FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Anarchists and Torture Porn

by BEN BARKER

Radicals and the sexual exploitation industry become more and more intertwined by the day. I wish I was surprised when I learned just today that the 2013 Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair is being held in a venue owned by the torture porn website, Kink.com.

Kink.com is infamous for its images of women “stretched out on racks, hogtied, urine squirting in their mouths, and suspended from the ceiling while attached to electrodes, including ones inserted into their vaginas,” explains feminist activist Gail Dines, who argues that the pornography website is in stark violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

If you don’t want to listen to some feminist, I’ll let Kink.com speak for itself. On the website, we learn that the project began when the founder decided to “devote his life to subjecting beautiful, willing women to strict bondage.”

Of course feminists sounded the alarm right away and demanded answers and changes from the Bookfair’s organizers. Of course they were only ignored or attacked.

To be fair, a statement addressing concerns about the venue choice was almost immediately posted on the Bookfair website. Not surprisingly, it attempted to justify the decision, with the bulk of the text being about the tight budget they were working with. With the handful of lines the statement devoted to feminist concerns, they deflected responsibility by claiming that “there is a valid political criticism of every venue that is potentially available,” because “we live in a capitalist society, and until we have created an explicitly anarchist infrastructure that can support this type of event, such contradictions and compromises are inevitable.”

It would seem that the organizers of the 2013 Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair have little or no ties with Kink.com or their venue, and are indeed making somewhat of a comprise in hosting their event there, because there’s just nowhere else to go. But, yet, their statement goes on to show how aware of the issues they really are. They write: “We acknowledge that pornography and sex work have been divisive issues in the anarchist community. The choice of the Armory Community Center is not a political statement, and the Book Fair Committee is taking no political position on pornography. We accept that members of the community (and even members of this committee) have differing opinions on this issue. We will be organizing a discussion on anarchist perspectives on pornography during the book fair, and if this topic interests you, we hope that you will attend.”

This situation—a big political event hosted at a controversial location leading to public outcry—is familiar. It’s not unlike another incident of just last month, when a bunch of House Republicans booked their annual winter conference at a former slave plantation in Williamsburg (where, to add insult to injury, they planned to discuss “successful communication with minorities and women”).

But here’s the difference between the two events: When the Republicans announced the site of their gathering the Left was out in force to decry them as racist and insensitive to the historical reality of slavery. When the anarchists announced the site of their gathering the Left was out in force to decry feminist objectors as puritanical, moralist, and anti-sex.

Imagine if the House Republicans had put out a statement similar to that of the organizers of the 2013 Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. They might write: “We acknowledge that white supremacy and slavery have been divisive issues in the Republican community. The choice of the former slave plantation is not a political statement, and the House Committee is taking no political position on white supremacy. We accept that members of the community (and even members of this committee) have differing opinions on this issue. We will be organizing a discussion on Republican perspectives on white supremacy during the conference, and if this topic interests you, we hope that you will attend.” That should be sufficient to ease the worries of the Left, no?

I beg the organizers of the Bookfair, and anarchists in general, to answer me this one question: is pain different when felt by a woman?

 Ben Barker is a writer and community organizer from West Bend, Wisconsin. He is a member of the Deep Green Resistance movement and is currently writing a book about toxic qualities of radical subcultures and the need to build a vibrant culture of resistance.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
Jim Kavanagh
Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect
Carl Boggs
The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis
Eva Golinger
There is Still Time to Prevent Civil War in Venezuela
Anthony DiMaggio
“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality
Conn Hallinan
Middle East Chaos
Mumia Abu-Jamal
James Baldwin: Word Warrior
Joshua Frank
The Fire Beneath: Los Angeles is Sitting on a Ticking Time Bomb
Myles Hoenig
It Wasn’t Russia, It was the Green Party!
Andrew Levine
Enter Scaramouche, Stage Right
Brian Cloughley
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
Alan Jones
“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today
Robert Hunziker
Plastic Chokes the Seas
Eric Draitser
Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists
Vijay Prashad
The FBI vs. Comrade Charlie Chaplin
Jane LaTour
Danger! Men Working
Yoav Litvin
The Unbearable Lightness of Counterrevolution
Charles Derber
Universalizing Resistance: How to Trump Trump
Gary Leupp
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
Gregory Barrett
Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism
Joseph Natoli
Choosing the ‘Arteries that Make Money’
CJ Hopkins
Intersectionalist Internet Blues
Pepe Escobar
China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns
Ralph Nader
Can the World Defend Itself From Omnicide?
Howard Lisnoff
Agape While Waltzing at the Precipice
Musa Al-Gharbi
Want to Shake Up Status Quo? Account for the Default Effect
Angela Kim
North Korean Policy Must Focus on Engagement Not Coercion
Hiroyuki Hamada
Delivering Art in the Empire
David Macaray
Talking Union
Binoy Kampmark
Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal
Robert Koehler
Opening Gitmo to the World
David Jaffee
No Safe Space for Student X
Thomas Knapp
The State is at War — With the Future
David Swanson
What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film
Winslow Myers
There Is Still Time, Brother
Robert J. Burrowes
Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating
Frederick B. Hudson – Dr. Junis Warren
Robot Scientists Carry Heavy Human Hearts 
Randy Shields
Not My Brother’s Reefer
Sam Lichtman
Where are the Millennials?
Louis Proyect
Death Race: the Cruelties of the Iditarod
Charles R. Larson
Review: Norman Lock’s A Fugitive in Walden Woods
July 27, 2017
Edward Curtin
The Deep State, Now and Then
Melvin Goodman
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
Nozomi Hayase
From Watergate to Russiagate: the Hidden Scandal of American Power
Kenneth Surin
Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail