Neo-Liberalism and the Defanging of Feminism

Very Inconvenient Truths: Sex Buyers, Sexual Coercion, &Prostitution-harm-denial

Logos Journal

February 22, 2016

Globalisation has further tilted the imbalance of power between the male punter with his wallet and the woman who rents her vagina for a fee. In France, 85 per cent of prostitutes are immigrants, many without papers, vulnerable to exploitation. In Germany, with its legal super-brothels, it is about two thirds. If demand is not tackled, more will come. Is that something any Western nation should be proud of: an underclass of poor women from Thai villages and Ukrainian towns, imported to service First World penises? – Janice Turner, 2014. [1]


Some pimps, some sex buyers and some governments have made the decision that it is reasonable to expect certain women to tolerate sexual exploitation and sexual assault in order to survive. Those women most often are poor and most often are ethnically or racially marginalised. The men who buy them or rape them have greater social power and more resources than the women. For example, a Canadian prostitution tourist commented about women in Thai prostitution, “These girls gotta eat, don’t they? I’m putting bread on their plate. I’m making a contribution. They’d starve to death unless they whored.” [2]


This self-congratulatory Darwinism avoids the question: do women have the right to live without the sexual harassment or sexual exploitation of prostitution – or is that right reserved only for those who have sex, race or class privilege? “You get what you pay for without the ‘no,’” a sex buyer explained.[3] Non-prostituting women have the right to say “no.” We have legal protection from sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. But tolerating sexual abuse is the job description for prostitution.

One of the big lies is that most prostitution is voluntary. If there’s no evidence of force, then her experience is dismissed as “voluntary” or “consenting.” A sex buyer said, “If I don’t see a chain on her leg, I assume she’s made the choice to be there.” But most prostitution today is what German abolitionists have named poverty prostitution. That means she’s hungry, she can’t find a job, and she doesn’t have alternatives. The john’s payment does not erase what we know about sexual violence, domestic violence and rape. Whether or not it is legal, prostitution is extremely harmful for women. Women in prostitution have the highest rates of rape, physical assault, and homicide of any women ever studied. In a Dutch study, 60% of women in legal prostitution were physically assaulted, 70% were threatened with physical assault, 40% experienced sexual violence and 40% had been coerced into legal prostitution. [4]

In the past decade, after interviewing hundreds of sex buyers in 5 countries (USA, UK, India, Cambodia, and Scotland), we’re looking more closely at behaviors and attitudes that fuel the misogyny of prostitution and we have started to understand some of their motivations. Normative sex buyer behavior includes a refusal to see one’s own participation in harmful activities such as dehumanizing a woman, humiliating her, verbally and physically sexually harassing her, and paying her money to coerce her to perform sex acts that she otherwise would not.

Objectification and commodification are at the root of the violence in prostitution.

Sex buyers don’t acknowledge the humanity of the women they use for sex. Once a person is turned into an object, exploitation and abuse seem almost reasonable.

Sex buyers don’t acknowledge the humanity of the women they use for sex. Once a person is turned into an object, exploitation and abuse seem almost reasonable.

In interviews with sex buyers in different cultures, some chilling examples of commodification were provided. Prostitution was understood as “renting an organ for ten minutes.”[5] Another US sex buyer stated that, “Being with a prostitute is like having a cup of coffee, when you’re done, you throw it out.”[6] Sex buyers commodify and select women on the basis of race/ethnic stereotypes via ethno-sexualization. [7] “I had a mental check list in terms of race,” said a London sex buyer, “I have tried them all over the last five years but they turned out to be the same.”[8] In Cambodia, prostitution was understood this way: “We men are the buyer, sex workers are goods, and the brothel owner is a vendor.” [9] A woman who had prostituted in Vancouver for 19 years explained prostitution the same way that sex buyers did, “They own you for that half hour or that twenty minutes or that hour. They are buying you. They have no attachments, you’re not a person, you’re a thing to be used.” [10]Sex buyers’ lack of empathy

Using his own special logic, the sex buyer calculates that in addition to buying sexual access, money also buys him the right to avoid thinking about the impact of prostitution on the woman he uses for sex. [11] His fantasy is the hassle-free girlfriend who makes no demands on him but is willing to satisfy his sexual needs. “It’s like renting a girlfriend or wife. You get to choose like a catalogue,” explained a UK sex buyer. [12] Sex buyers seek the appearance of a relationship. A number of men explained their desire to create an illusion for other men that they had acquired an attractive woman without payment. “I want my prostitute not to behave like one, said a London sex buyer, “I want them to role play to be a pretend girlfriend. To a third person it looks like we’re in love.” [13] Some men who buy sex want to playact the kind of relationship that they are unable or unwilling to have with non-prostituting women. He may pretend emotional intimacy but the relationship with a woman in prostitution always stops short of emotional mutuality. If they construct an imaginary pleasant emotional relationship with the woman they buy for sex, then they can then retain their opinion of themselves as nice guys. However these men demand extensive and exhausting lies from prostituted women. A survivor wrote to the ‘nice’ sex buyer,

The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit…I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me. Your arms around me made me want to puke more than your penis ever did…Every moment with you was a lie, and I hated every second of it. Rachel Moran, 2014. [14]

Like other sexually aggressive men, sex buyers lack empathy for women in prostitution. In Scotland, researchers found that the more often men bought sex, the less empathy they had for prostituted women. “I don’t want to know about her,” said a john, “I don’t want her to cry or this and that because that spoils the idea for me.” [15] Men create a sexually arousing version of what a prostitute thinks and feels that has little basis in reality. [16] Against all common sense, most of the johns we interviewed believed that prostituting women were sexually satisfied by the johns’ sexual performances. Research with the women, on the other hand, shows that women are not sexually aroused by prostitution, and over time, prostitution damages the women’s sexuality. [17]

One of the few differences between domestic violence and prostitution is that in prostitution, perpetrators profit from sexual exploitation. Because of the money, prostitution is much more organized than one man’s individual battering of one woman. Beckie Masaki who was director of the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, spoke about the shock waves that went through the agency when they began to accept women who had been trafficked into prostitution. Previously, they had worked individually with battered women. Now, they were taking in a dozen women at a time. The Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean organized crime groups were not happy with the loss of income. This necessitated increased security precautions for the Shelter.

Sex buyers and sexual coercion

Men’s favorable opinion of prostitution is one of a cluster of attitudes and opinions that encourage and justify violence against women. [18] Attitudes of entitlement to sexual access and sexual aggression, and attitudes of superiority over women are connected to men’s violence against women. Research shows that sex buyers – like other sexually aggressive men – tend to prefer impersonal sex, fear rejection by women, have a hostile masculine self-identification, and are more likely than non-sex buyers to rape if they could get away with it. [19] In Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda, sex buyers were more likely than other men to rape.[20] Men who used women in prostitution were significantly more likely to have raped a woman than men who did not buy sex. [21] In Scotland we found that the more often a john used women in prostitution, the more likely he was to have committed sexually coercive acts against non-prostituting women. [22]

Denial of harms of prostitution

Strip clubs never have mirrors positioned where sex buyers can see themselves, a pimp who managed strip clubs for many years explained. [23] What do they not want to see? Do they want to look away from their predatory maneuvering with the women? Do they not want to see their own foolish suckerhood? Do they want to close their eyes to the lie that the women are attracted to sex buyers? Do they not want to know that while they see themselves as players, men who choose not to buy sex see them as losers? The truth about prostitution is inconvenient for men who buy sex.

A London sex buyer who observed Eastern European women and their “bodyguard,” was an active participant in what was very likely sex trafficking. He commented,

The relationship looked very professional, like a business. Still he instructed them to do things they weren’t entirely happy with. A stern look on his face and a slight raised voice, made me slightly uncomfortable. But after the girl had been talked to by him, she put on a professional face and got on with it. My uncomfortable feeling went away because she did it – she could have walked away from the job.  Melissa Farley, Julie Bindel, Jacqueline M. Golding, 2009. [24]

Sex buyers see, and yet at the same time refuse to see, the fear, disgust, and despair in the women they buy. If she didn’t run out of the room, screaming “help, police! trafficking!” then the sex buyer concludes that she chose the prostitution. Knowing that women in prostitution have been exploited, coerced, pimped, or trafficked does not deter sex buyers. Half of a group of 103 London sex buyers said that they had used a woman in prostitution who they knew was under the control of a pimp. As one man explained, “It’s like he’s her owner.” Another man said: “The girl is instructed to do what she needs to do. You can just relax, it’s her job.” [25] In Romania, researchers interviewed sex buyers, women in prostitution, pimps, and police officers, all of whom agreed that sex buyers “are not interested if the girls are actually trafficked or not but are rather more interested in satisfying their sexual needs.” [26]

Rationalizations for legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution

Laws against sex buyers and pimps are barriers to the business of sexual exploitation. Legalization and decriminalization zone prostitution into areas where it is legal to buy, sell, and be sold for sex. Under these laws, the interests of men who buy sex are represented and pimps are protected.[27]

The argument that legalizing prostitution would make it “safer” is the primary rationalization for legal or decriminalized prostitution. However, there is no evidence for this. Instead, we hear self-serving claims and strongly worded assertions without empirical data. The aftermaths of legal prostitution in the Netherlands and Germany have shown just how bad it can get. As of 2016, 80% of German and Dutch prostitution was under the control of criminal mafias.

The aftermaths of legal prostitution in the Netherlands and Germany have shown just how bad it can get. As of 2016, 80% of German and Dutch prostitution was under the control of criminal mafias.

After legalization in the Netherlands, organized crime spiraled out of control and women in prostitution were no safer than when prostitution was illegal. Mayor Job Cohen closed much of Amsterdam’s legal prostitution in response to organized crime. [28] After legalization in Victoria, Australia, pimps established 95 legal brothels but at the same time, they also established another 400 illegal brothels in Victoria. [29] Instead of decreasing violent criminal involvement, legalization of prostitution has resulted in increased trafficking according to research from 150 countries. [30]Anyone who knows about the daily life of those in prostitution understands that safety in prostitution is a pipe dream. Advocates of legal and decriminalized prostitution understand this but rarely admit it. Still, evidence exists, for example the Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce in South Africa addressed distributed a list of safety tips including the recommendation that while undressing, the prostituting individual should “accidentally” kick a shoe under the bed, and while retrieving it, should check for knives, handcuffs or rope. The SWEAT flyer noted that fluffing up the pillow on the bed would permit an additional weapons search. [31] Understanding the lethal violence directed at women in prostitution, a Dutch legal pimp told a journalist, “You don’t want a pillow in the [brothel’s] room. It’s a murder weapon.”[32] A San Francisco organization advised, “be aware of exits and avoid letting your customer block access to those exits,” and “shoes should come off easily or be appropriate for running in,” and “avoid necklaces, scarves, across-the-body shoulder bags or anything else that can be accidentally or intentionally be tightened around your throat.” [33] Specifications in the Australian Occupational and Safety Codes (OSC) for prostitution illustrate their concern about its dangers. The Australian OSC recommend hostage negotiation training for women in prostitution, utterly contradicting the notion of prostitution as just your average job. [34] The panic buttons in massage parlors, saunas, and brothels can never be answered quickly enough to prevent violence. Panic buttons in legal brothels make as little sense as panic buttons in the homes of battered women.

