Time for the Left to Stand Up for Galloway

George Galloway’s views on rape are absolutely clear, as he recently said in response to a demonstration in Bradford: ‘I have said repeatedly that no always means no and that non-consensual sex is rape.”

It is perhaps suprising therefore that Galloway’s views are considered so controversial by some of his ostensible political allies, that Kate Hudson has stepped down from being Respect’s by-election candidate in Manchester. Predictably that empty balloon Sunny Hundal has described this act as “brave”. Sunny of course values above all else intellectual conformity to the smug Guardian reading consensus.

Actually, the remarks by George Galloway on his podcast about the potential charges facing Julian Assange could have been more felicitously worded, but George was raising a substantive political argument.

Firstly, the extraordinary effort being exerted by the Swedish and British governments to pursue Assange over these accusations is a cruel parody of the inaction, complacency and inertia that characterises their normal approach to violence, oppression and exploitation of women. Secondly, Assange’s trial by media has been a travesty of justice, where neither the presumption of innocence, nor the anonymity and dignity of the alleged victims has been respected. No justice for anyone can be achieved in the context of this circus.

Of course the facts of what actually happened in privacy between Assange and the women accusing him is disputed. George may therefore have over stated his case by expressing a judgement in his pod-cast that there was no rape. However, the criminal law is a very blunt and inadequate instrument for resolving the complex issues of trust and consent in real life sexual relationships, mired as they are in game playing, half-truths, social expectations, emotional pressure, feelings of obligation and unequal power relationships.

As I have written before in the context of discussing Canada’s problematic rape laws, some liberal and feminist assumptions about rape can even work against women. The academic Lise Gotell argues the new transactional norms of consent in Canadian sexual assault law actually move away from a recognition of unequal power relationships that complicate messy and real-life conditions of consent; so that sexual assault becomes instead merely a failure of personal responsibility, making the crime individual and depoliticised; and paradoxically discriminating against women who themselves fail to follow social norms of avoiding risk.

We now rightly reject  the earlier model of “ideal victim” who due to their modest chastity is regarded as inherently believable; but instead there is a danger of creating a new “ideal victim” who is articulate and has a transactional approach to sexual consent. Assuming that real life sexual encounters take place in a dispassionate context where consent is always explicitly negotiated doesn’t reflect the often opaque muddle of consensual seduction, and non-verbal communication.

Without making any specific judgement about the facts in Julian Assange’s own case, we can see that George Galloway was making a substantive point that once two people have embarked upon a consensual sexual encounter, then a game is in play where both parties may assume a level of continued implied consent unless that consent is unambiguously withdrawn. Of course either party may at any time withdraw consent, and if sex then continues on a  non-consensual basis then it is rape. However, all sexually active adults – women and men – will have at some time or another consensually continued with sex when they didn’t really want to, out of feelings of emotional or social obligation; and all sexually active adults – women and men – will have consensually allowed themselves to be seduced, even though they did not originally want sex. There is therefore an ambiguous grey continuum surrounding understandings of consensuality in real world sex; and it is entirely necessary to recognise that there can be breaches of trust, poor sexual etiquette, selfishness and generally boorish behaviour that is reprehensible, even disgraceful, but that are close enough to social norms that it would be unproductive to treat them as criminal.

I might not have expressed myself exactly as George Galloway did, and I may not totally agree with the content of what he said; but in the context of the populist medium of his pod-cast, especially when taken together with his later clarification, then Galloway’s comments were a pertinent contribution to a political debate.

What has subsequently happened though has taken on the character of a witch hunt. There is a danger here that all allegations of rape carry with them an assumption of guilt, and that any critical questioning of what does and does not constitute consent in real world sex is traduced as if it was apologia for rape. Galloway’s remarks have become the centre of a moral panic of the chatterati, being gleefully stoked up by the self-interested spite of his many detractors.

I have to say that I was disappointed that Salma Yaqoob publically distanced herself from George Galloway. It would have been more appropriate for her to have discussed any misgivings privately.

Kate Hudson’s withdrawal from the Manchester by-election is extraordinary.

I have to set some personal context here: as a Labour Party member I will obviously be supporting Labour in the Manchester Central by-election. I think it is important in the broader labour movement’s campaign against this Tory led government for Labour to win here. Lucy Powell is a good candidate, and we can’t afford a by-election upset that would potentially destabilise Ed Miliband’s authority. My own characterisation of Respect is that it is a broadly labourist party that gives expression to anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiment that cannot find electoral expression through the Labour Party, and that therefore Respect’s own interests are complementary to the broad labour movement’s objective of securing a Labour government. I have always therefore argued that Respect were wrong to stand against Labour in Manchester Central.

However, there is another issue, that the Bradford West by-election result created an unrealistic expectation in Respect’s prospects for growth and electoral success. Bradford happened due to a particular constellation of specific circumstances, not least of which was the personality and talent of George Galloway. These could not be reproduced anywhere else. With all due respect to Kate Hudson, notwithstanding her sterling work for CND, she is no Galloway, and the most likely outcome for her in the Manchester Central by-election would have been a bruising lost deposit. The wind of Bradford has gone from Respect’s sales.

The American socialist, James Cannon, once observed that everyone has two reasons for what they do, the good reason and the real reason: whether the real reason is consciously articulated or not. I don’t know what Kate Hudson’s motives for standing down as Respect candidate are, but I observe that they extract her from an election campaign where she would have undoubtedly received a very poor vote, after she had misguidedly talked up her own prospects.

So what of George Galloway? Party politics aside, Galloway has a record of substantial achievement in opposing imperialism and of solidarity with the Palestinian people that is unrivalled. He is an articulate ( if iconoclastic) populariser of socialist politics, with a reach and influence far beyond the normal boundaries of the left.

I don’t agree with everything that George says or does, but I consider him a considerable asset to left politics, and I consider him a good and trustworthy man. Of course George is human, with all the quirks and frailties that implies, but he is also uniquely under scrutiny, with seemingly the whole world waiting for him to mis-speak or slip up.

Frankly, the left should resist the moral panic and stand with George Galloway. It is easier to swim with the stream and join the quacking chorus of detractors, but now is the time for George Galloway’s friends and allies to speak out in his support.

 

171 comments on “Time for the Left to Stand Up for Galloway

  1. Jesus a new low for you Andy, the point is that Assange is accused of having sex with someone who was asleep, and therefore cannot in anyway be said to be consenting, it doesn’t matter if consent had happened the previous night, you can’t have sex with someone while they’re asleep!

    That’s why people are angry and you do yourself no favours tortuously trying to make apologies.

    Galloway is now a liabiity for the Left, Salma and Kate are right and I will not be coming back to read this blog.

  2. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    You’ll obviously come in for stick from reactionary feminists and their weird male fellow travellers , but well done Andy – a brave and necessary defence of GG in the face of a lynch mob mentality , perpetrated by sinister forces and bolstered by fools.

  3. William K on said:

    #1 When a woman agrees that coitus can take place whilst she is asleep that is consent. For a court to find a man guilty of rape under those circumstances would require a change of law. Perhaps the grey area here is that permission had been given once but not explicit blanket approval. Difficult to see how a judge would call that. Galloway says poor sexual etiquette. Many would agree but I would like to see it tested in court so that the alleged victim and the accused can either get justice or clear their name. For that to happen guarantees are needed that onward extradition will not occur and until then Assange not only has the right but is right to fight extradition and seek asylum.

    Spot on about the wind bag Hundal. He and the Guardian have been attempting to demonstrate an equivalence between Galloway’s intervention into a debate in which many simply assume Assange is guilty and the bat shit crazy beliefs of a republican senator who claimed it was impossible to get pregnant via rape. Ideas that Galloway would be just as appalled about as any other reasonable individual.

  4. Great post Andy! Totally agree with it! George Galloway’s views are clear. I thought it was very childish of Kate Hudson to do what she did. That’s my opinion anyway..

  5. Noel, when posting something as petulant as “I will not be coming back to read this blog”, perhaps you should post your full name, so people can express amazement that you think that’s how to respond. For a supposed serious revolutionary socialist, you have no clue about what’s going on here or why what were idiotic comments have turned into a witch hunt. You’ve completely absented yourself from the argument.

    I think the liabilities for the left are people who post things such as “I will not be coming back to read this blog” rather than trying to convince people of their point of view. Rather than think “hmm, maybe there’s an issue with working class men’s perception of consent, and maybe Galloway isn’t some kind of PRO-RAPE MONSTER – I’d better stick around and try to influence the debate” which any decent socialist would want to do, people like Noel would rather do nothing other than try to make us feel bad.

    Noel, I’ll bet money that you won’t stick to your “I’m never coming back ever” statement. If you do want to post and say that yeah, you realised you were being a bit of an idiot, that’s fair enough. But actually, if you really do believe that Galloway is a liability, I suspect you’ve got your priorities completely backward, as well as your politics. This is just not serious politics Noel. Anyway, people who say they’ll never come back always come back, so they can see what people said about them. I’ll keep an eye on the logs.

    Point here is, it’s Andy who wanted to post this defence, cos we all want to underline our unity on two subjects: Galloway can say some idiotic things, but he’s an ally and an asset. If Andy can see this so clearly, it should be easy for the rest of the left to see it.

    My view on Kate’s standing down is that the whole damned thing is awkward because of Galloway’s comments, and because in clarifying his comments, he’s a bit oblivious to the shit storm he has caused many on the left. I think that’s more than likely Kate’s view as well. She knows him well enough to know he’s not a PRO-RAPE MONSTER, but in politics you can’t retreat into a bunker and let other people take the flak for things you said that were deeply damaging.

    See how I can say this without feeling bad? You can do that if you’re an honest ally.

    Anyway, so I both agree and don’t agree with Kate’s actions: I agree that if she felt she had been put into an impossible position, she would be the most likely to come under attack as a woman, especially on the left (which says something about the left – the women in Respect have come under far greater pressure than the men), she had to stand down. But as a member of “the left”, I don’t think it does us any good. What you can guarantee is that she didn’t make that decision lightly, cos she knew it would piss off as many people as would support it.

    I don’t blame Kate for feeling she had to make that decision, I blame George for doing that thing that happens so often – letting his mouth run off. It’s why he is such a great orator. But it serves to show people something they can’t stand in their leaders – he’s a normal working class bloke who gets his politics fucked up sometimes. On pretty much every issue, we’re agreed, but on things like this, we strongly disagree. Mostly, a decent debate beforehand could’ve clarified a lot, and much as I do think this is a witch hunt, George could’ve saved himself a lot of grief.

    I won’t join in the witch hunt, cos George is a friend and an ally and has been under attack far more for what he’s done to build the movement than most other people, particularly those who sit in their left-wing ivory towers never really risking anything. I think it’s obvious what is going on here, and regardless of the fact that Galloway started the shit storm, it is the rest of the left that is gleefully making it into something more. As Noel amply demonstrates above.

    Now, one way of SU and its readers benefitting from Galloway’s mistake is for someone to use his mistake as a starting point – write an article about what the state of working class people’s discourse on rape is, and how the left might intervene, if that’s what you think should happen. For example, if we decide that Galloway is a liability to the left, does this help to change people’s views on rape? If so, should we purge our ranks of anyone with those kind of opinions? Should we think “maybe George represents a common strand of thought – how should we engage with it?” If we’re at all serious on the left, our response should’ve been to use Galloway’s comments to expand our influence on people’s ideas about what rape is and isn’t. It’s so much easier to be lazy and talk about punishing George, so much harder to actually connect with the real people who think the same as him.

    Unfortunately for progressive people, George has had orders of magnitude more emails and comments of support than he has condemning him. We’ve certainly got work to do in winning people round to a comprehensive understanding of what consent means. And the left has made itself look pretty idiotic as well – using Facebook walls as a barometer, a big chunk of young people believe this is more about people wanting to smash up Galloway than wanting to defend women. If we’ve polarised politics that much with our responses, then we’ve got to turn it around surely?

  6. Tab! Great to see you on here – not spoken to you for ages. I don’t agree that Kate was childish, I think it’s been extremely awkward for everyone to be honest. But that’s just a tactical issue. Main thing is Tab, I’d love to see you commenting here more often man. Do it 🙂

  7. prianikoff on said:

    Unfortunately, what’s getting lost in the controversy about Galloway, is that it’s highly likely that the rape allegations against Julian Assange are a political frame-up.
    They are a more effective way of discrediting him personally and putting him out of circulation, than trial in a US court on espionage charges would be.
    The grounds for bringing espionage charges against an Australian citizen in the US are highly dubious and the US government could end up being exposed in open court.

    As the Sheridan case showed, moral and personal smears are often the most effective way of discrediting someone politically and splitting them from their supporters.
    On “Newsnight” recently, the former British ambassador Craig Murray pointed out that almost every major whistleblower against the US and British governments, including himself, has been similarly smeared.
    Scott Ritter and Janis Karpinski were smeared for whistleblowing accusations against the US military.
    Murray, who blew the whistle on British complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition, was charged with extorting sex from visa applicants.
    It took him 18 months to clear his name

    He’s been doing a good job of exposing the probable frame-up of Julian Assange.
    By necessity, this involves looking at the evidence behind the allegations.
    Murray was recently villified on “Newsnight” by Joan Smith and Gavin Esler for mentioning the name of one of Assange’s accusers,
    Yet she *publicized herself* in the Swedish media while the police were still investigating her allegations!
    During her testimony to the police, the same woman produced a split condom split as evidence.
    Forensic examination showed not only that there was none of Assange’s DNA on the condom, but that it had never been worn by anybody!
    There are numerous other glaring discrepancies in the case which Murray has documented on his blog.

    see:-
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

    Kate Hudson may not agree with Galloway’s views on what constitutes rape, but she needs to make it clear where she stands on this.

  8. By the way, given the bleating about other people attacking the SWP, it’s notable how people who laughingly call themselves socialists, only come on here when there’s something they can do to attack others. People like Keith Watermelon, who is just an embarrassment to the movement.

    Keith, we don’t put up with your shit on here anymore. Like so many others in the SWP, you only post on here in the hope of causing trouble for people. You’re an idiot, you’re no socialist, you’re a sectarian wrecker who is not welcome here.

    It’s funny that after the Waltham Forest demo at the weekend, the first 3 posts from SWP members were similar to what Keith “don’t expose me cos I am deep underground at work, except that I use my real name in socialist worker” Watermelon has done – not actually wanting any positive discussion at all, instead only posting to have a pop at others.

