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>The Men’s Rights Movement Vs. The People’s Front of Judea

>

One of the strangest things about the Men’s Rights Movement is how little actual debate there is within it. Oh there’s plenty of discussion, to be sure, and plenty of arguments about what sort of strategy is most effective in dealing with MRA opponents and the rest of the world in general (see, for example, “Pansygate” and the ongoing sniping between Manhood101 ubermilitants and pretty much everyone else in the MRM). But actual substantive disagreements over major issues? Very few. With most key issues the MRM deals with, there’s a party line, and few within the MRM fold deviate very far from it.

This sort of ideological conformity is far less common outside the insular world of the MRM. Among leftist political groups, of course, internecine battles are so common that Monty Python satirized them in Life of Brian — you no doubt remember the bits about the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea. And such battles are hardly confined to the left: just consider the battles between the teabaggers and the Republican party, not to mention the much more substantive battles you see between the various factions that make up the contemporary right, like those between Ayn Randian libertarians and bible-thumping social conservatives.

Among feminists, of course, there have been giant, bloody battles between anti-porn and sex-positive feminists, battles over “difference” feminism, over race and class, and on and on. (For a quick look at a dizzying array of different ideological tendencies within feminism, see here.) I’ve participated in these battles myself: see this piece of mine critiquing anti-porn feminism in general and Andrea Dworkin in particular.

These kinds of battles are inevitably frustrating, sometimes massively silly, and often distract activists from “real” political work. But they’re also necessary, a way to work out and work through issues that are inevitably more complicated than the political slogans with which most movements make their case to the world at large. Within feminism, for example, the “sex wars” have pushed anti-porn feminism from the center of the movement to the margins — a good thing for feminists, and for everyone else. Debates challenge dogmas; they’re symptoms of political health, not signs of weakness.

Indeed, if the Men’s Rights Movement is to have even a small chance of transforming itself from an insular, largely reactionary movement that’s actually harmful to men, into one that actually does men, and the world at large, some good, it’s going to have to have these kinds of debates. Right now the Men’s Rights Movement turns legitimate concern and legitimate anger at real problems faced by men into bitterness aimed at feminist bogey-women and women at large; it’s as destructive for the real cause of men’s rights, and for the world at large, as the Dworkinite branch of feminism was for feminists and for everyone else.

So it’s always interesting to me to see an actual substantive debate break out in the angry-manosophere. The latest: an honest-to-goodness debate over the notion of a “marriage strike” that has recently become an MRA shibboleth.  In a series of posts, the blogger who calls himself Dalrock asks

whether or not there really is, or will be, a marriage strike.  My first answer is that it depends on how we define the term.  If those using it are thinking of a classical strike where men would eschew marriage out of a sense of male solidarity in an effort to extract a better social bargain, this isn’t happening and won’t happen any time in the near future.

Looking over the stats used by MRAs to provide evidence that men in general, not just Men-Going-Their-Own-Way MRA types are, in effect, boycotting marriage, he argues

that the metric published by The National Marriage Project is being widely misinterpreted, and show[s] that the vast majority of current white men and women in the us in their mid 30s have married at some time. … We may yet see a marriage strike by white men in the US, but the data simply isn’t in yet.

As a result of his posts, Dalrock has gotten a lot of what he calls “push-back” from the MRM community, some of it quite personal, so much so that he felt he had to clarify that

For those of you who are refusing to marry, I’m not denying your existence or equating you with UFO conspiracy theorists.  As I’ve said before, we won’t see men banding together against their immediate interests to form a better social bargain longer term.  But this doesn’t mean individual men won’t decide that marriage isn’t a risk they want to take. 

This kind of “push-back” from your ideological allies is actually a sign that you’re moving forward. 

I’ll weigh in on the whole marriage debate in a future post or few, but in the meantime I’m just going to watch how this plays out.

