In Defence of George Galloway

The concerted attempt to demonize George Galloway over his comments on the rape allegations levelled at Julian Assange is reflective of something rotten in British cultural life. Nothing short of a lynching-by-media is being attempted by a range of commentators from right to left, to the point where there’s no room left on the bandwagon.

George Galloway is not nor has he ever been an apologist for rape. He is not nor has he ever been a ‘rape-denier’. He is however a firm opponent of what he and many others around the world consider bears all the hallmarks of the political and legal witchhunt of a man whose role with Wikileaks rocked and humiliated a US government that is now determined to take its revenge. Anyone who still doubts this need only consider the treatment meted out to Bradley Manning, accused of passing classified information to Wikileaks and is now facing 52 years in prison and who since his arrest in 2010 has had his human rights repeatedly violated.

The truth is that rape has become such a politically loaded issue in this country it is impossible to have an honest discussion about it without feeling like you’re walking through a minefield of hysteria and semantic traps, designed to trip you up if you dare deviate from the path of an unwritten but no less rigid consensus, which is that any man accused of rape under any circumstances is guilty until proven innocent – with anyone who suggests it should be the other way round no better than a rapist him or herself. This occludes rather than enlightens the issue and is designed to place a curtain of censorship around it.

The allegations faced by Assange, which he denies and of which by law he remains innocent until proven guilty, are extremely serious. Any man accused of rape is disgraced by the very allegation. To be publicly accused of the offence, as Assange has been, leaves a stigma that no legal defence can hope to eradicate. Regardless of guilt or innocence, in this respect the allegations have already had a devastating effect on his reputation in the eyes of many who’ve commentated on the story since it broke, moving him from the status of someone being persecuted for political reasons to a rapist doing his utmost to avoid justice. If he is guilty of course he must face the consequences. But only a fool or a supporter of his extradition to the US would deny that he has a justified concern over going to Sweden to be questioned under the present circumstances. After all, does anyone really think that the Ecuadorian Government did not look into the case before granting Julian Assange asylum? Does anyone really believe that tiny Ecuador would defy the might of the United States and its junior partner Britain just for the hell of it?

The precise cause of the calumniation that has been attached to Galloway’s intervention is the assertion that in his podcast he downplays rape by suggesting that if Assange initiated sex with one of the women involved while she was sleeping, on the morning after they’d already had consensual sex as is claimed, then it might be considered ‘bad sexual etiquette’ but it would not be rape as most people understand it.

How many men or women have initiated sex with a partner or sexual partner in the morning under those very circumstances? I would guess 99 percent, including most of those who are currently clambering for Galloway’s head.

If any degree of coercion is involved of course it is rape, no doubt. If the other person involved withdraws their consent at any time then the man or woman who initiated sex must stop. On this there can be no equivocation. But Galloway did not dispute either of those red lines. His focus was on the fact that the woman involved in this particular instance went on to hold a party for Assange the night after the alleged rape took place, then the day after went out to dinner with him. Surely any reasonable person, with this mind, would allow for even a smidgeon of something suspicious over the way these allegations have come about? That George Galloway did so without in the eyes of his accusers giving sufficient room to the possibility that the allegations may be true, reflects not a dismissive attitude to rape, as is being inferred, but his understanding of the nature of the beast that Assange has provoked via Wikileaks and his own consistent opposition to that beast, which is otherwise known as Empire.

But this isn’t really about Julian Assange. The focus that has been placed on George Galloway is a political campaign being conducted by on the one hand his many enemies within the liberal media who smell blood, and on the other those on the left who are determined to police the issue of rape, the context in which it can be discussed, to the point where men in general are expected to view their sexuality and natural sexual instinct as predatory, something to be ashamed of, something dirty and devious which marks them out as potential rapists.

As a man and as a rational human being I completely and utterly reject this. Rape is far too serious an issue to trivialise and reduce to the level of a stick to beat men with just by dint of them being men. By the same token false allegations of rape are equally too serious to be treated lightly.

George Galloway’s crime is that he spoke the truth without fear or favour as he and many others see it.


140 comments on “In Defence of George Galloway

  1. Good article. There is a witchhunt being launched against Galloway on entirely bogus grounds. He did not justify rape or any such nonsense.

    sandy

  2. Ed Hanson on said:

    Assange is definitely innocent unless he is proven guilty. And that hasn’t happened. He hasn’t even been tried of these crimes, let alone convicted. I didn’t realise there was a “consensus, which is that any man accused of rape under any circumstances is guilty until proven innocent”. Personally I would assume the exact opposite.

    As you know, the allegation against him is that a woman consented to have sex with him if he wore a condom, and he then waited until she was asleep and had sex with her without wearing one, in the knowledge that he did not have her consent.

    As I understood George Galloway, he wasn’t making a statement about whether he believed this allegation – he was claiming that even if the allegation was true, there was nothing wrong with it. That would make Mr Galloway, and anyone defending him, pondlife at best.

  3. Ed Hanson: As you know, the allegation against him is that a woman consented to have sex with him if he wore a condom, and he then waited until she was asleep and had sex with her without wearing one, in the knowledge that he did not have her consent.

    I think there is a danger of you mistaking the gloss of what has been alledged in the British media for the actual statements by the complainant women.

  4. Ed Hanson on said:

    Andy Newman,

    The allegation against Assange is very clear:

    “On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep was in a helpless state.
    It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her.”

    I have no argument with anyone who says it’s a lie, that the CIA made it up etc. Personally I would say “I haven’t got a clue whether it’s true or not but we have to assume he’s innocent unless it’s proved otherwise”. But ok, some people are convinced it’s all an American plot or not true for some other reason and that’s their opinion.

    But what Galloway seemed to be saying was something else. He seemed to be saying that even if it is true, it’s not really rape, it’s not a big deal. That opinion is one I find despicable and I am surprised anyone who thinks of themselves as a Socialist would want to defend it.

  5. Andy Newman,

    Andy I am sure that John won’t mind you editing out ‘flowery’ bits… Male Marxists tend to get too carried away with polemical flourishes.. especailly the more camp ones like you and George Galloway!

    The whole Assange case and the response to George Galloway’s comments are definitely “Kafkaesque” and also indicative of very unhealthy way debate is carried out especially via media like ‘twitter’.

    After Laurie Penny’s recent Guardian piece on her personal experience of Rape at the hands of a respected older lefty man I was sorely tempted to write about my first sexual experience at the age of just 16 in which I was given large amounts of alcohol by a much older Socialist Feminist Woman – bundled into a car driven by a leading comrade of the organisation that is now the AWL and sexually assaulted while unconscious then raped without my consent… But i decided that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

    What we witnessing in our cultural life is an ‘emotional plague epidemic’ which if not checked by a more honest and truthful discussion of human sexuality threatens to drag the whole of society towards the abyss of a new form of Fascism. http://anarchy.org.au/anarchist-texts/reich-emotional-plague/ Sisters and Brothers can all benefit by studying the ‘emotional plague’ and Wilhelm Reich’s earlier work “The Mass Psychology of Fascism
    http://www.whale.to/b/reich.pdf

    The Defence of George Galloway is not the same a being an ‘apologist for rape’ just as the Defence of Julian Assange is not the same as being an ‘apologist for bad personal hygene or sordid promiscuity’

    I would urge people to watch in full episode 5 of ‘good night with George Galloway’ on the ‘molucca red’ youtube channel / the Aussie ABC TV Four Corners Documentary ‘Sex lies and Julian Assange’ available on youtube and to visit the blog of Craig Murray – accessing such easily available material can help us to have an informed discussion and not simply jump to conclusions based on incomplete information or prejudice

  6. Ed Hanson: The allegation against Assange is very clear:

    Well. we have seen that AA’s statement to the police, that has been published, does not match the allegations as described in your source. We will see when SW’s statement is published whether it matches your version.

    AA’s statement is essentialy that she consented to sex although she thought Assnage was a creepy weirdo, and that during sex she suspected he wasn’t wearing a condom, but she checked and he was. She then claimed that the condom was broken and that she suspected but didn’t know whether Assange had deliberately broken it.

    This would seem to fall into the category of regretting having given consent, rather than not having given consent. And of Assnage being an arsehole.

    of course the facts are in dispute,

  7. Michael Leam on said:

    Ed Hanson: But what Galloway seemed to be saying was something else. He seemed to be saying that even if it is true, it’s not really rape, it’s not a big deal.

    What he actually said was
    “I think that Julian Assange’s personal sexual behaviour is something sordid, disgusting, and I condemn it.”

    I think it’s possible to think that some of what Galloway said was stupid and wrong but that his record is generally sound and that there is witch hunt against him. It’s possible to defend him as a person whilst disagreeing with specific remarks. There’s a total lack of perspective from some – we’ve got The Liberal Conspiracy website attacking Galloway with supposed outrage. Yet on the same website they praise the likes of Harriet Harman and David Miliband, people who voted for the invasion of Iraq.

  8. I’d say I cautiously agree with John’s article. What has knocked me sideways a bit, though, is the reaction of women writers and politicians for whom I have tremendous respect, such as Laurie Penny and Salma Yaqoob, to George’s comments. And I don’t think Kate Hudson would withdraw her candidacy on a whim. Are some of us blokes missing something possibly?

  9. James H on said:

    Michael Learn:

    Galloway also said: ‘Even taken *at its worst*, if the allegations made by these two women were true – 100% true – and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape…’

    Stating that even the worst extent of these allegations must not be defined as rape is nothing other than a dangerous trivialisation of that act. I have defended Galloway against those on the liberal-left countless times before, and I responded to his re-election victory with sincere celebration.

    But I cannot defend these comments.

    Omar:

    ‘What has knocked me sideways a bit, though, is the reaction of women writers and politicians for whom I have tremendous respect, such as Laurie Penny and Salma Yaqoob, to George’s comments. And I don’t think Kate Hudson would withdraw her candidacy on a whim. Are some of us blokes missing something possibly?’

    YES – ‘some of us blokes’ ARE ‘missing something’. It is just a shame there are not more women commentators on this site to articulate this. However, the debates of this day will only make such contributors an even rarer breed at Socialist ‘Unity’.

  10. Michael Leam on said:

    James H: But I cannot defend these comments.

    That’s fair enough and neither will I. But people are using them to state that Galloway is now a liability for the left – ignoring everything else he’s ever done or said. And yes, some on the liberal left who attack Galloway the most seem oddly forgiving of those who have done far worse.

  11. Karl Stewart on said:

    JamesH,
    “No” means no.
    “No, not without a condom” means precisely that.
    “No, I know I’ve slept with you before, but I don’t want sex now” means exactly what it says.
    And “no, I know we’ve been married 25 years, but I don’t want sex” means precisely that too.

    There’s no doubt, no confusion and no ambiguity – continuing with sex after being told each or every one of the above sentences is rape. Absolutely crystal clear.

    Now, on another matter, Julian Assange is being pursued by the US government who want to destroy him because he exposed their war crimes – which killed many thousands of people.

    The US government wants to imprison Assange indefintely, torture him and possibly execute him.

    This is very difficult for the US because what Assange did – exposing the war crimes – was a hugely popular act and any move to extradite him to the US would spark huge demonstrations and frustrate the US government in its aims.

    But, if the US government can first destroy Assange’s reputation, then this will lessen the force of the protests. And an alleged “sex offence” is a perfect way of doing this from the US point of view.

    A “sex offence” conviction also has the added benefit for the US in that it reduces Assange’s legal rights in terms of his fight against extradition.

    It is within this context that these “allegations” have emerged.

    Also, we learn that it has also been alleged that one of the people apparently making these “allegations” was previously thrown out of Cuba for activities related to a CIA-led organisation which has links to planned acts of terrorism against Cubans.

    My view, from this, is that these “allegations” against Assange are lies and that the whole “case” against him has been manufactured by US intelligence.

    I’m not a genius, I’m no more intelligent than anyone else – but why on earth can’t other people see this too?

  12. Omar: Are some of us blokes missing something possibly?

    A very large proportion of women have at one time or other in their lives found themselves in situations where they were having sex they would have preferred not to have. It is something that lots of women, not surprisingly, feel rather strongly about. It is a very sensitive question which any male politician in the public eye needs to handle with the utmost delicacy. Failure to do so will delight his enemies, upset his friends, and damage his political career. QED.

  13. Molotov on said:

    Brave post Andy, in this atmosphere of liberal hysteria it is a revolutionary act to speak the truth. Salma Yaqoob’s stab in the back was not entirely unexpected and neither should her sometime soon ascension to New Labour be. Remember, you read it here. Kate Hudson’s is a stranger case. Politically promiscuous as her recent party-hopping has been one would’ve thought she would have been made of sterner stuff. Her announcement that she was joining Respect in the wake of Galloway’s Bradford victory was unexpected, opportunistic to be sure, but welcome. Her husband Andrew Burgin, long an opponent of Respect ditto.
    The manner of her standing down as candidate was undoubtedly in contradiction to her perceived politics. There was no need to launch an attack no need to issue a public statement before even informing comrades who had worked hard for her (many of whom incidentally had never heard of her before being asked to knock doors for her). The delight briefly displayed by her and the left’s enemies on Twitter, bloggers etc will, in her case at least, be short lived. They have no need or interest in her. She will now return to obscurity, a minor footnote on the page of those who have attacked Galloway in his eventful life.
    Galloway speaks and writes millions of words in his prodigious work; not all of them are or could be of the same quality. No doubt if he could make his case again on the Assange issue he would choose different words. Certainly he would if he were writing them rather than an unscripted popular style podcast.
    Galloway is an uneducated 58 year old working class guy and is no doubt a product of his time and class. He’s not quite “down with the “personal politics” crowd” and from time to time it shows. His social views are quite conservative- on drink, drugs, abortion ( incidentally the video by an “ex-lover” who is nothing of the kind is a pack of libellous lies and now subject to legal action against its authors and publishers – and that I recognise is in attractive to many ( though not too many of his voters)
    But hey: he has been elected six times to parliament collecting big scalps along the way – Roy Jenkins, Lady King- and achieving the biggest by election swing in British politics since 1945. He is the only left of Labour figure in British post-war history to win, twice!
    He has a huge audience at home and abroad with nearly 100,000 followers on Facebook and the same again on Twitter. He has just married a young beautiful academic political activist, has three children, three grandchildren and hoping for more.
    George Galloway, where did it all go wrong?

