miserable and/or continues to apply heavy recruitment pressure), which makes them rape apologists for FRSO. Or they can quit SDS. An occasional rogue SDS chapter publicly disavows FRSO. Those brave souls are the exceptions others should emulate. They are crossed off of FRSO's master list of controlled SDS chapters. When University of Texas Arlington's SDS chapter denounced FRSO, FRSO admitted defeat and began organizing a group called Progressive Student Union, which is now on their master list. When University of Florida's SDS chapter denounced FRSO, FRSO didn't give up so easily and regained control of the chapter relatively quickly. 

If the underlying group or party has enough funding, they often opt to create new front groups instead of infiltrating existing ones. The Democratic Party has front groups. SEIU has front groups. Planned Parenthood has front groups. The list goes on and is relatively easy to research.

****** Individual Leftists on parole, with disabilities that inhibit physical altercations, and other legitimate reasons are expected to commit to the Strategy at the highest level possible for their personal situation while groups are held to the highest standard.


• Various organizations have internal procedures for dealing with sexual predators within their ranks. The omnipresent State permits able and willing survivors to expose themselves to callous dismissals, unsettling levels of personal scrutiny, and unknown but very real threats of retaliation from the State and the accused, with the added deterrents of low rates of rape convictions and decades of rape kit analysis backlogs. Organizations' internal rules and the State's disinterest in aiding survivors and convicting rapists (although it may be argued that the State would profit from incarcerating more people) fail to address the root of the problem: There is no broadly accepted and implemented Leftist strategy to protect the working class from rapists, specifically in activism spaces. We cannot rely on organizations of which most Leftists are not members or on the State to solve this problem. We must take up the yoke ourselves. We call on even the most established Communist organizations and parties to adopt and implement the Strategy.

• Several trusted comrades and some community organizers and activists gave suggestions for improvement, comments about potential repercussions and situations, proposals to enhance the Strategy's effectiveness, and critiques. It was genuinely appreciated. I was amazed by how many groups committed to my spoken description of the Strategy. One's spirits would truly be bolstered if as many and more take the required action once faced with the written word, once the gauntlet has been thrown down, once the lines have been drawn.

• Email in order to see what you can do in your area to promote and implement the Strategy or with questions, comments, and concerns. I will put you in touch with a Listkeeper to confidentially share any information about a sexual predator, rape coverup group, or rape apologist individual or group.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#GTFOFRSO International Women's Day Action and a Discussion of Left Strategy

#GTFOFRSO: Celebrating International Women's Day the Correct Way 

Freedom Road Socialist Organization - Fight Back (FRSO) recently held an International Women's Day (IWD) event at University of South Florida, under the guise of Students for a Democratic Society - Tampa (SDS). The conference room, which was reserved from 6 to 8pm, contained no signage or other indicators of SDS. A large red FRSO banner was draped across the greeting table, one's first stop. A full-color handout was distributed; it contained three minor references to SDS - one on the bottom of the second page that identified two of the six speakers as SDS members, a small SDS logo on the back cover, and two lines of text on the bottom of the back cover listing SDS's Facebook URL and website. The handout also contained the day's agenda, identified the other four speakers (two FRSO members, one from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression - Tampa, and one from Students for Justice in Palestine), and provided information about FRSO events, goals, causes, and contact information. 

At about 5:50pm roughly a dozen protestors entered the room and stood quietly at the front and along one wall of the room holding signs reading "Rape Apologists OUT of International Women's Day!! #GTFOFRSO," "THE LEFT HAS NO ROOM FOR RAPE APOLOGISTS #GTFOFRSO," "Ask Me About FRSO'S Rape Coverup #GTFOFRSO," and other similar slogans. The event organizers appeared confused and quietly convened behind the greeting table (the back of the room, the opposite end of the podium and screen but by the front door). An organizer approached a protestor and said they could stand on the sides of the room, not at the front. The protestors at the front relocated; both sides of the seated audience of approximately 10 people were flanked by protestors. Protestors confronted Steff Yorek, the keynote speaker, about her participation in a rape coverup; denounced FRSO for perpetuating this rape coverup for "a year or more;" chastised FRSO for holding an IWD event; accused FRSO of harboring "an assaulter, a predator;" demanded said member be kicked out; and demanded that FRSO issue a public statement immediately. Yorek told the protestors she would be willing to discuss the issue with them after the event. 

