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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

It’s awful to think how disposable [migrant] women are.  –  Linda Corchado

To Molest and Rape (#996)

The state is more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman:

The family of a woman whose [corpse was molested] by an…L.A. [cop]…is suing [both] the [molester] and the city of L.A.  The family of Elizabeth Baggett notes that [necrophile cop] David Rojas already has been charged criminally in the case, and that his own body-camera footage…captured him in the act…the lawsuit…[was filed by celebrity] attorney Gloria Allred…

Torture Chamber (#999)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

[Screws] in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and [raped] inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation…the [screws favored attacking women]…in areas of the [cage stack] not visible to security cameras…[any] complaint…[results in faster] deportation…[three] women [so far]…have come forward with abuse allegations [and]…at least one [more] was deported after [reporting] a [screw had raped] her…the[se]…are [only] the latest…sexual abuse complaints related to [cage stacks] run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year…About 14,700 [of those caged people reported] sexual and physical abuse…between 2010 and 2016…in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman [reported] that she…and two [other] female [captives] were moved to an isolated cell…[where] they [were] raped and beat[en by masked screws, then]…bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault…one…wom[an who escaped the cage]…because of a medical condition…told an attorney that…guards encouraged women to sign up for anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area [where they can rape them]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1017) 

Remember this when cops start bloviating about how they use the technology to catch “dangerous criminals”:

The NYPD [em]ployed facial recognition technology in its [recent st]unt [targeting] a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, whose home was besieged by dozens of [pigs] and…dogs…Derrick Ingram, the 28-year-old co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, was targeted by [thugs] in riot gear during an hours-long NYPD raid on August 7th…[using the excuse that a sow’s dewicate widdle ears got an ouchie from his using a bullhorn] during a June protest against police brutality.  More than 50 [pigs mobbed] his…apartment, shutting down his street and urging him to voluntarily surrender [for beating and caging], as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead…a spokesp[ig oinked]…that facial recognition software was used…to…”compar[e] a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos”…[but] the NYPD’s photo of Ingram appears to be taken from his Instagram page.  It’s unclear how a social media post would constitute either a surveillance video image or an arrest photo…“the tools that are sold to the public as a way to fight terrorism and violent crime [are] being used to silence dissent,” said Albert Fox Cahn…of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “We would never have seen this level of police response for using a bullhorn if the message hadn’t been one opposed to the NYPD”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1019) 

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

…ICE [recently] signed a contract with…Clearview AI…[in order to expand its] use [of] facial recognition technology…the agency, along with the FBI, ha[s long] accessed state drivers’ license databases…without the knowledge or consent of drivers…Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That…[responded to requests for comment by vomiting up wanking fantasies about “sex trafficked”]…children across the country”…Federal records also show Clearview signed a $50,000 contract with the US Air Force in December…Several tech companies have sent cease and desist orders to Clearview requesting it remove any data culled from social media posts. And the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1021) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

On July 31, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)…Campbell…was hired to work at Centerfold [in 2018] as an independent contractor, but weeks later the club management discovered her blog, stripperlaborrights.com, and the cases she’s brought against multiple past clubs where she worked.  Management fired Campbell for violating “no touching” laws—which courts later decided was a discriminatory firing…

Working From Home (#1031)

Indian sex workers, like their US sisters, are going online to survive:

…”floating” sex workers…used to travel regularly from the hinterland to Asia’s biggest red light area–Sonagachi–in north Kolkata…But in the past four months since the Covid-induced lockdown began, these floating sex workers have been reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence.  Trains are yet to resume services and travelling in private vehicles like vans and buses is expensive.  The brothels too are yet to resume business; the 7,000-odd sex workers who live in the red light area are managing somehow by providing “virtual” services online and with rations and other assistance from sympathisers…[but] for the…4,000 or so who commute to the city, their lives have become [more] challenging…The “high-class, A category” sex workers, who used to charge between Rs 25,000-30,000 a night, are now happy to negotiate for Rs 5,000 for it is important for them to stay in the business, pamper the clients.  They have spacious rooms and independent arrangements and can cater to whatever the clients demand…But for the “floating”…getting an independent space to operate is difficult…

