"The go-to perspective on prostitution from many progressives in Canada these days seems to be a fairly hard and fast vote for decriminalization or legalization. Even many of our beloved East Vancouver lefties seem convinced that the most progressive position to take is one of "sex as work," arguing that debates around prostitution should prioritize labour rights, allowing women to come out from the underground and"'into the light" as free and autonomous workers."
In any other area progressives do serious research and make moral decisions based on the good of the collective not just the individual. I believe the progressive community has abdicated that role concerning prostitution. It's much easier to just be "sex positive" and swallow simplistic neoliberal logic.
Migrant farm workers might prefer to have exploitative work in Canada if the alternative is not to work in Canada at all. The same goes for domestic workers. If Canadians could pay foreign domestic workers a hundred dollars a month plus room and board I am sure many more people would import fully willing domestic workers. Having a law preventing this is therefore denying workers and employers from entering into a voluntary contract. How dare we!
While it is true streetwalkers only represent around 15% of workers in what industry would it be okay to use workers in such desperate straits to do such a dangerous job? The fact that they are being hired by individual johns makes it okay?
On one hand there seems to be a distinct lack of class analysis -- we forget that there are reasons that some women are prostituted while others are not, that some women have a "choice" while others do not. On the other, because decriminalization has, in part, been framed as a labour issue (i.e. that this is a job like any other and, therefore, should be treated in the same way any other service sector job is, in terms of laws), the gender and race factors fall to the wayside and we forget that prostitution impacts women and, in particular, racialized women in an inordinate way. Prostitution simply doesn't happen to men in the same way that it does to women. It is no mere coincidence that the missing and murdered women and that Pickton's victim's were, largely Aboriginal women, that many of the women on the streets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver are Aboriginal. Where is the race, the gender, and the class analysis within decriminalization rhetoric? How will licensing help women who cannot "work" legally? How will decriminalizing male buyers, male abusers, pimps and johns keep women safe from these men? Particularly when so many of the women being bought and sold have little choice in the matter?
Why has decriminalization been positioned as the progressive position to take in Canada?
This comes from a rabble blog so I hope we can discuss the article here. It fits in nicely with my complaints to Oldgoat in this post http://rabble.ca/comment/1424725#comment-1424725
This is supposed to be a progressive message board.
Please don't start the actual class analysis in this thread because I would like to keep it on the topic of why progressives have abandoned it so easily as well as lobbying for the feminist forum to be protected.