Assange debate has nothing to do with feminist men selling out – it’s a different compulsion
December 8, 2010 15 Comments
I’ve read just about everything you could want on Julian Assange now – and I’ve reached my own conclusion. But first we should break down other opinions on the blogosphere. On 21 August of this year Dave Allen Green on his Jack of Kent blog cleared up one or two things when he said “we must be careful not to jump to the conclusion that it must be a smear.” Of course for the unthinking conspiratorial minded among us, this has to be a smear. Assange, after all, is undercutting US hegemony, utilising internet tools and creating bottom up power. Politicians talk about civic empowerment, and deliberative/participatory democracy, but when it actually happens they get nervous – was Assange simply on the receiving end of this?
As Andy Newman at Socialist Unity blog has said perhaps Assange has been caught up in a CIA honeytrap – which has got under the skin of Louise, who rightly points out that “We don’t know the full story. Wait for the full story, wait to see the evidence tested in court.” This brings us back to Green’s point; due process dictates this: one is innocent until proven guilty. Newman’s honeytrap represents precisely the compulsion to seek perfect narratives where such narratives are absent. But perhaps this is not his fault; after all it looks dodgy – but I’m on the side of Louise and Green, lets leave the theories at home, and await results from the trial.
In the mean time another debate has taken place between Cath Elliot and Sunny Hundal relating to a rubbish article written by John Band (Cath actually has a full account of her debate with Sunny on twitter, which I have now read, and immediately agreed with the last statement: “Now can we all please move on.”). This seems to relate to the terms of the debate of rape. Elliot worries that men on the left – so-called feminists – are too quick jumping at the conclusion that women are wrong when it comes to calling on rape. This is perhaps a simplified way to summarise the debate, but in any case it misses one, aforementioned, point; the left wing, feminist men are probably consumed by the timing of the allegation, with prior knowledge of CIA attempts to try and silence critics and dissenters, rather than trying to downplay the serious allegations made against Assange.
No male feminist I have ever met has ever tried to question what counts as rape in a way unpalatable – but the cynic in me thinks the problem here is men trying to define rape at all, which sticks in the throat of some feminists. Perhaps this is justified, but I fail to see how. Some of the comments on a blog entry by Dawn Foster, for the F for Philistine blog, call into question use of the word rape (this is what stung Andy Newman and John Band). See for example this comment by Soeren Passer:
Well described post and content.
But I disagree with you wholeheartedly – how can you justify that having sex willingly with someone, going on record that it was consensual and then still charge him with rape because you regretted your own actions? Sexual misconduct if you must press the issue of unprotected sex – consensual unprotected sex – and now that is being considered rape?
If a woman has the right to change her mind AFTER sex, then the man should have the option of deciding whether an accidental pregnancy should be aborted without input from the woman…. ponder that for a second.
I know that is an extreme and completely irrational example but so is being able to charge someone with rape because the woman regretted having consensual sex days after it happened. Remember that both women are on official police record stating that all the sex was consensual.
The reason people are so busy acquitting him for rape is because THERE WAS NO RAPE. To state otherwise is basically admitting stupidity.
Also one of the women has a blog and on this blog she posted a guide who to use the Swedish laws to charge someone with fake rape. That is just facts and from the “horse’s own mouth” so to say.
Let me be clear – I think real rape is unforgiving and I cannot imagine the horrors rape victims go through – but to call what happened between Julian Assange and the two women rape is belittling the real victims of rape.
This is the point at which leftist men might “sell out”. While trying to say this is a smear from the US, they feel almost obliged to call into question the rape allegations, in order to fit the narrative. Not necessarily in a way that questions “female accounts” – we’re not in a Saudi court here – but in a way that wonders whether there has been US intimidation involved, or something similar.
My own conclusion is as follows: it is bad timing, all true, but due process is so very important. Perhaps it’s not below the US to do something like this, perhaps the women filing an allegation are telling porkies or have changed their mind, perhaps Swedish law has some homework to do. Perhaps. We simply do not know. Making these facile little narratives add up to each other is a task not worth falling out with each other about. For reasons I have mentioned, I don’t think feminist men eventually sell out women in the end, this could be geared towards other compulsions we have, and not just feminist men, everyone, and that is desiring a narrative that fits. Lets all keep our hair on, and not fall out about this. Really.