MRA London descended on the London Irish Center yesterday for a rather impromptu protest over the planned Radfem 2013 conference in June. In fact, we arrived just as the Irish Centre management were holding a project meeting in the bar area of their venue—rather considerate of them, we felt. They did seem to mind a little, however, when we decided to join in their meeting.
|The London Irish Center|
During the ensuring commotion, I kindly presented them with a copy of “Protecting Charities from Harm, Guidelines for trusties from the UK Charities Commission“, and as politely I could manage (not my strong point to be honest) suggested that they read it with regard to Radfem.
Our protest happened after I got all fired up after discovering that Radfem, the pro-violence radical feminist group who advocate eugenics for male population control and much much worse, had booked the conference center for their annual event. (Last year’s Radfem conference planned at Conway Hall was aborted after the conference center declined the booking when they realized what they were taking on.) In the space of a couple of hours, I had knocked out some very fiery articles on MRA London and A Voice for Men, and as an after-thought, I rang one of our guys to see what he thought. To my surprise, he suggested a protest the very next day with who ever we could get to turn up at such short notice.
|“Why don’t we talk outside?”|
That morning, with little in the way of a plan, I ran off a some documents from the printer along with some leaflets I had hurriedly threw together the night before, and set off for London armed with a camera. By 11:00 AM I was sitting in the Irish Center, drinking latte and praying that I wouldn’t be the only one to turn up. I wasn’t—I needn’t have worried.
One of the documents I printed included the Protecting Charities from Harm Compliance Toolkit Guildelines and it was a last minute decision to hand it to them. Yes, this was a highly impromtu protest, but it is so important that we stop standing on the sidelines and begin to…
Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes
|Protecting Charities from Harm|
Personally, I found I was actually quite good at that bit.
But thing is, doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing. We are starting from scratch, and we not experienced campaigners or political agitators. Rather, we are simply men and women who have woken up and are willing to stand up and take the first steps necessary in effecting direct action over issues that are of extreme importance for our society. With each protest we do, we develop the skills, strategies and numbers needed to be more effective. We know that we are giving heart to countless people who have never had their concerns listened to, having always been shouted down or dismissed. We represent a nascent ability to respond and have our voice heard, and we can only grow stronger.
For what it’s worth, I don’t actually believe we have any right to shut-down an event, such as Radfem 2013, simply because we disagree with certain views, even if such views are extreme. We would actually prefer for the Radfem conference to go ahead and to attend the damn thing! That way we could take notes and record video, and publish what was went on there so that everyone can see judge for themselves. I would suggest that it should be a matter of concern that the organizers of Radfem 2013 regard such openness as a threat. (In any case, issues of personal safety aside, I could not attend the Radfem conference — they exclude me because of my sex.)
It is not lost on me that the London Irish Center must be wondering what kind of polarized alien landscape they have blindly wandered into with this. But then, the UK Charities Commission did provide a little guidebook for them which would have come in very handy, had they read it.
And for anyone reading about MRA London for the first time, contrary to any misconceptions, our group comprises both men and women and we are mixed race. In fact, I would judge that between 10% and 30% of the wider men’s human rights movement are women, some of whom are quite vocal. We are not homophobic—again, our own group contains two gay men, including the founder of MRA London who attended the protest.
We are entirely inclusive, unlike Radfem which is open only to women (although they no longer seem to publicly state that members must be “women born and living as women.”) We are not “a bunch of misogynists”, we don’t want to “turn the clock back” or to “rape women” or to “put women behind any kitchen sink” or any other such nonsense.
We are people who are prepared to stand up for the human worth of all human beings, irrespective of sex, and we do this simply because we have come to the conclusion that somebody must.
There is a personal upside to all this, however. I became involved in men’s human rights, not knowing what to expect, and with nothing to gain other than the experience of engaging in life again.
And by God, this is living!
|MRA London finds a new recruit on the way home!|
Over the last year or so, after dispensing with my former existence, I have never felt so fulfilled and engaged. It has been a privilege to find such colorful friends amongst those who have the necessary integrity to reject society’s bullshit and are willing to put their neck on the line for the things that really matter.
Win or lose, I have made my choice.
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