CHAIRPERSON OF UOTTAWA SECTION OF THE RSM ON THE MEN’S RIGHTS FASCISTS

After the uOttawa RSM was successful at shutting down a men’s rights fascist event in Ottawa, the organizers of the action were approached by The Fulcrum, uOttawa’s English language newspaper, for an interview (available here). Given the increased interest of this event in recent days, and that The Fulcrum’s article omitted much of the political content contained in the interview, we are reproducing the interview in full below.

How and why did the Revolutionary Student Movement come to the decision to protest the event on Friday?

A number of Equality Canada’s posters had been deliberately posted over Proletarian Feminist Front posters, a community organization our club is informally associated with and a number of our members and friends of the club felt that the event was misrepresenting feminism and would make our campus less safe. We are not the only campus that has rejected this type of event, it is clear that other campuses also feel the ideas being put forward by Men’s Rights Activists are dangerous and hateful. An example of the type of hatred these groups promote is of course the recent assault on a feminist at Queen’s University. Although equality Canada denies any connection, it is clear she was assaulted for standing up to a MRA group on her campus and we do not want that type of group here. It was brought to a vote at our general meeting the day before and we decided to attend the event.

Why did the RSM decide to protest in the way they did? In other words, why enter the room and make noise as opposed to protesting with signs at the door or some other form of protest?

We feel that these ideas have no place on our campus and refuse to legitimize them by allowing MRA’s space to organize. As was demonstrated, campus security will not protect our community from events that are harmful to men, women and transpeople in the community so we decided to stand up for what we feel is right.

The term “hate speech” was used a lot by both sides on Friday night. What is your definition of hate speech and do you think either side engaged in it at the event? In what way?

We define hate speech as comments, ideas or opinions, which incite or legitimize further violence against an oppressed group.  We do believe there was hate speech coming from Professor Fiamengo as she made it clear that she did not feel the recent threats made against Anna-Marie Roy were a big deal, stating there was a difference between fantasizing about rape and committing it. This legitimizes rape whether the threat was carried through or not.

Organizers of the event accused members of your group of censoring them. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

As students of the campus and community members we have a right to decide what does and does not happen here.

Any other comments you’d like to add?

We support gender equality between all genders, not just cis-gendered men and women and believe that an essential part of this struggle for equality is recognizing the systemic oppression of women and transpeople. The liberation of all genders ultimately includes fighting for an end to the capitalist system.

 

SOME NEWS FROM COMRADES AT UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

The uOttawa Marxist Students’ Association has been actively involved in the creation of the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) since the RSM’s initial conception. Over the past year our movement has grown in ways that we did not expect, both in Ottawa and across Canada. We’ve expanded the RSM to new provinces, seeded organizations on new campuses, and have built our own capacity at uOttawa by an incredible amount. It’s been a good year.
However, given that the Marxist Students’ Association has a different name than other sections of the RSM, as we begin to look at the concrete steps necessary to formalize the RSM as an organization (i.e. move away from a series of independent and autonomous organizations towards a more overarching structure, politics, and approach to work), we are continually asked about the nature of our relationship to the broader RSM. While the uOttawa Marxist Students’ Associaton has consistently been in favour of building a formal RSM, our own organization has existed since before the effort to establish an RSM was underway; hence the difference in naming conventions between the two organizations. Also, the name “Marxist Students’ Association” reflected a different tactical approach to student organizing than is now practiced by our organization; at the time of the Marxist Students’ Association’s creation, we were far less focused on action and far more focused on study. This line has been corrected through our engagement with the building of a Canada-wide RSM.
       The Marxist Students’ Association wishes to end all ambiguity as to the nature of our relationship with the broader RSM. As such, we are formally re-naming our organization the Revolutionary Student Movement: uOttawa Chapter. We do this to reflect our better approach to organizing. We do this to stand united with other RSM sections in Montreal, Quebec City, Guelph, Toronto, and even here in Ottawa at Carleton University and Algonquin College. But most of all we do this to show that we are unequivocally in favour of the construction of a pan-Canadian united revolutionary student movement, and that we have full confidence in the process already underway.
We invite everyone that wishes to be part of these efforts to organize themselves and attend the Third National Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students, to be held on March 1-2 in Montreal.
See you in March!