The unions are run by pimps.
The existence of the IUSW and the ECP expose the lie of the voiceless, hapless sex worker who is passive and doesn't speak up for themselves. But wait, the general public tells the antis, they are saying the legislation won't help them and frankly, we think they'd know better. Damn, say the antis, new approach: the unions are pimp mouthpieces! Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES must anyone believe sex workers speak for themselves. This new hue and cry now metaphorically cuts out the tongue of sex workers.
Take this post by one Cath Elliot. She calls a member of the IUSW, Douglas Fox, a pimp. Actually, he is a self-employed, gay male sex worker. Ms. Elliot objects to entrepreneurs being in the union, blatantly showing her ignorance that EVERY independent sex worker is, in effect, an entrepreneur whether they apply business sense to their operations or not. So, they don't get to join a union and speak up for their rights?
Douglas defended himself brilliantly several times in comments to her post. Notably, he posted this response that I will post in its entirety because it is the purest summation what is REALLY the motivation of the most vocal abolitionists who dismiss the opinions of sex workers that oppose them:
Sadly it seems that anyone who speaks for human rights and especially the rights of sex workers is dismissed by some who choose happily to ignore individual human dignity. Recognising personal agency would diminish the power of the caricature and the message that women are victims of male violence.
Nothing any sex worker will say will be accepted because this thread is not about rights or about trafficking or about abused women or about my partner being an agent but rather it is about an ideological rant that uses the caricatured victim quite shamelessly to push an agenda.
It is an agenda that endangers and hurts women and men and transgender sex workers. I of course will be torn to pieces for saying this and the rant will be that the IUSW is a pimp organisation and I am a pimp etc etc. But until our voices as sex workers are heard and our rights are recognised than lives will be destroyed and people will die. Only rights ever defeat wrongs. History has prove this over and over again not that few on this thread will admit that sadly.
Douglas ( a proud member of the IUSW and activist for Amnesty and a very happy hooker)
Maxine Doogan jumps in later:
I was recently maligned just like Douglas Fox in another blog recently. I responded by telling the haters that their mischaracterization of me and my encounters with law enforcement is another example of how they are only interested in silencing actual sex industry workers’ first hand accounts of corruption. Their attempts to assassinate my character sends a clear message to all women and sex workers that the anti porn/prostitution haters are in bed with the dominate white male culture who use criminalization as a means debase our worker centered voices and are therefore not the people to go if one’s been a victim or a witness of rape, robbery, theft, coercion, assault and murder.
Sex industry workers are discredited no matter what service we provide. It’s interesting to me that haters employ the capitalistic model of trade unionism to oppress prostitutes and our right to hire support staff. They use this model to define for us who our bosses are, so they can deny us support staff and dictate the ‘cooperative model’. This very act of defining for us what our work conditions ought be and who we can enter into contracts with is the act of a being a boss. When citizens, of the UK or other, think they have say in a profession they don’t work in, they act as the the slave owner and are not worthy of the pronoun ‘abolitionist’.
I would much rather spend time writing and reading with sex industry folks articulating positions on who’s boss in the sex industry and how the imposition of capitalist and their interpretation of how trade union models as the excuse to usurp our voice in efforts to silence us and how we’re going to rid ourselves their oppression.
maxine: I think you will find that most radical feminists will either stop reading, or stop taking you seriously, when you come out with shit like “anti porn/prostitution haters are in bed with the dominate white male culture”. Big hint: they are primarily who we are fighting against.
You prattle on about the workers, fine and dandy. However, think a little deeper. Instead of supporting prostitution (which is not the same as supporting prostitutes), you are supporting rich (primarily white) dudes to buy the bodies of poorer women. Women still have not achieved equal pay in the general workforce, nor do they have as many career opportunities if they have taken time out to have children etc. Prostitution is a ghetto set up. The choice is an illusion.
It is you who are in bed with the rich white dudes. Figuratively and literally.
I want to address Stormy's response. I posted one on the actual forum as well. I don't think people like Stormy realize just how telling their flip responses to sex worker rights activists are and how they so easily make a lie of their "I hate prostitution, not prostitutes" stance.
Witness: I think you will find that most radical feminists will either stop reading, or stop taking you seriously, when you come out with shit like “anti porn/prostitution haters are in bed with the dominate white male culture”. Big hint: they are primarily who we are fighting against.
Only, what Stormy should've said was, "They are primarily who we are fighting WITH". They have the ear and support of the dominate white male culture, expressed most importantly in the halls of government. Rad fems have a tremendous amount of influence in that area because their aims are in agreement with the very people they label as the epitome of what is wrong in this world. They never ask themselves why these dominant white males are giving them the time of day. This culture is not supportive of sex workers at all. Otherwise, not only would PropK have passed, it would've have even been needed to be proposed at all as decriminalized sex work would just be a given.
Witness: You prattle on about the workers, fine and dandy.
That set my teeth on edge. There is nothing worse than minimizing a woman's voice when it is passionately defending HER CHOICE with a descriptor that reduces it to mere background noise. That is exactly what prattle is. Stormy has put her ideology and whorephobia above Maxine's status as a fellow woman in this dominant white male culture. Way to promote the Sisterhood, Stormy. And you all wonder why so many women are fleeing from it? Why so many of us call ourselves, you know, "sex positive" feminists or "i" feminists or "anti-censorship" feminists when those specificities shouldn't have to exist?
