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"Real" Men are "Real" Allies

I am fucking tired of people in this Portland activist "community" deciding to speak on behalf every womyn. I am not every womyn, asshole!
Male or female, I don't give a fuck. Stop assuming that you know what is best for me or for any womyn/survivor/victim of sexual assault.

I was over at a friends house the other night when someone was listening to a message on the answering machine. A local male activist had left a message about Rich Makins report back, leaving the home address of where the meeting was to take place. He attempted to gain support with this guilt trip of sorts, stating that, "real allies" should be opposed to Rich Makin taking supposed 'authority' on the situation. Who are you an ally to, Angel? You and your close-knit group of ACA/Hysteria buddies? Funny how you didn't invite any of the womyn at that house to come along on your crusade? But that's right, only men can be allies, and womyn get left behind to take the survivor role, right? You go out and be the MAN, do the dirty work for us fragile women.

FUCK YOU! You obviously aren't protesting Rich's report back to help the womyn he assaulted. And I really doubt you're doing it to keep him from perpetrating further assaults. So why then? Why are you so angry that Rich Makin is fulfilling the demands made of him by taking an active role in combating patriarchal behaviors? BECAUSE YOU ARE A MACHO MACTIVIST JERK!!! I don't know if you want to out do him or just beat him up to prove your support to the community. Either way, your intentions are flawed. Don't you ever claim to be a fucking ally. Until you actually have the support of the whole community, and not just your elitist little click, you will do more harm than good.

As a womyn dealing with sexual assault on a daily basis, I feel much better know that Rich is taking an active role in anti-sexual assault work. That's not to say that this situation is about me personally, it's about the womyn he abused, but I don't know them so I can only come from a personal perspective. The actions you are trying to take, however, frighten me. You should be encouraging Rich to continue this type of work, especially because he has been called out.

Once again, fuck you.
although I did not make the call you refer to... 17.Feb.2004 18:41

GRINGO STARS

...I DO know those that Rich has assaulted. And they do not appreciate that he is NOT honoring the simple demands they made of him. So how precisely is he doing anything good by scoffing at their demands and questioning whether they were actually assaulted or not? I have only chatted with two of the survivors Rich has created, and all I know is what THEY tell me.

RICH SHOULD *NOT* BE ENCOURAGED TO IGNORE THEIR DEMANDS. Do you disagree with them? I'm in no place to disagree with them, as they are the ones living with what he has done to them.

Rich is combatting patriarchal behaviours? Bullschitt. He is ignoring the survivors demands, ignoring the boundaries of those that he makes feel uncomfortable with his presence, forcing himself near spaces that he is unwanted. Sounds pretty typically patriarchal to me.

two parts 17.Feb.2004 19:47

margy

So it seems to me like the poster was more angry at the caller's attitude than anything else.

Maybe Rich makin deserves anything he gets. but maybe there are other issues at play- I'm not taking sides against the caller or with the poster

I just know that there is rampant sexism among activists that takes the forms of kinda "good old boy" networks. somehow, as a woman, I'm left out of crucial conversations about ACTION. I of course am welcome to "voice my opinion" and "share my experience",especially on interpersonal issues, but what does it say about our communities when women are basically often "omitted" from direct, dangerous, or spontanious action? I know that doing anti-fascist work, the issues of safety came up, and i was left behind without even being talked to about it, because of those specific issues. I am not a weak person. in fact i am bigger and stronger, and more experienced with violent men than a couple of the men who went. I know that even on a personal basis, trainhopping for instance, I have been COMMANDED for my own safety on the basis of some kind of perception that i am not as strong, fast, or skilled as my supposedly "feminist" male traveling parteners (untrue).

And for that matter, being a person of color, I have experienced a similiar kind of racism. I have been begged my opinion as if it was some kind of holy grail, and this has made me uncomfortable as it is extremely obvious to me that i am being tokenized. Furthermore, when i say it's necessary to ACT in defense of humanity and the environment, my opinion is met with great appreciation by people, who ten minutes later are espousing the "revolution will never happen in my lifetime" and " we must always follow the leadership of people of color". It sounds good, but what do you want, a road paved with our bodies killed in struggle? really if you think about it, there already is such a road, and it's called history.

end of rant.

hmm 17.Feb.2004 21:05

anon

Perhaps someday Angel will actually have to own up to his behaviour towards other people in this community, especially some females, but probably not. He was in a famous punk band after all, far above criticism.