After a lengthy disruption (transcribed/described in detail below), FRSO had building staff/security remove protestors from the public event, and some of the event's audience left with them. The event eventually commenced. About six of the original protestors returned during the second speaker's presentation. They quietly, quickly distributed pamphlets to the 15-20 member audience without disrupting the speaker and promptly left. Several of the original protestors stood outside and talked to approaching attendees about the FRSO rape coverup while waiting for the promised conversation with Yorek. Protestors encouraged anyone who entered the event to ask FRSO about the coverup. The steward/guard soon returned to lock the door. Two potential attendees left after talking to protestors, two attempted to enter but couldn't due to the locked door, and one entered. After the event, a few attendees exited through the front and many out the back door, which lead to a stairwell that allowed them to bypass protestors. The back door was guarded by three FRSO members after the front door was locked for the duration of the event. After the event around 8pm, four remaining protestors entered the conference room and confronted Yorek at length in front of the remaining crowd, with the victim's advocate leading the way.

Deets and Dirt

• Find a detailed transcription and report of the initial, lengthy disruption at the end of this post. Video exists of all occurrences described in this post.
• Here is the video of the third and final confrontation between the victim's advocate, another protestor, and Steff Yorek. According to its original poster, the video has been edited for time. No crucial content was deleted or altered.
• Leftists Against Predatory Organizations provides background information and documentation, as well as contact information if you'd like to join the struggle against predatory organizations in your city, university, organization, etc.

A Casual Chat

Oblivion: We were able to do something uncommon or even unheard of in Florida, with its transitory population and sectarianism. We effectively organized and mobilized an alliance of loosely and unaffiliated activists against the FRSO IWD event. Typically FRSO prevents this particular type of action by strategically scheduling events so their critics can't attend. They also assume there's an inability on our collective part to unify due to political differences they perceive amongst us. And they hold events that would make any disruption of them suspect as racist, culturally insensitive, "inappropriate," divisive. They hold vigils for police murder victims, anti-racist rallies, national liberation events, immigration marches - these spaces have allowed them to avoid our demands for a public statement about rape coverups and rape apology, removal of predators in their ranks, and an apology for their cruelty to the survivor and the survivor's supporters. But the IWD event was a perfect opportunity to publicly confront them and state our demands while avoiding any false accusations of racism, disruption for its own sake, or self-promotion, whatever the various claims they've made against anyone who's spoken for the survivor and against the coverup. It was on a Sunday, at a public place, and about women. It's interesting and important that feminists, unaffiliated socialists, assorted activists, party-building Reds, so on - all inevitably differing from each other in many ways - came from halfway across the state and surrounding areas to disrupt this event.

Wolfe: Yes. This is the sort of coalition building that should be happening all the time, but is tough to pull off, especially in Florida. The question is whether this kind of thing can be sustained in a state which has a healthy population of activists, who all move somewhere else after just a month. If the video gains traction, it will show that it is increasingly difficult for Leftist organizations to get away with the sort of coverups they have in the past. FRSO, your actions are intolerable and saying they are "for the cause" doesn't make them any less so. What impressed me the most is that you got a major figure in the FRSO hierarchy to effectively admit that they do not care about rape culture--on video no less. It is ironic that the Left, always asking "What is to be done?," seems to have a hard time coming up with effective strategies.

Oblivion: Well, we haven't yet learned how to sustain it here. We've seen some wins in Seattle with its $15/hour minimum wage and Chicago dropping the tampon tax. Say what you will about Sawant, an openly socialist person is on Seattle's city council. Last night you said in reference to the Trump rally-crashers who are being attributed to Bernie Sanders, "liberals are more Leninist than Leninists." How True was something you said off the cuff, talking late into the night over a box of wine looking at the city lights gleaming off the water as the smoke or fog rose, conjuring riots and revolution in my mind. We don't have the cultural benefits of a Seattle, a Chicago, a New York, an Oakland, where there's generational activist knowledge passed from seasoned activists to the next batch and so on. All we've got's the long-timers, the lifers, sometimes Florida natives, other times not, some of whom are entrenched union rank-and-filers, some radical feminists, some Occupy Tampa - the longest running encampment in the country, maybe world, mind you - diehards and some others whose affiliation I don't know offhand to rely on for experience, for connections, for wisdom, for all the things that get passed from activist to activist in other places. 

