Firstly: We go into many things in this article, but there is a lot we don’t treat. This is not a text that describes everything about the case we write about, all details, important elements or considerations. Even important elements are left out due to the length of the text and privacy concerns.
In the winter of 2017 an anti-fascist activist in western norway was accused of rape by their former partner. The accusation was made before a representative in an organisation, with the consequence that the accused was suspended on the day and investigations were immediately put in place.
We have not commented on this case publically, even though the accusations in 2017 were made public by the accuser. This eventually gave large spread for their portrayal, well helped by Internet-based political circles, mainly from the US. The case had serious consequences for the accused, with exposure towards nazis, and a series of violence and murder threats. It also had consequences for the family of the person.
The case also had consequences for the communist league Tjen Folket, and maybe in an even bigger extent for organisations the league has friendly relations to in other countries, especially in the US and Sweden. A small but eager community worked tirelessly to sow strife and use the case as fodder for their attacks on the league’s friends, both in Norway and abroad. Techniques that eventually became well-known were used. Amongst them we can mention twisting the truth, omitting important information, intentional lies, editing of screen shots, mistranslation, harassment, attempts at isolating and so on.
Still, no communist organisation have broken their relations with Tjen Folket as a result of this. They have defended us and accepted that our treatment of the case mainly was right, even though some groups have been attacked for it. The attempt at isolating the league nationally and internationally has failed completely.
The league has not made a public statement about this case earlier . We conclude that that was an error on our part. This means that the accused who’s had the accusations stuck to his name, and likely will have them stuck to their name in the foreseeable future, hasn’t received any official support from the league. The league has on several occasions backed the accused, but never in a official capacity. This means that the accusations have been left unanswered, making the league appear guilty of not handling the case correctly and with the utmost seriousness.
The lack of any public statement is mainly due to the majority wishing to protect the involved parties. It was believed that more attention around the case will lead to more pressure. Considerations were taken for the age and health of the involved, seeing as both accuser and accused are young people.
When we still choose to publish a statement on the case, it comes from the demands and wishes of new comrades, from young activists, from some of the leagues friends and from the person accused in 2017, who has had to live with attacks and harassment since then, even still to this day. We have listened to this, and concluded that they are right in their criticism of the league. We should have published a public statement earlier, for the sake of the accused and for the sake of the league itself.
We also want to point out that a lot has been written later in social media that is not in accordance with reality. It is for example claimed that the accuser was excluded from the league, but they left before the handling of the case was finished. It is claimed that the accused admitted guilt, but the person has never done this. Everything about the case has been twisted when it has been talked about, often with anonymous profiles. Also people who claim to defend the league have written wrongful things which we strongly wish to distance ourselves from. We regard with strong scepticism the function social media plays in disorganizing and fragment the so called “left” today, as well as the huge security risk posed by these structures.
Accusations of abuse are put forward and an investigation is initiated
As said earlier on, in Christmas of 2016/2017 a representative was contacted by an activist. The person accused their partner of many years, also an activist based in the same area, of rape. The accused was then immediately suspended from their primary organizing, and the leadership initiated an investigation.
In conversations with the accuser it became clear that the the alleged episode was a single instance of sex without consent. After a while accusations of the accused pressuring the accuser into sex by means of “guilt tripping” also emerged. The accused denied that this was true the entire time. In fact the accused claimed that the episode happened with repeated verbal consent, and denied exerting any pressure. in further conversations the accused claimed that it was rather the accuser who exerted forms of pressure on several occasions. That the accused still could know which episode it was in regards to was because of certain special circumstances, but still upheld that the accuser had been both verbally consenting and active.
The conversations revealed inconsistencies in the portrayal of the claim. The accuser said they suffered from bad memory, that the episode happened 1-2 years earlier and that details were unclear. Therefore the portrayal was somewhat inconsistent. This is in contrast to what this person later claimed publicly. Publicly this person has appeared as clearer, but the accusations have changed and varied there too. There has also all the time been a gap between other claims.
