Students for Justice in Palestine Torn Apart by Communist Sexual Abuse

To get a handle on this situation you have to understand that Students for Justice in Palestine, like other namebrand advocacy groups, are usually just fronts set up by a hard left core for recruitment and impact.

But let's start with Aussie Dave at IsreallyCool who was the first to report on the story.

Students For Justice In Palestine (SJP) Brown University has released a document condemning SJP NY for not condemning sexual assaults in their midst.

Brown University’s Statement on Recent Sexual Assault Controversies in NYC SJP and SJP East:

In order to maintain the political integrity of our SJP, we find it necessary to publicly condemn perpetrators of sexual assault within affiliated groups, as well as those who remain silent in the face of these unforgivable acts. If we are to call for justice, liberation, and emancipation, we cannot abide by such transgressions within our organizations. How can we possibly condemn sexual violence perpetrated by settler colonialism in Palestine if we fail to condemn the same acts within our own groups? We invite other SJP chapters to join us in this statement and intend to formally adopt organizational policies that make clear our positions on sexual assault within our group.

Specifically, in order to put this policy into practice, we ask the SJP East Board to join us in condemning two NYC SJP representatives, Tafadar Sourov and Khalil Antonio Vasquez and ban them from all SJP work. Moreover we also ask that NYC Students for Justice in Palestine be specifically barred and or castigated for their handling of this situation. These two representatives of NYC SJP were accused and found to be perpetrators of serious patriarchal behavior, including but not limited to abuse, manipulation and silencing...

While the NYC SJP has expelled them, there have not been any statements of condemnation made. Therefore there is no indication or way to know that these abusers are not going to use this space as a place for political rehabilitation Moreover, as is shown through both the leadership and a few of its members, there is a tendency to politically regard these individuals as “inactive” and as part of another SJP (specifically CCNY) as a way to both shy away from criticism, but also expose how rape culture is perpetuated within the group. When a survivor specifically asked for a public statement to be made, they were silenced by a prominent NYC SJP member, and told that this request was bureaucratic, and that this issue was a waste of their time. To make things worse, there are those within the leadership such as Rawan Toom, Nerdeen Kiswani and others who have shown awful gender practice and have continuously ignored both the needs of the survivors ( Rawan in particular explicitly posting triggering content of the abuser and refusing to take it down when asked) and have the gall to stay silent as this process continues. Of course, it would be odd for us to have this information, however through the explicit approval of the RSCC member here and one of the survivors, we will post photo evidence of an example of Nerdeen and Rawan’s explicit silencing the survivor Nicole Sanchez, after the essay is finished.

There's a lot more at the link if you want to read through the whole letter.

While Students For Justice In Palestine is out "front", the activists involved appear to actually be coming out of the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee and the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party. (As I said, SJP tends to be a front for the hard left. And I do mean hard.) The RSCC and LC are the actual epicenter of the drama which is being fought out through front groups like SJP.

And the backstage drama is everything you expect from Communists (in this case Maoists). The RSCC's Facebook page is gone, but the LC is still going.

Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party

Public Directive to all NYC former branch cadre:

No cadre is to attend the RSCC Gender Struggle Session scheduled for April 10, 2016 unless formally invited by the present RSCC leadership. Failure to abide will result in immediate expulsion.

 

Upon request of the comrade and RSCC, this is to make clear that Akash Rahman was never a full member of LC-NYC and he resigned as soon as the documents from RGLA and RGA emerged.

He has no involment in any wrongdoing, and was not targetted by any investigation.

We hope this clears this particular matter.

 

The Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party is no more.

In the background of RGLA leaving, the remaining branches see no point in continuing this joint effort.

While the organization disappears, the people and collectives that formed part of it do not. As such, more direct responses might be forth coming but are answerable only to themselves.

The RGLA would be the Red Guards Los Angeles. Here's why the Red Guards of LA abandoned ship.

As part of our struggle against patriarchy, and the broader struggle associated with our political development as a group, we have concluded it is necessary for us to sever ties with the New Communist Party- Liaison Committee (NCP-LC), due to persistent engagement in patriarchal behavior, intraorganizational secrecy, and extreme liberalism regarding the rectification of these errors among key members and a central organization in the LC apparatus.

Our criticisms are primarily focused around three issues:

1) Failure to effectively isolate a known patriarchal abuser from revolutionary spaces, endangering all women and non-men in our movement

So the New Afrikan Communist Party had to weigh in.

