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The Mark Foley scandal: Where is the crime? Down with this reactionary crusade!

by Fred Bergen Friday, Oct. 13, 2006 at 6:50 PM

It is the capitalists and their parties who politicize sex. They claim to be defending the innocent and vulnerable, but anyone who has seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison knows that this government doesn't give a damn about sexual torture and molestation. Their real intent is to persecute anyone who strays outside the completely artificial bounds prescribed by the patriarchal, heterosexual bourgeois family, and in the process arrogate to themselves ever greater police powers.

The Mark Foley scandal: Where is the crime? Down with this reactionary


by Fred Bergen

A Republican congressman from Florida is under investigation by the FBI

and state authorities. He has resigned from Congress in disgrace.

Condemnations and accusations are raining down on him and congressional

Republican leadership, who are scrambling to distance themselves from

Foley as the November 7 election approaches. Political pundits believe

that the Democrats may finally have an "issue" that can win them control

of Congress. The Democrats are playing it for all it's worth. For six

years they tried to position themselves as better leaders for the "war

on terror", better enforcers of the racist immigration laws, defenders

of the honor and integrity of the CIA, but they couldn't get any

electoral momentum out of it. Now they look capable of sweeping into

control of Congress as righteous enemies of child molesters and sexual


What actually happened? In 2005, the St. Petersburg Times, along with

the Miami Herald and Fox News, were sent copies of five emails that Mark

Foley allegedly sent to a sixteen-year-old former page. These emails are

said to be "sexually suggestive". About the closest they get to that is

Foley's apparent repeated requests for a "pic[ture]" of the former page.

[1] None of these outlets published the story; the Times editors

concluded it was probably just "friendly chit-chat."

The emails were first published on a website dedicated to exposing

Foley's behavior. Following this, ABC News and the Washington Post

published, or claimed to be in the possession of, transcripts of

internet instant-message conversations between Foley and two former

Congressional pages under the age of eighteen, which occurred in the

year 2003. Some of these messages are more sexually explicit.

One anonymous former page alleged to the Los Angeles Times that he had

sex with Mark Foley in the fall of 2000. At the time this page was

twenty-one years old.

Not one page or former page has pressed charges of sexual harassment,

molestation, or anything else, against Foley. No one has claimed that

the alleged sex between Foley and the twenty-one year old former page

was anything but consensual. So why is this a political issue? And why

are socialists concerned with it?

We revolutionaries think that the state has no business interfering in

sexual relations. Does this mean that we defend or excuse rape,

harassment, or molestation? Absolutely not. Sexual relations must be

based on free and mutual consent; anything else is a serious crime. But

while poisonous innuendo abounds, there has not been one scintilla of

evidence that Foley forced himself on anyone. At most he may have sent

sexual proposals via instant-message to former pages. But no one has

accused him of forcing the pages to read his messages, or of continuing

his propositions if he was told that they were unwanted. If what he is

known to have done is a crime, we say the law is unjust, because we take

a stand on principle against punishing people for mere speech or

thoughts, no matter how unpopular they may be.

It is the capitalists and their parties who politicize sex. They claim

to be defending the innocent and vulnerable, but anyone who has seen the

pictures from Abu Ghraib prison knows that this government doesn't give

a damn about sexual torture and molestation. Their real intent is to

persecute anyone who strays outside the completely artificial bounds

prescribed by the patriarchal, heterosexual bourgeois family, and in the

process arrogate to themselves ever greater police powers. And so, as

revolutionaries we must defend the democratic rights of workers, youth,

and oppressed people whenever they are attacked under the banner of

bourgeois "morality," "family values," or protection against "sexual

predators." It makes no difference to us that Foley is a utter

hypocrite, who as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited

Children, used the threat of child sexual abuse to campaign for laws

giving the state power to arrest and prosecute people for victimless

thought-crimes, and sponsored the legislation which became the "Adam

Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act" of 2006, which required

monitoring and publication of the whereabouts of "sex criminals," even

after they have completed their sentences, and a minimum 25-year

sentence for kidnapping. That he has been ensnared by his own

reactionary crusade is no consolation to the millions of victims of

bourgeois sexual "morality."

