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It was with great concern that the Archaist Book Fair hosted two possibilities to talk about what’s going on at their host space, Kink.com.
One was the very generous Saturday night evening discussion over the withdrawal of one of the speakers, conflated Kink.com with Bank of America and deemed that un anarchist like.
And the other was the sex worker section on Sunday afternoon.
Having only attended the Sunday session for the last 15 minutes and hearing from those who attended the Saturday night event, there didn’t seem much discussion of the topic of how anarchy would benefit the workers at kink.com Thinking about the workers and their present situation is on my mind. I would have liked to have effected the conversation towards the fate of the workers at Kink.com in light of the recent arrest of the owner, Pete and recent public complaints from former workers about his management practices.
I, like many of my fellow kink/sex/worker positive community members can remember when in 2007, we all piled into city hall planning commission to show public support for kink.com’s right to buy the armory. It wasn’t so much I personally was standing up for Peter’s right to buy and occupy the armory but more of the right for a kink based business to occupy the armory. Like many of my fellow kinksters, we knew that peter had his detractors then. In hindsight, a key question that ought to have been asked and answered about if the workers had a collectively bargained contract to cover their labor and work conditions in place.
So it was of no surprise to read about recent complaints of the disrespectful management practices where he unilaterally changed a pay scale for webcam performers without negotiating with them first, the lack of concern for injuries and questionable scene negotiating practices. The former being a major value in our community.
At least one worker found out she didn’t have the skill set to take on unionization in a competitive adult work site to make the necessary changes. Not many people do. That skill set comes with training, support and determination. Maggie Mayhem’s explicit indictment of the peter culture in the wake of his arrest for cocaine and shooting off guns rings harsh in my ears. I would say that any new approvals in city planning have to include a collectively bargained contract for the workers no matter what kind of business.
So I know I cannot be the only one who feels that our community should take up our part in being responsible for this situation that the kink.com workers are in and start the conversation with them about where to go now. Where do they want to go now? I think its really important to be available to listen to concerns as a community.
The criminal charges against Peter are not really of that concern as most of us have had problems with Johnny Law, but there’s a question of the what could happen to him and what state will the business be left in or more to the immediate, what state is the business in now as the workers depend on it, the kink community vouched for it, the city approved it, with the haters are nipping at our heels always. There’s more on the line here besides Peter’s status. He might be able to buy his way out of his legal situation but to what end? To go back to business as usual? Is that what the workers want? Is that what the community who stood up for kink.com that day in 2007 wants?
I hope that part of the conversation can include looking at models of unionization that includes a cooperative component as depicted in this article. Sustainable Jobs, Sustainable Communities: The Union Co-Op Model Its about the United Steel Workers and co-op hybrids coming together to create some new possibilities in our new economy that might apply to a fairly new industry.
I know the Lusty Ladies have had experience with these institution and how they might relate to Kink.com especially considering Kink.com has some interests now with the LL. But that’s a topic for another blog….
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This whole debacle of calling out these perpetrator feminist types for their violence by stigma, their weapon of choice against us whores is getting really good.
Like the batterers they are, they’re consistent in their acts of violence when they retaliate for being called out for the actors of violence against our class in maintaining criminalization of prostitution.
Its just further evidence of their violent intentions to continue to pollute the public domain with their hate speech again and again with their made to order faux facts about us and our lot in this life.
Violence de-escalation training and anti oppression training is in order for us to help put their behavior in the right context. Then hopefully, our class won’t feel the need to extend ourselves so civilly as to try to reason or educated them with the expectation they’ll stop hurting us.
How many times have battered peoples said that if they could just tell the abuser or who ever will listen, the effects of suffering from their bad treatment or try to confront the flawed logic used to justify their attitudes of indifference and denial of abuse in that hope that the violence might finally stop and but it never works out that way.
These types won’t ever stop their violence against us no matter what we say, no matter what do. Its a fact of life and no fake facts the likes of which they use to perpetuate negative stigma against us, are ever going to change this cycle.
But some people do change their minds.