Geographical separation and a lack of public transit make it difficult for us to convene for reading groups and movie nights, much less direct action and civil disobedience, not to mention every new activist who rolls into town has their own agenda. It's very anti-dialectical, really. We're thinking of the whole over the part while our new prospects for communism-building are thinking part over the whole. They want and often need our kind of cred for their ladder-climbing union jobs, their Planned Parenthood-track jobs, their academic trajectory, their college degrees, their Dem party path, whatever it is... While we need them to focus on the whole over the part, to understand that only then can we have a Real mass movement that Matters. These "elders" and "veterans" and "knowledge holders" are often discounted, too, because we're old, we're young, we're women, we're perceived as tankies or trots or some new/other party formation, we're associated with some interpersonal drama, online incidents, gossip that's transpired with or without us. In essence, we're often discounted for the very reasons that we're the ones to turn to. Don't mistake me: People turn to me, people surely turn to others. With certain mental health crises, about abortion, for security services, for this or that solution to this or that problem. They recognize reliable local resources. But for the initial planning phase of civil disobedience and direct action, they don't look to me or Us. They look to...I don't know. Books, I suppose. Theory that preaches what we've been practicing modified based on our current conditions. This vexes me.

Wolfe: Who are the people turning to? We know of two situations where a known employee of an astroturfing PR firm whose clients include the Florida Democratic Party was able to pose as a superstar activist and recruit young and impressionable activists into their following. This ties into an earlier remark. Anyone who has seen a Dem op in action knows that they take over, manipulate, and use up street level organizations with the skill of a Lenin or a Bakunin. They have the Machiavellian skills that we used to have, but somehow lost. They can build fronts--fronts for electing Democratic candidates--but fronts nonetheless. In addition to this, they're able to exploit the latest demographic technology to calculate which people are most likely to be able to be won over to their side and target them. Modern data allows us to know what people are thinking before they're thinking it. They have that data, slick propaganda, and charismatic operatives. Look at the Left by contrast. Trots still sell newspapers--print newspapers. Our key organizing techniques are mined from texts written in the early 20th century. "What Is to Be Done?" and The Road to Power were written when the telegraph was cutting-edge tech.

Oblivion: Well, that Dem op's workplace is still unverified, but we don't have to get into that right now, and it doesn't detract from your salient point. She's working this town for all it's worth, and the only ones who notice it are all about her strategy, the ones who don't end up...not with Us but with her or disillusioned, from what I've seen from this one specific Dem op's maneuvers. And yes they access VAN and certainly other shiny new demographic toys. So you've hit the who and hinted at the why. The why is what we talk about when we say that "track to activism" - Americorps, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, tenure-track pipedreams. You'll scoff and internally roll your eyes, but I fell in the ditch while you barely cling to the gravel road (hopefully thumbing a ride soon). *Laughter* So what about the how to get them to turn to Us? I mean broadly, to those of Us with experience, narrowing those with experience to those with experience who are Marxists.

Wolfe: Clearly, we need to sell more newspapers. [Laugh track] The how is the question, and one I do not yet have any answer to. We need a serious rethinking of strategy in the 21st century and far, far better propaganda at the very least. This is one reason I am happy that Jacobin now exists. As trendy as it may be to slag them, a gorgeous and explicitly Marxist mag whose design doesn't look like it was put together by the worst of the '80's 'zine crew (or BAMF editorial staff) is at least a start. But this still provides no answer on what to do with the pretty much fucked Tampa activist community. I was really hoping that you had a notion on this fueled by this recent success. Let the practice guide the theory.

Oblivion: But focusing on Tampa Bay is putting the part before the whole. Our entire fucking point of view is that of international socialism. We know localism isn't the answer. But solving this activism problem in Tampa Bay may be useful elsewhere and in and of itself. So don't narrow the field too much. But if you do, then the #GTFOFRSO IWD action should at least be supplemented by looking at the recent Trump rally disruption in Tampa and perhaps those elsewhere. We talked a bit about this last night. Let's look at our notes. *flips to illegible scribbles in notebook* 
1.) Organizers threatened those who dared to be too disruptive with state repression in the form of cops and the secret service.