From the very start the accuser was against the claims being investigated. They demanded to be believed without any investigation, and demanded an immediate exclusion of the accused. The league could not accept that demand. The league could not accept this as a demand.
Through investigation it was found that half a year earlier a verbal warning was submitted against the person now issuing the accusation. The warning regarded concerns that the person in question was engaging in psychological abuse – or something similar – against their partner. This warning was followed up on by a representative in the West part of the country, but sadly to a small extent. The follow-up consisted in the – now accused – person being asked if they were doing ok. This question has been posed earlier as well, after episodes that awoke concern in some of the league’s representatives.
Under investigation of the accusation a debate started internally in the league, especially about the treatment and follow up of the case. In the middle of this debate, a new warning was issued against the accuser. The warning conserned this person being accused of trying to pressure another activist into sexual acts and sexually harassing the person. This warning was considered credible, and more witnesses made it more credible.
Identity opportunism against maoism
Before this the accuser has attacked the political line of the league on many questions. At one occasion this took place publically on social media. This person in question attacked the league publicly and through multiple channels, as well as in conversation with people inside and outside the organisation, accusing the organisation of anti-semitism. This accusation was based on the league’s facebook page at the time posting an anti-israel picture made by the latin-american artist LaTuff.
The accuser has over longer periods posted attacks on “SWERFs” on social media. “SWERF” is an acronym for “Sex-Worker Exclusive Radical Feminist”. The person in question believed that everyone who supported the women’s struggle, but opposed prostitution were “SWERFs”. Hence, the league they claimed to support, via amongst others, pictures from the league’s actions, was a league of “SWERFs”. They also used social media to encourage violence against perceived “SWERFs” on several occasions. They did not, however put the question up for discussion within the league. On one hand they were standing side by side with “SWERFs” at protests, on the other hand they believed “SWERFs” should die.
The league has also after this been accused of being “TERF”s. “TERF” stands for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists”. It should be noted that the league is not radical feminist. This is an accusation that is made against many people in the women’s movement. Sometimes rightfully so, other times not. The league does not view it self as trans exclusionary. We fully stand behind trans people in their struggle and resistance, for more rights and against discrimination and oppression. The accuser claimed representatives used the wrong pronoun to describe them, but have for many years said that they prefer to be called “they/them” in english, but in norwegian they said they prefer “Hun(she)”. This was clearly stated in writing to many other activists, but after this case they were labelled “TERFs” because they did as told.
We can define identity opportunism as use and making a weapon out of an identity in an opportunist way. To get through demands that are not based on being correct, but based on who demands it – or who they are demanded on behalf of. We have for example many times experienced white people demanding concessions to their political line “on behalf of” non-white people. And often against people that are in fact not white, but disagree with the demand. This is a clear tendency among many movements, and especially in petit bourgeois opportunist tendencies that uses the name of oppressed groups to try and win support in radical or revolutionary movements.
The closest allied of the accuser is a saboteur and abuser
The accuser still has, and has had for many years, a close relation to Sam Erbs who has been exposed by activist circles in the US as a very dangerous person, as a saboteur and abuser. They write on the Internet that Sam Erbs was the person that encouraged them to accuse their ex and the league.
The accuser reveal their serious double standard, when they demanded that their previous partner was to be expelled from activist circles without investigation, and has said that accusers are always right, but defends Sam Erbs and claims that the accusations against Erbs should not be taken seriously. Erbs is defended, the accusations against Erbs are bagetelized, and Erbs is still a close friend and political ally. The struggle they fight together is primarily against the maoist movement in the US and Europe. The weapon they use is a mix of identity politics, opportunism and intrigues.
Furthermore the accuser has through many years shown an extreme behaviour in social media, with “outing” and “doxing” people, with murder threats and encouragement of “SWERF”s, “TERF”s and “pedos”, with a very low bare for defining people as this, and naming people as pedofiles without any good basis for this, and persecution and harassment of a long row of individuals.
The accuser has in many cases used the word “sex worker” about children prostitutes. Vi mean this is reprehensible, and another example of this person not being consequently opposed to sexual abuse.
