In 2006 Progressive Labor Party member Seth Miller raped an anarchist activist who had been his close friend and a fellow organizer for many years in the Los Angeles area. The activist found no recourse in the legal system but hoped that PLP leadership would intervene and do something to hold Seth accountable for being a rapist. The party leadership did nothing despite the activist reaching out multiple times.
Early in 2012 the activist found renewed support for holding Seth accountable after learning that he had recently been part of some organizing spaces with the activist’s allies. The activist, along with a small collective of allies, approached PLP again in May 2012 to remind them of the rape and demand a process of accountability. After several weeks and a meeting between the activist, her allies, and a member of PLP leadership, the party seemed to acknowledge it was harboring a rapist but refused to act unless the activist provided “conclusive evidence” that Seth had raped her. Instead, the party leadership engaged in victim-blaming and insinuated that the activist was merely feeling guilty about consensual sex. While party leadership agreed to take up the issue, they opposed any process that didn’t conform to their terms and obstructed progress on holding Seth accountable by canceling meetings at the last minute and issuing unreasonable expectations for rescheduling.
It is now several months after those initial conversations with PLP’s new leadership, and Seth remains an operating member of PLP, though he is now based in New York City. Recently the activist found through her own investigation that the party held a secret meeting in New York in July or August during which they agreed that while there was no “conclusive evidence” to their standards proving that Seth is a rapist, they would require him to drink with a buddy from now on and write a self-criticism about his relationship to women and patriarchy. These so-called solutions do nothing to protect our communities from a known rapist.
PLP leadership has failed to acknowledge this meeting just as they have failed to protect our communities from this predator. The party has, however, asked that the activist and her allies stop spreading “gossip” about Seth because they see the activist’s rape as a private matter rather than a political matter.
PLP is incapable of promoting truly revolutionary politics because it refuses to acknowledge individual and systemic sexual violence. In response, we ask a few things of you. The first is to exclude PLP from all activism and organizing spaces. The second is to warn your allies of the fact that PLP is defending and harboring at least one known rapist. The third is to examine and address the patriarchal behavior throughout all of our activist communities that protects and promotes sexual violence. The fourth is to actively support and defend the many individuals in our community that have suffered sexual violence. Finally, we ask you to address these matters in the best way you see fit – you do not need our permission to act.
from a UCI comrade at: http://necessarymeansfight.blogspot.com/