The most common form of kidnapping by far is not the type of nightmarish

abduction by malicious stranger-molesters that is dramatized daily in

the corporate media, but involves parental disputes in cases of divorce

or estrangement. While such situations are certainly distressing and

harmful to the child and all involved, it's hard to imagine how the

intervention of the cops and a twenty-five year minimum prison term

could make anything better for anyone. Furthermore, it is within

families and among family members or sexual couples that the majority of

rape and child abuse cases occur. Many of these would be prevented if

women had the absolute right to divorce, abortion, free medical and

child care, and guaranteed housing and employment, as part of a program

to end the enslavement of women to their husbands and male partners. How

many of these cases would also be prevented if gays and lesbians were

not forced by social stigma and discriminatory laws into "family"

relationships that had nothing to do with their feelings or desires, and

punished for the relationships that they have or want?

The capitalist "nuclear" family celebrated by bourgeois moralists as a

one-size-fits-all "tradition" is a recent invention from the perspective

of human existence on earth, and has nothing to do with the biological

or psychological needs of the human organism. It has a social purpose:

to provide a mate for the male head of household, who by virtue of her

being the exclusive sexual property of the father, can provide

legitimate sons, uncontested heirs to the man's worldly posessions. And

since the vast majority of people in the world, workers, the unemployed,

and poor peasants, have little or nothing of value to pass on to their

"heirs", the 'till-death-do-us-part family is completely useless to

them. It is imposed on them by reactionary legislation and anti-gay,

anti-women, and anti-sex morality crusades.

It is the crusading "defenders of children" who push bankrupt and sexist

"family values", who make it harder to divorce and harder for women to

control their own reproduction, who force women into the arms of men

they don't want by cutting off welfare and child-care services, and who

preach sexual ignorance and abstinence as a prudish alternative to

education for the youth. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds, and their

victims, as always, are the workers and oppressed people, especially

women and gays, lesbians, bisexual and others with non-conforming sexual

identities, who, if they are not formally convicted of a crime, can

still be hounded out of their jobs and communities for their

transgressions against bourgeois "family values."

We oppose any state interference in personal and sexual relations that

are based on free, mutual consent. It is the capitalists and their

morality crusaders who break up family bonds that might otherwise be

healthy, either because they don't fit the heterosexual nuclear-family

cookie-cutter, or through the stress of overwork, poverty, and racist

police harassment.

Apologists for this bipartisan witch-hunt, pointing out the wide

disparity in ages between Foley and his contacts, will ask, doesn't the

obvious imbalance of power in these relationships (whatever their extent

may have been) mean that they can't be healthy or consensual? We ask: in

this society that is based on huge inequalities in wealth and power and

painfully distorted by racism and women's oppression, can there be any

truly "equal" sexual relationship? And how can the capitalist state, the

violent enforcer of these same inequalities, be trusted to enforce

standards of equality among sexual partners, with arbitrary age of

consent laws, or by any other means? These reformists are looking for an

excuse for police-state powers to punish private thoughts and consensual

sex (to the degree that truly free consent is possible in a society

torn apart by class antagonisms), under the banner of protecting the

helpless. Since when has the capitalist state, its police, its courts,

its laws, stood for the rights of the exploited and oppressed? Reformist

objections of this sort only prove that socialist revolution, and the

consequent abolition of social inequality, is necessary to liberate

sexuality from the chains of capitalist "morality", while at the same

time they demonstrate the reformists' fundamental loyalty to the

repressive capitalist state.

We will not conform to this bourgeois anti-gay morality crusade. Our

demands are: Stop this witch-hunt! Down with the reactionary,

hypocritical "family values" crusade! Cops and courts, out of the

bedroom! For women's and gay liberation through socialist revolution!

[1] The alleged year 2005 emails are available at

. This is a Democratic party website dedicated to publicizing the Foley

scandal and persecuting the ex-congressman and other Republicans

involved in this scandal in the courts.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Foley speaks to the right wing hypicrisy Foley speaks to the right wing hypicrisy Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006 at 3:06 AM
Republicans, what fucking idiots Yeah, "family values" LOL! Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006 at 7:35 PM
Lor Locksley, born in a sewer, brain never grew Yes really you bloated mindless parrot Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006 at 9:39 PM

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