By Robert Gibbs, U.S. Correspondent, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 28 February 2019, www.thecommunists.net
Contained in the development of the #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ, and other social protest phenomenon is the practical truth that the mechanisms of bourgeois democracy serve, fundamentally, to promote and defend capitalist property relations and through that the interests of the wealthy and powerful.
Sections of the pseudo-Trotskyist movement (including the so-called “International Committee of the Fourth International” led by David North) rail against the lack of due process for mostly men who have been publicly accused of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. However, the appeal to due process in most instances is an appeal to the mechanisms of a legal system that, by its very nature, is prejudiced on the side of the rich and powerful and against the poor and powerless.
North’s ICFI ironically closes ranks with right wing elements castigating those who protest racial and other forms of inequality as proponents of “identity politics”. This approach fails to recognize that the act of protest is uniformly the starting point of revolutionary consciousness. Achieving the latter requires the partisan intervention of the revolutionary party when aggrieved populations protest, not its sectarian abstention.
Capitalist justice is neither blind nor available to all. It remains the preserve of those with wealth, influence, and resources. The legacy of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia combined with the privileges of wealth freight bourgeois democracy heavily on the side of the accused in instances of sexual assault, LGTBQ discrimination, and racial and immigrant injustice.
#MeToo is almost uniformly a phenomenon of comparatively powerless women taken advantage of by powerful men in circumstances of he said/she said. Powerful men have naturally pursued an appeal to due process with the self-serving understanding that, in most instances, they are the demanding the proof of the unprovable with the full expectation of acquittal in the absence of the aggrieved accomplishing something that, by definition, is frequently close to impossible.
The socialist movement defends due process as a democratic right but simultaneously understands the inherent limitations of bourgeois justice. The socialist movement must simultaneously support the right of women, racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and other victimized populations confronted with these challenges to pursue their defense in an appeal to the court of public opinion via protest. This phenomenon is, again, a tacit recognition of the typically unresponsive mechanisms of bourgeois justice in instances of sexual harassment, assault, and other related forms of social discrimination – both on and off the job.
It is the duty of socialists to bring this class understanding to all sections of the oppressed and aggrieved and win them to the revolutionary party while supporting their right to protest and their related demands for justice without promoting illusions in an alternate perspective of reform. Meaningful social equality can only be achieved through the revolutionary elimination of private property and all forms of derivative class privilege.