Category Archives: Feminism

Haters still gonna hate

Wingnut sighting! Turns out that Josh Steffler is now deputy leader of the BC Libertarian Party and he’s planning to run in the May 2017 BC election. Have the years mellowed his petulant rage at everyone who is not a white male Libertarian? Apparently not!

This month, Josh is angry at women. Thousands of women, and some men, too. While other provincial politicians came to the Women’s March to shake hands and express support, Steffler stood on the sidelines with members of the alt-right group We Are Change and heckled the marchers.

Josh Steffler (centre) with a sign mocking trans people at the Women's March

Josh Steffler (center) with a sign mocking trans people at the Women’s March in Victoria, January 21 2017. The other side of the sign reads “Grab Life By the Pussy.”

Truly a bold campaign strategy!

Full report and more photos at Anti Racist Action.

Earlier encounters with Josh Steffler and We Are Change:

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Filed under Feminism, Josh Steffler, Misogyny, Politics, Racism, Ryan Elson, transphobia, We Are Change Victoria, Wingnuts, Zoe Blunt

The Courage to Speak Truth to Power

The more we challenge the status quo, the more those with power attack us. Fortunately, social change is not a popularity contest.

Activism is a path to healing from trauma. It’s taking back our power to protect ourselves and our future.

From a spoken-word presentation in Victoria BC, 2009

Thank you for the opportunity to launch my speaking career. Some of you may know me as a writer and an advocate for social and environmental justice. Others may know me as a cat-sitter, odd-jobber, and temp slave. (Laughter)

I knew when I started out as an activist that I would never be a millionaire and I was right. But I have a certain freedom and flexibility that your average millionaire might envy.

The market demand for social justice advocates is huge right now. It’s a growth industry. And the job security is fantastic – there is no shortage of urgent issues demanding our attention. Experience is not necessary, people come to activism at every age and stage in their lives. It’s that easy!

OK, it’s not actually that easy. (Laughter) But it is a fascinating time to be a “radical.”

There is a great tradition of courage and action here on Vancouver Island. There is potential for even greater future action, so we are doing everything we can to nurture that potential. Building community, linking up networks, teaching, learning, coming together, healing – this is all part of the movement.

For most of my adult life, I suffered from social phobia. I was afraid of authority, filled with self-doubt, paralyzed by anxiety. Getting interviewed live on national TV doesn’t make that go away. But hiding under the covers doesn’t cure it either. So my insecurities and I just have to get out there and do our best.

What compels me is the knowledge that we’re rewriting the script – the one that says, “You don’t make a difference. It is what it is, you can’t fight city hall, the big guys always win.” We can remember that we are not powerless. And when we choose to stand up, it is a huge adrenaline rush – bigger than national TV or swinging from a tree top. That’s the reward – that flood of excitement that comes from taking back our power and using it effectively, for the collective good.

It helps to get love letters from friends and strangers who want to thank me for standing up for what’s important, and who get inspired to take action themselves.

But it’s not all warm fuzzies and celebratory toasts. We face backlash and punishment and threats to our lives and safety.

I led a workshop for new activists this year, and I asked them, “Who are your heroes?”

They named a dozen. Gandhi. Martin Luther King. Tommy Douglas. Rosa Parks. These folks led amazing, heroic movements, but our discussion focused on the ferocious backlash they faced. British media reports on Gandhi when he was challenging the monarchy had the same tone as white Southerners responding to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. It was vicious. “Uppity and no-good” were some of the polite terms. They were targeted with hate speech and death threats. We hear the same now about whistleblowers. And feminists and environmentalists. It can be terrifying.

The more we challenge the status quo, the more the entrenched powers attack us. The more effective we are, the more they attack us. As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

The fight for justice and liberation won’t be won by popularity contests.

Every “hero” finds her own way of dealing with the counter-attacks. Some laugh it off. Some pray, some cry on their friends shoulders. Some go on the counter-offensive, some compose songs, some write long academic papers deconstructing their opponents’ logic. The important thing is, they deal with it, and they don’t give up.

We take care of each other as a community. Because we are all so fragile. Because there is so much trauma and despair everywhere and it affects everyone. But inside that despair, in all of us, there is a solid core of love for the earth and the knowledge that we can act in self-defense. That’s where we find strength.

