Anarchists play rough: Kerfuffle over radical book fair in the porn palace

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The Armory Community Center: too sexy? Not sexy at all?

A la Lord of the Rings, San Francisco (Facebook, at least) has become an epic battleground, the clash of two radical cultures, a reinvigoration of an age-old rancor. The 18th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair is set to be held at the Kink.com Armory (a.k.a., the Armory Community Center) March 16-17. The questions being addressed: is BDSM porn radical? Is a corporate dungeon's event space the right place for the anarchists?

It would seem that some anarchists don't want to hawk their anti-capitalist zines and lovingly-silkscreened patches, or talk activist history in a place owned by a company who pays women to be submersed in water and gang-banged for the sexual pleasure of others. Feminist pioneer Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has canceled her scheduled anti-colonist talk, calling the choice of venue unecessarily controversial.

Poster design by Hugh D'Andrade

"I feel good about the venue,” said Book Fair planning committee member Jen Angel, who called me to explain how the decision to hold the Fair at the Armory was reached. To retain the previous venue at Golden Gate Park's Hall of Flowers, Angel told me that her group would have had to hire park rangers and pay a rental fee beyond its means. Venues the size and price of the Armory Community Center, she said, are rare in San Francisco.

She cited the Armory Community Center's affordability and accessibility (the venue is two blocks from the 16th Street BART station) in the committee's eventual decision to move, which was announced in a blog post on the Book Fair website in August of last year and included in all subsequent literature released by the Fair. 

The Book Fair would not be the first to utilize the massive "Drill Court" hanger -- last August SF Beautiful, hardly a radical organization, held its awards ceremony there and the space had been rented out once before, Kink.com staff told me, years ago. 

Dunbar-Ortiz – well-known for her organizing work beginning in the 1960s, when she split from groups like Weather Underground and Students for a Democratic Society to form separatist feminist group Cell 16, eventually going on to teach in the Cal Hayward Native Studies program, help found the school's Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies degrees, and become a Native activist – said she only became aware of the venue change last week, when she sent a public letter to the organizers explaining that she would no longer be appearing at the Fair.

"I would not in my wildest imagination have thought that anything remotely related to my political circles would take place in that corporate dungeon, just as I wouldn't imagine that it would take place, say at Bank of America headquarters at the right price," Dunbar-Ortiz wrote in her February 6 public letter, addressed to the Book Fair organizers [full text below].

She said her planned talk, which was to have commemorated the anniversary of Wounded Knee, was a particularly inappropriate choice for the venue. "I am equally embarrassed as a feminist at a time when violence against women and rape culture are epidemic," she continued, ending with a call to change the Book Fair venue.

Angel says when Dunbar-Ortiz pulled out, her letter was sent to every Fair vendor and speaker so that all were appraised of the situation. None of them have canceled their appearance, she says, though the Fair's event wall is marked with attendees who've announced they will not be entering the Armory to attend.

There is nothing overtly sexual about Kink's event space, which has a separate entrance from the porn company's front doors. Angel confirms that porn and erotica has been sold at previous Book Fairs, although the organization doesn't monitor what vendors have at their tables.

After Dunbar-Ortiz published her letter, the Book Fair's event page blew up with debate, both civilized and not. There was nearly 800 comments on it at the time this post was published. Angel said debate over the venue -- outside the bounds of Facebook -- has been minimal. 

For many in the San Francisco kink community, the anti-BDSM stance of Dunbar-Ortiz and other anarchists who've announced they won't be attending shows a lack of education about BDSM and sex work.

Others take issue with Kink.com as a company, but say the debate over "torture porn" on the page is missing the point.

"We've spent days arguing with each other about whether or not porn and prostitution should be decriminalized," wrote local alt-porn performer Kitty Stryker. "The heat has been effectively removed from Kink.com entirely. All too often that suits capitalism and the patriarchy just fine." Stryker has long been vocal against the company's hiring and other labor practices. (See local porn performer Maggie Mayhem's reflection on the company for a good first-person account of these failings.)

