Polanski, Goddard, Balogh and the Age of Consent

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24/11/2017 by socialistfight

By Angela Jane Byrne Socialist Fight, Issue No. 3 Autumn 2009

GoddardHelen Goddard, “I can’t see for the life of me what’s wrong with what she has done. They were both willing participants over a long time. Society has gone mad and the do gooders are to blame for the way these so called ‘incidents’ are punished” – Daily Telegraph reader Dick Van Dyke

At the end of September, the famous director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for a brutal rape he had committed against a 13-year-old girl in 1977 in California. The details of what he did to the girl are truly appalling; They are here; http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/polanskicover1.html. He fled whilst on bail, having reduced the charge to unlawful sex with a minor (under the age of consent laws) on a plea bargain. We can only hope that he does not escape again and is returned to serve a lengthy sentence. That being said we are absolutely opposed to the current “paedophile” witch hunt which aims to paint all gay men as paedophiles under the guise of attacking Polanski’s crimes. But this crime has nothing to do with her age as such. The girl’s  testimony leaves no room for doubt, she rejected his advances several times and he raped her. Whether she had had sex or taken drugs before or not is totally irrelevant; we reject the reactionary “precocious Lolita” defence, only pleaded by those imbued with patriarchal antifeminist prejudices.

Image result for Roman Polanski imagesWoody Allen, with his own case to answer, speaks out in defence of Roman Polanski, in 2010: “It’s something that happened many years ago … he has suffered, he has not been allowed to go to the United States. He was embarrassed by the whole thing,” Allen, 74, said during an interview at the Cannes Film Festival, according to E! Online. “He has paid his dues, he has had a hard life. The girl involved doesn’t want anything to happen to him.”

Helen Goddard and Pamela Balogh

Just over a week before the arrest of Polanski music teacher Helen Goddard got 15 months jail for a lesbian affair with a 15-year old schoolgirl. The affair was entirely consensual on both sides, in fact, the pupil initiated it and still wishes to continue it when Goddard gets out of jail, saying she is still in love with her teacher. Godard was jailed under age of consent laws, the same (plea-bargained-down) law that Polanski was charged with.  Judge Pitts refused to bar Goddard from contacting the pupil, saying: ‘It would be unnecessary, unkind, and cruel to the victim.’ Goddard will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years and is banned from teaching children for life. But the judge refused to ban her from being alone with underage girls.

In Somerville, New Jersey, USA a former girls’ PE teacher, Pamela Balogh, was sentence to 7 years for a lesbian affair with a 15-year-old student of hers. She refused a plea bargain of ten years and was found not guilty in December 2007 of first degree sexual assault, but guilty on the other, lesser counts. The pupil denounced the teacher violently; as did her parents. Their affair had continued for 9 months. If convicted on the first degree sexual assault charge Balogh could have gone to prison for up to 40 years.

The pupil said that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and does not play any of the sports she once did. She says she feels guilty for telling the truth (she confided in two fellow pupils). She said of Balogh,

“Pam, I don’t care what sentence you get … I refuse to feel bad for your going to jail. Bottom line: I was a child. I was innocent. I was whole … Bottom line: You were wrong and you should have known better.”

This age of consent language is clearly borrowed from the witch hunters.

And here we see the appalling injustices perpetrated by the age of consent laws. The age of consent varies widely from one state to another in the USA and internationally; it varies from as low as 9 years in Yemen (but you have to be married!) to 12 in some Mexican states and 13 in Spain and Japan. The age of consent in Tunisia is 20. And the age of homosexual consent is different in many cases; apart from fundamentalist countries where it is illegal and frequently punished by stoning to death and hanging it is almost always higher than the heterosexual age of consent because of homophobic prejudices about “corruption” and the “turning” of adolescents by the influence of a relationship with a more mature person. Frequently there are harsher penalties for relationships where the age difference is over three, five or ten years.

The question is not just consent but “effective”, consent. In the first place there cannot be effective consent between a child and an adult in sexual relations. Before the age of sexual maturity this is a criminal matter. But there remains the question of the transitional period between childhood and adulthood. The problem here, of course, is how we define “effective” given that there is a transition to sexual maturity corresponding to, but not always coincident with, puberty. This is a real-life watershed which is different for every individual and so cannot, and should not be, covered by age of consent laws. If such a case goes to court then it should be judged on its individual merits, not some draconian imposition that sends thousands to long prison terms because of anti-youth, anti-women, and anti-gay-and-lesbian bigoted attitudes.

