How Do We Make Bernie Better About Sexwork?

I am a strong Sanders supporter, and I am more than willing to concede that Bernie needs to do better regarding certain issues. Sex work is definitely one of them.

We in the pro-Sanders camp need to acknowledge that his votes in favor of FOFSTA and SESTA hurt sexworkers and we must acknowledge that Bernie needs to be pushed more on the issue of sex work.

Not only did Bernie vote for both of these harmful bills but when talking about media coverage of Stormy Daniels, Bernie has maintained a tone that writes off sexwork in a way that is damaging to his progressive image.

While at SXSW last year, he remarked that while the Stormy Daniels story is “legitimate news… the media is too obsessed with it,” which is actually a valid point. However, his reasoning was grossly flawed.

In this country, we have a lot of people who are in pain — single mothers, people who can’t afford college — they want to see something that reflects their reality.” And obviously, a president suing an adult film star isn’t that.

This reasoning ignores some very important realities, one being that porn performers and sex workers often are single mothers or parents. It also forsakes the reality that many turn to sex work because of the economic oppressions that he mentioned. In other words, it reflects the idea that porn stars and the issues effecting them are not to be taken seriously because porn stars themselves are not to be taken seriously as people.

This has been a difficult dance for me. I strongly support sex workers and want our culture to abandon the negative cultural constructs that we have attached to sex and sexuality. I also need the strong social welfare and environmental programs that Bernie Sanders is running on to come to fruition, we all do, or we are all going to die. So, as a Sanders supporter I think it is our job to hold him to scrutiny when he falls short.

Here is what I make of the whole Bernie Fofsta/Sesta/Sexwork situation: Bernie does not hate sexworkers, however because he is a product of his time and place he has preconceived notions about sex and sexuality that are the by products of our sex negative cultural constructs. Bernie and his sexwork policies are a good reflection of how even if you lean hard to the left, you will still have ingrained notions and prejudices if you are raised in an oppressive society, and inevitably some of that will lead to a perpetuation of the same oppressions we as leftists desire to overthrow.

All is not lost though, the key to overcoming ingrained prejudices and cultural constructs is to recognize them, and then take active steps to correct them. If Bernie has proven one thing about himself it is that when the public cries fowl on him, he listens and takes the steps to do better. The good news is that Bernie has already expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work! However, more still needs to be done. We, his supporters, need to raise our voices and elevate sexworkers who are organizing. If enough of us do this, then Bernie, as well as all of the politicians in power, will have to take notice.

So, how do we get Bernie to be better about sexwork?

1. Elevate Sex Worker’s Voices, Support Sex Worker Unions

First and foremost, to stand in true solidarity with sexworkers we must avoid the savior complex.

As long as strippers, escorts, and porn performers are generating wealth with their labor then we must acknowledge that sex work is work.

We also must recognize that there are already those in the sex industry that are working to organize their own, such as Antonia Crane, Siousixie Q, Sex Worker Outreach Project, and the “soldiers of pole” stripper union. We don’t need to invade the spaces where sex workers are trying to organize, what we must do is elevate those who are already organizing and fighting and stand behind them in solidarity when they step up to lead. Sex workers do not need saving, they need solidarity.

It should also be remembered that these workers do not need our’s nor Bernie’s validation, they do not need to beg for Bernie’s approval or his audience, what they need from him and all of us is our solidarity. The more that we support the efforts of people like strippers to unionize, the more Bernie’s hand will be forced to recognize that sexwork is indeed a form of labor. For better or worse, Bernie listens when unions are involved.

2. Fight Our Sex Negative Cultural Constructs

It is okay to talk about sex. You would think that we’d have accepted that as a culture because sex is shoved into our faces in almost every form of advertisement or entertainment. Yet the fact that we are only now having this conversation about sexwork, the fact that our government’s response to the human trafficking problem has been to go after the sex work industry as a whole, and the fact that people still have not grasped the nuances of trans rights or gender fluidity, all demonstrate how far we have to go when it comes to sex as a culture. We can’t accept the idea that sex work is work if we can’t accept our own ideas about sex. If we want to make Bernie better about the issue of sex work, then we ourselves need make ourselves better and more enlightened on the topic of sexuality.

3. Make It Clear That Sex Workers Benefit From Social Welfare Programs

The benefits that sexworkers would receive from Bernie’s social welfare programs needs to be made more explicit and central to the left’s platform. We should make it clear that Medicare for all covers sexual wellness such as fertility and STD testing.