Angel says that the Book Fair – which has responded to concerns about the venue in a statement on its website – will be sponsoring a discussion on March 16 (the Saturday night of the weekend the fair is held) at an as-yet undetermined location, not at the Armory. For those interested in learning more about sex-related activism, there will be a panel on the history of sex worker organizing, and workshops on preventing assault within the anarchist community and on queering the anarchist model, all at the Book Fair itself.

We here at the Guardian are fans – legitimate and significant critiques of the company's practices notwithstanding – of the work Kink has done to bring alternative sexuality into the spotlight.

More importantly, we've heard the "BDSM creates violence" arguments and we're just not buying it. Consensually, safely, sexily-created BDSM subverts societally-accepted power differentials. And we're stoked that a porn company has a community space, that's the kind of thing we like.

So we're bummed to see this business – yes, it's a for-profit business, at odds with some aspects of anarchist thought. But as some have pointed out, do you know the shady dealings our public institutions are getting into these days, should the Book Fair be moved to a university? – pilloried by activists in what may be their first introduction to BDSM, and the role that Kink.com plays in the SF sex-positive community.

If anything, the mess-of-an-Internet has highlighted the need for more education surrounding BDSM feminism. Surely there are some rad dominatrixes, slaves, daddies, ponies, sluts, pervs who'd be happy to provide just that -- in fact, Kink representatives told us they are in talks with the anarchists to provide seminars on power dynamics. Bookfair organizers could have anticipated this necessity.

This could have been a big, sexy learning opportunity. It still can be.

Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair

March 16-17, 10am-6pm, free

Armory Community Center

1800 Mission, SF

bayareaanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com


The text of Dunbar-Ortiz's letter follows: 

UPDATE: The original letter, a reader has informed us, contained a link to this article by Gail Dines in Counterpunch calling out James Franco's "feel-good torture porn." What follows is the version that Dunbar sent us yesterday at our request.

Dear sister and fellow workers, 

I received a message this morning informing me that the 2013 Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair will be held at the Armory, corporate headquarters of Kink.com. 

I did not know about the arrangement between the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair and Kink.com until now. I'm sure that is my fault as I see it is posted on the Book Fair website as well as the Facebook page, now that I look there to find it. However, I would not in my wildest imagination have thought that anything remotely related to my political circles would take place in that corporate dungeon, just as I wouldn't imagine that it would take place, say at Bank of America headquarters at the right price.

Clearly, Kink.com had a problem from the beginning with its "image" in the family friendly San Francisco Mission District neighborhood and has been working hard during the six years since it paid $14.5 million to buy the Armory, without success--it is shunned like the plague. But what a boon to get the stamp of approval from the anarchist community, in the wake of their courageous  leadership role in the Occupy movement!  What a dishonor to our Wobbly ancestors (in my case my own grandfather).

The sleazy owner of Kink.com must be exposed for trying to pretend to be a respectable public venue while continuing promoting torture. 

I am particularly embarrassed and ashamed to have the 40th anniversary of Wounded Knee and Leonard Peltier--the subject matter of my talk--to be associated with Kink.com. I often consider my actions by thinking of what Leonard Peltier would do, and in this case I have no choice. I have apologies to make to people to whom I am responsible for this error on my part in not having been aware of the venue. 

I am equally embarrassed as a feminist at a time when violence against women and rape culture are epidemic. 

Please immediately remove my name and the topic from the program and the website. If my name or the topic is already printed on posters they must be destroyed. I urge other speakers, panelists, vendors, and anarchists in general to object to the Book Fair being held at the Armory and consider not walking in the door, ever, while Kink.com owns it.

I call on the organizers of the event who are responsible for contracting with the pornographic industrial complex to take responsibility for this horrific choice, making very clear, with apologies, on the website and the Facebook page and to every vendor and speaker what they are getting in to, as well as to the public you are expecting to attend.  

Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

Comments

No, he's right.

Anyone can look at the 'Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair 2013' facebook page. Some of the threads and comments have been deleted by their original posters, but most of it is still there at this time.

You might be right about Dworkin's original intent, but that really isn't the point. The point is what the book fair's critics have written.

There are plenty of people actually quoting or posting links to the writings of Dworkin and MacKinnon. These same people are also claiming things like the doctrine that there can't really be sexual consent by women under patriarchy (so all male/female sex is rape), that all sexual activity for pay is rape due to the economic coercion of poverty, that all sexual imagery enslaves all women, and so on - never mind the facts that some women in reality do desire sex with men, that some women who make porn do so instead of or in addition to other economic options, that some women support sexual imagery, and so on.

Some of them have argued that the mere existence of male to female transgendered people is an attempt by such people to rape lesbians. Some of them have argued that gay male porn oppresses women. Some have accused anyone either neutral about or in favor of the new book fair venue of being defenders of pedophilia. It goes on and on.

Some of the bookfair anarchists have responded reasonably, others have flipped out and responded in kind with a mirror image of the slander and name calling that the anti-porn crusaders brought to the discussion.

Go see for yourself if you like.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 3:35 am

Is it any questioning of doctrine that gets you so worked up, or do you think Dworkin is a deep thinker?

Posted by matlock on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:33 am

Any porn company is going to get its share of criticism, because there's a certain segment of folks that has something against porn. And I'm sure they're not perfect. No big employer is. But overall, it sounds like they're being a much more responsible corporate citizen than most employers of that size.

They're providing jobs, promoting a sex-positive culture (and not just mainstream sanitized vanilla sex either), investing in the community, not fucking with our elections, and they're not shaking down the taxpayer for money like Twitter, PG&E, and Larry Ellison. If all big employers were like them, it would be a better world.

Sounds like an interesting event. Never been to the Anarchist Book Fair, but I just might go to this one. Maybe check out the bar afterwards.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

1. Sexism and inter-sex abuse leads to bitterness.

2. Bitterness leads to irrational thinking.

3. Reactionary rhetoricians use exaggeration to dismiss and devalue the positions held by opponents' leadership. (We see this on this forum *every* *day*.)

4. Some victims of abuse irrationally adopt the false rhetoric, thus playing into the rhetoricians hands

5. marcos, lacking consideration of all the above, cites reactionary anti-gay propagandist Jim Goad as back-up for his support for the very kind of right wing propaganda he spouted.

(Here's a little gem on gay marriage, marcos: http://takimag.com/article/gay_marriage_who_cares/print#axzz2L5Z2qGg2)

My argument was never that the anarchists shouldn't rent from Kink -- though in another thread I amplified Eddie's critique of the establishment for some rapacious capitalism -- but that marcos shouldn't play into the reactionaries hands by validating their propaganda.

Neither should you Greg. I've given ample demonstrations as to exactly why Andrea Dworkin should not be faulted for saying things she never said and I'd like to see you credit it.

Characterizing all opposition to the book fair siting as "Dworkinite" when there are obviously other more nuanced positions involved and even the repetition of the term -- *whether* *or* *not* these "Dworkinites" refer to themselves in such a fashion -- continues and amplifies the reactionary cause.

Incidentally, the above represents a bit of an epiphany for me. Right wing propaganda can be tremendously insidious.

marcos, since you cited an anti-gay propagandist, maybe as pennance you'd be willing to STFU about Dworkin for a while?

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:54 am

Why do you care if Dworkin is misconstrued? She was crazy anyway you slice it. The people I knew who fell for her anti sense in the 80's have moved on, they were never to bright in the first place for being sucked in though, more liberal agreeing with the person standing in the front of the classroom.

If you make the weird statement that sex is construct about the dominance of a man over a woman, then you are saying it is like rape. A strange case where so called feminists think fellow women are too stupid to think for themselves. The kooks think that 99% of women are incapable of making their own choices around sex.

