sisterhoodispowerful

Radical Feminist Resistance

Month: April, 2013

THE DANGEROUS TALE OF THE MRES AND THEIR ALLIES

* MRE = Male rights extremists.

This post is intended to shed light on all that has happened, so far, to radfem2013. What has happened should be important to those on the radical left and all feminists everywhere – but thanks to alliances made between trans/queers with MRE‘s, it’s very difficult for us to be heard in the public domain without the distortions flooding our truths and drowning them out. 

There is a reason why, whenever I go to refer to anti-RF blog posts, the sticky “L” on my keyboard leads me to write “bog”. That is far more apt. Bogs which are full of misleading lies, distortions, inaccurate interpretations of what radical feminism, as a movement, is, including a continual misapplication of the law in order to attempt to censor our beliefs. Bogs which pull you down more and more into the mud of obfuscation and red herrings so that the political significance and/or consequences of the MRE ‘s (Male Rights Extremists) actions are lost

DISPELLING MYTHS ABOUT RADFEM2013

I want to dispel some myths floating about right now in the social media about radfem2013 and very clearly lay them out as, it seems, that some trans/queer activists and their allies are missing both the facts and the wider implications about what has happened, so far, in relation to radfem2013.

Stavvers, a vocal anti-radical feminist blogger, did a bog post which was re-tweeted (so far) 59 times. I haven’t checked to see how many men that includes but I am sure we can assume that extremist right wing men are among them – despite her rather weak attempts to paint some distance between her political position and MREs. Her jubilant support of yet another venue folding under pressure in relation to a radfem conference booking hinges completely on her mistaken belief that radfem2013 has been rejected by London Irish Centre/the company with whom the booking is with -Off-To-Work – on the grounds of “hate speech”

I can categorically assure her that this is absolutely false. The real reason (detailed below) is due to MRE intimidation of the venue and its staff. I would also encourage her, and anyone else, to look at our conference website and see we are completely transparent with what we’re about. We wish to discuss male violence, and gender, within an international context. We want to provide a creative, supportive space for women. We support the rights of autonomous disadvantaged groups to meet. We claim a right to meet around specific issues relating to biology such as reproductive rights. None of this is unreasonable. It is far from the false accusation of “hate speech”. Our analysis of gender is not rooted in “hate”, it is rooted in the way in which gender has been structured under patriarchy to oppress women.

THE STAVVERS BOG AND ITS SMEARS

Stavvers starts her bog by tweeting “Please read and share why the #radfem2013 venue pulled out. There’s been a lot of myths spread”. The bitter irony of her last sentence not lost on me, I @rubyfruit2 attempted to explain to her that she was wrong. She merely repeated this rumour about hate speech and blocked me. That is how nonsensical the targeting of radical feminists has become. Someone in the know tries to explain rationally, and someone in complete ignorance shuts down any possibility of dialogue. You don’t have to agree with our politics, but the implications of stavvers’ words and behaviour, and that of her allies/friends, is that radical feminists are not allowed to critique gender, and the role it plays in oppressing women, without being targeted with hostility and hatred. In a dangerous reversal, she states: “To some women, the RadFem2013 conference organisers and speakers are a persistent and dangerous threat.” As one of the organisers, perhaps you’d like to tell me exactly how *I* am a threat to any other woman. That is a despicable statement and one straight out of a MRE handbook. I find this bog and its false claims based on a MRE smear campaign unacceptable and so should you, whoever you are.

MRE HARASSMENT OF VENUE

The real reason for the company’s concerns about the booking is confirmed by Off To Work, (the company which took the booking). In a facebook statement, it says the concerns are “about staff safety”. There were numerous incidents of intimidation, within less than a week, which targeted the centre, with the clear aim of putting so much pressure on the venue that it would capitulate and withdraw its commitment to honour the booking. It is no secret that the MREs claim responsibility for these acts. They say so on their website and boasted of their intentions to intimidate the venue until it caved in. In a post dated 15 April, MRA London stated, as a direct threat to the centre: “we will publically manacle you to their hateful ideology”(sic). Police reports made as a result of MRA intimidation are still under investigation. We’re not at liberty to reveal further details about the intimidation tactics which may make someone, who has inadvertently become caught up in this simply because they’re doing the wrong job at the wrong time, vulnerable. I have the utmost sympathy and compassion for the targeted staff and would, in all matters, wish to protect and support them.

