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Workers Vanguard No. 851

8 July 2005

Michael Jackson Defeats Racist, Anti-Sex Vendetta

In a victory against racist and social reaction, on June 13 pop megastar Michael Jackson was acquitted of charges of "lewd acts on a child" and of all ten charges against him. This trial was the culmination of over a decade of relentless government anti-sex witchhunting that could have put Jackson in jail for 18 years if he had been convicted on all counts. The acquittal was an exception to the American "justice" system's norm of racist frame-up. Still, as Wilbert Tatum, publisher of the Harlem-based Amsterdam News, put it in an angry editorial (16 June) noting Jackson's lengthy ordeal: "We are bitter about what happened to Michael Jackson and about what happened to so many other Black stars who have been falsely indicted by criminal prosecutors who wanted to make a name for themselves." Kobe Bryant and R. Kelly, too, were recently dragged through government courts in vendettas aiming to whip up hysteria over race and sex. The Jackson verdict was a victory—not only because he beat a racist frame-up, but also because it struck a blow for everyone who believes in the right to privacy and the right to consensual sexual relations. It was a blow against the government's anti-sex campaign that is aimed at increasing social control and regimentation of the population.

The jury found the prosecution's case paper-thin. It rested on contradictory testimony of two boys and their mother, whose appearance on the stand was actually a boon for the defense. The jury was treated to over a week of projected porn images. To prove what? Jackson owns porn magazines. Unimpressed, one juror said, "Things just didn't add up." Ominously, the prosecution was permitted to use relaxed requirements for introducing evidence, including "hearsay," which were devised specifically in response to the 1993 witchhunt of Jackson. This allowed the introduction of "past allegations" that hadn't even come to formal charges!

A prosecution "expert" called in to explain away damaging inconsistencies in the accuser's testimony invoked the kind of pseudo-scientific "syndrome" that was a hallmark of the sham day-care trials of the 1980s. For example, if a witness shows signs of instability or has contradicted or even recanted his testimony, this, it is claimed, is simply a symptom of the abuse. If the witness is credible and claims no abuse occurred, it is alleged that he is suppressing the memory.

Jackson steadfastly maintains that he has been asexual in his relations with boys, which is certainly possible—but for us, that is irrelevant. The state's vendetta against Jackson rested upon anti-sex laws that we oppose on principle. We pointed out when the trial began that the law used by Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon to go after Jackson clearly and willfully did not distinguish between coerced and consensual sexual acts. Jackson was charged under a part of the California penal code that prohibits acts with the intention of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of the person or the child.

Sex is a natural activity for humans—even children. We believe that in any kind of sexual relations, the guiding principle should be effective consent, regardless of age, gender or race. That is, if those involved have effective knowledge and desire to do whatever it is they will, that should be the end of it. We oppose arbitrary and reactionary state interference in such intimate matters. As we stated when the trial began:

"The capitalist state is intent on banning all sex for young people to prepare them for a life of unfulfilled desires and urges by imposing abstinence, guilt and fear about wanting to have sex. These laws have nothing to do with protecting children; all they do is enforce puritanical values pushed by religion, and provide a moral justification for government interference in all other aspects of life. As Marxists, we reject all laws that criminalize consensual sex for youth, with or without adult partners. Down with all reactionary 'age of consent' laws!"

—"Stop Vendetta Against Michael Jackson!" WV No. 818, 23 January 2004

We fight for people's right to have consensual sex with whomever they choose. Or to look at pornography. Or to do nothing at all. The point is, absent coercion, it just isn't any business of the government—and we mean any government, including in a future workers state.

Though among blacks Jackson's support runs particularly strong, the case did not polarize the country along race lines as did the O. J. Simpson case in 1995. The combination of race and sex (particularly amid allegations of "pedophilia") made this case especially hot. Because Jackson is black, many black establishment figures who wouldn't normally go near a "sex case" felt obliged to come out in his defense. But no sooner had the trial ended in victory than these pompous types felt impelled to wag warning fingers at Jackson. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, parading as Michael's "spiritual adviser," promptly told WFLD-TV, Chicago, that the singer "must reassess his personal relations, reassess personal conduct." Why? He didn't do anything wrong. Jesse Jackson proclaims him guilty—even after he was found not guilty!

If Michael Jackson got off because he had the best defense money could buy, and because he is rich and famous—it is still a good thing. Look what often happens when you can't mount an effective challenge to the virtually unlimited resources available to state prosecutors. The case of Father Paul Shanley of Boston, convicted this February in the lynch mob hysteria over the Catholic priest sex scandal, is such an example. Shanley, a former radical "street priest," was convicted purely on the uncorroborated "recovered memories" of a man who claimed Shanley abused him 20 years earlier. The defrocked priest was unable to buy an effective defense team and received 12 to 15 years behind bars. We defended him as we do NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) to which he was (falsely, as it happens) tied during the trial.

Young people whose sexuality doesn't fit the capitalist family model of abstinence (for young women anyhow) until marriage, then monotonous monogamy until you die, are treated like outlaws. There are still tens of thousands of people branded as "sex offenders" in this country who have committed no crime and hurt no one, and who have been abandoned by almost everyone, while their lives are made a living hell by computerized "predator" lists. There are hundreds of thousands of black men in prison, railroaded under the racist "war on drugs." All these victims of racist, puritanical America deserve freedom.


Workers Vanguard No. 851

WV 851

8 July 2005


Down With Big Brother "Real ID" Act!

Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants!


For Class Struggle, Not "Corporate Campaigns"

Labor: Organize Wal-Mart!


Michael Jackson Defeats
Racist, Anti-Sex Vendetta


Free Ohio 7 Prisoner Richard Williams!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)


The Pillars of Capitalist Rule

(Quote of the Week)


Honor Andrew Goodman,
Michael Schwerner, James Chaney

Klansman Convicted, 40 Years Late


NYC: Racist Beating in Howard Beach


Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!

Court Rejects New Evidence of Mumia’s Innocence, Again


ROTC/Military Recruiters Off Campus Now!
Down With the Occupation of Iraq—All U.S. Troops Out Now!

How Revolutionary Marxists Fight Against Imperialist War and Militarism


Protest SFSU Clampdown on Antiwar Activists!


Ten Years of "Democracy"—Still a Hellhole for Blacks

South Africa: Down With Neo-Apartheid Capitalism!