Social Distancing (#1044)

New York apes Scotland’s approach to “helping” sex workers:

The [New York] City Council tucked $4.1 million in the 2021 pandemic-influenced budget to “support people involved in the sex trade.”  But sex workers [won’t]…see…any of the funds…none of the groups and agencies [receiving the largesse]…are run by sex workers.  And [in fact most are prohibitionist gangs]…that…don’t [even] recognize sex work as legitimate employment…As COVID-19 disrupted the industry and forced would-be customers to stay home and social distance, sex workers were left without…income and [deemed] ineligible for government unemployment relief…The organizations that got funding, ranging from $85,000 to $650,000…[largely] focus on [working with cops to harass]…sex [workers]…and [target them for arrest and forced brainwashing]…

Social Distancing (#1055)

A “compromise” only bureaucrats and politicians could find reasonable:

Berlin’s brothels were [finally] allowed to reopen…months [after similar businesses such as hairdressers, massage parlours, gyms, tattoo shops, and saunas] – but [intercourse] is [still verboten by diktat]…clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with [hand jobs] until regulations are further relaxed in September…In July…[sex workers] staged a protest outside the Bundesrat upper house of parliament in Berlin, complaining that [discriminatory] restrictions were preventing them from making a living [legally]…

To Molest and Rape (#1060)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

The former head of the Boston police union…sexually abused a girl over five years, beginning when she was 7.  Patrick M. Rose Sr…[repeatedly molested] a [now] 14-year-old girl…from the time she was 7 years old until she was 12…Rose…[tried to] flee…[but was caught when] State Police [used software to access the location data from] his phone…and [caught him at] a Needham [Massachusetts] hotel, where they arrested him [last week]…Judge Kathleen Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered that Rose wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from the alleged victim and other children under 16, and surrender his passport, any guns that he might have and his license to carry a firearm…

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What seems obvious to citizens is far too often deliberately unclear to government agencies.  –  Tim Cushing

Negative Secondary Effects

Busybodies are trying to ban dancing by cribbing language from the federal “obscenity” test:

The city council of Drain, Oregon passed new regulations…with the specific purpose of outlawing a…[strip club by] introducing business licenses to the city’s Code of Ordinances…[and adding a] new pro-censorship ordinance [featuring nonsense about]…”public morals, public safety, public health and public convenience”…and…“public nudity…appeals to the prurient interest…and…lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…Ray Hacke, an attorney with the…religious [pro-censorship] group Pacific Justice Institute [bloviated that]…“an adult entertainment business has no business…next to a church…[or] any place where children congregate…These places do [magically] attract sexual predators”…

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

Last month Kiwibank rolled out a “responsible banking policy” stating that it would no longer deal with any companies involved in [fossil fuels] and blacklisting the adult entertainment industry, casinos, military grade weapons, synthetic drugs, palm oil, tobacco and predatory lending.  But after representations from the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Kiwibank agreed to work with strip clubs and brothels that could demonstrate good practice.  The NZPC argued that banning brothel owners would have a flow-on effect to the people who worked for them.  Since then, [prohibitionist group] Wahine Toa Rising has written to Kiwibank applauding its initial commitment to [misogyny and discrimination]…and asking them to reconsider.  Kiwibank is still considering its response…

Even in New Zealand, the yellow press colludes with prohibitionists.  From the headline claiming that bigotry and dicrimination are “principled”, to the mischaracterization of a rescue-industry organization employing paid “survivor” shills as a legitimate sex worker group, to the prohibitionist propaganda which makes up the bulk of the article, to the Swedish criminalization snake oil, to the ugly prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies such as “the majority of sex workers…[were] sexually abused as…child[ren]”, this garbage would be more at home in a US tabloid than a New Zealand website purporting to be a news magazine.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#938)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

BammRose…is…the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry. In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against…racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to…hire Black dancers…and give them profitable shifts…At the root of the strippers’ strike is a demand for better, safer working conditions, fair wages, and protection from sexual assault…

