The Associated Press is reporting that about 250 infants, children & teenagers have been locked up for up to 27 days without enough food, water & sanitation at a concentration camp near El Paso, Texas. They report that a sick 2-year-old boy was being treated by three girls ages 10 to 15 because no one was attending to his care. Children are being fed uncooked frozen food or rice & gone weeks without bathing or clean clothes. One attorney said, “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”
We can express outrage till the cows come home but until we start to clamor & organize protests, this will continue. And then they will come for us.

It might offend elitists to say that prostitution is not a form of labor & not another way to earn a living. It is the sexual exploitation & commodification of women’s & children’s bodies. You bet your ass the objections to it are moral. The morality that refuses to dehumanize women & children & turn them into the equivalent of soy beans, pork rinds, or cheap toys.

Kashmiri independence leader Syed Ali Geelani was invited by students at Kashmir University to attend a book fair today. Indian officials of the ‘world’s largest democracy’ refused him permission to leave the house. He has been under house arrest most of the time since 2010.

This is not one of those things that might fit under the title “banality of evil.” India pulled his passport for accusations of “anti-India” activities & the US denied him a visa for cancer treatment because he criticized the Iraq War.

One may not have full agreement with his politics, but Syed Ali Geelani is only being isolated because of his unflinching commitment to self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo is Syed Ali Geelani)

Referring to the Trump regime’s policy of kidnapping & putting refugee children in concentration camps, Maggie Gordon asked, “What kind of monster rips children from families?” That question is relevant to ask those who justify bombing in Syria by calling the White Helmet rescue workers & victims of bombing “terrorists.” It’s relevant to the Israeli & Indian armies who as a matter of policy disable, disfigure, & kill young people. It’s relevant to the Burmese army which shot & disabled unarmed Rohingya children fleeing genocide. It’s relevant to the thousands of refugees from Africa left to drown in the Mediterranean. It’s relevant to the Saudi coalition involved in bombing & starving the children of Yemen & to US-NATO forces in all their monstrous wars. Exactly where, in today’s world, isn’t that question relevant?

Some friends posted an article that more people are adopting old, sick dogs so they don’t die alone & afraid. As a rescuer, I think that’s what it’s all about. So many I’ve taken off the streets have been too sick & were rescued too late to be saved. There’s a lot of grief & loss involved & not a lot of satisfaction in holding a small, frightened creature who never had a chance in life as they die. The only mercy they ever found was finding a lap to die.

Remember when Obama announced a withdrawal of troops from Iraq & Afghanistan & when Trump announced a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan & Syria? The credulous chose to believe them against the evidence of 150 years of US wars. Now Trump is deploying 1,000 more troops to some undisclosed place in the Middle East. That is on top of the thousands of mercenaries, special forces, CIA operatives, & undisclosed troops already there in several countries.

The only thing that will stop this is rebuilding a principled international antiwar movement.

Palestinians are the largest refugee group in the world with nearly six-million refugees scattered around the world. In a bantustate solution, with increasing expansion of Zionist settlements & after the Oslo Accords have handed most of the West Bank to Israel, where would these refugees live?

There are legislative initiatives in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Washington DC to completely decriminalize prostitution which means all laws restricting or punishing the sale & purchase of sex would be eliminated. These initiatives are not coming out of nowhere but are part of a growing international movement led by pimps & traffickers to remove all impediments against their industry although the initiatives are portrayed as led by prostitutes themselves.

The feminist movement has been divided on the issue of prostitution since the 1960s but after academic, middle-class feminists began in the 1980s promoting it as “sex work,” feminists who oppose its legitimization are vilified as sex-negative SWERFs & denounced as blue-nosed prudes. By promoting prostitution as consensual sex & just another way to earn a living far more lucrative & entrepreneurial than working in a factory, fast food joint, or office, they express their utter contempt for working class women since they would never suggest their own daughters choose prostitution as a career option.

The fastest growing segment of the sex trade is children. By its very nature, prostitution is & always has been inseparable from violent exploitation of children. The pimps, traffickers, & politicians promoting the complete decriminalization of prostitution attempt to separate out prostitution from trafficking but pimping is on a continuum of exploitation with trafficking. There are no legal protections for children now against exploitation & the few that exist are seldom implemented. Decriminalizing would create an exponential increase in the sexual exploitation of children. To deny that is to be removed from the unspeakable realities of prostitution.

To glorify prostitution as consensual sex is demeaning to women. Statistics show that 75-percent of prostitutes were victims of childhood sexual assault, a majority are addicted to drugs & alcohol, a majority are poor, declassed women who on a daily basis face extreme violence & danger. One can come up with any number of smarmy justifications for prostitution but it remains what it always was: the sexual exploitation & commodification of poor women & children.

Prostitution turns women’s & children’s bodies into products like soy beans or pork rinds. That those who call themselves socialists would promote prostitution is an abomination. Feminists who oppose prostitution are accused of being anti-sexual moralists when the truth is we answer to higher aspirations for women & children. We are not cynics & will never accept prostitution as an ineradicable social institution. It is not the ‘oldest profession’ for women but came after women had developed agriculture & with the emergence of patriarchy.

The Nordic Model is the alternative to complete decriminalization. It would not legally penalize women for selling their bodies but it would come down like a hammer on johns, pimps, traffickers, brothel owners. Those proposing complete decriminalization attempt to portray blue-nosed feminists as the promoters of the Nordic Model. In fact, in every place where there is opposition, it is led by alliances of political organizations, unions, NGOs, feminists, human rights advocates, rape crisis centers, child protection groups, nurses & midwives, anti-human trafficking groups. It is led by those who want to protect women & children against exploitation, provide services for recovery & opportunities for a dignified livelihood. That does not patronize prostitutes but acknowledges the dehumanizing realities of exploitation & commodification.

Photo is March 2019 protest in NYC led by the National Organization for Women against decriminalizing prostitution.

(Photo by Marie Solis)