[This page is under construction, because it has many points and references to tie together.]
MIM has already answered questions surrounding our line that under patriarchy "all sex is rape" at length in MIM Theory 2/3 sold at Amazon.com
as linked to above and in various articles throughout this website. We offer this page just to raise the relevant problems and
organize study of the question.
Common misconceptions and problems with existing ideas about rape
*The most common misconception is that rape is by a stranger, done with a gun or knife.
*A stereotyped view with no basis in the law is that rapists are only men attacking wimmin
to the exclusion of vice-versa or same-sex rape.
*Until one gets into politics or court, one may be completely unaware of how the subject
actually gets handled by the rulers. The vast majority of imperialist country
people are out of synch with the rulers' stated ideas on sexual crimes, but
what ends up happening is that the rulers implement a limited and
hidden agenda that will not overly offend public opinion in practice.
*Among alleged Marxists, most incorrectly continue to see gender oppression as a lifestyle
question, not a group-level oppression question. They in fact cede the whole ground to
Liberal pseudo-feminists. Some of the same political activists
calling themselves "communist" who do great work to understand their differences with other
small organizations of communists do not apply the same effort to taking a stand on gender oppression.
As anti-revisionists, we at MIM intend to apply the same level of effort and precision on gender
questions as we apply on related questions of the history of class struggle.
The history of law regarding rape in the imperialist countries points toward refinement of concerns
surrounding individual rights. Specifically, rather than accepting existing or historical standards
of "what is natural" or what men usually do, bourgeois law has attempted to adapt the subject to
seeing sex-linked interactions among people the same way they look at business deals--with each
individual having a right to property and doing business and each individual having a right to
form a consensual sexual agreement or contract.
One striking change has been regarding rape in marriage. In the days of Marx & Engels, there was no
practice attacking rape in marriage. Now in the imperialist countries, there is. MIM does not wish
to go back to the old days, but only extend this progress toward its logical conclusion. We should accept
that the definition and usage of "rape" has changed since the days of Marx & Engels while remaining
true to the Marxist method.
From the bourgeois point-of-view, the change in thought means that marriage is not a permanent
agreement consenting to sex. At any time, a persyn is to have the legal right to refuse sexual contact. It goes
without saying that if this is so in marriage, there is no basis for thinking sexual contact is legally justified
even if customary in certain dating situations.
Aside from the spreading application of the ideas of marital rape and date rape, more lawyers and legal theorists
are pushing to sharpen the notion of consent. It will surprise readers to know that lawyers are not concerned
mostly with stereotyped Hollywood movie rapes.
In one case, a major U.$. legal theorist argued that rape does
not involve force at all other than sexual contact if there is no consent. The same and other lawyers have argued
that consent may be impossible to give in cases of retardation or alcohol or other drug abuses. Sexual contact
with people subsequently deemed unable to give consent is causing many criminal cases to advance.
In today's modern imperialist country usage, any sex without mutual inclination is called "rape." Back in the
day, we are fortunate to have the record that
already said that it is impossible to say that
"mutual inclination" is the reason for sexual interactions including marriage (not just
prostitution) under capitalism. The influence of money has to be removed first, before we could hope to think
that sex might not be rape. By that, Engels does not mean avoiding prostitution or having "individual integrity." He means
that money has to be abolished in the advanced stage of communism, before we can be sure what is going on between
people having sex.
Anyone who thinks at a group-level can see this logically just from looking at prostitution. If someone
decides to see prostitutes instead of dating, that persyn is no longer available to others for dating. Likewise, the
prostitute's attitudes toward all dating may change. This causes a domino effect on who ends up dating whom.
Without prostitution and money, the same people would have interactions with different people and so everyone
else's dating choices including their degrees of inclination and reasons
for that inclination would also be affected. Since prostitution, modeling, Hollywood and pornography are all
driven by money, standards and choices of everyone are affected by money--even those not paid in connection
No where do Marx and Engels treat gender oppression as something to cede to
subjectivism or Liberalism.
Once we have read the law and see what the rulers are attempting to define as rape, we must
ask two sociological questions: 1) what is the existing sexual practice of the population?
2) if we really tried to apply the oppressors' law to the existing sexual practice
what portion of the population would be in prison?
3) if application of the law is not the real purpose of rape laws, then what is?
MIM Theory 2/3 answers these questions.
Rape is no longer just the stereotyped gun-to-the-head or knife-to-the-throat situation, contrary to what
a large portion of the population believes. Recently there have been a number of cases involving deaths
of wimmin taking "date rape" drugs secretly given to them in alcoholic beverages. In other cases,
frequently at college parties, the imbibing of alcohol reaches a point where the ability to give consent
and also the ability to render evidence after the fact have resulted in more cases.
