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.