December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

December 17th, 2008 is the 6th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

From GT 2005-12-17: December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

The commemoration began from the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project’s memorial and vigil for the victims of the Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer. Since then its purpose has expanded to a memorial for, and protest against, all forms of violence against women in prostitution and elsewhere in the sex industry.

I’m opposed to prostitution as an industry, on radical feminist grounds. I frankly have very deep and sharp differences with the organizers of the event, and I’m iffy at best towards the rhetorical framework of sex work as a whole, for reasons that are way beyond the point of this post). But so what? The day is an important one no matter what differences I may have with the organizers. Real steps towards ending the ongoing daily violence against women in prostitution and elsewhere in the sex industry are more important than that; here as much as anywhere — probably more than anywhere else — women’s lives are at stake.

You can read the rest at the original post. Any serious commitment to freedom for, and an end to violence against, women, means a serious commitment to ending violence against women who work in the sex industry. All of it. And that means any kind of violence, whether rape, or assault, or robbery, or abduction, or confinement against her will, or murder. No matter who does it. The one image of violence against sex workers that the malestream media never tires of repeating is the roving madman, cutting women down in the streets. But roving madmen come in a lot of shapes and sizes and uniforms. It may be a serial killer. But it may be a pimp. Or a trafficker. Or a john who imagines that paying for sex means he owns a woman’s body. Or, lest we forget, it may be a cop who believes that his badge, and his victim’s status in the system of patriarchal sex-class, makes absolutely any kind of sexual predation or physical torture a cop’s prerogative and nothing better than what the victim deserves. Or, lest we forget, a cop or a prosecutor or an immigration control freak, who calls the violence of an assault, restraint, and involuntary confinement an arrest or a sentence under the color of The Law. The Law has no more right than anyone else to hurt women or shove them around.

No matter who does it, this kind of violence — violence against peaceful people whose work, whatever you think of it, is honest work for willing customers, and is a way to get by, and doesn’t do one thing to threaten or violate the rights of a single living soul — violence against women who are made vulnerable by the violence and the killing indifference of the State — violence against women practiced in the name of enforcing patriarchal sex-class and misogynistic hatred for overtly sexual women — is wrong, absolutely wrong, and it has to stop. Immediately, completely, and forever.

In Las Vegas tonight, SWOP-Las Vegas is holding a vigil:

Reminder! TONIGHT in Las Vegas…

Join SWOP-Las Vegas to commemorate December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers!!

Las Vegas
Wed, December 17th

7:00 pm:

Meet at The Center: 953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite B-31, Las Vegas, NV, 89104. (In the Commercial Center) Phone at The Center: 702-733-9800

We will memorialize those sex workers who have lost their lives, and honor those who are missing. We’ll also make signs for the vigil.

8:15 pm:

We will hold a vigil in The Center parking lot with candles and then take our signs and red umbrellas to Sahara, where we will walk towards the strip. We will have masks for those who wish to use them. Afterward, we will return to Commercial Center to eat Thai food! Yum!

For more information, email us at info(at)swop-lv.org or call us toll-free at 1-866-525-7967, ext. 701.

In Washington, D.C., sex workers’ freedom and harm-reduction groups are coming together for a National March for Sex Workers’ Rights:

Advocates from across the nation will converge to mark the 6th Annual Internatinal Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW). We are calling for an end to the unjust laws, policing, shaming and stigma that oppress our communities and make us targets for violence. We will both honor the lives of sex workers whose lives have passed and celebrate our vital movement. SWOP-USA, Different Avenues, HIPS, SWANK, Desiree Alliance, and many allies in harm reduction and social justice welcome your support. Join us as we march on Washington to demand human rights!

I wish that I could attend an event tonight but I will be away, traveling. In commemoration of the day, in memory of the 48 women murdered by Ridgway, and in solidarity with the living, I have contributed $120.00 tonight to Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, a harm reduction group that provides counseling, safety resources, clothing, and food to prostitutes on the streets of the Washington, D.C. area, and $120.00 to Alternatives for Girls, whose Street Outreach Project provides similar services out of a van along the Cass Corridor in downtown Detroit. For other groups that provide similar resources and mutual aid, you can check out the links at the end of my original post.

May we all live free in the glory and joy of life that every human being deserves.

— Daisy Anarchy, I deserve to be safe

Remember. Mourn. Act.

See also:

20 replies to December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Marja Erwin

    I was at the DC march with about 100 other people.

  2. Marja Erwin

    P.S. the first story’s now up on Indymedia:

    http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/145001/index.php

  3. Nick Manley

    I am a real cultural oddity. I highly respect people comfortable enough to engage in sex work. I was going to go to this and finals kept me at school. I was excited about the possibility of making some new interesting friends/political contacts in the area.

    Looks like I’ll have to hold an inner protest tonight.

  4. Soviet Onion

    Holy Shit, the Bureaucrashers came through! I take everything I’ve said about libertarians back (not really, I’m just in a better mood now). It’s up on their blog if you want to see it, and you don’t have to have an account or anything. They even put together a video which Bound Not Gagged borrowed for their site.