It’s humbling to note that the economic downturn has done more to preserve habitat and stop climate change than all of our conservation efforts of the past years combined. We take responsibility for recycling and turning down the thermostat, but who is responsible for the scale of destruction from the Tar Sands? That project is the equivalent of burning all of Vancouver Island to the ground. It negates everything we could hope to do as individuals to fight climate change.

How do we deal with that horrible reality? I couldn’t, for the first year of the campaign. I didn’t want to look at the pictures and hear the news stories about the water and air pollution and the rates of illness among the Lubicon Cree people. The scale and the horror of it were too great.

I’ve worked on toxics campaigns and I dread them. Old-growth campaigns are inspiring, because where the action is, the forest is still standing – it’s beautiful and magical and we’re defending nature’s cathedral from the bulldozers and chainsaws. The good earth is here, and the evil destructive forces are over there. It’s clearcut, so to speak. But when a toxics campaign is underway, the damage has been done. The landscape is poisoned and people have cancer and spontaneous abortions, and the birds, the fish, the animals, are dead and dying. It is a scene of despair.

If it sounds traumatizing, it is. And we are all traumatized.

Look at this landscape – concrete, pavement, bricks and mortar, toxic chemicals, but underneath, the earth is still there. We have whole ecosystems slashed and burned without so much as a by-your-leave. We’ve lost whole communities of spruce, marmots, murrelets, arbutus, sea otters, and geoducks. These are terrible losses.

And we humans suffer on every level. Is there anyone here who doesn’t know someone who’s had cancer? Who hasn’t seen the damage caused by diseases of civilization? Who here hasn’t been forced to do without for lack of money? Are there any women here who have never been sexually harassed or raped or assaulted?

(Silence)

Something fundamental has been taken from us here. How do we deal with these losses?

I consider myself fortunate because after a lifetime of abuse from my family and male partners, I participated in six months of Trauma Recovery and Empowerment at the Battered Women’s Support Centre in Vancouver.

And I got to know the stages of trauma recovery:
Acknowledge the loss, understand the loss, grieve the loss.

And the stages of grief:
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

These steps are a natural and necessary response to the loss of a loved one, and also to the loss of our humanity and the places we love.

There are people living in national sacrifice zones, people who burn with determination to make change. They are angry, and they have a right to be. I am angry because I’m not dead inside, in spite of all they’ve done to me. Anger is part of the process of grief, and it’s useful. It grabs us by the heart when people are hurting the ones we love.

For me, part of the process is taking action – rejecting helplessness and taking back power. Stopping the bleeding and comforting the wounded.

I fall in love with places and I want to protect them. I fell in love with the Elaho Valley and some of the world’s biggest Douglas Firs in 1997. That forest campaign was a pitched battle, far from the urban centers, against one of the biggest logging companies on the coast at that time.

In the third year of the campaign, I walked into my favourite campsite shaded by majestic cedars. I saw the flagging tape and the clearcut boundaries laid out, and I realized it was all doomed. I could see the end result in my mind’s eye: stumps and slash piles as far as the eye could see, muddy wrecked creeks, a smoldering ruin.

I realized no one was going to come and save this place – not Greenpeace or the Sierra Club, no MP’s private member’s bill, or whatever petition or rally was being planned back in the city. It was as good as gone. All we had to do was stand aside and do nothing, and this incredible, irreplaceable forest would be just a sad memory.

But after that realization, and after the despair that followed, I had a profound sense of liberation. If it is all doomed, then anything we do to resist is positive, right? Anything that stops the logging, even for a minute, or slows it down, or costs the company money, or exposes it to public embarrassment and hurts its market share, is positive – it keeps the future alive for that one more minute, one more hour, one more day. It was a revelation.

Acceptance, for me, meant being able to act to defend the place I loved. It meant standing up to the bullies and refusing to let them take anything more from me.

In the third year of the Elaho campaign, it was just a handful of people rebuilding the blockades, defying the court orders and continuing the resistance. We didn’t quit when the police came, or when we were called “terrorists” and “enemies of BC.” We didn’t quit even after 100 loggers came and burned our camp to the ground and put three people in the hospital.

The attack was a horror show. People were in shock. But a crew was back with a new camp five days later. By then, the raid was national news. And our enemies had nothing left to throw at us. The loggers didn’t know what to do next. Short of killing us, what more could they do?

We had called their bluff.

