Anthony,Thanks for getting back to me on this, and for a number of points well-made, as usual.
I think I may have created some misunderstandings that need clarfication and you have raised a question or two that need answering.
First of all, let me say that I don’t think sites like BPPA are bad things. On the contrary, I agree that exposing the lies and distortions of anti-porn feminism in whatever forum is a good thing. I do have concerns about amplifying their volume by callling attention to them, but that concern only applies if nothing else is done beyond preaching to the converted. I merely suggest that activism consists of more than just sharing opinions with those of like-mind.
As such, I give full credit to you for your willingness to take the battle to the other side’s terrain, and I commend ren for doing the same. I particularly appreciate ren’s challenge to the use of our intellectual property against us, and would offer as a further possibility the idea of acquainting APFs who use stolen explicit images in their propaganda that they, too, are subject to the requirements of 2257 and may find out for themselves the truth about just how “lawless” and “unregulated” our industry really is if they continue to do so. The measures you and ren describe are exactly the kinds of things I’m talking about and I hope you’ll do more in the future. I hope your influence grows on the left and that eventually you’ll help return some balance to the conversation about porn in that community. In short, I’m not criticizing you, your friends, what you’re doing or what you’re not doing. I’m merely raising strategic questions about how best to achieve our common goals.
In response to Trinity’s question, and yours, please remember that I began my post by saying that I am not asking for any specific action concerning BPPA. I didn’t ask that the link to our site be removed, or that you not link to APF sites. In fact, I’m sorry if that’s how my comments were interpreted. As far as linking to nina.com is concerned, the damage was done long ago by the other side, which knows all about us and will continue to come around here whatever you do. I’d as soon have our link back on your site, as at least we might get a few more friendly contributors as a result. And I fully agree that air and light best serve in separating good arguments from bad, so I don’t support the idea of silencing any point of view. I think knowing one’s enemies is important and I appreciate BPPA’s willingness to address all points of view and to expose the specious claims of our opponents. Frankly, I’m sorry my comments seem to have been taken some other way and apologize for not stating them more clearly. Personally, I would like to see our link restored at BPPA. We are all part of the same struggle and I don’t wish to see us excluded from solidarity with your efforts over there.
Where you and I don’t agree is in your implied criticism of progressive elements in the industry for not joining you at the barricades. Those of us who can certainly do. Nina is most definitely a case in point, as it was her blast on Counterpunch that made her such a popular target for APF attacks. And while FACT seems dormant for the moment, FFE is very much alive. Indeed, BPPA links to their site, where you’ll find such familiar names as Carol Queen and Candida Royale.
And I don’t buy the argument that the larger leftist community and its organizations and media are so closed to counter-arguments about porn there’s no point in confronting them directly. That’s a costly concession of defeat when the other side has simply dominated the floor by intimidation and should be challenged, as they were successfully twenty years ago, which was one of my main points earlier. Setting up alternative institutions is fine as far as it goes, but ceding the larger leftist entities to the other side, which is exactly what happened at NION, carries dangers not only for those of our particular persuasions regarding the expression of sexuality, but for the left as a whole, which the NION episode demonstrates all too vividly.
Indeed, when you propose that liberals should take a more active role in this struggle, you make my point for me. First of all, they are the ones who do so most effectively. Nadine Strossen and the ACLU have done more to protect sexually explicit expression than all the self-identified leftists in the land. They’re the people who put up the money and the time to fight the court battles that directly impact what we do. However, they’re largely excluded from leftist forums in a way that avowed leftists are not. Moreover, they are the very element Chyng Sun and her friends are trying to shame into abandoning us over here, and to some extent (I’m not defending this, BTW), traditional liberals have been cowed by the ferocity of APF rhetoric into avoiding the whole debate. As someone who doesn’t much respect liberals when it comes to stands on principle, you of all people can hardly expect them to conduct a campaign to reassert support for Amendment One among leftists who have largely turned against it. Liberals and their organizations have no credibility on your side of the fence.
The suggestion that working porn performers could get in the fray is problematic as well. Most are very young, very busy with learning their way in this business while trying to sort out their own sexualities, and generally not politically inclined. They’re extremely resistant to organization, as we’ve found to our dismay through repeated attempts to do so over the years. Morevoer, when they do step forward, as a few have on talk shows and in other mainstream media, they get beaten to pieces, much as Belladonna was by Diane Sawyer and Jenna Jameson by Bill O’Reilly. They don’t get the kind of respectful treatment APFs can always count on from fundamentally conservative news sources.
As to confronting APFs in their campus strongholds, both Nina and Ron Jeremy have done so and will continue to do so, not only because they believe in the importance of this work, but also because they have the luxury of time and the visibility that come with being senior members of the industry. Remember too that we’re involved in a much higher-stakes conflict with the feds. Come October, at least two major obscenity cases will go to trial in federal court with long prison sentences on the line should our side lose. That’s a battle outsiders don’t face and I’m sure you can understand why we conserve much of our strength for it. That’s the place where we must make our best arguments, not only for our own sakes, but for those of anyone who values freedom of expression, even that of our enemies.
No one questions your dedication or your principles and while I may respect your choice of methods and tactics, I would hope you and your friends would be open to some outside examination of the latter. We’re all seeking the same thing, but we may not agree on every article when it comes to the best method of achieving it.
And yes, Nina and I have discussed this at length and are in agreement on these issues. She will be out debating Susan Cole on college campuses this fall and will continue to take the fight wherever she can get on the field. She just leaves this part of the task to me, as we’ve found that letting her do the talking and letting me do the writing is a more effective distribution of labor. We’re on the same page as far as basic philosophy is concerned and share the same tactical perspective born of many, many years in this struggle.
In no way is this a one-sided mission. We all have contributions to make suited to our resources and beliefs. Nina and I welcome support for the cause from virtually any source. Unlike our enemies, we have no litmus test that excludes leftists, progressives, libertarians, sexual liberationists, liberals, or anyone else who embraces individual liberty.
The last thing I wish to do is add to the internal dissension within that loose coalition. I hope you and your friends will regard this as a message of solidarity and conciliation and will simply consider the practical issues I’ve raised.
Again, I’m not attacking anyone here or proposing any specific changes of approach. I’m merely offering a perspective for others to examine.