Category Archives: Zoe Blunt

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 the 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 vision, some over-arching game plan, some magic power that gives me an edge. Nope. Most of the time I am just 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

Battleground BC

Protect the land and each other when push comes to shove

In every part of the province, industry is laying waste to huge areas of wilderness – unceded indigenous land – for mining, fracking, oil, and hydroelectric projects. This frenzy of extraction is funneling down to the port cities of the Pacific and west to China.

BC's gas projects

BC’s gas projects. Click for a full-size image. Courtesy of Watershed Sentinel.

In 2014, Prime Minister Harper stripped away all legal recourse for environmental defense by signing a new resource trade agreement with China that trumps Canadian and local laws and indigenous rights. Not even a new government has the power to change this agreement for 31 years.

For mainstream environmental groups (and my lawyers, who were in the middle of a Supreme Court challenge to the trade agreement when Harper pre-empted them), it is a total rout. We are used to losing, but not like this.

The only light on the horizon is the rise of direct resistance. BC’s long history of large-scale grassroots action (and effective covert sabotage) is the foundation of this radical resurgence.

But the question hangs over us like smoke from an approaching wildfire. How to stop it? The courts are hogtied. The law has no power. The people have no agency. This government simply brushes them aside and carries on. We get it. We’ve had our faces rubbed in it.

no%20access%20skull%20sign.png

This is activist failure. The phase of the movement when most of the public is already on side, when we have filed all the lawsuits, taken to the streets in every city, overflowed every public hearing, and uttered every legal threat we can muster – and the end result is they are bulldozing this province from the tarsands straight to the coast.

This is the moment when we can expect activists, especially mainstream enviros, to become demoralized and quit. Or start on a campaign of self-delusion: Green groups are casting about for a strategy that will allow their donors to maintain false hope in a democratic solution. Election campaigns, for example. Some are still trying to raise money for legal challenges that were overruled by the treaty with China.

unistoten%20rise%20for%20tomorrow%20.jpg

But small cadres are preparing the second phase of the resistance. Indigenous groups are reclaiming territory and blocking development at remote river crossings, on strategic access roads, and in crucial mountain passes. Urban cells are locking down to gates, vandalizing corporate offices, and organizing street takeovers.

It’s a good start. But now we have to look at how to be effective against powerful adversaries with the full weight of the law and the police on their side. How will we protect the land and each other, when push comes to shove?

The new rules don’t change our strategy to bring down the enemy: kick them in the bottom line. The resource sector will wind tighter as competition to feed China intensifies. Or conversely, we expect the industry will become even more desperate as demand and prices fall. Profits are slim enough to start with – made up in volume – and investors are jittery already.

Either way, it’s a fight to the death.

We urge our allies to heed the lessons of history. We don’t win by giving in or turning on each other. Tenacity, focus, flexibility, and diversity of tactics will turn back the invaders.

Celebrate the warriors. Raise that banner now, and we’ll find out soon enough who’s with us, and who’s looking to appease our new dictators.

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Outside Voice

Zoe on mike

Something happened this year. I realized my voice is bigger than me. I saw that it has a life beyond me. It’s more than my lips and vocal cords making the sounds. It contains more than my breath. It’s not really mine at all.

Something opened up and let the wind in. It pours in like a mountain stream through my chest. It rushes through my throat and bursts out uncontrolled. It’s a message.

This just happened recently. Growing up, I kept quiet and choked back words. But I also learned to sing. As the years went by, I stayed small and runty, but my voice got bigger and wider.

I first witnessed this voice power last summer when a friend was singing. I saw his voice coming out, and it had a force and a shape of its own. I was amazed. I’m beginning to understand.

This voice of mine compels me to say things that need to be said, whatever the consequences. Because this voice is bigger than me and it won’t back down. It won’t let me back down. I have to deliver the message regardless of the cost or trouble.

Even if I wanted to stop, the voice won’t let me. There’s a physical force pushing me. I can feel it between my shoulder blades. I hear it saying that I’m here to bear witness and say what needs to be said. That’s the promise I made.