You would never let a right wing slough off some weird statement like the ones Dworkin has made around sex.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

From Al Gore to Andrea Dworkin to Robert Fisk to Noam Chomsky to Howard Zinn and backwards and forwards through the alphabet a hundred more times, progressive leaders are constantly saying crazy stuff that they didn't really say.

Here's the list so far.
1 Progressive ideas are not popular

2 Progressives want to tell everyone else how to run their lives

3 Only corporations pay tax

4 Poor people here are actually quite wealthy.

5 All politicians lie

6 "Purity progressives" can't compromise

7 Progressives have situational ethics

8 Progressives ignore pressing problems while promoting pet

projects.

9 Anybody who thinks the police must have proper civilian

oversight is a "cop hater."

10 Presidents always move to the center

11 Nader lost the election for Gore

12 Progressives call anybody a troll who doesnt' agree with them

13 Rent control represents newcomers subsidizing those already

here.

14 Social Security adds to the deficit

15 Non-criminals have nothing to fear from police investigation.

16 San Francisco "exceptionalism" is behind pro-democratic

intitiatives

17 "Only whiners show up at public meetings"

18 Progressive leaders are crazy

The matlocky above has a remarkable number of hits:

let it go (8)
Why do you care if Dworkin is misconstrued? She was crazy anyway you slice it. (18) The people I knew who fell for her anti sense in the 80's have moved on, (1) they were never to bright in the first place for being sucked in though, more liberal agreeing with the person standing in the front of the classroom.

If you make the weird statement that sex is construct about the dominance of a man over a woman, then you are saying it is like rape. A strange case where so called feminists think fellow women are too stupid to think for themselves. (2) The kooks think that 99% of women are incapable of making their own choices around sex.

You would never let a right wing slough off some weird statement like the ones Dworkin has made around sex. (7)

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

You think that Al Gore is in the same boat as Andrea Dworkin.

Gore makes some sense on some issues, while Dworkin's one trick is comical and strange.

Gore, we all live in the environment so we need to take care of it.

Dworkin, 51% of the population is too stupid to think for themselves, her acolytes are usually between the ages of 16 and 22, then they grow up and graduate.

Sure, I would lump those two together.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 1:14 am

There is nothing progressive about Andrea Dworkin's brand of radical anti-sex misandry.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 20, 2013 @ 11:48 am

I've established that Andrea Dworkin has been misquoted to make it seem she is "anti-sex" and promoting "misandry."

The links are up-thread.

Don't you think you ought to reconsider the credence you put into the "Rush Limbaugh wisdom"?

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 20, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

Technically Dworkin didn't write the words "all sex is rape." Technically she said "violation is a synonym for intercourse." Personally I think it's a distinction without a difference, and I think her critics are right in criticizing that view. In fact, she got so much criticism that she tried to walk back her words and parse them into something other than what she said. The problem though, is that Dworkin's anti-porn, anti-sex, and anti-male attitude wasn't just in that one quote. It was in her life's work.

I think she was a profoundly unhappy person, who never fit society's (just about anyone's?) notion of physical attractiveness (see her wiki pic and you'll understand what I mean), was never comfortable in her own skin, and this made her lash out. She seems like she had a deep-seated subconscious self-hatred which was projected unto others. But Dworkin's dead; she wouldn't matter much, except as a curious footnote -a pitiful anachronism... except that there's a cadre of neo-Dworkinites who almost out-Dworkin Dworkin. The late self-hating Arthur Evans was the epitome of the asexual misandrist self-loathing neo-Dworkinite. But clearly there are others, as the above poster pointed out. They are few in number, but what they lack in numbers they make up in obnoxiousness.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 20, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

Nobody elsewise would think that it is honorable to attempt to "prove" the wrongness of Dworkin's philosophy by referencing her appearance to a standard, except someone with such a misogynistic quality.

That shit stinks.