We didn’t know about the negotiations going on behind the scenes. We didn’t realize that we had already cost the loggers more than they could hope to recoup by logging the entire rest of the valley. (They were operating on very slim profit margins.) We found out when the announcement came that the logging would stop. And it never started again. We won. Now the Elaho Valley is protected by the Squamish Nation — and by provincial legislation — as a Wild Spirit Place.

The violence of the mob showed the level of fear and desperation of the losing side. It was their weapon of last resort and it didn’t work. And they lost.

In the fourth year of the stand for SPAET – the campaign to stop the development and protect the caves, the garry oaks, and the wetlands on Skirt Mountain. We faced the same tactics – we were called “terrorists,” and in 2007, the developers sent 100 goons to rough up people at a small rally. And again, most of our comrades are still in shock. There’s only handful of us still bashing away at the next phase of development.

We are winning. The other side has thrown everything they have at us and they have nothing left.

There are still sacred sites on SPAET. The cave is still there, buried under concrete.

Meanwhile, the developer’s little empire fell apart, either because of our boycott campaign, bad karma, or because it was operating on the slimmest of shady margins. We took the next phase of development to court. Our campaign, and the economic downturn, turned out to be enough to scare off investors and cancel the project, at least for now.

This work is difficult, painful, and traumatic. So the first step to courage is to acknowledge that pain and loss. We need to name what has been taken from us. Then we can cry, and rage, and grieve. We can name the ones who are doing the damage. We can reach down inside and find our core strength and our truth, and use it. That’s where courage comes from.

Martin Luther King said, “Justice shall roll down like waters, righteousness like a mighty stream.” But I’m impatient. I want to see that mighty stream now – what’s the hold-up? What’s holding us back, when there’s so much to do?

We’re not heroes, actually – none of us is smart enough, or tough enough, or connected enough, to take this on alone. We’re don’t have superpowers. We are only human, we struggle and suffer and sometimes, we win.

Some folks assume I have some unique privilege or special power that gives me an edge. Nope. I have material analysis and long-range vision, but sill I’m mostly flailing around on the political landscape, taking potshots when I see an opening. Sometimes it’s intuition, and it pays off. When we are right, it is amazing. When we win, it sets a precedent for the future.

In order for evil to prevail, all that’s required is for good people to do nothing. Don’t be one of those good people.

Activism is part of the healing. It’s taking back our power to protect ourselves and our future.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell these stories today.

(Applause)

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Filed under Environment, Feminism, Hate Mail, Legal Battles, Love Letters, Misogyny, Politics, Zoe Blunt

The Return of the Wingnut

The Wingnut Lawsuit at the House of Solidarity

The Wingnut Lawsuit at the House of Solidarity

Heads up! After a year and a half of sulking, the wingnut is back and stupider than before. I’m in court this month because this Libertarian dude is still trying to sue me for things I wrote on this blog three years ago. He’s not doing a very good job of it.

It started in 2012 when the wingnut and his buddies invited a well-known white supremacist to speak at a rally at the BC Legislature. We showed up to counterprotest. A few of the nuts confronted us and their feelings got hurt.

Now this dude is trying to sue me for libel in Supreme Court. For this round, he’s filed over one thousand pages of documents, plus a half dozen DVDs and minidiscs. Everything I’ve published in the last ten years, my blog, Twitter, everything other people have written about me, private messages hacked from a friend’s email account (luckily mine was more secure), and police reports from all the times he tried to get them to arrest me.

This guy also claims the police should arrest me for “hate crimes” against him as a white male.  I wasn’t aware he had made police complaints until he brought them to the court. It’s astounding.

I’m in court tomorrow. Stay tuned for the report back about the hearing. If the court won’t strike his claim, I will have to go to trial with the loon. I’m representing myself.

—-

UPDATE August 4: the hearing was only half-finished in June. The wingnut has the opportunity to present his side next but so far he won’t confirm a date to do that. My next trick would be compelling him to meet his date with destiny.

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Filed under Feminism, Greg Hill, Legal Battles, Racism, Ryan Elson, Wingnuts

Privileged dudes litmus test

Privilege dudeDealing with male sociopaths in social justice and media collectives

Privilege-denying dudes. They’re everywhere, even in our social justice collectives and alternative media groups. Some are dangerous, some are just enablers. In the last ten years, I’ve probably butted heads with all of them.