2.) Activists were motivated to attend in order to defy the organizers' threat. Why? Last night we posited that "fun is an appeal," right? So FOMO is an actual MO. Everybody who's anybody, that is anybody I want in MY hypothetical party, would be intrigued by and find irresistible such a threat, a dare. There's nothing more exciting to young/newcomer activists than playing chicken with local establishment organizers who they perceive as less radical than themselves. So there was a gauntlet thrown down, but it was an illusion. The threat wasn't real; the dare didn't exist. The Dem op we're dancing around naming was the sole exception after numerous online conversations about potential repercussions for breaking the organizers' line in the sand, the line of decency, being well behaved, legality, these bourgeois concepts that the Left cannot afford to abide. She disrupted the thing and nobody called any cops or SS. 

3.) I asked, "Do we even need/want them?" being the discerning disciplinarian to your inclusive populist. However, I agree with your primary response: "We need people." Then I asked what keeps what I labeled "cuspers" from committing to smaller-scale, interpersonal, less dangerous, well-organized, possibly more effective actions. How do we get Dem ops/Clintonite wreckers posing as Sanders supporters in order to discredit him to be actual Leninists, not just liberals who are better at Leninism than We are. There becomes a question of (inter?)national vs. local actions and the benefits thereof. Now, lets exclude party climbers, career politicians, etc. for now. I want to know how to funnel those willing to get arrested at a Trump rally over basically nothing, to communism. If we need these people, as you claim and as I accept, then how do we activate these potential Reds? How do we funnel them? How do we convince them that Our way--collectivism--is best? Whole over part. Use their energy for an Actual mass movement? *closes notebook*

Wolfe: Yes--but thinking too "internationally" can lead to, among other things, being a cheerleader for Putin in the name of anti-imperialism (speaking of FRSO). So, I still think that Tampa is useful as a prism through which to view the problem at local, national, and international levels. We can view the whole through the part. Our long term goal is always democracy in a classless society. Now, you keep pushing me to answer the question I do not have an answer to. How do we get the cuspers? Well--try harder. Since you bring up Sanders, he gives us an opportunity. We now have thousands of newly-minted "socialists." What are we going to do with them? This is not the end. Within a few short years we have seen Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and now Sanders, so many dissenters from the liberal consensus... [bathroom becomes available]

Oblivion: Okay, maybe I'm trying to corner you. That's what I do. That's what we do. It's how we reach our synthesis, our line, our Correctness, which is always already changing, being questioned, under these rapidly changing 21st century conditions. But you're the one who wants and believes in the cuspers, so the onus is on you. And I'm fine with inconclusiveness. Maybe someone will actually think about it and respond. Fingers crossed.

Wolfe: Yes! Agreed. But if anything has become clear to me it is that We need to expose the false radicals, We need to show cuspers when they are being led into a Dem trap. We need to yell this at the top of our lungs. And, to bring this back to the FRSO action, we also need to expose the toxic left organizations. Maybe if we knock out the bad options, the good ones will become obvious.

Oblivion: So let's leave it at that for now. It's loud, it's getting crowded, and there's a long road ahead of you. And me. And Reds. And everyone.