Not only that but both Medicare for all and college for all reduce the need for people to resort to sex work out of desperation. While many resort to sexwork willingly (even enthusiastically) some in the industry get into it because they cannot find other work. Also, more often than not you will find that several sex workers are trapped under crippling student loan debt or medical debt like the rest of us.

Bernie’s programs would also benefit those who engage in sexwork willingly because if we free our minds from sex negative thinking while we also free ourselves from these financial restraints, then those who have been sexually repressed will be free to explore the aspects of their sexuality like never before. They will be free perform and indulge without judgement, as they should have the freedom to do.

4. Decriminalize all sexwork

This is probably the most important thing to push for. Those who do sex work consensually should have the freedom to do so without fear. Because we live in a punitive system, the laws that police claim will protect trafficked sex workers usually leads to them being prosecuted more than rescued. Prostitutes are also statistically more likely to get arrested than pimps or traffickers. All socialists and leftists must explicitly support the decriminalization of sex work, period.

Now that Bernie has expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work, it is on us as his supporters to assure that sex work decriminalization becomes a part of his platform.

If enough of a movement is started, especially among his core base of supporters, then Bernie will have to take notice of how he has misstepped on the issue of sex work in the past. While it is fantastic news that he has said he is willing to decriminalize sex work, we cannot ignore where he has fallen short on this issue. His FOFSTA and SESTA votes are a glaring black mark on his progressive resume. I assure you, I say this as someone who loves Bernie Sanders, I want to see him win.

Bernie needs to be better about sexwork, and it looks like he is on the right track. But we, the public, need to be attentive and see to it that sex workers receive the attention and solidarity they need.

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Habit, a poem

Habit, my old friend,

Or are you my enemy?

You say habit

I hear “monotony.”

Someone else says it,

And I hear “addiction.”

Habit, you could make me a great man

Or you could cause me to self destruct.

Habit,

you are helpful,

But you can also be cruel.

Habit, you be what I tell you to be.

Bootlicker (a poem)

Do not mock me!

Do not! Do not!

For I am a man,

And this my woman

And we be not beasts, damn straight!

We’re just monsters, deplorable sexists

enabling fear monger flag waving.

But stop being so mean to us!

We have feelings to.

But we ain’t afraid of no snowflakes,

that’s why I armed myself to the teeth!

But blue lives matter and your blocking traffic!

Some of us have jobs to get to!

How dare you call me racist!?

I still watch CNN!

Bootlicking, it’s just my thing.

Bootlicking, I’ll make the man’s shoes shine.

Bootlicking, it’s just what I’m born to do.

Be it through kink.com videos

that I never pay for

and shame anyone who does.

I earn the bread,

then give it all to have the latex woman

break my balls.

But I’ll never admit to it.

My 2 twitter followers would never

let me live that down.

I’m a good little bootlicker,

Capital is my dominatrix master.

Thank you master,

I’m such a good little bootlicker.

Kim Kardashian and the Lowest Common Denominator

Trump is the byproduct of all our willful apathy and blissful ignorance under the neoliberal life we have been leading since the time of Reagan. Kim Kardashian coming to the White House to discuss prison reform is a massive embarrassment, this is very true.

However, I honestly hope no one was surprised by this. Of course Trump invites the famous self objectifying illiterate to discuss a major political issue instead of someone more qualified, such as literally anyone else. What we forget though is that we created both of these monsters.

We created Trump by not taking anything he said or did seriously until we realized 46% of the country actually voted for him. We created the Kardashian / Jenner enterprise the same way. We let them exist and swallowed their representation, mostly out of that diluted sense of “irony” that made us watch Jersey Shore or whatever else MTV shat out in the late 2000s. My point is this, by letting them exist in our world, by letting their followers continually validate them, we are guilty of enabling this white nationalist, tasteless trash of a presidency.

Trump and Kim are both symptoms of the system of capitalism. Both exist and succeeded because we consumed their work, either we did it “ironically” or we allowed their actual fans to validate them without realizing the repercussions of allowing it.

By letting Trump and Kim have their shows, their products, even if we choose to ignore them, we allowed them to grow, to exist.

So it should not come as a surprise that two people who are famous merely for existing in our media would be treated to the perks of societal influence. I’m not shocked or enraged that either one gets to sit in the White House, I am simply annoyed that we let these fucking idiots exist and receive validation to the point anyone would ever trust their opinions on anything. There is nothing cool or ironic or edgy about following or dissing either the Kardashians or Trumps anymore considering how saturated our society is to their influence.