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

[The Michigan supreme] court…[ruled in favor of] two plaintiffs suing…Oakland County…[over its] forfeiture policy…a…tax lien…[was] put on [Uri Rafaeli’s] property when…he…[underpaid his property taxes by] “$8.41 in…2011, which grew to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees. Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew Meisner…foreclosed on Rafaeli’s property…sold [it] at public auction for $24,500, and retained all the sale proceeds”…the county turned less than $300 in delinquencies into a $24,200 profit…Another property owner, Andre Ohanessian, saw $6000 in taxes, fines, and fees turn into a $76,000 net gain for the county when it auctioned his property for $82,000 and kept everything…

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

I can’t tell you how satisfied I am that Trumpaloons are taking over “sex trafficking” hysteria:

a [Facebook] post shared over 1,000 times reads…“Did you KNOW that a child in AMERICA is over 66,000 x more likely to be human trafficked than to get COVID-19?”  Similar [Facebook] posts contend that upwards of 800,000 children go missing every year, and that mask-wearing makes a child more likely to be trafficked.  These posts also criticize government officials and businesses for promoting mask use, [fantasiz]ing they are endangering children.  “We have now COMPLETELY taken away identifying our children’s faces.  We’ve made it much easier on these child abductors and human traffickers!” a post shared almost 8,000 times reads…“A child is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19,” another post shared 2,000 times reads. “In addition, your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone”…

Best part: the article then goes on to attempt to debunk these hysterical fantasies while simultaneously wallowing in other claims nearly as wacko as “masks cause sex trafficking!”

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

A would-be class action lawsuit alleges that the Macy’s department store chain violates Illinois law when it identifies customers recorded on its surveillance cameras by using facial recognition software…the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…bars some private companies from obtaining scans of facial geometry without written consent.  Macy’s uses software provided by Clearview AI Inc., which scrapes data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other internet platforms…Clearview…provides facial recognition services to more than 200 corporate clients, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart.  Some of the companies used the software on a trial basis, but Macy’s is a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000 searches…

Top Cop (#1062)

This psychopath is only two steps from the power she so desperately craves:

Joe Biden announced [last week] that he had picked [Kamala] Harris to be his running mate as he seeks to become the next president of the United States.  The good news is that it keeps Harris—who has a long and authoritarian history on criminal justice issues—far from the [post of] attorney general…[where she] would have the potential to do much more damage than as vice president.  The bad news is that it puts Harris next in line for the presidency should anything happen to [the man who would be the oldest ever elected to that office] and sets her up nicely for a future presidential run.  In Harris, we would get a leader with President Donald Trump’s penchant for unchecked executive power and modern Democrats’ tendency to consider no issue outside the reach of government.  The pick is somewhat surprising…[considering] Harris’ backhanded busing stunt during the Democratic candidate debates last summer, and…[her] troubling history…[on] law-and-order issues [for which she] is despised…by many young left-of-center voters…That’s a particular liability as Americans streets are still erupting with protests over police violence and calls for criminal justice reform…

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Diary #527

Are you familiar with the Ameraucana breed of chicken? It’s an ornamental variety, bred because it produces blue- or green-shelled eggs.  When I was buying chicks a few months ago, Jae wanted one, and she finally started laying last week (a month behind the layers, but that’s not surprising because that’s what they’re bred for).  It’s so nice to have fresh eggs again; we’re up to about a half-dozen a day, enough to have all we want and still give plenty away.  And until they reach full maturity, there’s all kind of crazy variation in size, shape and even contents (we’re getting several double-yolked ones a week, and they’re always obvious because they’re much larger than other eggs).  A few green apples are starting to fall off the trees, too, and Orville seems to like them; I’ll wait until they’re ripe to eat any myself, thanks.  And I think I’m going to get a cider press this year, too.  Right now I’m really busy with building the extension, but that should (knock wood) be mostly done by the end of the year, and then I can settle down into a mostly sedate rural life, running into town for appointments with regulars and continuing my writing and activism from here.  It’s not really a lot to ask for the latter days of a very tempestuous life; I only hope the gods, the Fates and the world agree to let me have it.