Detailed Account/Transcription of First #GTFOFRSO IWD Disruption

Audience member: "Who's Steff?"
Protestor: "Steff Yorek, featured speaker and the chief person behind FRSO's rape coverup." She was pointed out to the crowd.
Various protestors said, "Oh, the rape coverup, hmmm...""Have you heard about that?," and continued speaking about the safety of women.
The organizer who had previously asked the protestors to stand on the sides stood at the front of the room and loudly proclaimed, interrupting a protestor: "I'm gonna have to say it again. If you speak up, you're disrupting the event, I could have you removed. You are free to protest, but if you speak up, if you speak out, you're disrupting the event."
Protestor: "We've got ten minutes til the event starts, so we have plenty of time."
Organizer: "Technically, technically, the event starts as long as we have the room. We have the room now. I'm just letting you guys know." The protestors agreed.
Protestor: "I don't know, like this is really characteristic of the state of the Left today though because without democracy internal to organizations, without transparency, you're basically gonna end up with these kind of like sects and cults. These groups are like people's private property and some dude who's been around from the 60s goes around collecting rent on people's dues. This is the state of the degradation of the Left today."
During this protestor's even-toned speech from the side of the room, several FRSO members smirked and paced about, and two men at the greeting table sat red-faced and nervously ran their hands through their hair. Yorek convened with FRSO members at the greeting table, and one of the organizers began laughing with Yorek about the disruption.
The laughing organizer stood up and said, "Uh, if you have..."
Another protestor (shouting): "YOU FUCKING COVERED UP RAPE!"
Another protestor: "Yeah, quit covering up rape, and you can have your event."
Same organizer (smiling and standing): "Hey everyone, we're here to celebrate Women's Day. If you wanna talk to us..."
Another protestor: "That's ironic. That's like so ironic. You have so..."
Same organizer: "If you want to talk to us after the event, that is absolutely fine. Until then, we'd like to celebrate Women's Day. We have people here who want to celebrate it."
Audience member: "How can we celebrate it if you guys are rapists?"
Another protestor: "So does FRSO want to use institutional silencing of the people calling out their rape coverup?"
Yorek: "Well, we have the room reserved."
Protestor: "So you want to use institutional silencing of people calling out your rape coverup." 
Audience member: "Are y'all gonna talk about this?"
Several FRSO members laughed, and Yorek crossed the room smiling.
Audience member: "Can like one of the leaders talk about this, please?"
Same organizer, from the podium: "So I know that some of you have grievances and that's understandable. However, right now, this is not going to be handled. We can handle it after the event. You can talk to us. We can handle the event, we can handle what the grievances are."
Yorek (appearing to be having a side conversation with a protestor): "I'm not going to argue with you. If you want to discuss the issue, I will actually discuss it with you after this event."
Another protestor: "I think you should discuss it now."
A couple of seconds of unintelligible dialogue between protestors, Yorek, and FRSO members erupted into a several minutes long chant, with one protestor seizing the microphone on the podium at the front of the room (by the back door, opposite end of the greeting table/front door): "KICK OUT DUSTIN PONDER!" The room fell silent.
Audience member: "How can we celebrate International Women's Day if somebody's telling me that there's a rape coverup happening?"
Another organizer (heatedly): "If you're interested, she just said we could discuss it after the event. Are you interested in disrupting or discussing?"
Audience member: "Both. I wanna discuss but..."
Organizer, on the microphone: "Then we can discuss after the event."
Several minutes of restless awkward silence passed.
Another protestor, to Yorek who had been attempting to pull her aside individually from the collective action throughout the disruption: "That's what Sol told me when I first confronted her about this, and that was over a year ago. Oh, and that was when she lied about Dustin Ponder being in the organization, and that was when people blamed the victim to her face."
Another protestor: "Yeah a year seems like a good amount of time to get this thing dealt with. Waiting another hour seems kinda..."
Another protestor: "Why wouldn't you want to deal with this on International Women's Day?"
Audience member: "Yeah, let's deal with it now."
Yorek: "I will discuss the issue after the event. You all can stay around." During Yorek's previous statement, a Marshall Center steward or security guard (not in a uniform one might typically associate with security guards) entered the room, then proceeded to approach one side of the protestors.
Protestor: "So is FRSO using institutional repression to silence people calling out the rape coverup?" 
Steward/guard: "I just wanted to talk to you." [unintelligible conversation between some protestors and the steward/guard]
Organizer: "We gave you viable options. If you're not going to take them, then..."
Protestor: "Good job, Jessica."
Organizer (Jessica): "Thank you."
Audience member: "This is weird. Like how can I focus on your talk if this is happening?" No response. The hushed conversation between the steward/guard and half of the protestors occurred on one side of the room. FRSO members lined one area closest to the door, arms uniformly folded across their chests looking glum and detached.
Protestor: "Why did Sol and Jared move to LA when they're involved in a rape coverup?"
Another organizer: "Maybe because she wanted to organize in LA."
Audience member to protestors being talked to by steward/guard: "Who is that person?"
Protestor: "I think someone who works for the school."
Audience member: "And you guys aren't with the event?"
Another protestor: "No, we are not with the event."
Audience member: "Okay, so who is the event? And can you start?"
Another protestor: "Yeah, they can go ahead. No one's stopping them."
Audience member: "Who's the first speaker? Can a speaker start?"
Yorek: "We're not gonna start till the disruption is over."
Another protestor (whispering): "No one's disrupting."
Organizer at the podium: "We would like to start our event now. If you wanna talk to us afterwards, we will be here, we will listen to you, but I know right now you're here to disrupt this event and not actually enjoy Women's Day." General uncomfortable laughter.
Another protestor: "I think this is a fine way to enjoy Women's Day."
Yorek: "You're disrupting the event."
Protestor: "Yeah?"
Yorek: "You need to leave."
Another protestor: "But we're celebrating Women's Day."
Another protestor: "Look, if you're addressing us, we can address you back. That's not disrupting the event. If you're going with the charade of us protesting silently while you celebrate Women's Day then at least try to do that sincerely."
Another protestor: "We're celebrating Women's Day by calling out a group who covers up rape. It's been a year since these accusations and no actual statement from FRSO has been made."
Audience member: "Maybe they can make one now. Make a statement now. Can we have a statement now?"
Another protestor: "In the time it would take to address this now, we'd be out of here."
Yorek, on the microphone: "My statement is that I will not discuss this until after the event."
Various protestors: "Right, right," "Yeah, we've heard that before," and "There hasn't been a statement for a long ass time."
Another protestor: "It seems like we've been asking you to discuss it for a year and a half and now that we've finally put a lot of pressure on you and you can't avoid it, you're still trying to delay."
Another protestor: "It's hard to delete people in person."
Another protestor: "Yeah, you can't block someone in real life. Sorry, it doesn't work like that so here we are."
The steward/guard spoke to FRSO members near the greeting table as uncomfortable, restless quiet again settled on the room.
Audience member: "Am I gonna get to hear speakers talk about this [gestures to handout] or anything?"
Protestor: "Every speaker on this panel knows about the coverup. You know that, right? Everybody here knows that? Everyone here knows it and is cool with it?"
Audience member: "I don't even know who the speakers are, I just thought it would be interesting but now this issue has come up and I want to hear a statement today."
Protestors briefly chanted "ISSUE A STATEMENT!"
Protestor: "What are you covering up? Why are you so scared to talk about this?"
Another protestor: "I know. Like if there's nothing, then I don't see the problem."
Audience member: "Why can't y'all just issue a statement, right now, then y'all can talk?"
The steward/guard continued moving from Yorek to other organizers to protestors, as FRSO members smirked and attendees read the flyers protestors had distributed earlier. Finally, protestors were asked to leave by the steward/guard and did, loudly chanting: "KICK OUT DUSTIN PONDER!" 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Glorification of Grand Juries: Stop. Now. And Publicly Renounce Your Error.