And your pronouncement that "violation is a synonym for intercourse" is the same as saying "all sex is rape" is *absolutely* matlockian.

http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/02/violation-is-synonym-for-...

Once again, I urge you to re-think.

I don't claim to have read all of Dworkin, or to know everything she ever said, but I do know that the Wikipedia article you cite has misquoted her -- and with an obvious intent to deceive.

Here's the false quote -- note the ellipsis:

"This is nihilism, or this is truth. He has to push in past boundaries. There is the outline of a body, distinct, separate, its integrity an illusion, a tragic deception, because unseen there is a slit between the legs, and he has to push into it. There is never a real privacy of the body that can coexist with intercourse: with being entered. The vagina itself is muscled and the muscles have to be pushed apart. The thrusting is persistent invasion. She is opened up, split down the center. She is occupied--physically, internally, in her privacy. ... There is no analogue anywhere among subordinated groups of people to this experience of being made for intercourse: for penetration, entry, occupation. There is no analogue in occupied countries or in dominated races or in imprisoned dissidents or in colonialized cultures or in the submission of children to adults or in the atrocities that have marked the twentieth century ranging from Auschwitz to the Gulag. There is nothing exactly the same, and this is not because the political invasion and significance of intercourse is banal up against these other hierarchies and brutalities. Intercourse is a particular reality for women as an inferior class; and it has, in it, as part of it, violation of boundaries, taking over, occupation, destruction of privacy, all of which are construed to be normal and also fundamental to continuing human existence. There is nothing that happens to any other civilly inferior people that is the same in its meaning and in its effect even when those people are forced into sexual availability, heterosexual or homosexual; while the subject people, for instance, may be forced to have intercourse with those who dominate them, the God who does not exist did not make human existence, broadly speaking, dependent on their compliance. The political meaning of intercourse for women is the fundamental question of feminism and freedom: can an occupied people--physically occupied inside, internally invaded--be free; can those with a metaphysically compromised privacy have self-determination; can those without a biologically based physical integrity have self-respect?

— Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse, 122-124

... and now here's what was taken out to falsify her intent:
"...in her privacy.

A human being has a body that is inviolate; and when it is violated, it is abused. A woman has a body that is penetrated in intercourse: permeable, its corporeal solidness a lie. The discourse of male truth--literature, science, philosophy, pornography--calls that penetration violation. This it does with some consistency and some confidence. Violation is a synonym for intercourse. At the same time, the penetration is taken to be a use, not an abuse; a normal use; it is appropriate to enter her, to push into ("violate") the boundaries of her body. She is human, of course, but by a standard that does not include physical privacy. She is, in fact, human by a standard that precludes physical privacy, since to keep a man out altogether and for a lifetime is deviant in the extreme, a psychopathology, a repudiation of the way in which she is expected to manifest her humanity.

There is a deep recognition in culture and in experience that intercourse is both the normal use of a woman, her human potentiality affirmed by it, and a violative abuse, her privacy irredeemably compromised, her selfhood changed in a way that is irrevocable, unrecoverable. And it is recognized that the use and abuse are not distinct phenomena but somehow a synthesized reality: both are true at the same time as if they were one harmonious truth instead of mutually exclusive contradictions. Intercourse in reality is a use and an abuse simultaneously, experienced and described as such, the act parlayed into the illuminated heights of religious duty and the dark recesses of morbid and dirty brutality. She, a human being, is supposed to have a privacy that is absolute; except that she, a woman, has a hole between her legs that men can, must, do enter. This hole, her hole, is synonymous with entry. A man has an anus that can be entered, but his anus is not synonymous with entry. A woman has an anus that can be entered, but her anus is not synonymous with entry. The slit between her legs, so simple, so hidden-- frankly, so innocent-- for instance, to the child who looks with a mirror to see if it could be true--is there an entrance to her body down there? and something big comes into it? (how?) and something as big as a baby comes out of it? (how?) and doesn't that hurt?--that slit which means entry into her-- intercourse--appears to be the key to women's lower human status. By definition, as the God who does not exist made her, she is intended to have a lesser privacy, a lesser integrity of the body, a lesser sense of self, since her body can be physically occupied and in the occupation taken over. By definition, as the God who does not exist made her, this lesser privacy, this lesser integrity, this lesser self, establishes her lesser significance: not just in the world of social policy but in the world of bare, true, real existence. She is defined by how she is made, that hole, which is synonymous with entry; and intercourse, the act fundamental to existence, has consequences to her being that may be intrinsic, not socially imposed.

