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"rape is bad" is not enough

The statement from Solidarity regarding sexual violence in the organized Left is a welcome start, but it fails to go far enough in taking a meaningful stand on the issue. While we commend Solidarity for reflecting internally on how they can better deal with sexual violence, we call on the organization to deal with the Progressive Labor Party’s defense of rapists more seriously by publicly rejecting working with PLP. By doing so, Solidarity would be able to live up to their own statement, which claims that their “commitments to fighting sexism and patriarchy demand that [they] dedicate time and resources to combating rape culture [and] supporting and listening to survivors.” Thus far, they have failed to listen to the survivor in question here regarding the kind of support she has asked for.

In the initial public statement exposing Seth Miller as a rapist and castigating PLP for defending him, this blog issued a general call for PLP to be excluded from all activism and organizing spaces. This constitutes the bare minimum both of support for the person harmed by Seth and of the measures that must be taken to help prevent further harm. Refusing to work with PLP is not only a statement of solidarity against rape and rape culture, as well as a way to put pressure on PLP; it is also a practical safety issue, as the presence of an organization like PLP that harbors and defends rapists would make any organizing space unsafe for others.

The fact that Solidarity and PLP do not currently work together organizationally makes it a particularly low-risk issue for Solidarity to take a stand on. We understand that Solidarity is comprised of a diverse group of activists belonging to various traditions, who may not agree on all things but share some basic political principals. We therefore call on Solidarity to make refusal to work with organizations that actively harbor and defend rapists something that all Solidarity members can agree on.

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