Friday 24 January 2014

International Socialist Network splits over sex acts

Trigger warning: Some readers may find the material offensive:

Until today I had never heard of "Race Play", a form of sexual activity that according to the Urban Dictionary is defined thus:

An avant-garde, but increasingly accepted form of sexual role play in which people of different races consensually reject all political correctness (especially verbal) and propriety in favor of sexual pleasure and fulfillment.

An outline of what this involves can be found at Jezebel

Mollena Williams, who blogs at The Perverted Negress, has done race-play both for her own pleasure and as a demonstration at kink conventions. She's also currently in a relationship with a "sort of white" man (he's also part Native American), where she's the slave and he's the master. Williams told me her interest in slavery started early. She remembers seeing Roots on TV at age eight and thinking to herself, "wow, I have fantasies about really bad things." When she became involved in the kink community as an adult, many other kinky black people were critical of master/slave relationships — some threatened violence toward anyone they saw treating a person of color as a slave. She describes this time in her life as "really difficult," but she ultimately said to herself, "I will not, after so many years of struggling, have someone who doesn't know me dictate my sexuality." She adds, "if you go back and look at what feminism is about, it's about us taking charge of our bodies and our destinies." And she sees her ability to choose a master/slave relationship "with intent" as "a mark of how far feminism has come."

This matter caused a row on a Face Book discussion that Richard Seymour of Lenin's Tomb and guru of the International Socialist Network had with a number of comrades who took exception to his seemingly "liberal" views on the whole question of whether "Race Play" was racist. According to the blog The Charnel House:

“the whole of the ISN Steering Committee has turned on Richard Seymour, denouncing him as some sort of racist mansplaining pervert.”

The article gives a link to the entire argument, which before you try to plough through it is god knows how many pages long. However a poster at the Urban 75 chat room helpfully summarised the argument succinctly thus:

His argument was that "race play" carried out by two (or more) consenting adults doesn't necessarily make them racist or reproduce racism in day to day life. This seems like a pretty fair comment, whilst those jumping up and down accused him of being racist for having the audacity to disagree with some black people on the matter. The fact that some black people happily partake in race play apparently isn't something he can mention as to do so is to use black people as puppets for his own racism.

As a result the whole of the ISN is apparently in uproar, with some members quitting and defecting to the newer and possibly larger Revolutionary Socialism 21 organisation that has been formed from a more recent split in the Socialist Workers Party.

This must count as the most bizarre split in the Trotskyist milieu, like ever.

Personally I find the whole idea of "Race Play" somewhat distasteful like many other such practises that people indulge in like the "Donkey Punch", another act I had never heard of until the film of the same name came out.

But at the end of the day with so much injustice going on in the world I have to agree with comments made by Gene of Harry's Place who remarked that this argument was;

..about as far from the needs and concerns of ordinary people as it's possible to get.


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