So my voice makes me a target. I feel that heat, but I welcome it. It means I’m doing my job. The voice was heard. And I’m grounded like a lightning rod. Every attack on me is an attack deflected from someone who might be more vulnerable. Not that I’m super-sturdy all the time, but the good loving people around keep me rooted and upright.

Knowing my friends, and being with all of you, is a huge burst of positive energy. When we come together for a common purpose, we’re a force of nature. Our voices converge like a mighty river. Thank you for bearing witness.

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BC’s Summer of Sabotage

Sabotage in BC. (c) 2014 Georgia Straight Thirty years ago, Paul Watson and a handful of tree-huggers spiked hundreds of trees on Grouse Mountain, just north of Vancouver.

Twenty years ago, Watson and others spiked 20,000 trees in Clayoquot Sound. Arsonists destroyed two logging-road bridges.

Fourteen years ago near Whistler, unknown “elves” wrecked machinery and spiked hundreds of trees in an active logging area along the Elaho River.

This is the story of the Elaho Valley, summer 2000 – the summer of sabotage.

Six months after this broadcast, the logging company that was trying to clearcut the Elaho Valley gave up and left. Now this cathedral forest is protected as a Wild Spirit Place by the Squamish First Nation.

More about the Elaho Valley campaign.

CREDITS: Zoe Blunt (spoken word) Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung (music). Produced by Green Monkey Radio and Coop Radio, CFRO 102.7 FM, Vancouver BC, August 15 2000.

Sims Creek, Elaho Valley

Sims Creek, Elaho Valley: Preserved forever as a Wild Spirit Place. Photo: Western Canada Wilderness Committee.

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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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Earth Day, money, and power

When a Peace Valley volunteer broadcast a call for a counter-protest at Victoria’s Earth Day festival, I had to find out why. Here’s my report.

Creatively United for the PlanetVictoria photographer Frances Litman had a vision: A weekend-long Earth Day festival. Not a protest, not a rally, she tells me – a “celebration” with happy people, environmental groups, vendors, and musicians coming together for the planet.

Litman set up a non-profit group, and in 2012 she and her crew hosted the first annual Creatively United for the Planet (CUP) festival in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria BC. The fest was a success, with only a small glitch – some events were scheduled for the same day and time as Victoria’s Earth Walk, then in its 31st year. But that was worked out; the schedules were re-jigged to minimize overlap and reduce wear and tear on eco-groups trying to divide their volunteer time between two venues.

In 2012, Earth Walk was suffering for lack of volunteers and running on a shoestring budget. Every year, on the Saturday before Earth Day, Earth Walk drew almost a thousand people (five thousand in its heyday) to celebrate with environmental groups, vendors and musicians. Like CUP, organizers wanted a festival, not a protest. And so it was for three decades.

This year, the Earth Walk volunteers have packed it in. They folded up their tent, and Earth Walk will join the better-organized and -funded CUP. No rally at the BC Legislature is planned. This time, the walk starts from Centennial Square at noon Saturday April 20 and ends at St. Ann’s Academy, where the CUP festival takes place.

CUP gets part of its funding from big-name sponsors like the Bank of Montreal and BC Hydro. The power company’s sponsorship sparked the second glitch.

The Peace Valley Environment Association has waged a long-running campaign against BC Hydro and its controller, the government of BC. So far, they’re winning – pickets and petitions have prevented the massive Site C Dam power project from breaking ground in the Peace region of northeast BC.

Earlier this year, CUP told PVEA it was not welcome at the festival. Litman says this was a misunderstanding. When a PVEA volunteer criticized the BC Hydro $2500 sponsorship, saying CUP “sold out,” Litman says she replied, “If you feel that way, then maybe you shouldn’t come.”

Andrea Morrison, coordinator of PVEA, disputes that account. She says BC Hydro was calling the shots. “They looked at the list [of CUP participating groups] and saw PVEA and said, ‘We would give you the money, if they’re not allowed to participate.'”

Litman says other groups advised her to “take the money and run.”

“We needed the money but I was torn about the source. We said to Hydro ‘Look, we don’t support what you’re doing [at Site C and elsewhere], we’re not happy.'” On the other hand, Litman likes the PowerSmart program, which she says “at least makes people think about the environment and sustainability.”