We can see politicians changing their minds recently in a very public substantial way in these very last days before the high court decides key lawsuits on marriage equality. Like jumping off the imminent crazy train wreck at the last minute, politicos are abandoning these kinds archaic ideas only because they’ve lost or stand to loose elected positions and the subsequent fortunes that accompany them. We even saw the mother of invention of john school change their minds during Proposition 35 in California and withdraw their endorsement of that menace legislation weeks before the election. Even with the passing of the Violence Against Women Act, Sen. Leahy managed to added a provision to stop arresting minors for prostitution and substantially defund the imperialist Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons!
But the feminist types of which we rail against, they’ll never change their minds. Saying they are for stopping arresting us while they’ve actively opposed legislation to do just that typifies their constant two faced antics. They won’t change their minds because they oppose our rights with the veracity of the religious zealots and the brute force of the police all of which they’ve aligned together to walk in goosestep.
The way to deal with them is similar to the way other oppressed groups, like LBGT and African Americans have dealt with the same systems of violence. When the AIDS epidemic hit, anti sodomy, female impersonation and associating with homosexuals laws had been decriminalized for the most part and for parts that weren’t, the high court’s decisions eventually upheld privacy that dealt the death blow to the hold outs in this area.
Too, it took 100 years after emancipation to pass the civil rights act to finally name discrimination as an illegal act not only against those who are of color but gender too.
Since we still suffer from having our labor and relationships criminalized in the anti prostitution laws and the subsequent discrimination, we have to start with were we are here in the US; we must all focus our energies together to change these things in short order.
As far as dealing with public opinion, I suggest a truth and reconciliation commission convene itself as to fully expose the extend of the damage and corruption that criminalization and discrimination has brought.
And FYI, we’ll consider paying taxes 10 years after the last discrimination case has been litigated similar to how the Voting Rights Act mandates 10 years of uninterrupted compliance before restrictions on judicial review can be petitioned to be removed. But in the meantime, feel free to ban the Dennis Hoff owned walmart brothel and enforce the laws already on the books; rape, robbery, extortion, coercion, theft, abduction, battery, fraud…solicitations for unprotected sex….murder. I subscribe to the idea that if the workforce is made up of primarily women, then only women from that workforce can be hired by that said workforce in the capacity management.
Its okay to be overwhelmed and think, it’s such a tall order, we cannot possible go through with it, but no perfect magic pill can be taken to make it all go away. Instead find some workable principals and adherence to them and re evaluate and be open to change but lets just start by stepping away from the wasting our time with the hater feminists.
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Disturbing treatment of sex worker rights activist
I received a call this morning from one such activist who is being harassed in email by one of those nut cases who thinks that sex workers ought to be arrested because she’d rather like to rescue us and get paid to do it. I know it doesn’t make any sense to me either that these types aren’t demanding an end to criminalization firstly and foremost as a means to stop the police from exploiting us.
Then I read this very good interview of Melissa Gira Grant where she accounts recent harassment. Waging War On Sex Workers by Zoe Schlanger interviews Melissa Gira Grant February 15, 2013 http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/the-war-on-sex-workers/
And too this documented account of harassment from Feminist Whore on twitter. http://feministwhore.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/examining-the-murphy-method/
Its really concerning that the haters cannot even tolerate others exercise of their right to free speech to express their opinions that are different from their shame-based sex-negative perspectives.
This new round of intimidation by these prostitution rights haters is important to document for ourselves. Its important share with our community members who are targets of this type of violence that we are not alone.
It’s important too to reach out to other groups for support when we’ve been attacked and I for one would really like to hear how those who say they’re for stopping violence against women, like the One Billion Rising people, say they oppose violence against us prostitution rights activists also.