The dirt under the rug 17.Feb.2004 21:25

Autonomous Womin

I don't agree with everything the author is saying, however I understand the frustration. I'm not convinced that Rich is taking the requested steps, and I think that well meaning activist men often try to do the right thing but their actions are just sometimes misguided. Having said that, I think that the whole issue of rampant paternalism in the Portland activist community is something that seriously needs to be addressed.

Whenever this topic comes up it seems that people frantically try to sweep it under the rug saying that it will divide community or worse, that it's cointelpro! Please! People already are divided over this, and pretending they're not by silencing them doesn't change that. I was up half the night feeling pissed about a recent case of blatant paternalism I dealt with. But, it's taboo to talk about such things, lest fellow activists write you off as a troublesome or fanatical feminist. We've got a long way to go when activist womyn can't even ask for respect and equal treatment without worrying about the backlash.

I'm really tired of all the activist meetings being dominated by men, the same men who give empty lipservice to sexual equality. I see womyn encouraged to take token leadership roles only to be talked over. And I see womyn's ideas often glossed over unless they are legitimized by the meeting's alpha male. There is definitely an "old boy" network in terms of who is included in which discussions, actions, and organizing.

If activist men in Portland actually care about equality and eliminating sexism, then they should think about taking a back seat for a while at meetings, listening more to what womyn have to say, and taking a long hard look at their actions and paternalistic habits. If they aren't willing to do this, then they really need to stop pretending that equality is something they're fighting for.

A mob is the same 17.Feb.2004 22:53

Bill

whether they wear white sheets
whether they wear DarthVader costumes with tape over their badges
whether they wear black balaclavas

whether they quote St Paul
whether they quote St Karl
whether they quote St Pierce

they are a mob

they are a bunch of dicks
taking vengeance on others
for their own cowardice

Nawww...Your Wrong 18.Feb.2004 08:46

Dick Tracy

It is really obvious that men and women that are doing anti-sexist/anti-rape work are gettin hella backlash. People are pullin out all kinda funny excuses for their sexist behavior and rapist fucked up behavior. Stand back and take a look. People are not throwin up the ropes for Rich...they are a community trying to keep him accountable for their safety. People are gettin pissed on for making calls to men in the community to get off their asses. People are being called a mob for asking that Rich follow his demands. Indiymedia will not publish a public event (that was made public by rich mackin) trying to protect a rapist (from what?). I find that people who are too lazy or privledged to do this work like to complain about the people that are doin something. Get off your ass or piss off.

What? 18.Feb.2004 10:07

dumb broad

"People are pullin out all kinda funny excuses for their sexist behavior and rapist fucked up behavior." I'm not trying to condone any of Rich's previous behavior, nor do I think that he should disregard the wishes of the womyn he abused, however, I don't see that attending a Men Against Rape conference is going against their wishes. Shouldn't this be considered a positive step for him?

"People are gettin pissed on for making calls to men in the community to get off their asses." Exactly! It's great that you want men in the "community" to get off their asses, but sexual assault is an issue predominantly effecting womyn, so why would you blatantly overlook asking womyn to help out with this kind of shit?

"People are being called a mob for asking that Rich follow his demands. Indiymedia will not publish a public event (that was made public by rich mackin) trying to protect a rapist (from what?)." No, people are being called a mob for THREATENING TO START A MOB at someone's house! No one is trying to protect Rich here, because frankly, he's the least of my worries. Indymedia apparently feels it is innappropriate to list someone's HOME ADDRESS on such a public forum. "I find that people who are too lazy or privledged to do this work like to complain about the people that are doin something. Get off your ass or piss off." What have you done lately to actually try and prevent sexual assault or stop patriarchy single-handedly? I won't presume to know, because I don't. But I live with this shit every day, it comes up in every discussion I have with men lately. I live this, so how much farther off my ass do I need to get. Piss off? Will it appease you only once I can piss off standing up?

*And just a side note. This post was not directed at Rich Makin's behavior so much as it is focused on the bullshit of so many other male activists who'd like to think they are so much better than him. Why? JUst becase they've never been called out.

two things 18.Feb.2004 10:22

me

first margy, word.
next.
I stood and watched Rich Mackin deny every thing last night, period. He has a long way to go, until even the first demand of the womyn he assaulted is met. So until all demands are met, public speaking should be out of the question. This is a strong community and a small town. We as a community should hold people accountable for their actions, not protect them because they are sweet, poor vulnerable fuck-ups. What about the people he fucked up?
I think that what is important is the survivor(s) not the perpetrator.

mobbin 18.Feb.2004 10:27

margy

what the hell are you talking about?