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I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  –  “Ninth Anniversary

Ten years is a long time for one human to do anything without a break, much less publish a blog post without missing a single day.  But then, I’ve never been one for taking breaks; I’ve always considered them little more than a delay in whatever it is that I’m doing.  And when that “whatever” is fighting a war for self-ownership and human rights…well, as the epigram says, I’m not sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  Certainly, I’ve slowed down; when I first started this blog a decade ago, I used to publish an all-new essay every day, and the essays were much longer on average.  But as I exorcised at least a little of the righteous fury which fuels my activism, and my other activities expanded to take up more of my time, I was forced to fill an increasing number of daily slots with shorter, easier-to-write posts.  Only two days in the average week now see original essays, and I feature a lot more of what most would consider typical blog posts than in the past.  On the other hand, I’ve written lots of non-blog articles for magazines, books, etc, and I’m about to publish my fifth book; I’ve also got a documentary called The War on Whores and I give dozens of interviews for articles, radio, video, and TV every year, plus more public appearances than I can count.  So even though my blog isn’t growing as quickly as it once did (and, thanks to Google’s censorship, is seen by fewer new readers than in times past), my public presence is still growing.  And given that all of that public presence is dedicated toward fighting for my cause, I would consider that a win.

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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Fundamental[ly]…policing [is]…a state institution that’s predicated on the use of violence to fix problems.  –  Alex Vitale

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

Sex workers aren’t always a part of [amateurs’] conversation about police brutality, but they should be.  Police regularly target, harass, and assault sex workers or people they think are sex workers…[and] usually get away with the abuse because sex workers fear being arrested if they report. If we lived in a world that didn’t criminalize sex work, sex workers could better protect themselves and seek justice when they are harmed.  Protecting sex workers from police violence is just one of the reasons we need to decriminalize sex work…

To Molest and Rape

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…one of three white officers accused in the death of Breonna Taylor…[also molested at least] two women [in the past.  Brett Hankinson]…is…a dirty cop [who has also carried out] vendetta[s by] arrest[ing people he dislikes on trumped-up charges]…the more recent sexual assault…[was] against…a woman [named]…Margo Borders w[ho reported that Hankinson]…”drove me home [from a bar] in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious”…In the second instance…Emily Terry…”began walking home from a bar intoxicated.  A [cop] pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home…He began making sexual advances towards me…As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#903) 

Amazon wants to have its cake and eat it too:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology.  We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to [persecute sex workers] and [pass the information on to the cops]…

In other words, Amazon is adopting a cosmetic ban in order to take advantage of the anti-cop zeitgeist while simultaneously profiting from helping notorious fascist anti-sex organizations to persecute sex workers and pass the information along to their pig buddies.

Silver Lining

Another sign that the moral panic may be dying:

For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases…has dropped after almost two decades of increases…Overall, federal p[er]secutions of [people using the excuse of] human traffick[ing] have dropped by about a third since 2017…The decrease came entirely from a drop in prosecutions of sex trafficking…which has consistently made up the majority of federal human trafficking prosecutions since the TVPA was enacted.  The number of labor trafficking cases has remained roughly the same, [because unike “sex trafficking” they are based in reality]…The number of new sex trafficking cases, meanwhile, dropped from 207 in 2017 to just 136 filed in 2019…

Working From Home (#1045)

Moloch (#1047) 

Contrast with Oregon and other states which are finally moving to protect students from police violence:

…thousands of small children who are led out of schools in handcuffs every year around the country.  Juvenile arrests in Florida have been steadily declining over the last decade, as they have been more generally across the U.S., but…the state embarked on an aggressive plan to “harden” its…[treatment of students], including putting at least one [armed, dangerous thug] in every K-12 school in the state…[the result is that] students, especially minorities and those with disabilities, are now bearing the brunt of new zero tolerance policies and heavy-handed discipline…In Minneapolis…the school board recently voted in favor of…ending a $1 million [cash cow for]…city police.  Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, announced…that he would disband the city’s school [pig herd]…Other states and cities appear to be considering similar measures.  [But] in Florida [police violence against students] increased…20%…[and] there’s been a spike in the use of involuntary psychiatric commitments against kids…thanks to an existing Florida…that gives police authority to temporarily lock up both children and adults against their will…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