There is no analogue ..."

So, can you explain why the quote most often put forward as proof that Dworkin said "all sex is rape" does not say that?

I don't know the full range of what she said and wrote during her life, but I'd think that among all that work there'd be a quote which would prove that she was a bad person if she really were.

The fact that this most salient quote does *not* prove what it pretends to prove is *highly* suggestive that her critics are liars.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 9:56 am

"Nobody elsewise would think that it is honorable to attempt to "prove" the wrongness of Dworkin's philosophy by referencing her appearance to a standard, except someone with such a misogynistic quality."

I did no such thing. I oppose her ideas for the ideas; I was just putting forth a possible explanation as to why someone would develop ideas that are so bizarre. Nor is that explanation unique to women. If you recall some of the debates I've had with Arthur Evans, a neo-Dworkinite self-loathing *man*, my hypothesis on the root of his twisted ideology was very similar. In both cases, the problem was a profound discomfort in their own skin and an inability to achieve human intimacy.

"And your pronouncement that "violation is a synonym for intercourse" is the same as saying "all sex is rape" is *absolutely* matlockian."

Like a stopped watch, matlock can be right twice a day. I mean, what else is it? Violation is a synonym for rape. Intercourse is a synonym for sex. What else are people supposed to infer from her words.

Nor do your long quotations redeem her. To me, it seems like she's putting her foot in her mouth even more.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

There's no other decent explanation for your continued intransigence -- especially your claim that her excised word are "further rope to hang herself" rather than providing a clarification of what she meant and a refutation of the claim that she said all men were nazis.

Clearly my bullshit detector is better than yours. That you can claim matlock, like a broken clock, tells the right time twice a day means you don't understand what's going on with his posts. Re-think!

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

So, Greg, in your opinion, sex that isn't weird like, say, a guy shtupping a broad, has been "sanitized"?

I am fairly sure that regular fucking came along well before all the weird shit, so it is hardly "sanitized". In fact, if the only sex was weird sex, the human race would have died out long ago.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

There's plenty of vanilla sex and vanilla porn around, and I have nothing against it. I just don't think Kink should be attacked for providing something other than that. Judging from their success, they're obviously filling a very big niche, and they're doing it in a largely ethical and responsible manner.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 20, 2013 @ 11:55 am

My public letter posted here is interrupted by another post authored by my friend Diana Block. Diana's post should be at the end of my intact letter. I made this error in sending the letter to Donahue, then wrote and asked her to correct it, as an ob
vious error in cut and paste. She did not change it. She also should have contacted Diana Block for permission. I sent Diana's comments to her as information. I am disappointed in Donahue's poor journalistic ethics.

Posted by Guest roxanne dunbar-ortiz on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:26 am

I am sorry not to have edited the letter you sent me fast enough. I wish you would stop calling into question my journalistic ethics as I have made every effort to represent all sides of this story.

The confusion came because of a typo you yourself made, and may I add on a letter you sent me that was not the original version I had requested. Thanks to a reader I was able to represent your original text.

I'm saddened by the way you continue to call me names, especially after I have accommodated your every request in this matter.

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

The real issue here is why Phil Ginsburg deliberately priced the fair out of the Hall of Flowers!

Posted by Richard on Feb. 20, 2013 @ 11:31 am

It's disappointing that this article reduces the discussion and criticism of the book fair to what one thinks about BDSM. Or that the issue of holding an anarchist book fair in a privately owned pornography factory might not be about sexual hang-ups.