Either way, Morrison and Litman agree the issue is resolved, at the cost of a few ruffled feathers. PVEA will have a table, as it did last year. Litman emphasizes again that there will be “no rallies” and “no protests” at CUP. “This is a friendly event. We don’t want angry people. We’re celebrating. It’s through positivity that we’re making change.”

The CUP organizer says she was caught off guard by criticism over the way the issue was handled, and she has some choice words for other environmentalists. “What’s this – attacking people without going to the source?” she complained. “I thought the environmental movement was my community.”

“This festival is my vision,” Litman says. “If other people don’t like it, well, I’m sorry. You’re not doing the work.”

“We need people to show up and not be pointing fingers,” Litman says. “People don’t want to see in-fighting.”

That kerfuffle is settled, but more questions have been raised about lack of diversity. Specifically, a lack of indigenous people. There are no Turtle Island natives or even any mention of First Nations on the schedule.

Litman says she is arranging for a blessing from a local Elder. But some indigenous activists may not be satisfied with what they consider “token” representation in the midst of a burgeoning indigenous arts and culture scene on Vancouver Island.

Oddly, CUP is listed as an event on the Idle No More official events website. Litman can’t say how the event came to be there, but says she will ask one of the board members.

“While we support them [Idle No More] this festival is not the right time or place,” Litman says. She wants me to get the message out that “we welcome everyone in peace and this is not a protest.”

Mainstream environmental groups have plenty of baggage when it comes to disrespecting indigenous people and perpetuating neo-colonial attitudes. Earth Walk, for example, put little effort into partnering with indigenous people before 2012. Greenpeace has earned the enmity of indigenous groups it “sold out” with the Great Bear Rainforest compromise. There are dozens more examples.

Litman says if we want a vibrant environmental movement, we need to roll up our sleeves and make it happen. I agree. If we want a grassroots, independently-funded, fully inclusive movement, we will have to build it, together with our allies. It’s time to break our allegiance to the dominant corporate culture that’s brought the planet to the brink of catastrophe. It’s time to give back to the earth and support indigenous-led campaigns for environmental justice.

Creatively United for the Planet runs April 19-21 at St. Ann’s Academy. Festival admission is free. Ticketed events include speakers, films, and a fashion show. I’m told the festival organizers will be welcomed by Songhees elder Joan Morris and traditional songs and dances by the Esquimalt Dancers. The counter-protest is not expected to go forward.

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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

Watching the Detectives

Undercover surveillance in Vancouver from the 1980s to 2006
April 2005

I was heading out my front door on a sunny spring afternoon, thinking only of catching the next bus downtown, when an overwhelming sense of dread nearly stopped me in my tracks. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I looked around and realized I was surrounded by plainclothes police officers, and they were watching me.

Three shiny SUVs with dark windows were lurking outside my apartment in a quiet Vancouver suburb. Inside the nearest, a clean-cut man wearing dark glasses was in the driver’s seat, staring at me. I turned to find a man in his early forties walking toward me on the sidewalk. Pasty face, navy blue suit, black shoes,  Ray-Bans and a Tom Selleck moustache: all that was missing was the badge. The agent was carrying two cups of coffee from the McDonald’s two blocks away. Glancing up, he caught my eye. His mouth dropped open and he flinched, almost spilling the hot coffee. Then he lowered his eyes, clenched his jaw, and strode briskly past. I stared after him.

It was Tuesday, April 19th, 2005, and I made it to the bus stop on time, the agents following. I was convinced they were ready to bundle me into the back of one of the SUVs for a joyride to some unknown destination. I was thinking: “Shit! I’m going to jail! I’m going to miss work! Do I know any lawyers I can call?”

I should mention that I’m not involved with any underground groups. I’ve never been accused or questioned about any serious crime. I’m a non-profit director and I write about eco-defense and civil disobedience, among other things.

Innocent people are targeted by security agencies based solely on their political beliefs or association with other radicals. This report presents a snapshot of the tactics the police like to think of as “secret,” like spying on individuals and infiltrating groups. These tactics can be extremely dangerous and destructive, even for activists who have never committed a crime. By studying these incidents, we can start to dispel the mystery surrounding covert operations and see the big picture.
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