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When I heard that Julian Assange, founder/principal publisher of Wikileaks, was wanted for sexual assault, it was a "where is the nearest hole for me to crawl into" moment. It didn’t get better.

The debate between feminists Jaclyn Friedman and Naomi Wolf on Democracy Now! did not make me feel better; it made me feel worse. For those who missed it, Friedman, the author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, argued that the case would "raise the bar for the women of Sweden and the women internationally for what we can expect from our justice systems." I can’t see this case raising any bar except the ones in whatever prison they decide to send Julian Assange to.

Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and the lesser known but more relevant Fire With Fire, countered that when Assange started having sex with someone while she was asleep after repeatedly refusing to use a condom, "it seems to me that when you say, ‘OK, you better not have HIV,’ he said, ‘Of course not.’ Quote, ‘She couldn’t be bothered to tell him one more time because she had been going on about the condom all night.’ To me, that—I mean, if I was making love with a woman, if I was—you know, if I was a lesbian making love with a woman and we had that conversation, I would keep making love with her, because we had had a discussion about it and reached a conclusion."

If that is Naomi Wolf’s idea of a positive sexual encounter, I’m just glad she’s not a lesbian.

I have little doubt that whatever else did or did not happen, these women did not get the idea to make criminal complaints against Assange by themselves. But the problem I have is that the women in this situation are props. Depending on your world view, either Assange is a persecuted hero or he is a sexual predator. The likelihood that he is both a persecuted hero and a sexual abuser doesn’t seem to come up. Both of these young women were supporters of Wikileaks and probably had a liberal amount of hero worship for Assange. If he took advantage of that admiration to coerce them to do what he wanted in bed, that doesn’t make him much different from Mike Tyson or Ben Roethlisberger.

When do we get to talk about the tendency of men in progressive movements (just like those in every other kind of movement) to treat the women they work with as lesser beings and sex objects?

In the few weeks before the Assange arrest thrust this issue into our national conversations, I happened to read about two incidents that occurred some years earlier.

The first concerned an allegation of domestic violence against the best known member of the revolutionary "youth" group STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement), which was active in the Bay Area in the mid 1990s. This was an incident I knew about at the time, because a couple women I knew from Women Against Rape were asked by STORM to help investigate it. My recollection is that they left the group in the aftermath, feeling that they were being used as window-dressing to give legitimacy to the group and its process. Last month, I happened to run across something that STORM had written about this incident, which I had never read before. The conclusion of their investigation was that the incident had not happened, that the woman involved had made up the accusation as part of some kind of COINTELPRO – CounterIntelligence Program to discredit a revolutionary man of color. Again, I don’t know what happened. What struck me about the reflection, written some years after the incident was resolved (in STORM’s mind), was that they never considered the possibility of multiple truths, that the woman involved actually experienced violence at the same time that the man had no awareness of having committed it. I personally witnessed that man being physically aggressive and threatening toward women I knew, when they disagreed with him during an action, and he refused to be held accountable after that incident, so I am predisposed to believe that he was capable of similar aggression toward a woman he was involved with and would be unlikely to cop to it.

The other piece I was reading had to do with our local Pacifica radio station, KPFA in Berkeley.  KPFA, the oldest listener-sponsored radio station in the country, has a long history of bad gender dynamics and accusations of violence against men who are revered by portions of the left.  We are currently mired in a terrible political crisis brought on by a huge financial deficit, and in that context a lot of old muck is getting raked up, including some related to two men accused of sexual harassment.  One is an on-air personality with whom I personally am usually on the same side politically. This man, who is white, has been accused of harassment by a string of women.  Most recently, a friend of mine won an enormous settlement of her claim against him and the station, which is one of the many reasons KPFA and Pacifica are in such financial trouble.  The other was a former station manager who was accused of sexually harassing a stream of women.  Other men jumped to his defense, saying that he was being targeted because of racism (he was African American), notwithstanding that nearly all of the women who accused him were women of color.  The word "COINTELPRO" was again invoked.