Commence Oblivion 

Stop glorifying grand juries. Even if they're "on your side." Stop it now. Just stop. Trust me. Never trust anyone who says, "Trust me." But trust me: full stop.

Grand juries are rogue entities without oversight of any kind who can swoop in and detain anyone under arbitrary secret surveillance state dicta, without much if any cause, as Manning, Snowden, Assange, Greenwald, Poitras, Potter, et al. have risked their lives and safety, gone to prison and into exile to inform and warn us about. Grand juries symbolize everything about the (surveillance) state (and beyond) we should stand united against. So, stand united against them with us.

When Monday evening the top trending social media topic was "Planned Parenthood Not Indicted About Selling Fetal Tissue, but Two Activists Are Indicted for Producing Fake Anti-Choice Videos" or whatever the SEO gods named the thing that everyone was momentarily paying rapt attention to, a wave of nausea and disgust passed over me. I've heard the horror stories about grand juries: the obfuscation, the complete ruination of lives and livelihoods and personages, the Red and Green Scare chilling effect tactics, the prosecutorial puppetry. Remaining improbably still slightly naive about the General State of Things - here referring to knowledge about grand juries - I was even shocked to see the shibboleths of the liberal anti-forced birth leadership praising the plot twist in the narrative of abortion rhetoric, which let's face it, is not news to BAMF readers, anti-natalists, leftists, among others who can see a scripted story playing out like a fifth grade rendition of "Our Town." Yet somehow I was sickened. Somehow the cynicism has not yet seeped to the very marrow of my bones. Stupid lingering remnants of romantic cautious optimism. How dare I assume that comrades, feminist associates, fellow repro-opponents, like-minded uterine autonomists, and other uncharacterizable (I'm not generally an apt applier of labels) sympathizers would recognize this disgusting and thinly veiled ploy to gain public approval for grand juries by rallying support around their heroic indictment of what are undoubtedly unscrupulous and disgusting individuals preventing women from accessing health care they need to remove toxic parasites from their bodies? What is wrong with me? And, more relevantly here, with you?