The comparison

The comparison between the three cases brings out in a stark manner what is wrong with the age of consent laws. It was totally unjust that Polanski’s brutal anal rape was plea-bargained down to the age of consent laws when force was used. The New Jersey Attorney General attempted to “bargain-up” the case against Balogh so she would face the risk of 40 years in jail if she refused to plea bargain and force were proved. She got 3 years less by beating that rap. Balogh was convicted of second degree, not first degree sexual assault because no force was used.  That ‘assault’ without force or unwanted contact is a technicality of the age of consent laws.

In Goddard’s case, it is undoubtedly true that the courage of her lover won for her the sympathy of the judge (he said it was “a difficult case”) and so reduced her sentence. Almost certainly Balogh got that savage seven years sentence because her ex-lover collapsed under the pressure of the witch hunt. It is likely the pupil suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome and was not playing any of the sports because she had a lesbian affair with her teacher, which was almost certainly consensual, and she was then outed as a lesbian and a viciously homophobic witch hunt followed which exposed to the ridicule of her fellow pupils and her parents’ anger.

There is nothing to be said in Polanski’s defence but he may end up with only the 42 days jail already served. The teachers’ careers were totally ruined; Polanski’s took off in 1977 with warm establishment assistance and approval. There does remain the issue of sexual relationships between teachers and pupils, similar to doctor-patient and other relationships where a powerful position of authority exists and consent is potentially compromised by that relationship. One should have changed school; it should now be a disciplinary matter for the employing authority or professional body responsible, not for the police and courts.

Those who prey on the sexually naïve or immature must be prosecuted and receive the appropriate jail terms (most are heterosexual) and psychiatric treatment. The law cannot stay out of all bedrooms. However in a society where private property is the overwhelmingly determinant of personal relationships, where love and sex are inevitably bound up with these distorting and alienating social relationship, we must always oppose the state intervening in free and mutual effective consenting sexual relationships.

Frederick Engels was right, “full freedom of marriage can therefore only be generally established when the abolition of capitalist production and of the property relations created by it has removed all the accompanying economic considerations which still exert such a powerful influence on the choice of a marriage partner. For then there is no other motive left except mutual inclination.” The defence of the nuclear family is a fundamental prop of private property, the age of consent legislation underpins the nuclear family and so props up all capitalist society.

Letters: Polanski and the Age of Consent

Socialist Fight, Issue No. 3 Autumn

19 November, 2009

HI Gerry,

I agree with what you say about Polanski. I really appreciate your taking issues about sexism so seriously; and I also appreciate that most of the left are too, if what you have told me is correct.

There is an issue about the timing of the arrest (and I partly agree with this); – what was the motivation for it-whether it is to distract attention from war crimes including rape in Iraq or Afghanistan for example-however I still think we should support the arrest, even if drawing attention to the possible motives for it at this time as well. Thus we could have an analysis that included both sexism and imperialism.

I think it is important to be willing to recognise that women can be oppressed by sexism and by men (but this does not mean that all men are sexist or abusive); and that every oppressive sexist act does not have to be described under the imperialism (or even class) umbrella before it can be admitted to (although I do agree that class and sex oppression are vitally interconnected).

I think you are quite right that this is an important issue for women and for feminists and if the rape of a 13-year-old cannot be taken seriously by the left then how are women to take the left seriously?

I disagree with the view that we should not ever use “bourgeois courts” because some human rights (such as the legal right to not be raped) have been hard won under capitalism, and we don’t just throw them away because we are still in a bourgeois system!

I disagree with anyone who would regard sex between an adult and child, or rape, as not being very important; or not even wrong in the case of age of consent cases. I wonder if those who use the bourgeois court argument re rape or child abuse are doing so to distract from their lack of commitment to the issue. Pornography is another case in point. I realise that at times the bourgeois courts can certainly be oppressive and persecutory. However, I cannot accept that pornography does not oppress women and does not need addressing now.

I felt that the article in SF was actually very mild in the support it took for the feminist point of view, in that it only argued for the arrest of an actual rapist; and did not advocate arresting people who broke age of consent laws, and implicitly seemed to disagree with such laws altogether. I don’t agree with this.

Socialists who oppose using bourgeois courts often say that they support women’s rights and want to deal with these issues in a working-class way.

Of course this is right that we need to develop our own working class ways. But where are they now? Until we have these fully in place I think we have to use what we have, when we can-at the same time as developing our own responses. When we have enough power, we can ditch the bourgeois methods all together.