The league concludes that the accused is innocent
The communist league Tjen Folket did thorough investigations and a wide consideration of the case. The leadership concluded that there is an overweighing probability that the accusation was wrong and that the accused activist was and is innocent, and that the accuser is the abuser.
There have been long and partly hard discussions in the leadership and organisation, but despite big disagreements on how to treat the case and parts of the treatment, there was wide agreement about the conclusion. And our leadership today is fully united in that the accused was innocent of the accusation, and that the person wrongfully has been exposed to a dirty, manipulative and dangerous campaign. Also, the clear political effect, and those behind it have had no scruples, for example they have attacked a row of people and groups with no relation to the case, and they have rejoiced that nazist have taken the case and they have made lots of damage to anti-fascist circles.
Before the final conclusion was presented to the organisation, the accuser broke with the league. This happened publicly and without warning, in a well directed attack against the accused with name and picture. The league was also attacked and multiple people were exposed with the claim that they were representatives of the league. The attack was not only public, but it was mainly made in english, with an international, mainly US-American audience. This happened in close cooperation Sam Erbs and with support from this persons contact in social media.
In the attack a series of lies were made. Put forward as “evidence” that the accused was guilty, was a cutout from a messenger-chat-log where the accused admitted doing “something wrong”. The accused has said all the time after that this was done only to dampen the conflict. The person did not mean to admit guilt of anything, but just to say something general to not say anything against or make the situation worse. This was based on some years of relationship and experiences, that it would make the situation worse to argue back. The leagues leadership mean we can not put significant weight on a private chat-log, especially when the accused said nothing explicit or concrete.
Self criticism and correction campaign in the league
As said earlier, Tjen Folket wrote no public statements about the case in 2019. The reason made for this was to protect both the accuser and accused, and particularly of care for the involved. Now later, we must take self criticism for this, because this has left the claim of the accuser almost unanswered publicly. But a lot of persons were contacted directly by people that wished to give another version then the public one. And organisations abroad were given an orientation of the process and the views of the league.
Furthermore we wish to make self criticism of some very grave errors in the treatment of the case. Especially we want to distance ourselves from the accuser being met by “we are sorry you feel raped”when putting the accusation forward to an older activist. This is reprehensible, and not how someone making a warning should be met. The league has no form of cooperation with this older activist today, after a political struggle in the spring of 2018. We mean the way the accuser was met, however wrong we think the accusation is, goes against our principles and we see this as an expression of the wrongful political view of the person who wrote this.
We also want to distance ourselves from other statements. One of these is that “nagging about sex is not rape”, something which mostly put the accused in bad light. The person was accused of having nagged themselves to sex, something the person always denied. But an activist “defended” the person by saying in social media that such a thing is not rape. Our league means that pressure something to sex is abuse. We mean that sex requires verbal or non-verbal consent. However the accused has always denied nagging or pressuring himself to sex, and we trust our investigations and assessments.
There was also other mistakes in the treatment of the case, for example the suspended was invited to participate in a demonstration locally. We mean, as a principle, and will for the future enforces as practice, that suspended people should stay away from all political activity with other activists, if serious allegations are made. This also means activity in other political organisations then the ones that have made the suspension.
The treatments of this case, and mistakes in it, was a part of what was criticized i a political struggle in the league in the spring of 2018. This struggle started the league`s first great correction campaign. This directed itself against the old leadership and the right opportunist line that had been held through the whole existence of the league until then. We see many of the mistakes in the case, and many of the events that made the basis for the case, as expression of this right opportunist line. As examples of such mistakes, that laid the basis for there becoming such a case, we can mention a lacking line for security and organisation defence, terrible cadre politics and an approach to political contradictions completely without adherence to any principles. How a league that struggles against prostitution can work closely with someone who thinks that woman’s struggle against prostitution is “SWERF” and that “SWERF”s should be killed is pretty absurd.
