Youth rights, including the sexual liberation of children, is compatible with some interpretations of communism/socialism (these terms are used interchangeably by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but are sometimes distinguished by Leftist individuals and tendencies). One Reddit post claims that "by contemporary standards, Jenny von Westphalen "groomed" Karl Marx", as does a short youtube video. Marxism views the nuclear family as a means for the subordination of children and women, exploitation upon which capitalism is supposedly dependent. Family values -- monogamy, homophobia, sexual suppression/repression, and other enemies of free love -- are enforced to maintain the traditional family unit. According to some communists/socialists, extending rights to the young would undermine the father's place of power and interrupt the inheritance of class and acceptance of classist models.
Marx and Engels on age-gap sex
What, then, does promiscuous sexual intercourse really mean? It means the absence of prohibitions and restrictions which are or have been in force. We have already seen the barrier of jealousy go down. If there is one thing certain, it is that the feeling of jealousy develops relatively late. The same is true of the conception of incest. Not only were brother and sister originally man and wife; sexual intercourse between parents and children is still permitted among many peoples today. Bancroft (The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, 1875, Vol. I), testifies to it among the Kadiaks on the Behring Straits, the Kadiaks near Alaska, and the Tinneh in the interior of British North America; Letourneau compiled reports of it among the Chippewa Indians, the Cucus in Chile, the Caribs, the Karens in Burma; to say nothing of the stories told by the old Greeks and Romans about the Parthians, Persians, Scythians, Huns, and so on. Before incest was invented – for incest is an invention, and a very valuable one, too – sexual intercourse between parents and children did not arouse any more repulsion than sexual intercourse between other persons of different generations, and that occurs today even in the most philistine countries without exciting any great horror; even “old maids” of over sixty, if they are rich enough, sometimes marry young men in their thirties. [...]
In a letter written in the spring of 1882, Marx expresses himself in the strongest terms about the complete misrepresentation of primitive times [...] Marx replies: "In primitive times the sister was the wife, and that was moral."
Frederick Engels. Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884).
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
But perhaps the most important illustration of the link between struggle and sexuality is the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which the working class exploded the limits of capitalism. In the brief period in which the revolution flourished, the revolutionaries abolished all laws against homosexuality, introduced divorce by request, abortion on demand and repealed the age of consent laws.
The 1920s were a period of relative sexual openness for the USSR. Erotic "experimentation" was reportedly common during meetings of the Young Pioneer youth organization. Parents "complained that their 10–12 year old children came home at 3–4 am, declaring that they were at the Pioneer meetings and cut off parental protests with threats and accusations of counter-revolution."
The change in politics in the country by the 1930s roughly coincided with the start of a moral panic over "unhealthy relations" between children. It was claimed that "the abnormal sexual relations between children" had "taken on menacing proportions" and required "extreme measures." Sexual indulgence was thought to distract children from more productive activities. The state began to enforce a strict taboo against sexualities that did not conform to the Victorian model. The uniforms of one summer camp were criticized on the grounds that "pants are not entirely hygienic for girls, because they cause in them excessive friction in the sexual organs." Prohibitions on homosexuality were enforced, albeit predominantly "against those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest," who may have been MAPs.
The problem of youth sexuality was eventually deemed severe enough for the state to segregate male and female schooling. Ann Livschiz writes that this action reflected the "fundamental social conservatism of the majority of the top political leadership of the country and their great fear of youth, and particularly female, sexuality, as a force that could not be overcome, controlled or fully harnessed for the service of the state."
Age-disparate sex: Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong
We know no details of how this developed. But some time in early 1914 Stalin, now thirty-four, embarked on an affair with Lidia, aged thirteen.
We catch a glimpse of Stalin and Lidia together staggering from drinking-bout to drinking-bout because we have her memoirs of their boozy carousals: “In his spare time, Stalin liked to go to evening dances — he could be very jolly too. He loved to sing and dance. He especially liked the song ‘I’m guarding the gold, the gold . . . I’m burying the gold, burying the gold, Guess where, pure damsel with your golden hair’. . . He often joined birthday dinners.” The memoirs of Stalin’s thirteen-year-old mistress were recorded twenty years later [...] while she remained a Siberian housewife.