A close friend of mine is an incredible organizer and has been instrumental in forming or sustaining a number of progressive organizations over the years. Like most of us whose lives center around movement work, he usually gets involved with women he meets doing political work. And for some reason (guess), when he stops being involved with them, they always end up feeling like they have to leave the organization. At one point, an ex-girlfriend accused him of sexual harassment. The organization was bitterly divided over the question of whether he was guilty or the woman was just an embittered reject. I don’t remember how that situation was resolved, but I do remember what a mutual friend said about it: "It probably wasn’t legally harassment, but he definitely has bad sexual politics."

I suspect that every movement woman who ever dated men has had an experience like the ones described in the Assange police reports. When I was younger I had two encounters with male friends in the movement who wanted to have sex with me. I wanted to be close and cuddle with them, but not to have sex. They knew I was a lesbian. I kept saying I didn’t want to have sex and they kept insisting, and eventually I gave in. I would not say that I was raped. I didn’t feel afraid of them. If they still lived in this area, I would probably still be friendly with them. Even if I were the kind of person who thought of calling the police as an option, I would not have considered calling the police on them. Nevertheless, I know that what they did was coercive sex and was not okay.

A long time ago, a friend of mine was date raped by someone she had been going out with, who was in the same political group she was in. Some of the women in the group were dismissive of her accusation, saying, "If she was raped, I've been raped 100 times." One of the woman's male friends said that he felt uncomfortable judging this man because he had committed rapes when he was in a fraternity in college. It was very hard for this woman to remain in that organization, which was pretty much the only radical direct action group in town at that time. Fortunately, the group as a whole came together and forced the man to take responsibility for his action. They kicked him out of their full meetings, but the men's group continued to work with him and discuss what had happened. I don't know if he ever got it, and the group didn't last that much longer after that, but that was an example of a system for community justice that other progressive groups could emulate.

The women involved in the Assange case should not be letting themselves be used by the forces that want to put him away for creating a place for people to leak information. They should not be looking to the criminal "justice" system to remedy bad treatment by a man they believed in and trusted. But progressive people, especially people who call themselves feminists, should not be defending his behavior. We need to defend the rights of whistleblowers, the rights of journalists and the public’s right to know. We also need to defend the right of women to say no to sex, even with people they have had sex with before and plan to have it with again. Refusing to use a condom is a serious violation of a person’s right to safety, and if a man doesn’t want to have sex with a condom and a woman wants him to wear one, then he has no right to nag at her or coerce her to change her mind. He certainly has no right to initiate unprotected sex with her while she is sleeping, in the hope, presumably, that she’ll be too out of it to protest.

We must figure out how to hold all our political heroes, male and female, accountable for their bad sexual politics. When do we get started on that?

Originally posted to KatRap on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:06 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is all assuming that the accusations (10+ / 0-)

    are true, which none of us know for sure one way or the other about.

    Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are.

    by Musket Man on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:19:19 AM PST

    •  exactly, the timing is SO convenient (3+ / 0-)

      and I have huge doubts, but if the accusations are true I have no problem seeing him as both a pig and a hero. I'm kind of old ;-) have been with quite a few guys, have experienced a lot of piggish behavior, never thought of calling the police on any of them, dump them and warn any friends who might need to know? yes, put them in jail? no.

      And even if I believe what the Guardian published that was supposed to be the women's side of things, they sound remarkably non-assertive in that account of events, wtf is up with {paraphrasing)"he had me partly undressed so I had  to let him finish?"

      -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

      by nicolemm on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 11:42:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nagging isn't rape (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lestatdelc, nicolemm


    It's like saying fur is murder.  

    Fur may be unethical or immoral, but we differentiate between animal and human life.

    We know what rape is.  Sexual intercourse by force.

    Assange is a cad, but these women have responsibilities too.

