Archive for January, 2018

Why I Didn’t Go to the Women’s March

January 23, 2018

suffragettes

The other day I was in downtown LA at the Grammy Museum with some dear old pals, checking out the “X: 40 Years of Punk” exhibit. As we sat down to lunch afterwards, one of our group mentioned that she would be back in the same exact neighborhood, the following day, for the “women’s march”.

“Not I!” I said, “I don’t go to marches anymore.”

Having spent more than 25 years participating in street activism, sit-ins, camp-outs, blockades, marches, and more, I finally gave up on that method of expressing dissent, after years involved in the UK activist scene left me filled with disillusionment and yes, disgust.

I attempted to explain my reasons – that I felt today’s protests were too unfocused, had too unclear of a message, too many messages, were reactionary, ill-conceived, and unskillful.

I’ve told many people about the time I’d gone to an anti-bombing of Lebanon demo in London, only to find myself being handed professionally manufactured stickers that said “Bring back the Caliphate” and equally slick signs emblazoned with the words “We are all Hezbollah!”

“I’m not pro-Hezbollah, just because I’m anti-bombing!” I protested to someone trying to shove the sign into my hands. “It just means ‘Gods’ army’!” explained the person trying to give me the sign, as if that would sway me. “And I aint in nobody’s army either, especially not “God’s!” I said as I tried to escape the pod of god’s soldiers I had gotten caught up in.

I went to one more demo in London after that, ostensibly to protest Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip. Because Israel is smart enough to locate their London embassy down a private road, the protest ended up, rather ridiculously, taking place outside Top Shop on the Kensington High Street, a few blocks away, instead. I watched in horror as the wild-eyed, crazy-looking Islamists shrieked words in Arabic and lit Israeli flags on fire in the middle of the road. The sight of the Star of David in flames made me sick to my stomach – and I don’t even like flags. Boy, I really did not want to be a part of this. These people looked totally deranged and filled with hatred; the whole scene wouldn’t have been out of place in downtown Beirut. It sure as fuck didn’t belong on the high street of South Ken and I vowed that day that I would never, ever, ever, march again, unless I was dead certain I knew who was behind the scenes and what sort of action was going to take place.

After that, I decided to investigate who was running these marches. My suspicions fell on a group with the inarguable-sounding name of “Stop the War Coalition”. I had encountered this group many times in my years of UK activism, and their endorsement of a march was sufficient to bring tens of thousands of (mostly white) people out onto the streets. The first thing I noticed was that contrary to their name, they did not seem to oppose all wars, but seemed to be focusing specifically on conflicts involving Islamist nations and the rights of Muslims around the world. They didn’t care if a bunch of Palestinians blew themselves up, taking innocent Jews with them. They didn’t care if the King of Saudi Arabia was in town getting the red carpet treatment from the Queen of England, despite the horrendous human rights abuses of which that country is guilty. They didn’t care if Islamic terrorists blew up a bunch of holidaymakers. No, they only seemed to call for marches when bombs rained down on Muslim countries. Hmmm….

Further investigation revealed that the “Stop the War Coalition” was pretty much a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, itself a front for Islamic extremism. Going by the faulty logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, the anti-capitalist, anti-USA, West-bashing, self-loathing, guilt-ridden (mostly white) protesters have firmly aligned themselves with the Islamists. (A stupid mistake that will not prevent them from being first up against the wall, if the Caliphate does indeed come to the UK.) The well-meaning, if poorly-reasoned, support from those (mostly white) protesters is the only thing that Stop the War Coalition has to give themselves legitimacy, but I wonder how many of those people would still show up, if they were fully aware of the motives of those who called them to put their bodies on the line?

Maybe they would show up anyway, because the name “Stop the War” is just too irresistable to some. I mean, how can you NOT get behind that?

I was reminded of this at the Grammy Museum when one of my friends, who was indeed planning on going to the march, turned to me and said “Yeah, but….it’s the Woman’s March and….I’m a woman….so…”

My point exactly! If there were a March for Gender Equity in Law, I would be there in a heartbeat. If there were a March to Protect Women’s Reproductive Rights, I would be there and get others to show up too. That is because I would be very clear, as would everybody watching or participating, in the message that the march was in support of.

