I tried to educate Cat Brooks about the pitfalls of using the language as well as the approach created by modern day white supremacists when discussing prostitution and forced labor back in 2016 when I saw her on Democracy Now.
I thought it especially important to bring to her attention the connection between the current white supremacist anti prostitution narratives and the white supremacists and their anti prostitution campaigns at the turn of the century, known as the suffragettes who organized to help pass the racist Mann Act.
The suffragettes opposed black men being able to vote, as they believed they should get the right to vote first. The racist suffragettes used similar language, line of thinking and approaches to that which we are seeing today; at that time in history they wanted to prevent the mixing of races as well as to control sexual behaviors by getting anti prostitution laws passed, specifically the Mann Act.
The Mann Act passed in 1910 and was used in 2002 to charge Robyn Few, the founder of SWOPUSA.
Those suffragist white supremacists specifically used ‘sexual purity’ to justify their ‘rescue operations’ and additionally to outlaw prostitution on a state by state basis, because they couldn’t get a constitutional amendment outlawing prostitution on a federal level, no different than what is happening today with laws such as #FOSTA #SESTA being passed.
When Cat Brooks didn’t get it in 2016, we made a video about it:
CAT BROOKS ON DEMOCRACY NOW- FORWARDING WHITE SUPREMACY
CAT BROOKS ON DEMOCRACY NOW- FORWARDING WHITE SUPREMACY
Cat Brooks continues to use the language and line of thinking of the modern day white supremacists when discussing prostitution and forced labor in the sex industry.
She uses their language in the public sphere as demonstrated on the Up Front Morning Show which aired on KPFA April 18, 2018 when she interviewed me for 14 minutes Maxine Doogan Interviewed on Up Front KPFK 4/18/18 by Jeannine Etter & Cat Brooks and then the following day when she platformed Holly Joshi of M.I.S.S.E.Y on the same program, for twice the amount of time Cat Brooks Interviews Holly Joshi of M.I.S.S.E.Y. Of Oakland on Up Front KPFA 4/19/18
to spew even more modern day white supremacist cookie cutter rhetoric exactly like all the other modern day white supremacists/ anti prostitutionists have used to pass laws like #FOSTA #SESTA
The same rhetoric is being used to frame and conflate all sex workers as ‘sex trafficking victims‘ on an alternative listener sponsored radio show that purports itself to bring perspectives not often heard in mainstream media except in this instance, Cat Brooks brought a perspective that is exactly all the mainstream media outlets. The rhetoric is being used to pass hundreds of anti prostitution laws across the nation under the guise of rescuing children like #FOSTA #SESTA
Cat and Holly’s ‘solution’ is to platform the prison industrial complex and the NGO’s adjunct to it.
Cat Brooks and Holly Joshi assume the position of arbiters of who gets access to human rights and when, by suggesting that we must first fix long standing cultural, legal, and institutional inequalities that white supremacists caused, instead of decriminalizing prostitution so that people in the sex trade have the benefit of equal protection under law and to prevent police abuses that criminalization enables.
Here is Cat Brooks of the ‘Anti Police Terror Project’ giving media space to another women of color Holly Joshi, a former porn performer and former Oakland cop, who now directs an NGO known as M.I.S.S.E.Y, which is the recipient of the unfortunate young people who have either been arrested in anti prostitution sting operations funded by ‘End Demand’ grants to the Alameda District Attorney’s Office under the guise of rescuing victims, and/or they’ve been profiled as underage prostitutes, though in either case M.I.S.S.E.Y is adjunct to the prison industrial complex.
Cat Brooks puts herself out there wanting to hold police accountable and yet she ignores or doesn’t have the capacity to register, that Holly Joshi and her org are aligned with the police and even depends on the police to traffic ‘clients’ into Joshi’s org.
These NGO’s have a history of accompanying police on prostitution sting operations under the guise of ‘rescuing victims’. This is called ‘profiting from the criminalization of our labor’!
M.I.S.S.E.Y is involved with police and benefits from the criminalization of the youth who’ve been profiled as prostitutes or who have been involved in the court system by being criminalized in other ways.
Cat Brooks conveniently ignores this relationship between M.I.S.S.E.Y. and the police and doesn’t acknowledge it for the violent terrorizing act that it is. This is duplicitous on her part.