A "mob" is your perception of one or maybe many tactics that many kinds of groups use for DIFFERENT reasons. I think it is genuinely different for anarchists to band together into a black bloc for the purpose of protecting themselves and others around them, versus the cops banding together to impose the states order" over us. And on the same note, it's different for guerillas to band together for the purpose of overthrowing an oppressive state than it is for that state to send bands of soldiers and police out to kill their families and communities.

I've been thinking that perhaps we women need to stop LETTING men disempower us. Playing into the power of the "good old boy" network is as simple as not questioning WHY they have the power to choose to listen to us or not! Do we want them to "empower" us, bestow upon us equal power in decision and conversaiton? yah, right, let's see how that goes.i mean, how that has gone!

I think an alternative would be to work in groups of women, taking the kind of roles that we have not been offered. I know a lot of really knowledgable, skilled women, who should teach others the things they know, but who are currenetly completely socially overshadowed by the men around them. Once we work in groups like that, working with men will never be the same! we'll be really vocally ANGRY when we get talked over, laughed off, put down, and condescended to. I know sometimes when it happens to me, I feel mortified, and I would rather have the confidence to speak back.

like, where are the womens' graffiti gangs? hip-hop's got em, so maybe all the pc anarchists should stop calling hip-hop mysoginist without calling punk rock just as mysoginist or more! Where are the women paid speakers,the "figureheads", the famous intellectuals, the incendiaries? i say this because it is untrue that "there are no leaders".

I ask this as a question because here I am, writing on an anonymouse board,where the issues of paternalism have, as predicted, already been swept under the rug. there are really issues here, and they do not conflict at all with the anti-rape, anti-oppression work that is being done. they should compliment eachother, as both are issues of PATRIARCHY amd how to smash it!

but instead, our efforts at talking about it were decried as strange ways to sabotage the anti-rape work being done in town. well if they conflict (anti-paternalism and anti-rape) then it's like us women are being traded like pawns, from an abusive slave-owner to a "nice" slave-owner.

notice that I said "if". that's my question. do they conflict, and if so, how?

being a male ally 18.Feb.2004 10:33

angel

I was asked by the women and trans folk who made the call out to confront rich to get together other male allies. They realized that it would be mostly women there so they asked all their male allies to spread the word and make phone calls to get other men there. I did what was asked of me. I was not taking some leadership role, women and trans organized the counter-event.

We can have a conversation about this in person.

Angel 18.Feb.2004 13:07

d.b. anarchistfemme@hotmail.com

I'd like that very much. I think, or at least hope, that we could have a fairly productive discussion, my pissed off grumpiness aside. I apologize for being so blunt, but I was really, REALLY angry the other day after I heard that. I feel like I would be a lot more open to having an actual discussion with you at this point. Thanks for the offer. Email me maybe.

no, no, by all means continue here... 18.Feb.2004 14:35

wnowk

I've been enjoying this and the rapist against rape threads as a nice diversion. (And, to be clear, I care very much about violence against women--but some of the infighting has been rather fascinating).

Maybe the women should organize seperately 18.Feb.2004 16:23

Just a suggestion

Ever wonder why the Code Pink ladies are so successful and look so happy during their activities? They get to do things their way. My guess is the only difference between you and them is generally age and experience.

I'm not going to get into all the other side issues age and experience (and their opposites) bring up. Just think about it.

Eye on the Prize 18.Feb.2004 20:45

Pixie

Personal grievances aside, it's a shame that the emphasis can't be upon tackling and resolving the problem and not in gender-battling.

I'm not discounting anybody's experiences or feelings on the issue, but I do think there may be a lot to be said for an womyn organizing together.

It's my observation that most men are not intentionally overwhelming or demeaning but mostly oblivious. It's hard for womyn to be heard, recognized, or to take charge in a mixed group of ANY kind. To do that takes a very strong womyn along the lines of an Indira Ghandi, a Margaret Thatcher, or a Maggie Kuhn. They understood what they were up against, but they had their eye on the prize and directed their anger where it did the most good. They also counted womyn and men of all ages as friends and associates.

