Isolate the Abuser Manuel Fuentes from All Revolutionary Spaces

We are hosting this statement for a guest, a local Proletarian Feminist Committee.

Name: Manuel Fuentes

Pronouns: He/ they

Facebook Accounts: Ocelotl Tecciztactl and Ocelotl Nahuatl

Instagram Handle: ocelotl_tecciztactl

Phone Number: 704-605-1269

 oce2

oce3

As proletarian feminists, it is our duty to take action against all expressions of patriarchal violence. We formed this committee to address sexual assault allegations against the former activist named Manuel Fuentes, who is also known as “Oce”. We find Manuel guilty of over three instances of sexual assault including one instance of rape. The sexual assaults were directed at three people total, who all experience the oppression that women experience. In this case the survivors were one woman and two comrades who are read as women.

 

Concrete grounds for isolation

Case 1

In the spring of 2017 Manuel sexually assaulted a person, Comrade A, in a platonic setting. Manuel was giving this person a massage and had already been firmly told what Comrade A’s boundaries were ahead of time. He violated those boundaries touching this person sexually. Immediately he was told, by Comrade A, that he must stop. This constitutes sexual assault and there is no excuse.

Comrade A informed other comrades about what happened. These comrades proposed a way to deal with it, but ultimately waited for Comrade A to approve what course of action should be taken in direct relation to this case. The result was that immediate and direct action was not taken. The Proletarian Feminist Committee (PFC) recognizes that this was a mistake, because they should have taken action regardless of what the survivor wanted. This mistake was rooted in the identity politics of survivor self-determination. It is a rotten tailism: sometimes survivors either don’t want to be a part of the process, or cannot be. It should not be up to the opinion of the victim to decide what should be done in regard to an abuser who has access to whole groups of people. This is because the political line of how to deal with abusers is more important than who it comes from. It is the duty of the organizations involved to handle sexual assault allegations correctly, and it takes correct leadership to do so. It is not Comrade A’s fault that this was not handled correctly. Some of us were part of this group and self-criticize for following the incorrect line and failing to take initiate an official process. We should have temporarily isolated him from all spaces upon learning about this, and started this process long ago.

Manuel was asked to leave Serve the People – Charlotte (STP-CLT) as a result of the knowledge of the sexual assault, but it was not made clear to him that this was what influenced the decision. Before the advent of this Proletarian Feminist Committee, he was confronted privately about the sexual assault of Comrade A and admitted to it. He has also admitted to this act in writing.

Because of the mistake of following the survivor self-determination line, Manuel was able to continue materially unchecked for almost a year, and it resulted in the patriarchal abuse of other comrades.

Case 2

In the fall of 2017 Manuel raped Comrade B in a romantic setting. The encounter began consensually but consent can be taken at any time. The victim told him to stop and he continued for ten minutes which constitutes rape. There is no excuse that he did not know, because verbally Comrade B denied consent and told him to stop. Comrade B also reported other instances of sexual coercion. He pressured them into anal play repeatedly.

The victim kept a journal of parts of their relationship and was able to tell us the date of one of the assaults. The Proletarian Feminist Committee found out about the rape once we had already temporarily isolated Manuel.

Additionally, Manuel’s relationship with Comrade B included gaslighting, which is emotional abuse. Although gaslighting is a term that can be misapplied, it is a real thing and Manuel was guilty of it in this relationship. Here we define gaslighting as doing or saying something, especially during an argument or antagonistic moment, and later denying that it happened. This denial that it happened causes the person who experienced it to question their own sanity although they are correct. When confronted about these behaviors by the PFC, Manuel denied them and tried to make himself the victim.

Comrade B is concerned that Manuel could possibly release private video or photos in an attempt to seek revenge on this comrade for speaking out. This would do nothing but show him for the abuser he is.

Manuel has dismissed Comrade B, and we are sure he will continue to dismiss them, using a classic misogynist trope. He has portrayed Comrade B as the vengeful ex-partner who is making this up out of spite or because Manuel “doesn’t want to be with” them. This is not true. These are not lies made up out of spite, and the PFC investigated and has concluded that the things listed here did occur.

Case 3

Manuel admitted to gaslighting a woman with whom they were involved sexually in the fall of 2017. This intimate partner, Comrade C, was coerced. In this assault, Manuel put his hand down her pants, to which she replied, “stop”. He continued to put his hand down her pants.

Comrade C said that the two had spoken after this first sexual assault and Manuel admitted that they should not have “done that.” He denied this when confronted about it by the PFC.

She also told us about a second situation that also constitutes sexual assault in which Manuel exposed their genitalia to her non-consensually.

