International Working Women’s Day 2016 – A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access in Charlottetown, PEI

In February 2016, the Revolutionary Student Movement at UPEI initiated a united front for abortion access. Working with affiliates of the Campus Alliance for Reproductive Justice (CARJ), the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO), the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARRC), and Abortion Access Now PEI (AANPEI), we organized a demonstration which took place on March 8th, International Working Women’s Day, to raise the struggle for abortion access.

The rally started on Kent Street at 4 o’clock, where we distributed signs, flags, and the now-iconic red braids and bandannas of the ‘militant Anne of Green Gables’ street art, created by a local artist known only as iamkarats. We started by singing an abortion-themed parody of the Ice Cream song from Anne, and then began our march down Great George Street, past the Province House, and toward the Gentleman’s Club on King Street. Speeches were given over a megaphone by a few participants. The demonstration ended with a Scream Choir, to put the frustration and rage of the masses on display.

This demonstration, however, does not signify the pinnacle of the struggle we are waging for reproductive justice and against patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy have developed together, out of the same historical process, as a dual system of exploitation and oppression. As long as there is capitalism, there will be an economic system in which patriarchy can flourish. And as long as there is patriarchal oppression, there will be a society that favours capitalist exploitation. It is only by smashing both capitalism and patriarchy through communist revolution that we can end gender oppression, and secure a future that is free from exploitation and oppression. We will continue organizing demonstrations like these to bring more proletarian women, and other gender-oppressed people, into the mass struggle for liberation. Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Proletarian Feminism, we must wage an endless struggle against all forms of oppression to build socialism and communism.

 

A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access
Photo by Jon Viau
Join the Fight Against MRA Reactionaries! CAFE has no Place in our Communities!

Join the Fight Against MRA Reactionaries! CAFE has no Place in our Communities!

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In the first week of February 2016, notorious “neo-masculinist” Roosh V’s proposed meetups for his “pick-up artist” (PUA) followers across the world were crushed by the collective anger and power of the masses. Across Canada, the people mobilized protests and militant responses to what was correctly identified as the hate speech of the anti-feminist Roosh V and his misogynist followers. But the battle against the backwards ideas of reactionaries who seek to push back the gains of the feminist struggle over the last decades must not stop there. The PUAs represent only one especially disgusting section of the entire network of websites, organizations, and communities that make up the so-called “manosphere,” a network that has its political expression in the infamous Men’s Rights Activism. We must not hesitate to expose this entire movement, from its militant fringes to its sanitized fronts, for what it is: a reactionary movement of male-supremacists seeking to preserve a status quo of oppression, hierarchy, and inequality. Openly misogynist and backwards “manosphere” groups like the notorious American network A Voice for Men (AVfM) hold extreme right-wing views, including: that male power and structural inequality under patriarchy are a myth, as Warren Farrell claims in a 1990s book often described as the “Bible” or the “red pill” of the Men’s Rights Movement; that the existence of rape culture is a lie perpetuated by feminists to oppress men, so that accusations of rape are nothing more than a tool to keep women in a dominant position in society; and that present-day society is structured to disadvantage and victimize men as a class. All of these ideas are explicitly spelled out in many articles on A Voice for Men’s website.

 

In Canada, the Revolutionary Student Movement has taken a leading role in organizing against the sanitized MRA front known as CAFE, the Canadian Association for Equality. Knowing that most people will reject the openly misogynist and backwards ideas of groups like Roosh V’s PUAs and AVfM, CAFE uses an elaborate and dishonest branding strategy to keep its political agenda covert. But a closer look reveals that although CAFE is careful to maintain its organizational autonomy, it is politically affiliated with these reactionary groups and exists to give institutional legitimacy to their foundational ideas and causes. At times the connection becomes explicit, as when CAFE promoted an AVfM conference on its website as “important to Canadians[1],” or when AVfM founder Paul Elam and CAFE board member Adam McPhee held a dialogue on AVfM that ended with Paul Elam happily concluding that he saw “a bright future with both organizations moving forward with their missions enjoying mutual moral support[2].”