Organized womyn are unique in their ability to make strong statements and even gain access to areas and venues where a group of angry men would be turned away. I love watching Code Pink in action -- they are having fun, making strong points, and it's hard even for the target of their barbs to react negatively toward them . . . it only makes the target look stupid.

Womyn have the advantage of the capacity for tremendous compassion and are more likely to associate with and speak out on behalf of entire families and communities. Womyn are also more likely to understand the repercussions of making a stupid and violent move in protest. Play to those strengths!

While there are obnoxious men out there, a majority of them are not intentionally blocking the womyn who support similar causes. In general, men and womyn were just raised differently which makes it harder for a lot of womyn to take charge or be taken seriously.

And yes, I know it stinks.

Mobbin 18.Feb.2004 22:59

Bill

Well, Margy, when I hear whispers that folks are acquiring Kalashnikovs and learning how to use them, I will revise my attitude toward fatheads babbling about street-fighting and guerrilla warfare.

The rest of your comment (18.Feb.2004 10:27) is an eloquent plea NOT to allow mobs of dickheads to 'empower' women by scapegoating assholes like Rich Macklin. Scapegoating, you know, that old-testament practice of demonizing somebody unpopular, to divert attention from one's own sins. And expecting to laid for it afterward.

Do you _really_ want a nice owner, who responds to disobedience by rounding up a mob of dickheads like himself?

Aye on the Prize 18.Feb.2004 23:05

Bill

'' In general, men and womyn were just raised differently which makes it harder for a lot of womyn to take charge or be taken seriously. ''

Are you excusing or accusing?

Are you waiting for men to be raised the same as women? Are you waiting to be granted seriousness?

Geez Bill 19.Feb.2004 00:39

Her post was pretty clear

She's not waiting for anything. She's saying that men and women are different. That's just how it is. They handle things differently. They are each good at different things. Sometimes they don't work well together, because their different ways don't mesh well, that is one ends up dominating the other. Maybe women have a better chance to use their strengths effectively if they work with women.

She's not blaming anyone. Just stating realistically how it is and suggesting a solution, maybe with a little regret, because it would be nice if we could all work together without these kinds of problems.

A woman does not have to become like a man to use her strength.

By the way Bill 19.Feb.2004 00:42

I bet

a lot of women have granted you seriousness just out of courtesy, because that's how they were raised. You may have had to prove your unworthiness, rather than your worthiness. Lucky you.

? 19.Feb.2004 04:19

Bill

What solution did Pixie suggest? "it sucks" sounds like resignation.

It would be even nicer, it is probably essential, that we solve these problems, so that we can work together.

I don't recall anybody saying a woman should become like a man. Not in this thread.

In any case, women have shown, over and over : (a) it is not not possible; (b) to try is a short-cut to failure.

Bill 19.Feb.2004 07:04

Here you go

"...but I do think there may be a lot to be said for an womyn organizing together."

"Organized womyn are unique in their ability to make strong statements and even gain access to areas and venues where a group of angry men would be turned away. I love watching Code Pink in action -- they are having fun, making strong points, and it's hard even for the target of their barbs to react negatively toward them . . . it only makes the target look stupid."

The above are exerpts from Pixie's post. In addition to expressing that the situation "sucks" often when men and women work together, as you noticed, she noted how well women work together. Code Pink is an excellent example of that. A solution, implied by Pixie, is that women can work together if they want to get things done their way.

I wouldn't have to explain this to a woman. And a man who understands this wouldn't even bother to explain it to you. But I'm happy to help.

what?? 19.Feb.2004 12:00

margy

Bill boy, you are not reading my arguments as I intend them.

"mobs" seems to be your word for group action that you don't agree with. I'm saying group action with a strategy is useful for resistance and revolutionary movements. Non-strategic action is really no more than an excercise in emotional release. It seems "Angel" was taking strategic action. whther or not you agree with the strategy or the goals doesn't matter. "mob" and "fathead" are not useful labels because they don't define things in terms of strategy, just your personal antipathy to them. So don't call me, or whoever that was aimed at, a "fathead".

You think kalishnokovs are the only tactic of a worthy strategy? Come on...this reminds me of a friend who went elk hunting but finding no elk shot a partridge with a rifle and came home with feathers. Different tools for different times. I agree black bloc is not usually effective- i was just pointing out that they're mobbin for different reasons than the cops. It's not like anyone with plans to take militant action should send out "whispers" onto the street, either.

