CAPM

Conspiracy Against Public Morals: Paedophilia & Public Morals (October 1980)

CAPM eventually published their planned pamphlet on ‘Paedophilia and Public Morals’ (P&PM) in late October/ early November 1980, a few weeks after Tom O’Carroll published his book on the ‘radical case’ for paedophilia. P&PM had taken longer to get out due to a delay in raising £2,000 to print and distribute the pamphlet, and then problems in persuading their distributor to actually distribute it. In Fallen Angel Tim Brown’s view the glossy A5 covered booklet superseded the Fallen Angels Manifesto of April 1980 “Corrupting Children” in priority of publications for the IGA’s Information Secretariat to assist with getting distributed to IGA membership.

Eighteen months under Thatcher and CAPM’s fear of a right wing populist backlash against gay liberation, women’s and children’s liberation was that the PIE trial would provide the perfect reporting storm for the press, led by the News of the World, to whip the public into a fury, demanding punitive action from politicians.

However, the pamphlet had been finalised before Private Eye first broke the news of Sir Peter Hayman in their first Beast of Berlin column. Their failure to consider how Hayman’s involvement may impact on the court ordering reporting restrictions to apply or other aspects preventing better publicity for their cause was extremely politically naive.

“The CAPM pamphlet covers much of the areas ignored by O’Carroll. Written by a collective of paedophiles and other gay men, it gives a detailed account of the development of law on children’s sexuality in Britain and relates it to a theory of patriarchy in capitalist society.”     Gay Noise no 6 Thursday 23rd October 1980,p.4

“CAPM disagreed strongly with the approach Tom adopted, and were trying to publish a leaflet which would give the “true” radical case. CHE had been asked to help with the distribution of this leaflet.”⁠  CHE Executive Committee minutes 25 October 1980

“Campaign moves into full swing

Paedophilia and Public Morals is the title of the new 60 page pamphlet soon to be published by the Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM). With only three and a half months to go before the show trial of PIE members at the Old Bailey publication of this pamphlet is a bold initiative on the part of CAPM members.

Without kowtowing or apologising, the pamphlet sets out to provide a basic framework for an informed public debate on patriarchy and the suppression of children’s sexuality. Concentrating at some length on the role of pornography and the manipulation of medical model of paedophilia this pamphlet will play an important part in the battle for a positive restructuring of the way the women’s movement, the gay movement and the socialist left views the position of children in general and child/adult sexuality in particular.

The members of CAPM feel that it is only by mounting the most widespread debate will lit be possible to organise tangible displays of support on the streets during and after the PIE trial; a trial that will be used, make no mistake, against all homosexual men and women.

Already the International Gay Association has committed itself to an international support campaign – but it is we who will translate it into action. It is up to Gay Noise and its writers, readers and supporters, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, Gay News — in fact the entire gay movement — to take up and support the initiative of CAPM. For more information, and to send messages of support, large sums of money (while Lotte’s back is turned) and requests for CAPM speakers, contact CAPM BM 1151 London WC1V 6XX”⁠ Gay Noise No 4 Thursday 25th September 1980 p2.

By the time of the first trial in January 1981 PIE had gone from questioning whether the Fallen Angels were Heaven Sent? to calling them ‘Risen Apes’ in a scathing update. Denouncing them as a ‘small handful of political theorists and hydrophobic feminists’ who ‘took control during last year of CAPM’ PIE declared ‘This clique of leftover intellectuals have spent the remainder of the year working to achieve those (CAPM’s) aims by a series of hysterical and vicious attacks on PIE, and in particular on Tom O’Carroll…in their own booklet PAEDOPHILIA & PUBLIC MORALS – replete with “sexist pin-ups” – and elsewhere. It is clearly their aim to use the trial as a vehicle for their own naive political ends, whatever the cost to the defendants.” PIE clearly identified the Fallen Angels Collective as having taken over CAPM, at some point during July 1980-October 1980, to publish “their own booklet”, as set out below.

“The Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM) exists to defend the PIE defendents (sic), and alert people to the dangers surrounding that trial. This pamphlet has been written to encourage some debate around the key political issues of the trial. To this end, certain arguments and positions have been put froward (sic) which are the view of the particular authors and the basis for the unity of the campaign as a whole. Involvement in CAPM does not necessarily mean agreement on such questions as the Age of Consent, the right of children to an independent income or other such questions. The authors believe however that these are vital to be argued for.” [P&PM, p.59]

PIE Bulletin (January 1981) p.3

PIE Bulletin (January 1981) p.3

A far cry from six months earlier when PIE had awaited news of Fallen Angels’ IGA lobbying developments with ‘keen anticipation’.