Sorry to spoil the fun, but they aren’t just annoying pigments of the media anymore. They are threats to the structure of our society. One is a white nationalist who is infiltrating our federal courts and agencies with people supportive of his imperialist agenda, the other is someone with no knowledge or authority on anything who is constantly validated for some reason as a source of knowledge and authority, on what I do not know but when you have 20 million twitter and instagram followers people listen to you even if they do not know what the fuck you are talking about.

To hell with them both. Revolution is the key to finally dimming the spotlight we have kept on both these idiots for too long. End the stupidity, take the fact these people exist seriously, and get rid of them.

What good is a broken man?

What an era to be alive.

Yet how can one call living with no dignity living?

Crawling on knees to get to a safe place to release your bowels,

Begging from mercy from an overweight class traitor with shit aim

Only to get 6 bullets in the back.

For a cell phone.

Can it be called it living to beg for help?

Only to be denied it?

Only to be killed for it?

Only to be mocked for it?

Can it be called living?

So many men,

And even more hurt women,

All because therapy is either too expensive,

So we put the burden on the femmes.

Therapy,

Too expensive,

Or not manly enough.

Wouldn’t want weakness, or tenderness to show,

No,

That’s how you end up with six bullets in the back apparently,

And lose your ability to walk,

Think,

Or breath.

That and skin of deeper tint which will act as hate’s magnet,

For what good is a broken man?

What good is fear?

What good is pain?

What good is a broken man?

And who can love something that is broken.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 14

Chapter 14  The Happy Couple

 

Jack had finished the story by the time Kate was long out of the shower. Now that he had come to, he decided that although the author of these stories was very talented he was also greatly disturbed, or at least in a very dangerous state of mind when he wrote these.  Jack figured maybe it was a fine line between genius and crazy.

Her return broke him out of his feast of literature, and he directed his attention to her lovely, curvy, soft pale body.  He grew hard as instinct began to take over.  He wanted to be with her now, and not the books any more.

 

“I see you’ve got quite the collection here,” Jack commented on the room full of Poe and Shakespeare. As he got up and gently kissed her on the neck and snuck a soft hand down the back of her towel.

 

“Oh, well thank you,” Kate said in that tender, erotic whisper that was her bedroom voice.   He had such strong hands yet such a delicate touch.  Jack’s kisses slowly began to trail down her back.  “Yes, I really love reading.”

 

`“Me too,” Jack said as he moved her arm up, allowing the towel to fall so that Kate stood naked, wet, and helpless, Jack’s lips got closer to their target.

 

“I try to read everything, classics, contemporaries, obscure authors and works, essays, journals, but my personal favorite, are my art books.  I love art, Oh my god!”  She wasn’t going to be able to contain herself anymore.

 

Jack began to dig his tongue deep into her as she tried to carry on, but she just couldn’t.  For some unknown trail of time Jack buried his tongue and two fingers into her body as fast and gentle as he could until the inside of Kate’s legs were gushing and sopping wet, and her screams of pleasure echoed throughout the house.

 

The two needed a minute to catch their breath in between their loving and congratulatory kisses of climaxing.  “Would you like to read with me?”  Kate said in a sudden spur of smiles, love, and inspiration

 

“Sure,” said Jack as the two laid down on the bed to rest.  “I read that last book while you were in the shower.  The guy who wrote it is pretty twisted…”

 

“That’s nothing, you should read Naked Lunch,” Kate interrupted

 

“Anyway,” Jack carried on.  “I’m kinda tired of reading, so why don’t you read to me, while I just lie at your side and kiss you until my lips are sore?”

 

She kissed his chest in order to signal that this was a splendid idea.

 

Kate picked out a book and the two made themselves comfortable on the bed.  Kate made herself some tea and Jack poured himself a strong full glass of bourbon.  Kate showed Jack the book, it was a collection of essays and poems by the same looney who wrote the other stories.  Jack wondered why she was so fixated with the author,  but he didn’t care. He was just glad to be with her and to listen to her read.

 

She carried on  and she began in that amazing theatrical style she did so naturally while Jack cupped her left breast and kissed her neck, gently finding his way down her stomach to the bottom of her leg and back again.  He did it soft enough to make her smile and not distract her from the reading.  She selected her favorite poems and began.

 

wishes by crazy modernisms and former external instincts.  

By natural unnatural intoxication knowledge.

Depraved yet smiling on another winded day.

But so of another wandering light of love on milton forgotten days.

What so can be said of a forbidden lust and wandering capture.

What escape and what a love of such a word of that and what!

By lyric

By center and by try these all and forever will and will not,

ever by light of the modern, and the former, and the knowledge,

 

and the forgotten days.

 

“Beautiful,” exclaimed Jack.