I attended their events this past week as I was invited at the last minute by a friend. http://www.facebook.com/events/337059453076068/
The event I attended was held at a large church with the female clergy welcoming the packed house. The drumming, the dancing, and singing was impressive but calling out violence in a general way wasn’t that useful to me as marginalized worker. I have a question in my mind about how these types of women view prostitutes and prostitutes rights activists like myself. Is the violence of being criminalized included in their public condemnation of violence against women? Or is it feminist business as usual violating me with their imposed victomology and indifference? The feminist, of 1973 decided that our rights were not to be included or considered in their broad demand for equality for all women. Their position has yet to be officially rescinded, apologized and proper restitution made. And these steps are in order in my mind to move forward in solidarity.
Elitist Gloria Steinem signed an ballot argument against San Francisco Ballot Measure Proposition K that would have forced the city to stop arresting prostitutes. Why would so called feminist oppose stopping violence of arresting people for prostitution?
I would like to see a specific public statement to include respect specifically for our rights and for our activists.
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Lessons On Legalization From Copenhagen
Opinion | Inhumane and illogical treatment of us sex workers
February 17, 2013 – 07:00
The above opinion piece written from a sex worker perspective which is to live under the oppressive and ineffective legalization of prostitution scheme imposed on them in 1999, offers specific directions of change from an actual worker prospective.
Its always best to hear from actual workers whose dignity is being impacted by laws that are sold to the public in the name of ‘public decency’.
The author states: ‘….we’re not allowed to enter into binding contracts. This is a major hindrance that would help alleviate many of the practical problems that instead wind up turning into cases of human trafficking. Such is often the case with many foreign sex workers. They get help to come to Denmark, and then once they get here they wind up disagreeing with their handlers about what the deal was.’
This statement is instructive as to what prostitutes actually want.
The prostitutes who work in Denmark want to hire support staff and have the contracts between them be binding. That means the contracts between workers/workers and/or support staff, or handlers as she calls them, has to be in writing and has to be enforced.
Every organized worker understands that having a contract, collectively bargained or not, is one thing but having it enforced is another. Your contract is only as good as your ability to enforce it on your job and all erotic laborers ought to have both the backing of public and government support when enforcing the contracts on their job. If we’re ripped off by a customer or support person, then we must have recourse the likes of which we see in Germany’s legalization of prostitution law passed in 2002 whereby prospective customers who make appointments and don’t show up can be made to hand over the money for the lost wages in court.
But going to court involves going public and in this case going public to get restitution risks being exposed publically as a prostitute and that would bring unintended consequences of being harassed, extorted, a target for violence, and discrimination. Because our class of worker, across the globe, has suffered such negative stigma for so long, its important that access to legal protections be indentured in all legalization schemes. Specific anti-discrimination laws for our class have to be enacted whereby workers and our larger community members who are in association with us can pursue contact enforcement, a form of equal protection laws, without the fear of loosing our housing, employment, education, nor threaten our child custody arrangements or other financial relationships. Our privacy has to be respected. Our personal and professional privacy has to be highly regarded as society value that comes with civil and criminal sanctions if violated.
And for those who are obsessed with exploitation in our industry, this is your opportunity to take note of how these demand from actual workers would empower all on a whole different level. Having different kinds of incentives to leverage mutually beneficial contracts to help all parties fulfill their contract instead of focusing unduly on criminalizing one party so heavily as to completely disenfranchise the other disadvantaged party from engaging in a grievance process would open up new self- determined options and transparency, a public treasure.
To those of us who’ve worked in the sex industry for so many years with ‘gentle women’s agreements’ would do well to think about what it would be like to actually write down our agreements as to empower our class in a whole different way.
I know that if the public could see our verbal contracts in writing and how it is that we’ve been working together all these decades, they’d have to stop with their moral panic and instead have to start paying attention to their own exploitive work contracts and work conditions.
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Its appalling that Irish labor organizations have signed on to “Turn Off the Red Light” campaign as its clearly an unfair business practice against prostitutes.
You don’t see Irish prostitutes calling for the criminalization of your labor and of your economy as a means to end exploitation on your jobs do you?
No of course not because that would silly and ineffective and nobody would consider that a viable approach.
Shame on You!
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I know that there are many of us across the globe who work tirelessly and unpaid on our respective projects to bring peace to the prostitute nation.
