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Green_Mountain_Makhno wrote

I see no way that sex work would continue in a real commune...

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GaldraChevaliere wrote

From my perspective, probably in the way BirdMonster envisions it. Emotional labour is still labour, and even camming one on one sessions largely consist of asking a client about their day, listening to them complain about their jobs or spouses, coaching eggs and giving them transition advice. If a totally independent commune were to be established, it'd probably just wind up as an alternative to therapy with the option of helping people with sexual hangups and baggage. The biggest difference for me would be that without the threat of starvation/eviction/arrest, I'd be free to choose what services I want to offer someone safely and without fear of violence. People who want to continue in sex work would be protected and able to keep doing what they like, people who do it solely for survival would hopefully be safe and secure enough to drop out of it entirely.

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Green_Mountain_Makhno wrote

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at that point it seems like it's not really sex work or prostitution, but solidarity/mutual aid. Are we on the same page with that?

I am not one who thinks that all must work in the factory for us to have full communism - I, because of my life experiences and disposition would be very good at certain things and willing to contribute to our shared survival in certain ways, and perhaps you would like to contribute in others. There will certainly be a need for physical and emotional support and healing, and developing healthy sexual attitudes, boundaries and relationships. I, while I would be willing to listen and help where I could with that work, would not be the best suited to it and probably wouldn't be able to help very effectively, at least not as effectively as others.

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GaldraChevaliere wrote

It's only 'not really' sex work if we continue to think of sex work as something with an inherent stigma or of sex workers as abject. Mesopotamia had temple prostitutes in positions of relative social importance and honor, and sexuality was a necessary component of pagan norse witchcraft. I think the abjection of prostitution is a comparatively new phenomenon and one that's rooted in christianity and patriarchy, and that in a society where those forces no longer have absolute power, our living conditions and quality of life would vastly improve.

It's still sex work, because what a lot of men don't understand is that taking someone else's emotional burdens on for them is a very stressful thing and it's one of the main reasons why hospice workers and nurses burn out and why therapists all have therapists of their own. I can give an ear to a friend out of love or help a neighbor out of solidarity, but when I do that I am performing emotional labour for them. Likewise if I have sex with that friend to help them detach from a failed relationship or fuck my neighbor as a trade for fixing my plumbing, I am performing sexual labour that carries emotional physical and health risks for me in doing so, and so would like to be compensated for it fairly.

Exploitation is when, as a worker, I have to have sex with strangers or perform a camshow/stripping routine to pay my landlord but must also do so discretely or he will evict me anyway. Fair trade is when I can use my empathy and my skills in bed to help people in my community without the fear of punishment for practicing the world's oldest profession and in return for the help and services I need for myself.

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Green_Mountain_Makhno wrote

I think I get what you're saying, and I totally agree that taking on someone's emotional burdens and helping people work through intimacy, and sex itself is performing emotional labor. I support that idea.

When I think of abolishing the value form altogether, and maybe this is outside the scope of this discussion, but I think we must also abolish trade. If I trade you this for that, we are both establishing a value for those things and commodifying them, whatever they may be. If that trade is a fixed sink for sex, now we are both commodifying our labor and putting a value on it. For that reason, I am of the opinion that we need to think of all of our labor as basically mutual aid and solidarity. Maybe I purposely grow more food than I need and share it openly with any who need. When I have a need I put a call out to the community, and someone with those skills helps me. You do the same.

This can still mean that you and I have different jobs/roles in the commune, but that we realize that what we are all contributing is important - I will grow a bunch of food, and Steve will fix peoples plumbing and Diane will build tools, and you will help people cope with emotions/intimacy/sexual needs. And maybe that looks very similar to what you said, but I think the idea of trading this for that needs to go in order for us to really abolish capitalism. We share in the burdens and joys of life freely, not trading or commodifying our labor, but giving it as solidarity and mutual aid, and receiving the labor of others freely.

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GaldraChevaliere wrote

Where I feel sketch about that in relation to some idealized commune is that if we treat my body and my mental health as something to be given freely, it creates a sort of entitlement to those services. Like, yes, I can refuse and I have more protections than I do under capital, but while I don't see sex as something particularly sacred, I'd be very creeped out by a guy approaching me asking that I fuck him as mutual aid because of the power dynamics that existed before the commune and will continue to exist into its birth. Beyond that I'm sketch about utopian views of communism in general, because I feel like a lot of harm could come to me and my sisters if less well intentioned folk tried to frame it the way you're framing it right now. Like, I can't see it as an Eden where we'd be suddenly free from patriarchy and trans/misogyny just because of the Revolution or whatever.

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Green_Mountain_Makhno wrote

Those are all excellent points. I completely agree that just because capitalism is gone doesn't mean that all of the historical power dynamics and general bigotry/sexism/misogyny disappears, and feeling entitled to sex would be something that a "utopian" commune would have to address. I guess I don't know the best solution, and I definitely don't want to put people in dangerous or coercive or exploitative situations. I think that to expect the situation to exist where that danger is gone immediately is naive, and a comrade's safety is more important than theoretical purity.

Thanks for the excellent and thought provoking responses.

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