Sexual Offenders As Allies or Enemies?
I was reading ULK 81 when I came across a conversation on whether or not to ally with sex offenders and I feel that I have a fresh perspective to contribute to this conversation. FCI Seagoville, for those unaware, is a low-security federal prison with a majority sex-offender population. I have made friends with and enemies of pedophiles, and as such I have experience working with them. It would be almost impossible for me to organize in here without interacting with sex offenders. For example, I am the only member of my 7 man Narcotics Anonymous group who is not a sex offender.
The two main federal S.O. charges are pictures and enticement. An emblematic picture case is that of a friend of mine, who became addicted to opioids during the crisis and enjoyed the rush of getting away with all kinds of criminal behavior while high. He expropriated his neighbors’ lawn furniture and dumped it all in a business parking lot. He also surfed the internet while high and looked up child porn. He became dependent upon the feeling of getting away with things he knew were wrong, and the pursuit of that anti-social feeling led him to federal prison.
The vast majority of enticement cases are sting operations. A non-S.O. comrade of mine, J, contends that sting enticement cases should be judged not by the fact that they were stings, but rather by the ill intentions of the one being entrapped. The sting usually goes like this: an agent poses as a young person on a dating site. They are matched with someone, engage them in conversation for a few days, and then reveal that they are under-aged. If the person messages back saying that they want to continue the relationship, an investigation is opened into them. This gets at the wider issue of us prisoners using the oppression of the state as a justification for and personal forgiveness of our immoral actions. When I talk about immoral actions, I mean actions that would require self-reflection and self-criticism under a proletarian system of justice. Many of the enticement cases claim that their actions hurt no one, that the government set them up, and that the government is the largest distributor of child pornography. None of these claims are untrue, yet all of them serve to minimize the S.O.’s role in their own offense.
These minimizations on the part of the S.O.’s belie a genuine understanding of the severity of their actions. S.O.’s were exposed to just as much fear mongering propaganda about pedophiles as the rest of us. To associate that propaganda with yourself often leads to a searing self-hatred. To my understanding, the prison system seeks to imprison each of us with shame and guilt over our crimes, in our own heads. The fear mongering media propaganda apparatus plays an active role in priming us for a mental imprisonment alongside our physical imprisonment. Nowhere is this method of mental domination more apparent than in the case of sex offenders.
Comrade J states: “S.O.’s are no different than ‘normal’ people when it comes to reliability or revolutionary potential. It is rather that their status as sex offenders, if known, may be weaponized against the movement.” As to the question of whether to ally with sex offenders, I have this to add: my closest, most reliable comrade is a sex offender. He gave me the copy of ULK 81 that inspired this response. I can offer no better proof of the reliability of S.O.’s as allies and comrades than this, the existence of my contribution.