Do not glorify grand juries. If you do, you're doing feminism wrong. You're doing communism wrong. You're doing Marxism wrong. You're doing anarchism wrong. You're doing Leftism wrong. You're doing things generally wrong. If you support grand juries under any circumstance, you might be a liberal. You also might be a conservative. You also might be a capitalist. Whatever you identify as or actually are, you're wrong. So please for the love of the hate of the state, stop. Just stop. And renounce your support. Post this. Post a bunch of links I'll include despite BAMF's new approach that does not require submissions to have credible citations and reliable research, be bogged down with Marxian terminology, or include trendy whatever-is-in-style-at-time-of-posting rhetorical strategies. I'm running on instincts here, taking a cue from Salvage. The screeds have commenced.

Presumably, everyone reading this can google. If not, I'm not an Expert but I can and have googled for you. I have personally seen it transpire. I have read innumerable accounts of grand juries ruining lives. I have no other pressing reason to butt up against the organizations with the most funding and public support to continue to provide safe, free/affordable (in some cases) abortions while fighting legislative battles to keep it that way. At this juncture, my reason for harshly criticizing the response of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, National Network of Abortion Funds, and countless others praising the use of grand juries in favor of their cause(s) is because my devotion to smashing the state and communism trumps my need to blindly support abortion providers' and their financial backers' political stances. 

Commence Wolfe

One of the most fundamental differences between liberals and Marxists is the way they conceive of the state. For the liberal, the state is a fundamentally beneficent entity—an expression of a social contract between equals, existing for the good of us all, legitimated by the consent of the governed. If the state is failing to act for the common benefit, acting in an oppressive way, they see these actions as uncharacteristic, as deformations. The problem, they say, is we have failed to get the right people in charge, perhaps due to the pernicious influence of big money or, more often, a barely disguised disgust at the fact that ignorant white trash rednecks are still allowed the franchise.

This view leads to a tendency to think that the problem is not with the existence of grand juries but that they have become perverted by prosecutorial bad apples, that the problem is not with the modern surveillance state, but with the people doing the surveilling, that the problem is not with drone assassinations, but with those whose fingers are on the buttons.

Since the state so often fails to live up to liberal expectations, they must tell themselves stories. One story is that we have Fallen from the wisdom embedded in the Constitution, and if we returned to these principles—principles contrived by and for wealthy slave owners—then things would once again be set aright. Another popular story looks back to a more recent “golden age.” They tell us of the wonders of the great F.D.R., who put our nation on the correct course. F.D.R., the East Coast patrician, was a veritable Fredrick the Great who through his enlightened ideas and out of the goodness of his wealthy heart realized the true role of government and showered the working class with benefits. Then came the dark times and Reagan the Usurper...

Those with a Marxist outlook ought know better. The state, for Marx, has always been an instrument by which one class secures its rule over others. It does not act on the behalf of all equally, but on behalf of those whose rule it exists to secure. Any benefits offered to other classes are but instruments for this end. The “social contract” is a convenient fiction, cooked up to justify this. The influence of big money on government under capitalism is not a distortion of the system but of its essence. Given all of this, the state is by nature in the business of repression.

However, too many people who otherwise realize this remain within the spell of the myth of the beneficent state. They cheer when it scores a victory for “their side.” This tendency must be fought. The bourgeois state does not work for us. Occasionally it will, for reasons of its own, haul some dishonest right-wing propagandists up on charges. But when it does something like this it pays to bear in mind that pro-forced birth activists pose no danger whatsoever to capitalist rule, and that left wing activists and environmentalists do.

Oblivion for the Conclusion

May I reiterate my disappointment? Geez, people, really? No one stopped to consider the implications of this uncritical praise for and gushing over a grand jury? Have we forgotten the very recent Tamir Rice no vote? Have we forgotten the historical persecution of communistsAnd anarchists? Have we forgotten the indefinite detention of and terrorism charges brought against animal rights and earth liberation activists? Tune in, folks. You're next. Once you endorse this, you've always already signed an agreement written in invisible ink, agreed to comply, encouraged more persecution of activists of all stripes. And a lot of others' are next as well. Don't make everyone a bed you don't want to lie in yourself.

Notes from Oblivion:

• This post is the first formal collaboration between me and John Wolfe, as well as the (I believe) second attempt to switch up the structural and stylistic approach to BAMF. Let us know your thoughts about the collaboration, the switch up, and the content.

• Some of the following articles are flawed in various ways, but their validity and relevance remains intact. Grand juries are dangerous, secretive, and CAN AND WILL pull yo' ass up on charges out of the blue. They must be abolished. Get on board. Now.