    The 3 SWP members’ comments were entirely about Hope Not Hate, having a go at HNH. They weren’t responding to anything anyone had said – they were unsolicited attacks on another organisation. I deleted them. I also deleted KrisS, who calls this place a cess pit and says he doesn’t come here anymore – except he just couldn’t stop himself posting the statement from Kate Hudson. Yeah Kris, I’m sure that as an SWP member you just wanted to try to shape the debate. Your only contributions have been to a) accuse others of bad faith, b) insult everyone on here and then c) come back only to post stuff about Kate Hudson.

    I had more respect for you than that Kris, but you too have fallen victim to the weird syndrome that says it’s awful cos everyone attacks the SWP all the time, yet pretty much all the stuff that SWP members post on here is attacks on other people. There are honourable exceptions, like cliff foot, ted and stuart – but even stuart was extremely dishonest in his characterisation of his opponents’ arguments, just to make himself look better. The attack shit gets deleted now (which is a shame, cos it means you’re no longer allowed to show yourselves up with your bad faith and the rest of your friends can claim I’m just making it up) – SU has changed. It’s not a place for SWP members to try to bully people.

    SWP members really do bleat about being attacked by others, but people like Keith Watermelon have never ever tried to influence debate, win people to a political position, or build the movement. All he does is post sectarian attacks on others. He’s a liar, he’s a joke, and I have to say it again, he’s no socialist.

    That’s my last word on that for now. Keith, go away. You really can’t see it can you – you add nothing to the discussion, ever. You live in a rarified atmosphere within a small organisation without having to really deal with the real world. Yet you think you have the right to attack, slander, smear and distort things other people say, while pleading for people to respect your anonymity.

    Those in your organisation who genuinely want to discuss politics in an honest way with others are more than welcome here. Of course it wll get feisty.

    But Keith – you and the other anonytrolls are not welcome here. You really are a joke in the movement. You don’t get it, of course. You think you’re right. But you’re really, really not. And just cos you know the right words to say about the working class, it doesn’t mean you’re fit to lead or influence people.

  9. Karl Stewart on said:

    It always makes me laugh when people like Noel take the trouble to come on this site to announce they won’t be coming on this site again!

    Galloway’s being attacked because, and only because, he’s been a consistent opponent of US imperialism.

    Anyone who can’t see this is a fool or US imperialism’s useful idiot

    It’s difficult to feel anything but utter contempt for Hudson and Yaqoob over this.

    As to what constitutes rape – no means no – end of.

    But just as people are wrongly accused of other crimes by liars, so Assange has been wrongly accused here by liars.

    And the political context in which these lies about him have been put forward is so blindingly obvious that one wonders how anyone on the political left could treat them with anything other than contemptuous dismissal.

    The tragedy is that these lies have to a certain extent served their purpose for US imperialism in that they have diverted attention from the real crimes that Assange exposed and weakened the protests at how he has been treated.

    This man faces extradition to the US, indefinite incarceration, torture and potential execution.
    For exposing US war crimes.

    The fight to prevent this is THE issue. Let’s focus on that instead.

  10. I Agree 100% with Andy Newman on this … Shame that Kate Hudson has take the decision to stand down as RESPECT CANDIDATE for Mcr Central… However, hamfisted and crude George Galloway’s comments on his original Molucca Red podcast on the Assange case… George was never a ‘rape apologist’

    But Kate’s statement says “Unfortunately George Galloway’s subsequent clarification of his remarks was totally inadequate.”

    What she was refering to was a statement by George that started “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.” http://www.votegeorgegalloway.com/2012/08/statement-on-assange-controversy.html

    The campaign against Galloway is now stepping up a gear because of his Twitter ‘windae licker’ comments
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/sep/04/george-galloway-no-respect-disability

    Clare Allan is calling RESPECT to expell him “Galloway should step down; he won’t. But if the Respect party is to stand for anything other than a twisted sense of irony, it should seriously think about expelling him.”

    There is something profoundly unhealthy affecting the cultural and intellectual life of this country akin to an ‘emotional plague’ and the recent controversy over the Assange Case and the subsequent demonisation of George Galloway is a symptom of this plague.

    This moral panic and the creation of a new folk devil in the shape of George Galloway will be deepened by the latest YouTube revelations of an ‘Ex Lover’ which are currently doing the rounds in virtual reality.

    Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson in seeking to protect RESPECT from the now Toxic George Galloway will only quicken its demise. Shame. What Salma, Kate and many others need to decide is do they follow Andy Newman into the ranks of the Labour Party OR is the Green Party the only realistic hope for rebuilding an left electoral project?

  11. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Assange case, and whatever the rights and wrongs of GG’s comments on it, the media and the Labour Party have latched on to the whole business as a (rather effective) way of bashing Respect. Any high-profile Respect candidate, especially a female one, would most likely be spending much of the campaign fending off hostile questions about GG rather than putting across the issues. In that situation, standing as a candidate is probably pointless anyway – if you can’t win, and you can’t get easily your points across because everyone is on about Galloway/Assange, then why bother?

  12. Great post, Andy. I agree completely. It is time to rally round and resist this Salem witchhunt.

    It is also important to state the case for sanity being returned to political and cultural discourse in this country. Indeed, things have grown so silly I fully expect to be harangued for my use of the word ‘sanity’ in this context.

    Where was this liberal chorus of moral outrage when women were being slaughtered by the thousand in Iraq and Palestine? Galloway has risked his life trying to deliver aid to Gaza. He’s worked tirelessly on behalf of the vulnerable and forgotten at home and abroad.

    Like you, I find Kate Hudson’s decision to stand down as no better than liberal posturing. As for Salma, hers was an act of betrayal against someone who’s always stood by her. She absolutely should have articulated her issues with George’s comments in private.

    As Brecht wrote: ‘A communist can expect many blows during the course of his life. If he’s lucky some of them will be from the enemy’.

  13. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/731/15103/29-08-2012/galloways-ignorant-comments

    I thought I would just throw this article from last week’s Socialist into the pot. An extract from it below: “Galloway should be held to account as a workers’ representative by his party – he should not air personal prejudices in his public role. He should be asked to retract his damaging comments which cannot be said to promote the “Peace, Justice and Equality” which are the watchwords of the Respect party.”

  14. Those who think Galloway is a liability should pause and consider how the 3 people who run this site, who all have radically different experiences of life, come from radically different political traditions and have radically different day to day contact with the class and the movement, can all completely agree that what’s happening to Galloway is a witch hunt and that he needs to be defended.

    I don’t really agree with John about Kate and Salma – but the thing is, I feel confident that we’re not gonna call each other wreckers and splitters and whatever, just cos we disagree. We’re kinda adult about it here.

    I think the whole thing has put the women in Respect in a difficult position. I don’t really think the blame lies entirely with George Galloway – I think it shows the inherent sexism on the left that people think the right place to aim their fire is at women. In that sense it doesn’t matter if their arguments are right or wrong, it’s inherently sexist.

    Whatever: Unfortunately, this has become another one of those litmus tests. Galloway needs to be defended. Not from Kate Hudson or Salma Yaqoob, but from the Daily Mail and the people on the left who have allied themselves with its intervention on this.

    Also, I’d appeal to Karl Stewart and John to dial back the comments about Salma and Kate a little. Looking at it from a wider perspective, if we accept that Galloway is under attack, then if we attack Hudson and Yaqoob we’re effectively assisting in the attacks on the left. Karl, I think you were wrong to say that Salma was effectively on the same side as the CIA. I also don’t think people have betrayed anyone here – I do think we have to accept that George should’ve debated the issue more fully and should’ve taken advice. Salma didn’t put herself in this position, she was put in it.

    What I think is that a number of people have made decisions that don’t help the left, and we need to ensure that we don’t make people feel their backs are against the wall. I absolutely want Kate Hudson to be a leading member of Respect. I don’t want to make her feel like the organisation is against her, cos it really isn’t. Same with Salma. There is such a massive amount of goodwill towards her, and that is an asset to the movement, as is Salma herself.

    So, we’ve got a bad situation that the right and the left are milking for all its worth – people such as Keith Watermelon, representing mainstream SWP thinking, want to now destroy Galloway’s political career. The rest of the left never wanted Galloway to have any success. And the liberals and the right have never forgiven him for being able to command the opinions and respect of so many millions of people around the world. More than pretty much anyone, Galloway has made their ability to get away with mass murder a bit more difficult.

    Let’s have some unity now, and some understanding that Salma and Kate were put in impossible positions. And as women, their situation was even worse, such is the male domination of politics on the right and left. I think it’s easily possible to think Galloway was an idiot in what he said, but that he’s now the target of a witch hunt, and that Kate and Salma felt they had to do something to retain their own credibility in a sexist political world and to believe that they might’ve made mistakes in how they did it and to still be allies with all of them and to want to work closely with all of them.

  15. It’s obvious that the right-wing would jump on such comments by GG and even exaggerate and take them out of context. It therefore makes it even more startling that he could make such comments during a by-election campaign. The comments were offensive, misguided and have left Respect (especially its high-profile female members) in an extremely difficult position. To have wasted all the political capital gained at Bradford in such a way is bewildering.

  16. Jimmy – I won’t have a chance to read your article til later, but I’d like to appeal to the SP to first and foremost see this as a witch hunt against Galloway, one which the left should unite to defend him against. Respect can deal with any problems in Respect, but the first and most important thing right now is to defend Galloway against the witch hunt.

    Unfortunately, the majority of comments by SWP members have been unpolitical “Galloway is a shocking rape apologist” stuff – with no attempt to engage in debate and no attempt to see the witch hunt. I’d like it if the SP could take a more adult position than the SWP.

    I don’t know that I’d bother with the rest of the left – so much of the left has become unable to view the real world without distorting it beyond recognition.

    I think it’s ok if the SP wants to talk about holding people to account – as long as its own house is in order, obviously, with SP members holding high office in a number of unions, and being perceived to be letting the members down. The SP can lead by example here. But before you talk of holding Galloway to account, you’re gonna need to have the credibility of recognising that there’s a serious attack from the right and parts of the left, and it needs to be resisted.

  17. Just to clarify, Salma Yaqoob engaged in an act of rank betrayal by sticking the boot in along with the rest of this liberal chorus of faux moral outrage. There is simply no other way to describe it.

  18. William K on said:

    #9 Your comment doesn’t help. We all agree no means no but the question here is is there such a thing as tacit consent. A different issue which Galloway was pondering on in the light of the fact that the media is demanding Assange make himself available for trial whilst treating him as guilty in advance. I would like to see Assange stand trial and clear his name or otherwise but there can be no question of supporting his extradition or opposing his right to asylum until the necessary guarantees that he will not be extradited onwards for any reason whatsoever are made. Before that there is the question of the interview by Swedish prosecutors which they need to conduct to decide whether a trial is appropriate or likely to be successful or not. That could easily be conducted in GB without extradition and you have to ask yourself why they are refusing to do this and it can only be that getting him to Sweden is more important than justice for the alleged victims. It’s as if they don’t want to settle the matter at all. But no good can come from denying that Assange should face the charges in the right conditions and after an interview with Swedish prosecutors saying one is needed. The left does take rape seriously but it also takes the rights of Assange seriously. I don’t see anything in what Galloway said that contradicts that whereas your simply calling these women liars and the whole thing a conspiracy is not on.

    Disappointed in Salma but can understand why she would want to distance her self if her only knowledge of what was said came from the bourgeois press. Pity she didn’t discuss the whole affair with George internally first. Kate Hudson: the writer is probably right. This is little more than a convenient excuse to withdraw from an over-hyped campaign that may well have ended in a lost deposit.

  19. prianikoff on said:

    I’m not concerned whether Kate Hudson stands for Respect, or she doesn’t.
    But having put herself up as a candidate, backing down over views expressed about the Assange case undermines his defence.
    It also creates yet another reason for a split on the left.
    The SSP fiasco showed the dangers of becoming entrapped in a bourgeois legal web.
    The SSP’s leaders failed to unite around the central political issue involved; the smear campaign against Sheridan by the Murdoch press.
    They were presented with a fantastic opportunity – the chance to lance the festering boil of News International in Britain
    Instead, they were played off against each other by the state.
    It was handed on a plate to a bunch of aristocrats, rich media stars and lawyers.
    The opposite of Socialist Unity.

  20. William K on said:

    #15 Not so. It is important in politics to be straight talking. If Respect is going to learn to pull its punches to satisfy the bourgeois media and stand by whilst there is a vicious campaign to deny Assange his rights and paint him as guilty in advance of any trial then there is little point to Respect. Would have been much much better if it was co-ordinated and the party pre-armed to pick up the backlash rather than left as individuals to face the backlash alone but the correct reaction is that this must happen in the future not to throw the toys out the pram so to speak. Let us hope Galloway learns that lesson at least as it is the comradely and professional thing to do.

    I hope Salma and George can make up and I think step one will be for George to apologise to Salma not for what he said but for not pre-warning everybody in advance on such a sensitive issue.

  21. tony collins: I don’t really think the blame lies entirely with George Galloway – I think it shows the inherent sexism on the left that people think the right place to aim their fire is at women. In that sense it doesn’t matter if their arguments are right or wrong, it’s inherently sexist.
    Whatever: Unfortunately, this has become another one of those litmus tests. Galloway needs to be defended. Not from Kate Hudson or Salma Yaqoob, but from the Daily Mail and the people on the left who have allied themselves with its intervention on this.

    Tony this is a bit disingenuous.

    Salma Yaqoob is leader of the Respect Party, and its second most high profile figure. Kate Hudson was the prominent candidate in a forth-coming parliamentary by-election. That is the context in which they are being criticised, not becasue they are women, nor do I think it is colluding with sexism to express disappointment with them.

  22. William K on said:

    ~19 `The SSP’s leaders failed to unite around the central political issue involved; the smear campaign against Sheridan by the Murdoch press.’

    I think you’ll find that the SSP leadership were more united than divided over the fact that they were not going to perjure themselves in court to keep Sheridan’s sex life, an already open secret, underwraps so he could keep is ill-gotten £200K. There are many things worthy of entering into a conspiracy about Sheridan’s sex life was not one of them.

  23. No hang on that’s not what I meant – the “fire” in this context isn’t people criticising their decisions. I’m talking about those on the liberal left and right who are attacking Galloway. Like, the media, parts of the left, the whole “well DO YOU AGREE WITH SALMA THEN?” stuff.

    Sorry if I’m not being clear. I am absolutely NOT talking about criticism of what Salma and Kate have said. I’m talking about the attacks that come as part of the witch hunt. Does that make sense? I think Kate and Salma are big enough to handle criticism of their decisions to speak publically about George – I’m specifically not talking about that.

    I’m talking about people on the right, who suddenly have deep real concerns about women, and are aiming their fire at women in Respect.

    Ugh I still don’t think I’m being clear. Hmm… I’m talking about the stuff that was aimed at them in the run up to Kate standing down.