As a leadership and league, we have a collective responsibility for what is done in our name. And this has been a part of the great political struggle begun in 2018. This is a self critical struggle that in no way is over, but started a long and extensive correction campaign that in no way is over and still continues. In the campaign we identified, isolated, suspended and expelled some of the responsible for the treatment of the case in 2017. Others have left themselves. Furthermore we have taken organisational action to ensure a correct treatment of potensial accusations in the future.
The question of guilt or innocence is the main question
We still maintain that the most important question of the case is guilt or innocence. One can not judge an innocent person because there was mistakes in the treatment of the case. The main side in the question between treatment and result is the result. That the result is correct is above the treatment being correct. We mean that the main side in the treatment was correct, as it emphasized investigating before making decisions. This is a correct, scientific and principal approach to the question.
Furthermore we think that many of the mistakes in the treatment of the case hit the accused in a bigger and more serious way than any others. It is mainly the accused that deserves an apology from the league. And we therefore apologize, and again declare our support and solidarity to the person, as well as the persons nearest family.
As we mentioned earlier our organization has been turned on its head after this case. A rightist line has been driven out of the organisation and we have a new leadership. This new leadership has made new guidelines for how accusations should be treated, that we in broad terms also will try to put to work in other organizations. As we see it we have both learned from and taken the consequences of this case i 2017. At the same time we know it requires struggle and development to become good at treating cases like this. We see it as part of chairman Gonzalos goal that cadres must be good communists, soldiers and administrators. To tread cases correctly is mainly a political question, but also a question of being a good administrator.
Further self criticism and the principle to conduct investigations
The league also must take self criticism for other sides of the case. The league should have broken cooperation with the accuser long before the person attacked the league with this case. That this happened was a serious and dangerous mistake of the old right-dominated leadership, a mistake that put people in danger and had very negative consequences. This falls into a long tradition in the league to give dangerous people undeserved trust. There has been practiced a line where trust is given immediately, and where one must fight hard and long to lose is.
A line has been practiced where abusers are not isolated fast enough, and where harrassment of people inside and outside of the league has not been dealt with in a good enough way. There lies a heavy responsibility on a communist league, a responsibility not taken up before 2018, but that we today commit ourselves to work determinedly live up to.
The league furthermore wants to take self criticism for terrible security, where parts of the treatment of the case for example went on in social media(!). This is an expression of the right line that dominated the organisation, and that furthered a naive and self-sabotaging practice for social media and generally for work on the internet. This is an expression of repeated and systematic violations of the rules of the league, that already were too bad, but at the very least better the the practice of certain representatives. The work to correct this is in no way finished today. And we warn revolutionaries of taking question like this lightly.
When that is said, the innocence of the accused is the main side of the case, and we must again affirm that it is the correct principle in accusation cases that they must be investigated properly and that one can not conclude before investigating. And this must happen both ways. Abusers must be revealed and isolated, as our league has done on multiple occasions.
Furthermore, it is correct to make an assessment of the whole the investigations can not stop at the analysis. They can not just consist of looking at all sides as thoroughly as one can. The result of the investigations must be seen in connection, considered against each other in contexts, and the conclusion must move from analysis to synthesis. One must summarize and conclude.
A dangerous and ruthless attack
To publicize this case is not something we take lightly. We still mean that the considerations to individuals must weigh heavily. But the accused has asked for this support. And activists have asked that we meet the case publically so that the accusations are not left unanswered. The consideration for the accuser have as we mean today fallen completely away. The person has exposed themselves and the accusations publically in multiple channels, and we want to emphasize especially that the person repeatedly has spread murder threats towards the accused and encouraged their contacts in social media to follow up on the murder threats. The person has for example ridiculed people who fantasize to beat up rapists, but do not follow up in practice.
The person has also exposed other activists and activists, and tried to expose work methods in the struggle against fascists. When the person has been asked if it is not negative that nazis attack Tjen Folket, the person has said that it is not a problem when fascists attack fascists.