PIE Periodical (July 1980) p.4 ‘Heaven sent support?’

However following O’Carroll’s imprisonment, an article by new PIE Chairman Steven Adrian Smith giving an overall favourable review to CAPM’s Paeodophilia & Public Morals, it appears some form of a rapprochement was in process between PIE proper and its radical socialist revolutionary Angels:

“It is a pity that CAPM, in common with people such as Roger Moody and the editors of GAY NOISE (a welcome newspaper giving extensive coverage to paedophilia and the PIE trial), have pitched their arguments exclusively towards a very narrow, albeit very active band of the political spectrum — the radical left, an audience to which Tom O’Carroll’s book was specifically not addressed, and the many valid and important assertions they make will consequently be lost on a wider readership.” (‘Public Morals: Weaponry of Repression’ by Steven Adrian, Magpie No. 15 Spring 1981, p.16)

“Finally, it should be noted that visually the booklet has been put together with great imagination. The selection of illustrations and graphics which amount to half the content of the book displays an inventiveness and resourcefulness which are sorely needed in MAGPIE. To draw an unfair comparison, Tom O’Carroll’s book is presented in an austere and formidably academic format which is hardly calculated to inspire one to read it, the CAPM booklet is visually exciting and attention grabbing and is cleverly designed to draw one into the text. A pity then that the text is peppered with more typographical errors than commas.” (‘Public Morals: Weaponry of Repression’ by Steven Adrian, Magpie No. 15 Spring 1981, p.22)

Certainly by 1986, PIE defendant John Parratt (Warren Middleton) and Fallen Angel Tim Brown were still on friendly enough terms for Middleton to thank him (formerly of CAPM) in the foreword to Betrayal of Youth.

 

Paedophilia & Public Morals Front page [Qn: Is this a child’s writing & drawing or are either faked by an adult to look as if by a child?]

p.2 – 3 (inner cover)

Introduction: The Show Trial & The Populist Offensive

p.5

CAPM cannot say too much about the content of the charges:

“This is not out of coyness. It is because the rest is sub judice and we would be in legal trouble ourselves if we were to go into them in any more detail. We will however endeavour not to avoid the many controversial issues which are likely to come out at the trial, even if we cannot specify the context in which they come up.”

 

CAPM considers the PIE trial will be a “show trial”

The popular press led by the News of the World will report on the PIE trial relentlessly and unfavourable, whipping up public fury which in turn will place pressure on an already right-wing populist government under Thatcher, a year into her first term.

“The present government have merely made a virtue out of necessity. For the significant period prior to taking government, the Tatcher/Joseph wing appreciated the climate and adopted an aggressive ‘right populist’ stance. In the run up to the elections they seized every opportunity to champion the bigotry of the people against each other. Once in government they have continued this approach escalating the already existing internecine warfare. Classic examples of this have been their stand on immigration and on social security ‘scroungers’.”

 

p.6

On why the Fallen Angels are defending PIE when they don’t agree on politics:

“We are not defending the five because we agree with their politics. Many of the arguments in this pamphlet run counter to what some of the defendents (sic) believe. We are not defending them because they are wonderful right on people with inpeccable (sic) revolutionary socialist credentials. We are defending them because they are on the front line where they are likely to receive the fiercest blows of a generally barbaric offensive. This we cannot tolerate.” (P&PM, p.6)

 

p.7

Chapter 1: Patriarchal Power & The Oppression of Children

pp. 8 – 9

 

pp.10 – 11

“In the 80’s this is all in flux again. The welfare state is being significantly dismantled. Women are bein driven out of the labour force to be full time mothers again. Capital cannot afford the national extended family. The definition of childhood has however remained much the same. For a period it was not defined so much in terms of the mother. Now it will be again. Either way, children are at the bottom of the patriarchal pile. What is important however, is that in this period the state has to intervene directly to re-establish the centrality of motherhood. It will do this by raising the question of ‘vulnerable children’. It will attack all expressions of autonomous actions by children. It is in this context that the question of the age of consent is so important, a question which will be forced upon us by the coming show trial.”