  24. William K: I think you’ll find that the SSP leadership were more united than divided over the fact that they were not going to perjure themselves in court to keep Sheridan’s sex life, an already open secret, underwraps so he could keep is ill-gotten £200K. There are many things worthy of entering into a conspiracy about Sheridan’s sex life was not one of them.

    Look mate. I don’t agree with you about that issue, but I really don’t want us to reopen that debate at this time.

    Can we leave discussion of the Scottish catastrophe for another day?

  25. John Grimshaw on said:

    Just heard Billy Bragg on radio 4 talking about his admiration for Woody Guthrie. In the course of the interview he called for Assange to go back to Sweden to face the allegations.

  26. William K on said:

    #24 `Can we leave discussion of the Scottish catastrophe for another day?’

    Absolutely. Nobody should sneak a discussion on this in under the smoke screen of this issue.

    On Billy Bragg: It is probably the case that the person most anxious for this trial to go ahead following an interview to decide whether a trial is appropriate or not is Assange himself. The alleged victims seem to have moved on with their lives. So it is a simple question of firm guarantees from UK and Sweden that no onward extradition will take place. Bragg should stand up for Assange’s legal right to fight extradition and seek asylum in the absence of the necessary guarantees. Otherwise why not get rid of laws protecting foreign powers from simply seizing people and taking them back to Saudi Arabia to be stonned for adultery etc. I can guarantee if the right to fight extradition is terminated women will be the big sufferers.

  27. prianikoff on said:

    William K is posing as the friendly attorney, but his arguments shore up the witch-hunting methods used against both Sheridan and Assange.

    The only way that the left can unite around these issues is on the basis that they are both political frame ups, whether they like the people involved or not.

    The SSP could have dealt with News International by concentrating on its illegal eavesdropping, the violations of civil rights and its muck-raking methods.
    It’s journalists and editors were the people who should have been put on trial, which is what is now happening.
    Sheridan should fight for compensation.

    Assange should be free to leave the UK and go to Ecuador if he wants to. He offered to answer questions in Sweden before he left. No rape charge has been brought against him, nor are there good legal grounds for one.

    The Bourgeois courts aren’t impartial, not even in “liberal” Sweden. If a Swedish trial takes place, it will be the result of a conspiracy by powerful string-pullers within the US, British and Swedish legal systems.

  28. William K on said:

    #28 There you go sneeking in the Sheridan issue again.

    As for Assange I have made it clear above that I am on the side of Assange’s right to fight extradition every step of the way and to seek asylum and that I think there is something very dodgy indeed about Swedish prosecutors refusing to inverview him in UK to decide if a trial is necessary or not. You on the other hand are simply dismissing the allegations of the alleged victims out of hand which is not acceptable.

  29. William K on said:

    Galloway merely pointed out in an atmosphere of `Assange must be sent for trial because he is guilty’ that in actual fact he probably isn’t guilty if we consider the scanty evidence already available and that his belief that he did not need consent for penetration because a tacit bargain had been established between him and the woman based on previous practise which made this at worst bad sexual ettiquette and not rape. If we are serious about wanting this tested in law then make the necessary guarantees about onward extradition and serious feminists would be demanding that first and foremost not that Assange waive his rights and risk his life.

  30. “Those who think Galloway is a liability should pause and consider how the 3 people who run this site, who all have radically different experiences of life, come from radically different political traditions and have radically different day to day contact with the class and the movement, can all completely agree that what’s happening to Galloway is a witch hunt and that he needs to be defended.”

    Three men?

    Galloway’s tautological “explanation” doesn’t get him off the hook for his extremely sexist remark.

    As often happens on the left, you’re now going to get a dwindling band of men confirming for each other that sexist ideology is no big deal, while left-wing women try to find somewhere to work where people don’t think that sex with an unconscious woman is a bit of harmless fun.

    People are being a bit coy about what Galloway actually said so it’s worth confirming that he said the allegation (that Assange had sex with an unconscious woman) is “bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape”.

  31. William K on said:

    Skip: So in no case can sex with a sleeping woman ever be considered anything other than rape? That will be a new concept for many and if it is the case then a mass re-education campaign is probably needed and a change in the law. It is not impossible that it will be seen thus as it also became possible to rape one’s wife. Personally I think the people taking this issue least seriously are the ones who would happily terminate assange’s right to fight extradition and seek asylum or those glibly comparing what Galloway said regarding Assange’s probable innocence with what a right wing republican said about it being impossible to get pregnant as a result of rape. Now if you are a serious feminist who wants to see all allegations investigated and taken seriously and even taken to trial if appropriate then instead of demanding assange give up his rights you will demand the necessary guarantees are made regarding onward extradition or at least that the Swedish prosecutors conduct their interview in UK.

  32. Howard T on said:

    There are several question here and as a long standing Respect member, my first response is on the definition of rape, to stand full-square with Salma and Kate on George’s comments. I’ll say nothing more on that.
    Then let’s get this ninto perspective – the issue is not about appaling comment – note comment – made by George Galloway, who must not be defended as he was wrong, but the sovereignty of Ecuador and the USA’s determination to make clear that anyone who tries to whistle-blow on the crimes that USA carries out around the world (eg Bradley Manning) will be imprisoned for the rest of their lives or worse.
    Please remember, whatever galloway’s backward position on social questions, none of the contributors here have stood out against imperialist war crimes as he has – it is on that basis and his fight against islamaphobia I ally with him.
    For the record, I know that by and large, most members of Respect align with Salma and Kate. My loyalty to George as expressed by some does not go as far as blind faith when he is patently wrong.
    But get a gripsome of you – do something for the Palestinian, do something to oppose the war, do something to fight islamaphobia. Selling left wing papers is not what I mean

  33. skip: Three men?

    As it happens, I was discussing George’s comments with a woman trade union official who is a friend of mine, a self professed feminist and who has a senior role relating to women’s issues. She said that she broadly agreed with what George had said, and when discussing the issue of starting sex with someone while they were asleep she said that this was a question of context, and with the right man in the right circumstances, she might like it.

    Also, it is a mitake to assume that all the commenters here are male, some of those who use male sounding pseudonyms are women.

  34. 31, Sleeping surely rather than unconcious don’t you know the difference?

    Assange has been tried and convicted by the British media encouraged by the British State and Galloway is now subject to the same treatment. No one should be blind to whats happening.

  35. Andy Newman,

    I was also discussing the issue with a woman who is a feminist and a labour supporter. She said when she heard what George said she felt she’d been let down by an ally. WHilst opposing the right-wing onslaught against Respect, we cannot just dismiss many women who feel insulted and betrayed by George’s comments.

  36. Kate Hudson on said:

    Andy – you say: “I don’t know what Kate Hudson’s motives for standing down as Respect candidate are..”
    if you don’t know, then read my resignation statement rather than speculating on smearing rubbish like: “but I observe that they extract her from an election campaign where she would have undoubtedly received a very poor vote, after she had misguidedly talked up her own prospects.” You can find the statement which includes my good and real reasons here: http://kate4manchester.org/?p=114

  37. William K on said:

    Gavin: What was it that Galloway said exactly that made your fellow discussant feel betrayed? Your comment is to vague to be taken seriously without that.

  38. prianikoff on said:

    #29
    Perhaps you’re a Lawyer, because you stand entirely on the terrain of the bourgeois legal system!
    This grants *everyone* the right to fight extradition or seek political asylum.
    Even the Swedes have offered asylum to Assange, should the US to threaten him with the death penalty on espionage charges.

    But you completely surrender to the liberal bourgeois arguments used by the likes of Billy Bragg or Joan Smith.
    These ignore the political context within which the cases against both Assange or Sheridan took place.
    The motives of the accusers aren’t questioned, nor is the role in the state in instigating the cases or the political impact of a trial on the credibility of the accused.

    Rather than rejecting the accusations against Assange “out of hand”, I reject them on the basis of their lack of substance.
    Given the political context, it’s most likely that they’re a frame-up. The bourgeois courts are the last place to decide upon this issue.

    The “left” Liberal position is that Assange should have to go to Sweden to answer the (non) charges. But that will deliver him up to his enemies just as effectively as extradition to the US would.
    Sweden isn’t neutral. It’s a minor pro-imperialist state. It’s very likely that elements within its establishment are conspring with their allies in the US and Britain to put Assange out of circulation for good.
    He shouldn’t go back there.
    He should be allowed to fly from the UK to Ecuador.

  39. skip,

    Skip. This whole debate about the Assange case and Galloways video blog on it has to be informed by the material that has been in the public domain due for over two years – ‘ the allegation (that Assange had sex with an unconscious woman)’ is not exactly clear – and of course if George is responding to material like AA’s police statement which can be found here… http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/09/anna-ardins-police-statement/ … George is probably correct in his assertion that what occurred was “bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape”.

    We had the bizarre situation on Newsnight on Monday 3rd Sept… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQngyrfNjIA
    where Jeremy Paxman was trying to pin down Naomi Wolf to join in the attack on George Galloway…and Assange.. but her priority was to promote her new book “Vagina” thankfully she deflected Paxman effectively. Leftie Commentators like Laurie Penny despite her own brave personal confessional about experience of being raped at 19years old the previous week as part of the contribution to the Assange/Galloway debate was quick to have a go at Naomi Wolf – It seems everyone is running around like headless chickens.

    The latest expression of this ’emotional plague’ is the youtube confessions of an ‘ex lover’ of George http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQngyrfNjIA

    For Comrade who are interested in studying how such witchunts originate may I recommend a piece by Wilhelm Reich [Author of the Mass Psychology of Fascism] …http://anarchy.org.au/anarchist-texts/reich-emotional-plague/

    “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.” 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.””

    As Andy Newman stated at the start “I don’t agree with everything that George says or does, but I consider him a considerable asset to left politics, and I consider him a good and trustworthy man. Of course George is human, with all the quirks and frailties that implies, but he is also uniquely under scrutiny, with seemingly the whole world waiting for him to mis-speak or slip up.

    Frankly, the left should resist the moral panic and stand with George Galloway. It is easier to swim with the stream and join the quacking chorus of detractors, but now is the time for George Galloway’s friends and allies to speak out in his support.”

    I support George Galloway – that doesn’t make me a ‘rape apologist’ and doesn’t prevent me from joining in Owen Jones’s #menagainstrape twitter campaign [very useful for the police to exclude men from future rape inquiries?]

  40. “As it happens, I was discussing George’s comments with a woman trade union official who is a friend of mine, a self professed feminist and who has a senior role relating to women’s issues.”

    This is like a cautionary tale of how sexists on the left operate. “My own opinions are confirmed by an anonymous Woman who I am not at liberty to name…”

    Surely it can’t get any worse… oh wait.

    “Sleeping surely rather than unconcious don’t you know the difference?”

    Now, guys, I want you to imagine what your female comrades, *many of whom have themselves been raped by men while unconscious*, and then had to go on interacting with them socially while their male buddies vouched for them and patted them on the back, think when they see you throwing up your hands and saying, gee, guvnor, I knew you weren’t supposed to have sex with unconscious women, but I thought you meant, like, the other kind of unconscious…

  41. Craig Murray has managed to get hold of what he says is Anna Ardin’s official police statement and he has posted an English translation on his blog. If genuine, it makes for fascinating reading as it does tend to support the GG line that Assange is basically a not very polite swordsman.

    More importantly, any trial in Sweden will take place in camera with only the verdict announced at the end. This statement, along with that of Sofia Wilen which Craig says he will post soon, is the entire prosecution case.

    That case looks very weak.

  42. William K on said:

    #39 It is difficult to know what you are blethering on about. Assange himself is not anxious to fly to Ecuador but would like to clear his name. He seems confident that the charges will be dropped in any case as the refusal of the Swedish prosecutors to conduct their interviews in the UK become increasingly untenable and obstructive. Once again I state in the face of your hysterical denunciations that I fully support Assange’s right to fight extradition and his right to seek asylum and so should anybody interested in the rights they claim to be interested in.

  43. My view on this is let’s be real. Galloway I’d right. With sex unless consent in withdrawn one is in the game. My question is how many ‘partners’ have been ‘raped’ by the early morning wake up blow job or wank. Isn’t that one of the pleasures of being in a relationship total access to each others body? Have I raped my partner because she was asleep when I instigate sex with her and she wakes with a dozy but enthusiastic yum. Or like wise I wake to the morning blowjob. Do we really have to have a discussion. Make sure consent is given every time I want to touch you. If you don’t want to play then dontbget into bed. Being in bed together whether sex has happened or not places both people in a symbolic space where it is common knowledge that sex occurs. If I am in bed with a woman, who has consented to be in bed with me then as George says the game is on and it is clearly on until one person or both level the symbolic space or clearly say no. I like being woken with a blow job thanks. And no I don’t feel raped!

  44. William K on said:

    #40 `This is like a cautionary tale of how sexists on the left operate. “My own opinions are confirmed by an anonymous Woman who I am not at liberty to name…”

    Surely it can’t get any worse… oh wait.’

    Skip you seem disingenuous. Newman gave the reason why his friend was OK with what Galloway said whilst Gavin just said his friend felt betrayed without feeling the need to explain why probably in the hope that the foolish witch hunt will do the rest.

  45. Rob: Being in bed together whether sex has happened or not places both people in a symbolic space where it is common knowledge that sex occurs. If I am in bed with a woman, who has consented to be in bed with me then as George says the game is on and it is clearly on until one person or both level the symbolic space or clearly say no. I like being woken with a blow job thanks. And no I don’t feel raped!

    Well no. It is quite possible that consent could not be assumed in such circumstances, or in other cicrumstances it might be a reasonable assumption, depanding upon a number of factors, such as the nature of the relationship, what was said or communicated before going to sleep, etc, etc.

    I think you are in danger of making crass generalisatrions that could indeed deny the possiblity of rape. that is why these are questions of fact that would normally be decided by the judicial process.

  46. I’m not interested in a witch-hunt but a recognition that many women have felt insulted by George’s comments. If you want to know the reasons for this then read Salma or Kate’s statement, they both make this clear.

  47. Andy is exactly correct at #45. You don’t have the automatic right to start having sex with a sleeping woman because you’ve made it into her bed.

    Sexists on the left like to act as if they are deeply concerned by the judicial process, but they generally can’t resist trivialising rape after the conversation has gone on for a couple of seconds:

    “I like being woken with a blow job thanks. And no I don’t feel raped!”

  48. skip: Sexists on the left like to act as if they are deeply concerned by the judicial process

    I think that you are making a mistake in assuming that conserns about the judical process are only a smokescreen for sexism.