The public’s health is a significant component of the safety alleged to be present in decriminalized prostitution. In the 1980s, groups such as the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) capitalized on the AIDS epidemic by focusing on HIV education and harm reduction among those in prostitution. [35] This focus brought in massive funding to the prostitute unions who used it to lobby for decriminalized prostitution.[36]The harm reduction approach of these groups to HIV prevention seems to be based on the assumption that if enough male condoms are distributed then life will be better for everyone. In reality, women want harm elimination (exit from prostitution) as well as harm reduction. And a majority of johns across the globe refuse to use condoms. Epidemiologists have found that high risk for HIV is caused by rape and a large number of sex partners. Neither factor was addressed by prostitute unions.

Although it was promoted as a law protecting sex workers, the NZ government’s own evaluation of its law concluded that after prostitution was decriminalized, violence and sexual abuse continued as before. [37] “The majority of sex workers felt that the law could do little about violence that occurred” and that it was an inevitable aspect of the sex industry. [38] During one year, 35% of women in NZ decriminalized prostitution had been coerced. [39] The highest rate of sexual coercion by sex buyers was reported by women in massage parlor prostitution who were pimp-controlled (described as “managed” by the government). The social stigma of prostitution and mistrust of police persisted after decriminalization. Most women in prostitution did not report violence or crimes against them to the police after decriminalization. [40] Gangs of pimps have waged turf wars over control of prostitution in Auckland, [41] and NZ street prostitution spiraled out of control with some reports of a 200% increase post-decriminalization. [42]

Public misconceptions, rationalization, and denial about prostitution

Public misconceptions about prostitution stem from sex buyers’ and pimps’ cover narratives for the violence perpetrated against women in prostitution. Men’s justifications for other forms of violence against women are remarkably similar to their justifications for prostitution. They blame the victim, viewing women in prostitution as intrinsically different from other women and as morally deficient. Batterers justify beating women by declaring that she asked for it or provoked it. Sex buyers justify prostitution by telling us that she’s getting rich or that she’s simply doing an unpleasant but necessary job like factory work. Sex buyers and sex trade advocates may acknowledge a fraction of the abuse and exploitation in prostitution, but they justify the abuse because the women are alleged to make a lot of money. Once paid for, exploitation, abuse, and rape are disappeared. “All of them are exploited. However, they also have good incomes,” said an Italian sex buyer. [43] A sex buyer described the rapes of a woman by her pimp. But, he said, it was only “Every once and a while, not every week.” [44] If men’s sexual expectations are unmet, rape and prostitution are assumed to be inevitable. Women who fail to provide the sex acts demanded by their partners are then blamed for their partners’ use of women in prostitution. “If my fiancee won’t give me anal, I know someone who will.” [45]

Words that conceal its harm lead to confusion about prostitution: voluntary prostitution which implies that she consented when she had no survival alternatives; forced trafficking which implies that somewhere there are women who volunteer to be trafficked into prostitution; sex work, which defines prostitution as a job rather than an act of violence. The term migrant sex worker implies that both prostitution and trafficking are acceptable. Strip club prostitution has been reframed as sexual expression or freedom to express one’s sensuality. Brothels are referred to as massage parlors, saunas, and health clubs. Older men who buy teenagers for sex in Seoul call it compensated dating. In Tokyo prostitution is described as assisted intercourse. Men who buy women in prostitution are called interested parties, pimps are described as managers.

Pimps and traffickers facilitate denial by misrepresenting it as an easy, fun, lucrative job for the women in it. Women as well as men are pimps. A number of prominent advocates identify themselves publicly only as “sex workers,” although they are managers of women in the sex trade, some are pimps, and some have been arrested for pandering, brothel managing, or trafficking. There is a blatant conflict of interest when individuals who are management/owners/pimps are in the same organization as those who are under their control. The misrepresentation is even more unethical when the brothel owners, managers, and strip club board members hide their affiliations, claiming to represent the interests of sex workers. Hiding beneath the banner of labor unions, pimps appeal to the Left’s sympathies. Yet groups such as the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, the International Union of Sex Workers (UK), Red Thread (the Netherlands), Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (India), Stella (Canada), and Sex Worker Organizing Project (USA) – while aggressively promoting prostitution as work – do not resemble what most of us think of as labor unions. They do not offer pensions, safety, shorter hours, unemployment benefits, or exit services (which is what 90% of women in prostitution say that they want). Instead, these groups promote a free market in human beings who are used for sex. [46] We have located 12 people from 8 countries who publicly identify as sex workers or sex worker advocates but who have also sold others for sex or who have been implicated in the management of sex trade businesses in various specific ways. All of them promote decriminalized pimping. Many have been arrested for running brothels and escort agencies, trafficking, pandering, interstate prostitution, or living off earnings of prostitution. [47]

How can we respond ethically and appropriately to the existence of prostitution?

The existence of prostitution anywhere is society’s betrayal of women, especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable because of their sex, their ethnicity, their poverty, and their history of abuse and neglect. Prostitution is sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, often torture. Women in prostitution face a statistical probability of weekly rape, like domestic violence taken to the extreme.

The complicity of governments sustains prostitution. When the sex trade expands, women are less likely to compete with men for jobs. When prostitution is incorporated into states’ economies, governments are relieved of the necessity of finding employment for women. Blood taxes are collected by the state-as-pimp in legal and decriminalized prostitution. Banks, airlines, Internet providers, hotels, travel agencies, and all media are integral to the exploitation and abuse of women in prostitution tourism, make huge profits, and are solidified as part of the economy.

If we listen to the voices and analyses of exited survivors – those who are no longer under pimp or sex trade control – they direct us to the obvious legal solutions. Men who buy sex must be held accountable for their predatory aggression. Those in prostitution must be offered real alternatives for survival, and never arrested. Those who profit from prostitution – pimps and traffickers – must also be held accountable. A human-rights based approach to prostitution, recognizing it as sexual exploitation, like that of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Ireland, would provide safety and hope. In this abolitionist approach to prostitution, sex buyers are criminalized (as are pimps and traffickers) and people in prostitution are decriminalized and are also provided with exit services and job training. But first we have to move past the pimps’ and profiteers’ lies about prostitution. I know we can do that.

To summarize:

  1. The truth about prostitution is often concealed behind the lies, manipulations and distortions of sex trade pimps, managers and others who profit from the business. The deeper truths about prostitution are revealed in survivors’ testimonies, as well as in research on the psychosocial and psychobiological realities of prostitution.
  2. At the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.
  3. Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.
  4. Prostitution is more like being chronically sexually harassed, endangered, and raped, than working in a fast food restaurant. Most women in prostitution suffer from severe PTSD and want to get out.
  5. Sex buyers are predators; they often engage in coercive behavior, lack empathy and have sexist attitudes that justify abuse of women.
  6. A solution exists. It is called the Swedish model and it has been adopted by a number of countries including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Ireland.The essence of the solution is: criminalization for johns and pimps; decriminalization for women, and the provision of resources, alternatives, safe houses, rehabilitation.
  7. Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.



[1] Janice Turner (2014) “The mood’s changed. Buying sex is just wrong. The Times, London, February 8, 2014.

[2] Moore, C.G. (1991) A Killing Smile. Bangkok: White Lotus Press. Cited in Ryan Bishop & Lillian Robinson (1997) Night Market: Sexual Cultures and the Thai Economic Miracle. New York: Routledge, p 168-9.

[3] Farley, M., Macleod, J., Anderson, L., and Golding, J. (2011) Attitudes and Social Characteristics of Men Who Buy Sex in Scotland. Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 3/4: 369-383.

[4] Vanwesenbeeck I. (1994) Prostitutes’ Well-Being and Risk. Amsterdam: VU University Press.

[5] Farley, M. (2007) ‘Renting an Organ for Ten Minutes:’ What Tricks Tell us about Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking. In D.E. Guinn and J. DiCaro (eds) Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking. Pp 144-152. Los Angeles: Captive Daughters Media.

[6] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M. (2011) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex: “You can have a good time with the servitude” vs. “You’re supporting a system of degradation” Paper presented at Psychologists for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting July 15, 2011, Boston.

[7] Marttila, A-M. (2000) Desiring the ‘Other:’ Prostitution Clients on a Transnational Red-Light District in the Border Area of Finland, Estonia and Russia. Gender, Technology, and Development 12(1): 31-51.

[8] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. (2009) Men who buy sex: who they buy and what they know. Eaves: London and Prostitution Research & Education: San Francisco.

[9] Farley, M., Freed, W., Kien, S. P., Golding, J.M. (2012) A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men who Buy Sex. Presented July 17, 2012 at conference co-hosted by Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center and Prostitution Research & Education: Focus on Men who Buy Sex:  Discourage Men’s Demand for Prostitution, Stop Sex Trafficking. Himawari Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

[10] Pornography and Prostitution in Canada: Report of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution (1985) 2. Minister of Supply and Services, Canada. p. 376–77.

[11] Spurrell, C. (2006) Who Pays for Sex? You’d Be Surprised. Times Online November 7, 2006.

[12] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[13] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[14] Moran, R. (2014) “An Open Letter to the ‘Good’ Punter” May 19, 2014. Survivor’s View Blog. Prostitution Research & Education.

[15] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[16] Jeffreys, S. (1997). The idea of prostitution. North Melbourne: Spinifex Press.; Plumridge, E.W., Chetwynd, S.J., Reed, A. (1997) Control and condoms in commercial sex: client perspectives. Sociology of Health & Illness 19 (2): 228-243.

[17] Barry, K. (1995). The Prostitution of Sexuality. New York: New York University Press; Funari, V. (1997) Naked, naughty, nasty: peepshow reflections in Nagle, J. (ed.) Whores and Other Feminists. New York: Routledge; Giobbe, E. (1991). Prostitution, Buying the Right to Rape, in Burgess, A.W. (ed.) Rape and Sexual Assault III: a Research Handbook. New York: Garland Press; Hoigard, C. & Finstad, L. (1986). Backstreets: Prostitution, Money and Love. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press; Raymond, J., D’Cunha, J., Dzuhayatin, S.R., Hynes, H.P., Ramirez Rodriguez, Z., and Santos, A. (2002). A Comparative Study of Women Trafficked in the Migration Process: Patterns, Profiles and Health Consequences of Sexual Exploitation in Five Countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States). N. Amherst, MA: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Available at

[18] Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 10, 125-142; Koss, M. P., & Cleveland, H. H. (1997). Stepping on toes: Social roots of date rape lead to intractability and politicization. In M. D. Schwartz (Ed.), Researching sexual violence against women: Methodological and personal perspectives (pp. 4-21). London: Sage.
Available at

[19] Farley, M., Golding, J., Matthews, E.S., Malamuth, N., Jarrett, L. (2015) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Do Not Buy Sex: New Data on Prostitution and Trafficking. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (August, 2015) 1-25.

[20] Heilman, B., Herbert, L., & Paul-Gera, N. (2014). The making of sexual violence: How does a boy grow up to commit rape? Evidence from five IMAGES countries. Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Washington, DC: Promundo. Retrieved from:

[21] Monto, M. A., & McRee, N. (2005). A comparison of the male customers of female street prostitutes with national samples of men. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 49, 505-529.

[22] Farley, M., Macleod, J., Anderson, L., and Golding, J. (2011) Attitudes and Social Characteristics of Men Who Buy Sex in Scotland. Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 3/4: 369-383.

