Ever since the feminist movement in North America was successful in gaining a certain level of political equality for women, there have been those who have experienced this marginal loss of male privilege as traumatic. Falsely interpreting this loss of privilege as “oppression,” and desiring a return to the “good old days” of patriarchy, these conservatives have argued that feminism has “gone too far,” that “misandry” has replaced misogyny––it is men and not women, these Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) claim, who are the victims!
At the University of Ottawa on March 28, one such MRA group, the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), an organization that has been trying to make inroads on Canadian university campuses, was shut down by militants from Ottawa’s Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) and Proletarian Feminist Front (PFF). As is typical of conservatives who attempt to smuggle their repellant ideology into public discourse by way of liberal concepts such as “equality” and “freedom of expression,” the MRA supporters of CAFE are complaining that their freedom of speech was trampled upon by “extremists.” Apparently the greatest evil is censorship… according to this logic, those who would dare to tell even a neo-Nazi to shut-up must be even worse than fascists!
The Voice for Men and A Voice for Male Students, two MRA internet sites that are liberal in form but conservative in content, have both complained about the “extremist” actions of Ottawa’s RSM and PFF. These militants should be chided, we are told, because they “trampled on the most sacred rights of free and democratic society” and are guilty of “collective spitting on every soldier who fought and died to protect freedom of speech world-wide.” A telling argument: what is “free and democratic,” according to these maligned male power advocates, is that which is established through imperialism.
The fact is that the RSM and PFF were defending what was won through similar militant activity, not imposed by the military and police, and that CAFE and its support organizations would like to see reversed: the right for women to not be classified as property, the right for women to make recourse to the legal category of “rape” when they are sexually assaulted… Moreover, the RSM and the PFF are not content with the formal equality of bourgeois law; they demand more and know that this demand will only be achieved through militancy.
Since these MRA throwbacks to earlier periods of male power will only stand in the way of revolutionary equality, they should be confronted––liberal appeals to “free speech” be damned. A Voice for Male Students has complained that the RSM and PFF militants were “intolerant,” but we should not be silenced by this charge: intolerance of all forms of bigotry, chauvinism, fascism, and reactionism has always characterized those people and movements who have succeeded in changing society for the better.