Saturday, December 25, 2010

Seymour on Assange Allegations

Richard Seymour has an excellent post on the allegations against Assange here, which makes similar arguments to the claims I put forward here. Seymour's analysis is spot on. His criticisms of Wolf and Counterpunch are also fitting.

It has been infuriating to see so much muddled, basically sexist responses to the Assange allegations. To rule out a priori that Assange committed rape is ludicrous (and sexist). Rape happens all of the time, and most of the time the crime goes unpunished entirely. To defend the organization called wikileaks is one thing. To claim that you know beyond on the shadow of a doubt, simply because you support the organization wikileaks, that Assange couldn't have raped anyone is preposterous. Perhaps he didn't- I myself don't know. But I don't pretend to have a priori knowledge of his innocence. I also don't go around regurgitating falsehoods about laws in Sweden that define rape as "consensual sex with no condom". It's disgusting how many supposedly "Left" defenders of Assange have made these two blunders.

Of course, the US war machine could care less whether he did or not- they want to get him by any means necessary, for reasons completely unrelated to rape. Even if he did commit rape in Sweden, there is no real reason for extradition- yet we know that the US will try to capitalize on what happened in order to bury wikileaks.


Richard said...

My perspective, which takes lenin's post as a starting point, can be found here.

A summary: the US and the Swedish prosecutors are most responsible for damaging the credibility of Assange's accusers, which does not exonerate some on the left who have, yet again, resorted to conspiracy theory to malign one of his accusers, Anne Ardin. Surely, the left can do better than look to the US, the CIA and (sometimes) the Mossad as well to explain much more complex social and political phenomena. Which, of course, doesn't mean that we should always disregard that possibility, but it provides a poor substitute for a more sophisticated evaluation that takes into account, race, class, gender and sexual orientation.

Embedded within this situation is a challenging intersection between misogyny, sexual violence and the tendency to look towards the criminal justice system as the institution that legitimizes or dismisses claims of sexual assault. Hopefully, I will get an opportunity to address that soon. My recollection is that this subject was a central focus of 1970s and 1980s feminism, and it would be good to revisit it in this context.

t said...

thanks for that, Richard. Interesting, thoughtful post.