  14. “Are some of us blokes missing something possibly?”

    I take it this is a serious question?

    Are the responses on here some kind of pisstake?

    Galloway has stated that what is in UK law defined as rape is not rape. Presumably were he to sit on a jury in a case where someone is on trial under those circumstances, he would find them not-guilty. But they are guilty. Thats the point. UK law says that these events are rape.

    What he is really saying is that he doesnt think that these events *should* be rape – they are just part of the “sex game”. That rape, defined under UK law is part of the “sex game”. That you dont need consent to play the “sex game”, even where that “sex game” involves “insertion”.

    Can you lot really not see how fucking creepy that is?

  15. AlwaysOutPunned on said:

    Molotov,

    Oh dear lord. The sun but shines only during the day time, but oh George you shine in our hearts during the day and the night…

    Look, when George is good, he is very very good, and when he is bad, he is horrid. He calculated his comments on Assange, and they were wrong. You dont need to be part of the gleeful harpy liberal crowd to say that. In fact, not saying that helps them.

    His comments, and subsequent responses, given the degree of thought that went in them, in a pre recorded piece, shows an utter lack of understanding of sexual politics, or the struggle many of his comrades would have undertook in their lives political work to understand that no means no. FFS rape was still ‘legal’ in marriage until a decade a go.

    If he thought this would be the fall out among his some of his closest allies, he would not have done it. For all his strengths, this blind spot is his downfall.

    Digging a moat and building castle wall from which to denounce large sections of the left and some of GG’s most closest supporters aint gonna do him, or the whole left, any favours.

  16. jack ford on said:

    Unfortunately I have to agree.

    George says an awful lot – often very good, sometimes terrible, and sometimes just plain daft. He has a tendency to let his wit and eloquence run away with him. Even though this can be his strength, it’s also been his downfall more than once. The man is, I have to say, a bit of a menace and you never know what you’re going to get from him next.

    The liberal imperialists and Islamophobes who’ve always hated George for his good points are going to make hay with this and I’m afraid they’re entitled to do so.

    Salma was quite right to rap him over the knuckes for this. Respect would be in a much stronger position if she had been elected in 2010.

  17. The fact is that there is indeed a witchhunt because it is Galloway. All sense of proportion is out of the window.

    Anyone who fights as tirelessly for the Palestinians as he does and who opposes imperialism as he does will always attract black propaganda.

    I personally don’t see anything like rape here, just a sordid sex affair between a celebrity (albeit an heroic one) and some brazen groupies. I have zero sympathy with these women, now shoot me.

  18. Who needs to attempt demonise Galloway, it’s not like anyone except for a few misogynistic men cannot see that he shoved his foot so far down his mouth that he can scratch his arse.

    Galloway is a rape apologist and denier, he was the minute he tried to claim the allegations did not constitute rape in English courts, they do. The statements which I have read, describe acts that are considered rape, not “bad sexual etiquette”.

    Also his attempts to “dissect” the behaviour of the women to “prove” they weren’t raped, also rape apology. Comments like that are why women don’t come forward, because people like Galloway will try to dissect and will HARM victims in an attempt to explain how no man could ever be a rapist.

    Addressing the whole “But I’ve had sex like that with someone”, I am presuming whoever you did it with was someone you were in a long term relationship with and someone you could reasonably believe wouldn’t mind, which is quite different to the described situation in the statements.

    Seriously, if Galloway and co believe that there is a US witch hunt against, they should be able to muster a better argument than rape apology and claiming that the alleged actions aren’t actually rape when in fact what is described in the statements is rape.

    Bradley Manning’s treatment for being a traitor does not prove that the US is in any shape or form after Assange, Assange is not the only person in charge of Wikileaks, yet nobody seems to think they’ll chase anyone else.

    In my personal opinion, all claims of persecution made by Assange have issues.

    1. For starters prior to this issue, Assange was trying to gain Swedish Citizenship, if the US have been after him since 2010, why wasn’t it a concern then? All Sweden would have had to do was to give him citizenship and then hand him over. A simpler and easier plan.

    2. What does Sweden get out of it, that they would spend their money and time pursing a man on the behalf of another nation? and get badmouthed to boot?

    3. Why on earth would the US if it wanted someone that badly put together a plan that would involve a double extradition? Not only is it ridiculously complicated, but it means twice as much chance of failure.

    Fact: The US could have just applied to the UK who would have handed him over quite readily.

    4. If the US was so gungho to get him, the simplest option would be to “disappear” him, via kidnapping. Not a press circus, they’d be suspected by conspiracy theorists either way but they’d definitely have the guy and nobody would ever be able to prove that it was them.

    The whole point of conspiracies is that nobody can prove shit, for this to be a conspiracy would make it a fucking stupid one.

    5. For such a large and convoluted double extradition scheme to work? The US would have to suborn an awful lot of people, that alone could and probably would blow it in a second.

    6. Since Sweden have gone to such efforts to chase him presumably because they do believe he did commit rape. Sweden are damn well going to charge him, after this, they cannot drop the charges, so the US would have to sit and twiddle their fingers while waiting on his jail sentence to finish if he’s convicted.

    7. Lastly if we for arguments sake accept that the US felt that a very silly and unnecessarily convoluted scheme was the right way to grab him and they were willing to go that far? It is still perfectly possible that Assange is a rapist and the two women coming forward was a useful coincidence that is being taken advantage of.

    Also “hysteria” has a sexist origin.

    The problem isn’t believe Assange to be innocent, the problem is people arguing that X actions are not rape, when they are. The two women who have come forward have had their privacy violated, received threats and been publicly attacked, that is rape culture in action.

    You want to believe that there’s a global conspiracy against Assange? Go right ahead, but come up with a plausible conspiracy angle that isn’t just another rape apology argument.

  19. jack ford on said:

    Marko I refer you to Karl Stewart’s post up at #13

    ““No” means no.
    “No, not without a condom” means precisely that.
    “No, I know I’ve slept with you before, but I don’t want sex now” means exactly what it says.
    And “no, I know we’ve been married 25 years, but I don’t want sex” means precisely that too.

    There’s no doubt, no confusion and no ambiguity – continuing with sex after being told each or every one of the above sentences is rape. Absolutely crystal clear.”

    And Karl like me believes that Assange may well have been set up. That doesn’t alter the fact that George was talking bollocks.

  20. “Galloway is a rape apologist and denier”

    Utter hysterical bollocks.

    “The statements which I have read”

    And there is the problem, the statements you have read bear no relation to the actual charges.

    I personally go much further than Galloway or any on the left would, I don’t see rape here, nothing to compare with what say, Valerie Solanas was subjected to. She was an innocent child, these were brazen adult groupies with no sense of self respect.

    Now if everyone and their uncle can call it rape by Assange based on any old shit they read in the paper then I think I am entitled to my own interpretation of the events.

  21. jack ford on said:

    Dawn I don’t believe the US is conspiring to have Assange extradited from Sweden. It would be easier to extradite him from the UK if they wanted to given New Labour’s scandalous one sided treaty with the US.

    However it is not beyond the realm of the possible that the US is putting pressure on the UK and Sweden in order to see Assange convicted for rape in Sweden. That will destroy his credibility and if the allegations are a CIA honeytrap which again I think is not impossible it will serve to punish those who mess with Uncle Sam without Assange ever setting foot on US soil.

    If you want to destroy someone allegations of rape are about as toxic as it gets short of allegations of paedophilia. It’s turned a a large section of the left against him, people who previously regarded him as a hero because of his work on Wikileaks.

  22. “It’s turned a a large section of the left against him”

    The bourgeois left in the UK maybe, and that could never be considered large in any circumstances.

    Let us get this in perspective, Galloway has an opinion on a sordid sex case and his detractors support mass murder and genuine rape by the war boys in the Middle East.

  23. “I personally go much further than Galloway or any on the left would, I don’t see rape here, ”

    Thats. Creepy.

    Because what is described is rape under UK law. If you dont see rape here, but you see acceptable behaviour, that suggests thats behaviour in which you would indulge.

    And thats creepy. Seriously creepy.

  24. “genuine rape”? Is that like “legitimate rape”?

    I’ve heard that if its a genuine imperialist aggression the country has ways of shutting that whole thing down.

  25. Caroline on said:

    Honestly you guys do stick together this is two consecutive articles defending Galloway, I would like to see the Swedish government coming up with some kind of compromise to offer Assange a way of answering the allegations of rape in court and reassuring him that he will not be in danger of being extradited to the US as there is a concern that he could share the same fate as Bradley Manning. On the subject of Galloways comments on rape and calling someone a ‘window licker’ well this is just a disgrace coming from a prominent MP who we thought was the champion of the oppressed. I think you chaps would take a different line if you woke up to find someone was sticking something up your arse, there is this thing its called forplay

  26. Creepy…….stop with the insinuation, that is the basis of witchhunting (not a golden age to be woman)

    If some guy jumps out of a bush and forces a woman at knife point to have sex that is rape and for me you can cut the guys bollocks off. Some nerdy looking weed, who happens to be a celebrity, gets involved with some brazen groupies and they moan about the experience. Fishing without a permit is more serious than that.

  27. “genuine rape”? Is that like “legitimate rape”?”

    Real rape as opposed to the sordid little love traingle Assange got himself into.

    “I’ve heard that if its a genuine imperialist aggression the country has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”

    What???????

  28. Marko:
    Creepy…….stop with the insinuation,

    Its not an insinutation, its a statement. You are being creepy, like really creepy. You are stating that you believe that raping someone is legitimate behaviour. That is creepy to the max.

    If some guy jumps out of a bush and forces a woman at knife point to have sex that is rape and for me you can cut the guys bollocks off.

    Ah, yes, I forgot you needed a knife and a bush for rape. There it is clear as day in the legislation.

    Under section 1(1) Sexual Offences Act 2003 a defendant, A, is guilty of rape if:

    _ A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B (the complainant) with his penis;

    _ B does not consent to the penetration; and,

    _ A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

    And

    _ A jumps out from a bush holding a knife.

  29. Marko,

    Marko, Laurie Penny rather astutely points out, in her very moving piece, that rapists are not simply pathological strangers lurking in alley ways (or behind bushes) but are often “nice guys” who are known to their victims. I agree with Prianikoff that her ordeal isn’t necessarily comparable to the Assange accusations or Galloway’s comments, but do try to show a bit more nous,eh?

  30. What you mean by creepy to the max is an insinuation that I am a potential rapist. You could never know that one way or the other.

    Your repeating of the sexual offences act just reinforces that this sordid little love traingle was in no way rape and to consider it rape belittles real rape. The kind you get in all the wars Galloway opposes.

    Omar – I didn’t say all rapists are pathological strangers, I was just putting the Assange affair in some context. Now I see worse sexual predation from higher management at work day in day out than I see in the Assange affair. Normally I wouldn’t have much sympathy for a celeb getting into trouble with some brazen groupies but Wikileaks is of such vital importance and is being undermined, far more significant than this sordid little sex case which is being blown up into the worst crime ever committed by man. Like fuck it is.

  31. William K on said:

    Richard Seymour has gained the respect and admiration of Jim Denham over his principled stand against the rapist Galloway. Enough said.

  32. “Not a fan of Todd Akin I take it, shame you too seem to share a few opinions.”

    Nothing to do with this, I just don’t understand your comment,

    “I’ve heard that if its a genuine imperialist aggression the country has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”

    But I think yourt casual remark to imperialist aggression, which involves brutality, supremicism, sadism, rape and mass murder shows you to be an utter fraud. so cut the moralising.

  33. That’s fair enough and neither will I. But people are using them to state that Galloway is now a liability for the left – ignoring everything else he’s ever done or said. And yes, some on the liberal left who attack Galloway the most seem oddly forgiving of those who have done far worse.

    Absolutely, completely agree with this. It’s astonishing isn’t it. It’s easy to see that Galloway is under a major attack again, and there’s no mileage in trying to say “he was asking for it”. The attacks will come no matter what. The guy is an asset to this movement and should be defended.

    That said, I’ve seen a number of comments that worry me. I strongly advise all of us in Respect to cool it; comments about Salma joining Labour are repeats of the smears the SWP was putting out to try to damage Salma before.