    Getting naked with a strange man moves from rape to foolishness.

    Pregnancy, STD, are all possible outcomes.  Foolish for him, foolish for her.

    And if assange nagged a partner into going bareback, she needed to embrace the power of no.

    What part o f no didn't she understand?

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:20:47 AM PST

    •  Perhaps the part of "no" where he held her down (9+ / 0-)

      and and forced penetration.  

      Perhaps the part of "no" where he had sex with a sleeping woman.

      That's rape.  What part of that don't you understand?

      My dogs think triciawyse is smart and pretty. They think I'm a strange, frumpy woman wth limitless snacks.

      by martydd on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:36:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's not in any police report or newspaper (5+ / 0-)

        re: force

        as far as sleeping goes, she admitted she was "more like half-asleep"

        Yes, having sex with someone who is drunk or unconscious is rape and a horrible violation

        Initiating a 2nd/3rd sexual activity of the evening while one partner is awake but groggy, and then having no resistance or disapproval does not equal rape

        •  Nonconsensual sex equals rape (4+ / 0-)

          I love how self proclaimed "progressive" men start repeating Rush Limbaugh's talking points when it comes to women's rights.

          According to you once a women says yes to sex, you are allowed to do anything you want to her as if she was property.

          If Assange was arrested for drunk driving, would you defend that too? Or is it impossible that Assange has ever violate the law at any point in his entire life?

          If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim." - LBJ

          by bay of arizona on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 11:48:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  taking advantage of someone in an altered state.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alexandra Lynch, martydd

          .... is nonconsensual sex.  

          There's a gray zone between full consent and forcible rape, but anyone with half a brain in their head is going to stay clear of that gray zone.

          •  How about you and everyone else stop (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Euroliberal, 5x5

            commenting on something you and everyone else know NOTHING about?! Jesus.

            WE DON'T KNOW.

            Let the process play out.

            It is funny that you come to my diaries and say that you have 1st hand knowledge about Lamo and then you come here and talk about the allegations as if you have 1st hand knowledge.


            371/400- "this makes you extremely progressive"

            by cedar park on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 01:10:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i was commenting on the previous comment. (0+ / 0-)

              And the preceding comment was purely in the abstract; nowhere in the preceding comment did I speculate on what Julian or his weewee were or were not doing with these women or anyone else.  

              Also just because I know a few things about Adrian & his pals, doesn't mean I'm so psychic that I know what goes on in beds that happen to have Julian in them on any given night.  

          •  If a woman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            touches a man the next morning after a sex, while he's groggy, and he goes along with it and continues as he gets less and less groggy

            I don't think "omg, she had non-consensual sex"

            Why is it taking advantage? My experience is that sex is less likely when someone is groggy, not more

            •  YMMV. (0+ / 0-)

              These dynamics vary so widely that some people are more likely to have sex at times when others are less likely, so anything is possible.  

              Some people enjoy having sex in jet airliner bathrooms, part of the thrill being to get away with it, and part being to make all the body parts fit in the right places in such a small space.  IMHO they're crazy, and IMHO they ought to get fined for doing that because it's a public place where others including children do not have the choice to avoid being exposed to the audio that goes along with the deed, and because WCs on airliners are a scarce resource that needs to be kept free for its intended purpose.  

              •  What i'm saying is that your reasoning is faulty (0+ / 0-)

                There is no reason to think a groggy person is more likely to have sex

                But if a woman is unconscious or passing out drunk, its pretty clear what's going on

                •  no it's not. (0+ / 0-)

                  Each person has a baseline state of consciousness they consider normal for making various decisions including Yes/No with regard to having sex.

                  Each person has a repertoire of altered states.

                  Each state for a given person includes the possibility of an alteration of their parameters (limits) for Yes and No to having sex.  

                  For any given person you can compile a probability chart showing which states of consciousness are more likely to lead to Yes and which are more likely to lead to No.

