Reading through some comments on Men’s Rights hub A Voice for Men the other day, I ran across a fairly bloodthirsty contribution from an MRA with the charming nickname Brutal Antipathy, suggesting that the Occupy Wall Street protesters needed a bit of what he called “the ol’ Tienanmen Square treatment.”
Mr. Antipathy’s rhetorical outburst struck me as fairly typical of the tough-guy rhetoric that the site’s regulars love to indulge in — though usually the targets of the rhetoric are feminists, not Occupy Wall Street activists.
So I was a bit surprised to see site founder Paul Elam respond with this:
It seems a little odd for Elam to claim to be shocked — shocked! — to find such rhetoric on his site. Elam, after all, seems to positively revel in making his own vaguely threatening pronouncements towards his ideological enemies.
In a recent fundraising appeal, for example, Elam let out all the stops:
We now have a team of individuals that goes beyond what we advertise on our pages, and we are gearing up to add a new doomsday prophesy to 2012. Let’s put it this way: The fembots better hope the Mayan’s were right about next year, because they would rather deal with that than the things we are cooking up. …
Progress for men will not be gained by debate, reason or typical channels of grievance available to segments of the population that the world actually gives a damn about. The progress we need will only be realized by inflicting enough pain on the agents of hate, in public view, that it literally shocks society out of its current coma.
Elam is purposefully vague about just what he means by “inflicting pain,” but it is hard not to read this comment as a threat of something dire.
Others on the site are similarly fond of this sort of vague, threatening language. MRA blogger Fidelbogen, recently brought on board as a contributor to AVfM, let loose in a recent comment on those who think MRAs should tone down their rhetoric towards feminists and other enemies:
Apparently, Elam believes that the deliberate vagueness of these kinds of threats makes them shining examples of Gandhian non-violence — or at least that it gives the site the requisite “plausible deniability” if — when? — someone actually moves beyond the threats to actual violence.
It’s ok, evidently, to talk about “inflicting pain” on your enemies, so long as you don’t specify just how. It’s ok to boast about frightening your enemies, to muse about “stalking” individual feminists, to post their personal information online, and so on and so on.
Heck, apparently it’s not even a problem if someone, using the personal information provided on the site, actually tracks down individuals targeted by Elam and pals and quite literally kills them. As AVfM managing editor John the Other put it in a recent post (which I wrote about here):
And what if they get killed David? What if rather than be arrested – as promoters of hate, and public advocates of murder, what if these depraved and murderous female supremacists come to harm at the hands of a citizen. If that happens, it will mean that a society’s system of law, designed to prevent hate organizations, and to allow redress of grievance through non violent due process is gone, wiped out by your ideology of violence and hate.
Nonetheless, JtO, like Elam, insists that “I do not and will not lend myself to the support of violence, or indeed, of murder.”
But all this dancing around the issue of violence is rather a moot point, given the one rather striking exception that Elam has allowed to his “no explicit advocacy of violence” rule.
And that is the terrorist manifesto he’s been hosting on his site since last summer.
I’m referring, of course, to the lengthy manifesto written by Tom Ball, a man who burned himself to death on the steps of a courthouse in Keane, New Hampshire last summer in a protest against what he saw as unfair treatment in family court.
The manifesto is posted on AVfM — in its “activism” category.
What sort of “activism” did Ball advocate? Hint: It involves Molotov cocktails, and government buildings.
In his words (emphasis mine):
So boys, we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses. … [T]he dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. These are the people we pay good money to protect us and our families. And what do we get for our tax money? Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. All because they go along to get along. They are an embarrassment, the whole lot of them. And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out. …
There is no evidence that the police, courts, or government is planning to do anything different in the immediate future. And they will not do anything different until we make it so uncomfortable that they must change. Bureaucracy at its worst. So burn them out. This is too important to be using that touchy- feeling coaching that is so popular with business these days. You need to flatten them, like Wile E. Coyote. They need to be taught never to replace the rule of law. BURN-THEM-OUT!
Most of the police stations built in New England over the last 20 years are stone or brick. Fortunately, the roofs are still wood. The advantage of fire on the roof is that it is above the sprinklers. But even the sprinklers going off work to our advantage. There is no way they can work in a building with six inches of water. And I am certain we will disrupt their momentum once they start working out of a FEMA
At this point the AVfM editors cut Ball off in mid-sentence, and insert this “Editor’s note”:
Several paragraphs in this copy of Mr Ball’s original letter have been omitted. The omitted paragraphs contained detailed instructions on the manufacture and use of simple incendiary devices.
If you are really interested in seeing the omitted sections, you can find the complete manifesto elsewhere in the Mansophere.
Ball was quite serious about all this, and hoped that his self-immolation would inspire other “activists” to “manufacture and use” his favored sort of “simple incendiary devices,” as the AVfM editors gingerly put it. Ball himself was a bit more blunt:
I only managed to get the main door of the Cheshire County Courthouse in Keene, NH. I would appreciate it if some of you boys would finish the job for me. They harmed my children. The place is evil. So take it out. …
And bring a can of spray paint to these fires. Paint the word COLLABORATORS ( two L’s with an S on the end) on the building before you burn it.
Ball frankly acknowledged that if others followed his suggestions, people would die:
There will be some casualties in this war. Some killed, some wounded, some captured. Some of them will be theirs. Some of the casualties will be ours.
How does Ball’s explicit advocacy of terrorist acts directed at government buildings, acts that if carried out would almost inevitably mean the deaths of people within those buildings, square with Elam’s purported no-advocacy-of-violence policy for his website?
You’ll have to ask him. I have no fucking clue.