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Posted on October 29, 2010, in drama, feminism, internal debate, marriage strike. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. >Hey David, a few of the links within your article need fixing. Two of the ones to Dalrock's pieces and one for a Spearhead article. I know that it's not difficult to change the link in the address bar of the new window that opens, but thought I'd point it out in case you'd like to make the corrections for the ease of linking for anyone else who might read this article.

  2. >http://manboobz.blogspot.com/2010/10/registraton-is-now-required-to-post.htmlIt seems this thread, link above is damaged, or invisible or deleted?Only the headline is showing up, no text, no comments.Otherwise the blog is functioning correctly.

  3. >David: But actual substantive disagreements over major issues? Very few. With most key issues the MRM deals with, there's a party line… There is no 'party line' among MRAs. You are badly informed it seems to me.About the MRM, well, it's about the question, who is speaking out in public for 'ordinary men', where is the advocacy group for 'ordinary men'?There are various interest groupings speaking for women, for children, for gays/lesbians, for people of color, for animals, for global warming etc. etc. – There is UNICEF for children, UNIFEM for women etc. But where are advocacy groups speaking out on behalf of 'ordinary men' and their needs?MRAs usually exchange their opinion/experiences/complaints in their own forums and they are looking for solutions for their own problems and they are going their own way.Why does this disturb you so much? Are you afraid of the MRM and why?As all other forums, MRM-forums and MRM-blogs are merely collecting information, which we consider to be useful for our arguments.You mention 'marriage strike' – but that's really up to the individual. If you see, marriage makes sense for you, you will go ahead, and if not, you will prefer to continue your life as a single.What's wrong with that?I also do not understand, why you feel so much disturbed by a 'marriage strike of MRAs'. Maybe you can explain?Leading feminist politicians are calling for the abolition of marriage anyway. http://www.thelocal.se/2055/20050909/Swedish feminists call for abolition of marriage

  4. >Yohan, what then are some especially controversial issues within the MRM, on which there are major differences, and arguments?

  5. >We MRA's – even we Tranny MRA's – march in lock-step. Can't be fractured like the fem'ists. We enjoy the hive mind.BTW – CUTE KID PIC

  6. >I remember Game being a pretty controversial subject a while back.

  7. >David, what you say is basically this: there are fights in the MRM too, they are just… somehow not "as good" as the fights leftist groups have.Come on…The article you link to prove there are no fights in the MRM begins with the sentence:"Recently there has been a lot of infighting on the Spearhead."Go figure.

  8. >Arguments about whether or not other MRAs are "pansies" aren't really the same as substantive debates over actual issues and ideas. Anyway, aside from debates over Game, which I suppose could count as a substantive debate, what else? I'm honestly curious.

  9. >Parental rights, education gap/discrimination, suicide, equality in victim services, hidden abuse and protected abusers, state oppression, consumer training, stereotyping boys as bad from an early age by the education system, all these things are real and hard to disagree on. Real feminists support these things too.Of course Dworkin is going to be controversial within feminism, of the hate/supremacist movements of the 20th century, nazism and radical feminism stand out and radical feminism has been more successful than nazism and has come to be them most influential strain of feminism. Its a shame that there isnt more resistance to it outside of the sex is bad/sex is good argument.The argument between the difference deniers and difference accepters within feminism seems to be a fools errand too.

  10. >The mens's rights movement does NOT have to follow the pattern of the women's rights movement. It will follow it's own path. But thanks for more worthless advice, David.Random Brother

  11. >I'm sure Yohan can attest to the fact that I get in frequent arguments with fellow MRAs over issues like the direction of the movement, who is and is not deserving of contempt, and the damage caused by certain attitudes.David, just because you don't see this happening in your own limited experience with MRAs doesn't mean that it isn't going on, but in typical feminist fashion you imagine that your personal experiences are an accurate measure of reality.

  12. >Links to these debates?

  13. >I'm not providing any links due to how you used the last one I gave you. It is your legal right to be a quote-mining dipshit if you want, but you won't get any more help from me.

