We’re not responsible for the left’s hostages

Among the reasons that we don’t believe men can be feminists is because the minute they get comfortable in that social category, they become invested in pointing to the behavior of other men as the “real” sexism, but not anything in which they themselves, or their friends and allies, might have participated. They get busy blaming men outside their in-group, act in solidarity with the men of their in-group, and stop introspecting.

That is, men who make bold to call themselves feminists act pretty much like men who don’t call themselves feminists. We’ve been talking about you, sharing experiences across industries and generations, and this observation holds up across significant gulfs in experience. One day, someone may perform a study on the matter, and will probably come to this same conclusion. Save yourselves the time though, we’re right. You’re welcome.

Today’s example of this is brought to us by Katelyn Burns, late of writing a sloppily regurgitated hit job that read like it was cobbled together from old Transadvocate screeds and maybe the conspiracy theory threads of an Irish sloth furry. Katelyn asserts that we wrote a “line by line rebuttal” to his article (we did not have that kind of time, actually,) and also wonders again, paraphrasing, why we were willing to work with a man who doesn’t support abortion rights. There are more specific details that we’ll get back to, but gender identity advocates consistently bring up the abortion stance of various conservatives who also oppose gender identity in order to suggest that if we were “real” feminists, we wouldn’t even talk to those people.

Yet Burns might as well ask why any feminists were willing to work with Democrats, including Barack Obama. Certainly, from this guilt-by-association stance on a single issue, we might as well ask that of feminists still in good standing on the left.

Of course, this is a rhetorical question. We know why. It’s based on a coalition model of organizing, where you work from the perspective of your issue or constituency with the people associated with the side with whom you have the most compatibility or agreement at the time.

Still, Obama declared the Hyde Amendment, restricting abortion coverage in federal healthcare, to be “settled law.” Obama signed multiple executive orders ensuring that no federal funds would be spent on abortion, pursuant to the deal that was cut with conservative Democrats to pass the Affordable Care Act, where abortion coverage was what all the men got together and agreed to sacrifice so that there could finally be something like a national health care mandate. 

The Obama administration also refused to add pregnancy to the list of conditions that opened up a new enrollment window for another healthcare plan, if your old plan didn’t cover it, or if you were uninsured. 

The Obama administration wanted to restrict over-the-counter Plan B to require a picture ID, which a judge rejected on the grounds that the Obama administration itself had argued in the case of voter ID that an ID requirement disadvantaged young people, the poor, and people of color.

And while this was the result of state actions, dozens of abortion clinics closed across the country during the Obama administration. Did he try to help? Try to fundraise? Make a big deal about it and rally his supporters? Not to any extent that made an impression to those of us working on the matter. The Obama White House didn’t seem to give one single shiny goddam about it.

Yet there was no outcry on the left, and we suspect that the reason for this is that early in his administration, people who made noise about trying to hold the new president’s feet to the fire of his campaign promises might find that their funding had simply evaporated overnight.

What did the Obama administration do for women towards the end, when it seemed like he was riding high on waves of popularity? All that popularity and momentum slammed in, full force, behind the demand that feminist politics be made ever more gender neutral, that women’s shelters admit men, that single-sex services for women and girls must admit boys. And the reach with which gender identity activists were able to exclude dissenting women’s voices from the media, or get us fired from our jobs, increased exponentially.

This was definitely so in the abortion advocacy sector, where every effort, no matter how small or independent, must now use “trans inclusive” language or face the mob. A flyer for an abortion rights rally distributed at Evergreen State College as far back as 2015 stated that “TERFs” were not welcome to come, and it’s just gotten worse.

By now, after a few years of all of this, women can’t work in any sector of left, liberal, or Democratic Party-aligned activism, at all, if they’ve been publicly critical of gender identity doctrine. Women have been driven out of business, out of churches, out of book deals, out of towns, out of work, out of art spaces and performance venues, for refusing to believe that human beings can change sex, by supposedly progressive and well-meaning people.

Meanwhile, the LGBT, inc., advocacy groups — who have no problem taking money from defense contractors, tech companies with questionable employment practices, and all sorts of people the left is generally skeptical of — have been merrily reaching out to moderate conservatives and working to win them over to their causes. This advocacy has been engaged without regard to any stance on abortion.

So, to sum up, the political left and Democratic Party-aligned advocacy groups in this country have insisted on having the abortion issue to themselves, and on telling radical feminists that our help is absolutely not wanted. Meanwhile, they have mismanaged and neglected the issue, not whipped the party on it when it counted, not worked to build consensus across party lines, and have disastrously failed to do grassroots organizing and outreach to build support for abortion access.

Abortion advocacy groups allied with the left have engaged millions of supporters and donors, and they have many millions of dollars to spend on advocacy. They’ve probably deployed this about as effectively as they can, given the hostility of the male left, to be sure.

But … well-funded gender identity activists want to know what we’re doing about this matter? Us? An organization with a few hundred members, about a dozen regular volunteers on a good month, and no paid staff? An organization that hasn’t cleared over $50,000 in any year of our existence, and whose members their friends have pushed out of work repeatedly?

It’s not only preposterous to think that we’re the deciding factor in such a fight, or that we even could be, it’s an unstated damnation of the disastrous way that the Democratic Party has insisted on capturing and controlling the women’s movement, to our detriment.

They’ve taken the entire issue of abortion hostage, they’ve gutted the mainstream feminist movement of the ability to dissent in even such a matter as the very legal definition of the word “woman” in the law, and they dare to look at a very small, all-volunteer organization and ask us about whether abortion is a dealbreaker in a political alliance, a rule they enforce against no one else?

[email protected]^& entirely off with that nonsense.

The institutional, political left-of-center has insisted on owning abortion as an issue area, while telling radical feminists that we weren’t welcome at the party. So if you want to see changes in that situation, then it’s incumbent on all of you. Try not to screw it up, folks!

Now to the matter of freedom of information requests and whether a FOIA request is doxing, everyone should be aware that any information sent to or handled by the government, unless protected by laws such as HIPAA or other individual privacy rules, is potentially part of the public domain. 

Very many liberal activist organizations use FOIA requests to discover information about employers or businesses that work in their issue area. Environmental organizations use them to find out information pertinent to pollution litigation. Reporters use them to find out, well, all kinds of things.

For instance, Katelyn Burns used FOIA requests to shut down an inaccurate and unfortunate rumor about the sex of the YouTube shooter. 

Burns seems to know an awful lot about FOIA requests, and doesn’t seem shy about sharing the results of these record hunts. 

Here’s Burns publicly offering his expertise on FOIA requests to others.

So, why did we agree to work with someone who made lawful requests of government records, which the government could have then chosen to accede to or deny, as seemed appropriate? The only thing that’s really a stumper about this question is why Burns is making a big deal about it. Maybe he’s hoping no one will notice that we posted evidence of him making a rape joke?