Antifa and allies need to cease harassing feminists by Helen Steel
Many thanks to Helen for these words, which originally appeared as a post on Facebook.
I was horrified last night watching the footage of ‘antifa’ attacking people who had attended an advertised protest outside Wi Spa in Los Angeles after women complained of a man exposing his penis in the women’s area of the facilities.
When antifa and other anti-fascist groups started, they were about defending communities from racist and fascist violence and attacks. It is sometimes necessary and reasonable to use violence to defend yourself or others from physical attack. In the 70’s-90’s fascists were graffitiing and firebombing the homes of black people, firebombing left-wing and anarchist bookshops, physically attacking black people in the street, attacking trade unionists and anti-racists, gay-bashing and so on. The police did nothing to stop those attacks and in fact regularly colluded with the racists/fascists. In those circumstances there was little alternative but for people to join together to fight back in order to stop fascists attacking people, so groups like antifa were created. At the end of the 90’s a fascist detonated bombs in Brixton, Brick Lane and a gay pub in Soho, maiming and killing people. By what measure are some on the left falsely comparing women fighting against sexism with racists and fascists? There are no feminist dictators, there is no campaign of violence and intimidation by women.
Why the hell are antifa now using violence to defend the rights of males to sexually harass women – where the f*** is your analysis of who holds power in our society? Haven’t you heard of sexism and patriarchy? Do you not realise that males deliberately flashing their d*cks at females is something that most women and girls have endured from a young age and that it creates fear in very many women and girls – especially those who have already been subjected to sexual violence (99% of sexual offences are carried out by males). The women complaining in the Wi Spa video that went viral didn’t even say that the male was trans, so why have antifa even assumed that the women’s actions were founded in ‘transphobia’ rather than opposing sexual harassment?
There is no campaign of violence by women against males or people who identify as trans. There are just arguments about the impact on women of gender self-ID politics and how best to fight sexism. There is no justification whatsoever for violence or threats against women holding placards or wearing T-shirts just because you don’t like the message. When you use violence against people just because you don’t like their opinions, YOU become the fascist. You are trying to dictate and control what other people are allowed to say and think.
The other thing that ‘antifa’ their allies and other gender identity proponents should consider is how they are actually helping the right-wing by perpetually trying to smear feminists as racist or right-wing. Most people still recognise that females and males are not the same. Most decent people would also think it is wrong for a man to be flashing his penis to women and children, particularly so in women-only facilities. If you assert that only right-wing people hold such objections you are making the right-wing seem more sensible to those who think that sexual harassment is wrong.
The right-wing are now trying to capitalise on this false framing of gender-critical feminism as right-wing and are now building their groups off the back of what actually was a struggle against sexism launched by left-wing feminists. Those who spread lies and smears about women resisting GI are responsible for this growth. Take a long hard think about what you are trying to achieve because you are actually empowering the right. And you are simultaneously weakening the left by creating polarisation and division and intolerance of other opinions. You are also creating fear among younger trans-identifying people who believe your lies that feminists hate them, rather than the reality that we want everyone to be free from sexist expectations about how people should behave.
When you threaten and intimidate women turning up for a protest, many will turn around and leave. It looks from some of the footage that some right-wing people did turn up. Many right-wing activists thrive on violence and confrontation, so by intimidating women away from the protest, you are creating the space for the right-wing to seize. You are also tarnishing previous good work that antifa and other anti-fascist groups have done.
And it’s not just the USA where this is happening. Antifa groups in the UK are harassing and threatening a feminist conference planned for the autumn in the UK. It’s so much easier to pick on women than to confront those who actually hold the power in our society.
Antifa and allies need to cease harassing feminists and get back to tackling the very real and continuing oppression of racism and fascism.
The incident that started it all: Woman Goes Off After Seeing A Transgender Man Exposing Himself In Front Of Little Girls At A Spa!
Gaye Chapman’s video. “My prescription glasses were yanked and my phone was either kicked out of or hit out of my hand. The part in black is where I picked up my phone from the ground and put it in my pocket.” Wi Spa protest antifa harassers