Strong letters reached us on sex work and feminism, US policy in Venezuela, and the debate over Modern Monetary Theory. Letters for “South African Sex Workers Embrace Feminism,” “Venezuela: Adiós Guaidó,” and “The Secret To Funding a Green New Deal” are this week’s selections.
In“South African Sex Workers Embrace Feminism” Nkozo Yingwana shares her experiences organizing sex workers in South Africa and argues that sex work is a legitimate form of work.
Ane Mathieson writes:
“The myth that prostitution is just sex between equally consenting adults is a patriarchal reversal of reality. The myth that prostitution is sex at all clouds our understanding that prostitution is in fact a system of violence based on power and control. As long as men can purchase women for sexual acts, all women can be categorized in society as commodities, unworthy of equality as full human beings.
“The arguments that prostitution is just labor are simplistic, naive, duplicitous. This academic theory has led to full decriminalization and legalization of the sex industry (including sex buying and pimping). These policy models are showing disastrous results around the world. In New Zealand, for example, it has increased the exploitation of children, especially Maori and Pacific Islander girls. In Germany and the Netherlands, it has created an explosion in sex trafficking of the most disenfranchised populations, especially women, who populate the numerous legal and illegal brothels, both of which are largely controlled by organized crime. Legal brothels are required to install panic buttons in every room predicting the violence of sex buyers. Occupational health and safety tips, like those in New Zealand, warn of the dangers of prostitution, including internal injuries from fists entering purchased bodies and safety tips that recommend classes in hostage negotiation skills.
“Decriminalization has created an explosion in sex trafficking of the most disenfranchised populations, especially women.”
“Sex buyers and pimps intentionally recruit people when they are most vulnerable, when they are young, homeless, addicted, in poverty. People who argue that ‘prostitution is work’ are declaring that prostitution is inevitable, that women and girls, especially of color, the LGBTQ community, youth in foster care, and people living in poverty are up for sale.
“In a world where people of color and women enjoyed full equity prostitution would not exist. The overwhelming majority of sex buyers are men; the overwhelming majority of prostituted people are women and girls, and the LGBTQ populations. The overwhelming number of prostituted women and girls are pimped by a third party exploiter (“boyfriend,” owners/managers of strip clubs, illicit massage parlors, escort services, brothels, “sugar dating” websites; pornographers, etc...).
“Prostitution is a system based on abuse of power of a person who has the privilege and economic means to exploit the vulnerabilities of a person who has limited or no choices in life. Acute vulnerabilities of those bought and sold in prostitution include childhood sexual violence; homelessness; foster care; youth; sex, gender, racial and economic inequalities. Payment or exchange of goods to achieve the consent of a person to engage in sexual acts is by definition an act of coercion.”
In “Venezuela: Adiós Guaidó” Angel Guerra Cabreraargues that recent events in the country have exposed the US selected coup president’s lack of popular legitimacy. Our Facebook headline initially read: “The self-proclaimed interim president committed suicide when he called for U.S. military intervention in his own country.”
Rebecca Snody writes:
“With that headline for one moment I thought that you were actually announcing that he had committed suicide. I'm seeing people talking about the prices of gas still rising, OPEC is the organization that controls the price of petroleum products and it is a multinational group. The United States has no more control of the price of petroleum products than the large petroleum producing countries. Also it is a grievous error to assume that what is going on in Venezuela is expressly to loot oil resources. A glut of oil and a fall in oil prices is one thing that was contributory to the troubles in Venezuela's economy. What is more newsworthy and noteworthy is multinational corporations seeking to exploit the gold and other mineral resources in Venezuela. Two European banks are holding over 50 tons of Venezuelan gold right now. It's like going to the bank to take some money out of your savings account and then being refused.”
Glen Ford replies:
“On Thursday we added the word ‘political’ to the ‘suicide’ in the headline, in hopes of avoiding further anxiety among our readers.”
In “The Secret To Funding a Green New Deal” Ellen Browndiscusses the debate over Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) in funding the Green New Deal. She also argues for a system of public banks as a reliable funding source.
Stacey Van Veen writes:
“MMT isn't a whim, rather it explains how monetary systems work. Out of that, MMTers whose aim is for the economy to operate at full capacity, have identified policies that would stabilize and promote an optimized set of macro conditions; ie, full employment, price stability, ending homelessness and poverty, educating the population and improving healthcare, AND saving the planet, because who cares about inflation if the planet is going to be uninhabitable. You're not going to get MMT unless you put the time in to get it. Reading a few articles is not going to do it. Once you do get it, it's obvious that macroeconomics cannot work any other way. So forget about buggy whip salesmen like Krugman and Summers, and all of the politicians who are either lying or don't get it. And AMI is bad for your health and a waste of time. Ask any prominent MMTer your questions. They are not locked up in ivory towers and are willing to help.”
Brian Schatz writes:
“Federal taxation is important, very important. Perhaps Ellen Brown should state what MMT academics say about federal taxation instead of making the reader imply that federal taxation isn’t necessary. That would be a fraudulent way to go about explaining MMT, and fraudulent articles are bubbling up on purpose as Stacey states above.”
Our gratitude to readers for a thought provoking column this week. Stay tuned for more.
Jahan Choudhryis Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA
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