The undersigned trade unions are aware of the intense debate within the Confederation around supporting the union initiatives of people who work on sex or their affiliation with CNTAIT unions in sections of their own. This is why we think that to understand this social reality it is necessary to frame it into context, understand who does and why they do sexual work, and why consider sexual work.
For starters, we understand that sex work is indeed a job. In other words, people who work on sex use the strength of their body to give a service. It's obviously salaried work because it is offered in exchange for money -one of the foundations of the capitalist system. It must be understood that, given its nature, it is a work that treat the bodies as objects (reification) within the collective imaginary, as is the case with models, actresses, hostesses and others, but in this case in a very aggressive way. Although the contract is for a service, within the collective imaginary the idea is often to be renting a body. This reification is particularly relevant in the case of women, and this shows its patriarchal base. Within sex work we can find a great diversity of occupations, from prostitutes who work on the street, in flats or in clubs, to those who work through webcams or phone lines, are escorts, porn actors/actresses or even sex for people with functional diversity, among others. This work can be performed both on one’s own and for others, hiring a previously agreed service. Obviously, we can find every kind of abuse and exploitation, just as we can find them in other salaried jobs, aggravating the aforementioned reification. And we want to make it clear that those who work on sex as a victim of trafficking are not considered part of this collective.
It is important to address the different oppressions these people go through, which often condition their decision to choose sex work: social class, race, status of migrants or sexual and gender identity. A lot of these people prostitute because their range of job opportunities is small and they are subject to precariousness, marginality and social exclusion. Sex work offers them a source of income that allows them not only to survive, but also to send money to their families in the case of migrants, to pay for costly operations to adapt their bodies to the sexual “normality” in the case of transsexual women, in addition to the time flexibility, which allows them to have other jobs or look after depending relatives. Nothing of this can be done with the precarious jobs to which they are doomed given their social conditions –in the exceptional event of finding a job.
Once in context, we must analyze this from the optics of our anarchist principles and those of Libertarian Communism. Such principles oppose to all kind of salaried work, betting on free working class self-organization in order to get hold of the production and consumption means,to make the Social Revolution possible and achieve a social-economic model based on equity, where everybody gets what they need. The strategy of the Confederation to achieve such a goal can be found in union organizing that respects libertarian principles such as solidarity, mutual support, horizontality, assembly decision making, anti-authoritarianism and direct action. Although it is true that there are jobs in the capitalist world that would make little sense in an anarcho-communist society, and one might think that sex work is one of them at least in several of its forms, the same could be said about other jobs, such as those already mentioned like model, steward or salesman, but none of them have their affiliation questioned. Of course, it is true that there are groups that we do not affiliate in CNT-AIT trade unions, as we do not consider them working class because they are repressors under the orders of the system and the state. Such is the case with the army and the police forces, for example. But people engaged in sex work are not repressors of anybody; on the contrary, they are especially oppressed by the state repressive structures.
The reification of bodies and the aggressiveness with which it occurs in the social imaginary when evoking sex work, leads to a particularly critical positioning. This pushes many comrades to make abolitionist arguments, an authoritarian stance of punishment and paternalism that reproduces purely patriarchal roles, all of them contrary to the libertarian principles and the anarcho-union strategy, since it aims to prevent the affiliation of people who engage in sex work as active workers in that sector. This position would go against the principles of solidarity and mutual support, freedom and self-determination. It also increases the stigma of these people, which places them in a more vulnerable position face to institutional and social violence. And finally, it's contrary to the anarcho-syndicalist strategy of supporting worker selforganizing, something that these people already started to do in our country.
Targeting those who hire these services leads to greater job and health precariousness, putting back these working people in a situation of vulnerability, further closing their range of options to earn their bread. In addition to having a certain capacitive aspect when we think of the case of those people who require the services of sex assistants. However, it is interesting to promote the awareness on the fight against trafficking, abuse and aggression, as well as against social stigma For all the above, the undersigned unions agreed to support the union self-organization of people engaged in sex work, collaborating in help them start from the libertarian principles, by affiliating to our unions those who wish to do so and creating union sections to this end if deemed appropriate. So they can reach out by themselves the objectives they consider necessary for their well-being and emancipation, according to the principle of direct action. Participating and developing social projects so that they have a wider range of options for their livelihood, beyond sexual work. And fighting human trafficking, as well as helping those who do sex job, do so with the best possible guarantees, always from our strategies of direct action and mutual support: boycott, strike and sabotage -if necessary, picketing in front of one of these clubs.
We therefore reject abolitionist proposals that deny the emancipation ability of people engaged in sex work by not recognizing them as comrades and preventing their affiliation as what they are: sex workers.
SOV CNT-AIT Vega Baixa
SOV CNT-AIT Alicante
SOV CNT-AIT Alcoi
SOV CNT-AIT Tarragona
Feminist Section of CNT-AIT Granada