MIM is pointing out where all this is going: the recognition of more and more forms of coercion
in gender relations by the law. Guns, knives and deadly poisons are already weapons recognized.
Alcohol is on the borderline. How long will it be before people realize that guns and knives are simply
the street version of big money being used on wimmin struggling to survive around the world? How many
starving wimmin have meaningful "consent" rights?
Finally, as Andrea Dworkin described in her book Intercourse and as lawyers like Schulhofer have
said, rape is merely contact, contact that may be customary but nonetheless wrong. For them, a prosecutor
should not have to prove "force," only a lack of consent.
In practice, and this we can know from sociological surveys, mental acuity problems that interfere with
consent affect a large portion of the population, several times larger than the entire prison population
for all crimes put together. Looking at mental disability and drug abuse alone, we would find a substantial
portion of the population unable to give consent but having sexual contact--rape. Not surprisingly, this
is what surveys discover, that large portions of the population including females
would have to be in prison just on this basis alone. (The law usually does not say that females cannot rape males
or other females.)
A literal reading of the law and the dictionary definition of "rape" brings the whole question into sharpest focus.
Rape can also occur through acts of fraud or deceit, not just force--and this without much recent innovation in
the law. Yet, if we believe surveys or just our own common knowledge,
a majority of imperialist country people have lied about sex to their partners in their lifetimes. Yet it is by definition impossible to
consent to a lie. By this fact alone, a literal reading of the law would label most people, including females,
What we have uncovered just in the ordinary complaints of the population brought before the court system is
a wide range of problems in gender interactions. As usual with bourgeois law that is really a bourgeois
dictatorship, the rulers write and interpret the law in such a way as to be able to catch almost anyone. What then
happens not surprisingly is a discriminatory application of the law, since in no society does everyone go to prison.
We communists are not surprised. In labor struggles, we said that there is coercion underlying contracts
between exploiting employers and exploited workers. It does not matter whether the two sides give consent
to the business interaction by signing a contract or not. Someone starving and with no wealth has to work and for whatever wage is
available. Someone with wealth and not starving has a different level of power in the interaction.
For that matter, Marx proved in Capital that even a category of non-starving workers is exploited
if their earnings are their subsistence alone. What alleged
Marxists need to understand is that individual consent to a contract with an employer does not disprove exploitation and
likewise individual consent to sex does not disprove rape. For the Liberals
consent is the key both to employer-employee relations and sexual interaction. That's not Marxism. Whether it
is alcohol or lies, sexual consent today is a joke. It cannot be taken seriously until after the coercive conditions
affecting sexual consent are gone.
The same is true of gender interactions: they are all corrupted by various problems of power that the
population brings to court in ordinary life but does not resolve--weapons, poison, alcohol,
retardation and lies. The reason these problems do not get resolved
and in fact seem to expand is that there is lacking a theory--an idea about the cause of the problem.
MIM is here to say that communists are the ones who even after we abolish money, we will make sure
there is no gender oppression. If money and property are gone and we still have physically strong people
sexually exploiting weaker people, then communists will be the ones looking for a solution to that, whether
it takes bio-engineering, control of gender ratios, organizing the weak into collectives suitable for
self-defense or anything else.
The statement "all sex is rape" is not a theory. It is an ideological orientation that helps people to
know what to look for in a theory. When Marx and Engels equated prostitutes and housewives
under capitalism, the point was not to say that everything was great in gender relations. It was closer to saying
all wimmin are prostitutes. Since there are a lot of issues to understand in gender oppression it can
get easy to get lost in the reading or say "so what"?
1) Despite whatever embarrassment people may feel about not knowing the law or where it has gone,
MIM aims to have a discussion of rape, one which we believe refreshes our own understanding of
what Marxism was to begin with, not just on the question of gender oppression but on the
production of all theories for all oppressions, and hence the dialectical materialist method itself.
Many people can read a history of classes in certain countries and recite Marxist dogmas pertaining
to that history, but applying Marxism to gender today means grasping the overall distinction between
Marxism and other methods and collections of theories. It means really understanding what Marxism
2) We aim to expose the imperialist state for its approach to crime--both its failure to solve problems
and its discriminatory approach.
3) We aim to show how Marxism differs from Liberalism on gender oppression and how it does a
better job resolving gender oppression. Conservatives say that past habits are OK. Amerikan liberals
and rulers generally are saying that they want flaws in consent addressed, but we communists are saying
there is no such thing as a meaningfully given consent to sexual relations or economic contracts until communism.
It is not our task to point to a good example of a lifestyle with proper sexual consent or politically correct
hiring in sweatshops. That is for conservatives and liberals to argue about. We are here to say that the
whole consent and group-level dynamic is oppressive.