[23] Prostitution occurs in 99% of strip clubs. Holsopple, K. (1998) Stripclubs According to Strippers: Exposing Workplace Violence. Unpublished Paper; Farley, M. (2004) “Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart:” Prostitution Harms Women Even If Legalized or Decriminalized. Violence Against Women 10: 1087-1125.

[24] Farley, M., Bindel, J. and Golding, J.M. , 2009.

[25] Farley, M., Bindel, J., and Golding, J.M.2009.

[26] Dragomirescu, D.A., Necula, C., & Simion, R. 2009 “Romania: Emerging Market for Trafficking? Clients and Trafficked Women in Romania.” in A. Di Nicola (ed.) Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients. New York: Springer. p. 160

[27] “The sex work approach to prostitution favors across-the-board decriminalization with various forms of legalization, usually with some state regulation, sometimes beginning with unionization. Its goal is to remove criminal sanctions from all actors in the sex industry so that prostitution becomes as legitimate as any other mode of livelihood.” Catharine A. MacKinnon (2011) Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 46: 701-739.

[28] Charter, D. (2008) Half of Amsterdam’s red-light windows close. The Times UK. December 27, 2008

[29] Jeffreys, S. (2003) The legalisation of prostitution: A failed social experiment. Women’s Health Watch Newsletter, 64: 8-11. www.women’

[30] Cho, S-Y., Dreher, A., Neymayer, E. (2013) Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking? World Development 41:67-82.

[31] Farley, M., 2004,  Prostitution Harms Women Even If Legalized or Decriminalized.

[32] Daley, S. (2001) New Rights for Dutch Prostitutes, but No Gain. New York Times. August 12, 2001.

[33] St James Infirmary, 2004, p 172). St James Infirmary (2004 2nd edition) Occupational Health and Safety Handbook. San Francisco: Exotic Dancers Alliance and STD Prevention and Control Services of the City and County of San Francisco.

[34] Sullivan, M. (2007) Making Sex Work: a failed experiment with legal prostitution. Melbourne: Spinifex.

[35] Priscilla Alexander noted that the AIDS epidemic brought with it certain fiscal advantages to those promoting prostitution. Alexander, P. (1996) Foreword. Priscilla Alexander in N. McKeganey and M. Barnard (Eds.) Sex Work on the Streets: Prostitutes and Their Clients Philadelphia: Open University Press.

[36] Jenness, V. (1993) Making It Work: the Prostitutes’ Rights Movement in Perspective. New York: De Gruyter

[37] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008) Report of the Prostitution Law Review Committee on the Operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. Wellington, New Zealand.

[38] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), pp.14 and 57

[39] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), page 46.

[40] Prostitution Law Review Committee (2008), 122.

[41] Tapaleao, Vaimoana (2009, May 4). City takes prostitute dilemma to the top. New Zealand Herald.

[42] The New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee, 2008, p 118 noted that street prostitution in Auckland more than doubled in just one year, 2006–2007. Other reports in the press place the numbers much higher. “Estimates indicate that the number of street workers in Manukau City may have quadrupled since June 2003….” Manukau City Council, Report of Manukau City Council on Street Prostitution Control http:// Plans_&_Poli cies/mcc-report-on-streetprostitution-aug-2005.pdf.

[43] Di Nicola, A., Cuaduro, A., Lombardi, M., Ruspini, P. (editors) (2009) Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients. New York: Springer.

[44] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M. (2011) Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex: “You can have a good time with the servitude” vs. “You’re supporting a system of degradation” Paper presented at Psychologists for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting July 15, 2011, Boston.

[45] Farley, M., Schuckman, E., Golding, J.M., Houser, K., Jarrett, L., Qualliotine, P., Decker, M., 2011.

[46] Cecilie Hoigard (2015) The Presence of Pain in the Debate on Prostitution,Women’s Front of Norway. Available at

[47] Norma Jean Almodovar, USA, International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture, and Education, Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE), convicted of pandering. The executive director of COYOTE/Los Angeles, Norma Jean Almodovar, was convicted of pandering. See AP report in Spokane Chronicle September 27, 1984,,2487624&hl=en; See also AP report in the Register-Guard Eugene Oregon,,6534751&hl=en;

Terri Jean Bedford, Canada, sex worker advocate, convicted of running a brothel. Bedford was one of three applicants, describing themselves as sex workers, who challenged the Canadian laws on prostitution with the goal of decriminalizing prostitution in Canada. See for a description of her 1994 arrest; Also see Toronto Star Archives, Paul Moloney (1994) Sexual bondage parlor raided in Thornhill. Toronto Star Sept 17, 1994 for a description of her arrest for running a bawdy house. “York Region police have seized an astonishing array of sexual bondage paraphernalia in a raid on a modest Thornhill bungalow advertised as Madame de Sade’s House of Erotica. Along with assorted whips, chains, spanking paddles, handcuffs, masks, wigs and boots, police seized a tall throne, stocks, spanking benches, and a black wooden cross with tie-downs for head, arms and feet. Two “dominant” and one “submissive” attendant – ‘Mistress Marie,’ ‘Mistress Morgan’ and ‘Princess’ – provided sessions which allowed for sexual gratification, mostly masturbation, investigators said;”

Claudia Brizuela, Argentina, Association of Women Prostitutes of Argentina, Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, charged with sex trafficking. Claudia Brizuela, a former leader of Asociacion de Mujeres Meretrices de Argentina (AMMAR) and a founder of the Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, was arrested and charged for sex trafficking in 2014. Both sexworker groups were funded by UNAIDS and referenced by Amnesty International in support of its decriminalization advocacy. See Ex dirigente de Ammar procesada por liderar red de trata.(source Anna Djinn);

Maxine Doogan, USA, Erotic Service Providers Union, charged with running an escort agency. Mary Ellen (Maxine) Doogan pimped women out of an escort prostitution agency in Seattle, WA, Personal Touch Escort Service, where she was charged with felony promotion of prostitution and money laundering. She pled guilty to a lesser charge of pimping and was convicted in 1994 of second degree promotion of prostitution. Nature of Action: Prosecution for second degree promotion of prostitution by the statutory alternative means of profiting from prostitution.  Superior Court: The Superior Court for King County, No. 93-1-04076-4, Anthony P. Wartnik, J., on August 8, 1994, entered a judgment on a verdict of guilty;

Robyn Few, USA, Sex Workers Outreach Project, convicted of conspiracy to promote interstate prostitution. Robyn Few was convicted of violating a federal law, conspiracy to promote prostitution. She founded Sex Workers Outreach Project.; Jesse Jardim (2004) Ex-Prostitute Hits the Streets to Decriminalize Prostitution. Daily Californian Jan 29 2004.;

Douglas Fox, UK, International Union of Sex Workers, arrested for living off the earnings of prostitution, advisor to Amnesty International, co-manages escort agency. Douglas Fox was a founder of the International Union of Sex Workers. He has been arrested for living off the earnings of prostitution in a police sting at the escort agency Christony Companions. Julie Bindel (2015) “What you call pimps, we call managers” Byline July 21 2015. Investigative journalist Julie Bindel concludes that the purpose of the International Union of Sex Workers appears to be “to normalise pimping, lobby for an end to laws that criminalise the exploiters in the sex industry, and ultimately to sugar-coat prostitution and present it as a job like any other.” See Bindel, J. (2013) An Unlikely Union: Julie Bindel investigates a world of workers, pimps, and punters. The Gaze. April 2013. (also available from the author);

Eliana Gil, Mexico, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, convicted of sex trafficking. Eliana Gil was arrested in 2014 and convicted in 2015 of sex trafficking. According to victim testimony, with her son she pimped about 200 women in Mexico City. The Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network was affiliated with and funded by United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, affiliated with World Health Organization, and cited by Amnesty International

Pye Jakobsson, Sweden, Rose Alliance, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, decade-long board member of a Stockholm strip club where she was also paid to organize the club’s schedule and place new women into the club’s schedule. She engaged in similar scheduling of women and quasi-management activities at a second club (Erostop). Pye Jakobsson acknowledges being on the board of the strip club Flirt Fashion from 2001-2012. “Founder also on board of strip club” January 14, 2013 Kajsa Skarsgård  Commentary; Gerda Christensen (Translation to English: Annina Claesson) “Swedish Rose Alliance – a fraudulent organization,” 2013 Newsletter of Kvinnofronten, the Women’s front in Sweden A survivor who approached Jakobsson at Rose Alliance stated that Jakobsson recruited women to work at the strip club.
Jakobsson was interviewed by a reporter while she was at Erostop, where again her work was described by a reporter as “handling schedules:” “Pye Jakobsson, 32, handles schedules and other things around the strippers at Erostop.” A sex buyer’s review of Erostop from 2007 described acts of prostitution at the club where Jakobsson handled schedules and other things: “Private Show where the girls show pussy and you get jerk off your cost $ 500.”;

Jackie McMillan, Australia, Sex Workers Outreach Project, pornography producer, dungeon club manager and promoter. Jackie McMillan stated that she produced pornography for 10 years McMillan also manages a fetish club in Sydney with her husband Craig Donarski where the Hellfire Club’s employees provide a dungeon/kink experience with bondage, domination, sadism, submission.; https://; Donarski and McMillan received a business award for the Hellfire Club in 2014.;

Maggie McNeil, USA, Sex Workers Outreach Project, owner of New Orleans escort prostitution agency. Maggie McNeil stated, “I owned an escort service. I was a madam.” and “I was the best agency owner in New Orleans”;

Tanja Sommer, Germany, sex worker advocate with Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen (BesD), Business Association of Erotic and Sexual services. Manages a dominatrix sex studio and rents out rooms to others in prostitution. Tanja Sommer, in a leading position at the BesD also runs her own dominatrix studio in which other women prostitute. Der Spiegel, “Uncovered” March 28, 2015:
Her colleague Holger Rettig is leader of the UEGD (Unternehmerverband Erotikgewerbe Deutschland- Business Association of Erotic Business in Germany). This organization, consisting only of brothel-owning pimps, helped to found and works closely with the BesD.;

Margo St James, USA, COYOTE, arrest for running a brothel. For a biography of Margo St. James life and arrest, see Alison Bass (2015) Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law, documenting St James’ arrest via interview with her, describing police officer’s statement that she solicited him, her conviction for running a “disorderly house” i.e. brothel, her statement that her roommates were prostituting but St James herself was not prostituting at the time of the arrest.

South African School Girls Provide Leadership for the On-Going Revolution

Black Agenda Report

September 13, 2016

Refusing to straighten their hair or submit to white supremacist standards of beauty and comportment, 13 year-old South African Black schoolgirls braved police dogs and arrest to join a growing youth movement. Students have also protested the imposition of college fees and rules against speaking their own languages. The Pretoria girls’ courage “should provide inspiration to Black girls colonized in the US, Europe and around the world.”

“The valliant protest of these girls reveals the continuity of the struggle for liberation and confirms that the Soweto uprising was not in vain.”Pretoria Girls High School was shaken to its core two weeks ago when Black girls attending this apartheid-era elite school challenged fundamental tenets of white supremacy. This challenge to white supremacy occurred in Pretoria, the official seat of the apartheid regime, a city known for its brutality and savage treatment of Africans. The city has since been renamed, in the post-apartheid era, Tshwane. Refusing to bow down to long held notions of European beauty standards and African inferiority, the girls, approximately 13 years old, asserted that their humanity was not negotiable. With afros and dignity intact, Black girls from the Pretoria High School raised their brave little fists under the South African sky and shook the world.