This matter has been brought to the Central Committee of the New Afrikan Communist Party. We have reason to believe that these accusations may be a counterintelligence disorganization tactic. We have received a special report from Negation of the Negation with information that disputes or gives lie to the allegations in question. We note other counterrevolutionary practices as silencing, non-association, refusal to engage in criticism/self-criticism, emotionalism, liberalism, and unethical and threatening attacks against the right to investigate. We greet you in camaraderie! We Are One!! Communism or Death!!!

The official statement by the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party indicts "rightist" errors.

The reason to part ways is largely due to the reaction of the former leadership to the recent collapse of both the NCP-LC and a large portion of the New York City Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC). We feel their reaction represents within them a rightist deviation that not only refuses to acknowledge errors in their general leadership practice, but also refuses to acknowledge the existence of patriarchal tendencies of superiority and entitlement...

Regardless of any lip service the organization paid to Proletarian Feminism, reconcilable patriarchal practices lied at the foundation of its work. It was the continued refusal to reconcile these practices, whether it was done overtly or subtly, consciously or unconsciously, that allowed the internal contradictions of these patriarchal practices to sharpen to an antagonistic level.

A prime example of this process was found in the possible act of former leadership Khalil and Taffy to crash the gender struggle session during this crucial conjuncture. To provide a background, Taffy had been placed under investigation for allegations of patriarchal misconduct prior to the publication of RGA's criticism. At the same time, he and the branch leader of the NYC-LC, Ateo, were placed under investigation for the potential cover up of the events leading to these allegations...

The other issue to be addressed is the one relating to the relationship of NYC-LC to the patriarchal abuser, Freddy Bastone. As it is already out in the open, Freddy's mother is a labor union shop steward in NYC, and so the decision to maintain a certain level of communication with him was based on using this connection to get cadre a way into the union. This is an issue that was debated internally prior to some of the signatories' involvement in the organization, but the topic of Freddy's actions and the ongoing relationship maintained for the sake of union salting is one that came up over and over. There was a conscious effort to keep Freddy in the dark about the internal strategy of the NYC-LC, even using lies and misdirection to keep his continual prying into mass work at bay. By no means was he in regular communication with the NYC-LC body as a whole, and in fact many of us had no contact with him whatsoever. The NYC-LC relationship with Freddy was mediated through the former NYC-LC leadership...

NYC-LC branch leader Ateo is indicted for... among other things...

2) The opportunist propagation of the state intervention red-herring line along with Taffy and Khalil

In truth, it is likely that there were/are infiltrators by the state or other organizations due to the level of public visibility the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee achieved through the years of political campaigns the organization was involved in. RSCC was and still is no friend to the US Imperialist government, Zionists, and the bourgeois class as a whole, and for this reason is a prime target for infiltration. However, the time they the three of these men are choosing to highlight this issue is very convenient in trying to misdirect attention from their own patriarchal tendencies. This is nothing but shameful opportunism in an effort to save face.

Ateo would appear to be Peruyero Bracero Christian Laureano. Elsewhere Jon Laks accuses Percy Lujan of leaking information about the victims.

Red Guards Austin has also put out a piece denouncing the RSCC.

For a communist organization in a patriarchy crisis, a transfemme figurehead is an excellent tool to temporarily flatten gender contradictions in your own branches and mass organizations, even for RSCCNYC that was approaching or had reached the lauded “gender parity.” This phrase is a joke when a number of gender-nonconforming RSCC members were afraid to come out and sought counsel from the women and trans people in our region. They were also not worthy to boastfully claim this phrase when an anti-patriarchy gender struggle ends up ripping the entire formation and its central mass orgs apart in a matter of days when women and trans comrades placed it in its rightful prominence as an antagonistic contradiction in these conditions. RSCC-NYC has openly revolted against all former LC members and the boy’s club clique, many of the recent recruits didn’t even know that their student movement chapter even had a parent organization. In RSCC-PHL, line struggle over issues of domestic & sexual partner abuse spilled out in the open and decimated the chapter...

I would also be the one to bring forth the allegations of sexual assault against Tafadar that were revealed to us by RSCC-NYC members. When it was mentioned in the beginning of a national conference call the very next day that he was being considered for promotion to branch leader, I interjected with this information immediately. It turned out that this actually not new information to anyone in NYC-LC at all. The (former) NYC branch leader appeared flabbergasted and expressed shock as he understood these allegations to have been “dealt with” before...

Yes, this means the struggle to isolate the well-known & welldocumented terrorizer of women Freddy Bastone.[4] I’ve been lied to and deceived and told so many different things about this guy from people I was supposed to trust, at this point I’m relying on the facts as they appear and my intuition. What I was told over time roughly unfurled as this: he was never a member of LC, then it was clarified he was a member-but-also-not-member of LC without democratic rights pending rectification, then kicked out of LC upon refusal to rectify, but somehow this all still meant he was never a member. The guy had more mysterious forms than the triune God itself. So while they variously claimed they never associated with him anymore and he was out of the picture, he then would pop up in pictures repeatedly on social media with (at the time) LC & RSCC-NYC leaders, freely comment on their social media statuses, participate intimately with them in political events as recent as 2015, and continued to appear at their personal social gatherings to this date.

