To be clear, Bill Cosby is an ADMITTED serial rapist. Recent events do not change that fact, for better or for worse. Read about the technicalities of the judgement here. Today, some people, like Phylicia Rashad, are celebrating. As an aside, it is certainly a gut-punch to watch one of our foremost living cultural workers throw support behind a rapist, belying whatever feminist significance she held for me and many others. But we know that despite his Blackness, Bill Cosby’s success is no win for the community. Besides his disdain for the poor, which he made clear years before the general public knew of his crimes, a man that uses his power, influence and resources to abuse women can rot in jail, in my estimation.
Abolition requires a wholesale change in political economy. It requires, in a word, revolution. So if our people are still in a state of survival pending revolution, it is right to remove abusers from their community prior to re-education or genuine penance. The United States’ prison system is world-historic in scale and brutality for those it is encouraged to ensnare. We know the figure is something like 2 million incarcerated, 2 million on probation or parole, and countless other lives run roughshod over.
So when someone is able to quickly get out of the clutches of the system that refuses to let go of many of our comrades in struggle, like Imam Jamil Al-Amin incarcerated right here in Georgia, we must question the interests served. To free a man who is unremorseful for his violence only serves to create a chilling effect for survivors of abuse. The women who have publicly come forward must now think about what it means that one of the worst experiences of their lives is again a topic of discussion for people to cast lots and opinions over. That is further harm done to our class, the oppressed and disposessed of the world.
Most often, we don’t hear much compassionate coverage of the lives of women swallowed up by patriarchy, but in the past week, we’ve learned harrowing details of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, particularly her lack of reproductive autonomy. A resourced, famous white woman has slipped through the proverbial cracks of the in-justice system!
What might be the lesson? A girl, who was compelled from childhood to live a life of and for publicity, is only just now able to begin to make the steps that will let her begin to shape the direction of her own life! Britney Spears has had to watch the fruits of her labor go not primarily to her happiness, but to maintaining her family’s patriarchal system of domination over her. Is there a contradiction here? Spears has already come out publicly in support of workers, but even if she hadn’t, America’s kangaroo court system is yet again a mechanism of commodification and dehumanization of women.
It’s starting to feel like a lot of wins for the people are being rolled back, or shown to be no win at all. In spite of that, when organizing on the ground with the people, the alliances being built through struggle are strong as ever, and broader with each passing day. As famous reactionaries and abusers continue to do just fine in this system, the only path to take is the one that will lead us closer to revolution, and force a real accountability to the people in this life. We can never know for sure what happens to mass murderers like Donald Rumsfeld beyond this earth, but we can take comfort knowing that working toward abolition of the gluttonous U.S. is the only way to bring justice to the rapists of our class. That also includes Joe Biden, in more ways than one. He of course is one of the foremost architects of modern American slavery, and barely acknowledged Tara Reade in the age of #MeToo. He wants nothing to fundamentally change, and only our people, united together, can frustrate his plans.