    There is a very real problem of trying to use the criminal law in an instrumental way as a form of social engineering to force a change in social attitude. This can lead to an argument that becase too many women are raped and subject to sexual assault, then we should accept injustices where innocent men may be convicted, or where the threshold of criminality falls within what is currently regarded – by women and men – as normal consensual sex.

  49. But if every time I enter into a relationship or even a one off sexual relationship both of us have to consider how a judge would view it then I really do think I am now living in an alternative reality where all human activity had to be controlled and legislated for.

    My point is I agree 100% that rape is rape is rape – for both males and females. BUT we do have to take on the responsibility for our own personal safety ourselves. If I do not want to have sex without a condom but she does I say no. That is my choice. If I want sex without a condom she says no but I do anyway that is an assault and left to the judge to decide if it constitutes rape. I cannot comment on that.

    If I for some strange reason have to share a bed with a woman, even though I say its a symbolic space where sex happens, I will have had a discussion with that person about what is going to happen. Sleeping, or slap n tickle which might or might not turn into sex. But this will have been discussed. What I have never er discussed or never will is the duration of that consent. Its never come up. Sometimes she might say no I’m tired. Or she might get up out of bed to have a showed I might attempt to join her she might let me or might not. There are a million scenarios we can legislate for all of them but we can take personal responsibility for ourselves.

    We cannot find ourselves in a society where we give up our own personal sense of how we live at the expense of legislation that forces to live one way or another. We need laws to protect people. We need penalties that dissuade people from carrying out actions that might hurt another human. The problem is economic crime is punished more harshly in this Capitalist society than crimes against the person. We only have to see how the police treat rape victims and offenders against how they treat those who offend the economic system via theft or fraud or even stealing a bottle of water!

  50. Rob: But if every time I enter into a relationship or even a one off sexual relationship both of us have to consider how a judge would view it then I really do think I am now living in an alternative reality where all human activity had to be controlled and legislated for.

    This is a good point.

  51. cliff foot on said:

    tony collins,

    Tony, its nonsense to say people in the swp want to destroy Galloway’s career. He was down to speak at this years Marxism, for instance, there are other matters i could point to eg in Brixtonat a meeting, last year, where swp helped out in a very serious way, GG. Dont take my word for it, ask Rob H.

  52. Fairyla on said:

    Noel:
    Jesus a new low for you Andy, the point is that Assange is accused of having sex with someone who was asleep, and therefore cannot in anyway be said to be consenting, it doesn’t matter if consent had happened the previous night, you can’t have sex with someone while they’re asleep!

    That’s why people are angry and you do yourself no favours tortuously trying to make apologies.

    Galloway is now a liabiity for the Left, Salma and Kate are right and I will not be coming back to read this blog.

    Exactly, you can’t really get past the fact that being asleep is in no way ‘game playing’. What a horrifying thought that someone could agree with Galloway about something that is such a huge issue.

  53. Harriet on said:

    “There is a danger here that all allegations of rape carry with them an assumption of guilt”

    Disappointing to see the same old hand wringing about supposedly unfair assumptions. Also utter bollocks, and the opposite to what is true. The vast majority of rape allegations in fact assume at best that the victim must have looked or acted in a way that ’caused’ the rape, and at worst that she is outright lying. Incidents such as the Ched Evans ‘Twitter’ trial and the hysterical cries about government conspiracy surrounding the Assange case – not to mention the fact that less than 5% of rape accusations end in a conviction – prove this.

    I have no idea whether Assange is guilty of rape or not, but if the Swedish legal system believes it has enough evidence to mount a trial, then Assange MUST face it. No one should be above the law, regardless of how much of a hero he is considered for his other actions.

    And yet, because of these other actions, people such as George Galloway feel they have the right to wade in and offer alternative understandings of what consent might or might not mean, all in the hope of exonerating Assange for an allegation NONE of us here have enough information to prove true or false.

    The ‘grey area’ of sexual negotiation and etiquette may well exist and may well need debated, considered and explored. I don’t disagree with this. But to do so in light of a rape accusation – and particularly to use this debate as a means of undermining and dismissing the account given by the women in question – is insensitive at best and actively misogynistic at worst. The reality of this matter is that two women have accused Assange of sexual crimes, and the Swedish legal system considers them real enough to be worthy of a trial. This is a time for having a strong enough moral core to say that, regardless of how much we appreciate his other actions, on this matter Assange MUST stand trial, and must be found guilty or innocent.

  54. Jimmy Haddow:
    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/731/15103/29-08-2012/galloways-ignorant-comments
    “Galloway should be held to account as a workers’ representative by his party – he should not air personal prejudices in his public role. He should be asked to retract his damaging comments which cannot be said to promote the “Peace, Justice and Equality” which are the watchwords of the Respect party.”

    As an SWP member, I think that’s absolutely right. If some of the row is being fuelled by Respect’s enemies, that’s because George Galloway has given them ammunition. He could end it by retracting the remarks and apologising. We know he can do that, because he publicly apologised for the inadvertent insult to disabled people on Twitter. This isn’t going to go away – the longer it goes on, the more damage done not just to George Galloway and Respect, but to the wider left.

  55. James H on said:

    [Earlier post chopped up…]

    I am very disappointed by this post, and by many of the comments by regular posters.

    I say this as someone who responded to Galloway’s re-election with genuine excitement and celebration. I have frequently defended Galloway in conversation with his liberal/left detractors.

    But these particular comments are indefensible, and rightly labelled ‘deeply disappointing and wrong’ by Salma Yaqoob. Honestly the comments by the male socialists here denouncing Salma and Kate Hudson as traitors are obnoxious and disgraceful.

    I won’t say that I’ll never visit this site again, but frankly views such as these – and the tiresome, self-important and self-referential screeds by Collins – and the ‘blokes’ club’-socialism atmosphere are rapidly eroding my respect for the resident commentators.

  56. jock mctrousers on said:

    #44 thanks Rob. That was a recognisably human reaction, unusually.

    Shame about Kate Hudson. Good riddance to Salma Yaqoob.

    A ‘left’ that contains prominent people who find Galloway’s remarks worth a second thought, that doesn’t find such people ridiculous, is not a left that’s going to have to purge anyone from its ranks – it’s not going to have any ranks! Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t.

    Wasn’t it nice when left meant organising the working class to fight for genuine democracy, only possible with economic democracy – control of the commanding heights and the banks?

    Expel George Galloway from Respect? LOL What was Respect again?

    This ‘equivocal’ (politest word I could find) bit from Tony Collins #5 talks about ‘the working class’ as if they were natives who had to be brought feminist religion to teach them to do it in the missionary position with consent (note that he assumes Galloway is in the wrong, and ‘we’ are agreed on that):

    ” … Now, one way of SU and its readers benefitting from Galloway’s mistake is for someone to use his mistake as a starting point – write an article about what the state of working class people’s discourse on rape is, and how the left might intervene, if that’s what you think should happen. For example, if we decide that Galloway is a liability to the left, does this help to change people’s views on rape? If so, should we purge our ranks of anyone with those kind of opinions? Should we think “maybe George represents a common strand of thought – how should we engage with it?” If we’re at all serious on the left, our response should’ve been to use Galloway’s comments to expand our influence on people’s ideas about what rape is and isn’t. It’s so much easier to be lazy and talk about punishing George, so much harder to actually connect with the real people who think the same as him.
    Unfortunately for progressive people, George has had orders of magnitude more emails and comments of support than he has condemning him. We’ve certainly got work to do in winning people round to a comprehensive understanding of what consent means…

  57. William on said:

    It’s not odd that the CiF mafia have focussed so heavily on GG. The “left” in this country is always looking for an excuse to be outraged, which is merely a symptom of the fact that most of the “left”, at least the ones who write in the national media, and those who play the part of “leftist posterboy” beautifully, are completely redundant in terms of activism. Being a radical for most of the “left” in this country is little more than an academic exercise – unlike Galloway who is the most prominent and popular activist identified with the British left.

  58. jock mctrousers on said:

    #65 I absolutely agree with you. He’s not a socialist. On foreign matters, I find him generally on the right side, but on domestic matters, well… he’s better than the rest of them anyway.

  59. johng,

    I dont know about that John, but I do know that Assange is the victim of a witchhunt even more ferocious that than directed at Galloway in 2003 by the Daily Teleagraph and co, and this time George is merely collateral damage. The SWP have largely capitulated to that, along with a whole swathe of liberal and particularly feminist opinion.

    Though interestingly, there are a number a feminists who have also seen through this and seen fit to defend Assange – such as Naomi Wolf and the authors of the recent article from Women against Rape. These people show a greater level of socialist political consciousness than the SWP in my book.

  60. William on said:

    The SWP, as an organisation, is the graveyard of socialism and socialists. Galloway’s comments were logistically wrong, not morally wrong, in that his intentions were obviously not an attempt to delegitimise rape, but rather his own interpretation of rape was, in a general manner, somewhat off the mark. Attempts by the SWP (although, come on, the SWP have hardly been, in a definitive and broad sense, active against Galloway) to proselytise on matters of “left unity” are nothing more than a scam, in which the sectarian conditions that they impose on any kind of “unity” are obfuscated and substituted for the apparent deficiencies of all other left-orientated groups.

  61. jack ford on said:

    Speaking to a conservative friend of mine the other day and he said Galloway may be a lefty but he’s has the right to intellectual freedom. It’s the bloody principle of the thing.

  62. James H on said:

    albacore:

    ‘I think your’s is the only post that refers to Salma and Kate as “traitors”.’

    Really? I’ll refer you to Nos. 12 and 17:

    ‘Salma Yaqoob engaged in an act of rank betrayal by sticking the boot in along with the rest of this liberal chorus of faux moral outrage.’

    ‘As for Salma, hers was an act of betrayal against someone who’s always stood by her.’

    The subtext elsewhere is hardly obscure.

  63. Noel,

    “the point is that Assange is accused of having sex with someone who was asleep, and therefore cannot in anyway be said to be consenting, it doesn’t matter if consent had happened the previous night, you can’t have sex with someone while they’re asleep!”

    This is not true. Even the purported victim says that she was woken by the initiation of the act and allowed it to carry on while she was ‘half asleep’. The allegation that she was ‘asleep’ is spin even in terms of what was originally stated.

    Neither is it possible to sleep through sex unless someone has been drugged in some way. And there is not even the slightest hint of an allegation of that kind.

    That’s just one aspect of this case that does not make sense. It is Kafkaesque.

  64. James H on said:

    Richard Seymour gets it right at Lenin’s Tomb:

    ‘… this looks like a very narrow group of male socialists who want to tell everyone else what to say and do, reserving the right to smear them if they stick to their guns. Is that socialist unity? Aren’t calls for unity which require some groups, women in this case, to subordinate their own interests to a wider cause, actually rather divisive?’

    The best that can be said about Andy’s pseudo-academic attempt to muddy the waters is that it is unedifying. John and Karl Stewart’s compact rants are the interventions here which deserve ‘utter contempt’.

  65. James H on said:

    Red S, these are unpleasant comments of yours:

    ‘This is not true. Even the purported victim says that she was woken by the initiation of the act and allowed it to carry on while she was ‘half asleep’. The allegation that she was ‘asleep’ is spin even in terms of what was originally stated.

    Neither is it possible to sleep through sex unless someone has been drugged in some way. And there is not even the slightest hint of an allegation of that kind.’

    Laurie Penny wrote here a bravely honest piece on these issues which highlight how disgracefully unthinking – and dismissive of women – assumptions like yours are (and I’m being charitable with those adjectives):

    http://www.penny-red.com/post/29989130545/its-trigger-warning-week

    If more women posted here I don’t think commenters here would be able to get away with so much that they say.

  66. Red S,

    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 and raped without my consent. But i decided that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

    I repeat my earlier comment that what we are witnessing in our cultural life is an ’emotional plaque 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’

    Anyway, I will not contribute to this debate anymore at present as my nose is buried in Naomi Wolfs Vagina – its warm and inviting but a little shallow.

  67. James H: If more women posted here I don’t think commenters here would be able to get away with so much that they say.

    Spare us the faux indignation and moralising please. I think we’ve had enough of that crap on this over the past couple of weeks.

  68. Red S: Though interestingly, there are a number a feminists who have also seen through this and seen fit to defend Assange – such as Naomi Wolf and the authors of the recent article from Women against Rape. These people show a greater level of socialist political consciousness than the SWP in my book.

    Absolutely. Not only that the hypocrisy is nauseating.

  69. James H,

    “Laurie Penny wrote here a bravely honest piece on these issues which highlight how disgracefully unthinking – and dismissive of women – assumptions like yours are (and I’m being charitable with those adjectives)”

    Yes, I read her article. The events she narrated did not bear the slightest resemblance to what is alleged to have happened her. Some guy forced himself on her when she was drunk – and possibly even drugged – at a party.

    Exactly the opposite scenario to that which is alleged in the Assange case.

    Presumably those female activists from Woman Against Rape who defend Assange are also ‘rape apologists’ and beneath contempt, and utter male chauvinists.

    Or you and liberal witch-hunters like you are pathological liars.

    Your method of argument is contemptible and worthy of Rebekah Brooks or some other similar type. In the 1980s, those who defended victims of miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham 6 were vilified with headlines like ‘Loony MP supports bombers’ implying that they supported putting bombs in pubs.

    Your crap is equally hysterical. Refuting a particular rape allegation that appears malicious does not equate to condoning or apologising for rape, and only someone who is quite consciously a participant in a witchhunt could imply that it does.

    It is you who is beneath contempt.

  70. William on said:

    Attempting to equate GG’s comments with Todd Adkin’s is simply just dishonest. Nobody is denying the seriousness of rape, or, like Adkin, the biology of it. It’s a fucking disgusting tactic to compare Galloway to that Republican fruitcake, but a tactic I expect from Laurie Penny, Sunny Hundal and the CiF mafia in general, who seem to have monopolised the moral and intellectual conscience of the entire left. Let’s waste our entire lives arguing about this; let’s reduce all of the arguments about the overt misogyny inherent to society, to George Galloway. Is this ever going to die? Perhaps we should free Barabbas and take Galloway instead?

    Note: I am not comparing George Galloway to Jesus, not yet at least.

  71. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    James H:

    If more women posted here I don’t think commenters here would be able to get away with so much that they say.

    If you ever managed to get into a relationship , maybe you’d be less inclined to bang on with your pseudo- feminism and gain some experience of what actually happens between the sheets.

  72. The left that rounded up on Assange last week now finds an easy target on Galloway’s less than fortunate comments about ‘sexual etiquette’. OK. Give him a pasting. Let’s move on. Are you with us George?

  73. James H on said:

    ‘If you ever managed to get into a relationship , maybe you’d be less inclined to bang on with your pseudo- feminism and gain some experience of what actually happens between the sheets.’