Commenting on an article press cutting on a BBC2 Horizon programme ‘A touch of sensitivity’ discussing research of the effects of a mother’s touch on growing children, CAPM asks:

“Can the state entrust to woman the socialisation of children, while avoiding any emotional/physical contact that might imply sexuality?”

pp 12 – 13

Chapter II: Control, Protection & Corruption

pp 14 – 15

CAPM try to avoid defining ‘Women under the age of 13’ as children, female children or girls, preferring to use the term ‘Women’ which means adult female [p.14]. Even female babies, all female children, must be referred to as ‘women’. This causes them linguistic difficulty and is shown up by their need to refer to the Indecency with Children Act: “c) Women of any age may legally consent to non-penetrative sexual relations with men, but in practice a charge of Indecency with Children would be brought.”

pp 16 – 17

 

“Take the famous ‘theory of maternal deprivation’. This ‘theory’ created by pseudo-scientists and propagated by the media, claimed that children would grow up deprived and hence deviant if separated from their biological mother. Hence mothers should not go out to work etc. While an ideology of protection, its function was clearly the control of women and children. It was to discourage women from entering the waged labour force and to define their role as full time mother, which not only oppressed women, but strengthened the repressive role of the nuclear family on children.”

pp 18 – 19

 

 

 

 

pp 20 -21

“The PIE trial is going to be a noisy trial. The DPP and the police have the chance to legitimate the law through ideology of protection, just like in the Angry Brigade case, only this time its the ‘protection of children’ which is at issue. If they can get away with this, the law will be applied more generally against gay organisations, lesbians and men, just as the conspiracy laws were applied against Trade Unionists in the early seventies, after the Angry Brigade trials. The gay and lesbian movement cannot afford to make the same mistake that was made in 1972.”

pp 22 – 23

Chapter III: Paedophilia

“The popular image of paedophiles is contradictory, but always hostile and condemning. In fact these images are intimately related to the contradictory attitudes adults have towards children and child sexuality. On the one hand, paedophiles (women and men) are seen to be marauding, predatory males, prowling around the streets, spitting blood, lust and perversion and in search of innocent children to corrupt, deprave, rape and destroy.

The contrasting stereotype is of the failed macho who cannot ‘pull the birds’, who hasn’t grown up and can only identify emotionally and sexually with someone of equal ‘immaturity’, but one whose age matches the supposed ‘maturity’ process.”

“Perhaps these images lie behind some of you who are at present reading this pamphlet. Perhaps you are thinking that only men are paedophiles because paedophilia is about harming children.” *

* “Just as homosexuals have adopted the word ‘gay’ amongst many others, so some paedophiles have suggested ‘kind person’ as a positive description of paedosexuality. It at least has the advantage of being equally applicable to women paedophiles as well as to men.”

 

 

pp. 24 – 25

 

“The first thing which we must state categorically is that there is a massive inequality of power between adults and children, this is incontrovertible and is one of the central theses of this pamphlet. It must also be the case that this power structure will tend to be reflected in paedophile relationships. Those paedophiles who attempt to dispute this have missed the point and cannot analyse the cause of their own harrassment by the state.”

CAPM take a sideswipe at PIE and the five defendants awaiting trial as blind to the cause of the state’s action by them.

“However the mere fact that a particular relationship tends to reflect a general oppression tells us very little about the place the relationship has in that structure of dominance. If we were to outlaw all those human relationships which reflect an oppressive structure in this society we would end up banning  every human, interaction, sexual or otherwise! We have to ask whether such relationships add or detract from the overall oppression. Given the family, the school, the police, social workers etc, are paedophiles just another brick in the wall imprisoning children? We say determinedly NO. They are a crack in that wall.”

 

pp. 26 – 27

“Finally, there is quite a different kind of argument advanced in radical circles. This is the ‘physiological’ argument. Namely that sex with prepubescent children in physiologically harmful. This argument says more about adult orientated concepts than it does about physiology!

In the first place, there is no way a child will consent to do something which is physically hurtfull. The child will scream the house down! There is no need to legislate against the possibility of some mistaken consent, as the possibility simply does not exist. In the second place there is a tacit assumption that all sexuality is orientated towards penetration and/or orgasm. This is a very adult notion. There are plenty of other expressions of genital sexuality and it will be precisely those other ways which are included in the substance of a consenting paedophile relationship in these cases.”

CAPM think it is impossible for paedophiles to make a mistake as to the consent of a child to sexual activity so there is no need to legislate against the possibility of mistaken consent. How could CAPM be so sure?  The idea that paedophiles wish to have penetrative sex with children is dismissed by CAPM as (a) the product of a dirty mind and (b) negated by CAPM’s assertion that paedophiles in the majority choose ‘other expressions of genital sexuality’. How would CAPM know?

“In summary then, we do not see that paedophilia adds to the oppression of children; rather the reverse. We do not therefore support the existence of any anti paedophile legislation.”

