Friday, 25 January 2019

Why I won't be 'standing for women'.

*No radical feminist woman or feminist women's group that I know of in the UK has ever accepted any funding from any right wing group in the US or elsewhere. That includes the trip to the US organised by a group of women. Speaking at or attending a lunch with The Heritage Foundation is not the same as "being funded by". I never suggested otherwise. All lies about this being distributed by trans activists are blatantly and completely untrue. 

I'm going to state really simply. Stripped of opinion and emotion. as far as reasonably possible.

1. I invited myself on a trip. Posie Parker had planned to go and hold a banner outside Twitter to highlight the silencing of women who object to trans ideological assaults on women's rights. It seemed a decent way of protesting. I certainly needed a break too after a pretty crappy year.

2. Posie didn't consult with me when she flipped the trip to Washington and changed the focus - but she assured me "stuff is happening that is going to be amazing and Meghan Murphy is coming down." I was excited because I admire Murphy. I admire Venice Allan and some of the other women involved. I booked and paid for my own flight. I don't have much money at the moment. I didn't realise at that time that the Women of Liberation Front were brought on board. When I was told I researched a bit.

3. I read about Kara Dansky seeking and gaining $15,000 from Alliance Defending Freedom which is a right wing religious group strongly against abortion. I read their reasons for doing so. It was to pursue a Supreme Court case. I don't like those reasons. I understand them. I just don't agree.  WoLF statement

I raised my hand to object to pairing with them. I was ignored. I raised it again. I was ignored. I thought I must be wrong because everyone else was fine with this.

4. I kept asking about these right wing links. My questions were either ignored or met with "It's not a problem for me". Posie said she is happy to work with anyone and will freely say so. I am not.

5. On a personal level it is hard to go on a trip with women when you are the only one not doing things. I began to feel isolated from the group for saying I disagreed with the political decisions of other women. I was uncomfortable saying that I was unhappy with things because I was being housed in accommodation in Washington paid for by one of the WoLF women - though I had certainly NOT been told this in advance. Being "paid for" meant I wasn't comfortable saying ideas were bad. I didn't join planning sessions and couldn't really keep up with what was planned. I was left out of all decision making. I deliberately absconded from meetings. At one point when I asked what I would be doing exactly Posie said "just turn up and get on the plane". I wasn't speaking at anything. I wasn't involved in anything that I could see. I thought I might do some bike rides for murdered women while there since I felt a bit superfluous anyway.

6. When a meeting with people called The Heritage Foundation was scheduled, and the others said they were going, I said I'd go as I felt left out of so much of what was being planned. I wanted to go to exciting things and I genuinely didn't know what it was. I don't know much about American politics and I didn't know who they were. I investigated them a bit more when Posie said she was surprised I'd want to go. I realised my mistake. I should have looked first. I will hold my hand up here. I wobbled. I signed up. I tried to convince myself I could go as an "experience" or even, as one woman I know suggested, go along and tell them what I really thought of their views on abortion etc. In the end I realised my gut instinct was right.  I then said there was no way I could attend a meeting or lunch with them. I called them "misogynist w**kers" because they are. They advocate keeping poor women in marriages they wish to exit in order to solve the social problems those women "cause" government. They say abortion harms women. They say they will help Trump to "drain the swamp". I don't care what these people think about trans ideology. That cannot be separated from the things they do and advocate that specifically harm women.

When I raised my objections to the group I was ignored. No one said anything for over 2 hours in one exchange. It would be funny if it didn't make me feel like I was going bonkers. I now see the women distancing themselves from this group. I wish they had made that plain before. But they did not. WoLF women signed up to go and speak to them and the British women to go and eat with them and talk with them after the panel meeting. I have added this for clarity about who is doing what.

7. I was in a difficult position and my partner suggested I could go on the trip and just stay out of the right wing meetings and plans I didn't agree with. I wanted to march and protest and meet other feminist women. However I know that in reality you can't pick and choose. If there are links with abhorrent right wing groups it is unacceptable to take part in any of it. I knew that I would still be seen as agreeing with anything Posie does if I am on a trip alongside her. I don't agree with lots of it. She doesn't ask anyone's opinion anyway. It is very hard to tell Posie when you don't agree with her. She stops speaking to you. I finally said I was unable to come on the trip.  I stated that the reason is the right wing and/or religious links being formed. I wished the group well with the We Need To Talk style event where Meghan Murphy will speak. I like Venice Allan and the talks she organises are brilliant. I'm sure it will be interesting to watch.

In response to my withdrawal message to the organising group I was accused of "purity politics" by one of the WoLF women and this was reiterated by Posie. I am angry about that. I don't really know what it is supposed to mean. I call it feminism actually. Another woman tried to silence me by saying I am "destructive" for tweeting my "divisive" opposition to the Heritage Foundation panel that she will speak on. The irony of being told not to speak on social media about a trip opposing the silencing of women is not lost on me. The trouble is if I happen to spot someone trying to manipulate me I will usually do exactly what I like.

I might have stayed quiet about all this. If it wasn't for the Feminist Current podcast that appeared this morning. The one where, amongst other things, Posie Parker discusses Tommy Robinson. She dismisses the work of feminist women who fought to expose grooming gangs and the cover up a few years ago as ineffective. That is a massive insult. She suggests that we didn't do enough. That is a massive insult. She suggests that Tommy Robinson filled a gap that women's groups and others left open. That is a massive insult. Tommy Robinson used the merciless sexual exploitation of mainly working class girls to further an anti-islamist agenda. Posie Parker says she needs evidence of this. The word of feminist women who worked against the grooming gangs should be enough. It really should.

I don't need a week of action. I am a feminist all year round.  I will be sitting down for women...on a bike. I'll be doing that all year too. I won't be knowingly riding alongside any gun-toting, woman-hating anti-abortionist racists.

Lots of women are feminists. This week belongs to them too. I do not belong to Posie Parker. No one owns me.

Thank you to all the women and girls who worked hard to raise awareness around grooming gangs, including the girls themselves. Thanks to Andrew Norfolk at The Times. None of us needed Tommy Robinson.

Jean Hatchet.

(NB. It is my opinion - and I stand by it - that moves taken by feminist women (whether radical feminist or not) towards right wing groups are not taken in isolation from other feminist women. They inevitably diminish the hard work of other women and other women's groups. This blog has been used by trans activists since I first published it to discredit all women objecting to trans ideology. I am being held responsible for that and accused of sabotage.  I think the women who should be held responsible for bringing the work of women into disrepute or "handing it to trans activists on a plate" is not the woman who didn't go along with it ... but the ones who did. Trans activists have been lying about feminist funding for a long time. They watch us like hawks and swoop in and lie about much of what we do. They do this anyway. They would have found out about this meeting - what on Earth made these women think they would not? With or without my blog this nonsense move was out in the public arena. I read criticism of it by another radical feminist woman days before I published. I am also concerned at being told to be quiet. That feels a lot like silencing. One woman being told to shut up by women who are more powerful and rich feels really really shady.)