The PFC found out about these sexual assaults  in the days leading up to the temporary isolation of Manuel.

 

Intervention of the Proletarian Feminist Committee

Part of the consequence of following the line of survivor self-determination was that women victimized by Manuel were objectively pushed out of revolutionary spaces. Correcting the mistake of the handling of the first sexual assault, as well as upon learning about the second, two members of the PFC told Manuel to remove themselves from political and social spaces. This confrontation happened in person, in mid-March at the last Revolutionary Study Group (RSG) session.

The following day, the committee nominated a liaison to communicate directly with Manuel. The liaison re-stated what was happening and explained to Manuel which spaces he was isolated from. He responded negatively. This screenshot is being shared to show Manuel’s reluctance to accept discipline from the PFC.

At this time he had already admitted to one sexual assault so the allusions to “not being given clarity as to the accusations” are lies. He also called us “fascists” for standing up to him and handling him.

On the following Monday, Manuel attended a social event that one of the victims had been promoting publicly and was attending with mutual friends. Upon arriving, he walked straight up to them to greet the mutual friends. At this point he had already been told not to enter social spaces shared with the victims. He disregarded the isolation and the victim in the situation felt intimidated as a result.

Manuel was also asked to meet with the PFC. There was difficulty finding a time he was available, but he agreed to meet on the following Sunday, 12 days later. When this day arrived, the PFC was unsure whether Manuel would show or not. They informed Manuel that they would only wait 30 minutes from the set start time for him to arrive. He arrived 29 minutes late. During the meeting, which was recorded, Manuel admitted to sexually assaulting Comrade A and gaslighting Comrade C.  The entire time he attempted to change the focus onto wrongs done to him and denied all of the behaviors experienced by Comrade B (the sexual assault of this individual was not known at the time, and Manuel did confirm the events of the interaction when asked a few days later). Toward the last ten minutes of the 2-hour meeting, the committee tried to convince Manuel to participate in rectification, explaining why it’d be beneficial to him and the people around him. In the last two minutes Manuel stated, “I am just being petty… y’all have had control of the situation the whole damn time… And the fact that y’all need a concrete answer knowing that I’m going to say yes anyways”. Manuel was asked repeatedly for verbal confirmation or denial of the process, and as the PFC stood to leave he said yes therefore agreeing to acknowledge his behaviors and participate in a 3-month re-education process. This was going to include meeting with two PFC team members once a week to read about proletarian feminism as well as read about consent.

Manuel was given one week to write a statement on his actions to share on social media and with local revolutionary groups. During that week representatives of the PFC met with him once to assist with writing the statement and he sent a first draft to the liaison.

manuelscreen4

That weekend, the PFC was informed that Manuel had contacted one of the victims—Comrade B–after being told explicitly not to do so by the individual as well as the PFC as a concrete condition of his rectification. In his message, he stated “…if I owe anyone anything and need to be held accountable then it would be to you and only you”. This contradicted his earlier denial, to us, that he had done anything wrong to them.

At the same time Manuel reached out to one of the PFC members individually to inform them that he was not going to do the process. This emotional manipulation towards a woman read comrade and the use of his kids and class background to gain sympathy is disgusting.

Regardless of his own willingness, Manuel violated the terms of rectification by reaching out to a victim, and we are isolating him as a result. The choice to isolate Manuel is a choice to put the safety of women over abusers who commit patriarchal acts such as rape, sexual assault and harassment, emotional abuse, and physical abuse.

We anticipate that some may object to the choice of the PFC to proceed with isolation as opposed to prolonged engagement with Manuel, due to the fact that his behaviors have not been rectified or transformed.

We do acknowledge that abusers can be transformed. However, we have limited time for transforming people who we have found guilty of abuse, and who don’t meet the bare minimum requirements for rectification. Due to the reality of our limited time, we must make the distinction between comrades who can be struggled with and those who cannot be. This choice must be made decisively because we are not idealists and we cannot devote all our time to one person especially someone who sexually assaulted multiple women. We reject restorative justice which prioritizes the abuser.

Manuel was given multiple chances. He violated multiple terms of the rectification process knowingly. Therefore, we urge everyone reading this to isolate Manuel Fuentes. We must unite to protect women wholeheartedly, and we must choose to stand on the side of women oppressed by patriarchy across the world.

Do not allow Manuel in political or social spaces, and do not respond to them if they contact you. Please reach out to isolatemanuelfuentes@protonmail.com if you have information or questions.

Struggle against survivor self-determination!

Protect women at all costs!

Apply proletarian feminism without fear!

-Proletarian Feminist Committee, April 2018

abuser