Got privilege-denying dudes? It’s not always obvious, because they know the language of anti-oppression. The difference is, they use it to manipulate others and hide their motives. Bad faith is the key indicator that your dude is a privilege-denying piece of shit.

But privilege-denying dudes have their uses. The worst offenders – the violent sociopaths – provide a handy litmus test. They draw out the smarmy suckups who chime in to defend the asshole’s “right” to abuse women. Without this support, the sociopaths wouldn’t be half as successful at what they do.

Simply removing an abuser won’t cure a PDD infestation, because privilege-deniers quickly turn any group into a political wasteland dedicated to preserving the patriarchal status quo above all else. Sometimes, it’s just better to walk away.

The litmus test instantly shows whether your sincere-sounding dude is actually a sexist jerkoff, and whether your white-male-dominated collective deserves another minute of your time.

In Vancouver, my litmus test was this misogynist woman-beater who stalked me for about a year. He came to my workplace, he came to my volunteer gigs, he would appear suddenly on the street and tackle me. I wasn’t the only one he attacked; several of us were getting the same treatment around the same time.

After the third or fourth time the stalker knocked me down, my world divided in two. Places where he was banned (there were several), I could relax and hang out. Places where he was welcome, I had to avoid. I started carrying a weapon everytime I left the house. I was wound tight, watching for him, waiting for him to hit me again. I was pissed right off.

It was no secret this guy was going around attacking women. He did it in public places, in front of lots of witnesses, and the women he attacked complained loudly. But the privilege-denying dudes who acted like they were in charge of certain social justice and media groups did nothing when he showed up.

One group of privileged dudes explained to me that their hands were tied. There was nothing they could do about the stalker. They couldn’t exclude him, because that would violate his rights. This is an inclusive space, they assured me. We can’t exclude people. But if you don’t feel comfortable, you can leave. I did.

In another collective, the alpha males went out of their way to enable the stalker. They invited him to meetings and to a large public event where I was volunteering. I will never forget their faces when the stalker showed up and made a beeline right to me. They enjoyed it. They watched every move, grinning and baring their teeth. They taunted me and egged him on. That was enough of that; I was out of there.

In a way, I should be grateful to that stalker. If it wasn’t for him, I might still be working with those ignorant suckholes. The stalker is a sociopath, and I don’t expect anything better from him. But it was a shock to witness men I thought of as comrades shitting all over me and the other women in the collective. (The stalker started harassing them too, and they all left soon after I did.)  Solidarity, for these assholes, meant using women however they liked, and mocking us when we complained.

Fast-forward to now: A 66-year-old political candidate was convicted of sexually assaulting a young teen. This creep has a huge hate-on for me because I told the world about his criminal record. So I’ve made him my new litmus test.

A self-styled “media activist” in Victoria invites me to work as a volunteer fundraiser for  “his” collective. When I ask, media dude says the creep isn’t a group member yet, but he’s welcome to join anytime he wants. It wouldn’t be ethical to exclude him, you see.

What about adopting policies to protect volunteers? No, no, never mind that – what dude-man really wants to hear is more about the harassment, please. Dates, times, witnesses, detailed descriptions of exactly what the creep said and did, and physical evidence (tape recordings, if possible). He needs to know all this so he can judge me. It’s for my own good. After all, he explains, I’m probably just paranoid. And if I’m so afraid of the creep, why don’t I just call the police? I tell him to fuck off and find someone else to exploit.

A longtime peace activist at a mini-conference in Vancouver explains that they hired the creep before they knew he raped a child. But they can’t exclude him now – it’s illegal to discriminate against people, you know. Does the peace group have a human-rights policy? A safe-space policy? Any procedures to address harassment? No, they don’t.

This activist isn’t a dude – she’s a woman in her 60s. Surprise!

By her logic, if Baby Doc Duvalier shows up, she’s obligated to let him join. If the Young Conservatives, StormFront and the entire Canadian Armed Forces want to participate in this peace group, they would be welcome too. Right, dudette?

It’s frustrating to explain the blindingly obvious to someone who should know better, but I’m giving it the old school try:

What I’m hearing from your letter is that you believe the group can’t “legally” exclude someone they would prefer not to work with. But any group, non-profit, club, committee, or ad hoc organization has the right to choose who to admit as volunteers and who to exclude. It is not discrimination to say “we don’t want to work with someone who raped a child and harassed another woman.”