Witness: However, think a little deeper.
Teeth still on edge. "Silly little girl. You're not very smart are you? You're just a whore and don't know how to process information like I do. So shut up and listen and do what I say!" Does this sound any different coming from a woman than from a man? I mean, I am no more comforted by this if someone like Ann Coulter said it as opposed to [insert asshole GOP politico here]. Stormy, next time you are in a heated discussion with a man who is anti-feminist and he pulls this canard on you, remember this.
Witness: Instead of supporting prostitution (which is not the same as supporting prostitutes)
This is a false distinction. Prostitutes need to survive, like all people do, and prostitution is the way they do it. Criminalizing the clients makes the job of the prostitute more difficult and exponentially more dangerous. This is not the same as supporting immigrants but NOT supporting trafficking.
Witness: you are supporting rich (primarily white) dudes to buy the bodies of poorer women.
No, Maxine is not, nor is any other sex worker rights activists. This is always the telling accusation by the abolitionists which alerts me to their lack of understanding of the mechanics of purchasing. When you purchase a tangible object, it is yours to do with what you please. Notably, said object goes home with you. It doesn't remain at the store. Said object can be put any place you choose: the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen counter, garage, driveway, etc. The only individual that even comes close to controlling the prostitute as such are actual traffickers and horrible pimps. Not clients, not even scumbag ones who knowingly patronize enslaved women.
Speaking of slavery, abolitionists like to conflate voluntary prostitution with slavery. Again, this tells me they lack comprehension about something else: slavery. A slave is always at the beck and call of their owner. Notably, they do not live independently of said master, receive no pay, and make absolutely no decision on any aspect of their life. These modern-day abolitionists really need to study the history of slavery. This is not the reality of a woman who chooses prostitution, even if she charges very little for her services.
Escaped slaves from the American south often joined with abolitionist groups in the North. In an unsurprising parallel, even though these escaped slaves had the most experience with slavery and needed to tell their story, abolitionists groups often silenced them as well. Yet, they claimed to be concerned about the predicament of the slaves but ignored the very people they should be listening to. Hmmm....sounds very familiar. Historian David Blight specifically talks about successful efforts to divert Frederick Douglass from talking about racism within the Abolitionist movement (you know, those folks SO CONCERNED about blacks) and focus on the horrors in the Southern slavery system:
Black and white abolitionists often had different agendas by the 1840s, and certainly in the 1850s. But one of the greatest frustrations that many black abolitionists faced was the racism they sometimes experienced from their fellow white abolitionists. In many cases, within the Garrisonian movement in particular, the role of the black speaker or the black writer or the black abolitionist was, in some ways, prescribed, as the famous case of Frederick Douglass' relationship with the Garrisionians.
The Garrisionians wanted Douglass to simply get up and tell his story, to tell his narrative on the platform. They didn't want him to speak about Northern racism, to take on the whole picture of the anti-slavery movement as much as he did. And it had a lot to do with why Douglass eventually broke with the Garrisionians.
It was a problem for white abolitionists as well, because, in many ways, what they had discovered with black speakers is the authentic black voice,
Many white abolitionists had certain expectations of what black abolitionists were to provide or to perform within this movement. Very often, black abolitionists had different, very different, perceptions of what their role ought to be. So, there was a struggle among white and black abolitionists about just what the proper role of a black abolitionist was in this movement.
The similarities between sex worker feminists and other feminists and that fact of history are stunning, aren't they? I want to replace the abolitionist descriptors with ones that reflect our situation here. *ahem*:
Many radical feminists had certain expectations of what sex workers were to provide or to perform within this movement. Very often, sex workers had different, very different, perceptions of what their role ought to be. So, there was a struggle among radical feminists and sex workers about just what the proper role of a sex worker was in this movement.
The movement that is about the sex worker, not the radical feminist. THIS is why history must be learned because we're living up to the fact that our ignorance guarantees its never-ending cycle.
Witness: Women still have not achieved equal pay in the general workforce, nor do they have as many career opportunities if they have taken time out to have children etc.
Indeed we have not and focusing so many efforts on policing the freely chosen sexual expression of other women isn't going to change this. If only you would put as much enthusiasm into getting the ERA passed!
Witness: Prostitution is a ghetto set up. The choice is an illusion.
The choice is an illusion simply because your eyes are closed to the reality, Stormy. I hear some holy rollers say the same thing about abortion. Being pro-choice is an "illusion" and a "devilish lie" told to young women who think they can resist God's Will to be "fruitful and multiply" and lie under their divinely ordained husband and do their duty. Yet many say, "No. I don't want to do that", because that is our choice. It is our choice, whether others want to acknowledge that or not. Finally...
Witness: It is you who are in bed with the rich white dudes. Figuratively and literally.
And when all else fails, slut-shame! The last refuge of an ideological coward. So all rich white dudes are evil. So, what if we just get in bed with poor white dudes? Are they somehow free from possessing prejudice? No. They're not. Nor are black, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. men, regardless of economics. Several are simply going to be misogynistic assholes or some varying degree of sexist turd. Many more are not.
Are some clients misogynistic and sexist? Yes. Are they all? Not by a long shot. Do some feel entitled? Some. But, as I've said, most men who feel so entitled WILL NOT PAY FOR SEX.
The abolitionist argument cannot begin to be taken seriously until they acknowledge ALL sex worker voices. Not just a select few.