I have also heard someone argue that most rape or abuse cases are not dealt with by the courts, so we should not support them when they are. This does not make sense to me.

Some (mostly male) leftists do not want to have an age of consent at all. I think this would remove the protection that vulnerable children and young people need. You have mentioned the grey area of puberty. The law could be fine-tuned to take into account teens’ relationships with each other. But I think that adults should leave them alone-there is always a power imbalance. In responding to cases, the actual power imbalance needs to be looked at and the harm was done, if any etc. The case of the jailed lesbian school teacher showed an injustice towards that teacher, and shows that the age of consent laws need reform-but not to be abolished altogether.

From my perspective getting rid of these laws altogether would be getting rid of the protection that we have at the moment.

There are some people who don’t support prosecution for rape either. They would probably say it should be dealt with in a working class way.

I am tempted to say then, let’s use the method used by the IRA and just kneecap the abusers…. I met a young man Ireland who told me proudly that this is how they deal with such issues there. I was actually quite gratified to at least hear him taking the issue seriously! I don’t support the lack of natural justice where the accused may not be able to defend himself. But I can see how communities might feel compelled to resort to harsh measures in desperate times; and according to this young man the IRA did these things at the request of women in the community.

Another approach could be restorative justice-as socialists we could be trying to develop community and workplace based approaches now, with the aim of stopping the abusive and criminal behaviour.

Definitely there should be strong social pressure within working class communities to stop these behaviours and also such things as consumption or dissemination of violent pornography-so that even if we don’t want the courts to intervene in the latter case it should not be seen that the working class accepts at all the denigration and objectification of women in these films (and as we know many of the actors are pretty much raped anyway.)

The women’s movement has already developed refuges for women and children at risk from violence; and the socialist movement needs to take these initiatives further. At the same time; while we have a state-we need to press the state to provide funding for refuges, and free protection orders etc.

Anyway Gerry, I am really pleased to see you taking issues of sexism really seriously and I was pleased to see your disapproval of the photo of the two women with the T-shirts promoting the Morning Star as well, as being sexist.

Best wishes

Sarah Reeves (New Zealand)

 20 Nov 2009 Polanski

Gerry Downing Reply

Sarah,

This is a serious reply, and I have not thought seriously about these issues since about 1995. You are right, I gave too much to the Sparts in not stressing the power relationship in the Polanski affair, and that is why the Northites and the Sparts defend him; they have a cultist internal regime which depends on power relationships – Gerry Healy was just one expression. So I will have to reconsider.

On the age of consent the Sparts say abolish it – it is obviously used to jail consensual sexual relationships and what would the actual age be? But cannot other legislation be used to prosecute abuse, there is no question of a consensual (effective) sexual relationship between a child and an adult but what about the transitional time of puberty? And do we automatically conclude that a young adult may not have a sexual relationship with a more mature adult – is ‘inter-generational sex’ automatically reflective of power relationships? I will address some of these issues in SF4

Comradely Gerry

 

Roman Polanski and the capitalist state – disclaimer

By Brian Smith and Steve Bagal, Socialist Fight, Issue No. 4 Spring 2010

We the undersigned wish to declare differences with the article in Socialist Fight No. 3: page 15, “Polanski, Goddard, Balogh and the Age of Consent”, by Angela Byrne. These differences are over a revolutionary Marxist approach to the state and not over the central importance of defending women’s rights and equality.

We feel that Marxists must be against the current bourgeois capitalist system of exploitation and imprisonment. We must clearly reject Imperialism’s current use of rendition and extradition. We must not seek to promote a ‘throw away the key’ position. We disagree fundamentally with this article where it calls for the jailing ‘for a very long time’ of Roman Polanski who was found guilty of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Polanski spent six weeks in jail for this, after ‘plea-bargaining’ from an original charge of molestation of the girl; these six weeks were spent undergoing ‘psychiatric tests’/ ‘treatment’.

The article also demands Polanski’s deportation (‘extradition’) to face trial. There is no mention of the workers’ movement, although it is true that the organised Labour movement has no part in the matter, but no view is expressed except for that put forward by Angela Byrne in Socialist Fight No. 3. Neither is the ‘central idea’ of Socialist Fight mentioned: that is, that the bureaucracy of the organised Labour Movement is the main problem for workers to deal with if they are to conquer power and establish a socialist society based on workers’ councils. We are completely opposed to the repressive arms of the capitalist state, such as those that the article in question calls for the use of. We note the opinion of some who think that Polanski is being framed. Unlike Angela we do not feel that we are prepared to act as judge and jury and pronounce sentence – we do not agree that Socialist Fight should take such a position.