    … you rather confirm the point being made. You are ostensibly a sad little man.

    ‘Spare us the faux indignation and moralising please. I think we’ve had enough of that crap on this over the past couple of weeks.’

    Sure sweety. It only takes a shred of honesty to acknowledge that an article and thread like this would make this site seem an unattractive forum for women (of whom we have had how many post today?). And my indignation is far from faux – I almost never comment here but have felt moved to after reading the sheer unpleasantness exhibited here. It has seriously lowered my opinion of you and other posters – I can guarantee you I am not alone, whatever you chose to believe.

  74. Come the revolution, it’s going to be fucking sweet to see Galloway and the entire Parliamentary Labour Party decorating lamp-posts. I don’t really feel like contributing anything more substantial than that, since most of you are neither communists nor remotely relevant to anything outside the swamp of decaying social democratic politics. Let me know if you ever manage to get past your fixation on celebrity messiahs and develop some kind of commitment to independent working-class action, but I won’t hold my breath.

  75. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5907

    From the:
    Editorial comment of Offensiv, weekly paper of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden)

    “Socialists stand for the allegations of rape being investigated without the threat of deportation to the United States or other repressive measures against WikiLeaks.

    “WikiLeaks’ revelations about Iraq and Afghanistan have played an important positive role in the struggle against war and imperialism. Not least in Sweden. It confirmed Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s warmongering role, as well as the government’s pressure on Iraq to stop refugees coming to Sweden. Socialists stand for Breanna Manning’s release and defend the democratic rights of Wikileaks and its sources. A democratic socialist mass movement must stand up for free speech, against violence against women, against war and imperialism.”

  76. William K on said:

    gavin: I’m not interested in a witch-hunt but a recognition that many women have felt insulted by George’s comments. If you want to know the reasons for this then read Salma or Kate’s statement, they both make this clear.

    I think many women felt insulted by the comments of Galloway as they were presented in the hostile bourgeois, New Labour and left sectarian press not by what he actually said and the above discussion has attempted to unpack the distortions but I do agree that Galloway takes some of the blame for not giving other comrades in Respect the heads up so that they could prepare more measured responses for the inevitable shit storm that whatever he says attracts from liberal and sectarian opponents. I think he should try to mend fences with Salma via an apology and Salma should recognise that Galloway is no apologist for rape or even for Assange but that he simply does not believe that Assange should be required to waive his own rights to fight extradition or seek asylum in favour of those of his accusers and that this refusal does not automatically mean he is guilty based on the little we know. Where would we be without this right: sending women back to Saudi to be stoned for adultery that is where or to jurisdictions where they might get twenty five years for something they’d get 150 hours of community service here.

    Certainly the people who take rape least seriously were those brazen enough to categorise what Galloway said with what the fruit bat republican said simply to witch hunt Galloway.

    Must say the other William’s comments on this thread have been most enjoyable and agreeable.

  77. James H on said:

    ‘Presumably those female activists from Woman Against Rape who defend Assange are also ‘rape apologists’ and beneath contempt, and utter male chauvinists.’

    Absolutely not – because Women Against Rape said something very different to Galloway and his assorted apologists here. Your inability to distinguish these points speaks volume. Here, for example:

    ‘The judicial process has been corrupted. On the one hand, the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”. On the other hand, Assange is dealt with by much of the media as if he were guilty, though he has not even been charged. It is not for us to decide whether or not the allegations are true and whether what happened amounts to rape or sexual violence – we don’t have all the facts and what has been said so far has not been tested. But we do know that rape victims’ right to anonymity and defendants’ right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty are both crucial to a just judicial process.’

    Galloway by contrast stated that *even if the claimants WERE speaking the truth*, they would not be describing an act of rape. This is deeply wrong and the blindness of yours and others on the left on this point is a humiliation. Your comrade ‘onlyoneteaminessex’ even implies that penetrating a woman without a condom while she is asleep – and after she has expressly said she would not have unprotected sex – is unobjectionable behaviour among the sexually experienced. Pitiable.

  78. Ian Stewart on said:

    Not being a revolutionary socialist, perhaps I am missing some of the point of this discussion. I have never been a Galloway fan, and to my mind (such as it is) the defence here does not hold water. Andy, I cannot see why Galloway should be defended so vociferously. his career has been a leap from one folly to the next. He has done more to discredit the marxist left over the past decade than anyone I can think of. For most reasonable people, he is, at best, an amusing sideshow with the gift of the gab – like Derek Hatton with a different accent.
    Assange has not even been charged with anything, the Swedish police wanted to question him further, and he ran. Hardly the greets defence tactic. Surely the issue of rape/consent involves two people, and if the women feel in anyway violated, then that is the single most important issue here. Yes, rape cases rarely reach court, and prosecutions are few. This is appalling. In this context I fail to see how shouting down those who have a skeptical view of Assange helps anyone, other than creating a new defence for abusive men – “its a political frame-up!”

  79. James H,

    “Galloway by contrast stated that *even if the claimants WERE speaking the truth*, they would not be describing an act of rape.”

    But that comes back to the point about whether the allegation is that the purported victim was asleep, or not.

    If Galloway believed that she was asleep and therefore did not participate in what happened, then he would be wrong. But that is actually what is disputed and even the statement of the woman concerned does not bear that out, as reproduced on Craig Murray’s blog.

    The assumption is that Galloway believed that she was asleep through the whole thing. That is actually a malicious assumption, and that is why this is a witchhunt. Even if he did not express himself with complete clarity, why the hysteria?

    Its the political context that is the reason for the hysteria. And its not about rape.

  80. Cautiously Pessismistic: Come the revolution, it’s going to be fucking sweet to see Galloway and the entire Parliamentary Labour Party decorating lamp-posts. I don’t really feel like contributing anything more substantial than that, since most of you are neither communists nor remotely relevant to anything outside the swamp of decaying social democratic politics. Let me know if you ever manage to get past your fixation on celebrity messiahs and develop some kind of commitment to independent working-class action, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Oh what a total embarrassment you are. Hands up who believes that this person has never achieved anything in their whole life, but somehow feels qualified to point out all the failings of everyone else.

  81. James H on said:

    Red S:

    Galloway:

    ‘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…’

    ‘Even at its worst’, Galloway says he would not see the allegations as rape. That is indeed wrong (I am glad we agree on that), and it is a sad day when socialists believe such an incident of trivialising rape should nevertheless be subordinated because of the ‘political context’, while denouncing women in the movement whom they previously celebrated as comrades.

  82. William K on said:

    #86 The fact that he was not wearing a condom is not rape in law at least in this country but bad sexual ettiquette just like that Arab guy who was charged with rape because he’d told the woman he had sex with he was Jewish because she’d told him that she would only have sex with Jews. When she found out and accused him of rape the case was dismissed. The rape issue is whether there was an established tacit agreement that penetrative sex could take place without procuring prior agreement for each individual example of it. It appears there was an agreement from the woman possibly only tacit that sex could take place whilst the woman was asleep. For you Assange is guilty in advance before any trial and even guilty of things he is not actually on trial for and he is further proved guilty by exercising his legal right to fight extradition and in the absence of guarantees by seeking asylum. I am pretty sure Assange would love to have the opportunity to clear his name at trial or at least help the Swedish prosecutors to decide whether a trial was appropriate or not but until either sensible arrangements for an interview are made or guarantees against onward extradition are forthcoming that is not going to happen and the absence of these things does not help the women or show that anybody is taking rape seriously least of all those who do not demand that these guarantees are given.

    #87 Assange did not flee Sweden but left after charges were dropped. They case was picked up again by a different prosecutor sometime after but you are not interested in that you are only here to paint Assange as a rapist and coward because you don’t like him or what he did in exposing the US’s bogus war on terror.

  83. A witch hunt is where someone is tried, unfairly, for non-existent crimes. What is happening to Galloway is that people are quite rightly expressing their anger at comments he has actually made. I’m not sure how one can even begin to label that a witchhunt.

  84. Amilcar Cabral on said:

    Call me old fashioned…

    but when I read through many posters denouncing GG as ‘not a socialist’ due to his expressed views on rape it all feels very.. student union.

    Socialists, communists, everybody with a ideologically influenced political position will carry a host of views on marriage, abortion, homosexuality, rape etc. Are these the defining criteria?

    Isn’t its related to class perspective and praxis – practicing what you preach.

    GGs views may be illjudged (my personal opinion) – its the overreaction and petty sectarianism to denounce George that is the bigger surprise.

    A sense of perspective on class politics, and thicker skin to individuals personal foibles, weakness, personal prejudices and a less holier than thou tone was what leads many to admire GGs political career – on balance.

  85. William K on said:

    #93 The anger is pseudo and based on a deliberate mis reading and mis representation of what he said hence the witch hunt. Galloway gave his opinion and is entitled to do so. From the evidence available he thinks Assange is not guilty of rape whilst others clearly are saying he is obviously guilty and that before any trial. By the way the charge of bad sexual etiquette whilst it suggests an opinion in the absence of trial that nothing illegal has been done is not exactly a ringing endorsement from Galloway. I don’t think I’d like to be accused of it.

    Yes this has got witch hunt scrawled all over it and while the bourgeois press is leading the way it is as so often islamaphobes, zionists or simply jealous Assange and Galloway hating left sects that are doing most of the leg work.

  86. James H: Your comrade ‘onlyoneteaminessex’ even implies that penetrating a woman without a condom while she is asleep – and after she has expressly said she would not have unprotected sex – is unobjectionable behaviour among the sexually experienced. Pitiable.

    My guess is we’re about 20-30 posts away from someone enlightening us with a distinction between “democratic penetration” and “imperialist penetration”.

  87. Ian Stewart on said:

    William K,

    Am I skeptical of Julian Assange? Yes. Would this be the ideal place to attack him and besmirch his name? Err, hardly. Less hubris please. You miss the two points I was actually making, one about gorgeous George, the other about the problems created by the “pro” Assange/Galloway camp, vis-a-vis rape and the possible collateral damage. In fact, what I read here leads me to believe that there may be too many closed minds on the subject. Thank you so much for telling me what I think, as I was obviously unsure.
    William K,

    William K,

    William K,

    William K,

  88. prianikoff on said:

    I agree with Laurie Pennie’s description of what happened to her as being rape.

    But I don’t think that there’s a clear comparison between her experience and the allegations being made against Assange.

    Nor am I at all sure that Galloway’s views could be used to dismiss Laurie Pennie’s experience as being “consensual sex”.

    The other major difference with the Assange case is that there are strong motives for false accusations against him.

    Isn’t it very strange that people who appeared to be his supporters and insisted on putting him up in their homes, then resorted to the courts so quickly?

    If a pony tailed weirdo cop could “fall in love” with a climate change protestor, have a relationship with her for years, while all the time being a police informant,
    why is it so hard to believe that a woman couldn’t likewise be used by the state?

  89. William K,

    Exactly. It’s a witch hunt because the witch hunters are deliberately misrepresenting what Galloway actually said. He didn’t say that no means yes. He didn’t say it’s OK to have sex with unconscious women. He didn’t say that if a woman has consented to sex once then the man is entitled to have sex with her again at any point of his choosing in the future.

    What Galloway did say was basic common sense. You might not like him as as a person or share his politics. You might not like his delivery or choice of words. But the message he was conveying was eminently sensible and better reflects the complexity of sexual relations than the fantasy-land of reactionary feminism which infantilises women and belittles actual rape victims.

    Woman A says that she was dozing in bed or half-asleep after having had consensual condom-wearing sex with Assange. She awoke to find him initiating initiating another round of sex, this time without a condom. She says she didn’t like the fact that he wasn’t wearing a condom, but accepts that at no time did she ask him to stop and also that she was not physically coerced or threatened.

    Put the personalities to one side for a moment and ask yourself if this really constitutes rape. Not whether you think the man behaved reprehensibly, but whether what he is alleged to have done is rape.

    The case for this being rape seems to be based on two things:

    1. that he began to penetrate her when she was dozing or half asleep, and that therefore she did not consent

    and

    2. that her consent was dependent on him using a condom as she had previously insisted on him wearing one

    No1 strikes me ludicrous. If you don’t want to want to be sexually touched whilst dozing, don’t go to bed with people you’ve just shagged. It infantilises women to suggest otherwise because it treats them as children who are incapable of navigating their way through sexual relations with men.

    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.

  90. James H,

    “*at its worst*,”

    All depends whether he was taking “*at its worst*” from the actual statements of the purported victims (which have been available online for many months) or the mendacious version spun by those out to get Assange at any cost. If you want the original, go and look on Craig Murrays’s blog for example.

    If you are saying that Galloway is saying it is OK to have sex with someone who is unconscious (i.e something like rape using rohypnol), then why not say it outright and write an article about it somewhere?

    Before you do, however, remember his record of winning libel suits!

  91. tony collins: Oh what a total embarrassment you are. Hands up who believes that this person has never achieved anything in their whole life, but somehow feels qualified to point out all the failings of everyone else.

    To be honest, given a) the continuing dominance of capitalist social relationships over the whole of the entire world, and b) the massively weakened position of the British working class compared to a generation or so ago, and the huge decline in class confidence and militancy that we’ve seen over the last thirty years or so, I’m not sure that any of us have that much to brag about. Still, if you’d honestly find my life history that fascinating, I’d be happy to give you a brief resume; but I can’t see what relevance it has, because no matter whether I’m a modern-day Makhno or my only political activity consists of making vitriolic comments on rubbish lefty blogs, it’s still not acceptable to have sex with someone who’s not conscious.

    William K:
    #93
    Yes this has got witch hunt scrawled all over it and while the bourgeois press is leading the way it is as so often islamaphobes, zionists or simply jealous Assange and Galloway hating left sects that are doing most of the leg work.

    Aye, that’s it, we’ve all been misled by the bourgeois press. Why stop there? Perhaps the extraordinary united front of mainstream liberals, the SP, the SWP – that islamophobic, Zionist, Galloway-hating sect who invited him to speak at the opening rally of Marxism 2012 just a few months ago -, the AWL – who are, of course, famous for their willingness to agree with the SWP about anything -, Kate Hudson, Salma Yaqoob, Lenin-loathing ultra-leftists like yours truly, and anyone else with even a smidgen of decent gender politics has been co-ordinated by the CIA, and we’re all receiving orders directly from our handlers in Washington. Or it could be that Galloway’s comments are obviously indefensible. It’s got to be one or the other, but who can say which is more likely? Frankly, if the poor dear feels so persecuted, he’s more than welcome to piss off to Iran, Syria or Ecuador; since he’s already relocated from Glasgow to Bethnal Green to Bradford, via the Big Brother House, as part of his dedicated service to his constituents, he must be used to travelling by now.

