The year is 2026.
This is not a post-insurrectionary communiqué. We will not wait until we are told how we can live our fantasies, how we can hold our bodies in new ways. This is a future with a revolutionary horizon beyond the violent contradictions of a world we wish to leave behind. We still have to work, but our survival, safety, and autonomy have been radically altered through struggle to such a degree that we live in what were once distant visions. We understand if we get organized, this is what we could have, not only for ourselves, but for everyone.
As an expanded collective of sex workers against work, we are whores who draw power from our particular criminal tendency. To be clandestine; illicit, secret, hidden. Historically, a clandestine prostitute was one who refused to work within the confines of the law, or limited how her body was subjugated by it. Embracing the clandestine is to nurture resistance and more expansive forms of solidarity with people in the criminal underclass today. It is on this principle that the following future begins.
Occupation is generalized as a tactic. The world is something we exist within, not on the margins of, so we do not hesitate to work where we live, where others live, to have our own sections at the library, in the clinics, places of new spiritual practice and eating, to walk freely in the streets. We have saunas and bathhouses. Some of us travel to build them for the other communes, practice bathing arts together, redefine the meaning of a “war room.” This space is not only for work, but where we live with our aging friends, parents, and anyone’s children, where we dance and sleep and take months off from working, having something to return to when we leave for occupations elsewhere. We retreat to the darkness not from defeat, but for strategic and meditative ends.
We wake up every morning and stretch our bodies, stretching our bodies against each other and slowly letting awareness return. Some are wrapping their hands, others jogging to warm up. There’s an understanding of care, everyone knows that the goals to be won are not based on individual but collective skill. We train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because learning to defend from the bottom when someone is in your guard is an important way to think about how to defend yourself when you’re on your back, on your bed, weighed down being choked or smothered by a violent man.
For incidents when you’re not able to escape, there’s a panic button underneath the headboard, alerting others in your in-call space to act immediately. The Weaponized Assistance and Security Patrol (W.A.S.P.) has extensive experience with combat and diverse self-defense tactics. For incidents that cannot be solved by personal interference, snipers are stationed at strategic points, especially for out-call appointments with new clients, when we are at our most vulnerable.
Clients found during these situations are not shown much mercy; they are added to a permanent blacklist, and face public shaming through offensive doxxing revealing their nature not only to sex workers but anyone who might be subjected to their violence. Massive billboards are overtaken through physical or digital sabotage and used as a space to air public concern or let repeat abusers, murderers, and misogynists, know their time is up.
For those who have survived a traumatic encounter, they can seek immediate aid, have space to reflect and leave work by living off money gathered in the collective “Crime and Care” fund reserved for such incidents. Instead of leaving them alone to process or mourn, we take in those who are burned out by occupying abandoned apartment buildings refitted for our uses. Comrades in the anti-repression and healing committee enact various somatic practices and folk medicine or lay healing traditions, along with the cultivation of herbs for medicinal purposes—treating trauma, addiction, and unwanted pregnancies. Others outside of the immediate CWN cadres act in solidarity by covering buildings in sprawling graffiti, illustrating and materializing pivotal moments of struggle along with portraits of sex workers who’ve been key leaders in our movement, honoring both the living and dead.
We know the entire network of surveillance cameras in each hotel, each street corner, every bar, and have a consistent method of mapping and tracking which have been destroyed. We stay ahead of their repair. We develop a substantial network of sleepers to infiltrate in strategic points of capture; frying switchboards and control systems, incapacitating the technologies, or keeping them slow enough that they’re always one step behind where they need to be.
There are so many creative projects by whores, a whole wave of new cinema by black prostitutes, autonomous hoe anthologies, sex worker science fiction novels, we don’t even know of all of them. We encounter them on the bedsides of new lovers, or in the spare bedroom of a comrade who lets us crash while we work for a bit in their city. Not simply the stories of sex, but our accounts from the barricades, our guidebooks, our manifestos and theories, our sheet music, photo albums from the time we took to detox. We have the time for these pursuits because of the option for sharing administrative tasks, the logistical tasks of screening and transportation. Even buying razors and cutting your hair are not tasks piled on top of our lives, but something done together, to free up our lives. Sabbaticals are openly encouraged. Quitting the work for other pursuits is natural and never leads to expulsion or displacement; rather we listen freely and fearlessly around our tables to the multitudes of experiences and decisions.
There are the other clandestine networks who we have formed close and formal bonds with. It is a constant negotiation of difference and building of trust. Sometimes these armed cells move between cities, others are hyperlocal. We call them when we need revenge, or to show our connective force, maybe just for a ride. They call us for information, for safe housing, for contacts. We have no illusions of what is at stake, and we have the clarity that our criminal potential escalates with the formation of bonds with other criminals—with gangs, widows, drifters, homeless youth, scammers, users, those passing through to other borders, and those who we will say we never saw.
— Clandestine Whores Network July 2019 ⊱