Associations like [this peace group] are run on mutual-aid principles by like-minded people, and much of the work revolves around making principled decisions about which individuals, groups, and causes to support.

The courts have long held that “collegial” groups like yours have this right. In fact that’s a major purpose of such groups — to bring together like-minded people. It might be helpful to discuss this point with a lawyer or human rights advocate if it is not clear.

I follow up with the suggestion that “inclusion” means creating spaces and policies that support diversity and human rights, not providing a safe haven for creeps. That was five months ago. I’m still waiting for a response.

At this point, I have some questions for the privileged dudes (and dudettes): What the hell do you think we’re here for? Is this a social justice movement or a mutual admiration society? Is our movement so desperate that you need to recruit any sexist idiot and child-molesting dirtbag who comes along? Aren’t you concerned that this predator might be using you to find more victims? Are you so afraid of rocking the boat that you won’t even try to protect your own volunteers? What kind of “activists” are you?

Have you heard of the global war on women? Are you aware that hundreds of thousands of women are murdered by husbands, fathers, boyfriends, and strangers every year? Did you know that millions more women and girls are raped, molested, and terrorized? That gender violence is a weapon of war and social control? Do you believe that peace and justice includes peace and justice for women too?

Do you think being “nice” and “inclusive” is going to stop this shit? It won’t. You know what stops it? Stopping it. Let me show you how.

——————-

Dudes who feel the need to jump in with a privilege-denying comeback should consider the following:

1.      Dude, I don’t give a fuck if I’ve offended you. I really don’t.

2.      Don’t tell me I’m giving feminists a bad name. In fact, don’t tell me anything about feminism, jackass.

3.      I don’t need to forgive anyone, and I’m not going to apologize. The abusers are the ones who need to apologize — to me, and to their other  victims. Until they demonstrate some real remorse and a change in attitude, they’re my enemies.

4.      I’m not going to shut up about this bullshit, ever.

From Vancouver Media Coop, January 2011.

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When is it OK for social justice groups to exclude people?

It’s a recurring debate. Should progressive groups be allowed to block people for ideological or other reasons? Aren’t we supposed to be inclusive and open to everyone? The old-boys club, ivory tower, gatekeeper mentality is what we’re fighting, right?

This question is often phrased as a demand by those insisting on inclusion.

Take the angry racist dudes who were asked to leave an Occupy camp in a public square. They were furious at being called out and retaliated with accusations that organizers were violating their rights and discriminating against them as white males. Are their complaints legit?

Or how about Len Barrie, developer of Bear Mountain resort and destroyer of SPAET’s caves? Long before he became the most-hated developer on Vancouver Island, he was kicked out of the Royal Colwood Golf Club for bad behaviour. Barrie’s subsequent lawsuit claimed as long as he pays his dues, he should have the benefits of the club. The club violated his rights, he said, and he demanded reinstatement and damages. Was he right?

The thing is, when ideological adversaries insist on joining an advocacy group, the resulting conflicts can tear it apart. The anti-Occupy dudes harassed women, picked fights about “white rights,” and verbally abused those who disagreed with them. They escalated the situation to the point that general assemblies turned into shouting matches. But the other campers got together and threw the angry dudes out. Once that was done, the campers were able to put the conflict behind them and move on with their shared goals.

We don’t just have the right, we have the responsibility to bar people who would disrupt and derail our work. The concept is a long-standing principle of natural justice, one that is upheld by the courts and by federal law.

Advocacy groups like social justice organizations are based on shared values of mutual aid and solidarity. Every day we make principled decisions about what events and groups to support or oppose. The same goes for political parties. The New Democrats are not obligated to accept Young Conservatives. Peace groups don’t have to allow military recruiters in the door. If it were otherwise, no one would get anything done – they would just be crashing each others’ parties.

Similarly, private clubs and informal networks are based on mutual respect and camaraderie, as well as shared goals and ideals.

Mind you, those who feel they’re being discriminated against have legal recourse, like filing a human-rights complaint. And here’s what they’ll learn: they don’t have the right to be part of a non-profit group they clash with. If the purpose of the group is to advocate for indigenous rights, for example, the members are obliged to put indigenous people first, even to the extent of excluding others.