  14. >There's a debate going on right now about my position to actually try to do something (other than sit around and bitch on the internet all day) or not.

  15. >David Futrelle said… Yohan, what then are some especially controversial issues within the MRM, on which there are major differences, and arguments? October 30, 2010 12:02 AM It would be better for a 'critical' newcomer, who does not know anything about the MRM and it's members to ask first, what are the issues generally these MRAs agree when they talk to each other.I cannot speak of course for all MRAs, but for sure all of us agree, that we need a good network with blogs and forums worldwide to communicate to each other and to publish our opinion. While feminists are already afraid of us – some years ago they were still laughing – and are demanding censorship whenever possible, we agree our communication network is still weak, but slowly growing.We agree, all of us, that men should not remain silent in case they feel badly treated by women and by feminist-biased laws. Men should publish their experiences and we also agree that these men should have the right to speak about their problems without being insulted and belittled by feminists in our forums, this does not mean that we do not welcome posters who do not agree with us. MRAs are not into editing, deleting and banning.Further we all agree, it is very important to study more about laws at home (especially family laws, property laws etc.) and abroad. – You should learn about your legal situation before marriage and not during divorce procedures when it is too late already. A good knowledge of the legal situation can prevent bad decisions in your life. Maybe you agree with that too?We all agree, that many men, especially those from USA, do have limited knowledge about the situation outside of their own country. Therefore MRAs encourage overseas travel to every man, we encourage international and interracial dating. Learn to look beyond the girl next door. Learn foreign languages, learn about other religions, simply said, be international in your mindset.We also agree, that MRM forums should collect (politically incorrect!) reports regarding female criminality against men.We found that women are violent too, and we found many crimes committed by women followed with no punishment or with ridiculous sentences -MRAs think, if you do the crime, you should serve the time – It's about 'equality' and what do you think?So far I can see in all your threads, your comments against the MRM are all related to USA, brainwashed by radical feminist propaganda.For radical US-feminists every foreign wife is a mail-order-bride, any Western man with an Asian wife is a pedophile, any woman who respect her husband is a doormat and a victim of abuse, any MRA with wife and daughters is 'shocking', any women with boys is a traitor of the own gender… MRAs are accustomed to shaming language from feminists, especially from USA…this is also an important point all MRAs agree.

  16. >What about race? What about homophobia? What about transgender issues? What about men-on-men violence? What about male rapists, abusers and pedophiles that damage all men's reputations through their actions? What about the demasculation tactics used by other MRAs e.g. calling other men "pussies"?Why for instance is there not a great outpouring concerning gay men committing suicide? Why don't you publically denounce rapists and murderers like Russell Williams? What's the official stance on transgender men (biologically female)? Why don't you defend even pro-feminist men from being belittled using shaming tactics you yourself disapprove of? From what I've seen, MRAs are homophobes. They defend and glorify people like George Sodini because they believe the women he killed deserved it just for being women. They promote marrying foreign women since such women are more obedient and pliable. I've even MRAs say it's okay to marry pre-pubescent teen girls. Hell, there's a blog in David's Enemy list about creating Stepford wives!If this isn't what you stand for, then don't stand for it within the MRA community.

  17. >Tec, you really have no clue about what goes in within the MRA community.

  18. >@ColdYet you know about feminism?And notice how you don't even deny or discuss or clarify your position on any of these issues.Cowards.