    I don’t think any of us should be trying to damage anyone – even if they have tried to damage us. It doesn’t get anywhere, and it’ll damage Respect and the left generally. If George and his friends are disappointed in people’s responses, it won’t benefit him and those of us who support him to dig back at Salma etc. And if Salma is disappointed with people’s reactions, it won’t benefit her and those of us who support her to hit back. I’m comfortable supporting George, as well as supporting Salma and Kate, while not agreeing with the tactical decisions of any of them, and being disappointed at Galloway’s lack of discussion with party colleagues before wading into the Assange issue, knowing full well what was likely to happen.

    I’ve been busy deleting posts by regular SWP anonytrolls this evening – they’re saying pretty gross things about George, and are now attacking Andy Newman, claiming he doesn’t accept that “no” means “no”. It’s quite pathetic – these people believe they have a superior political perspective, yet they don’t seem to be able to see a witch hunt when it’s right in front of them. Perhaps because they spent so long falsely claiming to be the victims of one.

    Anyway, the debate on here has been excellent, and it does show that we need to feel free to discuss this and adapt our politics, without being forced to pass a purity test. The left needs to be willing to listen and learn, instead of just preaching.

    This is what I was getting at earlier – there can be a real benefit from Galloway’s comments; if it helps us to understand general working class discourse on rape, if it helps us to sharpen our arguments etc., then the net effect of Galloway’s words will be positive.

    But it’s clear that in addition to the relentless attacks on George, there’s a parallel set of attacks going on against Kate Hudson and Salma Yaqoob, and everyone needs to be mature and political enough not to give in to that kind of shit. We don’t need to speculate about Salma’s future political trajectory, and we don’t need to insult Kate. No need for the barbed comments about people not having heard of her.

    And as for Kate not discussing things before issuing a statement, I genuinely think that Galloway should read Molotov’s words and consider that this might not have happened if he’d talked through his proposed podcast with trusted colleagues. It’s a frequent criticism of George, that he goes off and does things on his own. He has a track record of scoring spectacular targets – Viva Palestina, Bradford West – but he’s prone to some classic misses as well.

    I think everyone should’ve done more talking before making decisions – George as well as Kate. I think it’s George’s comments, not Kate’s response, that have caused the big problem here.

    But I really would urge people inside various political groups not to fall victim to the need for petty verbal revenge. It won’t end well. The SWP tried to destroy Respect and failed badly; I don’t want the legacy of so much hard work to be a fall at the last hurdle just cos people said stupid things and then other people reacted badly.

  34. Marko:
    What you mean by creepy to the max is an insinuation that I am a potential rapist. You could never know that one way or the other.

    You see insinuations where I see clear statements. Perhaps this is your problem with understanding consent.

    You have stated on a public forum that you believe behaviour defined as rape under UK law is acceptable, which implies that you yourself would have no problem indulging in similar behaviour.

    Your repeating of the sexual offences act just reinforces that this sordid little love traingle was in no way rape and to consider it rape belittles real rape. The kind you get in all the wars Galloway opposes.

    There you go again. “Real rape” as opposed to the rape that you think is legitimate. The kind of rape that you have no issues with. The kind of rape that you think is legitimate behaviour, and presumably legitimate behaviour that you yourself might indulge in.

    Yes, I think you are a potential rapist.

  35. “Yes, I think you are a potential rapist.”

    As I said a witchhunt. You couldn’t possibly know that and if you think you can know that then you are dangerous.

    I disagree that this constitues in any way rape. I have no sympathy for any of the people involved in this case but am concerned how this affects the vital work of Wikileaks.

    What are we to make of your ‘creepy’ joke about imperialist aggression, which often involves gang rape by soldiers against defenceless victims. Not some brazen groupies involved in sordid sex with a celeb. Would you join in the gang rape I wonder, or would you be the one taking the photos?

  36. Right listen Mhairi McAlpine, please tone it down. I don’t want a debate turned into a hunt for potential rapists.

    Please end that line of argument, thank you. Discuss the politics of consent and rape, yes, but if you hope to use the comments here to guide and shape people’s opinions, calling them “potential rapists” isn’t a way to win confidence of the people reading your responses.

    Same goes for you Marko, there’s nothing to gain in asking people if they’d join in with a rape. It does nothing apart from ensure that you can never explore any areas of agreement.

  37. The concerted attempt to demonize George Galloway over his comments on the rape allegations levelled at Julian Assange is reflective of something rotten in British cultural life. Nothing short of a lynching-by-media is being attempted by a range of commentators from right to left, to the point where there’s no room left on the bandwagon.

    Is that so?

    Like him or hate him I am not aware that he is suffering a ‘lynching-by-media’. And let’s be clear, George Galloway is not a significant part of ‘British cultural life’, however much one might wish he were.

    This matter is not reflective of something rotten in ‘British cultural life’, it is reflective of something rotten in the cultural life of the British left.

  38. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tony, what’s happened here is that characters like Salma Yaqoob and Owen Jones have immediately capitulated to the US government’s agenda on this.

    They’ve both taken the easy way of accepting the ruling class’s narrative here – “it’s about catching a rapist.”

    This is because they’re both, in essence, the ruling class’s “pet left wingers” and this is where their instincts lead them.

    Galloway, on the other hand, has instinctively taken a position opposing the US government and against US imperialism. This is his political instinct – that this is all about the US manufacturing a ‘case’ against someone they want to destroy.”

  39. I actually think Galloway is a part of British cultural life, even my mum knows who he is! She hates him btw.

    He is also a very important figure in the Muslim community, as he is one of the few politicians who has spoken out about Muslims being mass murdered by imperialist criminals and spoken about how Muslims are treated as the enemy within at home. This is why Galloway is also a hero to many Muslims throughout the world.

    I would say he is a significant figure, like it or not.

  40. Marko:
    “Yes, I think you are a potential rapist.”

    As I said a witchhunt. You couldn’t possibly know that and if you think you can know that then you are dangerous.

    I disagree that this constitues in any way rape. I have no sympathy for any of the people involved in this case but am concerned how this affects the vital work of Wikileaks.

    What are we to make of your ‘creepy’ joke about imperialist aggression, which often involves gang rape by soldiers against defenceless victims. Not some brazen groupies involved in sordid sex with a celeb. Would you join in the gang rape I wonder, or would you be the one taking the photos?

    Marko:
    You couldn’t possibly know that [I am a potential rapist]

    I know that you are a potential rapist because you have stated that you believe that rape is legitimate behaviour.

    and if you think you can know that then you are dangerous.

    What I dont know is if you are, or will become, an actual rapist. I dont know if you are personally dangerous or just have views which allow dangerous men to assault women.

    What are we to make of your ‘creepy’ joke about imperialist aggression,

    Todd Akin made a comment very similar to your “genuine rape”, stating that “if it was a legitimate rape then the body had a way to shut down [pregancy]”. You were pitting anti-imperialism against feminism. If we take the misogyny in Todd Akin’s statement and apply it to imperialism, we see how ridiculous it is.

    A war crime is a war crime.

    A rape is a rape.

  41. Omar,

    “10.I’d say I cautiously agree with John’s article. What has knocked me sideways a bit, though, is the reaction of women writers and politicians for whom I have tremendous respect, such as Laurie Penny and Salma Yaqoob, to George’s comments. And I don’t think Kate Hudson would withdraw her candidacy on a whim. Are some of us blokes missing something possibly?”

    No, what others are missing is social pressure from liberal opinion, that has been whipped up into a frenzy over this. That’s something we have not seen for quite a while, but its not unprecedented – usually the frenzy comes from places further to the right. When the liberals go on the warpath against the left, more liberal elements on the left tend to waver and capitulate.

  42. You cannot know if I am a potential rapist by the comments I have made, and the fact that you think you can makes you a very dangerous individual in my opinion. You would be dangling men into the river if you had your way.

    As far as I can see, given what I have read of the evidence, I think we have a couple of brazen groupies involved with a celeb in a minor sex affair. Now usually I couldn’t give a shit if this went to court or not but this is no ordinary case, we have the most progressive development of recent times (Wikileaks) under threat from the imperialist crimianls and their witchhunters.

    McAlpine joked about imperialist agresssion, which involves crimes of a far greater magnitude than this irrelevant sex affair. It says much about someone that they can joke about imperialist aggression, though I would stop shy of saying you would join in on a gang rape or a village massacre. But god help us if you ever got anywhere near power!

  43. Karl Stewart on said:

    Mhairi, the “allegations” against Assange are lies.

    The men and women who have manufactured this “case” against him are liars.

    And these men and women are lying in the service of US imperialism, which wants to continue to commit real crimes – you know, like mass murder of women, men and children, stuff like that – without anyone finding out the truth about them.

    You’re on the side of the men and women who support the murderous US imperialists.

    I’m on the side of the women and men trying to oppose US imperialist mass murder.

    It’s not about what sex you are, it’s about whether the US ruling class should bomb and invade any country they want to or whether we should support people trying to stop them.

  44. You and I differ Karl about whether we think its most probably that the allegations are lies. They may be or they may not be. But thats not the point.

    The point is that what is alleged (that he may or may not be guilty of) is rape. Galloway has said that it is not rape. Galloway is stating that behaviour which under UK law would see you convicted of rape is acceptable. That sometimes you can be raped and it should not be a crime.

    There is no anti-imperialism without challenging misogyny – they are intertwined. From the higher domestic violence prevolant in military relationships to the women who suffer the highest levels of civilian violence. Cat Boyd summed up the intersectionality well below.

    http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/blog/galloways-sexism-damages-anti-imperialism/

  45. “The point is that what is alleged (that he may or may not be guilty of) is rape”

    No it isn’t because law doesn’t work in the black and white way you imagine. You are mixing it up with the kind of show trials you would be conducting if society was ever mad enough to give you power. In a court of law the very concept of consent would be debated.

    As Calvin says on the other thread:

    “It is not unreasonable for a man or woman to believe that whilst in bed dozing after sex, consent continues to be implied unless or until otherwise removed. Who amongst us has not been awoken at some point in their lives by a sexual partner making a move on them whilst they were dozing in bed? If you don’t like it, you ask them to stop. You don’t accuse them of rape. Unless that is you have made clear your consent is withdrawn and they continue against your will.

    In Assange’s case, whatever misgivings the woman may have had at the time or afterwards, by her own evidence at no time did she ask him to stop. So all you’re left with is the technical case that a dozing or half asleep woman (and presumably also a man?) cannot give consent. A technical case, it should be pointed out, that could also be made against millions of men and women in all parts of Britain. There would be more people on the sex offenders register than off it.

    No2 is a bit stronger but again it doesn’t constitute rape if the word is to retain any meaning. With or without a condom at no point did the woman withdraw consent. And if consent can be made conditional on the other party using a particular type of protection / contraception, are women who intentionally get themselves pregnant by misleading their partner into believing they are using contraception also guilty of rape? This is where it takes you.”

    Now as far as I am concerned this is a minor sexual affair between a celeb and some brazen groupies. Not anything to get worked up about.

  46. jim mclean on said:

    Weird all round, in Defence of GG and Time for the Left have probably done more harm to George Galloway than any crap in a bunch of newspapers. Those opposed to GG have now been given a platform to attack him. One of the first things I learned in politics, never offer your opponent a free platform to attack you, when things get out of hand and if you are losing the argument you cant withdraw the right to speak without looking like an arsehole. Now I have noticed in the past that some of the posters on this and the other thread have in the past supported some of the most misogynistic bastards in British politics. Hypocrites or opportunists, who knows?

  47. “It is not unreasonable for a man or woman to believe that whilst in bed dozing after sex, consent continues to be implied unless or until otherwise removed.”

    That is not the law. It is not a reasonable belief. Consent is given for the act, it is not just there until it is withdrawn.

    are women who intentionally get themselves pregnant by misleading their partner into believing they are using contraception also guilty of rape

    No, because rape is penetration.

  48. Weird all round, in Defence of GG and Time for the Left have probably done more harm to George Galloway than any crap in a bunch of newspapers. Those opposed to GG have now been given a platform to attack him. One of the first things I learned in politics, never offer your opponent a free platform to attack you, when things get out of hand and if you are losing the argument you cant withdraw the right to speak without looking like an arsehole. Now I have noticed in the past that some of the posters on this and the other thread have in the past supported some of the most misogynistic bastards in British politics. Hypocrites or opportunists, who knows?

    Jim, that’s a risk you take, but actually it has mostly served to help people clarify their politics, and to allow me to ban several SWP anonytrolls. We feel it’s important to have the arguments. I disagree with Andy’s views about Kate, but there aren’t enough places for the left to have adult debates, so on balance we’ve done good here.

  49. I suspect the actual evidence is irrelevant to MacAlpine, it is rape whatever.

    Rape is not simply physical, it has pyschological aspects, eg feeling of power. But from a physical point of view it is penetration without consent, not just penetration. The woman apparently gave consent, this is how I interpret the evidence I have seen. You take a different line. But if a woman fools a man into having penetration when he has said he wouldn’t consent if there was no protection, then we have penetration without consent. But I would regard this as something different to rape.

    And the Assange affair is a minor sex case with 2 brazen groupies, or a set up by the imperialists.

  50. No. The point is that the women did not consent. There had been no previous consent for penetration without a condom, and none was obtained.

    If a woman penetrates a man without his consent then we have rape, but not otherwise. I assume that the next time you sleep with someone you would be quite happy to wake up being penetrated.