The Canadian Human Rights Act is a federal statute enacted by Parliament in 1977. Section 41 states:

If a charitable, philanthropic, educational, fraternal, religious or social organization or corporation that is not operated for profit has as a primary purpose the promotion of the interests and welfare of an identifiable group or class of persons characterized by a physical or mental disability or by a common race, religion, age, sex, marital status, political belief, colour, ancestry or place of origin, that organization or corporation must not be considered to be contravening this Code because it is granting a preference to members of the identifiable group or class of persons.

In the case of private or for-profit clubs, like Barrie’s, the law is equally clear. In his decision on Barrie v. Royal Colwood Golf Club (2001 BCSC 1181), Justice Edwards ruled:

[Quoting Lee v. Showmens Guild] “In the case of social clubs, the rules usually empower the committee to expel a member who, in their opinion, has been guilty of conduct detrimental to the club, and this is a matter of opinion and nothing else. The courts have no wish to sit on appeal from their decisions on such a matter any more than from the decisions of a family conference. They have nothing to do with social rights or social duties.”

In short, the courts are reluctant to reinstate a member of a social club when other members have decided that member has acted in a manner unbecoming a member, for the obvious reason that a club must be collegial.

In social clubs, goodwill among the members is important and the opportunity for cordial relations among members is a primary reason for these clubs’ existence.

Barrie lost his case because he lost the respect of his fellow club members. He behaved like a jerk, destroyed property, and lied about it. The judge noted that even if he ordered the club to take Barrie back, they would throw him out again, and rightly so.

Of course, a group that exercises its right to make such decisions may be subject to harsh criticism. Whites-only groups – and there are many – are correctly labeled “white supremacist” for excluding people of colour. The angry dudes were less accurate in calling Occupiers “fascist” and “racist” when the campers refused to accommodate their white-supremacist agenda.

There’s an obvious difference between those two examples. White supremacists want to keep oppressed groups down. Occupy supports oppressed groups rising up. One seeks social justice, the other a return to greater structural inequality.

The bottom line: Organizations that are united for a common goal, for camaraderie, or for the interests of a particular group, can’t be compelled to admit those who don’t fit their purpose. So if people don’t like you or don’t share your principles, you have no legal right to force them to accept you into their non-profit group or private club. You don’t have the right to crash their party. This concept applies across the board to everyone – all-black sororities, the Communist Party, men’s support groups, and radical feminist organizations. And it always has.

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Neo-Nazis hate me

ARA logoAnd the feeling is mutual!

This week, a neo-Nazi group, United Front Canada, is publicly calling for new members to start chapters in Victoria BC, as well as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto.

And I’m here to get in the way. So Anti White Watch, a white supremacist blog, labels me “leader of the anti white gang Anti Racist Action,” “dyke,” “tranny” and more hilarious insults. In other words, these are the literally some of the worst people in the world.

The good news is the author advertises our Anti Racist Action group.
Anti white watch hates meNice photo! (I won’t be returning the favour and linking to their page though, because racist blogs have cyber-cooties.)

This is the first time in Victoria I’ve run across actual neo-Nazis, as opposed to run-of-the-mill white supremacists and racists. United Front’s platform is based on Hitler’s Third Reich, right down to the swastika-style cross. It’s a modern-day throwback to the National Socialist Party of 1930s Germany. So it’s a neo-Nazi fringe group. (I’m using the word “group” loosely. It’s a safe bet these two websites are run by one miserable white dude in a suburban basement.)

White supremacy is a broader and more pervasive philosophy. The Wiki says:

White supremacy is the belief of, and/or promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore whites should politically dominate non-whites. The term is also used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial dominance of whites.[1] Different forms of white supremacy have different conceptions of who is considered white, and different white supremacist identify various groups as their primary enemy.[2]

The term white supremacy is used in academic studies of racial power to denote a system of structural racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred. Legal scholar Frances Lee Ansley explains this definition as follows:

By “white supremacy” I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.[8][9]

The term expresses historic continuities between a pre-Civil Rights era of open white supremacism and the current racial power structure of the United States. It also expresses the visceral impact of structural racism through “provocative and brutal” language that characterizes racism as “nefarious, global, systemic, and constant.”[14] Academic users of this term sometimes prefer it to racism because it allows for a disconnection between racist feelings and white racial advantage or privilege.[15][16]

Manypolitics does a brilliant job of illustrating the distinctions with real-life examples in “An Open Letter to WAC Victoria and Others Who Equate Racism with Prejudice.”