When the person broke with the activist circles they were a part of, they first sabotaged the facebook-pages and -groups of tens of anti-fascist organisations, campaigns and local organisation, for example local organisations of New SOS Racism and Anti-Pegida-campaign groups. Most of these and their responsible people have been completely unrelated to the case or those that they wanted to attack or hurt. This has not seemed to be a problem for the person.
The ruthless behaviour, and will to hurt others without barriers, is also a reason we make take up this case publicly. This is a dangerous person that operates purposefully among political and partly vulnerable youth. It is above any doubt, and we also know examples of this person uses other people, and that the person pressures, harasses and hurts people. This is behaviour that presents a lethal danger in political circles and can not be accepted. It is wrong as we see it, to not do anything about it.
The attacks on Tjen Folket have also led to attack on organisations and people in other countries(!). Organisations that have had as a basis that our organisations has a right to investigate and make decisions on internal matters, and that an accusation-case can not be investigated from the other side of the earth, have been met by wild verbal attack and threats. In some cases it has went even further.
Identity opportunism and social media in a poisonous cocktail
All of this springs out of a marginal identity opportunist tendency, with a certain footing in social media in the west. This is a tendency that also gets fuel from forces that work in disguise to hurt radical groups. For example countless anonymous Internet trolls, that could just as well be nazis or pure saboteurs as anything else. Social media is full of anonymous profiles that stretch far to create confusion among revolutionaries.Which are honest revolutionary youth, and which are something completely different, is hard to know for sure. But we know more and more serious revolutionary groups and activists, use less and less time and effort on social media, and that a lot deactivate accounts and abstain from the poisonous “debate climate” in such forums. We see this as a positive and necessary development. Facebook, Tumbler, Reddit, Twitter and a long row of other forums have many very unlucky and directly harmful characteristics. All revolutionaries should treat these with great carefulness. And one of the dangerous sides is how this is playground and hatchery for intrigues and Internet-based harassment campaigns.
We strongly recommend a text about identity opportunism published by Red Guards Austin a few years ago, for further studies of the subject.
Ideologically this politcal tendency is postmodernist and deconstructivist, it deconstructs the reality by saying ideas create matter, and not oppositely(and marxist) that matter is the basis for the ideas. It puts greater emphasis on words and identity, then on economy, social class, other social conditions and political power. It does not recognize scientific truth, but operates with “my and your truth” and the theory that you can not understand what you have not yourself experienced. But it is in its nature liberal and anti-communist. And it by necessity, leads to self-contradictions, as we see in this case where the accusations against Sam Erbs are rejected, but the person demands to be believed because “accusers never lie”. Or as we see when identity is put against identity, when trans activism is put against women’s activism and so on. Such a line must lead to division, and so it does wherever it gets footing in political circles in the west.
The attack and potentially fatal consequences
We also make public here some examples of the accuser and their co conspirators practice. This shows some of the complex case and how we after a an overall assessment
concluded as we did. It shows the intensity and danger of this attack and how it has so little scruples.
That the attacks have not had more serious consequences is just a lucky coincidence. It has of course had big consequences for the person that was hung out and threatened, but could quickly have ruined lives, organisations and led to violence.
It has to be underlined that we do not have a full answer to what the attack can lead to. We do not know what can happen in the future. The accused is exposed on the Internet with name and picture before tens of thousands of people. The accusations are on the Internet. In many circles it has been agitated for violence and murder. The accuser and Sam Erbs have again and again said that one should write “kill rapists” with the entrails(!) of the last rapist they kill, together with name and picture of the accused. And the league Tjen Folket, and all they associate with the league, are branded as fascists. Towards the people that would listen, they are doing a campaign that could legitimate almost anything.
It is worth to think about this, because the consequences of the attack could in a short term have become fatal, and still can. It is something that must be taken seriously in the consideration of the case and the need for publicizing an answer to the attack.
Tjen Folket – Communist League of Norway
Attached is found some documentation from practice in social media. This is in no way complete. But is meant to give an impression and some examples. It documents clearly the relation between the accuser and Sam Erbs, as well as the political line they follow for attacks on the revolutionary movements.