  51. William K on said:

    Assange does not get a free pass because of his sterling anti-imperialist record but neither does he loose all his rights or deserve to be presumed guilty because of an accusation. He has every right to fight extradition and to seek asylum in the absence of guarantees. Galloway also has the right in light of the way Assange has been assumed guilty by those who are outraged that he has exercised his rights to say that on the scantily available evidence it looks much more like a case of bad sexual etiquette than rape and that if the truth be told Assange is unlikely to be found guilty in any trial the way the law currently stands at least not in this country.

    Very disappointing to see Richard Seymour and the SWP leading the charge ahead of a gaggle of truly nasty Islamaphobes, zionists and pro-imperialists. This is their third crack at trying to undermine Respect and every time it has cost them and not Respect.

  52. jim mclean on said:

    tony collins,

    Oh well, Ed Milliband has parachuted in Lucy Powell, so who will the non Labour left support, the Communist League or TUSC. The SLP, Socialist Equity and WRP have worked this seat before.
    I would like to see more of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
    What Do We Want?
    SOCIALISM!!!
    When do we want it?
    WHENEVER!!!!!
    Of course they are the original “Socialist Party” but some interlopers pinched there name. Just spent a nice 20 minutes on their site.
    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/how-spgb-different

  53. I’m interested in Tony’s assertion that the ‘anonytrolls’ are all SWP members – you have all of our IP addresses?

    And I’m rather sickened that in a discussion which has just one woman participating, it’s the women who gets told to ‘tone it down’. I’ve no idea who Mhairi McAlpine is, but she’s right about Valerie Solanas.

  54. Mhairi McAlpine,

    “The point is that the women did not consent. There had been no previous consent for penetration without a condom, and none was obtained”

    Are you not conflating “lack of consent” with “unwillingness”? I would assume that if the woman did not wish penetration to continue she would say “NO!”. But as far as I understand, she did not. Galloway hasn’t said that an unwilling woman ( at least one who is in charge of her faculties) should expect to be penetrated, and did reiterate that “No means No.”

  55. Omar: Are you not conflating “lack of consent” with “unwillingness”? I would assume that if the woman did not wish penetration to continue she would say “NO!”.

    You can assume all you like, but you dont have to say no for there not to be consent. Consent needs to be *given*. Women should not exist in a state of permanent consent which can only be revoked.

    Moreover, its bloody hard to say no when you are asleep.

  56. Mhairi McAlpine: It is not unreasonable for a man or woman to believe that whilst in bed dozing after sex, consent continues to be implied unless or until otherwise removed.”
    That is not the law. It is not a reasonable belief. Consent is given for the act, it is not just there until it is withdrawn.

    If the law says ‘reasonable belief’ then a jury will get to decide whether that belief is ‘reasonable’ or not. Assuming the CPS even had the bottle to ask them to judge in such a problematic case. Which is highly doubtful, to say the least.

  57. Pingback: Julian Assange, Rape And The Decline Of The Left « Soupy One

  58. Its not a reasonable belief because she was asleep. So she couldnt give consent. Why is that so difficult to understand.

    But you do highlight a very critical fact Red S – whether rape cases ever see a court. Approximately 98.8% of rapists face no conseqences for their actions, mainly because the CPS doesnt have the bottle to prosecute them or the women dont believe they have and never report or withdraw the allegations.

  59. Mhairi McAlpine,

    “because she was asleep”

    Her account says half asleep. And since by her own account she allowed it to continue when she was fully awake (and disclaimed the idea that she feared Assange, ruling that out) then a jury is most likely to see the belief in consent as reasonable.

    “Approximately 98.8% of rapists face no conseqences for their actions”

    This statement shows why your views would not be regarded as reasonable by any jury. It makes it clear that you consider that 100% of people who are accused of rape, even on the most tendentious, non-existent basis with no evidence whatsoever, are guilty. That is an extremist and reactionary position.

  60. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “Where the law is relaxed to help facilitate rape prosecutions a high number of people are wrongly convicted through mistaken witness statements. Care must be taken.”

    Nowhere on the website is there support offered for these men having been convicted due to “the law [having been] relaxed to help facilitate rape prosecutions”.

  61. jim mclean on said:

    bit tired, in Scotland the government are in the process of changing the law to facilitate the prosecution of individuals accused of rape.
    How about
    “Here in Scotland the law is about to be relaxed to help facilitate rape prosecutions, in areas where the laws are less strict in relation to corroboration a high number of people are wrongly convicted through mistaken witness statements. We must be careful we do not go too far in the other direction, care must be taken.”
    Dont think the case we are discussing on here would get past any Procurator.

  62. Jack,

    It might be possible, but unlikely to be honest, and even if it was, I doubt the accusations themselves are false.

    Destroy his credibility? Given the amount of Assange supporters who are outright torturing logic to argue that everything is a conspiracy against him, I somehow doubt it.

    Allegations of rape are not that toxic, given rape culture, many rapists not only walk free but suffer no impact despite being guilty.

    To be frank given wikileaks history, it’s checkered at best. One can admire him for some of his actions, while still believing that he like anyone can do bad things. He can be both a rapist and a pioneer of transparency.

    Caroline,

    They can’t, and actually he would be safer in Sweden then he would be in the UK. Any subsequent extradition would require both the UK and Sweden’s permission, would have to go through the courts and would be subject to a lot of international laws.

    Marko,

    Nice rape apology and rape culture demonstration. Men like you are why women fear for our safety because even if you would not rape a woman, vy saying stuff like that you make rapists feel safe.

    They know if they rape, you won’t call it rape and will defend them against their victims. Score one for you, given that most rapists are not hiding in a bush with a sharp knife stranger type.

    Read: http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/08/324-my-friend-the-rapist/

    Marko, Have you even read the statements? There descriptions you give are inaccurate. Also person you are in a long term relationship with and know well =/= someone you’ve known all of five minutes.

    Also Rape legally does not require a woman to say no, it merely requires that a man did not reasonably believe she consented to it and being asleep isn’t consenting.

    Also Assange? Not wikileaks, the site will exist without him if he is indeed a rapist and gets convicted.

    Also I don’t consider wikileaks to be very progressive, considering the amount of naughty stuff they’ve been up to.

    But thanks anyway Marko, misogynistic people like you make it easier for us to show the true face of Assange’s largely blind supporters.

    Tony,

    Galloways comments don’t promote discussion of rape, they SHUT DOWN discussion of rape by intimidating women and supporting rapists.

    What he said was rape apology, no ifs, buts or maybes about it. He isn’t being “attacked”, he just basically told an awful lot of women and men that their rapist was innocent of rape, that unsurprisingly pissed quite a few people off.

    It’s as provocative as someone saying that oh say deliberate sleep deprivation isn’t torture under law, except it is and I don’t think falsehoods really help us discuss torture.

    Karl,

    And what if you’re wrong? What if Assange is a rapist and you are protecting a rapist? What if the US has no interest in extraditing him at all? What if he’s really just a rapist hiding from the consequences?

    Could you live with it? If he went free and raped some more people? How about if one of them was a female family member of yours?

    This is why due process is important, because people get blinded by their admiration for men like assange and forget that he isn’t an angel, he’s a flawed human and like anyone he can hurt people.

  63. Mhairi McAlpine,

    What you believe, and what is actually true are not necessarily the case at all. That is how all prejudices work. It is evident that you believe that if someone is accused of rape they must be guilty.

    That underlies this whole issue. Its also makes you putty in the hands of any force that is so unscrupulous to make an improper allegation for political reasons, because you must believe, according to your own, (in your view) understated figure of 98% ‘getting away with it’, that they are 100% certain to be guilty. The jump from 98% to 100% is tiny.

  64. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    ” you must believe, according to your own, (in your view) understated figure of 98% ‘getting away with it’, that they are 100% certain to be guilty. The jump from 98% to 100% is tiny.”

    No, this is untrue. If she is correct that the majority of rapists are never accused, then it is perfectly possible to have a substantial proportion of those who are actually accused of rape being innocent and still have a 98% ratio
    .

  65. jim mclean on said:

    There is an inbuilt technical anomaly in the rape figures.
    The number of rapes reported to the police and the figures disclosed by the courts in relation to successful prosecutions cannot tally when an individual is prosecuted for multiple offenses.

  66. Harsanyi_Janos,

    “If she is correct that the majority of rapists are never accused, then it is perfectly possible to have a substantial proportion of those who are actually accused of rape being innocent and still have a 98% ratio”

    You are right of course mathematically, but I doubt she sees it that way.

  67. James H,

    ” am shocked to read posters here blithely dismissing the idea that a man who penetrates a woman without a condom after she has expressly not given consent to this is committing rape… that this is merely, to use the apparently ‘à la mode’ term, ‘bad sexual etiquette’. I am also shocked by those who seem to assume that a woman would necessarily vocalise her sense of violation – it is sadly all too common that victims of rape do not acknowledge, or even recognise, acts of rape until long after the event, if at all.

    It shouldn’t even be necessary to say that these issues are separate from prejudging the Assange case…”

    Is this not a case of trying to have your cake and eat it?

    I’d have more respect for you if you just came out and said what you really think, that he’s guilty as hell so fuck him and we all can go hang.

    Cut out the Uriah Heep!

  68. James H on said:

    Red S:

    ‘Is this not a case of trying to have your cake and eat it?

    I’d have more respect for you if you just came out and said what you really think, that he’s guilty as hell so fuck him and we all can go hang.’

    I’m sorry but this is idiotic – not to mention illiterate.

    This is not a case of ‘having your cake and eating it’ – socialists should oppose the hypocrisy of imperialist governments; they should oppose the culture and assumptions that encourages misogyny and violence against women. FIN.

    It is an embarrassment that people here are presenting the issue as a ‘choice’.

    As it happens I do not assume Assange’s guilt. Nor do I assume to ‘know’ that these women are imperialist stooges used as ‘honeytraps’, a miserable and unedifying argument taken up by some here, and rightly denounced by the Women Against Rape authors for attacking the integrity of victims of rape.

    This discussion is not about whether Assange is guilty or innocent, or even the nature of particular allegations against him. His guilt or innocence has no bearing on how we define and oppose rape. What the most high-profile women activists in RESPECT so vigorously object to – together with that section of the left which refuses to ‘subordinate’ the question of violence against women – is a series of comments which argue that *even if, hypothetically, these sexual acts were true as described*, they ‘would not constitute rape’. Those statements are indefensible, and to see numbers of the left seek to deny that and denounce the women who took a stand against them is nothing less than shameful. FIN.

  69. James H,

    “This discussion is not about whether Assange is guilty or innocent, or even the nature of particular allegations against him.”

    Actually, in the real world it is about that and only that. The rest is hypothetical bullshit. Galloway is being vilified because he spoke up in defence of Assange – and hardly uncritically either as you very well know.

    This is a class phenonenon – there is a hysteria among middle class liberals against Assange, and Galloway upset that by speaking up for Assange. It has a class content, and elements on the left influenced by that liberalism are following the political leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie here. The political leader of the middle class left here being not Nick Clegg, but Alan Rushbringer, editor of the Guardian. And that includes the SWP. Politically, Rushbringer is calling the shots for them as well right now.

  70. James H on said:

    Appalling, Red S.

    ‘Actually, in the real world it is about that and only that. The rest is hypothetical bullshit.’

    A definite, recorded – not hypothetical – statement was made trivialising rape. That is indefensible. You shame yourself by appearing to deny this.

    ‘This is a class phenonenon – there is a hysteria among middle class liberals against Assange […] The political leader of the middle class left here being… Alan Rushbringer, editor of the Guardian.’

    So Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson both waited for the telephone call from Alan Rusbridger before making their respective interventions? I hope you’d have the gall to make these accusations to them personally.

    Your sickening world-view, in which the oppression of women is a liberal side-show that distracts from the central class-struggle, places you outside the vital tradition of socialist politics. If this is a ‘class issue’, where are the working-class women leaping to defend Galloway and his those apologising for him on this issue? Do we conclude that in your ‘class view’ there is no place for women, that they inherently adhere to the politics of the ‘liberal bourgeoisie’?

    Pathetic.

  71. interesting discussion which perhaps suggests we all need to study the New Labour inspired 2003 Sexual Offences Act in more detail

    After Laurie Penny’s recent Guardian piece on her personal experience of [an unreported] Rape at the hands of a respected older lefty man I was sorely tempted to write about my experience at the age of just 16 in which I was given large amounts of alcohol by a much older Socialist Feminist Woman at the Lozells Social Development Club in Birmingham in the early hours of a Saturday morning – bundled into a car driven by a leading [male] comrade of the organisation that is now the Alliance for Workers Liberty taken to their home – sexually assaulted while unconscious then raped [not ‘penertrated’ but er… ‘enveloped’] without my consent… I was extremely traumatised by this experience as I was a ‘virgin’ and had hardly had any ‘sexual’ contact at all with another person… I felt ashamed and confused… I did not even know the persons name and scurried off as the Dawn rose… The ‘trauma’ was perhaps made worse by the fact that two weeks previously I had been severely physically beaten up while naked in my own home by two Fascists [older Males]who had miraculously broken out of prison… the trauma was further compounded a few weeks later when I was informed a Job offer as a Junior Medical Scientific Officer at the Home Office Forensic Laboratory in Gooch Street Birmingham had been withdrawn because I had failed ‘Home Office Vetting’ proceedures…destroying fondly held hopes of a career in Forensic Science. However, all this occurred in the summer of 1978 and somehow i didn’t think the Guardian would print my recollections of life as a teenage trotskyist.