And now, please enjoy some old-school anti-Nazi moves.

Earlier encounters with angry racists in Victoria:

Nazi Punks

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How to oppress white dudes

The feminist guide to taking over the world and enslaving the males (UPDATED)

When women speak out on sexism and male violence, we deal with the consequences. Men retaliate by stalking, harassing, and threatening us for the crime of being feminist (or just female) in public. The most common accusation from “men’s-rights” reactionaries is that feminists have all the power in the world. We’re the real haters, and we’re stealing away men’s rights and freedoms and everything they enjoy.

Confession time: IT’S TRUE.

We know men are inferior, suitable only for slave labour, cannon fodder, and forced breeding. Our worldwide feminist domination plan has five secret weapons to keep them in their place and slap them down when they get uppity.

Secret Weapon #1. Name the behaviour. Whether it’s misogyny, homophobia, racism, or ableism, calling it out will cause the target male’s brain to explode.

For a privileged dude, a woman who publicly disagrees with him or calls him out is committing a human rights violation equivalent to being castrated and curb-stomped by a platoon of hairy-legged lesbians. The mildest insults fester for months. (We know this because they never shut up about it.) This tactic works with total strangers on Twitter just as well as close relatives and significant others. Such is the power of feminist words!

Secret Weapon #2: Use the web to block those cocks. If they email you, activate the spam filter. If they post rude notes on your page, delete and block them. If they overrun your favourite sites, kill-file them. If they threaten you, report them. The beta-males will howl that such brutal censorship is the worst jackbooted fascism since Hitler. They are right, of course. But this way we don’t scuff the shine on our new jackboots.

Phone calls? Block ’em. Street harassment and stalking? Get your posse together. “Men’s-rights activists” (MRAs) are cowards and they won’t approach a group of women who are ready for them. The worst they’re likely to do is shout from a safe distance and flee. Later they will cry on Facebook about being “gang-stalked.” Enjoy the delicious irony and the sweet taste of their rage-tears.

Secret Weapon #3: Disengage. Withholding your support and approval is vicious and deliberate sabotage of the male ego. I have this straight from a former stalker, a non-profit director who believed I “owed” him my volunteer time after he hounded me out of his group and out of his life. When I informed his board of directors, the dude had a breakdown and resigned soon after. (Hey, I warned him.)

When angry dudes can’t engage with you, the impotent rage builds up until they melt down in a messy pile of burning hate, while you go clubbing with your gal pals or jet off to Europe for the Secret Worldwide Matriarchal Domination Society’s annual orgy.

Secret Weapon #4: Mock them. (This is the best part.)

Secret Weapon #5:
Provoke them. For feminists, it’s simple to provoke sexist jerks. Just existing will usually do it. But if openly walking around being awesome doesn’t cause them to self-destruct and the above tactics don’t apply, try these:

– dressing sexy
– not dressing sexy
– being feminine
– being unfeminine
– being a slut
– being celibate
– being progressive
– being conservative
– having personal boundaries
– getting on TV or radio
– blogging
– commenting online

Finally, ladies, remember: Organize. In your communities, with your neighbours, in your friendship networks. Don’t let them silence you. Don’t let them shame you. Push back. Operation Global Feminist Domination will topple the feeble patriarchal system that props up these impotent males!

UPDATE: We have a winner!

In case you thought I might be exaggerating about dudes who lose their shit when women speak out, let me present Libertarian dude Greg Hill, a “Young Entrepreneur” in Victoria, BC.

Hill is not opposed to free speech! HOWEVER, the affidavit he filed in BC Supreme Court says this very post you’re reading right now is a hate crime against him as a white dude. I’m not even making this up.

Behold Hill’s affidavit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. (Click to view full-size.)

Greg Hill affidavit in Supreme Court of British Columbia
(Tracie Park is my legal name.)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Earlier encounters with the angry dudes of Victoria, Canada

Hate Mail from Haters

The Judge Should Arrest Me for Calling this Dingbat a Racist

Turfing Out the Racists


With thanks to A.D Song and Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous for their inspirational essay How to Be A “Reverse-Racist”.