There's more from the RGA official statement.

We were disturbed that we had to wait so long to get any explanation on the matter and that no public statement had been issued, even though Freddy was commonly associated with the LC and was (and still is) active in online spaces in which LC members have control, even supporting arguments and being supported by LC cadres in NYC. Freddy would post from fake accounts (London Faust), which LC cadres in NYC were aware of. When one of our women members called this account out for dismissive gaslighting, cadres in the NYC LC sided with Freddy. He would commonly post on their walls, and photos would emerge of him hanging out or having drinks with LC members...

Only recently has the severity of Freddy’s abuse come to light. The fact is, Freddy has assaulted more than one person and in fact there are multiple survivors of his attacks that we know of, though in the interest of respecting their wishes we will not mention them nor describe the incidents. The worst part is that some of these sexual and non-sexual assaults occurred after Freddy had been kicked out of the LC!

Let us be very clear: at the current stage of struggle the Maoist movement in the United States lacks the ability to reform sexual predators and patriarchal abusers. It is our responsibility to do what we can, exposing and isolating them. Any posturing that we could exceed our own realistic ability puts women comrades in extreme danger, as indicated by the mishandling of Freddy. Ideology must be utilized to transform, and before the LC tries to reform these serious offenders they need to clean house and be transformed themselves by principle and stop calling abusers “comrade.”...

He was not held thoroughly accountable, and there was no community awareness that was raised to protect other comrades from him or even to give them fair warning. We hold the leaders and decision-makers in the LC accountable for this. Freddy is in fact a serial abuser of women, whom he preys on through political activism. The internal “disciplining” or silent “expulsion” of serial offenders puts the community at large at risk, a reality that the NYC LC branch has to face every day...

We were informed that publicly going against Freddy would not only put women survivors at risk of Freddy retaliating but could also result in the loss of their chairman’s job: “it’s the men too who are at risk.”...

And the RGA is also unhappy with the LA Red Guards.

One example of bad gender practice is RGLA cadres engaging in talk casually about how attractive women activists and comrades they meet are as well casual discussion on who they want to sleep with. This has reached a point where we have witnessed some of RGLA joking about ‘claiming’ women they have met through activism: “She’s mine, I saw her first!” Members of RGA witnessed firsthand and criticized this type of activity among almost half of their membership. This behavior even in jest alienates women activists, who are not struggling in this movement in order to find dates. The issue with this specifically is rooted in patriarchy via an engrained view held by society regarding women as property.

There are also lots of unironic references to Mao and Lenin. Denunciations of Deng Xiapong's deviationism. Freddy Bastone's Facebook page features numerous attacks on Israel. Jon Laks has a terrorist flag as his avatar. But it's fairly clear that supporting the murder of Jews is just a subset of the larger modern Communist agenda supporting the murder of pretty much everyone. And the occasional rape too.

To pull back even further, some of this drama involves the WWP, World Workers Party, which a lot of Communists hate for various reasons. And typical tactics in this world involve sabotaging and denouncing rival groups. This is usually blamed on police informers or Zionists or space aliens. So there are front groups on top of front groups on top of more front groups. Core membership tends to be limited, but spread out across dozens of organizations creating the illusion of a mass movement. Organizations with anywhere from 1 to 12 members are constantly feuding with each other while creating more front groups.

This mass movement quickly becomes a forum for various abuses, among them sexual abuse. This is fairly commonplace.

Recently, two major Trotskyist organizations, one in Britain and one in the US , were rightly subjected to public exposure and condemnation for the liberalism (meaning the unprincipled lack of struggle) of their members in failing to oppose rape culture.

Another communist organization in the US was also exposed less than a year ago for sheltering a rapist member, disciplining him by merely having him write an essay for “self-criticism.”  At the height of the Occupy movement, there were accounts of sexual assault at protest camps in New York, Cleveland, Dallas, Baltimore, Lawrence, Portland, New Hampshire, and Glasgow.  It is also well known that rape culture is widespread among anarchist collectives and the broader anarchist milieu

None of this is resolvable because totalitarian movements are fundamentally abusive and Communist groups tend to treat crimes as ideological tests. Which is why you could have read through all that without having the faintest idea of what's going on. No amount of applying a totalitarian ideology is ever going to address abusive behavior within a totalitarian movement.

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