                  For a given population sample (e.g. a normal sample or a specific demographic or whatever) you can compile a similar chart.  

                  For Americans it's typically the case that sleep and alcohol intoxication increase the probability of a Yes compared to their baseline state.  An individual who manipulates the circumstances to take advantage of another in those states is engaged in nonconsensual activity.  

                  Convergent outcome via different routes.

                  •  Don't agree with underlining premise (0+ / 0-)

                    groggy is not drugged or some altered state of reality

                    Whenever I'm groggy right early in the morning I want less physical interaction, and I'm sure others are the same way

                    •  in point of fact... (0+ / 0-)

                      Groggy is drugged on endogenous compounds produced by the brain.  The effect is indistinguishable from that of certain sedatives.  

                      And emotions, which are also neurochemicals, do indeed alter peoples' perception of reality.  

                      Failure to recognize the facts of cognitive science costs us elections too.

                      •  Then being happy is "drugged" as well (0+ / 0-)

                        And using your above paragraph, anyone who manipulates the happiness of another person is engaging in nonconsensual sex

                        ie A man complimenting a woman as perfect when he thinks she is mediocre in a series of actions to make her feel happy is engaging in unconsensual sex when they get a motel room and start fooling around

                        •  as a matter of fact that's true. (0+ / 0-)

                          Emotions are chemicals in the brain.  Fact of science.  If you don't like it, pick a fairytale to believe.

                          Some emotional states affect an individual's judgement of whether or not to have sex (or buy a house or invest in a portfolio or whatever other major decisions they may have to make).  Some emotions impair judgement or the ability to act on judgement.  

                          Deliberately manipulating another person's emotional state is intentionally overriding their free will.  This is a far distance from mutually-arising changes in emotional state that can occur naturally in human interactions.  

                          There is a spectrum of right and wrong between fully consenting behavior and forcibly coerced behavior.  Clearly, sweet-talking someone into fooling around isn't the same thing as dragging them into the bushes at gunpoint, in the same manner as a minor financial con isn't the same thing as an armed robbery.  But let's be quite clear here, that skillfully manipulated consent isn't real consent.  

                          •  strawman and vague (0+ / 0-)

                            you know I meant the semantics, and you're being an ass about it to boot

                            you want to go ahead and tell yourself "if a woman is happy, and i tell someone else she is drugged, that's perfectly acceptable!"

                            go right ahead, and go insult everyone who raises an eyebrow as people who might pick fairy tales over science

                          •  no, I don't know you meant the semantics.... (0+ / 0-)

                            .... because that's not what you said.  

                            And no, I am not being an ass about anything, I'm stating honest opinions.

                            And no, I don't "want to go tell myself" anything.

                            First of all I'm gay so I don't even have experience with boy/girl games.  Second I'm an engineer with education in cognitive science so I apply scientific reasoning both at work and in regard to human dynamics.  Third I don't play "twenty questions" or other silly guessing games about what people mean.  And fourth, if you want to believe in nonscientific explanations of human behavior, that's up to you, but don't expect it won't be questioned or called out.  

                          •  I have to lol at one thing (0+ / 0-)

                            "I'm gay so I don't even have experience with boy/girl games"

                            that's a good one

          •  the swedes dropped the charges (0+ / 0-)

            it wasn't much of a case.

            Assange is a cad, serial seducer and engages in
            bad sexual hygiene.

            That said, there are much worse people then him.

            George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

            by nathguy on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:08:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  He let go (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nicolemm, bronte17, blueoasis

        The first complainant claimed Assange was "holding her arms and legs" as she tried to reach for a condom, but also that when she voiced her objection he let go and agreed, reluctantly, to wear the condom.  Their dispute is that the condom broke, and why (accident or no?).

    •  He tried to do it while the woman was asleep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Gryffin, vcmvo2, martydd

      Doesn't that cross the line now?