“Yes, it is a good poem isn’t it?” replied his love.  “It reminds me a lot of e.e. cummings.:

“No,” exclaimed Jack.  “The way you read it.”

His love blushed and turned the page, carried on with another poem as he continued his kisses up and down her body.

The Story’s Answer. Part 2

There is no day,
There is no hour,
There is no time
which cannot be used
for the sake that
our sweet and public did.
To do right is to act,
To justify is inexcusable.
Truth is the only merit to truth
As it should be,

I have kept silence
in my place that
was no silence at all,
yet it bore no
production.
No sense is wasting
timeless effort.

Bah! Curse this
disposition!
All this trivial
nonsense of
waste and time.

Time IS Waste
and so is anger.
Yes, there is a time
for anger,
there is a time for
justice,
Yet who am I,
but one soul
and one mind
to determine semantics
of such a word.

What mortal is?
What mortal dares?
Is time, is space,
is life itself not
the determinate of a concept so alien
as quote-unquote
justice.

So now we must ask
the question, the
discomforting untrue
question,
what is justice?
and is justice relative.

A call to arms this is
to some,
A blind rally of people
shouting “NO!” time
and time again.

Yet why not?
Is truth not relative?
Is time not relative?
Is evil not relative?
If so why or how
can any system be
true to the word
and concept of
justice?

If not then tell
me,
What is justice?
What is just?
Is it Just that a
stack of paper
determines the worth
of a human life?
Is it Just that a girl
is judged and damned
if she Do or Don’t?
Bare the child,
You’re a whore.
Give up the child,
you’re a murderer.
You dare call this Just?
Billions to distract
torture and incest
and you dare call
this sport.

I abide to love,
peace and truth and
you dare call me
“blasphemous.”
And there behold,
another bind.

Truth, ha, even the word
is laughable and
the question real,
What is Truth?

Is Truth real or another
semantic error?
Ah, and loyalty,
another semantic
matter,
and to dare share
the semantic,
the blind know
nothing semantic.

Trivial, waste in time,
blind and yet blind
again.
To make no effort,
to only bring forth
a craft of humanity
and thought,
indulgent no?

NO!
I say not, I
say what is not
a product of self,
what is not a product
of the decision to act?
Yet what decision is not
made by knowledge of
the option.
Who is to give that knowledge
and who is in a place
of such ego that
they can say
it is a thing to give.

Bare fortune,
No, and true
Sad heart break
it cannot be true
again,
but it is,
It is,
It is true again,
Oh curse the vile
nave and naive
you patriots and do-gooders
lay.
Curse you and your
improper dispositions.
Your cruel word,
yet be gone
for to be lost in lust,
to be a drift in the sexual draft
and current
is true.
My supposed perversion,
is my natural gain,
The only perversion,
is fear,
Fear!
Any! Fear!
Your Fear!
It is Fear that perverts.
It is Fear that obscures.
Yet in a way Fear
can lead to security.
Well secure no more,
for security is the chain,
The chain’s,
our chains,
we are the workers
of the world,
we must unite,
we must show
pride
we must show
lust
we must show our
power
and we must show
our modesty.
Blurred is my rapid
thought
but strong is every
effort,
every bank on word
is both play and
employment.

but it is also
protest,
a viable way to live
and love
and fight,
we must draw upon
our unity to fight.
Strong words,
from not a strong man,
because no man is present,
no woman either,
only people,
yes only people are here,
Any other label is upon
you and your nature
and peaceful self.

Work and slave
drone on and on,
to what end?
To justify your insecurities,
to pain yourself with your own
cyclone of a lost
anachronism’s
label!

What label does one need
beyond knowledge?
Both of body and mind,
Be kind thoughts,
Why does balance
become an alien concept?
To hell with the coin flip,
throw away your coin
for it was used to buy
your chains.
I have no shame for
my craft.
For it is my work.

Do you question your blacksmiths?
Do you have fault
with your carpenters?
Yet you attack the work of poets and philosophers?
Because their work is
work of thought.
I am a citizen of
this world,
and of no other place.
I will not have my
acts obscured,
what is our self indulgence?
For are we not robbed?
How do we not fight?

All do yet they
have their fights by
symbols,
by a general lack of security.

To excuse these acts,
to hide behind the
proud progressive,
then use and obscure
the name.
The art of war is not the war to be flaunted.
but it is the only thing
to be chained.
Yet even good chains
break so often,
yet better than no chain
at all,
but chain no person
but the wicked,
and even when the
wicked are chained
only chain them.
No whips,
no death,
only chains,
For one chain alone
is a lost ironic,
lacking humanity.