Sometimes, it's just a cigar

This is our truth, tell us yours

The SUnday Sermon; Knowing when not to join the fight.

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial taxb to Caesar or not? 15Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.” Mark 12


It’s a pretty famous passage from the New Testament, and often quoted by those on the Religious Right who use it to claim Christianity must not be political, that there is a division between the sphere of faith and the rest of the world. You will not be surprised to discover I see this as a massive misinterpretation. The context here is of non tax payment as a form of political protest against the Roman occupation. This was a very hot issue. non-payment of tax could be a capital offence. The Pharisees hoped that this popular trouble maker could be trapped into making inflammatory statements which would lead to his arrest. They believed he was caught between offending his followers (by saying they should pay tax) and risking arrest. This working class carpenter with little education was theirs, or so they believed.

Jesus neatly sidestepped the whole argument by his reply. This is not my fight he is saying, I see what you are trying to do and remove myself from it. A pretty amazing answer for the bloke who they thought they had cornered.  Jesus had come to fight for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalised but not int the way previous leaders of resistance to Roman rule had.

Knowing what is, and isn’t our fight is something we still have to be so careful of today. Recently there has been much anger on a part of my twitter, it started off between women of colour and trans women, and is still continuing to a degree. Very early on I realised the last thing either side needed was my opinion. As a white cis abled women the oppressions I face are minuscule compared to other groups. Sadly white cis women seem to believe they must have an opinion on anything and everything, and that other groups will be eager to hear their views. There needs to be less of this, less trying to impose our voices in every debate and more times when we say this is not my fight, and I will not make it about me.

A hilarious example of this was tweeted out today, a trot group splitting into yet more factions over the subject of race play.  At first glance it may seem that its nothing more than the trots being trots, and has caused me to muse what is the SWP position on other forms of BDSM. Is it Ok if the Dominant belongs to the working class and the sub is middle class for example? Would that simply be replicating the revolution in the bedroom? These issues need an answer! Well, no, they don’t. They most certainly don’t need a bunch of white people to decide whether race play is problematic or not.

So often we form and give our opinions on issues that we are mere observers of. Perhaps a new rule of social justice could be that if there are people more affected by something than you, then seek them out and listen to what they are saying before weighing in with your ideas. Everything, from men defining feminism to civilians with feelz about sex work would be improved if this became a first rule of interaction.


4 comments on “The SUnday Sermon; Knowing when not to join the fight.

  1. Zarathustra
    January 26, 2014

    I fully agree that sometimes it’s important to just bow out of an argument and accept that it ain’t your fight.

    My first reaction to hearing about race play was, “What, seriously? That’s a thing?” It wouldn’t be my idea of fun, nor would it be something I’d feel comfortable about politically. But there’s also the point about the right of consenting adults to do what they like in private (though even in making that point, it would be vastly more problematic if the sub was not a black American woman with a keen sense of her history, as Molleena Williams clearly is.)

    I think I’d be willing to accept that on all the levels of gender, ethnicity, culture and sexual preference, I simply wouldn’t have anything to add to a debate on this.

    I would though, be happy to call someone out on a debate external to me if I thought there was some ulterior motive hiding behind the issues. Possibly I may be going off on a tangent here, but this one’s been chafing at me for the past couple of days.

    As we all know, the two idiots who sent Twitter abuse to Caroline Criado-Perez were sentenced the other day. I hope we’d all be of the view that one doesn’t have to agree with or even like Criado-Perez to condemn rape and death threats being sent to her.

    As soon as the news of the sentencing broke, Stavvers was tweeting comments like, “Notice that the woman got longer than the man did. Ugh. Fucking vile” and, “Tell me about it. And it’s obvious that they’re just doing it because the internet scares the shit out of the establishment.”

    One only has to read the judge’s sentencing remarks to see why Sorley got a longer sentence that Nimmo. Unsurprisingly, it’s nothing at all to do with her being a woman, or the power of the Internet. It’s because she was drunk when she sent the threats (despite the common refrain of, “I didn’t mean it, I was pissed”, under criminal law intoxication is an aggravating not a mitigating factor). It’s also because she had 25 prior convictions (mostly for drunk and disorderly, plus a couple for assaulting a police officer) and because she wasn’t motivated to address her alcohol issue.

    So, I’m happy to call this one out. Stavvers allowed her personal dislike of Criado-Perez to influence her views on the sentencing, and in doing so she wound up minimising abuse, and that stinks.


    • jemima2013
      January 27, 2014

      i think thats a great example, sometimes being apart from a subject does mean you can give a balanced view those involved cannot see. Its a judgement call I suppose, are you intervening when as with the race play thing frankly its nowt to do with you, or is your intervention because you might be seeing things more clearly or from a different, and useful perspective.

      And yeah, I personally could never do race play (if i were Domme) I also find the form of body writing where subs have words like fat and ugly written on them incredibly problematic in a culture where we have size 0 norms. However unless someone asked my opinion as an experienced sub i am not going to seek ppl out who do it to give them my two penneth worth. The core of my objection isnt what is done anyway but that the unintended consequences are so hard to predict pretty much what Carter says here.


    • cartertheblogger
      January 28, 2014

      You don’t have to like or dislike CC-P to find something distasteful about the way in which Sorley and Nimmo’s case was turned into a show trial. The offences were committed in the Northumbria police area; the trial held in London before the most senior magistrate. That smacks of a show trial.(By way of contrast, the negligent crashing of a ship onto the Farne Islands, risking an environmental disaster in a nature reserve, got a part time bench in Bedlington yesterday, just across the road from Tesco and far from the view of the London based media…) The publication of the sentencing remarks similarly is a way of saying ‘this is a marker – you may not do this thing.’ One can only wonder what advice Sorley and Nimmo received about the likely sentence, and whether that influenced their guilty pleas.
      Is it minimizing abuse to say that Sorley’s sentence is utterly useless as anything other than an attempt to police behaviour by force? No. Sorley will not acquire the motivation to address her drink problems by doing a few weeks in a badly equipped women’s prison, and pretending that she will or that it’s the only solution is stupid, naive and childish. Is it minimizing abuse to question whether there was anything misogynistic in the senior district judge’s obvious distaste for Sorley? Not in my view – the differential treatment of female defendants at the magistrates court has long been a feature of my experience of them, and of feminist studies fo criminal justice. Similarly, it’s hard not to read into the district judge’s remarks about the statements provided by CC-P and Stella Creasy the same kind of obsequiousness that featured in Mr Justice Caulfield’s remarks about Mary Archer – it’s fair to say that the contrast between how the courts treat respectable and disorderly women is a reasonable line of inquiry for any feminist to pursue.

      So I think you’re wrong to attack Stavvers in the way you have, and wrong to defend the senior district judge’s decision as if it is the only possible conclusion.


  2. Pingback: Misogyny and Isabella Sorley | Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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