These Black school girls are protesting racist practices, according to school guidelines, which force Black girls to straighten their African hair as well as impose penalties for Black girls socializing together in groups.

Exactly 40 years ago, about an hour from the Pretoria Girls School, a young 13 year old boy named Hector Zolile Peterson was shot dead by the Apartheid regime. Soweto 1976 has become part of protest language among young Black South Africans. Hector was shot in Soweto while they were protesting against using Afrikaans, the language of their oppressors as the official language of instruction. The young man, Mbuyisa Makhubu, carrying Hector Peterson in his arms went missing in the days following Hector’s murder.  The apartheid government hunted him down after the photograph became the symbol of the vicious and deadly apartheid regime. His family is still searching for him. Mbuyisa, together with hundreds of Black  children vanished into thin air in 1976. The valliant protest of these girls, over 40 years after Hector’s death, reveals the continuity of the struggle for liberation and confirms that the Soweto uprising was not in vain.

“Soweto 1976 has become part of protest language among young Black South Africans.”

The death of Nelson Mandela exposed the underbelly of neo-liberal economic policies that tolerated Black leadership but exploded racial and class inequalities. This negotiated “peace” blessed by European powers in London, Amsterdam and Washington maintained white economic global power in South Africa at the expense of the Black majority. A new generation of activists now draws on the likes of Steven Bantu Biko, Chris Hani, the 1976 Soweto uprising young activists and Robert Sobukwe in order to ignite the unfinished business of South Africa’s total liberation.

The #RhodesMustFall movement, which began 9 March 2015 at the University of Cape Town, arguably sparked this contagious flame that has in the last few weeks found new expression among young school girls. At the heart of RMF movement is the decolonisation conversation. It addresses decolonisation of spaces, minds, languages, education and land. It speaks of total freedom from all kinds of manifestations of white domination faced by Black South Africans daily as a result of the legacy of the global system of white supremacy and apartheid.  This movement gave rise to the #FeesMustFall movement which demanded free tuition in South African universities for both students and black maintenance workers who are usually condemned to intergenerational poverty.

The 13 year-old  Pretoria High School student leader Zulaikha Patel is often referred to as “little Angela Davis” by South Africans. She was iconically photographed with a defiant gaze before a white policeman, considered the oppressor of black identity and freedom. In the photograph, her young arms are crossed just above her head which is crowned by an unmistakable afro.  What inspired the world was seeing Zulaikha wearing her school uniform, standing before a large white male whose build is what is instinctively identified in South Africa as the figure of an Afrikaaner man.

“Zulaikha Patel is often referred to as “little Angela Davis” by South Africans.”

Dogs and security were brought to the school to stop the girls from protesting. Officials and security tried to intimidate the girls by saying they woud arrest them.  The girls responded with the fierce chant: “Arrest us!”

Among other protesting schools since PGHS is #SansSouci.  This school made headlines protesting against racist practices that included being punished and fined if the girls spoke their African mother-tongue, Xhosa. Sans Souci, a former white school located in the leafy Cape Town suburb of Newlands, forced the girls to speak English even when they were outside of the school premises. Girls showed evidence on their merit books where they were de-merited for speaking Xhosa. Black school children symbolically tore the books as a form of protest, symbolising the burning of apartheid-era pass books which were issued in order to control the movement of black South Africans

One of the protesting parents of the Sans Souci girls, interviewed for this article, said: “The principal of the school has a really old colonial mindset.” The girls are demanding the resignation of the white school principal, Charmaine Murray, tweeting and shouting #MurrayMustFall. They call for a black school principal to replace her. This would be the first time that Black students asserted such power at such a school. Black students at Sans Souci have a detailed list of demands that include such issues as addressing white supremacy and the inclusion of their native tongues as part of the school curriculum. The Sans Souci principal went into hiding during the protest after years of terrorising black children.

“Language contains a people’s memory, their stories and their heritage.”

The current student movements have their antecedents in the youth movements of 40 years ago. These students are fighting for their lives, their dignity and their humanity. The ability to learn and speak ones language is a fundamental principle that must be affirmed in the fight against white supremacy. Language contains a people’s memory, their stories and their heritage. It is how South Africans remember purpose, nation, family, love and community.

After thousands signed an online petition supporting the Pretoria students, the head of Gauteng province’s education department ordered the code of conduct clause dealing with hairstyles to be suspended.

The Pretoria Girls School protest is built upon the wings of the anti-colonial struggle in South Africa and should provide inspiration to Black girls colonized in the US, Europe and around the world.

Please see links below to view pictures, a youtube and articles on the South African school girls protest:


[Dr. Marsha Adebayo is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. She worked at the EPA for 18 years and blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered South African vanadium mine workers. Marsha’s successful lawsuit led to the introduction and passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). She is Director of Transparency and Accountability for the Green Shadow Cabinet, serves on the Advisory Board of and coordinates the Hands Up Coalition, DC.]

[Siki Dlanga is a South African is an author of a poetry anthology Word of Worth. She is also a columnist and a creative activist based in Cape Town. She leads Freedom Mantle, a Christian initiative that supports emerging leaders to shape a new South African narrative. Freedom Mantle participates in and initiates spaces of activism in pursuit of a more just nation and world. Earlier this year, Siki invited Joshua Smith, an activist from Baltimore to share the #BlackLivesMatter struggle with South African #FeesMustFall leaders from various universities at a Freedom Mantle initiative. She believes that the land of Africa will cease to ache when the bridge between the continent and African-Americans is complete. She believes that the parallels between the South African and African-America struggle exist in order to accelerate this bridge to enable an end to 400years of pain.]

Peru: Mass Feminist Victory Confronts Embedded Patriarchy..Ni Una Menos

The Free

September 16, 2016



Arlette was dragged by the hair and strangled by her boyfriend on camera as he screamed.”You’re mine or you’re nobody’s”.

But yet again the Judge refused to convict for ”lack of evidence”.

That was one of a string of horrific attacks on women that swept social media and provoked the massive 500,000 strong feminist demo last August 13th in Peru, supported by cities worldwide.


Peru has finally joined the tidal wave of ‘Not One Woman Less’ protests that have inundated Latin and South America. Finally women are confronting the ingrained social license to treat them as sex slaves, private property, servants and veritable punch-bags in the service of runaway macho hubris.

In recent years in Peru, women’s groups like the Red Carpet, The Insurgents, Feminist Command, the Association of Women Affected by Forced Sterilizations, Stop Street Harassment Street, Chola Contravisual and various university groups, have fought on several fronts against gender violence, domestic and institutional.

But they have been answered by open police repression, beatings and tear gas, condescension and contempt for their demands and protests by the press and much of civil society.

'I decide whose hands touch me'..'Not one woman more..nor one less, I want to ne a woman and enjoy my se'.. No lock nor key can shut me up'..
‘I decide whose hands touch me’..’Not one woman more..nor one less, I want to be a woman and enjoy my sex’.. No lock nor key can shut me up’..

Soon after the mega protest it became clear that far from improving the wave of attacks on women and children was actually on the increase. Officials were quick to explain this might be due to women becoming emboldened to accuse their tormentors.

Milagros was inspired by the demo to report her tormentor, but he and the police turned against her.
Milagros was inspired by the demo to report her tormentor, but he and the police turned against her.









Famously the police and courts were seen to continue their open anti-women policy when Milagros Rumiche, inspired by the movement, decided to denounce the systematic abuse she received from the father of her child.

Instead of redress she was taken in for questioning and then beaten by her husband. Today Milagros lies disfigured and tubed-up in a hospital bed, yet the coroner has determined that she has only suffered minor injuries and the criminal ‘cannot be found’.

This and many many more atrocities, along with the court rejection yet again of the case brought by more than 200,000 peasant sterilized against their will, has finally broken through the submission of hundreds of thousands of women.

The acquittal of Adriano Well of crimes of sexual violence, the femicide against Arlette Contreras and the suspension of the prison sentence of Ronny Garcia, the individual who left Lady Guillen disfigured with blows and bites were the drops that overflowed a glass that seemed bottomless.


The call for a ‘Not one Woman Less’ National Mobilization began on July 19 as a closed Facebook group. The response was such that in three weeks it had nearly sixty thousand people.

Allegations and testimonies flooded the wall, confessions gave courage to others to also break their silence and publicly identify their assailants by name, even if they were public figures, including well-known artists and activists.

Soon self pity gave way to companionship, fellowship led to catharsis, and catharsis to rage. The objective of ”holding a demonstration” faded among both harangues, calls for self-defense, and to picket the oppressors. The exchange of information and resources was so empowering that they had to create a new virtual group – specifically for the operational issues of the march.feminismo-peruano

The massive August demo was an amazing wake up call, but being Peru this was qualified by all kinds of wild, hypocritical, and scandalous actions.

An almost kitsch bandwagon of positions opened up with the appearance of a whole range of  previously unknown institutional feminists hostile to the most combative, based on the streets: the pacifists, who are terrified of the word feminist; the fujimoristas, which claim for women only her role as mother, wife, sister or daughter;

The pro-life, who cry “Not one less from the womb”; those supporting till a male friend was denounced; Catholics outraged at the male violence, but indifferent to the conditions of horror in which hundreds of thousands of clandestine abortions are practiced.

(The streets of downtown Lima are riddled with flyers and posters advertising ‘Delayed Menstruation Clinics’ that offer an illegal and dangerous solution to an unwanted pregnancy that seriously undermine the health of patients. The vast majority of Peruvian women can not afford to pay between 600 and 800 dollars for a private clinic. )

march against forced sterilisations
march against forced sterilisations: ‘Your hatred doesn’t reduce my rights’…’Are Forced Sterilizations part of your ‘Natural Order”

Then there were those well-meaning men, ‘mansplaining’ the way we should organise the feminist struggle; the enthusiasts of the death penalty for rapists; and many more multiple groups, more diverse every day.

Amid this barrage of information, the phenomenon of ‘victim shaming’ or blaming the victim was not long in appearing. Along with polemics networks, blockades and taking sides.

Having started as a funny and novel initiative, easy to join and without risking much, when it was just a platform “against gender violence”, once the harassment, self-defense and the debate on the consensus began to be common themes in discussions ‘Not One Less’ began to be referred to as a “cage of raging madwomen” and “feminazis out of control”.

'No More Patriarchal Violence' .. 'Abusing one of us they abuse us all' .. 'We cry out against our forced destiny'..
‘No More Patriarchal Violence’ .. ‘Abusing one of us they abuse us all’ .. ‘Libertarian Socialism’ .. We cry out against our forced destiny’..

But there was no stopping it, next thing, brands and companies of all kinds, including those who do not allow their workers to form unions or which do not recognize rights to maternity leave, were jumping on board and joining the cause.

Even the judiciary and the most recalcitrant mass media were voicing support. The march on August 13, also had 24 cities in the world in support with simultaneous actions.

 Half a million people marching is many, many people. So that, among them, to the astonishment of abused women, they could find even their own assailants, some of them still operating in situ , shielded by the police uniforms.


After the march, in fact, social networks burned with complaints about the slow reactions of the police who gawked at the protesters, almost always accompanied by a “how sexy you are.”

Peruvian hypocrisy, our inheritance of a courtier and colonial past, begins to show signs of having turned into schizophrenia. Stalkers marching against patriarchy, prosecutors cynically mouthing support for their victims,  businesses printing T-shirts, to be distributed by workers in scandalous slave labour conditions.