So this brings to question the idea of what will men take seriously, and why are women often NOT taken seriously? Maybe it's a lack of respect, and maybe if WOMEN START MOBBIN (strategically), if we start really building a revolutionary movement(not just delegating ourselves to handing out flyers and doing the footwork for the "real revolutionaries") we won't stand to be disrespected any more. We will not feel like our worth as activists and revolutionaries is dependant on the will of the alpha-male activists in our organizations and lives. That's a bit of empowerment.

As for code pink, what do they do? I thought they were like a liberal reformist movement that asked the big white men in the big white house to pretty please stop the war for peace's sake. am I wrong? what are they doing besides feeling good about being in the company of other women? (i mean, not like there's anything wrong with that but my momma's beading circle of women serves the same purpose and they don't call themselves political.)

Apartheid 19.Feb.2004 17:05

Bill

has theoretical charms which somehow never work out in the real world. It always slouches toward Afghanistan or South Africa.

Certainly, women must also work separately. From time to time, I have hinted, even against my better judgement bluntly stated, that a return to 70s consciousness-raising or something similar would probably be useful. It will be very difficult, nigh impossible, to analyse correctly, without withdrawing from vested interests, socially imposed assumptions and coersions. The responses to Emma Goldwoman which you have seen here are only the crudest manifestation.

However, it is also certain that women must work with men, with charge (how about respect?) and with seriousness. No giving. No taking. Respect being. Seriousness being.


Men are different. That's just the way it is.

CNN lies. That's just the way it is.

The state is fascist. That's just the way it is.

We are complicit. We are comfortable.

What. 19.Feb.2004 20:29

Bill

-- Bill boy, ...

margy girl, ;)

-- you are not reading my arguments as I intend them.

Write them in a way which shows your intent.

-- "mobs" seems to be your word for group action that you don't agree with...

Nah, it has to be stupid and violent.

-- I'm saying group action with a strategy is useful for resistance and revolutionary movements...

It should be a correct strategy, or one which reason supports.
And not a strategy which favours the oppressor.

-- Non-strategic action is really no more than an excercise in emotional release...

It could be tactical. Or desperate. Or to impress the ladies. I'm sure there are other non-strategic reasons.

-- It seems "Angel" was taking strategic action. whther or not you agree with the strategy or the goals doesn't matter...

You can say "seems" as often as you like. You must show proof to be taken seriously, to be respected, and to become empowered.

Harrassing Rich, or any asshole, is stupid and violent. It is a mob, whether or not either of us agrees.

-- "mob" and "fathead" are not useful labels because they don't define things in terms of strategy,..

Strategy is not the only criterion of usefulness. It is often the least useful.

-- just your personal antipathy to them. So don't call me, or whoever that was aimed at, a "fathead".

-- You think kalishnokovs are the only tactic of a worthy strategy? [snip]

It was you who wrote '' I think it is genuinely different for anarchists to band together into a black bloc for the purpose of protecting themselves and others around them, versus the cops banding together to impose the states order" over us. And on the same note, it's different for guerillas to band together for the purpose of overthrowing an oppressive state than it is for that state to send bands of soldiers and police out to kill their families and communities. ''

-- I agree black bloc is not usually effective...

See! We have a point of contact. And another coming up.

-- i was just pointing out that they're mobbin for different reasons than the cops...

I thought my babbling about different costumes and different saints implied different reasons. I shall try to be more direct, in future.

I say also that they are testosterone-driven cowards, projecting their failures onto others. Any mobbin is.

-- It's not like anyone with plans to take militant action should send out "whispers" onto the street, either.

Yeah, They shouldn't, but they do. A lot of guys think that having a big gun is as good as having a big dick. They brag. They exaggerate. What can you do?


-- So this brings to question the idea of what will men take seriously, and why are women often NOT taken seriously? [snip]

I spend much of my time telling people... and just because I don't say "people and women" doesn't mean I exclude women... I'm always telling people to put away St Paul and St Karl... to look at what you do and look at what results you get.

If you give them coffee or whatever when they disrespect you, they'll disrespect you again. They'll even quote Isaiah and rwor.org to prove they disrespect you more than you deserve. But don't take my word for it. Observe.

-- As for code pink, what do they do? [snip]

There is no point asking me. Try 'Pixie' or 'here you go'.

And you know, if you are going to disrespect them, you will have to accept that others might disrespect you.