#IBelieveHer and the Presumption of Innocence

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Editorial note: A satirical piece which made reference to gender politics in our movement has been postponed in favour of this rant by one of the authors of the former piece in light of current events in Ireland. This piece makes no pretension to humour and reflects the unironic views of the entire editorial staff including all remaining writers and, we should hope, reflects on some level the sentiment of at least the majority of our readers. Should readers not be aware of the case, a content warning is due for rape.

They were acquitted! They were acquitted by a court of law after hearing all the evidence! You don’t simply get to decide who’s guilty and who’s innocent based on your feelings, no matter how popular they are! This is why we have police, this is why we have courts, this is why we have the state!

These “arguments”, applied to republicans found “guilty” of republican “crimes”, should be all to familiar to men reading this who might not ordinarily be predisposed to paying particularly attention to women’s rights and struggle, a characterisation which tragically applies to many, many men in the dissident republican movement, a fact reflected in the Provos’ ability to dominate the LGBT and feminist discourses while dissident organisations are generally quieter. Perhaps the leadership are afraid of upsetting “traditional” people (or to be more blunt: patriarchal, macho, cissexist, homophobic men)?

Whenever we choose to pay attention to this fact, the state and the media are never actually objective actors meting out fair treatment to all. Under British occupation, this should be obvious even to middle-of-the-road liberals because the British state is still a monarchy, putting one family ahead of all others by divine mandate. But the facts are hardly different in the south, or indeed, anywhere else.

The patriarchy is the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is the state. Here we should give Öcalan his due for reviving a discussion long lay dormant among Marxists (although it was for a period a fixation of Marx’s and Engels’s), the question of the co-emergence of class society, civilisation, and gender roles, or as we now call it, “the patriarchy”. How do we see that there is value in an investigation of this question? We see it in Wednesday’s acquittal.

We know and we see, and we hope all reading this agree, that the patriarchal “rape culture” constitutes the universal material conditions in which a rugby “lad” might commit his particular act of rape. But it was not just the culture which created these men and encouraged them to become what they became and do what they did. It was the state which presides over this culture which acquitted them despite all evidence. Yes, despite all evidence, it was not enough to prove guilt because of the “presumption of innocence”. But in doing so, this same court, which made sure that she spent more time being questioned than all of the men put together, has presumed guilt: they have presumed this woman is guilty of libel, and Paddy Jackson is now proceeding with libel charges against those who defend her.

Who has rushed to the defence of the downtrodden woman, whose sexuality and character were humiliatingly put on trial? The heroic toiling masses, ordinary people, in the streets, across Ireland.

The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is not a concept which we limit to taxes and tariffs and employment and trade unionism. The dominant bourgeoisie and its state see their reflection in one another and shape and are shaped by each other. All of social life, from the market to the courts, is under their domination, and any exceptions are the result of determined struggle against them. So it should not surprise us that the dominant bourgeoisie’s national character correlates with those of state institutions. But as the bourgeoisie inherits the patriarchal economic and cultural practices from the various historically dominant classes it has sublated in itself (the slavemaster, the feudal lord, etc.), the state inherits their patriarchal laws.

So it is with the control of women’s bodies. From the perspective of the patriarchy, we are accused of trying to police men’s sexuality, but they themselves are blind to how violently they wish to possess women’s bodies and sexuality. The slut-shaming and the hunter metaphors for pursuing women sexually, this is the overt sexual reflection of the dominance of men over women extended back more or less to the beginning of civilisation. When a woman questions this, asserts her control of her own body, she is vilified not only by the men who violated her, but by the state. We must ask, why is this? The state has an interest in protecting these men, not because they individually are so special or unique, but precisely because they are not.

The patriarchy which lies below bourgeois society and all class society, which has recreated itself through and atop bourgeois society, knows and sees that the recreation of the oppressor man identity is essential for its own continuation. The patriarchy knows and sees that rebellion against this order, through the feminist and LGBT movements, has an anti-systemic character. It protects itself against these threats in two key ways:

Firstly, as we have seen in all its ugliness in Wednesday’s acquittal, by protecting rapists at all costs; a stern reminder to women to stay in their place and accept their subservience, a pat on the back to rapist manhood.

Secondly, through the more covert violence of appropriation. Let us not forget that the occupational authorities are presided over by the Queen and the woman Prime Minister of Britain. This concept of “woman leadership” is not just an exception to the rule: it is the exception which proves the rule. These individual women are allowed privileges in exchange for presenting themselves to women as proof of their own liberation, to put trust in the patriarchy to save them from itself.