Alex Vitale on what abolishing police would actually look like:

Five years ago, in the wake of the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, we were told, “Don’t worry, we’re going to fix it. We’re going to give the police implicit bias training.  We’re going to hold some community police encounter sessions.  We’re gonna buy some body cameras”…what we often refer to as “procedural reforms”…[were] going to magically fix the problem.  But…the problem of overpolicing remains…Procedural justice folks…want to restore the public’s trust in the police…But this ignores the question of what they are policing, and whether they should be policing it.  We have [millions of] low-level arrests in the United States every year and most of them are completely pointless.  It is just a huge level of harassment meted out almost exclusively on the poorest and most marginal communities in our society…[true police reform must] go…hand in hand with decriminalizing sex work, drugs, homelessness, mental illness.  We don’t really need a vice unit, we need a system of legalized sex work that’s regulated just like any other business.  We don’t need school police, we need counselors and restorative justice programs.  We don’t need police homeless outreach units, we need supportive housing, community based drop-in centers, social workers…

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It will be neither an easy fight nor a quick one, but neither was the struggle for LGBT rights and look how far that’s come.  –  “Galvanized

Today is International Whores’ Day, a celebration of the power and resilience of sex workers in the face of state violence and social stigma alike.  This year, when our community is suffering from pandemic-caused privation in addition to the evil crusade which many governments subject to US hegemony have increasingly inflicted upon us since the beginning of the century, it may seem as though there is little to celebrate; some even worry (and others hope) that current conditions will accomplish what no other menace in history has been able to, the end of sex work as a viable profession.  The yellow journalists at CNN even published a story whose headline shrieks, “Can the world’s oldest profession survive the age of social distancing?” and I’m here to answer it:  Of course we fucking can.  As I wrote over three years ago in “For My Sisters“,

We have survived the fall of empires and the disappearance of whole peoples.  We have survived fire, flood, famine, pestilence, war and every other disaster.  We have survived persecution, pogroms, confinement in brothels, literal slavery, mutilation & even burnings.  We will survive this too…and our tribe will exist when The USA is nothing but a thing kids learn about in history, then forget.  We are as eternal as the sea; our enemies are mere insects, who annoy for a season and are then gone.  In order for them to win, they would have to completely destroy human sexuality; in order for us to win, all we need do is practice the patience and courage which we have in abundance.  And though it’s difficult to remember that in trying times, it doesn’t even matter if we do or not because even if we as individuals forget, we as a group will survive and triumph nonetheless.

The prohibitionists’ best attempts to crush us have all backfired; public support for decriminalization is higher than it has ever been, and a week doesn’t pass that some prominent magazine, newspaper, website or even politician calls for it.  Every prominent human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has studied the subject agrees.  Sex work is even increasingly viewed as “cool” by young people, and the same pandemic which is causing us so much pain right now has also turned “sex trafficking” hysteria into yesterday’s news (a fact even prohibitionists are starting to grasp).  Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.

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It’s unlikely you’ll make the world a better place by twisting people’s arms.  –  J.D. Tuccille

A Broker in Pillage

I’m sure you know the answer to the question posed in this headline:

An Arizona bill requiring police and prosecutors to get a criminal conviction before they could [steal citizens’ property]…died [in the Arizona House]…The bill passed the [state] Senate unanimously in March.  Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and…politic[ians decided]…they don’t want to give up the revenue…Kirsten Engel…[basically] said that…she wants to use civil forfeiture to finance police departments even if it means the disadvantaged get the blunt end of the stick…

The Joy of Juxtaposition

Beneath their “red x” silliness and childish propaganda, “End It” are dangerous copsuckers:

The End It movement is not…apolitical…people are supporting and directly funding institutions that define slavery, trafficking, and freedom by their own criteria while collaborating with the FBI, DHS, and police forces.  Overall, the End It movement serves the state, corporate, and institutional interests of the people who run it.  Every year the End It movement picks a random date in February to…promote Westerners drawing a red “X” on their hand to represent millions of victims who are enslaved…their Twitter page is full of…celebrities, police, corporations and…“law and order” types…

Rough Trade (#915) 

Cops refuse to release the name of a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

A man gardaí believe is a “serious threat to women” is staying in a Dublin hotel after arriving back into the country in recent weeks…The man[‘s name is not being released]…because his only [recent] rape [accusations were] of two prostitutes…who[m]…he…drugged and raped…and beat…during a lengthy attack…

The Course of a Disease (#980)

Proponents of the Swedish rot will use any excuse to push their filth:

Pro[hibitionist] German politicians…called for brothels to be closed indefinitely…[by rehashing the tired old myth of sex workers as vectors of disease]…”[We want people to believe] that prostitutes could become epidemiological ‘super spreaders’ — sexual activities are, as a rule, not compatible with social distancing measures,” the letter reads…The letter calls for Germany to take the opportunity to adopt the “Nordic model”…

The speed with which Swedish criminalization fans have pivoted from “we’re only trying to protect women!” to “whores are dirty and should be condemned to re-education” tells you all you need to know about their sincerity.

Social Distancing

Bills and hunger don’t “socially distance” from people without income:

…“the world’s oldest profession”…doesn’t stop for anything.  Not an economic crisis, not Ramadan, and not a deadly coronavirus outbreak.  [Even] in [Iran,] where “Morality Police” roam the streets, everyone knows exactly where to go to find prostitution…Mona…tells me…“It’s either I die of poverty or die of Corona – I choose the second one.”  Mona says that she gets fewer house calls these days, but the street ones are still coming.  Sex is always in demand, so business hasn’t taken much of a hit from the spread of the virus…

Working From Home (#1032)

Susannah Breslin interviews a stripper activist:

New Orleans…[stripper Chase] Kelly has become a source of support and wisdom for her dancer clients and her over 46,000 followers on Instagram.  So, when the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the U.S. early this year, Kelly become a front line worker at the intersection of the pandemic and strip clubs, providing counseling and support for dancers who, due to the nature of their work, found themselves in dire circumstances.  Here, Kelly talks about how the coronavirus has changed the strip club business, why taking things online isn’t the same thing when you strip for a living, and whether or not the coronavirus will wipe out the strip club industry altogether…

Like Houses (#1038)

Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Violence is safety:

For a brief time, [Americans] seemed to be taking the dangers of official force to heart.  Then the pandemic came along, and…politicians quickly went to their happy place: threatening people with violence for not doing what they’re told…Threats to arrest people for violating stay-at-home [diktats] are especially ironic, given reports of rapid contagion in crowded jails and prisons.  Mass imprisonment…isn’t a great public health tactic…Cops across the country busted people for “social-distancing violations” including hanging out with friendsplaying with their children in public parks, and failing to wear face masks. Police in Brooklyn “cuffed a mother and pinned her to the ground” because her mask was around her neck instead of over her nose and mouth.  Everybody is potentially on the receiving end of such treatment, but cops always lean most heavily on the people they prefer to target…members of minority communities who are less able to push back…

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Marginalized communities have always taken care of each other because the state explicitly excludes us.  –  Molly Simmons

A Broker in Pillage

The number of excuses government uses for robbery keeps growing:

…a Delaware supplier of medical equipment [has reported that federal goons stole]…hundreds of thousands of N95 respirators [under color of law].  George Gianforcaro …of…Indutex USA…said the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not pay him when it [stole two imported shipments of masks bound for customers…includ[ing] Delaware nursing facilities, the state of Michigan and boat captains who steer foreign ships through U.S. bays.  He…does not know where the seized…masks are today…FEMA appeared to deny Gianforcaro’s charge without addressing the specific claims.  It called reports of its officials [stealing] supplies of…critical equipment “false” [despite the fact that it’s obviously happening]…