“He often liked to drop in on some people,” says Lidia, meaning herself. “And he also drank.” Was this how he seduced her — or she him? Girls in places like Kureika matured early — and Lidia does not sound like a shrinking violet.
Even though local lore discouraged affairs with exiles, the local girls were bound to be attracted to these worldly, educated revolutionaries in their midst. This statutory rape was not rape by force but an old-fashioned seduction.
Monifore notes the age of consent among other important contextual factors:
Fourteen was technically the age of consent in the Russian and European regions of the Tsarist Empire, but this was Siberia. Besides, there was no precise legal concept of statutory rape in Tsarist law: for the police, it was as much a crime “against female honour” as a violation of her father’s chattels. The seducer’s agreement to marry and then the exchange of marriage vows were seen as rectifying an untoward situation.
The Chinese revolutionary and statesmen Mao Zedong wrote romantic poetry in youth and lived an active sex life which included many young female sexual partners. There are only 2 claims of sexual activity involving people under 18. The first comes from anti-communist writer Jonathan Mirsky, who in 1997 claimed to have interviewed a 57-years-old woman ("Mrs. Chen") in Hong Kong, who said she began having sex with Mao in 1962 when she was 14 and he 69/70. Chen appears to view the experience positively, with Mirsky noting that "She had plenty to say about the Great Helmsman’s virility and stamina", and how Mao cried after she was sent to work in the North of the country against his wishes:
After five years, Jiang Qing insisted that Ms Chen be banished to the north-east, to a lesser job. Mao, she claimed, took her on his knee and wept, but said he could do nothing. After some years in exile, she was summoned back to Beijing for a brief stopover where Mao, again weeping, said he could do nothing for her and was sending her back to Nanking where her marriage had been arranged. (Ibid).
It should be noted that Mirsky may be an unreliable source. His language is moralistic and derogatory ("monster"), and he consistently relies on and has even reviewed the source for the second claim about minors, Dr. Li Zhisui's The Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao’s Personal Physician (1994). Dr. Li's book claims that Mao loved to reminisce about an encounter he had as a teenage villager with a "pretty" 12-year-old female. While this concerns attraction instead of action, Dr. Li's book is the major source for evidence of Mao's sexual prowess, and includes events which are framed negatively such as Mao's alleged contracting and spreading venereal disease through sex. Dr. Li's claims have been critiqued by professional Chinese historian Mobo Gao in a dedicated chapter titled How a medical doctor doctors history: a case study of Li Zhisui, in his 2008 book The Battle for China's Past. There are many other professional critiques of commonly accepted anti-Stalin and anti-Mao claims.
Born 26 October 1959, the 65th president of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, Evo Morales, faced 2 accusations of statutory rape (unlawful consensual sex) in 2020. Leading the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party since 1998, he is widely regarded as a left-wing / socialist president, has been described as "the most famous Bolivian ever", and is considered the country's first president to come from its indigenous population. His government was considered part of the pink tide. Summarized with information from Wikipedia:
On 7 August 2020, several photographs of Morales with a supposed underage female came to light, and began circulating on social media. Journalist Alejandro Entreambasaguas and Bolivian authorities said that her and Morales had been in a relationship since she was 14 years old. Several news organizations related these claims with comments that Morales had made twice previously on retiring with a quinceañera (15-year-old) when he was no longer president.
The woman was later identified as 19-year-old Noemí Meneses when a statement to police was leaked. In the statement, she said she had been in a romantic relationship with Morales since May 2020, and had no previous relations with him. The Bolivian police subsequently placed her under house arrest from which she escaped and fled to Argentina with her parents. After arriving in Argentina, Meneses wrote a letter to the Bolivian Ombudsman saying that the police had kept her from eating for two days and threatened to prosecute her for sedition and terrorism unless she said that she had been in a relationship with Morales. She wrote that the police had "forced [her] to testify under pressure, without a lawyer". Alleged evidence to corroborate a long-term romantic relationship between Morales and Meneses was obtained and subsequently published by Bolivian and Spanish press, including excerpts from 101 pages of text conversations and phone records between the two, 90 photos of the pair in various locations (including the presidential palace, the presidential jet and in Buenos Aires) and travel receipts. Meneses said she met Evo Morales when she was 16 during the 2015 carnival season, while declaration data indicates that she was born in 2001, meaning that she may-in-fact have been 14 when they met.