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Filed under Feminism, Greg Hill, Hate Mail, Misogyny, Politics, Wingnuts, Zoe Blunt

Turfing out the Racists

Originally published in the People’s Voice January 2013

VICTORIA BC – Anti-racist organizers report they have won several skirmishes with a "conspiracy cult" linked to US patriot and militia organizations. Anti-Racist Action says members of a group called We Are Change Victoria (WAC) began sparring with social justice activists and the People's Assembly (Occupy Victoria) over a year ago.

WAC is part of a North American network loosely connected to US radio host Alex Jones, the Libertarian Party, the militia movement and patriot groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11, chemtrails, gun control, human rights law, climate-change denial, and Holocaust denial.

In Victoria, WAC members joined the Occupy movement soon after it began, but they split over angry disagreements about the camp's stance on social justice and indigenous rights. Later, WAC members disrupted meetings, denounced the movement, and launched an online harassment campaign targeting women and trans activists, and anyone they considered an organizer.

A year later, in October 2012, WAC “activist” Josh Steffler announced that Doug Christie, Canada's best-known white supremacist, would address their rally on the BC Legislature lawn. Anti-Racist Action called for a counter-protest and blew the whistle on the event. Ultimately, Christie didn't show and some of the other speakers stayed away as well. Fewer than a dozen people attended the rally.

It was not a proud day for WAC. As volunteers set up the sound system for the speakers, three angry "free speech advocates" crossed the Legislature lawn to confront the counter-protestors picketing on the sidewalk 150 meters away. The shouting match that ensued drew the attention of nearby police officers. The WACkos demanded the arrest of the counter-protestors, but instead the cops sent the wingnuts scurrying back to the stage with their tails between their legs. The counter-protestors spent the rest of the afternoon handing flyers to passers-by and explaining why they were protesting WAC's racism and sexism.

A month later, ARA confronted WAC at its hangout, a downtown diner where the group held well-advertised but poorly-attended weekly meetings. ARA called for a meetup at the same diner and dozens responded. They filled every table and the wingnuts were turfed out before they could get in the door.

Since then, WAC no longer advertises its events or meeting locations. Its only response to the controversy is a Youtube video. Speaking for the group, Steffler, a failed Esquimalt city council candidate, blames the conflict on "Bolsheviks" who are the "real racists."

More recently, members of WAC were harassing a Victoria environmental activist in an effort to suppress photos of the October confrontation and take down her websites. Now one WACko is embroiled in an ugly Supreme Court battle that he is bound to lose.

Anti-Racist Action has four points of unity:

1. We go where they go. Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we're there. We don't believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the Nazis have the street!

2. We don't rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us. This doesn't mean we never go to court, but the cops uphold white supremacy and the status quo. They attack us and everyone who resists oppression. We must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists.

3. Non-sectarian defence of other anti-fascists. In ARA, we have a lot of different groups and individuals. We don't agree about everything and we have a right to differ openly. But in this movement an attack on one is an attack on us all. We stand behind each other.

4. We support abortion rights and reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-immigrant, anti-indigenous sovereignty, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people. We want a classless, free society. We intend to win!

Anti-Racist Action Victoria's Facebook page.

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Filed under Feminism, Hate Mail, Josh Steffler, Legal Battles, Misogyny, Politics, Racism, Ryan Elson, transphobia, We Are Change Victoria, Wingnuts, Zoe Blunt

Hate mail from my lover

124 signs of an abusive relationship

After five years, maybe it’s time to burn those old letters.

We hadn’t been together long when Mister Ex started picking fights with me. Shouting and raging. Then one night he got really mad and shoved me into a wall. I left him. Then I started putting together the list.

It was therapeutic. Soon I was able to breathe and think again. He was sending long angry letters. That’s how the list started. Looking at the letters and thinking about how someone could say those things to a lover. How someone could think that was OK.

He tried to convince me to come back. He would promise and plead. Then the insults again. This time, I agreed with him. “You’re right,” I’d say. “I am an awful woman and a terrible person. You obviously deserve better, so I’m setting you free to find your soulmate.” That enraged him. (Everything enraged him.) The list grew longer.

Months later, he showed up at my door to demand that I move back in and accept him on his own terms, or else. I said no. I showed him the list. He blew up and ordered me to destroy it. I didn’t.

The list was done. I moved and left no forwarding address. I boxed up his letters and locked them in the cabinet under the basement stairs with the spiders. Today they’re going into the fire. Continue reading

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Filed under Feminism, Hate Mail