Chapter IV: Three Sides of the Coin

“Reprinted in the pamphlet are two articles and a letter, the first of which appeared in the American pamphlet Growing Up Gay. It’s written by a young lesbian called Sky, who left home at 15 to come and work with the American organisation Youth Liberation.”

pp. 28 – 29

 

pp. 30 -31

p. 30 Letter written to the Leveller (which didn’t publish) – A man writes about being 10 and having a relationship with a 24 year old school teacher at primary school.

At the end of Allan’s letter a cartoon of a blackboard declared ‘children’s power means paedophilia now!’

p. 31 Interspersed with headlines:

“Girl, 12, lured ‘shy’ man to bed’

‘Judges free ‘victim’ of sex temptress, 11″

‘Sex temptress aged 12 made advances he couldn’t resist’

‘Court hears of schoolgirl temptress”

CAPM appears to view men who have sex with 11 and 12 year old girls as blameless, their anger is reserved for the child protection ‘racket’ which sends the girl into care:

“Note the similarity between the reporting of these cases and that of rape against women. Whilst it is OK that the men should get off, it is the girl who gets sent into care. Patriarchal age of consent laws receive eloquent expression through the mouths of judges and magistrates.” [p.31]

 

pp. 32 – 33

 

pp 34 – 35

pp. 36 – 37

The news cutting at the bottom of page 36 (see above) is concerning the case of William Pate, a Finsbury Park man who was a sadistic abductor and rapist of young boys. During 1978 a cross-party group of MPs had successfully campaigned for his release.

pp. 38 – 39

 

 

pp. 40 – 41

pp. 42 – 43

 

pp. 44 – 45

“Our case therefore adds up to a demand for the abolition of the age of consent in conjunction with major changes to rape laws. There are obviously special considerations that should be taken into account in terms of the trial of rapists of young children. It might be thought that a child of five would be unable to withstand cross examination in the witness box before a conviction can be secured, but freed of adult pressure, children of all ages are quite capable of deciding what constitutes rape. It is after all a violent and painful experience, and one way of alleviating unpleasant and unneccessary pressure, would be to have the court run by children. If it s a case of justice for children, then it is they who should be instrumental in its procuration. Many adults claim children to be incapable of such action. Those same adults who claim children are innocents in need of protection also call for a ‘short sharp shock’ to deal with those nasty youth who disobey adults. If five year old children can take on the militarily superior forces of the occupying British Army in the streets of Belfast, or Apartheid in the ghettos of Soweto, then the only people who have anything to fear are the oppressors.”

 

pp. 46 – 47

 

 

pp. 48 – 49

 

 

pp 50 – 51

 

PIE’s Practice

CAPM critique of PIE was that instead of seeking alliances with the sexual political movements and the left it was focused on demanding “a series of reforms” through:

(a) “rational argument”; and

(b) “vigorous lobbying of the powers that be”

“Blinded by its optimism towards the state and their attachment to the most awful kinds of publicity, they were unable to perceive that from the state’s point of view, they were easy meat.”

p.50 Gay News front page covering ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’ Sunday People headline with ‘They used deceit to smash men’s lives’

 

pp. 52 – 53

“Clearly then, pornography and obscenity laws play an important role in the way in which the state brings cases against paedophiles. This applies to the coming trial of the PIE five. Despite the fact that none of the defendants have been accused of playing any part in the production or distribution of pornogrpahy, pornographic material will play a central part in the trial, both at the level of evidence and media coverage.

Pornography is distinguished from other representations of sexuality by its function rather than by its content of social effects. This function is to make profit from the production and/or distribution of images by virtue of their powers of sexual stimulation. Clearly pornography is not restricted to illicit magazines or blue films. It is to be found in the popular press, on advertising hoardings, films on general release, television and so on. Sexual stimulation is a central motif of the market place.

This transformation of a part of human existence and activity into a commodity, a saleable object, is clearly reprehensible. It stands condemned along with capital as a whole, by virtue of the part it plays in dehumanising social relations.

Pornography material can, however, have social effects which go beyond those defined by its function as a commodity or vehicle for commodities. These effects are determined by the relationship between the particular images and the hierarchical sexual power relations which exist in society. Thus there is a vast difference between the social significance of straight porn, gay porn, paedophile porn and the precise nature of the representations involved.

The significance of straight porn, for the consumption of heterosexual men has been well documented by the Women’s Movement. Its role in reinforcing male dominance is unquestionable and there much evidence to suggest that its incidence can be directly correlated with that of rape. There should be nothing very surprising about this.

So now we come to the question of paedophile pornography. To start with a distinction has to be made between those pornographic representations of children produced for general popular consumption and those which are produced for people conscious of being paedophile.