    Amilcar Cabral:
    Call me old fashioned…

    but when I read through many posters denouncing GG as ‘not a socialist’ due to his expressed views on rape it all feels very.. student union.

    Socialists, communists, everybody with a ideologically influenced political position will carry a host of views on marriage, abortion, homosexuality, rape etc. Are these the defining criteria?

    This “oh, maybe you think rape’s ok, maybe you don’t, it’s just a personal matter” attitude seems to betray a deeply distorted perspective of who actually makes up the working class. If, when you think of the working class, you imagine it as being made up solely of white heterosexual working-class blokes working in unionised industries, then that kind of attitude may make some sense; but in the real world, where women make up half the class, dismissing issues that are directly affect them as not being important will not get you very far. Of course, as has been documented at length, even if Galloway wasn’t a rape apologist he still wouldn’t have anything particularly useful to contribute to any kind of socialism worthy of the name, but that’s another issue.

  92. All this moralising by people who would happily see US and Israeli forces enter Iran and fuck anything over the age of 7.

  93. Cautiously Pessismistic,

    ” it’s still not acceptable to have sex with someone who’s not conscious.”

    No one has said this, and nor is this alleged by the puported victims. Do a little research. Start with Craig Murray’s blog.

    “Frankly, if the poor dear feels so persecuted, he’s more than welcome to piss off to Iran, Syria or Ecuador”

    You mean to some place less ‘civilised’ than Sweden or good old Blighty? Back in the day, it used to be Russia or even, in the words of the Tory racist Alan Clarke, ‘Bongo-Bongo Land’ that people who didn’t think the West was the be-all and end-all of perfection were invited to ‘piss off’ to.

    For all the posturing, here we have just a chauvinist liberal who doesn’t like Johnny Foriegner telling ‘us’ what to do.

  94. Funky Joe Stalin on said:

    Marko:
    All this moralising by people who would happily see US and Israeli forces enter Iran and fuck anything over the age of 7.

    Easily the most bizarre statement ever on this site and typical of the standards of self-defined Socialists. Don’t agree? Paint them as Zionists.

    Let’s test your logic. Is Salma Yaqoob a Zionist war-monger?

    Marko you are a shockingly poor representative of whatever it is you represent.

  95. William K on said:

    #102 Galloway’s comments are clearly not indifensible so it must be the former. A gaggle of hyper worked up sects have got together with the liberal press to misrepresent and apply pressure for a witch hunt. On the question of consent it would appear that approval for penetration without explicit consent for each individual instance was consented to either actually or tacitly and the failure to apply a condom is not rape under current law so the worst that would appear to have taken place is bad sexual etiquette. That is not exactly something to be proud of. But to suggest that Galloway is apologsing for rape is unsustainable and malicious. Let’s get this straight for Galloway no means no and stop means stop and if Assange was convicted at trial on these grounds you would hear no argument from his that Assange had committed rape but when there is no evidence of violence it is only one word against the other so a conviction is not likely and they cannot even decide if a trial is apropriate because they won’t send someone to interview assange in the embassy. That is also unsustainable and only makes the actions of the Swedish government more suspicious by the day. Nobody is opposed to Assange having a fair trial least of all Assange but he is entitled to the necessary guarantees and these should be made after the interview in the UK which will almost certainly result in the charges being dropped.

    Still think Galloway owes Salma an apology not for what he said but for not preparing the ground first and discussing it with those who would inevitably be left trying to defend something they weren’t expecting.

  96. William K on said:

    #102 “Frankly, if the poor dear feels so persecuted, he’s more than welcome to piss off to Iran, Syria or Ecuador”

    Looks like your cover has been blown.

  97. Funky,

    That previous comment was aimed at cautiously pessimistic, who appeared horrified by Galloway’s comments but his own comment hinted at support for imperialist crimes (e.g. his idea that Galloway go and live in Iran). I should have made that clear.

  98. Still, if you’d honestly find my life history that fascinating, I’d be happy to give you a brief resume; but I can’t see what relevance it has, because no matter whether I’m a modern-day Makhno or my only political activity consists of making vitriolic comments on rubbish lefty blogs, it’s still not acceptable to have sex with someone who’s not conscious.

    You don’t seem capable of following the logic you yourself set out. You didn’t say anything about rape or consent, your post was just a load of ultra-left intellectual wank about seeing politicians being killed after a revolution. That’s what makes your posts a comedy.

    Just to refresh your memory, you said this:

    Come the revolution, it’s going to be fucking sweet to see Galloway and the entire Parliamentary Labour Party decorating lamp-posts. I don’t really feel like contributing anything more substantial than that, since most of you are neither communists nor remotely relevant to anything outside the swamp of decaying social democratic politics. Let me know if you ever manage to get past your fixation on celebrity messiahs and develop some kind of commitment to independent working-class action, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Nothing to do with rape or consent. Just a ridiculous bit of posturing in place of actual politics. Now, when I responded by ridiculing you, you chose to respond as if I’d taken you to task over comments about rape. But as anyone can see, you said nothing about it.

    Seriously, it’s just embarrassing for someone I presume to be an adult to go on about hanging George Galloway from a lamp post. If you want to discuss issues of rape and consent, feel free. But don’t pretend that’s why you posted here. You posted cos you wanted to look leftier than everyone else. It’s embarrassing.

  99. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    James H:
    ‘ Your comrade ‘onlyoneteaminessex’ even implies that penetrating a woman without a condom while she is asleep – and after she has expressly said she would not have unprotected sex – is unobjectionable behaviour among the sexually experienced. Pitiable.

    Firstly, I am no-ones “comrade”, but hold similar views (variable) on many issues to some who post one here. Secondly mister, I find libellous creeps like you more than a little weird , to say the least.

    Most importantly, I have not intimated in the slightest that penetrating a woman whilst she’s asleep – with or without a condom – is acceptable behaviour. Not in my, or Galloway’s books , anyway. But the case for what happens between the sheets has been both eruditely and , in one case, graphically argued (above).

    It’s quite right to suggest that people like you are so devoid of any rational moral judgement that you quite conveniently ignore wider issues, e,g. war crimes , invasion of another’s territory , and genocide inflicted on people in their own land , add nauseam. You’d sooner bind yourself the unreality and twisted version of what’s being accused and ,likewise, pervert any judgement – based not on personal dislike of individuals concerned or imperialist sympathies – but the objective , ambiguous, and unproven accusations as presented.

  100. Red S:
    Cautiously Pessismistic,

    ” it’s still not acceptable to have sex with someone who’s not conscious.”

    No one has said this, and nor is this alleged by the puported victims. Do a little research. Start with Craig Murray’s blog.

    K, research done. This is what is being alleged:
    “On 17th August 2010, in the home of the injured party [name given] in Enkoping, Assange
    deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to
    sleep, was in a helpless state.”
    This is what Galloway had to say about it:
    “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. At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this. Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know.”
    I think by this point it is very clearly a conversation about whether it’s acceptable to have sex with someone who’s not conscious.

    Red S:
    “Frankly, if the poor dear feels so persecuted, he’s more than welcome to piss off to Iran, Syria or Ecuador”

    You mean to some place less ‘civilised’ than Sweden or good old Blighty? Back in the day, it used to be Russia or even, in the words of the Tory racist Alan Clarke, ‘Bongo-Bongo Land’ that people who didn’t think the West was the be-all and end-all of perfection were invited to ‘piss off’ to.

    For all the posturing, here we have just a chauvinist liberal who doesn’t like Johnny Foriegner telling ‘us’ what to do.

    Nah, they were chosen specifically because they’re all anti-working class regimes Galloway has some time for. I would never tell an honest internationalist militant that they should leave the country, but when dealing with anti-imperialists like George Galloway, whose politics are heavily based around sucking up to those factions of the ruling class that happen to clash with the US/UK axis, it seems appropriate enough. If Galloway actually thinks Assad is the last bastion of Arab dignity, why shouldn’t he go over there to support him? Thinking the Iranian, Syrian and Ecuadorian ruling classes are indefensible in no way means I support imperialist intervention against those countries, it’s just a restatement of the principle that the workers of the world have no country.

    Nothing to do with rape or consent. Just a ridiculous bit of posturing in place of actual politics. Now, when I responded by ridiculing you, you chose to respond as if I’d taken you to task over comments about rape. But as anyone can see, you said nothing about it.

    Seriously, it’s just embarrassing for someone I presume to be an adult to go on about hanging George Galloway from a lamp post. If you want to discuss issues of rape and consent, feel free. But don’t pretend that’s why you posted here. You posted cos you wanted to look leftier than everyone else. It’s embarrassing.

    If my tone is harsh, it’s because I don’t see much common ground for a reasonable discussion. If someone who generally has a sound understanding of class and capitalism comes across as being a bit confused on gender issues, I’d make an effort to try and be diplomatic when criticising them; equally, if someone with sound feminist politics came across as being a bit naive about the state, I’d be honest about thinking that they were misguided, but I’d try to do it in a way that wouldn’t get their back up too much. But when you have people peddling patriarchal crap because they can’t admit that George Galloway could ever possibly set a foot wrong, I don’t feel like I’m having a comradely discussion with sincere but misguided friends; I feel contempt, which is what came across in my first post.
    Clearly, as Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson show, it’s possible to be a reformist and still think what Galloway said was indefensible; but it’s made very clear in Andy Newman’s opening post that his willingness to defend Galloway is a product of his social-democratic politics: “My own characterisation of Respect is that it is a broadly labourist party that gives expression to anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiment that cannot find electoral expression through the Labour Party, and that therefore Respect’s own interests are complementary to the broad labour movement’s objective of securing a Labour government.”
    Now, if you want to pretend that the twentieth century never happened, and that it’s a perfectly viable idea for some socialist politicians to lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for the purposes of running capitalism in the interests of the workers, then go ahead, and if you then think it’s a necessary part of that project to swear blind loyalty to said lefty politicians, and stick by them firmly when they say indefensible things that cause their closest comrades to recoil, then that is, as the saying goes, on you. But when you cobble together a vile brew of patriarchy and reheated social democracy, you can’t particularly expect communists to be nice to you about it.

  101. Red S,

    (from #57 and #61) I think he was wrong to say what he did about rape, and he should apologise unconditionally. I also think it’s important to make the distinction between defending Assange against being extradited to the US, and saying that Assange shouldn’t answer the the Swedish charges. Naomi Wold and Women Against Rape are clear that there’s a hypocrisy over the Assange case, but that that does not absolve him of facing the charges brought in Sweden. The same case has been argued by Socialist Worker, the Socialist Party, Socialist Resistance, Lindsay German, Salma Yaqoob, Kate Hudson, and many others – it’s hardly rocket science.

    I have to say that if I was a Respect member I would be fucking despairing about this thread. I suspect that in private there’s a much healthier conversation going on – I note that Galloway’s defenders remain all male, and that there are a number of very significant silences.

  102. William K on said:

    #111 You are not being a bit harsh you are being a complete idiot. asleep is not unconscious and yes believe it or not people who have had sex together do often initiate sexual activity with a sleeping partner. who knows if that happened here. Nobody calls this rape. It only becomes rape if the person wakes up and asks for the initiator to stop and they don’t or if explicit non-consent to such activities is stated in advance. I do think that whilst legally no rape has occurred that it is anyway bad sexual etiquette if previous consent was considered tacitly given rather than explicitly asked for. again we don’t know what the details are here. This is not going to be proved in any court especially in the absence of any violence because it is one word against the other. You clearly have decided that assange is guilty in advance because you don’t like him or his work exposing the US’s bogus war on terror as a war on people. WHy don’t you shut up now or go and live in your beloved America or Israel.

  103. William K on said:

    ~112 `I also think it’s important to make the distinction between defending Assange against being extradited to the US, and saying that Assange shouldn’t answer the the Swedish charges.’

    Assange shouldn’t answer the Swedish charges until the battle to defend him against being extradited to the US is won. You cannot separate them in this way without robbing Assange of his rights to fight extradition and seek asylum in the absence of guarantees. It is the sophistry designed to make it look like Assange doesn’t want to clear his name because he MUST be guilty.

  104. “Nobody calls this rape. It only becomes rape if the person wakes up and asks for the initiator to stop and they don’t or if explicit non-consent to such activities is stated in advance.”

    Are you serious?

    So if you woke up with someone penetrating you in a manner to which you had previously refused, you would just consider that bad sexual ettiquette because you are already in the sex game with them, so being penetrated while asleep (which is unconcious btw) is fair dos?

  105. I note that Galloway’s defenders remain all male, and that there are a number of very significant silences.

    Meaningless. The SWP anonytrolls who have posted a lot of really nasty drivel today against George have all been male. The people who have actually taken part in the debate from the SWP and are against George are all male. As for silences, there are many wise heads who think that it was a lack of silence that got us into this situation, and don’t want to make things worse.

    I’m a Respect member and the thing I despair about is that supposedly the most advanced parts of the working class are only interested in discussing these issues when it gives them a chance to attack other parts of the left. If we take away that part of the trolling, there’s been some great debate. How come you’ve failed to see it?

  106. George’s problem? Big ego and big mouth. And, into the bargain patronising. On what basis can I say that? Read the pish he regularly spouts in the Scottish Daily Record – as opposed to the once in a blue moon political piece. But of course the DR is produced for the inelegant masses.

  107. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “asleep is not unconscious”

    You must be joking. The Oxford English Dictionary defines sleep as: “a regularly recurring condition of body and mind in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.”

    You claim that you are conscious during sleep? How odd.

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

  109. Harsanyi_Janos,

    The vast majority of people would be immediately awakened if a sexual activity began while they were asleep and would either consent or not consent consciously in a very short time. If they stayed asleep that would be a different situation which would either involve drugs or some other abnormality, and sex in these circumstances would indeed amount to rape.

    But that is not alleged in the Assange case. Read the statement of the alleged victim which is on Craig Murray’s blog right now.

  110. *sigh*

    Andy and Tony, do you know what you sound like when you call for rallying around GG’s stupid comments because “it’s a witchhunt against the Left”? You sound exactly like the SWP rallying around John Rees in December 2007. Do not become that which you fought against.

    Our leaders are only human and they need to be told when they’ve put their foot in it big-time and given the Right a stick to beat us with. I back Salma 100%.

  111. prianikoff on said:

    #115

    Mhairi McAlpine

    “if you woke up with someone penetrating you in a manner to which you had previously refused, you would just consider that bad sexual ettiquette because you are already in the sex game with them, so being penetrated while asleep (which is unconcious btw) is fair dos?”

    A bit hypothetical really.