    I my humble opinion what we witnessing in our cultural life is an ‘emotional plague epidemic’ which if not checked by a more honest and truthful discussion of human sexuality threatens to drag the whole of society towards the abyss of a new form of Fascism. http://anarchy.org.au/anarchist-texts/reich-emotional-plague/ Sisters and Brothers can all benefit by studying the ‘emotional plague’ and Wilhelm Reich’s earlier work “The Mass Psychology of Fascism
    http://www.whale.to/b/reich.pdf

    The Defence of George Galloway is not the same a being an ‘apologist for rape’ just as the Defence of Julian Assange is not the same as being an ‘apologist for bad personal hygene or sordid promiscuity’

    I would urge people to watch in full episode 5 of ‘good night with George Galloway’ on the ‘molucca red’ youtube channel / the Aussie ABC TV Four Corners Documentary ‘Sex lies and Julian Assange’ available on youtube and to visit the blog of Craig Murray – accessing such easily available material can help us to have an informed discussion and not simply jump to conclusions based on incomplete information or prejudice

    There appears to be a preponderance of ambiquity in much of the discourse and far too rapid polarisation of the debate… Such a shame – but George is not to blame – and whatever we thing of him or anyone else involved in this discussion we will have to find away to meet together again at a future rendevous of victory… where all oppression, violence and injustice is removed from human society.

  72. James H on said:

    Appalling, Red S:

    ‘Actually, in the real world it is about that and only that. The rest is hypothetical bullshit.’

    No. We are discussing a concrete, recorded – not hypothetical – statement which made an argument trivialising rape. That argument is indefensible; it contributes to the culture and assumptions which encourage and legitimise violence against women, and it shames you and all the others who will not admit this.

    ‘This is a class phenonenon – there is a hysteria among middle class liberals against Assange […] The political leader of the middle class left here being… Alan Rushbringer, editor of the Guardian.’

    This is a disgraceful position – by characterising resistance to violence against women as a middle-class sideshow which distracts from the class struggle, you place yourself clearly outside the vital tradition of socialist politics.

    Are you suggesting that Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson waited for a telephone call from Alan Rusbridger before these ‘rank traitors’ made their respective interventions? I hope you have the gall to make these accusations to their faces.

    If your twisted ‘class view’ analysis had any truth to it, where are the many working-class women who are flocking to defend Galloway? Do we conclude that women are not part of the working-class movement, or that they inherently adhere to the politics of the ‘liberal bourgeoisie’?

    Pathetic.

  73. Appalling, Red S:

    ‘Actually, in the real world it is about that and only that. The rest is hypothetical bullshit.’

    No. We are discussing a concrete, recorded – not hypothetical – statement which made an argument trivialising rape. That argument is indefensible; it contributes to the culture and assumptions which encourage and legitimise violence against women, and it shames you and all the others who will not admit this.

    ‘This is a class phenonenon – there is a hysteria among middle class liberals against Assange […] The political leader of the middle class left here being… Alan Rushbringer, editor of the Guardian.’

    This is a disgraceful position – by characterising resistance to violence against women as a middle-class sideshow which distracts from the class struggle, you place yourself clearly outside the vital tradition of socialist politics.

    Are you suggesting that Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson waited for a telephone call from Alan Rusbridger before these ‘rank traitors’ made their respective interventions? I hope you have the gall to make these accusations to their faces.

    If your twisted ‘class view’ analysis had any truth to it, where are the many working-class women who are flocking to defend Galloway? Do we conclude that women are not part of the working-class movement, or that they inherently adhere to the politics of the ‘liberal bourgeoisie’?

    Pathetic.

  74. Pinkie:

    This matter is not reflective of something rotten in ‘British cultural life’, it is reflective of something rotten in the cultural life of the British left.

    Seconded. As the Assange saga rumbles on, the British left seems more than willing to plunge itself ever further down the rabbit hole, towards the abyss.

    The most damaging aspect of all this is, imho, how both sides seem to want to polarise the debate in either or terms: you’re either an anti-imperialist or an imperialist stooge; an advocate of women’s rights or a misogynist bastard. What’s more, it seems that both sides are more than willing to play up to their opponents caricatures of them.

    It’s all becoming a pantomime, yet I don’t find much to laugh at; only black and white thinking that makes no attempt at balance, and that has no desire to offer a sensible solution to the situation; something which appears to be symptomatic of many of the wider problems of the British left.

    (Btw, the most sensible response I’ve seen was in the letters page of the Independent, penned by a gentleman in the legal profession: he suggested that one way to break the impasse would be to have Assange go to Sweden for questioning, but on the condition that he is escorted there, and protected while there, by Ecuadorian security personnel. To me, this seems an eminently reasonable way to both make sure he deals with the serious allegations against him, while also providing the kind of guarantee that he will not fall into US hands that he and his supporters have demanded.)

  75. William K on said:

    #89 This is the kind of Islamaphobic fash crap the SWP are allying themselves with by taking on ownership of this pathetic witch hunt.

    #88 …` he suggested that one way to break the impasse would be to have Assange go to Sweden for questioning, but on the condition that he is escorted there, and protected while there, by Ecuadorian security personnel. To me, this seems an eminently reasonable way to both make sure he deals with the serious allegations against him, while also providing the kind of guarantee that he will not fall into US hands that he and his supporters have demanded.)’

    Even more reasonable would be to send a couple of interrogators over from Sweden, there are probably people already qualified sitting on their hands in their embassy who could do it. They did this for some serial killer only the other day. In the end they won’t conduct this interview and no charges will be laid because they are only interested in getting Assange to Sweden for onward extradition and not the accusations.

  76. William K on said:

    Crikey it’s like you were in the room. Compared to your ridiculous rant that insists Assange is guilty Galloway’s comments that he probably isn’t in law (nothing about forcibly holding someone down not being rape as per your ludicrous parody of what he said and your prejudiced interpretation of what’s available) from the little we think we know are measured and serious.

    `That the accusations could actually be true, and perhaps have been seized on by parties who have some interest in seeing Assange put away.’

    Hence the demand for guarantees so that prosecutors can conduct their interview and decide that a trial is either appropriate or not and so that if the former Assange has a chance to prove his innocence or for the accusers to get justice. Why don’t you demand that instead of insisting that Assange waive his own rights? Why are you incapable of taking both rape and the menace of imperialism seriously? Could it be that you don’t take the global detrimental impact of imperialism on the lives of billions of women even remotely seriously or the fact that Assange’s life or liberty could be under serious threat for reasons that are nothing to do with accusations of rape.

  77. William K on said:

    My 89 is a response to an 89 now gone for some reason. Whilst I welcome this blog’s support for Galloway and for hosting the debate it is counter productive to censor that debate. Personally I like to see the SWP’s rationalisations of their attacks but more importantly open discussion is essential for manitaining a principled left unity. Without it the polarisers and sectarians win.

  78. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dawn at (75) asks:
    “Karl,
    And what if you’re wrong? What if Assange is a rapist and you are protecting a rapist? What if the US has no interest in extraditing him at all? What if he’s really just a rapist hiding from the consequences?
    Could you live with it? If he went free and raped some more people? How about if one of them was a female family member of yours?”

    Dawn, I wish I was wrong, but unfortunately I’m 100 per cent right.
    The US has an indictment ready for Assange when they get their hands on him. He will be banged up with Bradley Manning. He will be imprisoned indefinitely, tortured and, quite possibly, executed.
    The rabid and hysterical men and women of the US hard neo-con right will bay for his blood.

    These men and women have zero interest in the rights of women. Their sole aim is protecting the right of US capital to invade and bomb any nation it wants to and controlling any information about its actions.

    The lies that these men and women have manufactured about Assange are a means to this end.

    What you refer to as “due process of law” is a process that is entirely controlled by these men and women who make up the ruling class.

    The women and men whose lives are destroyed every day by the actions of US imperialism deserve to be protected and defended.

    At the very least, the truth about their human suffering needs to be told.

    The US ruling class wants to punish those who’ve told the truth about this and the men and women who have manufactured this “case” against Assange are liars employed by US intelligence.

    And in response to your last question, no relatives of mine – male or female – are employed by US intelligence Dawn.

  79. The women clearly consented to have penetrative sex with nerdy weedy celeb Assange. One woman clearly consented to sleep the night with Assange, during those encounters waking up a sexual partner for sex is not unusual. If someone says no stop, then we have rape but this didn’t happen at all.

    So 2 brazen groupies have sex with a celeb and didn’t fully enjoy the experience. Big fucking deal.

    A very very minor little thing in the grand scheme of things.

  80. Guess freedom of speech is only for those who agree.

    William:

    Let’s break down what Galloway said:

    “I’m going to leave the fact that one, maybe both, of his accusers have the strangest of links to the strangest of people, organisations and states,”

    This untrue. There have been claims made that one of the accusers has links to someone who allegedly has links to the CIA. No evidence for this has been shown and the theory started with a blogger with a notoriously flexible idea of the truth.

    Like any lie, it has been repeated enough to take on the appearance of truth.

    Neither of the accusers have any known or suspected links to anyone like the CIA.

    “Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape.”

    That is what George Galloway said.

    The accusations are as follows:

    “1. Unlawful coercion

    On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm. Assange, by using violence. forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.”

    Oh look attempted rape.

    “2. Sexual molestation

    On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.”

    Y helo thar rape.

    “3. Sexual molestation

    On 18 August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.”

    Sexual assault.

    “4. Rape

    On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state.

    It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange. who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used. still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.””

    Rape.

    Fact: Assange is accused of at least one charge of rape and that charge would still be rape under our laws.

    So question, is Galloway guilty of merely being ignorant and letting everyone know he’s a nitwit, or he a rape apologist who believes that stating a lie will make it true like so many of Assange’s supporters fervently do?

    The full text is gone into detail here: http://jackofkent.com/2012/09/the-detail-of-the-accusations-against-assange/

    If true, these accusations constitute rape. So for Galloway to claim that he is not accused of rape is a lie.

    Galloway said:

    “At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.”

    So glad we have Galloway to tell us women what rape is, otherwise we might think that we’re actually being raped when someone pulls off all our clothing, holds us down physically and forces himself on us.

    “I mean not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. ”

    Clearly Galloway thinks consent once is consent forever. Funny that, somehow by respecting someone’s rights to set their limits, respecting those limits and asking people, I’ve managed to go my whole life without raping anyone.

    “Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them.”

    Some people believe a lot of things, doesn’t make it true as Galloway so aptly proves. Even if someone did believe that being in the same bed = consent to do the horizontal mambo, then their belief is not a reasonable one, and is not protection against being a rapist.

    “It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, “do you mind if I do it again?”. It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning. . .”

    Might be really bad manners not to ask for consent Galloway? Careful, next good manners will mean not saying stupid ignorant rape apologist shit and we all know George would never be invited to another ball again if that happened.

    In short, if you look at the actual statements, Assange is accused of rape. Galloway in that case is either seriously ignorant and yet think this is no barrier to having an opinion, or he’s a rape apologist, or he’s both.

    “Hence the demand for guarantees so that prosecutors can conduct their interview and decide that a trial is either appropriate or not and so that if the former Assange has a chance to prove his innocence or for the accusers to get justice.”

    William… Seriously, have you not read any of the mounds of information free for taking out there?

    Firstly, Assange has already been interviewed, at this point he’s wanted for interrogation and subsequent charging and he will be charged.

    When the interrogation happens? He has to be charged within two weeks of that. If they interrogate him in the embassy and he refuses to come out? The case will have to be dropped and he’ll have basically bullied his way out of due process.

    Demands to interview him in London are a smokescreen.

    The guarantees Assange has asked for aren’t possible because any extradition request from the US would have to abide by international law, to give assurance would mean they might break a treaty, it also would require two countries permission, and also Assange would actually be more protected in Sweden than in the UK.

    If Sweden shrugged their shoulders and gave up tomorrow, and the US put in a extradition order for him and the police nabbed him the next day because he didn’t know? He could be shipped off to the US with very little oversight compared to Sweden.

    “Why don’t you demand that instead of insisting that Assange waive his own rights?”

    Assange has received his own rights, several fucking times over, nobody else would have had the money and backing to make so many appeals, all of which have failed, and as I said, in Sweden he would be SAFER from extradition to the US than in the UK.

    Assange does not have the right to bully and bluster his way out of due process. There is no evidence or basis for his conspiracy theory of the US after him. Several judges have refused to block his extradition, if he had any basis, surely one would have ruled in his favour?

    “Why are you incapable of taking both rape and the menace of imperialism seriously?”

    Why are you and everyone else incapable of it? I do take rape seriously, these are serious accusations and Assange needs to face due process to determine if he is guilt or innocent. To claim that he is not accused of rape and to muddy the waters so virulently with rape apology is not fighting the “menace of imperialism”, it’s sacrifying women to the altar of a false god who does not believe in transparency for himself.

    “Could it be that you don’t take the global detrimental impact of imperialism on the lives of billions of women even remotely seriously or the fact that Assange’s life or liberty could be under serious threat for reasons that are nothing to do with accusations of rape.”