Disaster (#931)

I’m sure you amateurs are happy to be censored “for THE CHILDREN™!”:

Zoom is [attempting to censor] nudity following reports that users have been organizing orgies and sex parties during COVID-19 quarantine.  The video conferencing app…surged in popularity this year after [politicians started ordering people to stay home under pain of police violence]…But as users find creative ways to maintain their social lives through Zoom, the company is…[proclaiming that its] “user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal, or violent activity or content”…Zoom declined to clarify…whether…bots would patrol meetings looking for users in various states of undress…But some are skeptical…[because] the company’s own privacy guidelines [claim] that “video, audio chat content is not stored…unless a meeting is recorded by the host,” making it difficult for Zoom to monitor or surveil content…

Social Distancing

Sex workers must help each other, because few others will:

In the midst of a pandemic that has completely overwhelmed institutional support structures…communities [have] organize[d] mutual aid projects to redistribute resources among the most vulnerable [while politicians issue authoritarian proclamations and point fingers at one another].  Sex worker organizing could be a model for this…There is a deep history of mutual aid and redistribution—both formal and informal—within the sex worker community.  As it became clear that Covid-19 would hit the United States with the force of a…disaster, sex workers were among the first to respond with broadscale mutual aid efforts…outside of [the] official [and destructive] government response…

Like Houses (#1029)

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

Christa Thompson was…charged…with a [“crime”] that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and the possibility of six months in jail.  The crime?  Holding a yard sale…[because politicians have declared it] not an essential business…[pigs claim] the governor’s order…[prohibits her] selling her father-in-law’s property in order to pay bills and buy groceries for her six kids…

Working From Home (#1031)

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about stage names:

In the age of social distancing, camming has become the way to go…for adult entertainment performers…[and] amateurs [alike]…But as more models join in the online [work]…some well-established [sex workers] are increasingly finding their moneymaking names or similar ones—including those protected by trademark—being used by fakes, frauds and phonies on various cam sites.  Industry attorney Lawrence Walters…says those individuals [starting online sex work]…especially need to be concerned about their stage names not riding on the coattails of established performers…“If the chosen name is the same, or confusingly similar to, an existing registered mark, this could spell trouble for the performer…Even if there is no federal [or state] trademark registration, the brand…may be used by someone without a registration, who could still have superior ‘common law’ rights.”  It is best to legally clear a stage name before sinking substantial funds into marketing and promotion…

Like Houses (#1032)

If you didn’t expect censorship, you are hopelessly naive:

The local television station London Live is facing sanctions after the [government opined that]…it had posed a threat to the public’s health by showing a lengthy interview with [professional crackpot] David Icke about the coronavirus pandemic…Icke used the broadcast to [propose the notion] that the pandemic was cover for a supposed global world order to purposefully crash the economy, end the use of cash payments, and track every individual…

Social Distancing (#1033)

Compare to the ugly behavior of France & the US:

There are literally thousands of European sex workers stuck in Spain, unable to repatriate to their country of origin, who have pleaded for help…there will be funds made available for housing and care to all…sex [workers]…in most major cities across Spain.  The government wants this income to guarantee  “the minimum subsistence conditions,” provided that they meet the agreed criteria.  The women, many of them foreigners existing in illegal situations, generally live in social isolation…without access to the resources of the local environment…

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I’ve been following Maya Morena, an undocumented migrant sex worker and tireless activist, since she became more prominent a year or so ago; I’ve wanted to publish a guest column from her for a while now, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to offer her this space to describe yet another effort by prohibitionists to silence us.

