This post isn’t really about John Minto. It just started with him, and with a post (now deleted, let’s all act surprised) at The Daily Blog, in which he reproduced some hatemail from a reader (totally kosher) and then, because the reader is a doctor, proceeded to make a bunch of totally hilarious and very progressive “lol I guess one of your mental patients hacked your email” jokes about him.
And then it developed as people began to recall other occasions on which John Minto had been … less than a paragon of social justice.
And then it got to Omar Hamed.
Omar Hamed is, by accounts which will shortly be linked to, a serial creeper/abuser/ignorer of consent who has been consistently handed a pass by other people, especially men, in the left. Because he’s a leftwing hero and leftwing heroes can’t be creepers, or, perhaps, because being an abusive person when your targets are actual individual women just isn’t as important as fighting the abusive people whose targets are The Amalgamated Workers of the World.
And thus Asher Goldman came to tell the Twitter tale of Omar Hamed – and how John Minto has been absolutely instrumental in silencing critics of Omar’s behaviour and enabling Omar’s continued presence as a respected figure of the NZ left. That Storify also links to the original open letter which was circulated about him, and other posts discussing the fairly basic concept that leftwing people shouldn’t fucking tolerate sexist and abusive behaviour.
But this isn’t a post about John Minto.
The left needs to do a better fucking job.
It must be a movement which respects that there are multiple classes of oppression – and you know what, most of them align pretty nicely with capitalism and the oppression of the majority of workers by an elite, so it’s not even a huge fucking stretch.
Racism constrains people of colour as a class who are simultaneously worth less than the dominant class – making them a source of cheap labour – and also an economic, physical and social threat to distract and inflame working class whites.
Sexism constrains women as a class who are even alienated from their own children and forced into restrictive and oppressive modes of behaviour in order to keep them churning out the next generation of workers and consumers.
Homophobia and transphobia exist to force people into the procreative, consuming, working family model.
And rape, and rape culture, and attitudes which protect predatory men while silencing and shaming their women victims, are all part of that structure.
If you give a single fuck about class warfare and class oppression it’s fucking unfathomable that you wouldn’t recognise that sexism – and racism, and homophobia, and every socially-defined distinction which treats a group of people as innately lesser – is a part of the capitalist/kyriarchal power dynamic we’re meant to be fighting against.
And if you have an ounce of empathy you’d not only recognise it, you’d accept that your precious movement is not exempt from it and cannot pretend it doesn’t exist when people point it out to you.
Unless of course you’re John Minto. Then you’re a leftwing hero.