The capitalist class is the patriarchy, the patriarchy is the capitalist class. Women are the proletariat, the proletariat are women. The violence against the working class around the world, who anyway are in their majority women and the gender oppressed, in their majority oppressed nationalities, seems so obvious to our readers as to occasionally provoke the question: how has this state of affairs survived? The answer is in the covert violence of appropriation. The labour aristocracy, the occasional worker who rises in class position, these are the reflection of the oppressor class in the oppressed. The union officials who betray the labourers, particularly the unorganised labourers, the workers who refuse to join the struggle because they want to protect their current or perhaps future position, these are one and the same phenomenon as those women, in “power” or not, who defend the man-state’s assault on womanhood.

There is no neutrality in this: the media is not neutral, the state is not neutral, and you cannot remain neutral. The state presumes you guilty of insubordination until you prove yourself subordinate. The state is guilty of oppression. The media, guilty of concealing this. All of this, bought and sold by the bourgeois patriarchy.

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Scandal as Labour Leaks Plan to Crown Gary Donnelly King

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LONDON – “I don’t understand!” cried Corbyn, slamming his fist against the wall of his Islington bunker. “They kept trying to link us to the Provos, and what could make it more clear where we stand on them than this?”

“I know, I know…” concurred Diane Abbott. “And we’re even taking an interest in Buckingham Palace, the media is just really unfair to us.”

For hours, sources across the political spectrum in the UK have been reacting with shock and horror to a leaked plan to replace Queen Elizabeth II with Gary Donnelly, who would be crowned King Gary I, King of the Irish Isles.

“You see why I keep emphasising the national interest now, don’t you?” explained noted wheat field runner and part-time Prime Minister Theresa May to the Spatula’s Downing Street correspondent. “None of you believed me, until now, but now you see it. Are you going to let Corbyn bring a Papist into Buckingham Palace?”

“I tried to warn you,” agreed noted Welsh national embarrassment Owen Smith. “I’m as radical as the next one, but this is not how you win elections. I want a Northern Irish monarch as much as Corbyn does, but compromise is key. We could’ve chosen someone from the UDA, for example.”

Reaction from the occupied North of Ireland, however, has been quite positive, with the notable exception of Gary Donnelly himself, who has denied all claims of any connection between himself and Jeremy Corbyn. The RIRA have released a video claiming that they have “thousands” of weapons stashed in Buckingham Palace that they hope to be able to retrieve. INLA, for their part, released a video with similar claims, with the noteworthy difference that they plan to immediately decommission the weapons after retrieving them.

Provisional Sinn Féin, for their part, are ecstatic about this latest development in the saga of Irish Republicanism within the Party of Labour:

“With an Irish monarch in power, we can finally legitimise entering the Palace of Westminster. We look forward to bringing down the Union Jack and raising the tricolour over Londain with the help of our comrade-in-arms, John McDonnell.”

UKIP Show of Force for Brexit Vote

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DERRY – Masked members of UKIP, widely held to be a legal front for the “Accelerationist” IRA, carried out a march in Derry today. Upon reaching Derry City Cemetery, one of their number began reading out a prepared statement in support of the UK leaving the EU.

“Leaving the EU will be greatest blow against the British partition and occupation of Ireland yet. Without the EU’s lie of a ‘borderless Europe’, the Irish people on both sides the imperialist-imposed border in Ulster will be thrown into sharper struggle with the colonial occupation forces.

“With this in mind, we demand that the UK leave the EU immediately and enter into a bitcoin-based economic union, to further sharpen the economic contradictions for the peoples of Britain, who will in turn be pushed towards the front lines of John McDonnell’s glorious people’s war against the English monarchy and its feudal servants, who in addition to occupying our dear comrades in Wales and the reasonably progressive lot in Scotland, exploit and mislead the English people, which we suppose is also somewhat objectionable.”

“For a united, independent Ireland, and a united, independent Britain!” bellowed the apparent leader, before proceeding to lead the masked men to the nearest pub for a pint of Guinness.

Concerns remain high that should a “no” vote prevail in the referendum later this month, UKIP will cease to act as a peaceful voice of its particular branch of the dissident republican movement, and AIRA bombs will go off in London once again, primarily targeting recent immigrant businesses, “in a completely non-racist way that is wilfully misunderstood by the politically correct Guardian-reading crowd”.