The macho Internet trolls called a counter demo..”Not One Man Less” for September 3rd, demanding their girlfriends learn to cook “like their mothers” and the right to give ‘a good beating’ for suspected infidelity.. but only 20 men and a lot of media showed up.


Despite everything the arrival of Not One Woman Less is a huge breakthrough, reinforcing struggles on every side and re-creating women’s solidarity against a deep and implacable repression.

Feminists, far from being content with not being beaten, have sharpened their detection of everyday patriarchal practices and started talking about rebellion against capitalism, trans rights, and proclaiming what we have always known.. that the Pachamama is a feminist .

above is a shortened translation based on Diagonal article below.  https://www.diagonalperiodico.n..


El desborde feminista se enfrenta a la impunidad de las agresiones a mujeres en Perú

Alrededor de 500.000 personas de todas las regiones del país participaron el pasado 13 de agosto en la marcha Ni Una Menos, la más multitudinaria de la historia de Perú.

, de Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque Armado / Comando Feminista
El caso de las más de 200.000 campesinas esterilizadas contra su voluntad mediante el Programa de Salud Reproductiva y Planificación Familiar entre 1990 y 2000 ha sido archivado una vez más.

La fiscalía no considera que existan suficientes pruebas de que se trata de un crimen de lesa humanidad –a pesar de que fue perpetrado contra un sector específico de la población: mujeres campesinas y de escasos recursos– y niega la autoría directa de Alberto Fujimori y sus ministros de Salud.

El pasado 27 de julio, el Ministerio Público, por decisión de la fiscal Marcelita Gutierrez, dio por cerrada la investigación. La misma semana, la justicia peruana se inclinó en favor del agresor de Arlette Contreras, joven que fue estrangulada y arrastrada de los pelos por su novio al grito de “si no eres mía no serás de nadie”.

A pesar de que el episodio de este culebrón de terror fue registrado en vídeo por una cámara de seguridad, el juzgado ha resuelto que, otra vez, no hay pruebas suficientes.

Al archivo de conocidos casos de agresiones a mujeres en Perú se suman otros en los que son las propias instituciones las que dan el ‘tiro de gracia’ a las mujeres. Fue el caso de L.C., una adolescente que, al sospechar que estaba embarazada producto de las violaciones sistemáticas que sufría desde los 13 años, intentó suicidarse lanzándose desde el techo de su casa.

Sobrevivió, pero con graves lesiones en la columna vertebral que requerían de una intervención quirúrgica urgente para no causar daños irreversibles en la movilidad de su cuerpo. Los médicos encargados decidieron que la vida del feto, según ellos en peligro, era más valiosa que su salud y le negaron la operación.

Tres meses después L.C. tuvo un aborto espontáneo y finalmente fue operada, pero ya era tarde. Hoy en día es parapléjica y tras nueve años de batalla legal contra el Estado no ha conseguido una compensación.

Durante los últimos años en Perú, colectivos como Alfombra Roja, Las Insurgentes, Comando Feminista, la Asociación de Mujeres Afectadas por las Esterilizaciones Forzadas, Paremos el Acoso Callejero, Chola Contravisual y diversos colectivos universitarios, han luchado desde distintos frentes contra la violencia machista, doméstica e institucional, recibiendo como respuesta, por parte de la policía, golpes y bombas lacrimógenas, y por parte de la prensa y gran parte de la sociedad civil, condescendencia y desprecio ante sus demandas y protestas.

“¿Dónde? –parecen preguntar los estupefactos rostros de las manifestantes, al llegar a la sede–, ¿dónde está esa justicia?

Alrededor de 500.000 personas de todas las regiones del país participaron el pasado 13 de agosto en la marcha Ni Una Menos, la más multitudinaria de la historia de Perú.Las miles de manifestantes vieron como en la fachada de la sede del Poder Judicial peruano en Lima colgaba una inmensa pancarta en la que se podía leer “El Poder Judicial rechaza la violencia contra la mujer”, rematado con la frase “Una justicia con igualdad de género”.

Entre ellas y la pancarta, un cordón de policías con guantes blancos –en señal de rechazo a la violencia–. Por todo esto es por lo que es imposible no tomarse las palabras que adornan la inmensa pancarta que el Poder Judicial ha colocado en su fachada como una macabra broma, casi una provocación.

“¿Dónde? –parecen preguntar los estupefactos rostros de las manifestantes, al llegar a la sede–, ¿dónde está esa justicia?

La absolución de Adriano Pozo de los delitos de violencia sexual y feminicidio contra Arlette Contreras y la suspensión de la sentencia de cárcel de Ronny García, el individuo que dejó desfigurada a base de golpes y mordiscos a Lady Guillén –otro de los casos de violencia machista que saltó a los medios en 2012–, fueron las gotas que colmaron un vaso que parecía no tener fondo.

La convocatoria a ‘Ni Una Menos. Nos tocan a una. Movilización Nacional Ya’ se abrió el 19 de julio como un grupo cerrado en Facebook. La respuesta fue tal que en tres semanas ya había alcanzado casi sesenta mil personas.

Las denuncias y los testimonios inundaban el muro, las confesiones de cada una daban valentía a otras más para romper también su silencio e identificar públicamente a su agresor con nombre y apellido, aun cuando se tratase de personajes públicos, como conocidos artistas y activistas.

Pronto la autocompasión dio paso al compañerismo, el compañerismo a la catarsis y la catarsis a la rabia. El objetivo “manifestación” se desdibujó tanto entre las arengas, los llamamientos a la autodefensa, al escrache, al intercambio de recursos e información empoderadora, que se tuvo que crear un nuevo grupo virtual, específico para las cuestiones operativas de la marcha.

Los reclamos identitarios no se hicieron esperar. Un espectro casi kitsch de posturas se abrió como un abanico antes desconocido para las feministas institucionales, incluso para las más combativas, con base en la calle: las pacifistas, las que le tienen terror a la palabra feminista, las fujimoristas, las que reivindican a la mujer en tanto su rol de madre, esposa, hermana o hija; las pro-vida, que claman “Ni una menos desde el vientre”; las que dan me gusta a los testimonios hasta que uno de sus amigos es denunciado;

Las católicas indignadas ante las cachetadas masculinas, pero indiferentes a las condiciones de horror en las que se practican los cientos de miles de abortos clandestinos en las siniestras ‘clínicas de Atrazo Menstrual´ –las calles del centro de Lima están plagadas de flyers y afiches que ofrecen la solución a un embarazo no deseado y en los que la palabra ‘atraso’ se escribe con z.

Se trata de consultorios médicos clandestinos `low cost´ en los que se practican abortos en condiciones de insalubridad e inseguridad que atentan gravemente contra la salud de las pacientes. La inmensa mayoría de mujeres peruanas no puede darse el lujo de pagar entre 600 y 800 dólares en una clínica privada–.

A estas se suman los hombres bienintencionados, explicando el camino que debería seguir la lucha feminista, las entusiastas de la pena de muerte para los violadores y un largo etcétera cada día más múltiple y diverso.
De ser una iniciativa considerada graciosa y simpática cuando era sólo una plataforma “contra la violencia de género”, cuando el acoso y la autodefensa entraron en las discusiones ‘Ni Una Menos’ pasó a ser referida como una “jaula de locas furiosas” y “feminazis fuera de control”

En medio de esta lluvia de información, el fenómeno del ‘victim shaming’ o culpabilización de la víctima no se hizo esperar. Polémicas en redes, bloqueos, eliminaciones, bandos.

De haber empezado como una iniciativa considerada graciosa, simpática y a la que sumarse sin arriesgar mucho cuando era tan sólo una plataforma “contra la violencia de género”, una vez que el acoso, la autodefensa y el debate sobre el consenso empezaron a ser temas comunes en las discusiones ‘Ni Una Menos’ pasó a ser referida como una“jaula de locas furiosas” y “feminazis fuera de control”, especialmente por personajes de las redes sociales como la modelo Adri Vainilla, que utilizaron argumentos como estos para defender a amigos sobre los que pesaban denuncias de acoso.

Así y todo, marcas y empresas de toda ralea,incluyendo a las que no permiten sindicarse a sus trabajadoras o las que no reconocen sus permisos de maternidad, se sumaron a la causa, junto al Poder Judicial y los medios de comunicación más recalcitrantes.

La marcha del 13 de agosto sumó, además, 24 ciudades del mundo en acciones simultáneas de apoyo. Medio millón de personas marchando es mucha, muchísima gente. Tanta que, entre ella, para estupefacción de las agredidas, podíaencontrarse a sus mismísimos agresores, algunos de ellos operando in situ con tal desparpajo, escudados en su uniforme de policía.

Tras la marcha, en efecto, las redes sociales ardieron de denuncias a cerca de los lentos repasos que los efectivos policiales dedicaron con la mirada a las manifestantes, casi siempre acompañados de un “qué rica estás”.

Ni Una Menos consiguió una presencia avasalladora en las calles y en los medios. Y sin embargo las cifras de violencia contra la mujer y feminicidio se han incrementado tras la marcha. Milagros Rumiche, inspirada en el movimiento, decidió denunciar el sistemático abuso que recibía del padre de su hijo.

La policía recogió el parte y ni siquiera citó al denunciado para interrogarlo. Hoy Milagros yace desfigurada y entubada en la cama de un hospital, pero la médico forense determina que sólo ha sufrido lesiones leves, siguiendo a pies juntillas la ley que dictamina que sólo si la agresión postra a la víctima durante más de 15 días pasaría a tratarse de lesiones graves. El criminal se encuentra ‘no habido’ (no localizado).

La hipocresía peruana, herencia de un pasado cortesano y virreinal, empieza a dar señales de haberse tornado en esquizofrenia. Acosadores marchando contra el patriarcado, fiscalías acariciando una causa con la mano y dándole patadas con los pies, empresas imprimiendo camisetas de Ni Una Menos que reparten trabajadoras en regímenes laborales escandalosos.

Los primeros ya cuentan con una segunda cita a la que asistir para manifestarse, Ni Uno Menos, el 3 de septiembre. ¿Sus demandas? Las de siempre: que sus novias aprendan a cocinar “como sus viejitas” –un tipo acaba de destrozarle la cara a ladrillazos a su esposa por servirle la comida “muy picante”–, el derecho a propinar una buena golpiza en caso de infidelidad o sospecha de infidelidad y un extravagante “No + mujeres violadoras”, para darle color al asunto.

Las feministas, en cambio, lejos de conformarse con no ser golpeadas, parecen haber agudizado su órgano detector de prácticas patriarcales y empiezan a hablar de reinvindicaciones trans, de rebelarse contra el capitalismo y aseguran siempre haber sabido, eso sí, que la Pachamama es feminista.

The Call of the Wild

Paul Kingsnorth: ‘We imagine how it feels to be a character, why can’t we imagine how the land feels?’


Paul Kingsnorth

July 26, 2016


Raja Empat, Papua, Indonesia.

Raja Empat, Papua, Indonesia

We had climbed, slowly, to a high mountain ridge. We were two young Englishmen who were not supposed to be here – journalism was forbidden – and four local guides, members of the Lani tribe. Our guides were moving us around the highlands of West Papua, taking us to meet people who could tell us about their suffering at the hands of the occupying Indonesian army.