Cat Brooks consistently demonstrates poor judgment when referring to the youth in the sex trade, in both interviews she refers to youth in the sex trade as ‘babies on the street’.
This business of infantilizing youth is what the modern day white supremacists do as a means to justify profiling everyone as victims and then holding them in ‘protective custody’ i.e. juvenile hall, where they are terrorized, forced into treatment, manipulated, coerced to provide testimony and held indefinitely, which is a violation of Habeas corpus and human rights.
Be sure to listen to our interview with Dr. Lois Lee who founded ‘Children Of The Night’. Dr. Lois Lee describes the reality of ‘protective custody’. Dominate The Nation: Maxine Doogan and Domina Elle interview Dr. Lois Lee of Children Of The Night
Cat Brooks gives Holly Joshi a free pass on her role in facilitating the terrorization of youth in the sex trade by police under the current prostitution and sex trafficking laws.
For someone claiming to be so concerned with youth involved in the sex trade, Cat Brooks hasn’t availed herself to the mountain of realities exposed, such as the testimony of Dr. Alexandra Lutnick, RTI International, UC Berkeley, before the California State Assembly in 2015:
Alexandra Lutnick, RTI International, UC Berkeley testifiys before the California Assembly Public Safty Committee- Oct. 2015
Specifically renaming youth in the sex trade as ‘victims’ just because our modern day white supremacist government gave the youth in the sex trade the label of ‘victim’ doesn’t mean it’s okay for anyone to use this same disrespectful term or to infantilize and minimize them by calling them ‘babies’ when speaking of them! The sex worker community rejects when ‘white saviors’ do this, why should our community let Cat Brooks and Holly Joshi get away with this?
During this time where white people are being asked to be more conscious of blatant and subtle white supremacist comments, actions and systemic mechanisms which support institutional racism, its duplicitous that women of color like Cat Brooks and Holly Joshi subscribe to the criminalization of prostitutes and use the language of the sexual purity agenda crafted and perpetuated by white supremacists of the past and today. This rhetoric and line of thinking is being used by current white supremacists to rename and recriminalize us as sex trafficking victims under #FOSTA #SESTA and all other ‘anti trafficking’ laws, which are all wrongly predicated upon the criminalization of prostitution.
Furthermore, Cat Brooks demonstrates her willingness to subscribe to the dominant culture’s view- saying in the interview that we, the actual prostitutes rights activists, have to fix long standing cultural, legal, and institutional inequalities that white supremacists caused, when she asks me during the interview “how do we regulate sites like Backpage so that the ‘babies’ are protected while the rights of sex workers are protected as well”?
I mean, here she is, a non criminalized worker, not being hunted by modern day white supremacists under the guise of rescuing her, asking me, the criminalized worker, the one who doesn’t have access to equal protection under the law, the one whose family doesn’t have access to equal protection under law, the one whose co workers and fellow activists don’t have access to equal protection under law, the one whose speech used to negotiate for my own labor and safe work conditions is criminalized, the one whose intimate, domestic and commercial relationships are all criminalized as sex traffickers- is asking me to: 1) protect people who are also subjected to the same systemic and institutional inequalities as I am, 2) to invent regulatory schemes for my third party bosses who don’t support my rights because they’re too busy being bullied and coerced into cooperate with the police under the guise of rescuing ‘victims’, when the end goal is to stop me from working as a prostitute altogether, and 3) our rights are always contingent upon protecting other people, which is why we don’t have any rights, we are an afterthought if even that.
I recognize this tactic for what it is because I’ve had training by the labor movement. It is a long standing strategic weapon used by the ‘bosses’ to pit groups of marginalized people against each other with the end goal of nobody getting any rights. The goal is to keep everyone consenting to giving up their rights as a means to protect another group-hence #FOSTA #SESTA
In closing, the organizers of International Whore’s Day in Oakland would do well to spend their time getting themselves some training in how to be activists and work to gain access to the institutional memory of #whorenation itself and learn about our past and recent history. For several years, there were sex worker contingents in the San Francisco Dyke March or the Trans March. Why don’t you all work on something like that if you have so much energy.
In the meantime, the #sexworkernation should not be giving any space to anyone, especially in the public sphere, to spew modern day white supremacist sex trafficking apologist garbage, even when the person spewing it is a person that says the sw worker rights words, or purports themselves to be against police violence and is a woman of color.
Happy International Whore’s Day 2018