On 12 November 2012, MRA London staged a protest at the Pankhurst Statue next to the Houses of Parliament in London in order to provide an alternative perspective on history.
This was not a protest against female suffrage—far from it. We believe in equality between men and women, equal rights and equal responsibilities. For a discussion and supporting video of this alternative perspective, see our recent article on this.
In brief, the event was intended to raise awareness of the following historical truths…
- At the time Pankhurst was actively campaigning, most men did not have the vote—only wealthy men with property did. Nearly a million British men died in the trenches of the First World War, many millions more were maimed and disfigured. The overwhelming majority of these did not have the vote, yet we no-longer seem to feel that this is relevant.
- Emmeline and her daughter, Christabel Pankhurst, demanded the vote not for all, not even for all women, but only for wealthy women such as themselves.
- The campaign of intimidation, violence and arson they waged is glorified by the establishment today—nothing less than crass hypocrisy and should be seen as such.
- At the time, there was widespread opposition to the suffragettes because of their use of arson and violence, and because the working classes were excluded from their proposals.
- And finally, the suffragettes were among those who handed white feathers to males not in uniform, including teenage boys as young as 16, to coerce them into enlisting in war that would kill millions. This has been quietly forgotten.
At the time, another Pankhurst daughter, Sylvia, wrote in her chronicle…
“Mrs. Pankhurst toured the country, making recruiting speeches. Her supporters handed the white feather to every young man they encountered wearing civilian dress, and bobbed up at Hyde Park meetings with placards: “Intern Them All.”
Shame on you Mrs. Pankhurst! We’d like to propose that the 12th of November become known as White Feather Day.