    •  no sex wihtout a condom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "We know what rape is. ", Do we ? are you sure?
      If you say 'no sex without a condom' and they do it anyways, according to Swedish law that's rape. And by a common definition, I would say it is as well. Saying that once you are naked, you give some kind of implied consent to anything and everything is mistaken.

      •  That's not the case (0+ / 0-)

        First woman just believes the condom tore, not that there was sex without any condom whatsoever

        second woman had a mixed sexual encounter, then woke up later in the night and had consensual protected sex, and then in the morning had a groggy sexual encounter where no one asked anyone to put a condom on

  •  What proof exists that they are? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The women involved in the Assange case should not be letting themselves be used by the forces that want to put him away for creating a place for people to leak information.

    Things bloggers said? Things Assange's lawyers said?

    Timing? Wait...

    Goddamned timing? Really?

    That's the proof?

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:21:44 AM PST

    •  I remember back to when people on this site (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MS, killjoy, Themistoclea

      questioned The National Enquirer's timing when they broke a little story about John Edwards. Any time someone is accused of something, the first thing they suspect, is the timing.

      Pick a guy up for drunk driving his way home from the bar. Hey not fair! Timing!

      It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

      by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:38:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fine. Let's talk proportionality. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, Calamity Jean

      Tell me why a man was hunted down across the globe by an INTERPOL warrant for a broken condom, et al and the worst allegation charge only carries a maximum fine of $700 or so.

      Tell me why that man was locked in the dungeon in solitary confinement for 10 consecutive days and was only released when his supporters put up almost half a million dollars to obtain his freedom. And his jailers put some metal in his food and caused his tooth to be broken (which the guards then immediately confiscated).

      All over a $700 fine. And the Swedish law does not follow in Great Britain.

      Where is the proportionality?

      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

      by bronte17 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 01:57:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He was in solitary confinement because (0+ / 0-)
        1. Everyone being held for potential extradition is.
        1. Everyone in the public eye is held in solitary.

        Assange's own lawyers never said a thing about it. What was Great Britain going to do? Release him into the general population?


        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 05:07:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Assange left Sweden *with the permission* of the (0+ / 0-)


          The case was opened/dropped, then opened/dropped, and then opened yet again.

          Assange at all times offered to cooperate with investigators. But, the last time that this "rape heard round the world" was opened... Assange was not in Sweden nor on the continent it appears. But, he offered to answer their questions and cooperate.

          They didn't want that. They wanted him back within their possession and it had become politicized by that point in time.

          You still haven't answered the issue of proportionality on this case.

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:43:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I thought we were talking about solitary (0+ / 0-)


            Every time I shoot down one of your ridiculous points, you change the subject.

            It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

            by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:36:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Two sides of the same issue (0+ / 0-)

              You support the detention of Assange under this political witchhunt. You support the INTERPOL warrant and extrajudicial manipulations that were used to corral Assange.

              I do not.

              You can ridicule opposing viewpoints all you want, but it doesn't kill them nor make them disappear.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:17:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't support the detention of Assange at all. (0+ / 0-)

                I support his extradition to Sweden, where he either will or will not be charged and will or will not be convicted of crimes of a sexual nature.

                You're not going to convince me this is political. See if you can convince other folks. Not going to happen with me.

                It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

                by Fishgrease on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 12:39:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Abd this isn't true (0+ / 0-)

        ll over a $700 fine. And the Swedish law does not follow in Great Britain.

        Where is the proportionality?

        No matter how often you repeat it.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 05:07:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is true. And calling me a liar in a nice way (0+ / 0-)

          doesn't cut it. Nor does it make your point of view any more correct.

          The fine was $715 or $720... depending on which day the kroner was converted into dollars.


          And in London, Stephens told AOL News on Thursday that the offense under investigation isn’t rape at all, but rather something called "sex by surprise," which he described as a minor — and uniquely Swedish — offense that carries a 5,000 kroner fine — about $715.