 

Furthermore, all of CAFE’s events – including a talk by Warren Farrell, who is also one of CAFE’s advisory fellows – have received enthusiastic coverage from A Voice for Men and its extended network of toxic misogynists[3]. CAFE’s practice of recording protesters at its events on video has resulted in female protesters being identified, tracked down, harassed, and threatened, a practice known as “doxing.” In at least one case, AVfM published a full article exposing a CAFE event protester in depth, written by an anonymous MRA referring to himself as a part of a “growing underground army” and comparing himself to the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal[4]. The affinity between CAFE, AVfM, and still more underground sections of the “manosphere” make this much more than an empty threat. In March 2014, a Queen’s student publicly involved in planning a protest to a CAFE event, a lecture by University of Ottawa professor Janice Fiamengo, was assaulted and beaten by unidentified attackers the night before the talk[5]. To be sure, CAFE as an organization denounces these individual instances of violence. But these tactics are entirely characteristic of the broader Men’s Rights Movement of which it is a part, a movement that argues that women and feminists specifically are oppressors with whom men are at war. This backwards logic, through which the oppressed are portrayed as an oppressor group that the dominant group must combat in order to preserve their status and identity, is nearly identical to the logic of fascism. In this way, CAFE creates a climate of fear on and off Canadian university campuses to quash and eliminate feminist struggle for genuine equality and justice. This is why we say that even and especially when they try to present themselves as respectable, MRAs must be confronted, exposed, and stamped out everywhere they arise!

 

We want to say a few words about the people involved in CAFE. Not all of them are open misogynists, and CAFE is quick to put forward its more liberal members as evidence that they are not like other MRA organizations. Some of the people it has attracted seem genuinely concerned with real, existing issues that affect men: suicide and mental health, unsafe working conditions, homelessness, education. But a quick look at its events shows that CAFE, like other sections of the Men’s Rights Movement, merely exploits these issues, claiming that they are all signs of a societal conspiracy against men as a class that feminists cover up by talking about the oppression of women.In this way, MRAs take advantage of the political powerlessness and exploitation of the masses to push forward their reactionary, misogynist agenda. We completely reject the incorrect, incoherent, and dangerous answers they provide to actually existing oppression and exploitation in capitalist society.

 

The Revolutionary Student Movement is a militant pan-Canadian anti-capitalist organization that organizes working-class students to advance the class struggle on campuses and build a movement to bring about the end of exploitation, oppression, and alienation on the basis of class, race, sexuality, gender identity, and disability. We see this end as achievable only through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, a mode of production founded on the exploitation of the working class that has caused endless misery in every society organized along its lines – that has brought about suicide and mental health issues, unsafe working conditions, homelessness, underfunded education, along with many of the other social issues CAFE claims to care about, everywhere it has been put into operation. Capitalism also functions by turning dominant sections of the masses against other groups, along the lines of race, gender, sexuality, language, and whatever else it can opportunistically exploit to keep the masses from uniting to smash their shared enemy. In this regard, misogynist ideas, like other reactionary and backwards ideas, set back the people’s struggle for the end of exploitation and oppression.

 

The RSM is proud of its history of confronting Men’s Rights reactionaries when they have attempted to organize on campuses across Canada. In April 2014, comrades at the University of Ottawa shut down a lecture by Janice Fiamengo on the non-existence of rape culture; in August of the same year, the Toronto section of the RSM successfully countered another lecture of one of CAFE’s satellite fronts at the University of Toronto. These actions have seen an escalation in the response of CAFE to student protesters; security and police are now commonly found standing by prior to events, anticipating disruptions ahead of time.

 

Most recently, an RSM action at University of Ottawa on February 10th drew a direct response from CAFE advisor and Ottawa branch Vice-President Janice Fiamengo. Fiamengo is a celebrity in the “manosphere” for her regular video series, the “Fiamengo Files,” which airs on YouTube via an account called “StudioBrulé,” the very same account that posts videos of CAFE events. Fiamengo’s videos argue explicitly that feminism is a totalitarian system that oppresses men. In one video[6], she argues that open rape apologist Roosh V is a wronged victim of the feminist establishment, and cites approvingly from his article “How to Stop Rape,” in which he describes rape allegations as hoaxes used by women to persecute “the previous night’s lover” and goes on to argue for the legalization of rape. In another video from February 2016, she calls for men to “take back their power and their pride” and describes how feminism is turning her into a self-described “raging misogynist[7].” Given her far-right political line, which leads her to argue in other videos that equity is anti-meritocratic and discriminatory against men[8], that sexual harassment is a dangerous myth[9], and that feminism literally wants to degrade men’s souls and take away their specific virtues of independence, objectivity, and strength[10], it’s not surprising that she has also authored violently racist and Islamophobic editorials[11]. In one, co-authored with her husband, the extreme-right ideologue David Solway, she argues that Islam must be rejected altogether from the West and that the so-called “Muslim surge” will bring more and more terrorist attacks on Judeo-Christian values and people[12].

