HMSPEN - Between Moralism and Exploitation: Towards a Political Ethics of Sex

Paul Reynolds
  reynoldp@edgehill.ac.uk
  

Abstract

The recent 'Comrade Delta' scandal that has split and damaged the reputation of the SWP in the UK underlines three interrelated problems for the left in respect of their sexual politics and ethics: an unworkable contradiction between a left politically and ethically sound approach to rape and harassment claims and a rejection of bourgeois alternatives; a failure to reconcile sexual politics and the politics of solidarity and anti-capitalist class struggle; and a contradiction between establishing ethical and politically sensitive sexual mores and avoiding a left 'moralism'. In this paper, I want to explore the question of how the left should police unacceptable sexual behaviours within its organisations, how it should act in response to these behaviours and what ethico-political standards it should establish a founding principles for comradely sexual behaviour and conduct. This discussion will both reflect on the failures of the SWP to effectively act in response to the 'Comrade Delta' case,and concentrate on developing a constructive blue-print for better ethico-political standards within left organisations that draws from Marxist, anarchist, feminist and queer insights

sexuality - sex - political participation - marxism - queer marxism - ethics