          "Whatever ’sex by surprise’ is, it’s only an offense in Sweden — not in the U.K. or the U.S. or even Ibiza," Stephens said...

          In an e-mail to Threat Level, Stephens said he got the "sex by surprise" language from his Swedish co-counsel, who told him that an appeals court had changed the "rape" language in the detention order to the lesser offense. He said that the defense team has been trying without success to get the details. "My Swedish co-counsel has had to make a formal request for the information," Stephens wrote in an e-mail. "The prosecutor has ignored that request."

          The "sex by surprise" claim appears to be wrong. There is no such offense in Swedish law. The international arrest warrant is in an investigation into three separate offenses: rape, sexual coercion and sexual molestation, according to the Swedish public prosecutor’s office, which provides specific citations from the Swedish penal code on its website.

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:39:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once again, your source of information (0+ / 0-)

            is Assange's lawyers. We've known for weeks that the actual charges, if and when they file them, go WAY beyond that one offense, you list.

            I can read Assange's lawyer's press releases as well as anyone else. I don't need you to quote them.

            At least one of the offenses Assange is accused of IS a crime in Great Britain, or the extradition process would be done. It wouldn't have gone further than the 1st hearing.

            Everything I'm saying will be proved true once they extradite Assange to Sweden. Everything you're saying will be proved false or incomplete. You don't care about your credibility or you'd have stopped by now.

            And when you reply to this, PLEASE try not to change the subject.

            It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

            by Fishgrease on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:43:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  0.04% of all prosecutor rulings are changed under (0+ / 0-)

              review in the Swedish system. The seesaw on-again/off-again charges have altered as this case moved through the judicial review system.

              The above-referenced quote very clearly lists three (3) allegations against Assange. But, the worst one... "rape" was changed to a lesser offense which carried that fine. Albeit the Swedish co-counsel for Assange provided that information and said the Swedish Appeals Court had changed the "rape" charge to a lesser offense.

              You seem to have an abnormally extreme aversion to defense counsel's statements and you discount the accuracy. You are wearing your arrogance on your sleeve there.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:12:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm pretty certain you don't like me much. (0+ / 0-)

                Which is fine.

                Not going to converse with you further. At all.

                It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

                by Fishgrease on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 12:35:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's a silly conclusion. (0+ / 0-)

                  I have the greatest respect for you. But, this time you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

                  And no talking is understandable. Ciao.

                  <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                  by bronte17 on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 07:38:41 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly, not much has changed (10+ / 0-)

    since the 60s regarding sexual politics in "the movement."

    Yes, this needs to be discussed. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    "If we work in unity, we will achieve our goal." ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

    by jan4insight on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:39:14 AM PST

    •  Good luck on getting a serious discussion. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martydd, Gemina13, jan4insight

      Whenever the subject of rape is brought up on a progressive blog that is not explicitly feminist, it is immediately and heavily derailed by fauxgressive men (and the sort of women who seek out headpats from men by attacking other women). There's victim blaming, there's the bullshit claim about the high rate of false-rape accusations (see here for a rebuttal),  there's screams of "misandry," etc., etc.

      If you want a serious discussion of rape without the inevitable mansplaining and derailing, don't bother with this site. Instead, read Sady Doyle, who started a Twitter campaign and — with some help from Rachel Maddow —successfully pressured Michael Moore into take back some of the misogynist crap he was spewing about the alleged victims. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, Keith Olbermann is still sucking his thumb and whining about teh mean ol' feminazis on Twitter.

  •  exactly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, nicolemm, vcmvo2

    It is wrong of us to stand here, having no personal witness to the truth of the accusations, and make judgements based upon press releases.  The LEAST of what we know about this situation is that sex did occur, and Assange created some very bad sexual politics as a result.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:48:29 AM PST

    •  Not Quite. The LEAST of What We Know About (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cedar park

      this situation is that sex did occur, and Assange released huge amounts of troubling secret government information, which made several governments want him for questioning or prosecution, and that Assange helped create some very bad sexual politics.

