Rights and duties

With reference to Ian Mahoney’s article, ‘Party aggregate’ (Weekly Worker September 24) and Dave Craig’s letter in response (October 1), perhaps Ian Mahony is just a rather simple man. How can you ‘punish’ someone by voting against a motion they have already disclaimed? The comrades in Manchester opposed the original resolutions, proposed by the RDG’s Dave Craig at the September aggregate, on the grounds that non-members of the organisation should not be allowed to place motions before Party bodies. They certainly have no ‘democratic right’. While I accept that the Party can accept any such formulation, it would be wrong to do so.

Firstly this would give out the wrong signals to organisations engaged in the rapprochement process. They would have rights and not duties. In the case of the RDG this yet again lets them off the hook. Their organisation has dragged its heels time and again. Dave Craig represents the most advanced section. But, if push comes to shove, the RDG will lose members in joining the CPGB. Those who join will gain far more.

The concept of non-members having restrictions placed upon them is correct. Further I would suggest that candidate membership status be introduced while comrades are fully integrated into Party life in all its aspects.

The amendments to the resolutions watered them down to such a level that any meaning they contained was lost. That was the method of punishment Ian Mahoney et al wanted to inflict on comrade Craig.

Comrades in Manchester want the RDG as members. But the time has come to stop pussyfooting around, and get on with the job in hand - to build a mass Communist Party.

James Frazer

Child abuser?

Well, it is interesting that Sandy Johnstone (Letters, September 24) draws the conclusion that a person who has sexual relations with a six-year-old is like a person who “shags sheep”, not insofar as he deems them both perverts, but that he equates the consensual level of a six-year-old with that of a sheep. In other words, a six-year-old no more understands what is going on than a sheep.

This actually is the crux of the matter. Sandy and a large part of the population have led themselves to believe six-year-olds have no sexuality, can’t possibly enjoy sex or want quite voluntarily to engage in it; that sometimes the degree of sexuality is such it takes them into areas not usually discovered at that age, like engaging in sex with a grown-up at one level or another. If you happen to believe that then clearly a six-year-old can’t consent to sex, because they don’t know what it is.

Well, it’s possible, I suppose, but that image doesn’t conform to any six-year-old I ever met. Of course their experience of sexual options is limited and confined probably to nudity and touching. I’ve never had sexual relations with a six-year-old myself, but I understand that people who have generally confine themselves to the sexual level of the child, not introducing them to more adult forms of sex. But even where they’ve gone on to oral sex or something of that kind, it’s hardly beyond the realms of possibility that a child could enjoy mutual oral sex - a six-year-old’s clitoris for example is perfectly able to enjoy stimulation and orgasm.

As I understand it, because of the physical differences, adults who actually attempt to have sexual intercourse with a child as young as six are virtually non-existent or fit into a category I’ll come onto. I am of course talking about an adult person who likes, loves, or deeply feels for the child as well as being sexually attracted to her/him. Of course there is another, quite different set of adults who for one twisted reason or another do not like children, are cruel to them, hurt them, and sometimes part of that hurting involves rape (I mean actual physical rape, of the forced sex with brutality variety, not the statutory technicality) or degrading sexual treatment.

I am not talking about such people: they are not having sexual relations with children, they are committing violence against children. That is another story entirely, but it is one which Sandy and co refuse to separate out from the former case and, while ever they refuse to see the difference - between love and hate; caring, kindness and cruelty - they will persistently condemn adults who care for children and would never ever hurt them as ‘abusers’. Deliberately confusing the rapist, the child-killer, the child-hater with their direct opposites.

In our case, we didn’t start having sex until my girlfriend was about 11 and a half. It was me who held back from going too far too quickly, as I didn’t want to take her to places she didn’t understand. But she set the pace: first to oral sex, then to full intercourse by the time she was 13. We did actually know each other and like each other when she was six, but sex didn’t seem on the agenda for either of us at that time. Child-adult relationships in general are different: people come to things at different ages. Far from Sandy’s conclusion, this is hardly an unnatural process and, stripped of the moral outrage and hysteria, it is quite normal and natural for some adults and some children - by no means all. Which brings me to another of Sandy’s myths - that “such people” prey on children, children per se. Any child. All children. Not true - how could it be? It is clearly obvious not all children - perhaps not even most children - would find the sexual attentions of an adult welcome, let alone go along with them and encourage them. Such relationships are specific to particular children in relation to a particular adult.

Needless to say this form of sexuality is open to abuse, bribery, power relations, force, etc, in the same way that all sexual relations can be - those are not consensual relations. While it is true the Muslim faith has a more intelligent attitude to ages of sexual consent, the whole of human relationships - men-men, men-women, women-women and children - is distorted by an imposed and restrictive moral straitjacket, superimposed by religious freaks on the basic work of the Koran and teaching of Allah. Islam did not invent this more enlightened view of ages of consent. It was the one which was prevalent in that part of the world and Islam absorbed it.

It is noteworthy that Sandy did not take up my point about 12 as the age in consent in most of Europe and some parts of North America. How come adults and 12-year-olds in those lands aren’t branded perverts and jailed and burnt at the stake? Could it be that a British person of 12 isn’t sexually aware, doesn’t know what their sex organs are for, and couldn’t understand what a sexual relationship was? I wonder who Sandy mixes with, or is he walking about with blinkers on?

Finally, Sandy, I am quite prepared to engage in a nice serious exchange of views. The trouble is your view is that I am a pervert, a child-molester, an abuser, who exploits children, and has condemned my partner to being a “wrecked, haunted, atomised, emotional cripple” who needs treatment, isolation from the community and a course of rehabilitation. Now why ever would my response be “vitriolic” to such a rational and well reasoned viewpoint?

I say again: I love my partner and care for her more than my life. She is the most special person in my life and has been since she was 11 and is now six years on. I refuse to let people like Sandy condemn and distort our relationship to the level where he compares it to bestiality. He then stands in surprised reaction that I do not think his bigotry and prejudice, to say the least, is anything other than polite after-dinner debate.

The CPGB is to be congratulated for its heroic stance against repression and the age of consent. By the way, this doesn’t imply that there isn’t an age of consent. There is: it is the age at which each person consents to have sex, at a level they understand and actually want. But the person themselves decide when that is, not the state or its moral cheerleaders like Sandy Johnstone.

Frank Worth