On March 10, 2020 I had the pleasure of attending the Sex Workers’ Pop-Up with some friends.  Sex workers and undocumented immigrants are subject to constant epistemic injustice, so something so simple as basic human respect from outsiders is rare.  We were trusted to represent ourselves and not be symbols for someone else’s white savior project.  I was excited by how many people showed up to support, knowing I would be looking at my friends’ faces on the gallery walls, and their artwork and stories would be showcased. The event itself mostly consisted of a panel of sex workers and people who identify as sex trafficking victims (or both). Personally, I didn’t think the event was radical enough and I’m hopeful that new platforms will spring up in the future.  But the hatred and exclusion that we were met with by a highly organized network of organizations was unbelievable, and considering that the exhibit was closed ahead of schedule due to COVID-19, the SWERFs who fought so hard for weeks to get it shut down have gotten their wish in the end.

On March 2, 2020 “New Yorkers for the Equality Model”, a coalition of organizations fighting for Swedish-style criminalization, created a letter with their partners.  I had protested the very formation of that group a few months earlier, and started http://www.equalitymodel.com to educate the public on what they were doing; in response, they filed a bogus DMCA takedown against it (as they have done many times against female content creators) and had a whole section of the site taken down.  I ended up paying $550 trying to file a counterclaim to protect my information from them, but didn’t have funds to keep fighting.  Various SWERFs such as Rachel Moran, and Julie Bindel (who don’t even live in New York) have been demanding that the MTA and Outfront Media take down our (paid-for) posters for the events we were hosting.  This is very on-brand for Bindel, who has argued that giving sex workers hand sanitizers and medical advice on how to reduce potential disease is a “waste of time” since it would “encourage” sex workers to stay working longer (as though people were doing sex work for the sole reason that someone gave them hand sanitizer).  The letter itself – hosted on their website and promoted through mainstream media – claims that there’s an evil conspiracy by George Soros to target children through the ads and get them to become sex slaves.  The letter makes the claim that “The term ‘sex work’ is a euphemism for prostitution, coined in the 1980s by people with financial interests in the sex trade, whose goal was to mainstream and normalize the systems of prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation.”  The “people with financial interests” referred to are sex workers, because “sex work” encompasses everything from stripping, to webcamming, to dominatrix work – not only prostitution, and not all illegal; the term was actually coined by Carol Leigh, a sex worker and activist.  The letter goes on to dehumanize sex workers by comparing us to drugs, cigarettes, guns, and organs harvesting, then makes veiled threats against sex workers by stating that we are still criminalized in New York in an attempt to get the ads censored by New York state.  Many of the organizations who penned the letter worked hard to create the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts which still incarcerate and deport sex workers, despite their repeated claims that they wouldn’t.

The organizations who make up “New Yorkers for the Equality Model” are deeply racist, but try to obscure this is by exploiting a few migrants as tokens via the “Trafficking Visa“, which has only been given to 6780 people over the past 11 years despite having an annual cap of 5,000 (it is one of the only visas that never meets its cap).  And even it is very weak help; it only gives an immigrant the right to work in the US for 4 years.  This is best the  US and “anti-trafficking” groups have to give to people they label victims.  The US spends millions every year on “human trafficking”, most of which goes toward police and border control efforts; the prohibitionist organizations are “law and order” types, and only “help” migrants – exploited or otherwise – who are willing to help them put others behind bars.  These tokens are therefore not good representatives of sex workers or marginalized groups.  They represent oppressive institutions that exclude and criminalize undocumented immigrants from services; they are an exceedingly small minority which promotes criminalization of other minorities; and when they work for the state or “anti-trafficking” organizations, they often consider themselves “legal immigrants” and thus superior to sex workers and “illegal” immigrants.  Even the kids who have been separated from their parents, molested by guards at the border, and sold through adoption are not considered worthy of assistance; they are “criminals” just like me, who was a child migrant and a DACA kid.  It does hurt that the people who work hard to erase marginalized people get to claim they’re “saving” us to a gullible public.

But despite the Sex Worker Pop-Up’s short duration, it did give me a glimpse of how many sex workers allies there are, and how much they desire to listen to and support us.  I met more sex workers in that one place then I have anywhere else except for the internet, and was able to connect with radical activists, content creators, professionals, and even male sex workers that our sciety prefers to pretend don’t exist.  We even spoke about creating other, future events to educate the public, even though we know we’ll have to fight those who want to silence and harm us to do so.

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