From Rapist to Revisionist—McKinley (formerly known as Caleb) Forbes

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There are several traumas created by sexual assault and rape. Never does the pain cease with the actual assault—it persists through the investigation, interrogation, through daily life of the victims and survivors as well as their supporters. Even carrying out the necessary task of making left movements aware that a rapist exists within their ranks can be painful and difficult for those who have survived rape. Nonetheless, if we wish to eliminate rape within activist movements and fight it in broader society, protecting potential victims by providing them with the facts, we have to say who these people are and what they are guilty of.  The system invalidates survivors, and the revolution must empower them. Proletarian feminism means taking up the struggle for working women including the use of revolutionary violence and community self-defense. The immediate defensive maneuver is to put the community on notice that a dangerous rapist exists among them.

In September 2016, the local “activist” McKinley Forbes was then living in Virginia and was called Caleb Forbes. Shortly after being accused of rape, Caleb came out as a trans woman and moved to Austin, Texas.  At that time she changed her name to McKinley and began entering into spaces on the periphery of the Maoist movement. Throughout its existence this movement has taken a hard line on rape and sexual assault. Whether the rapist is a man, women or trans person does not weigh heavily on this principle, though most rapists are awarded the social status of men. We will use the name Caleb to describe the actions taken by Forbes before strategically coming out to avoid being outed as a rapist. Evidence provided to us indicates that this coming out was mainly timed as an attempt to swindle money and resources from the LGBT community and to prevent people from making the connection or looking into the name “Caleb Forbes” which all legal process is attached to.  Forbes’s name change and relocation are partially why it took so long for anyone to find out the truth about Forbes.

The survivor in this case will not be named, and we are burdened with telling the story as delicately as possible to minimize the blow back, doing our best to prevent further pain and anguish. We have no choice but to place the interests of potential future victims first by outing Forbes as a rapist and sexual predator. Caleb at this time identified with his assigned gender. Living and presenting as a man, he was therefore awarded the social status of a man. His victim was assigned female at birth and would appear as a woman to society at large. Biology does not determine gender; society does, since gender is a social construct. Therefore, although Forbes’s gender identity may not have aligned with the gender society assigned him, Caleb was awarded the role of man and all privileges that come with it, including legal protection against allegations of sexual abuse and rape. On the other hand, the survivor faces the social status of women, as well as all the legal obstacles and injustice that come with it in a society maintaining vestiges of patriarchy and the oppression of working class women.

We have investigated the allegations of rape, assault and abduction against Forbes and found them to be true. We will provide what background we can without naming the survivor or any details which would publicly reveal her. Caleb Forbes used the app Tinder to prey on women from left leaning movements, playing up politics to meet people to take advantage of, and in this case, carry out a rape/abduction and strangulation. The survivor at no point indicated an interest in sex and at no point consented to sexual activity. Sex with Caleb was never on the table. In fact, the survivor’s bio on Tinder made it very clear that the survivor was only seeking platonic relationships and friendships. The survivor was invited over to Caleb’s apartment on the pretext of having a meal, watching TV, and getting to play with his German Shepherd. However, Caleb had plans to lure the survivor into his room where he proceeded to handcuff, abuse, rape and strangle her.

Faced with this level of violence and left with bruises, wounds, and injuries, the survivor suffered immense pain, anguish, and humiliation.  Through the pain and fear of active assault and rape it is not uncommon for victims to freeze up and go almost catatonic, despondent, or cause them to disassociate. Abusive people can use this involuntary response as grounds to say “she didn’t say no,” which is exactly the argument Forbes would make to the police investigators on the case. Silence and paralysis from fear do not constitute consent. There is no justice in this system for survivors of rape and abuse. If the people want justice, revolutionaries must give it to them, or they must take it themselves. Through a series of photos (provided to our supporters), text messages (between the survivor and Forbes), as well as interviews we have conducted, it becomes clear that the survivor was gripped with the threat of facing even more abuse at the hand of Forbes and made up an emergency to leave Forbes’s apartment and seek safety elsewhere. We applaud the courage this took and are grateful of the courage it still takes for the survivor to come forward.

After the incident, Forbes made sure to inform the victim that he had seen her car around (Forbes, being a pizza delivery driver at the time in a small town, reasonably knew where she lived). After just being assaulted violently and sexually this was taken by the survivor as a threat. We do not doubt in the slightest that this is exactly how Forbes meant it to be taken. Out of this fear and on professional advice from doctors the survivor filed charges. This further caused damage to the survivor as is most often the case when law enforcement is involved. The police investigated the case, but while Forbes admits to the handcuffing and sex acts, he claimed the victim was willing. Taking paralysis and silence as consent was enough for the bourgeois legal system to drop the charges, even though the survivor at no time gave verbal or non-verbal consent and had forensic evidence and injuries. The survivor did not know Forbes before the day of the assault, abduction, and rape, and only had limited interaction up to that point.

Of course the society we live in blames victims for seeking companionship, company or using apps like Tinder, despite the fact that many people use Tinder and similar apps to find friends. People like Forbes rely greatly on the existence of rape culture to hide their vicious activity. Forbes, pretending to be an activist and going along with platonic conversation, manipulated a woman who sought friendship and comradeship into a near deadly, life destroying situation, and has gotten away with it until now.

Revolutionaries seek the people’s justice which does not take the word of people like Forbes over the word of the people they oppress in the context of hard evidence and testimony. Time and again the Austin Maoist movement has investigated allegations of abuse and sought justice for victims by publicizing abuser’s crimes and pressuring them out of organizing and out of the city. It was because of this that a comrade of the victim was able to suggest she contact the Revolutionary Student Front in order to warn other activists about Forbes, who she knew had moved to Austin due to social media. Forbes became our problem by moving to our city, posing a threat to our people. We hope to not only seek justice for the survivor in this case but to make sure that more victims are not accrued by this monster who is now going by the name McKinley Forbes.

