Monday, March 15, 2010

Where those quotations came from

In February I blogged some quotations about paedophilia and asked my readers if they could guess their provenance.

Voltaire's Priest thought they came from some 70s or 80s campaign - he wasn't entirely far from the truth - whereas Mark from LibCom thought they hailed from the Sparts.

An anonymous commenter who again wasn't entirely off track said, "reads like an old PIE document (used to cover pages in Peace News and some early IMG leaflety think pamphlets in the mid to late '70s)," adding, "The question is, why?

I'll come to why in a moment but first I'll tell you where they came from:

They didn't come from the Sparts although the Sparts have long held and shouted about their position that the age of consent laws should be abolished, something for which that group as well as the wider left have for long been slammed.

The documents, which were handed to be by an enterprising researcher a few years ago, in fact hailed from the National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty.

A motion tabled at the NCCL AGM in either 1980 or 1982 (the script is unclear) read as follows:

Motion 31: This AGM notes with disapproval the continued harassment of the organisations Paedophiles Information Exchange and Paedophiles Action for Liberation, who are working for the rights of adults who are sexually interested in children. We affirm that the existance of these and any other lawful pressure groups should be threatened by neither press nor police.

Whether the motion was passed or not I don't know. I believe the NCCL's general secretary at the time was Patricia Hewitt and its legal officer one, Harriet Harman. Patrica Hewitt was one of the speakers at a meeting held in 1980 to discuss 'Child Abuse Registers, do they undermine the civil liberties of parents and their children?'

Why do I point this out? Not to smear organisations like Liberty or people like Patricia Hewitt but to demonstrate that very different ideas about paedophilia were current, indeed considered respectable in past decades. They were of their time and a lot of people subscribed to them. It puts the Church's actions in those years in some sort of historic context. Contrary to hysterical depictions of the Church as a mass-paedophile ring operating in a cynical and amoral vacuum, her response to clerical sex-abuse did then and does now mirror the attitudes and ideas of wider society.

5 Comments:

Blogger Voltaire's Priest said...

Effectively saying "Loads of people were at it" is a pretty thin defence, Maria. Child sexual abuse has never been seen as OK, by the NCCL or wider society. Although NAMBLA appear to take an alternative view.

Furthermore, from my recollection the Western RC Church has a thing about priests being celibate, and that rule was not as I recall introduced in 1997.

3/16/2010 12:23 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

It puts the Church's actions in those years in some sort of historic context.

“not be judged by the mores of another time”
Funny, I thought modern times were filled with sin and depravity and all God fearing types longed for the old days of chastity and morality?
Incidentally, when has it been ok to rape little boys and little girls?

From here, where there is more comment on the current Pope's responsibility.

3/16/2010 3:50 AM  
Blogger neprimerimye said...

In the early 1980s there was still a very strong influence on the wider left as well as the far left of the liberation movements of the early 1970s. Progressive attitutes to sexuality were very strong indeed and the far left in particular had rediscovered the opposition of the classical Marxist tradition to all age of consent laws.

However the larger more rooted far left groups, such as the International Socialists (now the SWP), had enough sense not to shout about an issue that was seen as being marginal to the class struggle in general which would not be understood by the audience that was sought after, that is to say by militant workers.

For sake of the record I not that the RSL, aka the Militant Tendency, had a liberal bourgeois attitude to such questions. A view that had been common to ALL the left groups in the 1950s.

Campaigns for the abolition of restrictions on incest and adult-child sex laws were then left to marginal borderline sects like the Spartacist League,for whom the issue was a veritable shibboleth, and petty bourgeois bodies like the NCCL.

The above places, I hope, the views of the left in some sort of historic context. What it does not do is excuse the often poor reaction of the Roman Catholic Church when its officials have been exposed as sexually abusing children who are unable to consent to the acts inflicted on them.

It is the question of informed consent that is key to this question.

3/16/2010 5:41 AM  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Duly blogged and tweeted.

3/16/2010 3:04 PM  
Blogger Crouchback said...

Informed consent..??

So how many subjects could I inform myself about....but society would never ever consent to me being able to hold forth freely about..??

I could inform my self about Homosexuality and parade around dressed in nothing but a dog leash..?? Who would dare complain..??

If I'm a teacher I must regardless of my personal religious "hang ups" teach primary school children about abortion.

But if I'm unemployed and stony broke, I'd be committing a capital offence if ...for a modest fee of 10 pence....I went in to an off licence and purchased some booze 'n fags... and handed them over to a 16 year old...!!!

But the school nurse can arrange a secret abortion for the 16 year olds, 14 year old girl friend....and not a word to the parents..!! and no body goes on the sex offenders register either....

Informed Consent is what those "in power" want it to mean....a weasel concept....with loads of victims.

Have a look at the train wreck that seems to be engulfing Kate Winslett and her marriage to Sam Mendes...he's bonking, allegedly, the daughter of Sir Peter Hall and Maria Ewing, this pair, now well in to their dotage were Bonkers of a very artistic order some years ago. They ratted on various partners, then Sir Peter eventually ratted on Maria. Now their daughter and Sam....still with me..?? have ratted on Poor Kate and her two children, one of which was from Kates marriage to her first husband....on whom Kate ratted... with Sam...!!!!

They all consented no doubt, but most of the Informing would have only caught up with the rat-ee, after the particular Rat in question had already ratted.

What of the children of these Rats..?? what kind of vermin will they turn out to be..???

May be some one could inform me...eh..??

3/17/2010 4:58 AM  

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