Off to Work have put a statement on their Facebook page, which you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/offtowork/posts/10151561719698958 and there will be more to say at a later date either by the company or the organisers of radfem2013, but this statement makes clear that Off To Work confirms our version of events, rather than stavver’s:


“Our cancellation of the booking was a very difficult decision, but one that we have made to protect the safety of our venue staff……We wish Radfem a successful conference.”

MRE HARASSMENT OF RADFEMS

We too are targets for the MREs. Despite being a responsible and considerate organiser who has fought against social injustices all my life, I don’t doubt that I am already a target-in-waiting for the MREs. Threats have turned to us as organisers and to our attendees. There comes a time in our lives when it is right to openly speak truths. For me, that time has come. I will not stay silent when a group of thugs attempt to bully and harass their way into disrupting a peaceful, lawful conference to talk about the rights of women. They are bullying women who are already survivors of multiple abuse and who are living with trauma. That the irony of this is lost on those so blinkered by hatred towards radical feminists (and yet consider themselves champions of “intersectional” social injustices) resonates with me

There are examples all across the net of how feminists and radical feminists are targeted by this male extremist group. They offered a reward of one thousand dollars to find out the real name of a woman and, once they got it, they “doxxed” her. They showed a video of another woman and harassed her with death threats and other nasty tactics so badly that she disappeared. There is story after story on their website about how these thugs consider themselves “victims” of a feminist conspiracy of power and how (radical) feminists are out to destroy the male class through “mass genocide“. The reality and truths of women’s lives is twisted to paint men as victims and feminism as a dominant force in society

MALESTREAM PRESS DISTORTIONS

In her bog post, Stavvers relies on a quote in an article in The Sunday Times to make her argument about why radical feminists are not the innocent victims of an MRE intimidation campaign. We are currently investigating with Off To Work and London Irish centre how such a false and misleading quote came into the public domain because no one is claiming responsibility for it. So far, we’ve drawn a blank as to how it happened and have launched a series of formal press complaints about the article. It should be clear from the Off To Work statement that concerns about “hate speech” did not lead to their decision. The following statement; “We have made this difficult decision based entirely on our available infrastructure and the wellbeing of our staff […] without pressure from any group concerned with the subject matter of the conference”. In other words, accusations of “hate speech”, breaches of equality and diversity policies, or legislation, were not part of the decision-making process. I draw you back to this: The venue has made the decision “to protect the safety of our venue staff“. There is also a failure to protect a vulnerable group who have made a booking transparently and in good faith. The way the Sunday Times article is written with a first paragraph stating that there were complaints that some involved with radfem2013 “advocate violence against men”, when there’s absolutely no evidence of any such thing, suggests that MREs are working behind the scenes somewhere and it was a put up job to shit-stir, using a malestream media, to create problems for the venue and organisers and mask the truth about bully boy tactics.

COLLABORATION BETWEEN TRANS/QUEER/ALLIES AND MRES

As I watch the tweets and the bog posts mushrooming, both this year, and last, I observe collaboration between those who are uncritical about gender and MREs and similarities in approach between the 2. Here are some of them:

* Presenting the political views of radfems in an inaccurate, unfair and ludicrous light
* Once they have established the false presentation of what radical feminism is, arguing with that false presentation as if it’s fact
* Singling out individual women who call themselves radical feminist and claiming that they represent radical feminism or all radical feminist views (In fact, the movement is diverse and many claim to be radical feminist but, of course, as a movement for social change, we’d wish to discuss those differences internally)
* Shutting down debate, or opposing presentations of radical feminism, by calling an individual names (e.g. “bigot” in the case of queer allies and “man-hater” in the case of MREs)
* Using a range of intimidation tactics to prevent us from meeting such as writing emotive but untrue emails to anyone who‘ll listen, doxxing, claiming they know that what we do is unlawful or contravenes policies etc

In an incredible reversal relating to just who is aligning themselves with MRES, stavvers’ bog states: I hope RadFem2013 giving MRAs the credit for something they didn’t do isn’t the beginning of an alliance forming. Allying with those who seek to intimidate you. Yes, that makes sense.

WIDER POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS

In my view, cancelling the booking is the wrong way of “protecting venue staff”. There are numerous ways staff could be protected but cancelling a booking for a group of women who’ve done nothing wrong sends out a very dangerous message. It says bully boy tactics get you somewhere. It has long term implications for feminism, radical feminism, and the ability of “neutral” venues to freely provide a platform for events about social injustice without fear for their own safety. Did your mum give you the same advice mine gave me when I was at risk of attack from school bullies? She said “Fight back, if you shrink away, they will do it all the more until they get what they want”. And so I did and they backed off. Businesses have a responsibility to cater for, and protect, vulnerable groups and, despite the unacceptable pressure brought to bear, that is a reasonable expectation, particularly, as everything was thoroughly discussed beforehand.

That a venue is being bullied out of offering a booking, that radfems are in fear their real life details will be revealed and “doxxed” leading to death threats, should be of grave concern for those for whom radical change matters. Instead, stavvers and friends/allies focus on myths, lies, and distortions about radical feminism, even equating radical feminism, (concerned with the well-being of females), with MREs themselves. It would be hard to find two sets of agendas more opposed – but stavver’s attempt to align the politics is an example of how queers/allies have colluded with the MREs to mask the real threat in this story. And the real threat is that women coming together to politically organise, and anyone who supports them, have, and are, bombarded with terrorist tactics until something caves.

I know it’s such a cliché but I can’t get out of my head “First they came for the radical feminists but I was not a radical feminist…” Then they came for the socialist feminists and so on across the different strands of feminism until “And then they came for the non-political non-gender conforming people and there was no one left to speak for me”. You don’t have to like all radical feminists or the politics of radical feminism but what has happened, so far, with radfem2013 sets a dangerous precedent for all women, all feminists and all those involved in the struggle for radical social change. There’s a lot of myths flying about. Stavvers, do the radical left a favour and withdraw yours.

(This blog post is not on behalf of anyone but myself )

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INTERIM LEGAL STATEMENT BY RADFEM2013 ORGANISERS

A separate update is circulating about the progress of the conference. In the meantime, this statement is about the legal position in relation to radfem2013.

We understand that women are worried and anxious due to the sheer amount of lies, misinformation, libel and distortions flying about. We want to reassure you of several facts:

1. From the beginning we have received advice and guidance from a solicitor and are reassured by “leading counsel” (a barrister) of the legalities, on numerous grounds, including the Equality Act 2010, that our right to meet as women is lawful

2. This advice has been shared freely with London Irish Centre (LIC). The written, formal legal advice demonstrates, contrary to a false and misleading article produced by the Sunday Times, that no law or equality policies would be breached on either LIC’s part or ours by holding/hosting our conference.

3. The Sunday Times contains inaccurate information and quotes about the conference, our speakers and organisers and we have placed a formal complaint with the paper stating that numerous points in the PCC’s editors’ code have been breached. We have asked for an immediate retraction and an apology. Should the paper refuse to do so, we have instructed our solicitor to take the matter further.