    Or could it be that you don’t take the global deterimental impact of sexism, rape apology and rape culture on women seriously? Even to the point of trying to lecture women who try to tell you and other men about the HARM you are doing excusing this shit? I have seen no evidence to suggest any kind of global conspiracy to do anything to Assange, I’ve seen a lot of half baked jump to conclusions conspiracy theories though with no evidence to back them up and only rape apology arguments on their side.

    Seriously, to believe the conspiracy theories, one would also have to believe that the US are incapable of creating a working conspiracy theory or of coming up with something less fricking stupidly obvious. Seriously, you want to break a bunch of international laws to grab someone? You do it in a way to make sure you get them and you do your best to not get caught. Such a conspiracy theory however would be highly likely to fail and would be so public that no reasonable person would believe the US could be that fucking stupid.

    Also I’m not an SWP, dunno who they even are, I’m just a woman who thinks claims that this whole mess isn’t rape apology are as much bullshit as the rape apology comments being made.

  81. Karl,

    Saying so, doesn’t prove it. Also not even computers are 100% right all the time.

    Humour me and consider for a minute, what is more likely? That Assange is a rapist who is claiming persecution to avoid prosecution? or that the US diplomatic departments all decided that enacting silly and likely to fail shooting themselves in the foot conspiracy theories to get one guy who actually isn’t that important was a swell idea?

    “The US has an indictment ready for Assange when they get their hands on him.”

    No, there is allegedly a sealed indictment attached to a investigation over the leak. We don’t know who it’s for or what it is about, we don’t even know for sure if it even exists.

    Supposition does not become facts if you just repeat it enough.

    “The women and men whose lives are destroyed every day by the actions of US imperialism deserve to be protected and defended.”

    And what about the lives of the women who may be telling the truth about Assange raping them?

    I find it telling how everyone ie gung-fucking-ho to protect Galloway from the awful dreadful shocking accusation of being a rape apologist, but where is your condemnation for the people who have threatened these women? for those who violated their legal rights and leaked their names?

    Your silence is deafening.

    Your silence to your culpability in rape culture, rape apologism is deafening.

    You talk about defending lives, but not one of you have considered the harm you and Galloway do to victims by making rape apology claims that are often based on beliefs that have seen our victimhood questioned.

    I have seen people defend the most awful statements from Assange supporters and post more rape apology in his defense in a day that I see in week normally.

    Ultimately whether Assange is guilty or innocent, it is not the accusation that endangers the lives and safety of women, it is the reaction of people like you and the unthinking rape apology that is the result.

    “At the very least, the truth about their human suffering needs to be told.”

    What about the truth of the human suffering you have caused? Or does it only matter when you think the US is responsible?

    If the US is to be held responsible for their actions, the same should go for you and Assange. You say something hurtful, then you should face the consequences.

    “And in response to your last question, no relatives of mine – male or female – are employed by US intelligence Dawn.”

    Neither of the women is in any way shape or form connected or employed by the US intelligence as far as is known, and no evidence has ever been shown for any such connection, the CIA bullshit was probably made up given the reputation of the blogger responsible for that claptrap.

    You dodged my question, if Assange is guilty and your support not only set him free, but it allowed him to rape someone you know and care about, can you live with that?

  82. William K on said:

    #92 Dawn: Galloway is no rape apologist. He has said that whilst waking up a partner through sexual penetration without prior consent was bad sexual etiquette it probably wasn’t rape under the law given the limited knowledge we have of what was agreed to. No doubt if an explicit instruction had been given not do this rather than as appears a request to wear a condom if it did Galloway’s opinion would be different. Bad sexual etiquette is hardly flattering. But nobody wants a free pass for Assange most just want so-called feminists to stop assuming Assange must be guilty or that he himself does not want to clear his name simply because he has exercised his right to fight extradition and then in the absence of guarantees sought asylum. Thank goodness for extradition laws and the right of asylum or we’d be sending women back to saudi to be stoned for adultery on the strength of a phone call.

    By accusing Galloway of being an apologist for rape you are showing that you are motivated by things other than concerns for these women.

  83. James,

    “This is a disgraceful position – by characterising resistance to violence against women as a middle-class sideshow which distracts from the class struggle, you place yourself clearly outside the vital tradition of socialist politics.”

    Wow. Invent a position, and then demolish it. That position only exists in your deluded mind, nothing I wrote implies anything of the sort. It is this campaign against Assange and Galloway that is the political child of the liberal bourgeoisie. Refute that if you can and don’t invent positions like a corrupt state prosecutor or cop.

    Its you who are pathetic. As to ‘the tradition of working class politics’ you don’t have the power to read people out of that, sunbeam. Even Gerry Healy did not have the power to do that, though he thought he did. So do you. Its called megalomania.

    You are a middle class hysteric and your political guru is the editor of the Guardian. Rant and rave all you like, you cannot refute that (and certainly not by trying to read me out of the workers’ movement – what a joke). The liberal bourgeoisie may think it has the power to define who or what is on the left, but it doesn’t. It is a delusion born of class arrogance and hubris.

  84. James,

    “Are you suggesting that Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson waited for a telephone call from Alan Rusbridger before these ‘rank traitors’ made their respective interventions?”

    Er, no. You have no idea how left-liberal knee-jerk politics work if you think that is necessary (you have precious little idea how anything political works for that matter). Shared prejudices is what drives people when the chips are down. Nor did I call them ‘rank traitors’ – why do you make up lies about what someone said in order to argue?

  85. William K on said:

    #94 `You dodged my question, if Assange is guilty and your support not only set him free, but it allowed him to rape someone you know and care about, can you live with that?’

    In fairness it would seem you dodged Karl’s point too which is that there is every possibility that the whole thing is a set up by a very powerful seceret service to discredit and create the conditions for extradition to the US. In the absence of guarantees, from the strange way the case was dropped and picked up later, from the fact that the women themselves seem to have withdrawn their accusations, from the visceral hatred coming from the US for assange can you really be surprised that anyone thinks that? But you seem happy to assume guilt and call anyone who suggests that is not what happened a rape apologist.

  86. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dawn, you ask me to “humour” you. No I will not “humour” you on this subject.
    This subject is extremely serious and is absolutely NOT a matter for “humour.”

    Dawn, the indictment in the US is one levelled at Assange. We do know this.

    The reason why the US ruling class is adopting this particular tactic – the lies that form the “Swedish case” – is because the US ruling class wants to destroy Assange’s name first and weaken the outcry against his imprisonment before they imprison him in the US.

    The lies about Assange have been manufactured by US intelligence. We do know this Dawn. Furthermore, we also know for a fact that one of the central perople in the manufacture of this “case” was thrown out of Cuba for CIA activity.

    The persecution of Assange is aimed at protecting the US ruling class’s self-proclaimed “right” to bomb and invade any nation they want to and to stop women and men from uncovering the truth about their actions.

    Dawn, in taking the position you’re taking here, you’re not defending the rights of women to control their own bodies, you’re defending the self-proclaimed “right” of the US ruling class to bomb, invade and kill as they please across the world.

    On a completely different subject, my views as to what constitutes rape are crystal clear and I’ve said so further up this thread.

  87. William,

    If he isn’t then he’s ignorant, neglectful and doesn’t do basic fucking research. The information on what Assange is wanted for is not exactly hidden.

    If you want Galloway to not be accused of being a rape apologist, your best bet would be tell him not to be one rather than complaining he isn’t one to all the people whose rights he just pissed all over.

    “No doubt if an explicit instruction had been given not do this rather than as appears a request to wear a condom if it did Galloway’s opinion would be different. Bad sexual etiquette is hardly flattering. But nobody wants a free pass for Assange most just want so-called feminists to stop assuming Assange must be guilty or that he himself does not want to clear his name simply because he has exercised his right to fight extradition and then in the absence of guarantees sought asylum. ”

    Rape does not require an explicit statement of no, because normal decent people don’t stick it in people who are sleeping and unable to consent.

    Holding people down and forcing yourself on them is rape! Sticking it in sleeping people is rape. No, ifs buts or maybes about it. Assange is wanted on charges of R.A.P.E just to make it extra clear.

    Except Assange has had every chance to defend himself and it’s looking more and more like his “worries” have fuck all to do with the US and more like, he doesn’t want to go to court. I’ve seen rapists, actual people I know rape, pull the same arguments, it’s a conspiracy against them, they didn’t rape anyone, he was just teaching a little girl what she needed to know for when she was older.

    Assange might as well have tattooed guilty on his forehead.

    ” Thank goodness for extradition laws and the right of asylum or we’d be sending women back to saudi to be stoned for adultery on the strength of a phone call.”

    Why is it people who’ve never fucking researched a subject always think they can still have an opinion on it? Most of the EU countries have laws against extraditing anyone who would face the death penalty. Also Adultery, NOT illegal in the UK, unlike RAPE.

    “By accusing Galloway of being an apologist for rape you are showing that you are motivated by things other than concerns for these women.”

    By defend Galloway and his awful comments, you are showing that you don’t give a damn about women, also it brings into question if you believe what Galloway does and if so, are you being so defensive because admitting he is one, would mean you are also one.

    James,

    I missed the memo that as an impoverished woman who doesn’t buy the “it’s not rape apology” bullshit, I was part of the liberal bourgeoisie; cos hey everyone enjoys the good old “I can’t refute your position, so I’ll claim that you belong to a privileged group while ignoring my privilege” crap.

    Suggest you read your own post to yourself, it’s a stinging diatribe against you mostly.

  88. William K on said:

    Karl and Dawn are talking past each other. accusations of rape should be taken seriously but so should the vicious and secret forces of imperialism. Demand guarantees against onward extradition and you can have your interview and if necessary trial and don’t get so upset by the fact that some people believe that given the scanty available evidence it would appear that Assange would actually be successful in clearing his name in court just because you assume he must be guilty and are of the belief that nobody has ever woken anybody else up with sex and that their intention in so doing was `rape’.

  89. William K on said:

    #100 `Holding people down and forcing yourself on them is rape! Sticking it in sleeping people is rape. No, ifs buts or maybes about it. Assange is wanted on charges of R.A.P.E just to make it extra clear.’

    1. Yes, 2. not necessarily, 3. assange is wanted for interview about accusations of rape. So not so extra clear is it?

    `If you want Galloway to not be accused of being a rape apologist, your best bet would be tell him not to be one rather than complaining he isn’t one to all the people whose rights he just pissed all over.’

    With this kind of hyperbole you discredit your case.

  90. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dawn, have you any idea how many thousands of people have been killed as a result of the actions of US imperialism?

    During the Vietnam War it is estimated that the numbers of Vietnamese people killed by the US could be hundreds of thousands.

    Why are you supporting the men and women who did this Dawn?

    Why do you find this “humourous”?

    For most of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, successive US governments regularly carried out “coups d’etat” in nations where they feared popular governments were acting against US capital interests.

    Examples are numerous, but take Chile 1973 and Indonesia 1965, many tens of thousands were murdered and vicious military regimes were installed.

    Still find it “humorous” Dawn?

    More recently, the US ruling class led the invasion of Iraq – aere you aware of any of this Dawn? – and again many tens of thousands were killed as the US ruling class viciously established its ownership and control over Iraq’s oil.

    But yet you argue that the “due legal process” that the US ruling class employs is perfectly “fair”.

    You genuinely seem to think that this ruling class – despite having the blood of hundreds of thousands on its hands – would baulk at telling lies to destroy one individual who has upset them.

    You genuinely seem to think that this ruling class would shrink from employing female agents to further their aims.

    And then you ask me to “humour” you.

    Dawn, I don’t know you and of course its possible you know nothing of the track record of US imperialism. If so, I apologise for my bluntness towards you. But if that’s the case, then please, read up on some of these examples and see for yourself just how ruthless US imperialism will be if its interests are ever threatened.

    My view is that US imperialism is more than willing and more than capable of manufacturing a pack of lies against one individual who has made them angry.

    Dawn, the “Swedish case” against Assange is a pack of lies manufactured by US imperialism.

    And we need to defend Assange against US imperialism’s move to destroy him.

  91. “In fairness it would seem you dodged Karl’s point too which is that there is every possibility that the whole thing is a set up by a very powerful seceret service to discredit and create the conditions for extradition to the US.”

    To be blunt, by every possibility you clearly mean in the unlikely event that US staffs it’s secret service with complete fuckwits who don’t know any lawyer phone numbers.

    Seriously, none of this conspiracy theory you and others are so fond of makes any damn sense. If I was a shadowy secret service? I’d just wait until Assange was travelling, scoop him up on the quiet and look innocent while sitting on him. It would be cheaper, quicker, more sure, easier and would mean I would be holding him with total carte blanche to disappear him permanently.

    “In the absence of guarantees, from the strange way the case was dropped and picked up later, from the fact that the women themselves seem to have withdrawn their accusations, from the visceral hatred coming from the US for assange can you really be surprised that anyone thinks that? But you seem happy to assume guilt and call anyone who suggests that is not what happened a rape apologist.”

    Guarantees that can’t be given under international law. The accusations were dropped, it was appealed against and the appeal found that accusations to have merit, that isn’t mysterious, that’s the fucking system. Nobody has withdrawn any accusations.

    I have no issue with you believing Assange is innocent, I have a large issue with people rampantly declaring the women liars, attacking rape victims, and generally perpetuating rape apology. Funny how nobody seems to have an argument for Assange’s innocence that isn’t rape apology or bizarre conspiracy theory.

    You can believe he’s innocent all you like, but don’t any of you sit there and spew rape apology and then cry you care about women. People who care about women don’t spew rape apology.