Campaign to Free Paul Murphy Gaining Momentum

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DUBLIN – Ever since Worker’s Spatula incorrectly and shamefully implied that there was a shortage of Trotskyist political prisoners in the world, CWI activists have been quick to correct this misconception. A particularly heinous instance of the harsh repression of the Trotskyist movement to be found in many countries is that of Paul Murphy, a member of the Irish CWI affiliate Páirtí Sóisialach or “Socialist Party”.

Paul Murphy was arrested in August during a protest in Dublin’s Jobstown district, at which the Gardaí beat him thoroughly and screamed “that one Gramsci quote” at him repeatedly, in English, Italian, and Irish Gaelic. Such is the brutality of the Stalinist police of Dublin.

The IRSP has issued a statement of solidarity with the still-imprisoned Mr. Murphy, who was charged with ten years in prison for his revolutionary activity. “We too know the brutality of the bourgeois justice system, and we will not rest until Paul Murphy is freed.”

Paul Murphy, who has been tweeting regularly from his cell, informed us that he had been tortured several times by the “fascist Free State authorities”. In one such case, he was forced to stand naked before the other prisoners and state that no Trotskyist group had ever carried out a revolution, anywhere in the world, at any time.

While he disputed claims that the series of bombing attacks against police stations in Dublin were carried out by Páirtí Sóisialach’s alleged armed wing, the Permanent Brigades, he likewise refused to condemn the attacks.

“These attacks must be understood in the context of the violence carried out by the state against socialist groups such as my own. If the state really wants peace, as it claims it does, it will sit down for direct negotiations.”

“While I appreciate all the solidarity I’ve received from the outside, and sure, I’ve made a great sacrifice, the revolution isn’t just one man, and it’s not just in one country. Let’s not forget our comrades in Greece, Xekinima, who we all couldn’t shut up about a few months back. They’re still a viable force in Greek politics and an important player in the coming world revolution. Up the CWI!”

At press time, our Dublin correspondent was unable to hear us over our mobile connection due to the massive crowds pushing against the Dublin Gardaí screaming “FREE PAUL MURPHY!” and “FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!”

IST: “Houthis Could Learn a Thing or Two From the FSA”

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SANA’A – While the civil war rages on in Syria, another civil war wages in a much poorer Arab country: Yemen. In keeping with their current strategy of support for NATO/GCC foreign policy except in such cases where elected social democrats are put off, the IST has pledged allegiance to the Hadi-led government.

“Look, if the Houthis didn’t want to get bombed, they shouldn’t have opposed the revolutionary force of Saudi Arabia, who today are bringing democratic revolution to Syria”, read a statement from the ISO in the US.

Their UK sister party, the SWP, agreed: “Yemeni civilians are all tankie bastards for getting support from fascist countries like Eritrea, North Korea… I mean, do I have to spell it out for you? These are poor, non-white, non-English-speaking countries! Inherently counter-revolutionary!”

Our correspondent in Sydney confronted a pro-Hadi march and received this response from a member of “Solidarity”: “Saudi Arabia should kill all the Houthis, they make me sick. I mean, they should learn about real revolution from the FSA: Shoot people dead for being the wrong sect, allow the GCC to directly choose your leadership. That’s how you convince English-speaking revolutionaries like us you’re bringing democracy. But talk to Iran and Russia about anything? That’s fascism, not democracy.”

The Irish SWP praised the “democratic” Hadi-led government for its “revolutionary stance against Assad, the biggest bastard in the whole Arab world”, but added that if Putin started supporting Hadi, they might consider shifting support to the Houthis: “But only if the US says it’s okay.”

Additionally, Turkish IST affiliate DSİP reportedly released their own statement through the magazine Altüst. If only anybody outside of DSİP actually read Altüst, we might know what they said.

The IST’s proclamations did not go unremarked upon by rival Trotskyist groups: “The hypocrisy and lack of any values underlying the strategy of the IST with regard to Yemen is further evidence that they are fake Trotskyists,” read a response statement by the ICL(FI). “That’s why we support Ansar al-Sharia.”

A Yemeni refugee in Athens was willing to speak to our correspondent about foreign leftist views on Yemen: “I’ve never heard of any of these groups. Even if they shared my personal politics, can they actually help me in any way? Do they matter?”