  19. >TEC: Why don't you defend even pro-feminist men from being belittled … Why does David declare MRM-friendly women as his enemies and place them on the 'Enemy List' of his blog?http://equalbutdifferent.blogspot.com/Better ask David first, before asking me stupid questions. TEC: They (MRAs) promote marrying foreign women since such women are more obedient and pliable. This statement above is pure nonsense out of feminist fantasies, but to make it clear to you, MRAs do not want to share their private rooms with Western girls like these:http://www.thelocal.se/24578/20100125/A convicted rapist considered to be one of Sweden’s most dangerous repeat sex offenders is set to become a father following a secret romance with a female prison guard, one of several inmate-guard love affairs reported to have taken place at a prison in central Sweden.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1325549/Fifth-female-Onley-Prison-officer-resigns-having-sex-inmate.htmlNow FIFTH female officer at scandal-hit prison resigns after claims she 'had sex with an inmate'. Mrs Woodford, 28, married mother, resigned three weeks ago after a probe was launched into allegations she had an affair with thug Jonathan Forrest, 21http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324720/Ian-Huntley-romances-obsessed-girlfriend-Joanne-Rutledge-27-prison.html# A young woman obsessed with Ian Huntley has been allowed to form a ‘romance’ with the Soham murderer.Joanne Rutledge has been exchanging letters and phone calls for more than a year with the double child killer, who is in a top-security cell.She insists he is ‘lovely’ and ‘he fancies me’..—–Pter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women, receives about 30 letter per week from female admirers.Tec is pointing with his fingers to MRAs, but sorry, we do not tell Western girls to look for love with thug boys and to reject ordinary Western men with the argument they are 'boring'.Why should Western men marry only Western women and not consider women who are living overseas?Any reason for that?

  20. >@YohanNice straw man post… You still have failed to point out whether MRAs have clarified their beliefs with regards to homosexuality, transgender, race, rape, child molestation, murder… shall I go on?Why don't you share your beliefs on this?

  21. >@YohanYour post makes no sense:(1) Why wouldn't pro-MRA women have equal opportunity for being on an Enemy's List?(2) Oh yes, you should reject all Western Women because they're apparently all rapists and child molestors? Um, wtf? How does that in any way prove any point at all ever? Right it doesn't. You should change your name to Straw Man…

  22. >TEC: You still have failed to point out whether MRAs have clarified their beliefs with regards to homosexuality, transgender, race, rape, child molestation, murder… shall I go on? First of all you should let us know your feminist beliefs about these issues and not only ask questions and calling others 'strawman' in return for their replies.Your behavior is rather arrogant and stupid at least. MRAs do not support criminality by demanding to close down all prisons for men as feminists do for criminal females. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6444961.stmhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/aug/02/closedownwomensprisonsMRAs see no reason why women should be sentenced to shorter or even to no jail-term for identical crimes solely because of the gender as feminists do with the argument 'women are different'.—–Homosexuality and transgender, I do not know much about them as they never interfere in my own family. They do not disturb me at all. These people enjoy their own life-style, which is very much different from the life-style of most MRAs and their family members, I guess. —–Race? I don't think, this is an issue for the MRM at all. The MRM is open for all people, any race. Strange question, but I am not from USA as you know.—–About 'rape' – we can talk about that, if you include 'false rape allegations' in this discussion. —–About child molestation, http://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2010/09/03/news/srv0000009260592.txt?viewmode=2Woman jailed for molesting 4-year-old girlhttp://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/001358.htmlTammy Imre, the 30-year-old former secretary who engaged in sexual acts with an 8-year-old boy, was sentenced to 6 years in prison todayQuestion to TEC: If the man would be 30 years old, and the girl would be 8, how long would be his jail sentence? In case of child mistreatment, molestation etc. MRAs see no reason, why a female criminal should be sentenced to shorter jail-term than a male criminal. I hope I could answer some of your questions.