Forbes moves to Austin

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Forbes was well known on left leaning and postmodernist internet spaces for a fundraiser she put out claiming that her parents kicked her out for being trans. However, when she was still identifying as a man and going by her government name Caleb, she lived in an apartment with roommates and not with her parents. Forbes raised over 3,000 dollars through crowd funding and tapped into a housing program for trans people run by the Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, a revolutionary mass organization which supports the Austin Maoist movement and now goes by the name Stonewall Militant Front.

Without changing presentation, only names and pronouns, Caleb became McKinley and began frequenting left-spaces and joined RATPAC through the housing program. In a short time, Forbes is flagged as a potential security risk by movement people for displaying erratic and confusing behavior at actions, as well as asking too many questions about Red Guards membership and trying to cozy up to who she thought may be leaders. At this point any avenues to work beyond RATPAC were officially closed off.  It was believed that in some way or another, Forbes was not who she claimed to be, but evidence to this was not available at the time.

Forbes moved to Austin to work in the tech industry, an industry which is the main accelerant of violent displacement in our working class communities. Tech workers are a ranging strata of petty bourgeoisie, but as people who work they are not outright class enemies. The vast majority of tech workers become enemies when they gentrify working class areas, like E. Chavez and E. Riverside. They can also become friends of the working class of Austin by turning on their class interests, standing against gentrification and with the people. It is their class stand that matters more than their actual job. As was already detailed in a report from RATPAC, Forbes marketed RATPAC’s community programming to developers and was awarded the position of CEO in a startup built exactly off the RATPAC housing program, showcasing exactly which class Forbes stands with.

With this opportunistic and capitalist maneuver, Forbes made a lot of enemies in the revolutionary movement, and had to seek friendship outside of it with others like her; people who wave a red flag but are in reality capitalists themselves. Forbes stopped claiming to be a “Maoist” as she did while attending RATPAC meetings and events, just as she had stopped claiming to be an “anarchist” who was “avoiding j20 prosecution” when she first arrived in Austin (we do not believe she was actually facing any charges). With no one else to turn to, Forbes began cozying up to the revisionists and crypto-fascist-Trotskyites of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and joined their front group “People’s Congress of Resistance.” She also sought out and snuggled up to wreckers in other cities who still claim to be Maoists, like Christopher Winston, who took up her cause and claimed the Austin Maoists were bullies for not supporting this CEO thief on the basis of her identity as a “trans woman”.  It is particularly concerning that Forbes now controls an app which gives her access to an already at risk community considering her track record.

These issues with Forbes in Austin took place over a year ago. Forbes was already unwelcome in Maoist controlled spaces, but others still welcomed her, and we left that as it was. From this point on, now that it is clear that Forbes has been accused of grievous patriarchal crimes against the people, anyone working with, giving a platform to, breaking bread with, or associating with Forbes publicly in left or activist spaces in Austin will be seen as harboring a rapist. If Forbes shows her face anywhere she will be confronted as others before her have been.  While we do not seek collateral damage, we are not surgeons and will not be held back. Standing or walking with Forbes should be understood as a dangerous activity.

Forbes is a violent premeditated rapist, a revisionist, a scam artist, and a gentrifier. PSL and its affiliated projects are hereby put on notice: you can either isolate Forbes by sharing a public statement that she is not allowed in your spaces, or stand by Forbes and attempt to protect this rapist scum at your own risk.  To Forbes herself: you chose the wrong city to move to. We are not like the police who will let abusers off the hook so easily. Go ask Steven Walters or Carlos Salamanca, go look into the case of the now deceased Richard Morrisett. The people’s justice will see to it that Forbes either hides in fear or submits to a people’s court verdict.

Nowhere should be safe for rapists, especially rapists who carefully try to conceal their past from the movement. Forbes poses a multitude of threats to women activists and fellow travelers as well as the public at large. She cannot be seen as anything but a monster to be destroyed. While it is our position that many who have engaged in patriarchal violence can and must be reformed, many others elude justice and use the sexist, racist system to their advantage. In order to transform, abusers have to own up to the allegations and submit to a process carried out by revolutionaries. Anything short of this forces revolutionaries to pass judgment and carry out the verdict on their own with the support they can muster.

We here and now find McKinley Forbes guilty of premeditated rape, abduction, strangulation, and covering it up. We find McKinley Forbes guilty of opportunism, revisionism, and using activism and politics to access victims. Forbes is hereby banned from all public spaces in Austin and we ask our supporters as well as the people in general to carry out this ban. If you see Forbes or her supporters anywhere, bring it to the attention of everyone present that Forbes is a rapist, demand Forbes leave, and if possible, make Forbes leave. Feel free to send us an anonymous tip of the whereabouts and movements of this scum. We lack the power to force transformation in this case, and will use what power we do have to make living in Austin and being in public unbearable for this anti-woman monster.

Our movements are only as good as we make them. People are only safe when others fight on their behalf. We aim to fight every step of the way. We have little hope that PSL will take action on this matter considering that they are vile revisionists with a history of bad gender practice, racism, and Trotskyite ideas. The PSL represents an enemy tendency and we aim to fight their organizing efforts in our city and encourage others to do the same. Enough with harboring rapists like Forbes. If you have information on Forbes or other rapists in the Austin left, please notify your local revolutionary organizations.

Unleash the power of women as a mighty force against capitalism!

Give no ground to revisionism!

Fight rapists in the street!

—Red Guards Austin, 2018