    For instance, a woman might stick her tongue in a bloke’s mouth and give him glandular fever.
    Women quite often stick their fingers up men’s arses uninvited during sex.
    A friend once told me about an Irish woman who had a habit of doing that.
    Perhaps it was you?

    Are these acts grounds for bringing a court case?

  112. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “The vast majority of people would be immediately awakened if a sexual activity began while they were asleep and would either consent or not consent consciously in a very short time.”

    I do not think that the second part of your claim is true in any way. While it may not be the case here; as a general matter, its often the statement of female victims that they were too shocked or frightened to resist. Its untrue and unhelpful, I think, to insist that a woman must cry out to be a victim of rape.

  113. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “Women quite often stick their fingers up men’s arses uninvited during sex.
    A friend once told me about an Irish woman who had a habit of doing that.
    Perhaps it was you?”

    This is disgraceful and should be, in my view, deleted. Especially since this “prianikoff” is hiding behind a shield of anonymity.

  114. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    ” You sound exactly like the SWP rallying around John Rees in December 2007. ”

    Or the SWP cadres giving accused sex pest Martin Smith an ovation.

  115. Harsanyi_Janos,

    “its often the statement of female victims that they were too shocked or frightened to resist. ”

    Even if that generalisation were true, it is irrelevant to this case. Go and read the statement of the main accuser on Craig Murray’s blog to find this out for yourself.

  116. Women quite often stick their fingers up men’s arses uninvited during sex.

    And men often stick their fingers up womens cunts uninvited.

    No invite= bad manners
    No consent = rape (although technically sexual assault under UK law)

    You clearly see it differently tho. I suppose fucking you with a strap on after you had fallen asleep would be fine with you?

  117. Mark Krantz on said:

    The SWP in Manchester were set to back Kate Hudson the Respect candidate. I was looking forwards to being part of her election campaign team. The SWP would have argued that Tusc should not stand as the last thing we needed was to split the ‘Left’ vote in Manchester.

    At the general election Labour’s Lucy Powell LOST the Manchester Withington seat she stood in to the Lib Dems – because she was pro war and a Blairite and a banker. But in every other Manchester seat the swing was towards Labour. When Lucy Powell spoke at a Trades Council debate she was rounded on by former Labour Party members as a candidate that had been parachuted into a safe Labour seat. Those who claim she is a good candidate delude themselves.

    Kate Hudson could have been a candidate that the Left could have united around. The SWP would have supported her as Respect candidate – in spite of past problems we had in Respect.

    Only Galloway trashed this possibility.

    His rape trivialisation would have meant that Respect could not have booked a room at the University. The Womens’ Officer would have blocked the booking – and if it had gone ahead a GG meeting would have faced a picket.

    GG has trashed his party’s prospect because for him it is ‘his’ party.

    Left Unity cannot be built by trivialising rape. That is why despite 101 posts here not one woman has supported GG on this question.

    The whole Left is weaker for this tragedy

  118. prianikoff on said:

    #123 continued…

    Pregnancy, of course, is uniquely a hazard for women.

    But I’d have thought the first resort would be to go to an abortion clinic, not the police station. Particularly if you were an ardent political supporter of the man who was responsible.

    Whether, or not a woman objects to a particular physical act depends almost entirely on the nature of the relationship she’s in.
    For instance, if a woman feels that she’s be raped in marriage, the “marriage” is almost certainly over.
    Similar considerations apply to this case.
    Which make it so odd that these women didn’t explore other avenues to deal with the alleged incidents before resorting to the police.

    If Assange did what he was alleged to have, wouldn’t there have been physical evidence of bruising?
    The forensics also show that the alleged split condom did NOT contain any traces of Assange’s DNA and it had NEVER been worn.
    In fact, it appears to have been cut with a knife.

    So the physical evidence points towards a frame-up.
    Yet you aren’t prepared to even countenance this possibility.

  119. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Red S,

    Red, I am responding to your misleading statements about rape. If you stop making them, then I will stop pointing out their fallacy.

  120. prianikoff on said:

    #128 So what you appear to be saying is the real examples which I’ve mention are actually rape.
    And that you are a potential rapist dildo fucker!
    Not to mention a potential murderess who wants to people up.
    Lizzie Borden took an axe…

  121. prianikoff,

    “A friend once told me about an Irish woman who had a habit of doing that.
    Perhaps it was you?”

    That is below the belt and unwarranted. I’m opposed to sexual allegations being levied without evidence even against Mhairi McAlpine, though it has to be said she has not helped
    her case by ‘rapist’-baiting other commenters earlier.

  122. Harsanyi_Janos,

    “If you stop making them, then I will stop pointing out their fallacy.”

    I never asked you to stop saying anything. I’ll leave others to judge whether what you say makes sense or not though.

    Are you sure you are not confusing me with someone else?

  123. So what you appear to be saying is the real examples which I’ve mention are actually rape.

    Not necessarily, there doesnt have to be an explicit invite, but there has to be consent. If there is no consent then it is rape.

    And that you are a potential rapist dildo fucker!

    See if you reckon that once you are in the “sex game” you dont need an “invite” for “insertion”, and consent is given by falling asleep next to someone once you are in the “sex game”, you can hardly object to waking up being fucked with a strap on, now can you.

    Me? I think thats rape.

    Thats the difference between us. I think that penetration without consent is unacceptable, you don’t.

  124. prianikoff on said:

    #133 Rubbish!
    It’s completely warranted.
    I was actually told that her name was Mhairi and that she didn’t cut her finger nails!

  125. prianikoff on said:

    “Thats the difference between us. I think that penetration without consent is unacceptable, you don’t.”

    No, the difference is that I think that penetration without consent is unacceptable.
    You are a lying idiot.

  126. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Red S:
    Harsanyi_Janos,

    “If you stop making them, then I will stop pointing out their fallacy.”

    I never asked you to stop saying anything. I’ll leave others to judge whether what you say makes sense or not though.

    Are you sure you are not confusing me with someone else?

    I assume that you are the same poster who posted at 121; a post which suggests that it is not possible to be a rape victim who remains silent. If not, then I apologise. If so, then I will reiterate that it is a misleading claim.

  127. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Perhaps I am; if by “consent” you mean those who affirm their willingness and by “not consent” you mean everyone else [those who said “no” and those who said nothing] then I agree with your statement. If however, you include only those who said “no”, then I disagree. I assumed — perhaps quite wrongly — that you were assuming the second.

  128. prianikoff on said:

    Before I go to bed, just one point about the obvious dishonesty of Mhairy’s debating style.

    1/ She’s insinuating arguments used by GG as mine, when I’ve never made any such argument during the entire debate on this topic. Check through the threads.

    2/ She implies that I argue that going to sleep next to someone you’ve had sex with justifies any sexual act whatsoever, which I don’t think *anyone* has been arguing!

    3/ She’s now introduced the distinction between an explicit invite (not necesssary in her view), and consent.
    This strikes me as being almost impossible in any real relationship. What exactly is she proposing? Some kind of legal contract in triplicate?

    It’s almost an argument for going back to chaperoning, no sex before marriage and Mafia-style revenge for any infringements. Actually she’s deeply, deeply reactionary.
    I’m not surprised that her mental equipment doesn’t allow her to countenance the possibility that Assange is being framed by state actors.

    She reminds me of Oswin in “Asylum of the Daleks”, who thinks she’s still a human, but has been totally converted.
    I so sorry Mhairy, you’re a Dalek.

  129. Harsanyi_Janos,

    “if by ‘consent’ you mean those who affirm their willingness…”

    And then the discussion moves on to what ‘affirm’ means. Does it have to be in writing, or verbally effusive, or what?

    Just to ask the question reveals how problematic this issue is. One simple way to ‘solve’ it is to say that the word of an accuser cannot be questioned, but reasonable people – and reasonable jurors to be specific – do not generally operate that way. That may frustrate some people, but you have to prove guilt, not assume it based on some scheme of how people *ought* to behave during consensual sexual activity.

  130. 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

  131. James H on said:

    [Tried to post this on the other thread, but not able to?]

    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.

  132. Hi Doloras

    I think you might’ve missed a few things I’ve said on this. The first thing about the difference between this and “back the SWP” in 2007 is that John Rees’s claims were absolutely false – there was no witch hunt of the SWP, and the call for unity was an attempt to destroy dissent.

    This is slightly different. I’ve not hidden from expressing how I feel about Galloway’s comments; I’m not calling for blind loyalty. I think his comments were idiotic. The key thing is, others are then using this as a chance to finish Galloway off politically. There’s a genuine attack that is independent of his comments. Rees and the SWP had no such actual attack to defend against.

    Also, I’m not making this a binary issue. Again I think you must’ve missed what I said earlier – I’m quite able to both support Salma and Kate *and* to call for Galloway to be defended. I don’t think that if you support Kate it makes you a witch hunter. As I also said earlier, my real issue is with the right and the mass media, not with those on the left who disagree over blame and intent.

    I’ve also said that I think if people think Kate made a bad decision, they should remember that she was forced into that decision. I’m not blindly loyal to George here; I think people’s responses are largely down to the way George dealt with the issue once he made the comments.

    I hope that clears it up a bit. I am disappointed that people so easily assume that I must be after blind loyalty to George Galloway. Having gone through the lies and deceit the SWP continually produced during the respect split, and the attempts to crush dissent. I’ve learned a lot from the experience. I think I’ve been clear throughout these threads that it’s possible to take a nuanced position without automatically condemning anyone you don’t agree with.

    My main issue with Kate and Salma’s actions is simply that I don’t think it helps the left to do those things at this time – but surely it’s implicit that my disagreement is purely tactical and not deep: I think a few things could’ve been done differently, but I don’t demand them. I think the blame lies with George not engaging with the structures of Respect and not availing himself of the advice of friends.

    This is nothing like Rees’s fake attacks, and my call for unity and defence of Galloway is nothing like the shit the SWP put people through in the name of “defending” itself.

    I hope that clarifies a few things.

  133. William K on said:

    `The key thing is, others are then using this as a chance to finish Galloway off politically.’

    Well they’ve picked the wrong pony then. The vast majority and not just on the left will look at the situation and consider that Galloway is right that Assange has probably not actually broken the law and is unlikely to be found guilty of rape in a genuine trial based on what we know and in fact in this country this case would probably never make it to trial. They will probably further agree with Galloway that Assange is howevever again based only on what we know guilty of bad sexual etiquette if he assumed on previous experience that he had tacit approval to penetrate during sleep instead of gaining explicit permission (we don’t know that he didn’t) or failed to don the requested condom before penetrative sex if she was not awake to check. As a witch hunt it of course hasn’t taken off and is now restricted to the tiny sectarian left headed by the SWP with the `left’ zionists, `decents’ and Islamaphobes supplying the bullets. THe SWP’s alliance with these people for the sole reason that they see Respect as occupying their god given territory is more likely to be the final nail in their coffin than any kind of threat to Galloway’s `career’. The sad thing is that the SWP appear to have managed to mobilise a layer of feminist women to their cause despite the fact that many of them have found themselves victims of the SWP’s macho machine on several occasions themselves.

    The left takes rape seriously. Those accusing Galloway of being an apologist for rape because he thinks Assange is likely innocent whilst they think he is definitely guilty despite no trial yet or of being morally equivalent to the republican who said you can’t get pregnant via rape or those who refuse to demand guarantees about onward extradition so that any interviews or trials can take place most certainly do not take rape seriously. The only thing they take seriously is their hatred of Assange for his role in exposing the US’s War On Terror as a bogus front for War On People and their own sectarian self interest.

  134. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    Women quite often stick their fingers up men’s arses uninvited during sex.

    Why has this never happened to me then? 🙁

  135. prianikoff: It’s almost an argument for going back to chaperoning, no sex before marriage and Mafia-style revenge for any infringements. Actually she’s deeply, deeply reactionary.

    That is a pertinent observation, as in the new feminist inspired Canadian sexual assault law, which replaced the crime of rape in canada, an explicitly transactional form of consent is required.
    for example, the supreme court has advised that no man should touch a woman’s leg without asking for verbal agreement first.

    However, feminists and their supporters should beware of unintended consequences. In one subsequent case, it was argued that a man should know that a woman does not consent to sex if she is wearing another man’s wedding ring.

    The infantalising of women is one of the most pernicious aspects of these debates.

  136. The objection for some is what GG didn’t say. He argued the case with no reference to what is alleged: not that Assange just woke up with a morning glory and maybe misread the situation, but that i) he didn’t use protection when the woman had asked for condoms to be used and b) that when she said no repeatedly, he ignored her and carried on, using his physical strength. If that’s proven, then that is rape as it is sex against the expressed wishes of the woman.

    In omitting this stage of the “insertion” as per the allegation (which is what he was discussing), GG distorted the case.

    Until Sweden guarantees no extradition to the US, Assange shouldn’t go, but we shouldn’t dismiss the seriousness of the allegations which will have to be proven in a court of law.

    The left has to face up that this is not a Manichean tussle between absolutes, or a football match where you cheer on one side regardless. It is a genuinely challenging and intriguing conundrum. Here we have someone who did a power of good with Wikileaks, who is then almost immediately revealed to have some deep character flaws — sometimes this process of revelation takes years.

    I felt so desperate re the powerlessness of the left and the assent of the right that when Assange came along, I was delighted to find we had an effective champion. My first response when the allegations surfaced was that the forces of evuhl were ‘avin’ a larf. But as a picture has taken its shaky shape, it’s looking murky — on BOTH sides. But, as I and others have said, all parties need to have their day in court because we are only the court of public opinion right now and waddo we know?

    None of this diminishes Assange’s Wikileaks work, but it is a useful lesson in not elevating human beings to the status of deity.

  137. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Madam Miaow:

    Here we have someone who did a power of good with Wikileaks, who is then almost immediately revealed to have some deep character flaws — sometimes this process of revelation takes years.

    What character flaws are those ? Not those unproven allegations I hope – because that would spoil an otherwise intelligent and balanced contribution which has become your hallmark.