The former is more  rampant than people admit and normally untouched by the state. From films like Pretty Baby and Little Darlings through ads like Elliot boots, to a million, apparently ‘innocent’ adverts adorned with pretty children. The danger lies in the fact that the sex objects are presented simultaneously with the social taboo on child sexuality and paedophilia.

Pornographic material designed specifically for paedophiles, is of course, illegal. While it does not share the same dangers as does the daily barrage of ‘normal’ child pornography, it remains sexist and negative. When consumed by adults it is not essentially subversive even if it conflicts with the value of the status quo. Nevertheless it must be pointed that adult consumers of this material cannot be regarded in the same light as adult gay or straight porn consumers. Sex between adults is legal to a point. The motivations of these consumers is therefore immediately suspect. The charge of unquestioning sexism is immediately suggested and is (probably) justified. For paedophiles, pornography may represent the only assertion of identity, the one confident statement in an otherwise silent world, that child-adult sex can be a reality. It is a disgraceful tragedy that the porn merchants have a monopoly of the paed-positive expression, and that this is therefore grounded in commodity sex objectification.” [Chapter VII Pornography – pp. 53 – 55 – underline emphasis mine]

 

 

p.54 – 55

Two birthday cards are placed opposite one another with the comment “‘Nuff said”: A 5 year old’s birthday card and a birthday card saying “Happy Birthday Stick to Sex…it keeps you young!”

pp 56 – 57

“Right to an Independent Income

Over the past few years, many feminists have argued strongly for the rights of prostitutes. We unreservedly support this position. It is natural to ask whether or not these arguments can be extended to women how earn a living by posing for pornographic magazines and films, and if also, whether they apply to children.

The feminist defence of prostitutes has never been defence of prostitution. However, given the nature of this society, where women are expected to be sex objects with no autonomy, being house slaves into the bargain, and perhaps earning pin money from sweated labour as well, the life prostitutes takes on a different complexion from that of the institution of prostitution. Prostitutes demand money for services rendered, exercising some control over their sexuality even if that control is constructed wholly within the context of the market. They are using their sexuality to gain a degree of autonomy, of independence, potentially sabotaging the financial structures of male privilege.

It seems to us that the very same argument applies to women who sell their images to porn merchants. But it might be countered that by appearing in porn, those women are betraying all women in general; by participating in an operation which degrades women and encourages sexist attitudes and behaviour. In fact that argument can be used against prostitutes too. The men who use prostitutes have their sexist attitudes and behaviour reinforced. The fact that prostitutes are known to exist reinforces the predatory assumption of men in general.

Ultimately in this society, survival involves complicity between the oppressed and the oppressors; wages labourer and capitalist, the claimant and the state etc. The question is how, in the process of survival, do the oppressed obtain some autonomous space from which they can potentially challenge that social order? By being a housewife, by being a prostitute, or by being a pin up? All involve complicity with the oppressors, but the latter two, at least have the merit of establishing a relatively large independent income.

If these arguments are acceptable, then it is difficult to see why they don’t apply to children. Legally, children are not supposed to have any independent income whatsoever. It is crazy therefore to condemn the child prostitute or porn poseur, to say that those children should be in care or whatever. These children have struck out for independence. Of course, it is abhorrent that these are the only routes open to them. That only goes to show how oppressed children are at present.

Now there are grave dangers in this argument, of course. The logic might appear to lead towards a complete acceptance of child labour. Though we believe that the abolition of child labour in the 19th century to be the result of ruling class interest rather then genuine philanthropic liberalism, we have no wish to advocate a Dickensian world. Children should not have to be prostitutes, pin ups, or chimney sweeps to obtain an independent income. Money for material needs of children is available without there being child labour to make up for it. It is presently channelled through the family, either from the adult wage or by the state. It should be directly available to the child. The problem then, is not lack of resources but the capitalist social order, a problem whose familiarity faces all people. In the meantime however, we support any attempts by children to obtain an independent income.”

[Despite quoting statistics which said of 450 PIE members only 14 were women CAPM refuse to acknowledge that the majority of self-identifying paedophiles were also ‘predatory’ men]

pp. 59 – 60

 

“The Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM) exists to defend the PIE defendents (sic), and alert people to the dangers surrounding that trial. This pamphlet has been written to encourage some debate around the key political issues of the trial. To this end, certain arguments and positions have been put froward (sic) which are the view of the particular authors and the basis for the unity of the campaign as a whole. Involvement in CAPM does not necessarily mean agreement on such questions as the Age of Consent, the right of children to an independent income or other such questions. The authors believe however that these are vital to be argued for.” [P&PM, p.59]

Outer back cover