  23. >@Tec, thanks for your great posts addressing the MRAs failure to care about the marginilized groups they concern troll for. It was so refreshing it allowed me to hold down the vomit from Yohan's comments about the not 'ordinary interests' of the not 'ordinary men', you know, those men of color, boys under age of majority, environmentalists men, queer men, etc.Not only do MRAs ignore the fact that social and civil rights movements have conflicts (see, for an example, the debate in the 1920s around the 'talented tenth' principal vs collective action with African American civil rights), and therefore ignore all feminist conflicts, they also love to ignore that their opponents are often of the marginalized groups they are concern trolling over. Never,do you see an MRA acknowledge that, just maybe, their black, queer, jewish, poor, disabled, etc. opponent might actually know the history of their own oppressions, or consider the words and works of feminists from these groups. What about the Bell Hooks' of the world? What about Eli Clare? What about Gloria Anzaldua? What about Gloria Steinem (who is *gasp* Jewish)? What about the thousands of others? The works of feminists of color and of other marginilized groups do not exist, something MRAs might find out if they actually gave a few minutes to study the history of feminism and these issues. But, wait, I keep forgetting that most MRAs don't really care about any of the issues they whine about in and of themselves, all they care about are flimsy excuses to say 'feminism bad'.(note: I am the same 'cat' as before, my google name is just more elaborate)

  24. >I think, DarkSiteCat is a feminist troll, who cannot understand that other people do not share her/his(?) opinion.boys under age of majorityIf anybody cares about boys under age of majority, it is the MRM – for sure not the feminists.About the women of color, Filipinas, Latinas and others, they are frequently known to be used for doing all the work in feminist households, shopping, nanny, cleaning, for a very little income.Feminism is a hateful movement full of lies, and it was never free of racist tendency. It benefits mostly a few groups of Caucasian women in Western countries.I do not know about any female domestic worker from Asia or Latin America, who had ever any benefit out of feminism.the MRAs failure to care about the marginilized groups they concern troll for. It was so refreshing it allowed me to hold down the vomit from Yohan's comments It seems DarkSiteCat is running out of good reasonable arguments, therefore the next step is starting to use shaming language?

  25. >My mother worked for minimum wage at a daycare, one of my grandmothers was a working woman of color, my sister has done home nursing labor, my aunt has done maid work, I have worked in restaurant kitchens, my brother worked doing agricultural labor for less than minimum wage. You know those crappy food service industry jobs you are concern trolling about? I have worked them, I have worked them side by side with latina workers. This assumption that no poor low level workers in western countries could ever be the person you are arguing against is a part of what I am talking about. These women you are faking concern for work the same jobs and live in the same communities as me and my family. Also, if you want to know about Latinas and feminism you could try a google search, where you would find out about feminist latinas, heck, you might even find out about Chicana feminism and the strong mexican feminist movement (you could also look up the writers I mentioned, like Anzuldua, who is a Latina-American who writes extensively on this specific topic in both English and Spanish…). Stop being so darned lazy in learning about a subject or stop talking about it.I am not trying to pretend that the history of the feminist movement is flawless, but none of its problems with race and class were worse than those of the societies it arose in. "Never free of racist tendency" is an adequate description of pretty much every political movement that ever happened in the west, it is not a specific criticism of feminism, nor should it be treated as such.I also love how 'shaming language' is such a vague term it applies to everyting. 'failure to care' is a criticism, not an ad hominem attack. 'Concern troll' is a term with a well known meaning that is applied to people of all political positions, you can argue that it does not apply, but it is also hardly an ad hominem attack. In addition, it is rather ironic that you ommitted what I specified was vomit worthy- your excluding marginalized men and their concerns from the group of 'ordinary men' and 'ordinary issues'-which was, in fact, a criticism about the way you were talking about specific groups of men, not even directly related to your comments about women or feminism.

  26. I’m pretty sure the phonies like Paul Elam have already been rebutted: http://goo.gl/ryAYn

    David, your column is a complete misguided characterization from an emasculated male who hates his own gender. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were considering a sex change to cut off your “disgusting” penis since you hate men so much.

  27. “Right now the Men’s Rights Movement turns legitimate concern and legitimate anger at real problems faced by men into bitterness aimed at feminist bogey-women and women at large; it’s as destructive for the real cause of men’s rights, and for the world at large, as the Dworkinite branch of feminism was for feminists and for everyone else.”

    Brilliantly well put!

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