    PS

    In a football match ,supporters boo their own side when they are performing below expectations, i.e. do not cheer on irrespective and unconditionally 😉

  138. Madam Miaow,

    Madam Miaow I concur with everything you said with the exception that GG “He argued the case with no reference to what is alleged: not that Assange just woke up with a morning glory and maybe misread the situation” GG in his 37 or minute long podcast on the youtube molucca red channel said a lot of things and also showed a lovely video – he was careful as a charmingly old fashioned ‘gent’ not to ‘name’ the 2 Women in the Assange case but did if my memory is correct urge people to research the ‘allegations’ to help understand the context. Much of the material leaked by police and prosecutors to the media in Sweden including authentic transcript of interviews with the 3 key protagonists in the case and 9 other ‘witnesses’ have been in the public domain for over 2 years…. a very unusual state of affairs. Perhaps GG assumed that much of his potential audience would follow advice and access this material and perhaps share his basic perspective… When the twitterstorm broke he tried to encourage his detractors to view the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners Programme entitled ‘Sex, Lies and Julian Assange’…. What I find intriquing is that many of those who insist GG is a ‘rape apologist’ appear to be basically unaware of all this material relating to the case and when Craig Murray named AA on Newsnight he was basically shouted down by Esler and Smith even thought the same programme had no issue with naming and shaming Nafissatou-Diallo during DSK’s shortlived difficulties in New York http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/08/nafissatou-diallo-and-anna-ardin-why-opposite-bbc-policies/
    all in all we seem to be in a very fine mess… but it is not GG who got us into this… nor should he bear the brunt psychological projection from males and females whose public morality is probably somewhat different from their private reality… All of us Girls and Boys need to stand up to the ’emotional plague epidemic’ that seeks to constrain discussion and force people into opposing camps… while our common oppressors who have the blood of millions dripping from their hands laugh all the way to the bank. x

  139. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    “Post 142 says 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

    I know I am going to be lambasted for this on a whole number of levels but with all due honesty the only places that this is becoming an “emotional plague epidemic” is in the cyber-world, especially on this website. In the real world there are other social and economic issues that are coming to the fore before the case Assange and what Galloway said or did not say.

    I consider Galloway made ignorant remarks on the issue and were not of a political nature, but from what I can gather his personal feelings, and it is up to his ‘Party’ to decide what they do about that. Of which I am not a member, but if I was I would want Galloway to retract his comments immediately . On the question of Assange there should be an investigation into the whole case and I believe it should not be left to the capitalist governments in Sweden, Britain or the USA. I believe it should be a Labour Movement investigation involving the Swedish and British trade union movement, Socialists and Feminists to look at all the documents and discuss with all the participants involved to find out the truth of the matter. As I have said I will be lambasted for being …………………

  140. William K: As a witch hunt it of course hasn’t taken off and is now restricted to the tiny sectarian left headed by the SWP with the `left’ zionists, `decents’ and Islamaphobes supplying the bullets .

    The SWP wish to be no part of any witch-hunt against Galloway, regardless of any previous differences. The SWP want a stronger left, and that will be a left in which Galloway is a crucial player, a status he has earned. He is wrong to have made his remarks, one effect of his actions is to weaken the left and so weaken the cause of anti-imperialism.

    Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson are to be congratulated for speaking out. This is necessary. Andy Newman is wrong to say that Salma ought to have kept her criticisms private and is wrong to say that Kate stood down probably to avoid an electoral humiliation. That amounts to a devaluation of those who speak up for women’s rights.

  141. onlyoneteaminessex,

    No, not the unproven allegations, but a whole raft of flaws which is part of being human and not the deity that some would prefer. Among other things, his own lonely-heart ad painted a picture of a sad boy who, having led a peripatetic childhood, was at a loss how to relate to the world.

  142. onlyoneteaminessex,

    It is a difficult one (dare I say “hard”?) but the prospect that the allegations might be true (and would constitute character flaws) has sent a section of the left into an immediate denial mode, and I just don’t think this is useful. It is interesting, though, in showing up a deeper attitude towards women which has been like having a search-beam switched on or a mirror held up. Smashing the mirror is pointless when we could get a perfectly good debate out of what we’re seeing, thereby maturing as a movement.

  143. stuart: Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson are to be congratulated for speaking out.

    Of course if they had been SWP members and had spoken out about the SWP or any of its leading members they would have been expelled and vilified.

    The point is that there is a state sponsored campaign against Galloway (and Assange). The moral panic around Galloway’s remarks is entirely manufactured and unreal. I don’t admire Galloways politics ( I am a marxist) but I can recognise he is being attacked because he is perceived as a threat to new labour and to british imperialism. The Bradford win by Respect shook up the establishment. It was an example of the mass hostility that exists to the austerity and war drive of the capitalist class. By resigning as a candidate in the bye election Kate Hudson has played into their hands and has shown a complete lack of working class solidarity. Only an idiot or a radical feminists would view Galloway as a supporter of rape

    sandy

  144. Madam Miaow,

    Madam I read you blog post …. the whole cucumber thing sounds a real pain!… I once was literally trapped in a council flat in London while working for poverty wages for a small marxist group in a technical post [typesetter]during the 1980’s – I was homeless and the tenent of a the flat a more senior female comrade who was publically a ‘Lesbian’ basically ‘seduced me’ as soon as I was naked she became very violent flipped me on my back and tried to shove her hand [which was missing several digits as she had a birth defect] up my Anus…. I successfully prevented penertration then she started to hit me with the other hand [which did have 5 digits]… bruising my back and head…
    I managed to escape to another room and sneek out of the flat as soon as it was light…. For the next few days this person would visit me in my workplace – where she was a well respected comrade and stay for hours in the same room where I was working… trying to persuade me that we should contiune a relationship… like a total plonker I actually I actually did return to her flat again but managed to avoid any deformed arms being thrust up my bum…. To be honest I was so psychologically confused by this situation I decided to resign from the organisation[citing profound mental health issues in my resignation letter to the National Secretary] I had been active in for 10 years and run away to Wolverhampton!….. Where the ‘organisation’ tracked me down and basically ignored my resignation because they needed me to carry out important tasks….Which included having monthly meetings with the woman who had abused me…. not much fun I can tell you…. In the end I Ran Away to CUBA!

    Anyway I can empathise with the Women in the Assange Case… but it is not only lefty men who can be incredibly weird and creepy some of the women are very scary too!

    More people should study the police interview transcripts in the Assange Case – dont feel quilty they have been in the public domain for two years…. http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/protocol.pdf

  145. William K:
    #111 You are not being a bit harsh you are being a complete idiot.asleep is not unconscious

    No. Asleep is not conscious. I genuinely can’t believe we’re having to discuss this.

    and yes believe it or not people who have had sex together do often initiate sexual activity with a sleeping partner.who knows if that happened here.Nobody calls this rape.It only becomes rape if the person wakes up and asks for the initiator to stop and they don’t or if explicit non-consent to such activities is stated in advance.

    The absence of a no is not the same as yes. And when explicit non-consent to unprotected sex *is* stated in advance?

    I do think that whilst legally no rape has occurred that it is anyway bad sexual etiquette if previous consent was considered tacitly given rather than explicitly asked for.again we don’t know what the details are here.This is not going to be proved in any court especially in the absence of any violence because it is one word against the other.You clearly have decided that assange is guilty in advance because you don’t like him or his work exposing the US’s bogus war on terror as a war on people.WHy don’t you shut up now or go and live in your beloved America or Israel.

    This is ridiculous. Apart from anything else, one of the reasons I find it hard to care that much about wikileaks is because I already knew that nation-states do terrible things, constantly, so no-one with a basic grasp of what the world is actually like could be that shocked by any of the revelations. But that’s beside the point. From your comment about how I should “go live in America or Israel”, I take it that you think that they are the bad countries because capitalism and imperialism happens there. Could you give me a list of the nice countries where capitalism doesn’t happen?

    Anyway, for Stuart, James H, Mark Krantz, Mhairi, and those few others who’ve taken a principled position here: I highly doubt any useful, constructive discussion will happen here, but assuming you’ll also be discussing these issues with other reasonable people in other places, I think one of the really important lessons to take away from this is the need to break decisively with cult-of-personality style politics. As the cases of Assange/Wikileaks and Galloway/Respect both show, it’s incredibly unhelpful to have your entire organisation associated with a single public figurehead; you can say what you like about Anonymous, and there’s certainly a lot wrong with it, but it’s never been rocked by a scandal involving their leader. Nobody is expendable, but nobody should be irreplaceable either.

  146. Cautiously Pessimistic: No. Asleep is not conscious.

    Brilliant and yet unconscious is not asleep. You prefer unconscious to asleep because you think it makes better propoganda.

    Cautiously Pessimistic: Apart from anything else, one of the reasons I find it hard to care that much about wikileaks is because I already knew that nation-states do terrible things, constantly, so no-one with a basic grasp of what the world is actually like could be that shocked by any of the revelations. But that’s beside the point.

    No that is missing the point truth that emerges 30 years later causes little difficulty for Imperialists wikileaks caused them huge problems hence this discussion.

  147. you can say what you like about Anonymous, and there’s certainly a lot wrong with it, but it’s never been rocked by a scandal involving their leader.

    Except the fact that as soon as he got arrested, he betrayed the entire organisation and gave the authorities the names and details of all the top people. So, no scandal, but also no accountability. Just like your opening comment about how much you wanted to see George Galloway murdered, you make yourself look ridiculous with your comments.

    Your post is also another example of this creeping moralism, of the type that has finished the SSP. The people who agree with you are taking a “principled position” on the issue. So, what, the people who disagree with you are unprincipled?

    Couldn’t they be equally principled, but perhaps just wrong?

    And doesn’t it bother you that the words of two of the people who you listed are good in language only, given that they belong to an organisation that has tolerated sexual assaults, sexual harrassment and rape for a long time, and cheered the national secretary when he got caught? So if people *say* the right thing, to you that’s a principled position, regardless of whether or not they actually put these words into practice?

    Moralism: the enemy of critical thinking.

  148. I think one of the really important lessons to take away from this is the need to break decisively with cult-of-personality style politics. As the cases of Assange/Wikileaks and Galloway/Respect both show

    Up here we learned that lesson the hard way after Sheridan wrecked the SSP. Its a shame that the English left didnt take heed.

  149. iain brown on said:

    no longer post, though still follow blog.—-however, in response to #163, Mhairi McAlpine post which cannot go unchallenged—it was the likes of yourself, others in the SSP Socialist Womens Network in collaboration with the SSP United Left Faction who destroyed the SSP. dont worry, i have no intention in giving you any further response.

  150. William K:
    #1When a woman agrees that coitus can take place whilst she is asleep that is consent.For a court to find a man guilty of rape under those circumstances would require a change of law.

    Huh? How can she have given consent when asleep? If you mean she gave prior consent, how do you know she did that, were you there? Galloway’s comments were very clear and they were not consistent with our current laws, thank goodness.

    On your other point, to require a guarantee that Assange is not extradited in future is not only ridiculous but also an impossible request for any government to grant. I have no idea if Assange is guilty or not and this is a very complex situation, however we cannot allow suspects to set the rules for their own criminal investigations.

    There are far too many pervading myths surrounding this case, myths which have been shown to be false yet people still insist on repeating time and time again. How about we try some common sense instead?

  151. SA: Brilliant and yet unconscious is not asleep. You prefer unconscious to asleep because you think it makes better propoganda.

    Fine. Asleep, not unconscious, I can’t be arsed going into this bizarre sidetrack any further. The point is still that a person who is asleep cannot meaningfully consent.

    tony collins:
    you can say what you like about Anonymous, and there’s certainly a lot wrong with it, but it’s never been rocked by a scandal involving their leader.

    Except the fact that as soon as he got arrested, he betrayed the entire organisation and gave the authorities the names and details of all the top people. So, no scandal, but also no accountability.

    Eh, what? You getting anonymous mixed up with Lulzsec here? Anonymous is essentially a tactic, a very loosely-defined network, Lulzsec is another group like Wikileaks with a distinct identity and a few prominent figureheads. Sabu was not anonymous, he was Sabu. Despite the end of Lulzsec, anonymous is still functioning in a way that Wikileaks isn’t. And as for Galloway fanboys banging on about accountability… words fail me.

    Your post is also another example of this creeping moralism, of the type that has finished the SSP. The people who agree with you are taking a “principled position” on the issue. So, what, the people who disagree with you are unprincipled?

    Yes. Or, at least, they don’t have a serious commitment to feminist principles. I can’t say what other principles they do or don’t have, but they definitely aren’t willing to stick up for the principle that you should only have sex with consenting partners.

    And doesn’t it bother you that the words of two of the people who you listed are good in language only, given that they belong to an organisation that has tolerated sexual assaults, sexual harrassment and rape for a long time, and cheered the national secretary when he got caught? So if people *say* the right thing, to you that’s a principled position, regardless of whether or not they actually put these words into practice?

    I wasn’t aware of that, although I can’t say I’m surprised. I was aware of the fact that the SWP is generally wrong on just about every divisive issue within the left, and a thoroughly opportunist organisation that’s usually willing to ignore all kinds of problematic crap in the name of unity, and that since Galloway won in Bradford they’ve been cosying up to him in a way that I find frankly nauseating. That’s why I was so surprised and pleased to find that they’re not willing to sweep this stuff under the carpet.

  152. stuart: Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson are to be congratulated for speaking out. This is necessary. Andy Newman is wrong to say that Salma ought to have kept her criticisms private and is wrong to say that Kate stood down probably to avoid an electoral humiliation. That amounts to a devaluation of those who speak up for women’s rights.

    Cautiously Pessimistic: That’s why I was so surprised and pleased to find that [the SWP] are not willing to sweep this stuff under the carpet.

    I’m sorry this makes my feel physically sick

    The long term editor of Socialist Worker used to have a reputation that “no means yes”, and when he vistied some districts, experienced comrades in the know sought to ensure he was not left alone with young women.

    When women who had been assaulted complained, they were diminished and hounded out of the SWP. I know of one occasion when a victim of sexual assault was sat down with a senior woman CC SWP member who told her to keep quiet for the good of “the party”, excusing the behaviour because “capitalism fucks everyone up”, and then warning if she didn’t keep quiet then no-one would believe her, and the SWP would destroy her reputation.

    During the 1980s there was a strange phenomenon of several angry young womwn comrades who used to talk about the sexism of this leading comrade, but they had been intimidated out of explaining what had happened, and instead the discusion often focussed on seemingly trivial details, like the fact that he always referred to women socialists by their first names, and male comrades by surnames (lenin and marx, but Rosa and Clara, for example)

    To fnd an organisation that systematicaly for decades covered up sexual assault and who intimidated women who complained into silence praised in this was is disgraceful.

    Even worse, I know of an IS/SWP district in the 1970s who colluded in silence and looked the other way when a leading industrial militant was raping his own step-daughter: the individual in question had previoulsy been in the IMG, who had also covered it up. When as a young 17 year old I confronted him at a party and asked him loudly if he was still fucking his duaghter, it was me cautioned by the SWP, while the truth of thse allegations was quietly ignored.

  153. Eh, what? You getting anonymous mixed up with Lulzsec here?

    No, I’m not. I think Anonymous, Lulzsec and anti-sec are fascinating, as a mixture of anti-political politics which means they can be really reactionary sometimes, and at other times really show some understanding of the power that they could have against corrupt officials. In fact, such groups could do with a dose of left-wing politics.

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