Who should jail him? The prison guards whose union in the UK whom we say should be thrown out of the workers’ movement! We are not in favour of the police, immigration officers, bourgeois courts, and jailers! Once you demand retribution be administered by the bourgeois state for Polanski, then to be consistent you are saying retribution and long-term imprisonment for all who have sexually abused. How many hundreds of thousands are guilty of child sex abuse? How many more prisons would the author build to accommodate those like Polanski? What would have been achieved?

How many people guilty of child sex abuse were themselves abused? Do people sexually abuse others through being ‘evil’? Are the abusers (or some of them) themselves people who are damaged? In what system have these ‘abusers’ been damaged to such an extreme? Do these abusers understand? Have they mental health or learning difficulties which mean they don’t perceive their abuse as abuse?

We support many parts of the article: Free Balogh and Goddard. We agree that the Bourgeois state uses its courts in a reactionary way, homophobic, sexist and racist. Our experience of imprisonment and popular demands for imprisonment has been in opposing them, fighting miscarriages of justice, like the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Satpal Ram etc. We are not going to agree that sometimes its right to say we support extradition as this weakens the efforts of others to resist US/Imperialists extradition and rendition. ‘Lock them up for long time’ is not part of our agenda. Byrne now extends the list to rapists and paedophiles. We think this is the wrong agenda.

Comradely Brian Smith, Steve Bagal

 

Roman Polanski, Rape Shield Laws and the Sparts

by AJ Byrne, Issue No. 4 Spring 2010

In an article, Hands off Roman Polanski, in Workers Hammer No. 209 (Winter 2009-2010) the Spartacist League finish by saying “Our defence of Polanski, like our longstanding defence of NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association which advocates the decriminalisation of consensual sex between men and boys), is based on our Marxist program for women’s liberation through socialist revolution, Government out of the bedroom! Hands off Roman Polanski! Drop the charges!”

Yet the article itself and the subsequently quoted Workers Vanguard article (No 192 10 Feb 1978) display such reactionary and backward attitudes to women that no women’s organisation will have anything to do with the group internationally.

In 1985 the WRP broke up amidst allegations that Healy had sexually abused women in the organisation. Twenty-six women were named and I witnessed the harrowing testimony of some, as did the expelled minority who subsequently denied everything. The Sparts and David North’s followers – the Workers League was even more sexist and homophobic than the WRP then – claimed this was a matter of no consequence and a diversion from the real political issues. Healy had molested the 14-year-old daughter of a leading member from east London, who met him in the middle of the yard in the Clapham HQ and shouted “Healy” before decking him as the crisis broke in September 1985.

Indeed WRP Gen Sec Mike Banda was using “revolutionary morality” as a diversion to prevent discussion on the wider political problems in the crucial split discussions but it was a fundamental issue in its own right. What was the purpose of the socialist revolution if the attitude of the purported “leader” was so appallingly backward, and so many of the top leadership covered up – indeed pimped – for him for so long? It forced all serious revolutionary in the organisation to examine their own attitudes and acknowledge their own backwardness even though we had no knowledge of Healy’s goings on. We took this issue very seriously in the WRP/Workers Press at the time. Not so for Robertson and North; these two US-based groupings are now the only “revolutionary socialist” defenders of the child rapist Roman Polanski.

 

 

The Grand Jury testimony of the 13 year old on her history of “drug taking”. She earned the title of “precocious” from the Sparts and “whore” from Polanski and “young hooker” from Gore Vidal (“anti-Semitism got poor Polanski” this sexist opportunist also claimed) for this and her sexual history —twice with her boyfriend — and she is the only source of the evidence, she could just as just easily have denied it all. It is totally opportunist for Workers Hammer to use and endorse these reactionary quotes from Polanski and Vidal

A central feature of the pre-split WRP, the ICL and the SEP was patriarchal antifeminist prejudices, that was the reason for their fellow feeling with Healy on this matter. The cultural level of these groups is akin to barbaric Maoism. There is no appreciation of the power relationships enforced by sexual abuse. Read the young girl’s testimony. She was 13, she wanted to be a film star/model and her mother was pushing her on.