    Karl,

    Funny since you seem to be having a laugh with your refusal to answer the question:

    What would you do if Assange is guilty and if your defense of him let him rape others, and perhaps even someone you know?

    “Dawn, the indictment in the US is one levelled at Assange. We do know this.”

    Prove it, btw I want to believe is an X files quote, not a life mantra.

    “The reason why the US ruling class is adopting this particular tactic – the lies that form the “Swedish case” – is because the US ruling class wants to destroy Assange’s name first and weaken the outcry against his imprisonment before they imprison him in the US.”

    A: There’s no proof the women are lying, in fact their story is more fucking credibly than Assange’s considering his only argument is “conspiracy”.
    B: If you want to wreck someone, you don’t accuse them of rape, -you- and all the other men here willing to support assange blindly fucking prove that.

    Seriously, I’m sure if the US was to go all secret meetings and shadowy organisation? They could come up with a better conspiracy in their sleep that the theory you and others have concocted that is just plain fucking illogical as hell.

    “The lies about Assange have been manufactured by US intelligence. We do know this Dawn. Furthermore, we also know for a fact that one of the central perople in the manufacture of this “case” was thrown out of Cuba for CIA activity.”

    Apparently “know” and “fact” mean “shit I believe without evidence” and “rumours I heard sixth hand which came from a source without any evidence and with a history of lying” in your dictionary.

    I deal in actual facts, your conspiracy theory is devoid of them and short on even basic credibility.

    “The persecution of Assange is aimed at protecting the US ruling class’s self-proclaimed “right” to bomb and invade any nation they want to and to stop women and men from uncovering the truth about their actions.”

    You do realise Assange isn’t the only one who runs the damn website right? Cripes, Mulder, what’s next, going to declare they have flying saucers as well?

    “Dawn, in taking the position you’re taking here, you’re not defending the rights of women to control their own bodies, you’re defending the self-proclaimed “right” of the US ruling class to bomb, invade and kill as they please across the world. ”

    In taking the position you are, you’re defending your wish to believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories that have been widely debunked and placing your desire to believe this shit about the rights of those women to justice.

    William,

    Only if they’re actually credible. I am hard pressed to accept that if the US was going to do something that sneaky? That they would be so utterly braindead about it. It’s too fucking obvious and requires too many stretches over gaping holes.

    A good conspiracy theory should at least be plausible. Unless you would care to explain why the fuck the US would extradite him via Sweden when in fact it makes them very unlikely to succeed? or why Sweden would co-operate given the grief they’re getting? or indeed why if the US is out for his blood so much, why they didn’t just quietly shoot him and hide his body?

    ” Demand guarantees against onward extradition”

    THESE CANNOT BE GIVEN. Does nobody fucking read international law before listening to Assange? You can’t give a decree on something that isn’t declared yet. And politicans can only refuse an extradition order from the courts if they have a good solid reason at the time the extradition order is presented to them.

    It’s like trying to make a sandwich without bread.

    “don’t get so upset by the fact that some people believe that given the scanty available evidence it would appear that Assange would actually be successful in clearing his name in court just because you assume he must be guilty and are of the belief that nobody has ever woken anybody else up with sex and that their intention in so doing was `rape’.”

    I am upset by all the fucking rape apology!

    To be fucking blunt, if they didn’t have a hope of convicting him? He wouldn’t even be going to court. Any rape case that makes it to court, is more than likely to be true.

    Also rape doesn’t have to be intentional, the standard is “does not have a reasonable belief that they consented”, there’s a wide fucking difference between waking up a long term lover and sticking it in a woman who is asleep who has already expressed no to unprotected sex.

    Basic facts, these things are not fucking difficult to learn.

    No, william, they intend to charge him, the interrogation is to give him a chance to give them a reason why he shouldn’t be charged.

    “Sticking it in sleeping people is rape”.

    That you think it might not be is worrisome.

    “With this kind of hyperbole you discredit your case.”

    oh so it isn’t hyperbole when you and all the other rape apologists come up with ridiculously convoluted conspiracy claims to explain how your hero is innocent and how all the people being rape apologists aren’t really rape apologists, but it is when I tell you to tell Galloway not to be one instead of complaining to everyone else not to see him as one?

    I see how your world works, it’s quite fucked up.

  92. “Dawn, have you any idea how many thousands of people have been killed as a result of the actions of US imperialism?

    During the Vietnam War it is estimated that the numbers of Vietnamese people killed by the US could be hundreds of thousands.

    Why are you supporting the men and women who did this Dawn?”

    Tell me Karl, were you dropped on your head as a baby? Disagreeing with your ridiculous conspiracy theory crap =/= agreeing with Vietnam war or any other war crimes.

    I’m not siding with america, I’m siding with women like myself who you and your friends are basically screwing over because you want to believe that Assange is being persecuted despite the fact that there’s not one fucking scrap of evidence to support your claims.

    If there was evidence, you’d have produced it at some point instead of these ridiculous ad hominem arguments.

    “You genuinely seem to think that this ruling class – despite having the blood of hundreds of thousands on its hands – would baulk at telling lies to destroy one individual who has upset them.”

    No, I think if the US was going to go after Assange? They’d come up with a better plan then extraditing him to another country they’ll have a harder time getting him out of than England.

    You think the US gets away with stuff while being that fucking stupid?

    If the US had decided Assange was a threat? Chances are he would have fucking disappeared mysteriously. He wouldn’t be the first one, there are any number of groups willing to disappear people permanently.

    Also Obama =/= nixon or any other of the other fifty or so presidents.

    “You genuinely seem to think that this ruling class would shrink from employing female agents to further their aims.”

    And you apparently genuinely think that rape apology isn’t rape apology if you believe ridiculous fucking conspiracy theories.

    There’s a simple test I use to test the credibility of anything, you might want to use it. If it sounds fucking ridiculous? It probably is fucking ridiculous and your conspiracy theory sounds fucking ridiculous.

  93. William K on said:

    `Seriously, none of this conspiracy theory you and others are so fond of makes any damn sense. If I was a shadowy secret service? I’d just wait until Assange was travelling, scoop him up on the quiet and look innocent while sitting on him. It would be cheaper, quicker, more sure, easier and would mean I would be holding him with total carte blanche to disappear him permanently.’

    Conspiracy theory? So intelligence services don’t conspire? Assange is foolish to be worried? That is what they are there for, to conspire. That is not a conspiracy theory that is a fact and they wouldn’t get paid if they didn’t. The rest of your comment is simply an attempt to discredit dressed up as cod naivete. Nobody’s buying Dawn. If the UK and Swedes have no hidden agenda then give the necessary guarantees or conduct your interview over here. I for one am pretty sure that even if Assange penetrated one of the accused whilst she was asleep and that is all he did, i.e. he did not continue when asked to stop, then he could not be found guilty under current law certainly current law in this country. I do agree with Galloway however that if he hadn’t got prior consent to do this, and he may well have done, that even if it was not rape it could be construed as bad sexual etiquette.

  94. If you think there’s a genuine conspiracy against him? Produce a credible theory, one that answers all the holes in the current one like why they would extradite him to Sweden which would make it HARDER to extradite him to the US.

    Intelligence services are there to do a lot of things, but none of that proves that they’re involved in what would be remarkably inept and foolish effort to get assange using the most ass backwards methods ever.

    “If the UK and Swedes have no hidden agenda then give the necessary guarantees or conduct your interview over here. ”

    CAN’T BE DONE.

    What part of this do you not understand?
    A: No extradition paperwork, no decision. Legally any politician’s promise would be worth less than the paper it wasn’t printed on.

    More to the point if they gave him it? I don’t think Assange would budge, he’d just claim they wouldn’t keep their word.

    B: The interview cannot be conducted in the UK because he is wanted to be CHARGED and they only have a two week window to do that in after the interview, if he refuses to come out of the embassy to face the charges?

    The whole point of him insisting on it probably is to make that happen so he can walk free without answering the charges.

    ” I for one am pretty sure that even if Assange penetrated one of the accused whilst she was asleep and that is all he did, i.e. he did not continue when asked to stop, then he could not be found guilty under current law certainly current law in this country. I do agree with Galloway however that if he hadn’t got prior consent to do this, and he may well have done, that even if it was not rape it could be construed as bad sexual etiquette.”

    The crime didn’t happen here, it has to tried by a Swedish court. If you knew jack shit about law, you would know this basic fact that even a fucking first year law student would know.

    If it was not rape? Cripes you’re a rape apologist as well.

    NO consent = rape. What part of this simple fucking idea do you not understand? Sticking your dick in someone who did not consent to have you stick your dick in them while they were asleep is R.A.P.E, that you believe it could be anything else endangers women around you.

  95. You know what I’m done.

    I realise the reason you lot want to believe George Galloway isn’t a rape apologist is that you all believe the same ignorant shitty rape apology beliefs.

    I can’t help but wonder how close many of you have come to line and who has crossed over it because you think it isn’t there.

  96. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dawn, not only are you actively supporting US imperialism, and applauding their murder of hundreds of thousands of people, you’re also turning your own liberal bourgeous legalism “innocent until proven guilty” upside down with your insistence that Assange must actively “prove” his innocence of these lies.

    You asked me to “humour” you on this matter – why do you think this issue is a fitting subject for “humour”?

    You ask if I was “dropped on the head as a baby”. Dawn, is this another example of your “sense of humour”?

    Dawn, why do you think implying someone is mentally deficient is an acceptable debating tactic?

  97. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    R.A.P.E

    I’ve searched the acronym finder and it came up with …

    Regionalna Agencja Poszanowania Energii (Polish: Regional Agency for Energy Conservation; Torun, Poland)

    Try conserving yours , Dawn. Because sure as fuck you’re only convincing me that you’re an out-and-out reactionary, devoid of any rationally. A waste of time basically.

  98. William K on said:

    `The crime didn’t happen here, it has to tried by a Swedish court. If you knew jack shit about law, you would know this basic fact that even a fucking first year law student would know.’

    If something, say adultery, is not a crime in the UK then you cannot or should not be extradited to another country to face that charge and I cannot see why you are so vehemently opposed to Swedish prosecutors conducting their interview over here.

    `NO consent = rape. What part of this simple fucking idea do you not understand? Sticking your dick in someone who did not consent to have you stick your dick in them while they were asleep is R.A.P.E, that you believe it could be anything else endangers women around you.’

    Well we do not know if she didn’t consent but even then if explicit permission was not attained in advance I’m sorry but this happens all the time and the intent is not rape otherwise there wouldn’t be many people left on the streets. It’s more of a sex game. One which it doesn’t take long to find out if the person you are with appreciates it or not. IF you think it should be rape then you should campaign for a change in the law. Nobody thought that a husband could rape his wife until the law changed and possibly in the future people who initiate sex with a sexual partner who is asleep will find themselves in jail but we have not arrived at that glorious day yet.

  99. This debate is very depressing. As someone who works in criminal law, I have heard all these platitudes so many times before. Is it really rape? Is the victim trying to punish the man? etc etc. The reality is something I would have hoped everyone on the left would understand. Conviction rates are horrendously low, victims are questioned as if criminals themselves and woman once again get a horrendous deal.

    Something needs to be done but nothing will chance while language like the above is being used. This man has been accused of a very serious crime, please don’t belittle it. You would not if it was your daughter or partner. He needs to face trial and his guilt or innocence needs to be established.

    Many commentators on here should be ashamed of themselves, excusing rape because you like the alleged perpetrator. Shame.

  100. Dawn,

    I really appreciate you’re participation in this discussion Dawn. You are absolutely correct about ‘hysteria’ having a ‘sexist’ origin and I feel sure that John Wight would be prepared to acknowledge it’s use as an error in this context… In many ways the retreat of Freud from the positions he took in his early monograph ‘The Aeitiology of the Hysteria’ paved the way for the reality of the oppression of women and children in the family via sexual abuse and violence to be buried for nearly a century… Female pioneers like Alice Miller “Those children who are beaten will in turn give beatings, those who are intimidated will be intimidating, those who are humiliated will impose humiliation, and those whose souls are murdered will murder.” laid some of the foundations of a feminist approach to domestic abuse/sexual abuse and rape… Paul Masson’s ‘The Assault on the Truth’ http://psych.andress.com/masson.pdf go someway towards explaining the twisting of the meaning of ‘Hysteria’ and it’s subsequent use as weapon against women.
    Much else of what you say I disagree with but I prefer to concentrate on common ground.

  101. Kate Hudson on said:

    “Molotov”: if you are going to attack Salma and me then you should have the courage to do it in your own name.

  102. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    The conspiracy theory is preposterous. Galloway has led a charmed life up to now, the things he has got away with it. It really makes you wonder who he’s useful to.

  103. michael,

    i concur Michael that the discussion is ‘depressing’…. and glad of your insights as someone who works in ‘criminal law’ However, I do wonder if you have actually viewed George Galloway’s offending video blog on youtube or even scanned any of the material on the Assange case which is freely available including transcripts of police interviews etc. Many of us are ‘depressed’ these days…. I should imagine Julian Assange, Bradley Manning have their fair share of ‘low moods’ too. I look forward to discussing the issue in more depth with you if you choose to comment on the basis of understanding the context in which George Galloway spoke … perhaps a good place for you to start would be http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/09/anna-ardins-police-statement/

  104. Mark thanks for your response and thanks for the smug use of quotation marks, it made me giggle. My remarks were clearly solely focused on the language being used in comments under the article, so you have clearly missed my point.