 

It is unacceptable to everyone who opposes Islamophobic, racist, misogynist, and fascist ideas that Fiamengo, who defends known rape apologists, who organizes a hate group on campus, and who shows nothing but contempt for students[13], is a professor at the University of Ottawa! She is the primary organizer of CAFE at uOttawa, alongside David Shackleton, a retired biology professor who has claimed that feminism today behaves like Nazism did leading up to the second world war, that “the coming war is inevitable,” and that “we have to take women off the pedestal, and we won’t do that as a culture until we see the evil that they do[14].” He has also argued that the mass shooting of women accused of being feminists by Marc Lepine at Polytechnique in 1989 was an inevitable result of feminist persecution of men[15].

 

In light of all this, the RSM is glad to be attacked by Janice Fiamengo for consistently confronting her organization, the Canadian Association for Equality. We are not interested in a dialogue with her or her organization. We intend to confirm what they suspect: that the masses, the people themselves, racialized, gender-oppressed, exploited, marginalized, recognize the Men’s Rights Movement for what it is, in all of its forms, and will reject it, through direct action if necessary, wherever it rears its head.

 

We invite everyone who shares these values and who finds it unacceptable that people like David Shackleton, Janice Fiamengo, and Warren Farrell are trying to spread their influence on Canadian campuses to join us in organizing to shut down future CAFE events and stamp out MRA lies, distortion, and deception! If you are concerned about CAFE or any other Men’s Rights Movement presence on your campus, get in touch with the local branch of the Revolutionary Student Movement. Together we can stamp out MRA ideas and fight for the rights, safety, and equality of women and gender-oppressed people on our campuses and in our communities, as well as the rights of all people to leave free of oppression and exploitation in this rotten capitalist system!

 

The RSM pledges to support struggles against MRAs wherever we have the capacity to do so. We are not afraid of combating reactionary organizations when they try take root around us. We call on everyone who wants to see them gone to join us, they won’t stop unless we stop them!

 

Down with MRAs, long live the people’s struggle!

 

 

[1] http://equalitycanada.com/a-voice-for-mens-international-conference-on-mens-issues-why-it-should-be-important-to-canadians/

[2] http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/adam-mcphee-responds-to-paul-elam/

[3] http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/we-went-to-a-mens-rights-lecture-in-toronto

[4] http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/who-is-emma-claire-and-why-is-she-so-hateful/

[5] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/queen-s-student-attacked-after-threats-over-feminist-activities-1.2589321

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZaJ_cpK87M

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kXq8Yb083I

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Js6T45S-Dc

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ba-pdQ8eT8

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1umxQInyjmQ

[11] http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/179974/supreme-foolishness-janice-fiamengo

http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2014/07/01/why-do-we-tolerate-the-intolerable-d-by-janice-fiamengo/

[12] http://www.artsandopinion.com/2015_v14_n6/solway-58hx.htm

[13] https://pjmedia.com/blog/the-unteachables-a-generation-that-cannot-learn/?singlepage=true

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RTavcTTons

[14] http://www.menweb.org/femexpos.htm

[15] http://no-maam.blogspot.ca/2005/01/eotm-war-against-men-by-david.html

Hands off Atikameksheng Land! Solidarity with Defenders of the Benny Forest!

Hands off Atikameksheng Land! Solidarity with Defenders of the Benny Forest!

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The Benny Forest is threatened by the invasive arm of capitalist industry and the forces of colonization. Pristine blocks of old-growth forest, located an hour’s drive north of Sudbury on the ancestral lands and territorial hunting grounds of the Anishnawbek, are being clear-cut by the logging giant EACOM Timber and aerially sprayed with toxic herbicides. Innumerable rare species of animals and medicinal plants are at risk. And while the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and other state bodies work diligently to facilitate this lucrative destruction, the rights supposedly given to the original peoples of this continent by the settler-colonial Canadian state are once again being trampled.