But I am not going to a “Women’s March” because what the fuck is that? “Women”  is not an issue. Women are not some homogeneous group that thinks and feels as one. I disagree with plenty of fucking women and many of them are going to be at the march, especially when it has such an unfocused, vague and meaningless title. The Suffragettes were marching for something specific: voting rights, not just about being women.

I mean, seriously….is it just me?

My point was totally proven the next morning when, inevitably, my Instagram feed began to get clogged up with self-congratulatory photos of people at the women’s march, holding signs that said shit I totally could not get behind.

One picture featured a (white) woman holding a sign that said “We Are All Immigrants.” You might as well hold up a sign that says “The Sky is Blue”. I mean, literally so what?

I attempted to weigh in by posting below the photo: “That statement is 100% truthful, however it’s sadly irrelevant to the reality of the complex issues created by multi-culturalism in Western society, the dark side of which I have personally experienced during my recent decade in Europe.” I further elaborated, “See, this is why I no longer go to marches.”  My point was that the message is totally confused. Why is immigration a “women’s issue”?”

Of course I got a backlash. I didn’t bother to read most of the responses because…well…life beckons and is far more interesting…but the one that I did read was a mind-blower of illogic. The person (who I did not know personally) responded with total perplexity: “Wha-a-at?!!!” and went on to say that the movement was amazing and how we needed women in positions of political power. I replied that I was totally for women gaining power and influence… but that this was not what it said on the sign to which I was responding. I refuse to debate my views on Instagram and so I did not follow up on what the person, or others, said next.

Bottom line: I don’t want to go to a “women’s march” and find myself standing next to a person holding a sign that says something stupid like “We are all immigrants” or the even more absurd “Women are Amazing” that I saw in a photo picked up by the mainstream papers (what, all of them? even the bitch in the black BMW who cut me off on the freeway this morning?) Sorry if that’s rude to the well-meaning people holding those signs, but the truth fucking hurts sometimes.

The same problem alienated me completely from the Occupy movement when I was living in London. The protesters there didn’t even know why they were there themselves (uh, something about the monetary system, right??) and were not only irrelevantly camped out at St Paul’s cathedral (instead of the nearby stock exchange, which had already been secured), but were advocating for numerous local issues that had nothing to do with the supposed point of Occupy, including ones that they were firmly on the wrong side of!

Nobody outside of the UK will have heard of the Dale Hill Farm evacuation, as it was a local scuffle between a criminal community illegally settling greenbelt near Essex, and the nearby town’s legal residents and authorities, who were sick of the squatters thieving, polluting, non tax-paying ways. To anyone with half a brain who bothered to study the conflict, it was clear that the “gypsies” were in the wrong – they were attempting to evade strict environmental and development laws by building on land that they’d purchased cheaply, that was priced cheaply specifically because it can’t be built on. The activists, many of whom were from the climate change awareness scene, ought to have been opposing the Dale Hill squatters but nope, all they cared about was which side the cops were on: they would take the other. Disgusted to learn from the Occupy London website that this supposedly self-governing, anarchistic, non-heirarchical “movement” declared itself as standing in solidarity with the people of Dale Hill Farm, I wrote to them asking whose decision it was to support that issue, and that I not only didn’t, but didn’t see what it had to do with Occupy? Nobody wrote back, naturally, and I decided not to bother checking out the scene at St. Paul’s. I’m rather glad I didn’t as I later heard about the drunk and disorderly atmosphere which included public urination and defecation and at least one charge of rape.

DEAR (MOSTLY WHITE) PEOPLE, MARCH ORGANIZERS AND PARTICIPANTS,

FOCUS YOUR MESSAGES AND STOP BEING SO OVERLY INCLUSIVE (OF MESSAGES THAT IS). OTHERWISE STREET PROTEST IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LAUGHABLE WASTE OF TIME THAT ACHIEVES ZERO EXCEPT FEELGOOD FUZZIES FOR THE SWEET MISGUIDED SOULS WHO GOT UP AT 5 A.M. TO GO DOWNTOWN AND DON PINK EARS.

P.S. AND DON’T FUCKING INVITE FUCKING MCDONNA TO GIVE A SPEECH UNLESS THE TOPIC IS ABOUT HOW TO BE A NARCISSISTIC MILLIONAIRE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BIZ DESPITE POSSESSING ALMOST NO ARTISTIC TALENT.

THANK YOU.

A FREE THINKER