  5. Aster

    Thank you all.

  6. Nick Manley

    Mike,

    As if mistaken drug raids hadn’t caused enough damage…

    What’s up with this police clown saying: “You’re a prostitute! You’re coming with me!”.

    He sounds like a bad client in a B movie.

  7. Mike

    Nick,

    Though the commentary at Reason Hit and Run usually make me weep for mainstream libertarianism, check them out on this one:

    http://reason.com/blog/show/130642.html

    Comments range from “they should go to jail!,” to “her dad should have killed those bastards!”

    Maybe there’s hope yet for the vulgars…

  8. JRL

    RE: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2008/12/galveston_false_arrest.php

    The comments are actually calling the police what they are for once!

  9. Aster

    I personally feel like there are worse enemies in Greater Libertaria around than the Reason/Cato types. These sort of libertarians are vulgar on class, and I agree with the general spirit of Kevin Carson’s critique of them, if not necessarily the specifics of economic theory . But they are usually at least tolerable, and sometimes better, on issues of race, class, and gender. I have far more fear of the paleos, who aren’t exactly very good on class, but are nearly always dreadfully vulgar when it comes to issues of race, gender, sexuality, religion, childrearing, etc. And generally I’d feel much more comfortable embracing the ‘vulgar libertarian’ critique if it recognised that the use of formal libertarian ideology to excuse class injustice is paralleled by the equally destructive and prevalent practice of deploying libertarian ideology to excuse gender and race oppression.

    As it stands, I continually feel as if left-libertarianism treats being good on class as required (as it should), while being good on kinds of oppression not strictly reducible to economics is optional- optional to the point of tolerating barely concealed racists and queerphobes. It’s as if the barriers to admitting that there exists oppression outside of statism have often just moved forward one unit, so that now the refusal lies in admitting that oppression exists in these messier sccial spaces. This of course (and it may be an encouraging thought) repeats within a libertarian milieu the historical pattern by which liberalism was first expanded to include a conception of economic justice and only after this to feminism, gay rights, etc.

    As it stands, I don’t trust the reason/Cato types,for the same reason I don’t trust the larger privileged stratum of which they are the libertarian edge. It’s a club for people with money and the moment that money vanishes you don’t get to play, and your concerns are invisible. But they are also, perhaps precisely because of a level of privilege which allows survival and flourishing with less abuse of the individual personality, ready to entertain relatively progressive notions on issues of race and gender, and at the very least show zero tolerance for outright bigotry, if only for reasons of bourgeois courtesy and appearance. Sometimes they are genuinely and sincerely good on these issues.

    Given this, the Reason/vulgar libertarian types, despite their infuriating establishmentarianism, hardly seem like the worst. At least I feel some basic level of safety among them.

  10. Nick Manley

    It seems to me that the CATO/Reason crowd has its economic complexities too. I imagine Jesse Walker of Reason isn’t very classist. And I don’t think Anthony Gregory is. He’s not connected to Reason/CATO per se, but he’s more Rothbardian capitalist in his understanding of political economy, then some people associated with the radical liber. or left-liber. label.

    He doesn’t think all corporations qua corporate form of organization are evil and has spoken positively of Starbucks on Lewrockwell.com’s blog before. Of course, he’s extremely principled, so he has no tolerance for corporate welfare or anything too.

    “Not all corporations are all bad, and certainly some are far worse than others. Most people working within the corporate structure, including managers, are working hard and honestly within the predominant economic framework that is available to them. We should always make this clear. But to the extent that the state helps some corporations at the expense of the American taxpayer and the free market, we must agree with the leftists that there is “corporatism” going on.”

    http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/gregory/gregory12.html

    And he praises bourgeious values:

    “It has adopted coercive nationalism and utilitarian collectivism and cast away the traditions of constitutionalism, freedom, and natural law on which bourgeois values depend.”

    http://www.amconmag.com/article/2008/oct/06/00029/

    I suspect I am less sympathetic to some cultural ideas then him, but he’s a really great guy personally. We certainly agree on important things.

    In terms of Reason, they had an interesting article on the auto companies recently:

    “This will require a degree of new thinking and innovation that their command-and-control corporate cultures haven’t supported in a long time. Silicon Valley has demonstrated that competing effectively in a dynamic world requires egalitarian workplaces where smart people can think freely, unencumbered by the traditional trappings of status and power. But the Detroit Three have yet to learn that lesson. The plush corner office—still very much a prized thing—goes not to those with the most creative ideas to generate new efficiencies or products, but to the best ass-kissers. Indeed, in one of these companies, managers (drawing six figures) accompanying a boss on out-of-office engagements have standing instructions to be prepared with information about the nearest bathrooms to allow him or her to answer nature’s call without losing a single moment. Is it any surprise then that their CEOs had no sense about how taking a begging trip on corporate jets would look to the thinking public”

    Equality?!?! Power and status based position=bad?!?!