This is business as usual on occupied Turtle Island, an unjust order that has handsomely profited the dominant minority of exploiters and oppressors for centuries, which they hate to see disturbed and work hard to maintain against fierce resistance. But to challenge this injustice is the aim of Barbara McNichol, her partner Clyde who is a descendant of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Clan that was promised part of land by the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850, and Art Petahtegoose, elder and former Chief of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. Generations of Clyde’s ancestors are buried in the Forest in two marked cemeteries and among the trees – lives past and present are being defiled in pursuit of private profit. The McNichols also operate a traditional Native and contemporary arts and wilderness recreation centre called Camp Eagle Nest out of the Benny Forest. Since last Spring, when the decades-long cutting in the region first began to reach Camp Eagle Nest’s doorstep, they have been defiantly campaigning to protect their land and culture from further ruin.

Clyde’s Clan and the Anishnawbek people share a deep connection to the land. The Forest is their heritage and the basis of their communities. It is more than just a commodity to be bought and sold, more than a trivial product to be consumed; it is part of life itself. To lose it would be to lose themselves. If anyone can condemn the clear-cutting as unsustainable, it is the people that have lived in harmony with the Forest for generations. Animals too, the deer and bears, cannot return to the brutalized remains of what the logging industry calls ‘reclaimed land’. These creatures are often pushed out of their habitat forever. In the face of this all-out assault, surrender is not an option for the McNichols and the traditional hereditary Clan leadership of the area.

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Revolutionary salutes from RSM to the Benny Forest Defenders!

The Revolutionary Student Movement – Sudbury (RSM-Sudbury) stands in solidarity with the brave Defenders of the Benny Forest. We join them in demanding that the pillaging of the Forest stop here and now! All encroachment onto the territory must cease immediately! The full political, economic, legal, social and cultural autonomy of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek nation must be recognized! We say YES to complete self-determination for all oppressed nations in this occupied country, including the right to secede from the settler state that has never stopped waging war on them.

The McNichols and Petahtegoose are currently pursuing a court injunction to halt all logging, road-building and spraying on lands reserved for the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in 1850. But they are also urgently aware of the staggering pace of the destruction in the area, which continues not just in Benny while the courts grind through the ‘due process.’ And it is also known that any justice offered through this process – marked as it is by a fundamentally oppressive colonial character – has historically been partial, double-edged, ultimately a disorienting mirage. For militants of RSM-Sudbury, this presents the task of building our capacity to go beyond this rigged framework by any means necessary, now more than ever!

To ensure they are prepared for any court decision, the Benny Forest Defenders have started to establish a winter camp by a key road leading into the Forest. On February 27 they were joined by members of RSM-Sudbury and other supporters to help get the camp off the ground, which has served as an outpost for reconnaissance on the logging operations and a visible sign of the mounting opposition. The Defenders and allies have remained at the camp for over a week. They are calling for support from all groups, artists and other individuals who want to stand with them against further assaults on their land. RSM-Sudbury plans to help further agitate and organize in support of this struggle in the areas we are active, especially among working-class youth and students; and to continue participating in actions on-site to protect the Forest.

Ever since arrival of European settlers, Indigenous peoples here have been in the genocidal crosshairs of white-supremacist patriarchal colonialism and capitalist imperialism. Their communal ways of life, which they have long struggled to assert and defend, are vital inspiration for us as we strive to help build the perspectives and unity needed for our common liberation from all oppression and exploitation. We envision and fight for the united Power of Indigenous militants and the revolutionary working class, a mighty force to smash the dominance of the imperialist bourgeoisie and dismantle colonialism from coast to coast.

Hands off Atikameksheng land!

Self-determination for oppressed nations!

Down with the colonial state!

Please consider donating to the land defence via GoFundMe or PayPal at Camp Eagle Nest. Supplies like firewood, water, signs and craft material are also welcomed. For more info contact ronson.mcnichol@gmail.com or see the campaign’s Facebook page.bennyforest