The mountain ridge was covered in deep, old rainforest, as was the rest of the area we had walked through. This forest, to the Lani, was home. In the forest they hunted, gathered food, built their homes, lived. The forest was not a recreation or a resource: there was nothing romantic about it, nothing to debate. It was just life.

Now, as we reached the top of the ridge, a break in the trees opened up and we saw miles of unbroken green mountains rolling away before us to the horizon. It was a breathtaking sight. As I watched, our four guides lined up along the ridge and, facing the mountains, they sang. They sang a song to the forest whose words I didn’t understand, but whose meaning was clear enough. It was a song of thanks; a song of belonging.

To the Lani, I learned later, the forest lived. This was no metaphor. The place itself, in which their people had lived for millennia, was not an inanimate ‘environment’, a mere backdrop for human activity. It was part of that activity. It was a great being, and to live as part of it was to be in a constant exchange with it. And so they sang to it; sometimes, it sang back.

When European minds experience this kind of thing, they are never quite sure to do with it. It’s been so long since we in the West had a sense that we dwelled in a living landscape, that we don’t have the words to frame what we see. Too often, we go in one of two directions, either sentimentalising the experience or dismissing it as superstition.

To us, the wild places around us (if there are any left) are ‘resources’ to be utilised. We argue constantly about how best to utilise them – should we log this forest, or turn it into a national park? – but only the bravest or the most foolish would suggest that it might not be our decision to make. To modern people, the world we walk through is not an animal, a being, a living presence; it is a machine, and our task is to learn how it works, the better to use it for our own, human, ends.

The notion that the non-human world is largely inanimate is often represented as ‘scientific’ or ‘rational’, but it is really more like a modern superstition. ‘It is just like Man’s vanity and impertinence,’ wrote Mark Twain, ‘to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.’ We might say the same about a forest; and science, interestingly, might turn out to be on our side.

In recent years, several studies have demonstrated that plants, for example, communicate with each other in ways which seem to point towards some degree of self-awareness. They release pheromones to warn of insect attacks, and other plants respond. They signal to each other using a series of electrical impulses not dissimilar to that of an animal’s nervous system. They send out airborne distress signals to insect predators that feed on the plant-eaters threatening them.

Underground, meanwhile, are the mycelia: huge fungal networks connecting the roots of thousands of plants and trees. The more mycelia are studied, the more intriguing they appear. Once thought to be a simple means of nutrient exchange, they are now beginning to look like complex systems of inter-plant communication. Mycologist Paul Stamets, who has spent his life studying them, calls mycelia a ‘collective fungal consciousness.’ Ecologist Stephan Harding believes they ‘possess an eerie intelligence, and probably a peculiar sense of self to boot.’

The supposedly secular West still clings to the Abrahamic notion that only humans possess consciousness – or souls – and that this gives us the right or the duty to run the world. The scientists investigating animal and plant consciousness, though, may be taking us back to older ways of seeing by very modern means. Primitive savages who sing songs to the forest may not be primitive or savage after all. They may simply have retained an understanding which human-centred, urban people have forgotten: that the forest is, indeed, alive. And not only the forest. The living world around us may turn out to be much more sentient, aware, conscious and connected than we have allowed ourselves to believe.

As a writer, I wonder what our writing would look like if we took this notion seriously. I wonder, in particular, what our fiction – our stories – would look like. That the world is a machine is one story; that the world is alive and aware is another. The latter story has probably been taken for granted by the majority of human societies throughout history. The former has only really taken root in ours: post-Enlightenment, industrial Western culture, now becoming global culture. The results of it – climate change, mass extinction, factory farming, the usual litany of horrors – should be enough to make us wonder if this story is badly constructed, badly told – or just plain wrong.

How do writers tell stories in the West in the early 21st century? Mostly through novels. The Internet, and the global capitalism it serves so well, may be putting the boot into traditional literary life, but nothing has yet supplanted the novel as the primary form through which long, written stories are brought to us. Rightly or wrongly, we still take novels seriously; we still read them. Some of us still write them, though we’re not always sure why.

But what story do they tell? The novel is an artifact of Western individualism. Novels really came into their own in Europe with the rise of the commercial bourgeoisie; with Empire and global trade, with cities and science and reason, with the notion of humans as primary actors in the world’s drama. The same society that gave us the concept of the world as an inanimate backdrop to human activity gave us the novels which catalogued that story.

Most classic novels in the Western canon are examinations of the human psyche, or the relationships between small groups of people and their societies. They are studies of the individual human mind. But what about the mind of the world itself and how that manifests? If awareness, consciousness, feelings – life – all extend far beyond the human domain, why do novels continue to behave as if humans were the only actors? Why do we turn over the same exhausted soil again and again? What would a novel look like if it were written by someone who sang to the forest, and believed it sang back?

Robert Graves, in his poetic manifesto The White Goddess, wrote that modern poetry’s function was to lay bare the results of humanity’s break from the rest of nature:

 ‘Once a warning to man that he must keep in harmony with the family of living creatures among which he was born … it is now a reminder that he has disregarded the warning, turned the house upside down by capricious experiments in science, philosophy and industry, and brought ruin upon himself and his family.’

The forests fall, the ice melts and the extinctions roll on; but we keep writing love letters to ourselves, obliviousIf this is true of poetry, it is true of fiction too. Perhaps, in a century’s time, any literary critics still clinging to their positions as the seas rise around them will see the work we writers produce today as a useful historical record of our society’s insanity. Because we have cut ourselves off from everything else that lives, and because we don’t believe that it does live, we have ended up talking only to ourselves. We have ended what Thomas Berry called ‘the great conversation’ between humans and other forms of life. We are becoming human narcissists, entombed in our cities, staring into our screens, seeing our faces and our minds reflected back and believing this is all there is. And outside the forests fall, the ice melts, the corals die back and the extinctions roll on; but we keep writing our love letters to ourselves, oblivious.

What might the alternative look like? Perhaps the poets can see this better than the novelists. Robinson Jeffers, poet of the California cliffs, spent his life trying to transcribe the song of the living world and make it fit for human ears. He ends his poem Carmel Point with a prescription:

We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

The ecological crisis we have spawned will ‘unhumanize’ our views for us, whether we like it or not. The notions that only humans matter, or that humans are in control, even of themselves, are unlikely to outlast this century. It seems a good time for writers to become confident as the rock and ocean, and to begin writing about the rock and ocean as if they had a part to play. The novel looks pretty exhausted these days. Could this be its new frontier?

There have always been novels in which the landscape, and the non-human creatures in it, have played a powerful part. Just looking along my limited bookshelf I can see Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and The Return of the Native, in which the rural landscapes of his still pre-modern Wessex are as memorable as his human characters; Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, whose wild Pennine uplands experience moods as dark as that of Heathcliff; Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy, set in a fictional archipelago whose islands are as distinctive as any on our planet; and D. H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent, set in a dark pagan Mexico whose taste lingers in the mind longer than its storyline. More recently, and more locally, fiction by young writers like Ben Myers and Daisy Johnson weave stories around wild English landscapes which act as ominous backdrops to the human stories they tell; stories which seem smaller as a result, and thus more urgent.

A powerful landscape is one thing, though; a sentient landscape is another. A question that has been jabbing at me for some time is: how could a novel be written in which a living landscape was not just a backdrop, but a character: an actor in the drama, rather than its scenery? Are there novels in which non-human places are sensate? In which the mind of the world is made manifest in the places its human characters walk through? Having just tried to write one myself, I have been looking for precedents. So far, I have only discovered two writers who seem to even approach the question.

The first is William Golding, in his 1956 novel Pincher Martin. The eponymous sailor, blown into the sea when his boat is torpedoed during the Second World War, washes up on the only land for miles around: a great, jagged, black rock, which juts above the waves. For the next two hundred pages there is only Martin, the gulls, the anemones, and the rock, which seems, at first, to be simply an inanimate object. But the rock is something more.

It’s hard to explain why without ruining the novel’s startling conclusion, but it’s safe to say that the rock it is also a conduit for a voice, a confessional, a testing ground, a judge. The rock is waiting and watching, and the man on the rock is refusing to be part of it, refusing to believe that there is anything outside his own self. Whether he likes it or not, the rock has a lesson for him, which he is going to have to learn.

Perhaps the writer who has done most to explore the notion of a sensate landscape, though, is Alan Garner. The living, jolting, magical power of places is at the heart of almost everything he has written for the last five decades. A moor, a hill, a ridge, a wood: in Garner’s books these are not ‘landscapes’ but conduits to an older, wilder magic. History tugs at them, and they tug in turn at the feet of the innocent people who happen to walk across them.

In Garner’s 2003 novel Thursbitch, the Pennine valley which gives the book its title links two people separated by time, one in the 18th century, one living today. Garner’s deep knowledge and understanding of the place and its history is typical of his work, but so too is the sense that this landscape is hungry: it wants something; it is almost toying with people. It is as if the place has brought the book’s human actors together for a reason: as if some riddle must be solved, some destiny fulfilled. Ancient, pagan energies seem to emanate from the old valley, drawing people in across time, weaving the threads, constructing a pattern which humans may always be too small to comprehend.

Maybe it is impossible for any of us to ‘unhumanise our views’. Maybe we can only ever speak to, and of, ourselves.Are there other novels, and other novelists, which make the world beyond the human, the land itself, a living part of their story? Maybe there are dozens, which I haven’t come across in my limited reading. If not, maybe the lack reflects a peculiarity of the English-language novel, or of the European novel, or of the rational, liberal, urban middle class minds that tend to write them. Or maybe it is just impossible for any of us, ultimately, to ‘unhumanize our views’, any more than a rabbit could unrabbitize or a worm unworm theirs. Maybe we can only ever speak to, and of, ourselves.

But I’m not so sure. Writing a story is an act of projection. We imagine what it would be like to be this character, to live in this time, to be in this situation, and if we can’t do that well, our books won’t work. If we can do that well, why can’t we make the same imaginative leap and take ourselves out of our humanity? Is it harder to imagine a sensate landscape, or the worldview of another living being, than it is to imagine life on a Martian colony or in a fifteenth century village?

Probably. Still, that’s not a reason not to try. Glorious failures are always more interesting than unambitious successes. And surely the times demand it. ‘The universe is not a machine after all,’ proclaimed D. H. Lawrence, a man who never stopped paying attention to it; ‘it’s alive and kicking.’ Kicking and singing and watching, too. Who will write its story?


Paul Kingsnorth’s new novel, Beast, is published by Faber.



[Paul Kingsnorth was born in 1972. In the early 1990s, he studied history at Oxford University, where he also became a road protester. This changed his life. After graduating, Paul worked for a year on the staff of the Independent newspaper, which he hated. Following a three year stint as a campaign writer for an environmental NGO, he was appointed deputy editor of The Ecologist… full bio]


I’m Still Me. Who Are You?

World News Trust

May 24, 2016

by Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.


“Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy.”

In case it’s somehow not painfully obvious to my dedicated detractors*: I couldn’t “just keep doing” what I was doing. 

Yeah, I could’ve kept flashing my dimples as I struggled to push down my ever-increasing doubts and concerns about what we agree to call “activism.” I could’ve kept writing the articles so many of you loved to share and I could’ve kept getting myself invited (and sometimes paid!) to stand at the microphone and articulately reaffirm your beliefs. I could’ve dragged myself and my camera to every single “action” and thus made it that much easier for you to believe we’re “making a difference.” Damn, I could’ve eventually attained Zen Master status in the highest realm of confirmation bias.