    Reason must be publishing some commie ( :

    http://www.reason.com/news/printer/130373.html

  11. Nick Manley

    Admittedly, there is stuff in there that sounds more conservative, but I found their description of company culture interesting. I have to say that my own class origins are more professional class then small town American GM worker. I arguably identify more with the values of single San Francisco professionals then rural working class — although, these are collectivities with individual variation.

    That said, I hate “Progressive” urban planning based on things like urban renewal and Stalin esque city codes. I am a rebel academic type of professional aspirant — not a technocrat.

  12. Nick Manley

    Admittedly, there is stuff in there that sounds more conservative, but I found their description of company culture interesting. I have to say that my own class origins are more professional class then small town American GM worker. I arguably identify more with the values of single San Francisco professionals then rural working class — although, these are collectivities with individual variation.

    That said, I hate “Progressive” urban planning based on things like urban renewal and Stalin esque city codes. I am a rebel academic type of professional aspirant — not a technocrat. I am more Ellen Willis at NYU then Democratic Party professional social climber.

  13. Dain Fitzgerald

    I’m personally interested in the tradition of libertine individualist elitism. The nether region where John Henry Mackay, Max Stirner and HL Mencken meet. These people don’t truck much with liberal pieties and Stirner’s “spooks,” but nor do they give a shit about upholding tradition, conservative or otherwise.

    I’m thinking of people like TGGP. More and more I feel we are kindred spirits.

  14. Jeremy

    As it stands, I continually feel as if left-libertarianism treats being good on class as required (as it should), while being good on kinds of oppression not strictly reducible to economics is optional- optional to the point of tolerating barely concealed racists and queerphobes.

    Well, keep in mind that left libertarianism is something that (I definitely feel) is still being worked out. I disagree with many left libertarians about what it means to be a libertarian, what the priorities are, etc. You’re probably right that you cannot say that, just because somebody uses the left libertarian label to describe him or herself, that they necessarily believe X, Y, and Z. I like it that way, honestly, because I feel the “left” portion of libertarianism describes a tendency and not some single identifiable principle.

    It does cause problems, though. As a person, I’ve been through experiences and have a sense of self and the state of the world. This informs the priorities I’m going to promote through my political vehicles. While we all want to find a label that describes our own politics perfectly or at least adequately, we also must accept that labels do not require our consent to be used by others for possibly different priorities and agendas.

    In my view, opposition to the establishment qua the establishment is what makes you leftist. Now, you can have an analysis that breaks this down in terms of things like class, gender, or other kinds of privilege and subjugation. But you do that as a way to articulate opposition to the establishment. That’s my view on it, and frankly as you said people can use progressive political stances to defend or attack the establishment.

    We all have our pet issues and subjects that move us to passion. Aster, I have not had your experiences. My imagination cannot do justice to your memory and your real pain. It would feel fake to pretend that your priorities are mine, that your pain overrides mine. To do so would make my politics something I use as a symbol, rather than an expression of myself and my own primacy as an individual - just as to get you to construct your priorities according to my dictates and opinions would be smothering your individualism. To me, it’s so much important (especially for sometimes excessively theoretical libertarians) that our politics be real - that they reflect our lives and be authentic.

    I think it’s ok to admit that (A) you’re a left libertarian based on your stance on a wide range of issues, and (B) those issues are not the most important ones to you, but that you put emphasis on a subset of those issues or different issues altogether. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I can imagine it’s disappointing to see people who you thought would share your priorities by virtue of their political label in fact don’t. I’ve even thought of chucking the left libertarian label sometimes. But it’s just a label - it isn’t you, and it isn’t me.

  15. Dain Fitzgerald

    In my view, opposition to the establishment qua the establishment is what makes you leftist.

    I wonder, will this still suffice? Writers at The American Conservative are sympathetic to opposition to large scale industrial agriculture, and even a modicum of animal rights. Is this left-wing or simply ancient conservatism?

  16. Jeremy

    Is this left-wing or simply ancient conservatism?

    If you go back to the enlightenment roots of all this, you really don’t see much difference between the two. I think the movement around the American Revolution was largely conservative, in the sense that they had a chance to create a somewhat free but traditional society for which British colonial intervention was a real distortion.

    I mean, the idea of a left conservative or conservative leftist makes total sense. Not everybody who prefers an egalitarian and equal society without privilege necessarily needs to see culture change drastically. If you accept that these cultural preferences are totally subjective, you don’t need to be exceptionalist in your traditionalism.

    For example, the writing at the Left Conservative blog is really precisely what it sounds like, though it’s not your typical fare. It’s also a thinner approach than most on the left, focusing on the erosion of traditional culture with the old right economics with a class sensibility. It’s not multiculturalist so much as pluralist, which leads to interesting (but consistent) positions for a conservative to hold. And if taken seriously, the conservation of traditional values is just another lifestyle choice that deserves full expression so long as it’s voluntary.

    The American Conservative is good sometimes. I find Bill Kaufmann’s decentralism and localism authentically left but conservative. These are al leftist deviations from what is normally a sort of glib provincial attitude, and by no means the norm in conservatism.

  17. Jeremy

    For an example of what I mean by a left-leaning conservatism, see this article.

— 2012 —

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