Polanski spotted his victim and groomed her. He told her he wanted to take photos of her to put on the front page of Paris Vogue. This was a lie, of course, but she believed him so he engaged in one photo session in which he got her to take off her top. In the second session, some days later, he plied her with champagne, he gave her a drug and he raped her anally, twice, after enquiring if she was on the pill and when her last period was. From the casual attitude of the other woman present, this was a frequent occurrence. This is the standard Hollywood casting couch routine with the difference that he raped her. The Sparts insist that it was “consensual”; how do they know? This is the relevant part of her testimony

 “Q. What did you do when he said, ‘Let’s go into the other room’?I was going ‘No, I think I better go home’, because I was afraid. So I just went and I sat down on the couch.

What were you afraid of?

Him…. He sat down beside me and asked if I was OK. I said ‘No’.

What did he say?

He goes ‘Well, you’ll be better’. And I go, ‘No I won’t. I have to go home. He said ‘I’ll take you home soon’.

Then what happened?

Then he went down and he started performing cuddliness… I was kind of dizzy, you know, like things were kind of blurry sometimes. I was having trouble with my coordination… I wasn’t fighting really because I, you know, there was no one else there and I had no place to go.”

Did he ask you about being on the pill?

He asked, he goes, ‘Are you on the pill?’ and I went, ‘No’ and he goes ‘When did you have your period?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know. A week or two. I’m not sure’… He goes, ‘Come on. You have to remember’. And I told him I didn’t…. and right after I said I was not on the pill… and he goes… and then he put me – wait. Then he lifted my legs up farther and he went in through my anus.

Did you resist at that time?

A little bit, but not really, because… Because what? Because I was afraid of him.”

She then tells us she went out and sat in his car, crying, waiting for him to drive her home and he made her promise not to tell her mother. The photographs did not appear in Paris Vogue, of course. Here is the testimony, who is the victim is here? http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/polanskicover1.html..

The Socialist Fight article said “Whether [the girl] had had sex or taken drugs before or not is totally irrelevant; we reject the reactionary ‘precocious Lolita ‘defence, only pleaded by those imbued with patriarchal antifeminist prejudices.” Workers Hammer responded,

“However, rape uniquely involves an act the circumstances of which determine whether it is a crime or voluntary sexual intercourse. In this case the information about the young woman’s sexual activity with her boyfriend and her drug use is actually important in assessing what happened and determining that she knew what she was doing.”

The only knowledge we have about her sexual history and her drug taking is from her Grand Jury testimony of 1978. At the age of “10 or 11” she had found a Quaalude tablet and taken some of it and by the age of 13 she had had sex with her boyfriend twice. And the Sparts approvingly quote Polanski’s attitude,

“In America, California, I lose my wife, my baby, my friends, perhaps my sanity and almost my freedom. No, I say, no! The Nazis couldn’t take it away from me, nor could the grief of my losses. And this little whore and the California laws won’t either. I have given much and they have taken too much from me.”

And they crow: “Good for him. We are cheered to see that this ordeal of puritanical witchhunting has not broken Roman Polanski’s spirit”.

Of course any reasonably cultured socialist organisation would know that

“Rape shield laws have been in existence in the American legal system for many years. Although these laws vary from state to state, they generally have one common purpose: protecting a rape victim by preventing evidence of prior sexual history from being used against the victim in court… In the late 1970s and early 1980s, almost all jurisdictions in the United States adopted some form of rape shield statute. The laws in each state differ according to the scope of sexual behaviour shielded and time limits of the shield. Many American states do not permit any evidence relating to the past sexual behaviour of the plaintiff witness. ” (Wikipedia – Rape Shield Laws).

Similarly in Britain. And you have only to go to the Women against Rape website (http://www.womenagainstrape.net/homepage) to see what view of this matter politically developed socialist feminists take;

“End the use of women’s sexual history in court and ‘belief in consent’,” they headline, “In rape trials, victims of rape have traditionally been questioned about their sexual history… The Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act 1999 introduced some restrictions on such questioning, which trashes the rape survivor’s character in front of the jury…Vera Baird, Solicitor General, has admitted in Parliament that this “belief in consent” excuse that is written into the law is an open door for rapists’ lawyers to bring women’s sexual history into the courtroom. How many more women will be humiliated and discredited before the authorities bow to women’s pressure and do something about it?”

In fact the case that led to the change of law in 1999 was that of a woman who had been raped but had made porn movies, the Court of Appeal overruled two lower court judgements that allowed this as evidence. But the Sparts gush, “suddenly reviving their 32-year-old vendetta against world-renowned film director Roman Polanski, the US authorities orchestrated his arrest in Zurich on 26 September 2009, seeking his extradition to be sentenced for having had consensual sex with a precocious 13-year-old one day back in 1973”. How reactionary to use fame, prejudices against women or his Jewishness (they quoted Gore Vidal) as a defence. Why does it matter how “world-renowned” he is, or that he has contempt for women or that he is Jewish?