That terrain of debate is tired and reductive.

Noting that a pimp is an exploiter isn't about "sex worker rights" — it's about exploitation.

Why is exploitation suddenly, magically kosher when it involves specifically sexual exploitation? That's the issue. If it was a book fair being held in a coal mine or garment factory, who would argue that "workers have the right to sweat shops?"

Apparently the sex industry is the only industry with workers and no bourgeoisie.

Please stop reducing the argument to giddy exploiters vs. "radfem" sex panic.

Posted by Jed Brandt on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 7:11 am

Kink.com is not a pimp.... unless you're arguing that working for any private business is exploitation. And if that's the case... well, people have called me a socialist on this board, but even I'd have to disagree with that.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 8:48 am

You can't even follow the argument?

Again: how about a garment factory? How about a coal mine?

Don't tell me you can't see the difference between these venues and the Hall of Flowers.

Seems a bit marcos

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 9:28 am

Any workplace can be exploitative. Coal mines and garment factories certainly can be. But are they always? Not necessarily. Someone has to mine coal and make clothes. The key is whether workers have rights and get compensated adequately.

So is the argument that Kink.com is a particularly exploitative employer, akin to a sweatshop? I think the evidence is overwhelmingly in the other direction?

Or is it a Dworkinite argument that all porn is inherently exploitative? I would vehemently disagree with that as well. It's not for everyone, but it can be pretty lucrative work. To those who argue that women wouldn't go into the sex industry if they had other choices, I say bullshit. They do have other choices. I can think of many jobs that are far worse than sex work or porn. Cleaning the shit off other people's toilets... being a garbage collector or fisherman where your risk of death is roughly twice as high as a cop's... coal mining which sets you up for an early death from black lung disease...

And yet, someone's gotta clean toilets, pick up the garbage, and mine the coal. Again, wages, benefits, and worker's rights are key to whether it's exploitation or not. Same with the sex industry. And from everything I've heard about Kink, they seem to be one of the best employers in the industry.

So I don't see the problem. If your beef is that the city isn't providing a nice free venue like the Hall of Flowers, Ok. I agree. Ed Lee and Phil Ginsburg are assholes. But we knew that. Such is the administration we live under. So under the circumstances, Kink.com has stepped forward. Why not be happy they did?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

brand all the critics of the move to Kink as "Dworkanite" -- as if you even understand what that might mean -- when you are self-avowedly not a socialist, and therefore presumeably not an anarchist either.

What's you problem? Was the Hall of Flowers free? No. Why would you inject the false idea that it was free?

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

I'll ask again, because rather than answering the question, you're going off on tangents. Other than the fact that the city isn't providing a venue (Bad city! Bad mayor!)... *other* than that, what is the problem with Kink?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

-- there's no confusion about that, right? -- but as for what the problem is with Kink, it's essentially the same problem which would obtain from holding the thing at the Holdiay Inn or at a Walmart: "baggage."

Is the kerfuffle productive? Is it useful to hash-out this debate right now? Or is this exactly the sort of pointless internal conflict that reactionary forces love to see the left occupied in?

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

What baggage? I asked what the problem was, and you said "baggage." Baggage is just a synonym for problem. I want to know what the problem/baggage is.

Walmart definitely has problems -that goes without saying. Labor issues, destruction of communities, labor issues, environment, sweat shops, labor issues...

Holiday Inn OTOH... not sure what the problem would be. Are they in the midst of a labor dispute that I don't know about?

Or... is the problem/baggage the fact that it's being held on the premises of a private company... because any private business is automatically exploitative? Is that it? If so, then say so.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

How depressing! Yet another dead-end road on the corporate/state map.

Posted by GuestAunt Tom on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

How depressing! Yet another dead-end road on the corporate/state map.

Posted by GuestAunt Tom on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

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