On 21 August 2020, an unrelated complaint of a second statutory rape case was filed against Morales. In this complaint, it is claimed that Morales had a child with a 15-year-old and that he is named as the father on the birth certificate. In response, Morales claimed that the complaint was part of a "dirty war" by the interim government against him.
- An immediate demand of the Communist Party of Great Britain was until the early 2020s: "The abolition of age-of-consent laws. We recognise the right of individuals to enter into the sexual relations they choose provided this does not conflict with the rights of others. Alternative legislation to protect children from sexual abuse." They have since removed this demand and do not have a set-in-stone policy on the Age of Consent.
Marxists oppose all laws against “crimes without victims,” such as prostitution, drug use or pornography. We utterly reject the practice whereby looking at pornography is equated with violent crimes such as rape, sexual assault and even murder. We also oppose the criminalization of those who look at child pornography which, like all pornography, is simply words and images designed for pleasure. [...] In line with this, we do not think intergenerational sex is by definition abusive, nor do we think incest is a priori a crime to be punished by the bourgeois state. [...] We oppose age of consent laws because we oppose state intervention into people’s private sexual activities. We do not accord the capitalist state the right to decree the age at which youth may engage in consensual sexual activity. To create genuinely free and equal relations between people in all spheres, including sex, requires nothing less than the destruction of this class system and the creation of a communist world. In a classless society, social and economic constraints over sexual relations will be non-existent, and in the words of Friedrich Engels, 'there is no other motive left except mutual inclination.'
In 1994, the Spartacist League supported MAP ally psychologist and gay liberation activist John P. De Cecco when local newspaper scandal led to protest against him at his university. In his defense, the League's San Francisco University youth chapter, the Spartacus Youth Club (SYC), organized a speakout protest/rally at the university.
- The US Revolutionary Socialist League (disbanded):
We believe that all consensual sex is the business only of those involved. The state has no business regulating in any way expressions of sexuality between consenting persons of any number, sex, or age. The state's attempt to regulate youth sexuality in particular is rooted in young people's position as property of their parents and/or wards of the state. Young people are jailed in schools, economically exploited, and denied the most basic political rights. Society maintains this oppression by imposing the idea that young people are not capable of determing their own wants and needs, in particular their sexual needs and desires. We oppose age of consent laws. These laws deny the ability of young people to determine their own sexual needs and desires. They maintain the status of youth as property, and reinforce the closet for gay youth.
- Sandra Bloodworth:
Ultimately children will not gain genuine liberation until capitalism has been destroyed root and branch and a new society is built in which all human sexuality is encouraged and nurtured instead of despised and repressed.
- Harry Hay and Jim Kepner, pro-pederast founders of the modern gay movement.
- David Thorstad, president of the Gay Activists Alliance and a founder of NAMBLA.
- Marxist/anarchist women profiled on our feminism page: Shulamith Firestone, Germaine Greer, Simone de Beauvoir.
- Roger Moody, Michel Foucault, Guy Hocquenghem, Peter Tatchell and various others associated with the early gay and MAP Movements.
- Anarchist figures - German MAP figure Peter Schult; anarchist theorists/figures Hakim Bey/Peter Lamborn Wilson, John Henry Mackay, Wolfi Landstreicher. Renown Anarchist Noam Chomsky, who was scandalized in 2023 media for his ever having been willing to associate with Jeffrey Epstein and Woody Allen: associations which he defends.
- Philosopher Slavoj Žižek - various relevant statements.
- Reddit thread which cites Michel Foucault, sees age-gap sex as proletarian (i.e. working class).
