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Freedom Porn - liberated sexuality in practice - the lessons learnt

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This is a public statement sent out on 2012Mar21

To say that anarchism and freedom of sexuality are linked is such an understatement that starting this message with it is already a cliche, but hopefully it'll be the only one. This e-mail is about Freedom Porn, the site of anarchist and activist pornography.

It was started back in august 2008 and back then it was just the admin posting one's own photos and videos, but slowly other people have began joining in. The beautiful thing is that many of those who have decided to participate in this experiement of merging free love, free software, anti-capitalism, anarchism, internet activism, free speech... and other movements all under one roof, were often not anarchists but just regular people who have come to the very same realisations that the limitations that our current society is placing on their sexual expression must go. Of course, due to that there was a lot of criticism that the site has received; after all allowing normal people to join and participate made the whole venture not as radical as the demands of those who critiqued, but proposed or done nothing. And you know what, we really do not care; after all we are slowly growing and developing while it is possible to sit around and dream of the perfect society.

This post isn't "you say that you are more radical, therefore we are more radical", however. It's more about sharing the experience. After all it would be awesome for other people to start up their different projects, which can potentially overshadow what we are doing and take everything another step forward. We've attempted to promote some of those attempts, but unfortunately it looks like many of them have shut down by now (it's great to see that Girls Who Like Porno is going strong, Fuck For Forest continues on its mission, and Open Source Sex is still titilating us; but Sharing Is Sexy and Egalitarian Pornography Collective along with many others seem to only exist in archives by now).

Firstly, we have learnt that what we are doing is possible, although it is important to realise that due to the nature of people expecting their porn to be free only as in free beer, there will be zero to no donations to help you out; so you need to think of the way to be self-sustaining. Hosting costs money (especially ethical hosting), and it is pretty much impossible to find a radical hacker collective to provide you with the hosting with no charge. Yes, you got it right, radical pornography is the "business that is losing money", but that's just another reason to oppose capitalism; here if you don't exploit, you are exploited.

Secondly, and that is a very profound truth that many anarchists don't understand (despite it being one of the major differences from marxism), the regular people aren't any less radical than we are. They understand quite vividly what the problems are, and we have no right to demand to be some sort of a vanguard, we need to learn from the masses as well as trying to educate those around us.

Thirdly, you will be attacked. The sad thing is that before you will become large enough to be attacked by the opposition, you will be attacked by your own comrades. The only way to be sure not to make any mistakes is to do nothing, and you will have to be doing things... so you'll step on some landmines. And you can trust that your comrades will not forgive your transgressions even in 1000 years. In addition to that, every action and every word may be used to mean more than one thing; and when everything that is done (from your choice of the logo and colour scheme to your hosting company and your refusal to support the very specific brand of the very specific submovement exclucively) you will sure anger somebody.

Fourthly, there will be bigotry and personal attacks. If you think that you can do something about sexuality and keep the discussion purely in the intellectual realm after that, please reconsider ever participating in something like this, it's simply not for you. If you identify as queer you will be reminded that it's not your "real gender", if you are kinky that will be equated to rape, if you oppose ageism or prison system you will be called a child molester, if you are poly then you will never prove that you don't hate all women. And it will not stop at the internet discussion forums, people will seek to out you in the real life as well.

Fifthly, you will find more likeminded people than you have ever imagined. Those bigots from the previous paragraph are very vocal, but they represent nobody but their own twisted interests. The people who will support you will come from all walks in life, and prepare to be surprised when somebody from the background you've never thought would relate to you wants to join and is more enthusiastic about it then you ever were.

Lastly, do not be afraid to make links with other open movements. It may seem at first that you may distract from the message or drive people away by your ties to some unpopular group of people (think sex workers for example), but the truth of the matter is that the people who would want to join in would be open to exploring the information about something new, but the people who have ultimatums that it's either their participation or the severance from another movement will likely find another thing to complain even if you do cave in to their threats. Never change in the face of bigotry, in fact it works best to push a little further when they attack.

What do we have to show for these years? Fourteen submitters, more than 150 videos, countless photos, some erotic stories, poetry, and audio smut; but more importantly a clear statement to the world that human sexuality will not be commercialised nor compartmentalised.

  - Volodya

If you want to check out Freedom Porn please go to http://www.freedomporn.org/