      We don't know any less than this. Nobody knows how much he created, or what all was the result of what and whom.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 12:40:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't mix the political action with the man's zip (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicolemm, Euroliberal

    As with filmmaster Woody Allen, don't mix Assange's prodigious "leak" achievements with his zipper-actions.

    Sadly, there are many famous men (mostly men) who do great things, but feel that their fame entitles them to take advantage of women in a terrible way. It's hard not to be so angry at their sexual behavior that our distress overshadows their other achievements.

    •  bad biochemistry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      High testosterone levels make men aggressive, which translates to a) more likely to succeed in fields where aggressiveness is important, and b) more likely to be arseholes about sexual matters.  

      What these men need to do is learn how to play with themselves after work, to keep their attitudes in check.  

  •  Wait, a guy can't talk to a girl about no condom? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, Euroliberal, cedar park

    So whenever a man has decided to use a condom, and a woman talks him out of it, she's raped him?

    Are we setting up a new task force to prosecute all these female rapists?

  •  I think you make a fair (6+ / 0-)

    point about not letting yourself be used under any circumstances, however I really don't know if that's what occurred in the Assange case as both women consented to sex and at least twice Assange consented to wearing a condom.  I wrote about this case extensively this week after seeing the same "debate" between Naomi and Jaclyn and reading the police report on the case by the Guardian and other sources.

    There have been no charges filed against Assange, his extradition is based on the prosecutor seeking (a second) interview, as he's already been interviewed and released by the Swedish Police concerning the first complainant.


  •  what to do about this: (0+ / 0-)

    First of all, in most companies, and in the military, sexual/romantic affairs between coworkers are highly discouraged and often grounds for disciplinary action up to and including being fired.  

    There's good reason for this:  strong emotions interfere with getting the job done, and emotional "stuff" in an organization of any kind interferes with the mission of the organization.  It can sink a small business or a startup company, and it can lead to mistakes that kill people (other than intended targets) on the battlefield.  

    So the first thing we have to deal with here is to set up rules in political groups that are the equivalent of those that exist in the private sector.  

    In short, no screwing around in the group.

    Guys, "masturbate and keep your objectivity."

    Second, if the group is the only place in your geographic area where you are likely to meet people who are compatible with your politics, it may mean having to choose between the political work and the relationship for at least one person in the pair.  In a place such as the Bay Area, that either/or is unlikely, because there are other places to meet like-minded individuals.

    In a place where there are two or more progressive groups, one person in the pair can switch their political work to another group.

    And in areas where there are two or more progressive groups, they should make deliberate plans to have social gatherings that are wholly informal, where people can meet others from other groups.  This could be something as simple as "every Friday night (or the first Friday of every month, or whatever), all the progressive groups go out to X live music venue and then to Y restaurant for a late dinner (or dinner first and then music, or whatever)."

    The combination of "no-go" rules within an organization, and a specific channel to encourage socializing with others of like mind, will also strengthen the informal bonds between organizations.

  •  jesus, what a soap opera (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why so much speculation? After all, it's between 3 people and the Swedish law system, which doesn't seem to care enough to actually charge him with something. The rest is pointless hot air from people who are spinning their own agenda.

  •  Liked the story on KALW (0+ / 0-)

    This post is very much like a story I just heard on KALW radio. Was it yours?

  •  I'm sick and tired of people defending (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, martydd

    Assange. He has been charged with sexual assault which is a serious crime. And he has tried to singlehandedly bring down the entire basis of international diplomacy, that governments can talk confidentially to each other. If he did what his accusers in Sweden say he did, he is a criminal. He is definitely a menace to the free world.

  •  lol (0+ / 0-)

    Americans are so easily manipulated.

    Has the US government removed Wikileaks from the Internet yet?
    Check for yourself:

    by tr4nqued on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 08:11:46 AM PST

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