Here’s what I did today:
I spent 30 minutes talking with another sex worker rights activist, actually we wrestled about the next right action,
Then I spent 45 minutes on the phone talking to a worker about her case,
Then I spent another hour and 10 minutes on the phone with another worker about her frustration and her next right action.
I called and emailed three orgs asking for their support.
I emailed 17 sex worker activists about an up coming action.
I texted with a sex worker rights activist in another state about supporting their efforts.
Texted with another sex worker rights activist in yet another state about gaining a contact to help with our direct action.
I friended that ally and we set up a date to speak on the phone.
I posted on link on fb about how the anti prostitutist are really quite violent towards our class.
I called a researcher-left a message.
Last night I spent about an hour and 20 minutes exchanging information and supporting an other sex worker rights activist in Europe,
Before that, I spent two hours in a meeting with like minded activist on other issues not directly related to my industry. I guess I would call that coalition building.
Before that meeting, I had a ten minute conversation with a political organizer about prop 35.
Before that, I had tea with a retired labor organizer about getting some help with our bylaws, that took about an hour.
Before that, I met with our customer plaintiff and recorded him-35 minutes. I was late because my bus was late.
Before that, I emailed and called several legislators to ask for their support for anti discrimination legislation.
And I cannot remember what I did before that…
I’m not bragging, Im just saying…
I’m saying I enjoy my work, but its all unpaid.
I’d like to be supported in my work and get at least one other person resourced in joining me.
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Thank James or John or whatever- But No Thanks
It pains me to no end to read a rare op-ed supporting prostitutes’ right only hear the usual neo liberal dribble that passes for support of our right to negotiate for our own labor and work conditions.
Prostitution should be legal
Laws criminalizing adult prostitution need to be re-examined.
By James Castle February 11, 2013
Yes prostitution laws need to be examined and it would be good to ask those of us who’ve been on the front of lines working as prostitutes and the prostitutes rights movement what we think.
But since you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you anyway because you need to have your archaic ideas that legalization equals enfranchisement abolished.
Its interesting that you look to Australia for justification for legalizing my profession as a means to expose better work conditions and end stigma for me and my kind. If you’d bother to read any of the blogs or become informed by actual Australian prostitutes or sex workers as they call themselves, you’d understand that 20 years of decriminalization and legalization hasn’t ended the negative stigma against our class there so why do you think buying a licenses to work as a prostitute will end bad work conditions and end stigma here?
Being made to buy a license for the right to work won’t be a welcome news to many of us because we don’t necessarily want to expose our work conditions because many of us work from our homes, we work in tandem with other workers, we hire reception help and security drivers and we don’t want have our situations disrupted by exposing us to our neighbors and city fathers who’d rather see us zoned out of sight without regard for our health and safety. One has only to look to what legalization of abortion has done to American women’s reproductive options are now 40 years after Roe v Wade where that service is only legal and ‘safe’ in 17 states.
Too its contradictory that buying a licenses for the right to work would be affordable for the likes of us who you’ve described as ‘…indigent’ and unable to ‘consent to being prostitutes;’ because we’re all ‘..coerced into prostitution in order to escape economic detriment…’. Well if this is true then how are we expected to afford to buy licenses of any sorts to gain access to the right to work?
It seems you really haven’t thought this threw very well. Why don’t you call me and we can talk.
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In response to this ambivalence feminist’s quibbling about decriminalizing of my occupation.
Criminalizing prostitution is a form of sexual colonizations!
Too your thinking is flawed when you correlate prostitute’s labor and with a wal mart worker’s labor.
Its not illegal to be a wal mart worker. There are no wal mart worker sting operations to arrest wal mart workers for working as retail workers at wal mart.
We are not advocating to criminalize wal mart workers as a means to end exploitation on their job but feminist like you are in fact advocating directly to keep prostitution criminalized as a means to end exploitation on our job because YOU cannot figure it how to regulate my occupation without my permission in a way that doesn’t bother you. I’d say-YOU are the plantation owner.