- "Paedophilia and Public Morals" (1980), a booklet produced by The Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM), a group of Left-wing activists who formed an organization in defence of Thomas O'Carroll and his PIE co-defendants in the wake of an upcoming 1981 trial for "Conspiracy to corrupt public morals". The booklet offers testimonies of positive age-gap sexual contact, whilst offering philosophical treatise which scrutinize patriarchal, state and family oppression of young people.
- Many authors in The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People, Edited by Warren Middleton (CL Publications: London), were left-wing activists. E.g. John Lindsay, 'Socialism, Class, and Children's Rights', pp.134-141.
- "Pedophilia is proletarian" (2021) video on youtube, by Benjamin Ingram. Other videos include "The Pedophilic Lebensraum Of Autonomous Zones" (referring to Hakim Bey).
- YouTube streamer Vaush has made various comments and arguments about pedophilia, Child Pornography, and mutually willing adult-child sex, during his streaming career.
- Viki1999, a transgender Austrian leftist YouTube channel who joined the platform on June 1, 2019, announced on May 29, 2023, that she was quitting YouTube after being accused of being a pedophile. Viki was accused because of posts she had made to her Discord server indicating she found a 15-year-old attractive, and that, compared to Florida's age of consent at 18, "in austria it's 14 ;)". Viki stated that these were jokes in context, and that accusations of pedophilia led her to feel suicidal. Her accusers have since apologized, and she plans to continue her career as a sex worker with far higher earnings than YouTube.
- Jenny von Wesphalen groomed Karl Marx, by Benjamin Ingram (external link)
- Engles, 1884. (External link).
- "Sexual Liberation and Socialism," Socialist Alternative (Red Guide), issue 16, April 1997.
- Homosexuality in the USSR
- Livschiz, Ann (2008). "Battling "Unhealthy Relations": Soviet Youth Sexuality as a Political Problem," Journal of Historical Sociology, 21(4), 397-416.
- Sebag-Montefiore, Simon (2007). Young Stalin. Alfred A. Knopf. See also genetic proof.
- Stalin and his lover aged 13
- Mirsky. Me and Mao’s girl: An encounter with one of the Chairman’s underage lovers (The Spectator, 2011).
- Mirsky. Unmasking the Monster. Review of Mao's Private Life (1994)
- Wiki page for Dr. Li's book.
- The Battle for China's Past
- For Stalin and his time as statesmen, see the work of J. Arch Getty, Mark Tauger, Stephen Wheatcroft. See the work of Samantha Lomb, e.g. Stalin’s Constitution: Soviet Participatory Politics (Routledge, 2017). Much of these researcher's conclusions are highlighted in historian Grover Furr's writings, such as Blood Lies: The Evidence that Every Accusation against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Is False (2014), and Stalin. Waiting For ... The Truth! Exposing the Falsehoods in Stephen Kotkin's 'Stalin. Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941' (2019). Roland Boer addresses Stalin's religious views, e.g. Stalin: From Theology to the Philosophy of Socialism in Power (2017). A historically informed tract can be found in Domenico Losurdo, Stalin: The History and Critique of a Black Legend (2019). For Mao, see Gao's later work such as his 2018 book Constructing China: Clashing Views of the People's Republic; Dongping Han, The Unknown Cultural Revolution (2000); Gregor Benton, Lin Chun (eds.), Was Mao Really a Monster?: The academic response to Chang and Halliday's Mao: The Unknown Story (2009); Lee Feigon, Mao: A Reinterpretation (2003); Daniel F. Vukovich, China and Orientalism: Western Knowledge Production and the PRC (Routledge, 2013). A general book addressing both Stalin and Mao's governments is economist Austin Murphy's The Triumph of Evil: the Reality of the USA’s Cold War Victory (2000, European Academic Press).
- Wikipedia claims that "The circumstances of her arrest are further disputed". See in-text links for sources.
- 2020 archived UKCP Positions/Demands
- Spartacist League: Canada: Anti-Sex Crusade Targets Youth, Gays
- Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left - G Books
- Socialist Alternative: Children and Sex