I could’ve apologized for this one’s comments and shrugged off that one’s behavior and then watched my likes and shares and followers rise, rise, RISE. I could’ve turned my Facebook page into my own little private fiefdom, an echo chamber of subservient sycophants. Considering where I was a few years ago, all of this (and much more) was well on its way to happening — if I just kept doing what I was doing.

If I just kept doing what I was doing, I also could’ve avoided the silent treatment, the innuendo, the hypocrisy, the passive-aggressive comments and messages, the character assassination, the vile slander, the trashing, and the public promises of violence (including death threats) that have now become the norm.

I could’ve done all of the above (and much more) — if I were someone else.

Many have said they saw and felt things like light and love and inspiration and justice (and much more) when they met me, heard me speak, read my words, stood with me on “protest” lines, and all that. I dare say what you saw and heard and felt was just another vision of yourself. I was a mirror in which your beliefs and causes and efforts and dreams reflected back as more noble, more badass, and far more attainable. 

If I ever did exude light and love and inspiration and justice (and much more), I still do. But the mirror’s been smashed and now you need someone to blame for the discomfort. How fragile is a belief system if it feels threatened each time anyone expresses doubts or differences? How delicate is a “movement” if it requires its minions to relentlessly police opinions and behaviors?

It’s informative to note that when I utilized my notorious snark and skills and smarts and smile and radically open mind in a way so many of you loved, the adulation and hero-worship and even some monetary donations flowed. When I used those same exact attributes while questioning and exposing and challenging and evolving, I suddenly became “arrogant” and “smug” and “negative” and worse; my personal life was now fair game for public attack. Overnight, the compassionate and justice-minded crowd saw me as worthy of the ugliest contempt they could muster.

News flash: I’m still me. 

I’m no longer sure who many of you are (or ever were) to me, but I’m happy to have moved on. And I’m happy to keep moving and seeking — with or without the contact high of Internet traffic/validation. This is who I am, this is what I do, and this is what I shall keep doing. And I hope some of you will continue to occasionally walk beside me and share your thoughts.

*For the sake of clarity (as if that ever mattered in “activist” discussions) and to pre-empt this essay being conveniently perceived as a “vendetta,” all of the above is not about any one particular group or individual. When I say “detractors,” I’m referring to many former “friends” and “comrades” from within a wide range of “movements,” sub-groups, and activist hive minds.

[Michael Zezima (known as Mickey .) is a writer, editor, blogger and novelist living in New York City. He writes a bimonthly column, “Mickey Z. Says”, for VegNews magazine and he has also appeared on the C-SPAN network’s Book TV program. He is also a regular contributor to Planet Green, ZNet, CounterPunch, OpEdNews,, Animal Liberation Front, and other websites.]


The revolution will not be subsidized or absurd failure of the left (an interview with Cory Morningstar)


[English version. Read the original article in French here.]


We recently interviewed Cory Morningstar, a Canadian investigative journalist specializing in ecology and politics. Her outstanding work is available online freely, on her website (in English) . We published two articles on our site, namely, AVAAZ and the World March for the Climate – How the Empire Made Us Walk (by Cory Morningstar), and, Bill McKibben (& Naomi Klein): Ecology Made in Wall Street.


: How dire does our current predicament, as a species living on planet Earth, seem to you, and why?

Cory Morningstar: It is so dire, we are unable, or perhaps simply unwilling, to even comprehend the magnitude. Even those who do have the capacity to comprehend the magnitude of our predicament, are often unable to accept it fully. By this I mean we continue making long term plans for things we’ve established will not be plausible/possible at some point in our lifetime. We are so indoctrinated and conditioned to insanity, it appears we are not able to break free. Further, even if we did muster such courage to break free, the system that enslaves ensures we cannot. If one assembles the science in a way such as Guy McPherson has done, it is clear we have surpassed the utmost limits (1C) to which we warned by the United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (UNAGGG) published in 1990. A document which I might add was purposely buried in order to continue to grow the industrialized capitalist economic system. And of course this does not even include the further warming to which we are firmly committed yet will not show up for a few decades due to lag.

If one needs more proof to appease their doubt, they need not look further than Natalia Shakhova’s apocalyptic warning that the shallow water column and a weakening permafrost which serve as a seal for methane could go at any time.[1] Shakhova, one of world’s foremost experts/scientists on methane hydrates has seen her publications essentially blacklisted from media for years. Also, one must consider leading scientists began to employ the term “anthropocene” decades ago to describe a distinct geological epoch from the Holocene – a transition/change caused by human impacts. We collectively ignore this incredible turning point.[2]

Those are some of my main observations, but I think what I find most dire is what I observe in my day to day life. The simple observations of how people treat 1) each other, 2) sentient beings, 3) non-human life forms and 4) our Earth mother. And the ugly truth is that most people treat all four like disposable garbage. Hell, they even treat their bodies like garbage and are more than willing to poison their own children in a multitude of ways. One has to contemplate if this is sheer ignorance or rather, self-hatred. Regardless, we continue to rapidly devolve.  The level of cognitive dissonance becomes clear when you consider every civilization that has ever existed has fallen, yet the civilization that exceeds all others in regard to plunder of our natural environment upon which we absolutely depend, is considered exempt from this same prophetic fate.


: In the West, inside industrial societies, the main political opposition toward the dominant culture, which may not be as much in opposition as it likes to pretend or think, and that I’ll call “the left”, in order to be succinct, appears to be a huge failure, doesn’t it?

Cory Morningstar:

Yes, this is very true. I would agree that it is a huge failure. There are many reasons for this I believe. I will name a few. The majority of our “left” is comprised of privileged, almost exclusively white middle class. The same 1% class of people creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. It is incredibly difficult to persuade someone to look in the mirror when all those who surround him/her are demonizing fossil fuel corporations as though industry is somehow separated from society and the system itself.

After years of work on climate and ecological issues, I’ve concluded Western environmentalism is dead, having been replaced by 21st century anthropocentrism. The word “activist” in the west is a term that simply refers to a self-absorbed anthropocentrist – willfully blind to the horrors of imperialism and racism that hums beneath the entire system. Much of our language has been co-opted by the non-profit industrial complex including environmentalism, activism, radical, and even the word capitalism – a vogue word that provided an effective discourse to actually protect and expand the same socio-economic system that is killing us.

Revolutionary ideology in America is dead. A process is now fully underway now via the “new economy” (the financialization of nature) and even this does not invoke meaningful, fierce, necessary resistance. As much as Deepface (Facebook) may play a role in conveying information, social metrics in this way are like money. 500k followers has nothing to do with revolutionary actions, just as money is backed by nothing. Yet they both dominate the modern fucked-up Brave New World we live in today. I would argue social media is ultimately a great detriment to society as a whole,  the ultimate wet dream of every oligarch and advertiser alive today. Like my WKOG comrade Forrest Palmer says, like Latin, truth is a dead language in this world – as is critical thinking. There is simply no appetite for radical change if it impairs privilege. And the radical change necessary to even slow climate change down would require the most radical (yet empowering) sacrifice that would tear down the institutions that oppress those who pay the price for the privilege of the Euro-American West. I’ve come to terms with the fact that privilege in any form will never be relinquished by those who have it – it would have to be taken via force. Any legitimate attempts to dismantle current power structures, or even slow down our multiple crises and ultimate self-annihilation would only come from the working class.

: Why? What are the main reasons for its failure? 

Cory Morningstar: I think we fail to recognize the level of our own indoctrination. Pivotal questions put forward centuries ago in the paper The Politics of Obedience by Étienne de La Boétie continue to go unanswered. There is little to no interest in delving into such a critical barrier to this critical issue which serves to insulate current power structures. Facts grounded in reality observed by real revolutionaries, such as  Assata Shakur who pointed out “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them”, go ignored.

I believe the main reason for our collective failure is the success of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) which is financed to the tune of trillions by those who oppress us. Those at the helm of the NPIC appeal to the  worst traits of humanity, rather than the best. Individualism, narcissism, ego, want, hunger for power and recognition/fame. They tell the lies that we need to hear in order to live with ourselves and continue our rapacious plunder. They allow us to bask in our privilege without guilt. The “dead left” follows those they identify with, such as 350’s McKibben and Klein – white, wealthy “leaders” appointed by the elites. The Marilyn Bucks no longer exist. Revolutionaries such as Omali Yeshitela – who the “dead left” does not identify with – are ignored. In 1966 revolutionary leader Stockley Carmichael  stated “And that’s the real question faction the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?” Exactly 50 years we can answer with an unequivocal no. White activists were not/are not prepared to tear down the institutions as these institutions have granted this class privilege that they are not prepared to give up at any cost. Even the cost of their own children. And as Forrest Palmer notes often, today, the black bourgeoisie seek to assimilate into this oppressive system rather than destroy it. Even using the word destroy in the same breath of activism is deemed unacceptable. Self-defense is not recognized as legitimate by those of privilege while violence by the police state is generally accepted.  The belief that the world’s most powerful capitalists will give up any power or wealth voluntarily is absolutely asinine.

: It seems to me like the left is a confused mix of many different ideologies, more or less controlled and created by the dominant culture, which it thinks it is challenging, and that we can thus point out several major contradictions/inconsistencies that are preventing it from being an effective force of resistance, of change. What are your thoughts on this, and what would these major contradictions/inconsistencies be?

Cory Morningstar:

I thought this to be true years ago. That is, if “the left” could fully understand that they are continually being reabsorbed back into the very systems they claim to oppose, we could be militant against such manipulation. By fully embracing both discipline and critical thinking, we could stop this from happening over and over again. But western society has taught us the opposite. It celebrates the opposite. Don’t think critically. Don’t learn your history. Believe in the 10-second sound bites delivered to you from the corporate superpowers echoed through the NPIC/media chambers. But when I started writing the ugly truths about the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who form the NPIC, I discovered people believe in these institutions. The belief is powerful – akin to the belief in man’s white, blue-eyed male god.

When John D. Rockefeller stated “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun, he knew then what it would take decades for the left to come to terms with. With what they have yet to come to terms with. The idea that we can shift the balance of power through organizations financed by – and in many cases created by – the most powerful institutions in the world, is ludicrous. And yet it continues to be a most powerful force that promises our own self destruction and ultimate annihilation.  And when we look at what the dead left in the West continues to “demand” (demands where the solutions are already written and waiting for us behind closed doors), “solutions” that have nothing do with protecting nature or non-human life forms, but only western lifestyles, perhaps our eradication is a good thing. 

And that’s the saddest part of the story as we come to the final chapter. The irony being that if man had of placed non-human life first and foremost ahead of human life, by default, we would have saved ourselves. The is the ultimate contradiction. And what has lead to our ultimate demise. There is good news though. In all and every likelihood that we are unable to stop climate change, let alone slow it down, it is never too late to further our knowledge and pursue truth and justice. If we could garner even a shred of dignity as nature closes in, I think this is most worthwhile.

[1] “The total amount of the methane (CH4) in the current atmosphere is 5 gigatons. The amount of carbon preserved in the form of methane in the East Siberian Arctic shelf is approx. 100’s-1000’s gigatons. Only 1% of this amount is required to double the atmospheric burden of methane (which is approx. 23x more powerful than CO2). There is not much effort needed to destabilize just 1% of this carbon pool considering the state of permafrost and the amount of methane currently involved. What keeps this methane from entering the atmosphere is a very shallow water column and a weakening permafrost which is losing its ability to serve as a seal. It could happen anytime. “Natalia Shakhova is one of the world’s foremost experts on methane hydrates.

