Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Thoughts on Sex Work.


  • I’m against slut shaming  or saying sex workers are bad women while those who aren’t sex workers are good women or that sex workers can't be feminists(whorephobia). To me all of those behaviours are patriarchial  pushing certain kinds of sexual relationships above others and trying to hinder sexual freedom/autonomy.
  • My feminism is third wave and opposed to telling women they can't wear veils,makeup,shave their legs etc while aware that there are nuances to it and it's very contextual whether it can be liberating or conforming to patriarchy and objectification.
  • Autonomy vs whether it’s exploitation/benefits patriarchy. Surely it's highly contextual in the same way that women might wear a veil for example,  for postcolonial reasons vs for patriarchical reasons vs some imperfect attempt at avoiding objectification. A wholescale condemnation of sex work is as bad as a wholescale acceptance of it or Milton Friedmanesque laissez faire approach in the same way that I think being Anti-porn or unconditionally pro-porn are over simplifications.
  • Sex workers experiences differ between different types of work. Sex workers experience is not monolithic and it's wrong to treat it in that way.
  • We should consider sex work in an intersectional manner looking particularly at intersection of class,race,gender binary, trans* issues, non-monogamy,capitalism, government  etc.
  • Of course sex workers can be raped and abused.
  • I’m against sex trafficking or sex slavery which is intersectional in that it has links to poverty,racism ,imperialism and colonialism
  • Some sex workers are exploited or coerced but not all?
  • Sex work need not be inherently sexist or exploitative(other than being a commodity relation) but since it exists in sexist oppressive society then of course those aspects will flow into it just as it does with pornography.
  • I’m against patriarchial justifications  for sex work.
  • Non sex worker feminists shouldn’t try to speak for them without listening to sex workers.
  • I support sex worker unions and sex worker rights.
  • Making sex work from stripping to prostitution illegal harms sex workers so I’m against it.
  • Closing of saunas and raids on them as seen recently in Edinburgh(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-23685790) do not help women but harm them forcing them out onto the streets into worse conditions.
  • I’m against prostitution being a criminal offence (decriminalization) since it is just body policing by patriarchy.
  • The sex workers themselves should have control- no bosses- as always workers control is the ideal and the aim otherwise it's a hierarchical and oppressive relation in that sense.
  • Helping sex workers is part of the revolution and liberation of all humanity.
  • Commodification of sex? Is that any worse than commodification of education or food? Ultimately I oppose money and a market economy so ultimately I favour the abolition of selling of sex or sex work  as a trade or as involving wages  but that’s far off and would be part of the wider anarchist revolution which needs to destroy capitalism and Patriarchy. 
  • What about those who end up in sex work due to debt , poverty or addiction- that’s not much of a free informed consenting choice. True!  but it's only of a slightly different degree than any other kind of work/wage labour. And even then it's not there fault for ending up in an industry which abuses them.
  • So ultimately I favour the abolition of sex work since my anarcho-communist position demands the abolition of  the market economy and by extension money, wages and work (except that which people voluntarily choose or is necessary for society to run)
Notes based on a talk by a sex worker.

  • SWOU- No bosses, No managers.
  • Selling sex is legal but clients and workers criminalized using different laws.
  • criminalization harms sex workers.
  • Indoor workers criminalized if they work together in Co-operatives and have been convicted of brothel keeping each other.
  • landlords have to evict sex workers if they learn of their work since they can be convicted of "living off immoral earnings" or aiding sex work.
  • Sex workers need legal rights to aid the fight.
  • Safer Lives: Changed Lives: A Shared Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women in Scotland- harms sex workers.
  • In Scotland no organisations recognise sex workers as  workers therefore they get treated as abused based on that paradigm and it hard for them to get good help.
  • If your workplace is criminalized you can't much organize.
  • Bosses, mafia and the state do not want organized sex workers.
  • The licensing of saunas gives power to the bosses and managers and restricts what workers can do.  This is the problem with regulated or legalized sex work. So with or without licenses, it's not good enough.
  • GMB union does sex worker workplace organizing. Some IWW do too but not much.
  • Crosstalk: migrant sex worker organisation. Set up in 2004. Got co-opted by right-wing who wanted to let in managers.
  • legalized sex work is paternalistic. Police become de facto controllers of sex workers- of when and where and how they work. Even sometimes take their money.
  • Sex workers oppose criminalization because it seems progressive but takes power away from them and  seems progressive.
  •  Edinburgh IWW should seek to work with sex workers.
  • trafficking laws harm migrant women since migrant women are assumed to be potential sex workers so you get  trafficking panic.
  • Sex workers support decriminalization.  not legalization.
  • The state and the police have free reign to use violence against sex workers and arrest them to "support them".
  • Most services sex workers go to ask "how do I get you out of sex work" rather than "what do you need " to be safer etc.
  • Swedish model- criminalization.
  • anti- sex worker industry 'rescue industry' helps police put women into sweatshops.
  • The difference between legalization and decriminalization: legalized e.g. Netherlands. stigma written into law, state gets lots of power, mandatory testing. decriminalized e.g. New Zealand. Written by sex workers. Power given to the workers. Sex workers can work together in co-ops which is safer. manager has to be licensed. Sex workers can  refuse client for any reason or for no reason. NZ sex workers very organized. Stronger consent laws in NZ for sex workers than for ordinary folk in Scotland.


Useful Links:-

http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/what%e2%80%99s-all-this-about-%e2%80%9cprivilege%e2%80%9d


http://janebrazen.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/whorephobia-101/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jun/23/sex-workers-whorephobia

http://oliveseraphim.wordpress.com/articles/how-to-be-a-feminist-ally-to-sex-workers/

http://www.ffeusa.org/html/statements/statements_prostitution.html

http://www.anarchist-theft.net/sex-work -Probably the most concise article that reflects my position.

http://afed.org.uk/blog/workplace/267-response-to-prostitution-is-not-compatible-with-anarchism.html - "The title of the leaflet "Prostitution is not compatible with Anarchism" hints at a confusion between an anarchist response to the present conditions and a vision of what an anarchist society will look like, which becomes more explicit upon a further reading of the leaflet. Our appeal for an anarchist analysis of sex work, an anarchist mode of organising around sex worker issues, and the support of other anarchists when organising around these issues, in no way implies that sex work is in any way compatible with an anarchist-communist society. While most anarchists would consider the abolition of all work to be an eventual aim, we need to struggle within the system we have now to move forward and to improve our conditions in such a way that lays the foundation for this change. An anarchist analysis of the the problems in the sex industry and what problems in our society it feeds into, in no way precludes this."


The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC)
   
The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)-Since 1975, the International Prostitutes Collective has been campaigning for the abolition of the prostitution laws which criminalize sex workers and our families, and for economic alternatives and higher benefits and wages.


www.sexworkeropenuniversity.com/- Sex Worker Open University is a project created by and for sex workers. You might be working as an escort, rent boy, porn actress/actor, professional dominatrix or submissive, cam model, erotic masseuse, sexual healer or street worker; this is a place to socialise, learn new skills, and create events together. Our aim is to empower our community through workshops, debates, actions and art project as well as fighting against our criminalisation.​


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