The Sparts say “Government out of the bedroom” but the “government” (i.e. capitalist law) cannot refuse to enter the bedroom of a paedophile or a rapist and must make judgement on what “effective consent” means—”don’t take daddy away” does not serve as a defence.

In the same article they attack the Weekly Worker’s Eddie Ford, “In other words, there are some bedrooms in which the government does belong, if it deems that ‘sexual misconduct’ has taken place. This exposes the CPGB’s touching faith in the benign nature of the capitalist state, which you entrust to establish the principle of ‘effective consent’ and to regulate the sexual activity of youth and children.” In his 26 November response, Eddie Ford reiterates the call for “alternative legislation” and adds that the Communist Party of Great Britain’s call for the abolition of “age of consent” laws form “part of a whole raft of demands that we fight for in the here and now”, i.e. under capitalism. The idea that the capitalist state will ever introduce legislation based on “effective consent and the empowerment of youth” is downright laughable. The capitalist state- including its cops, courts and prisons—is not a neutral arbiter and cannot be pressured into acting in the interests of youth or the oppressed.”

Really? Take this spook quote from Karl Marx;

“to demand that the capitalist state passes legislation to prevent nine-year-old children working down mines shows a touching faith in the benign nature of capitalism. The idea that they will ever introduce such legislation is downright laughable. Everybody know that the only way to stop this brutal exploitation of children is the socialist revolution. And those who make such demands are horrible reformists who are seeking to derail the revolution, just like those fake Trotskyists who demand the jailing of the killer cop Mehserle in the US, sowing illusions in the US justice system.”

No serious Marxist would take this attitude but ridiculously the US Sparts opposed the demand to jail this cop who murdered a youth because … this “sowed illusions in the capitalist state”!

And we would add that NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) itself does not make a libertarian “government out of the bedroom” demand but also, like the CPGB, “call for fundamental reform of the laws regarding relations between youths and adults”, even if the deliberately provocative “boy” in the title of their organisation (3 of 13?) leaves them completely vulnerable to charges of paedophilia.

Image result for Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time. images

In the intense discussion on sex and sexuality in the WRP in 1986 one book that we constantly referred to was Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time. But the central character, Connie Ramos, learned about the sexual relations of the future while in a mental institution now, the insights are disturbing and fascinating but really do assume the communist future of individuals and a society free of oppression and the alienation that distorts and destroys character and personalities. There will be no Dennis Nielsen (mass murderer of gay boys) or Peter Sutcliffe (mass murder of women with an engineer’s hammer) then, there will be no law, no inequality, no exploitation and no violence. But now we have to rely on the capitalist state to enforce the cultural norms of human civilisation by pressure, by mobilisation and fundamentally by fighting for the socialist revolution. Not to demand such reforms is to abandon the class struggle entirely and to abandon women to rapists. Having gotten rid of reactionary age of consent laws, no law at all to protect children, as the Sparts demand, because you cannot trust the capitalist state, is absurd and criminally negligent.

In the here and now, under capitalism, we must make demands on the capitalist state, that they jail killer cops, rapists and paedophiles. We cannot say to women, “look, only the socialist revolution will free you from oppression, wait for that and in the meantime put up with it”. Politically conscious feminists won’t go for that and will never join a so-called revolutionary party with that attitude.

Finally let us look at the chart of the real situation of women in Britain on the question of rape compared with other European countries. Appallingly the conviction rate for Scotland is 3% and that for Luxembourg is 85%. Shall we say to Scottish women that they had all better emigrate to Luxembourg or wait for the socialist revolution? Or should we demand something be done in the “here and now”, “under capitalism”, as the Sparts scoff, so that women can walk the streets in some safety?

Polanski2

One thought on “Polanski, Goddard, Balogh and the Age of Consent

  1. stephenrdiamond says:

    There is no appreciation of the power relationships enforced by sexual abuse. Read the young girl’s testimony.

    This is a surprisingly shameful crossing of the class line. The girl’s “testimony” was elicited before a U.S. grand jury, where the defendant has no representation. Moreover, the testimony was contradictory, with the girl sometimes stating she could hardly remember anything.

    And why the eagerness to rely on the capitalist state to protect democratic rights. This makes me wonder whether you support laws criminalizing the mere possession of child pornography.

    Like

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