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- The good news about this ruling from New Mexico Supreme Court is that these two website owners will go free and not have to suffer going to jail for prostitution which ought not be criminal.
- The bad news is that it lets the majority of the adult prostitution websites that mainly female providers use for advertizing are owned primarily by male customers to go unchecked. Its a problem for us female providers that we are not in control of our own image and advertizing. Due to the criminalization of our first amendment rights to free speech, we don’t have the right to negotiate for our own labor and safe work conditions. And since male customers have more access to all kinds of resources like financial backing and technology, they’ve managed to take complete control of all the websites we rely on to advertize and thereby dominate our economy.
- These websites dictate the terms of our speech by allowing or disallowing us to advertize ourselves as providing the kinds of services we prefer and who we prefer see as clients or not as well as what kinds of rates we charge. This violates our principals of having the right to refuse service-the right to say no. These websites attract and support groups of male customers who coordinate the review system of our mainly female service providers by which they threaten us with bad reviews to force us to provide the kinds of services they want at the rates they want. Or they write fake reviews to blacklist us from being able to get any work at all.
- The solution is to decriminalize prostitution so that we can tell the truth about who we are so as to restore our right to say yes in the kinds of services we provide as a protected right. Too customers must be able to tell the truth about what kinds of service they’d like and have that respected as protected right too.
- But male customers must be barred from dominating our work; we must ban male customers from being in charge our advertizing on any terms in any capacity.
NM high court issues setback in prostitution case
By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press
Updated 1:10 pm, Wednesday, February 6, 2013Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/NM-high-court-issues-setback-in-prostitution-case-4256156.php#ixzz2KAHboa8gRobert Gorence, attorney for former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia, talks to reporters outside the New Mexico Supreme Court chambers in Santa Fe, Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013. The state’s high court denied Wednesday prosecutors’ requests to overturn a lower court’s ruling that nothing in state law made a website linked to Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory illegal. Prosecutors said the website was promoting prostitution. Photo: Russell Contreras
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court dealt a blow Wednesday to the prosecution’s case against two aging college professors accused of helping run an online prostitution ring, and denied a request to overturn a lower court’s ruling that nothing in state law made the website illegal.
The state’s high court ruled without comment to deny a request by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office to allow them to continue with a case that has drawn national attention and highlighted what some online experts say are New Mexico’s outdated anti-prostitution laws.
A state judge in June ruled that the website “Southwest Companions” — which was linked to former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory — violated no laws.
Both were arrested by Albuquerque police in June 2011 on charges of promoting prostitution after a yearlong police investigation into an alleged multistate operation where prostitutes and patrons could meet.
But District Judge Stan Whitaker found that an online message board could not be a house of prostitution under state law.
Prosecutors then took the functional equivalent of an appeal — an extraordinary writ — to the New Mexico Supreme Court. They said Whitaker had exceeded his authority in requiring the grand jury to be informed of the ruling, and they said his decision relied on facts not in evidence.
During arguments Wednesday, Michael Fricke, deputy district attorney for Bernalillo County, said he believed that the Internet “was a place” and therefore the website and its owners could be prosecuted under the state’s narrowly defined anti-prostitution laws.
Attorneys Teri Duncan, who represents Flory, countered that the state laws were clear and that the website didn’t fall into that category.
“Looking at the language of the statute, it’s clear that the place of prosecution … is intended to be a physical place,” she said.
New Mexico Supreme Court Judge Richard Bosson hinted that he agreed.
“The Legislature hasn’t looked at this in 30 years,” he said. “Maybe they should.”
State lawmakers are considering a proposal that could strengthen state law to include online prostitution websites.
Experts said that decades-old laws in New Mexico and other states make it difficult for authorities and prosecutors to go after prostitution-linked websites because the laws don’t necessarily outlaw the practice in cyberspace.
Fricke said prosecutors will reevaluate the case to decide if they could seek other charges.
Garcia’s attorney, Robert Gorence, said his client was “joyous” after learning of the high court’s decision.
“He’s been factually innocent from the very beginning,” Gorence said. “This has caused him great anguish.”
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