We understand how frustrating it is when you don’t have information about something so important to you. Please bear in mind that we are all volunteers and have to also work or carry out unpaid work in the home and, at the same time, we‘re working hard on legal and other matters so that women can have an awe-inspiring conference. We have been inspired and touched by the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from a diverse range of women (and men) who can see the implications of intimidation tactics by men’s rights extremists for wider radical social movements, particularly feminist groups. We know we are exploring the legalities, not just for us, but for the right of all feminist/women’s groups to meet in peace without being intimidated by bullying tactics from male rights extremists groups.

We intend to put out a fuller statement about the legal position at a more appropriate time

Radfem2013 Organisers

EVICT A MAN-ILLIONAIRE – UNRECOGNISED MALE DOMINATION IN MIXED ACTIVISM

There’s quite a buzz around today. All’s been a bit quiet on the direct action front after a burst of imaginative activism in 2011-12 by UK uncut. I liked a lot of it, I joined in for a while. I like the “non-hierarchical” fluid nature of it because that reminds me of radical feminist activism in days gone by. I became disillusioned after a short time as, gradually, my role, and that of the few other women involved, was increasingly sidelined and I found myself, instead, acting as “appeaser” to stop male aggression and violence breaking out during actions (from all parties of men – security, police, passers-by and male activists on the left). This was aggression because they were, or felt, “provoked” by other men, for whatever reason. There are numerous accounts of sexual violence and aggression towards women as part of the occupy movements (other feminists have written about this). There is the appalling account of the SWP’s complete failure to address male entitlement and privilege within their processes, even in the face of women “comrades” naming them and describing how the situation could have been handled differently. Women publically told how devastating the failures impacted on sisters involved (Read the transcript here: http://socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report/#.UWk_88pWKIB ) It made no difference – a report exonerating a man was voted through.

I was almost enthused about today. The UK landscape, particularly for women, is bleak with a state intent on increasing women’s dependency on men by cutting off as many alternatives as possible while throwing women into ever further poverty. I even nearly went to one of the local actions but I hesitated. I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat my past experiences but I did like the “evict a millionaire” theme and the links made with the unfair bedroom tax.

And so I actively sought out the photos of the action I nearly went on. And there it was, illustrated in full colour. Men in the headlights of the action to such an extent that you could be forgiven for thinking it was male-only. Have a look for yourself:

http://www.demotix.com/news/1953852/activist-group-uk-uncut-storms-birminghams-council-house#media-1954118

No one’s going to bully, harass, censor or storm this group because of its male dominance. So common is male-led mixed activism I bet no one, except me, even noticed. What price all this lip-service to “inclusivity” now?
In this world where “self-identity is king”, because no one has explicitly stated this is a male-only, or male-led action, male dominance goes unseen and unheard. Oh and I’m very willing to bet that women were behind the scenes making this action happen, as we usually are.

A radical feminist response to this leftist inevitability is to organise autonomously so that we can focus on what matters to women without taking care of men and their delicate feelings and ego. For that, we have been called fascists, bigots, and “transphobic” (sic). All in the name of the self-identity travesty which has hit left-leaning circles at a time when we need to be at our most radical. The rights of everyone except the rich are under attack. Our herstory has already told us that our feminist movements are de-radicalised when we involve those with a sense of entitlement in our fight against oppression.

I feel so sad that the lessons of the past have to be learned all over again – the slow, agonizing way. Women in the 1960s, at Greenham, and as part of other political movements, recognised the vital part separatist activism played in ensuring that women’s voices, women’s politics and women’s energy are heard. Without it, ways in which women’s rights are attacked are “disappeared” in pursuit of male-led interests.

I urge all the battle-weary feminists in the various leftist groupings to stop fighting to be heard within mixed activism. Instead, come to radfem2013 to be with other women to take political action, unfettered, unrestricted, and without acting as caretakers for men.

Sisters. 8 and 9 June. Join us.

http://radfem2013.moonfruit.com/

Or, if you can’t be with us, help us with our appeal to get women living in poverty, to the conference:

http://www.youcaring.com/other/get-radfems-living-in-poverty-to-radfem2013/52035

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