[2] The Holocene is the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene at approximately 11,700 years before AD 2000 and officially continues to the present.

Amnesty International Confirms it No Longer Supports Women’s Human Rights

Feminist Current

May 26, 2016

by Meghan Murphy

Image/Art of Dissent


Amnesty International has formally adopted a policy calling for the legalization of prostitution around the world. The organization’s senior director for law and policy, Tawanda Mutasah, said:

“Sex workers are at heightened risk of a whole host of human rights abuses including rape, violence, extortion and discrimination. Far too often they receive no, or very little, protection from the law or means for redress.”

He fails to mention that, under legalization, these human rights abuses are amplified, nor does he consider how or why the law would address said abuses, once sanctioned under law. Mutasah adds:

“We want laws to be refocused on making sex workers’ lives safer and improving the relationship they have with the police, while addressing the very real issue of exploitation. We want governments to make sure no one is coerced to sell sex, or is unable to leave sex work if they choose to.”

“LOL,” said feminists across the globe.

This neoliberal policy, in the works for some time but now formalized, was developed, in part, by pimps and traffickers. Despite the fact that the system of prostitution exists in direct conflict with the human rights of women and girls, and despite ample evidence to show that legalization only increases abuse and exploitation, Amnesty International pushed forward with this policy, effectively abandoning any semblance of respect for women.

Men’s rights activists around the world can rest easy knowing that organizations like Amnesty International have their penises interests first in mind.



[Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy]


The Dangers of Rebranding Prostitution as ‘Sex Work’

June 7, 2016

by Kate Banyard


In an extract from her new book, Pimp State, activist Kat Banyard argues that prostitution is sexual exploitation. Decriminalising this industry only legitimises the abuse of women.

‘Using the term “sex work” as if it was an adequate and appropriate shorthand serves a deeply political goal. ‘
‘Using the term “sex work” as if it was an adequate and appropriate shorthand serves a deeply political goal. ‘ Photograph: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

FLASHBACK: If He Can’t Lie, It’s Not His Revolution: Chris Hedges vs. Emma Goldman


November 6, 2013

by Lorenzo Raymond


Most people I know who actively work for social justice make an effort to ignore Chris Hedges.  When he puked up a nasty little screed demonizing militancy in the Occupy movement last year, Hedges –  in the words of Occupy Wall Street organizer Amin Husain – “almost derailed us” [1]  (Sadly, Amin was wrong about the “almost” part).  But it’s hard to look the other way when Hedges drags the name of several generations of anarchists through the dirt, as he did in a recent column; and it is perilous to ignore the fact that he represents a powerful network of liberal recuperators who have been undermining resistance in this country for years while claiming to promote it.

A few weeks ago, Hedges wrote a column entitled “Sparks of Rebellion,” which was one of his periodic forays into Grand Movement Strategy. [2]   He opens with a shallow intellectual history of modern radicalism in which virtually none of the statements are true, particularly in regards to anarchists: Kropotkin was not a gradualist but a revolutionary – hence his autobiography is called Memoirs of a Revolutionist; Bakunin did not elevate déclassé intellectuals above the proletariat (or anyone else), but envisioned all oppressed classes making the revolution [3] –  and so on and so forth.  Hedges clearly believes his Pulitzer prize gives him entitlement to stuff a book’s worth of assertions into a paragraph without any supporting evidence.

Equally disconcerting is that once Hedges gets to introducing his own propositions about revolution, none of them are coherent:  We’re told that a modern revolt must not be “reliant on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers”, but will rely on “the dispossessed working poor”, but “It is not the poor who make revolutions.”, but “service workers and fast food workers…will be one of our primary engines of revolt.”  Does anyone have any questions?

In the end, all this name-dropping and sophomoric analysis is a bait-and-switch for what Hedges really wants to talk about: the importance of pacifism – which he finally gets to in paragraph six.  Hedges evokes the much-touted and under-scrutinized Harvard study by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan which “examined 100 years of violent and nonviolent resistance movements and concluded that nonviolent movements succeed twice as often as violent uprisings.”  To judge how accurate this study is, one might want to note that the authors omitted all civil rights and labor struggles from their data set. [4] Even more problematic is Chenoweth’s meaninglessly amorphous criteria of nonviolence which has no relationship to the strictures that Gandhi, Gene Sharp or Chris Hedges would impose on us: One of the study’s featured cases is the Philipine revolt of 1986 which originated as an armed coup, and climaxed with a bomb dropped on the presidential palace. [5] In the wake of the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Chenoweth took to publishing commentaries praising the Egyptian rebellion for its nonviolence even as hundreds of police stations firebombed by protesters were still smoldering. [6]

But the foulest aspect of Hedges’ scribble is the attempt to divide the present generation of militant anarchists from their respected classical forebears.  The liberal journalist has never retracted a word of his “Cancer in Occupy” meltdown, and takes another passing shot at “the Black Bloc” in this article.  In contrast to the cancerous youths, Hedges holds up a mature, mythologized Emma Goldman who “came to be very wary of…the efficacy of violence.”

The tendency of pacifists to co-opt every conceivable radical icon into their ideology never ceases to amaze; thus the new school of pacifist history portrays the Russian Revolution as nonviolent[7]  – even though at least as much property was destroyed there as in Egypt [8] – and now Red Emma is assimilated as an apostate from militancy.  How Goldman could also have been, in the last decade of her life, a key information officer for anarchist militias which executed fascist commanders with regularity isn’t explained. [9]  Her correspondence during the Spanish Civil War shows distaste for the bloodshed, but it also records her explicitly rejecting Gandhian strategy as hopelessly naive.[10]  Goldman was as nonviolent as Sherman was when he lamented that “war is hell” just before he burned down Atlanta – a common sense human impulse, not a strategic analysis; she was wary of every aspect of force except the efficacy of it.  But if Hedges can’t lie, it’s not his revolution.

The grotesque irony here is that Emma Goldman rejected this game of demonize-and-assimilate whenever it was applied in her own time.  Hedges claims to be “reading and rereading the debates among some of the great radical thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries,” but somehow he missed the debate between Goldman and V.I. Lenin during the Russian Civil War.  In her autobiography, Goldman recounts how she and Alexander Berkman went to the Kremlin to protest the mass arrests of anarchists during the Bolshevik terror.  Lenin dismisses the objections saying responsible anarchists like her are respected in Russia, and he only attacks “bandits” and “Makhnovtsy” (supporters of militia leader Nestor Makhno).  Goldman recognizes the psychology of counterinsurgency immediately –

Imagine,” I broke in, “capitalist America also divides the anarchists into two categories, philosophic and criminal. The first are accepted in highest circles; one of them is even high in the councils of the Wilson Administration. The second category, to which we have the honor of belonging, is persecuted and often imprisoned. Yours also seems to be a distinction without a difference. Don’t you think so? [11]

Reading this passage, it’s striking how little has changed.  It isn’t difficult to imagine, say, Rebecca Solnit – “philosophic” anarchist and Obama campaigner [12] – being feted at the White House in reward for her work bashing radicals, while at the same time “criminal” anarchists like Marie Mason and Oso Blanco rot in prison.

The revolution may not start tomorrow, and we hope it won’t be a bloodbath when it does.  But diverse tactics are needed to end the assaults on the water, the air, the climate, on all our lives and dignity.  The moribund pacifism of the establishment left has failed, and the failure is so terminal that they must stoop to falsifying history in order to even make a case for themselves.


[Lorenzo Raymond is an independent historian and educator living in New York City.]



1. Democracy Now, “No Work, No Shopping, Occupy Everywhere”, May 1, 2012 –


3.   As Paul Avrich has noted, Bakunin had a “conception of an all-encompassing class war.”  This definitely included “fervent, energetic youths, totally declasse, with no career or way out,” but they were only one part of an ” ‘all-embracing’ revolution… including, besides the working class, the darkest elements of society…the unemployed, the vagrants and outlaws…the instinct of rebellion was the common property of all the oppressed classes of the population.”  Avrich also writes that, “While entrusting the intellectuals with a critical role in the forthcoming revolution, Bakunin at the same time cautioned them against attempting to seize political power on their own…On this point Bakunin was most emphatic.” Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists (1967)  –

4. Note 35 of Chenoweth, Stephan “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict”  International Security, Vol. 33, Issue 1, Summer 2008 –

5. Monina Allarey Mercado, Francisco S. Tatad, People Power: Eyewitness to History (James B. Reuter, S.J., Foundation, 1986) p202-209

6. Erica Chenoweth, “Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance” The New York Times, March 9, 2001-  ;  David D. Kirkpatrick, “Mubarak orders crackdown with revolt sweeping Egypt” The New York Times, January 28, 2011;  Lorenzo Dubois, “PEACE AND FIRE: Diversity of Tactics in the Egyptian Revolution (Jan-Feb 2011)” -

7. Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (Metropolitan, 2003) p169-170

8. Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams : Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution  (Oxford University Press, 1988), p67

9. David Porter, editor, Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution (AK Press, 2006) p226 –

10. Goldman wrote to a young US anarchist in 1936: “…the organized force used against the followers of Gandhi has finally forced them to use violence, much to the distress of Gandhi…Most important of all is that mechanized warfare and violence used by the state make non-resistance utterly futile.  What do you think non-resistance could do during bombardment from the air – a daily occurrence in Spanish cities and towns?”  She concludes that “…as a method of combating the complex social injustices and inequalities, non-resistance cannot be a decisive factor.”  David Porter, Vision on Fire, p239-240;  Goldman also attributes the collapse of the social revolution to the CNT “suddenly turning pacifist” when it came to resisting internal repression from the Stalinists.  “Gandhi could not have done better,” she notes with bitterness. Vision on Fire, p228 – –

11.  Emma Goldman, Living My Life (Alfred K. Knopf, 1931), p766 –


WATCH: Toxic Philanthropy: The Gates Foundation, Public Health and Imperialism

American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 74, No. 4 (September, 2015)

By Jacob Levich

The Gates Foundation, Ebola, and Global Health Imperialism

ABSTRACT. Powerful institutions of Western capital, notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, viewed the African Ebola outbreak of 2014–2015 as an opportunity to advance an ambitious global agenda. Building on recent public health literature proposing “global health governance” (GHG) as the preferred model for international healthcare, Bill Gates publicly called for the creation of a worldwide, militarized, supranational authority capable of responding decisively to
outbreaks of infectious disease—an authority governed by Western powers and targeting the underdeveloped world. This article examines the media-generated panic surrounding Ebola alongside the response and underlying motives of foundations, governments, and other institutions. It describes the evolution and goals of GHG, in particular its opposition to traditional notions of Westphalian sovereignty. It proposes a different concept—“global health imperialism”—as a more useful framework for understanding the current conditions and likely future of international healthcare.

Download: Levich-2015-American_Journal_of_Economics_and_Sociology

[Jacob Levich ( is an independent scholar and an administrator at Stony Brook University. Portions of this article draw on a paper by the author in Aspects of India’s Economy (Levich 2014).]


A panel presented at Left Forum, June 1, 2014. Sponsored by the Research Unit for Political Economy. Speakers: Jacob Levich, Kwame Fosu; Brenda Biddle.