    I am sure Mr Assange does feel low, on occasions, as I am sure the woman who are making the allegations do.

    Mr Assange should face his day in court and face his accusers, anyone suggesting otherwise is frankly part of the problem. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/13/rape-convictions-low

    FYI the article you link to does you know favours. the discussion below is all to familiar, and digust me.

  105. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dawn, at (112) says:
    “I can’t help but wonder how close many of you have come to line and who has crossed over it because you think it isn’t there.”

    I don’t know who exactly it is on here that she’s accusing of “crossing the line” but just in case she or anyone else is wondering what and where the line is, this is my view.

    “No” means no.
    “No, not without a condom” means precisely that.
    “No, I know I’ve slept with you before, but I don’t want sex now” means exactly what it says.
    And “no, I know we’ve been married 25 years, but I don’t want sex” means precisely that too.
    There’s no doubt, no confusion and no ambiguity – continuing with sex after being told each or every one of the above sentences is rape. Absolutely crystal clear.

    On a completely and totally separate issue, the US ruling class has concocted a pack of lies against Assange as part of its campaign to destroy him because of the threat that the information he has released about US war crimes poses to US ruling class interests.

    The lies that have been manufactured by the US intelligence services shamefully exploit women and disgracefully parade alleged details of their personal sexual private lives in front of world public opinion.

    The US ruling class’s campaign to destroy Assange is an utterly disgusting one and should be thoroughly condemned by every decent person.

  106. Well said, depressing, indeed.

    People need to be reminded at this point of how a hall full of SWP members gave the national secretary a standing ovation, cheered, stamped on the floor etc., after he was forced to resign over sexual harrassment issues. You lot are nothing but hypocrites on this issue. Your actual leader didn’t just make stupid comments, he actually did things to someone, and yet the party’s response was to cheer and clap.

    There are plenty of people on the left who I’ll listen to respectfully and cos they inspire me – Kate and Salma, for example. But hypocrites who keep posting while allowing that sort of culture to take hold in their own organisation should feel too embarrassed to say that things are “depressing” and too sophisticated to start saying it was “necessary” for Kate and Salma to speak up.

    I’m currently helping a friend who is likely to lose his job cos of some stupid comments he made at his workplace. The thing is, the people investigating the comments are guilty of far worse comments, and have even made similar comments while talking to my friend. But given that they are in charge of discipline management, this is not considered an issue. The only issue is, did he say the things he’s alleged to have said. The hypocrites who use the same language as him will sack him without allowing the issue of their own use of language to be raised. Nothing will change at the company, except they will feel able to smugly proclaim their committment to fairness, equality etc.

    Ring any bells?

  107. AlwaysOutPunned on said:

    tony collins,

    The last thing you need to worry about right now is the SWP Tony. They are not that influential, they are not the ones condemning Galloway publicly, they wont have a decisive say in the future of Respect.

    Banging on about them, when there is blatant misogyny on this thread, is a little shameful and worrying. Saying ‘they are as bad’ does not help.

  108. just saying on said:

    Feminists all have had their say.and RIGHTLY so.No mention of the raped victim Braddley Manning.Or does not his gender concern those offended females as Jullien defends his right to publish the truth as his fairweather friend is locked down 23 7.No feminist harm was Braddley!s intent,only his fairweather friend is accused of that.No feminist cry about Braddleys plight.Maybe if he had doned a head mask and desicrated a church for freedom of feminist speech he may have got their attention.Feminists like religion are blinkered by their bigotry.

  109. AlwaysOutPunned – there’s this weird moral nonsense creeping in, and you’ve just given a good example of it. You said it’s “shameful” for me to talk about the SWP given other things that are going on.

    This is a moral purity test. You think it is shameful for me to say certain things if I haven’t said or done certain other things. You will not accept my right to have a different perspective to you unless I pass your purity test.

    I tend to view things in aggregate though. Other people have responded to the things I haven’t liked, and they’ve done so in a way that makes some of my points for me. I am not one of those people who sees any value in duplicating other people’s points just to show that they’re not the only person to think it. My SWP comrades used to try to drum it into me – at a union meeting, stick your hand up and make your point, regardless of whether 10 people before you have made exactly the same point. I rejected that idea then, and I reject it now.

    There’s been some tense debate in these threads, some serious points have been made, some worrying politics have been expressed. But in general, we believe we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve: That people are having a chance to discuss, refine and change their thinking and their politics. That’s what we want from SU: a place where people can have their politics tested. A place where you might not have realised you were going along with a misogynist way of thinking about certain things, but the friendly debate has helped to show you where you were getting it wrong. We want that more than anything – a place where people aren’t battered into silence, but welcomed into debate (which is why the hypocrisy is so repellant to me).

    I think that where there’s been misogyny, it’s been dealt with well, and thus I feel no need to repeat other people.

    I think that’s a nuanced and sophisticated approach – it’s certainly better than your purity test approach, which would effectively only allow me to speak once you were satisfied that I took your concerns seriously.

    And also, the problem with online discussions is, I’ve made a number of my own points about misogyny over the last week or so. I don’t remember exactly which posts my comments were in, but unless you keep track of everything I write (and why shouldn’t you? I’m fucking fantastic), you won’t actually know whether I’ve given a major response to misogynistic postings or not.

    So in sum, back off from the purity tests cos it doesn’t achieve anything except to make you feel superior.

    EDIT: Oh, and a major contribution I’ve made is one you can’t see. Where I’ve spotted them, I’ve been busy deleting posts from people where the post is nothing other than sexist, racist etc. Like the one from someone who claims to be a socialist who said that while it’s nice for Kate to condemn George, Salma has no right to complain until she will also condemn Islam.

  110. Dawn:
    I can’t help but wonder how close many of you have come to line and who has crossed over it because you think it isn’t there.

    THIS – x100.

    There are quite a few commentators on this thread that if I knew them personal I would be very wary of my and others personal safety around.

  111. just saying:
    Feminists all have had their say.and RIGHTLY so.No mention of the raped victim Braddley Manning.Or does not his gender concern those offended females as Jullien defends his right to publish the truth as his fairweather friend is locked down 23 7.No feminist harm was Braddley!s intent,only his fairweather friend is accused of that.No feminist cry about Braddleys plight.Maybe if he had doned a head mask and desicrated a church for freedom of feminist speech he may have got their attention.Feminists like religion are blinkered by their bigotry.

    What a fucking load of rubbish. Feminists are up in arms about Breanna Manning (who I notice you insist on misgendering) being ingnored while Assange gets to posture from embassy balconies.

  112. Assoziation Aua on said:

    What video (comment 15) is Molotov talking about? It’s hardly going to be “Braveheart”, is it.

  113. “Something in us is opposed to the possibility of a public, parliamentary debate on this topic. This “something” is precisely the effect and intention of the social emotional plague, which is constantly striving to preserve itself and its institutions. It has drawn a sharp distinction between official and private life, and the latter has been denied access to the public platform. Official life is asexual on the surface and pornographic or perverse beneath the surface. If this dichotomy did not exist, official life would immediately coincide with private life and correctly mirror everyday life in large social forms. This unification of everyday living and social institutions would be simple and uncomplicated. Then, however, that sector in the social framework would automatically perish which not only does not contribute to the preservation of social life but, rather, periodically brings it to the brink of the abyss. We can place this sector under the heading of “high politics.” ….

    Wihelm Reich ‘The Emotional Plague’ http://anarchy.org.au/anarchist-texts/reich-emotional-plague/

  114. just saying on said:

    [note from tony: we’ve really moved beyond asking “is it your time of the month” when disagreeing with someone – your comment has been deleted]

  115. I think Dawn has a point – if a two people go to bed together (not in a long term relationship), and one of those people wakes up to find a penis being forced into her vagina, regardless of what had happened earlier, than that goes far beyond bad sexual etiquette. If that happened to my daughter, I would be angry and would want justice.

    Assange may well be innocent – and a jury trial may well find him so – but I think comrades are misguided to dismiss the allegations a trivial. I also think that slurs against the alleged victims do no one credit, unless there is credible evidence.

    Jota

  116. : o

    The thread, labelled by one of the site’s former contributors as ‘singly one of the most appalling things I’ve read’, continues, with misogynist gems such as ‘Is it that time of month again for you’, from a man who thinks feminists are ‘bigots’. This is after various attacks on the integrity of women-victims, and the offensive and creepy sexual comments levelled against critics of the Galloway statement on the other thread.

    Dawn, I think there’s been a miscommunication – I was responding to the astounding suggestion by one of the boys’ club that the differing responses to Galloways comments here are down to a ‘class issue’, i.e. those apologising for him are working class, while those who refuse to defend his gross trivialisation of rape – including Salma and Kate – only do so under the pressure of ‘bourgeois liberalism’.* This is indeed a disgraceful argument.

    I was pointing out the poster’s particular idiocy: as no women have yet defended Galloway’s comments, if we follow *his* logic that this is a class issue, do we conclude that there are just very few working-class women about? That women are disproportionately ‘hysterical bourgeois liberals’? Of course, we do not: we resist any attempt to subordinate issues around rape or women’s rights in a false ‘choice’ posed between ‘class’ and oppression.

    (And Red S, if you think I meant a literal phone call between the Editor of the Guardian and Kate Hudson, I’m not sure its worth discussing too much with you. No, I didn’t say you were without the workers’ movement, which is a broader category, but I do think your comments risk placing you outside the living socialist tradition which stands unequivocally in opposition to oppression as well as to imperialism and exploitation.)

    *(… and ‘hysteria’, a revealing choice of word given its deep-rooted misogynist associations. Are we so desperate with liberal rage that we’re about to hurl ourselves into wells?)

  117. James, you seem to have missed the fact that the person’s posts were deleted. I know it doesn’t fit with the narrative that people want to construct, but we’ve deliberately taken a decision to be light on moderation but to also remove people who cross the line. You don’t see the shit I delete – some of it is disgusting, especially given that it comes from the left. It’s easy to make mistakes when moderating posts – even what I thought was a clear statement of support for Kate and Salma from me turned out to be written in a foggy way so it looked like I was attacking those who criticised those two. It’s easy to get this wrong.

    So what you want to construct is a narrative about how bad the blokes on here are. But instead, what we’re going is trying our best to give a space for serious debate in the hope of helping people to reconcile some difficult issues. It’s very hard to get that right, but what is really noticeable is the moralism which means even the simple fact that we’re trying to make space for people to explore the politics of gender oppression, the issues surrounding electoral politics and the left, and a million other issues, paints us as rape apologists.

    There’s certainly a large degree of condesenscion going on here as well, with you and others painting your opponents as somehow unprincipled.

    This really has shown the left at its worst. Part of the reason why I became so involved with the left was because of a small group of people inside the SWP (*all of whom* have left) who didn’t try to force the politics onto me, but instead helped me to work out my opinions and politics by giving me the space to fuck it up badly, cos in such mistakes come opportunities to gain a deeper understanding. Now, translating that onto a blog, over issues of comments about rape, is incredibly hard to get right. It’s what makes SU so popular and widely read.

    But there’s a moralising contingent here who think that even opening up that space for people to explore is tantamount to proving that we’re “potential rapists”.

  118. Andy, you mentioned on the other thread that it makes you feel physically sick that people cover up and defend those who sexually abuse and the narratives which support them.

    Its still going on. Witness Tony Collins on this thread

    Right listen Mhairi McAlpine, please tone it down. I don’t want a debate turned into a hunt for potential rapists.

    Please end that line of argument, thank you

  119. Mhairi McAlpine,

    I really don’t feel that tony is trying to cover up or defend anyone.. he is just trying to play a role as a moderator… on a thread which cleary has loads of people coming from wildly differing perspectives venting feelings… making moderation problematic.

    Sister Anna Chen has posted an interesting piece on her blog today
    http://madammiaow.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/that-rapey-matter-galloway-left-and.html including links to all police transcripts in the Assange Case…

    There’s a long long his/herstory of frequently hidden sexual abuse inside left organisations – and it is precisely in the telling of our experiences of this that we can try to ensure that any movements organisations towards a fairer more just and equal society have safequards to prevent, challenge and deal with abusive behaviour of all kinds – not as a set or fake moralistic standards – but a culture of truth telling, transparency and openess…. not easy to do when some many of us seem to ready to wade into battle against each other.
    One of the things I still admire about George Galloway is precisely his transparency, and openess…. which is why he is an easy target to ambush. RESPECT via the Work of Both Salma and George has probably done more to empower and bring into active social struggle more working class women over the past decade than any of the Guardianista clique that now demonise him.

    Perhaps as a Punishment for his bad behaviour the leadership of Respect can sentance GG into Exile for a month…. maybe Venezuela??

  120. Thanks Mark. Mhairi, you missed what led up to my comments. You were accusing Marko of being a potential rapist. Not in a way that’s useful for discussion, but to completely shut him down. We know that debates around consent and rape and women’s oppression get close to the edge, but if you insist on making those kind of accusations, you’re gonna make people feel they can’t contribute. And then what does that do, if we’re trying to change people’s opinions?

    Hence, I asked you to stop calling people “potential rapists”. It did nothing for the debate, and I asked you to stop. You didn’t, so I asked you again and told you that would be your last warning.