Editor’s note: We will be presenting the complete transcripts of all the International Conference on Men’s Issues 2014 presentations here on AVfM in the following weeks. This is the fourth presentation on day 1, June 27, by Mike Buchanan of the United Kingdom’s Justice for Men and Boys (& the Women Who Love Them) party. Mr. Buchanan asked us to add a postscript to the end, which we have done. —DE
(Introduction by Paul Elam.)
Okay, moving on, and thanking you all for your patience: It is my pleasure to introduce Mike Buchanan. I’ve known Mike for quite some time; this is my first time meeting him, though. I’m a huge fan of his.
Mike is a British writer, publisher, and human rights advocate for men and boys. He is a leader of a political party, Justice for Men and Boys, which will be contesting 30 seats in the May 2015 election. He will personally be contesting a seat in Bedford & Kempston. He’s the author of nine books, including The Glass Ceiling Delusion: The Real Reasons More Women Don’t Reach Senior Positions. He was interviewed on the BBC, “London Live,” and has appeared in countless newspaper articles for his tireless work advocating for British men and boys.
Mike worked for the Conservative Party from 2006 to 2008 but resigned his party membership in late 2009 to protest Conservative Party leader David Cameron’s adoption of women-only prospective parliamentary candidate shortlists for some constituencies.
Mike runs four blogs: Justice for Men and Boys, The Anti-Feminism League, The Alternative Sexism Project, and Campaign for Merit in Business. He openly publishes his email, home address, and phone number, and welcomes critics to respond to him personally as a human being. His books are recommended by professors of sociology, psychology, and business. He was formerly a business executive who took early retirement to focus on the issues facing Britain’s men and boys.
Please welcome Mike Buchanan.
(Applause. Mike Buchanan takes the podium.)
Good afternoon! We’ve just come, myself and three British colleagues have just come from a diner just down the road. Now, Americans are famous for their hospitality. At the end of the meal, a guy from A Voice for Men came over and offered to settle our bill. That was just really impressive; I just want to say it’s true what they say about Americans.
And being British, we accepted his offer, of course. (Laughter.)
Okay … I’d like to thank Paul Elam, Dean Esmay, and everyone associated with A Voice for Men, for all they’ve done over the years, and for laying on this conference. I think they’ve done a great job in the face of adversity, after the enemies of men and boys tried to stop this gathering. I’d also like to thank them for inviting me to speak today. It’s a real honor to be here.
In the leaflets we distributed earlier today, we outlined 20 areas in which men and boys are disadvantaged by the state’s actions and inactions in Britain today; and I dare say most of those disadvantages would apply in most developed countries. The state colludes with malicious mothers to deny fathers access to their children after relationship breakdowns, which in our view, and I think the view of most people in this room, I’m sure, is emotional abuse of children, fathers, grandparents, and so many others.
The state offers little or no support to male victims of domestic violence. The state disadvantages men with respect to education, employment, and through the justice system it treats men far more harshly than it treats women. The state assaults men and boys in many other areas, too. The extent of state-sponsored assaults on men and boys is truly breathtaking.
The state is like a train which only ever goes in one direction. The speed might vary, but the destination is always the same: ever more privileging of women and girls, regardless of the consequences. So a privileged class becomes ever more privileged over time, while the life outcomes for men and boys steadily worsen.
Now, the facts and figures that I will be outlining today relate mainly to the UK, of course. But I sense the picture is broadly similar in many, and possibly even most, developed countries.
Today I’m going to present the case for the Men’s Human Rights Movement to take what I think is an overdue and important next step in its evolution. We need to become an effective force, politically. I’m convinced it won’t be long before there are Men’s Rights parties in many, if not most, developing and developed countries. And I’ll be outlining two very important and useful things that happen when you launch a Men’s Rights party.
Let’s start the areas of disadvantaging with education. Boys have become ever more disadvantaged by an increasingly feminized education system over the past few decades; and today in the UK, as I think in the US, only 40% of university students are men*. Now, when most students were men, the state deemed it a problem to be addressed. Now that most students are women, funny, there isn’t a problem any more, which is nice.
For decades, government programs have sought to encourage young women into traditional male-typical fields, such as engineering. At Brunel University today, female post-graduate engineering students are entitled to additional grants, what they put at over 34,000 US dollars per year, solely on the grounds of their gender. It’s—the media’s interest in this, absolute zero.
So this is happening, although it’s long been understood why women are far less inclined to go into engineering than, say, medicine, and regardless of the fact that fewer female graduates take up careers in engineering. Most female engineers never return to the profession after having children. So taxpayers are bribing women with little or no interest in the field to go into the profession, although they’re unlikely to have lengthy careers in it; and at the same time, they’re denying university places, and therefore engineering careers, to men.
Now, this is leading inevitably to higher female employment and lower male employment. Already, men outnumber—they have for some years—men outnumber women in Britain, as unemployed.
But this has serious consequences. We know that unemployment is a far-higher risk factor for male suicide than it is for female suicide. And the male—the differential between the male and the female suicide numbers has nearly doubled in the space of just 30 years; it’s now 3.5 to 1. Suicide is the leading cause of death of the young men in the UK. So, by denying the young men the same education and employment opportunities, the state is driving some of them to take their own lives.
They contribute to—the state also contributes to the high amount of suicide rate in other areas. We know that denying fathers access to children, following relationship breakdown, is a major driver of male suicide. How could it not be? So is the almost nonexistent provision of refuge places for male victims of domestic violence, which I’ll be talking about in a bit of detail. The state is making—the bottom line is, the state is making men’s lives so unbearable that, for many of them, they’d sooner end their lives than carry on; that’s the bottom line here.
And, by giving ever more privilege to women as a class, by disadvantaging men and denying them support, the state is killing men. It is really as black-and-white as that.
Now, who is it that finances the state that disadvantages men and boys in so many areas? It’s men, in the main, ironically. British men pay 72% of the income tax collected in the UK; women, only 28%. In US dollar terms, British men pay an extra 108 billion dollars (that’s 108 thousand million dollars) more income tax than British women. I’d be interested to know the equivalent figures in the States, given the population of the US is almost exactly five times that of the UK. If it’s proportionate, American men are paying an eye-watering additional $540,000,000,000 in income tax every year, compared with American women.
So it’s overwhelmingly men who finance the state-run institutions which assault the interests of men and boys. It’s overwhelmingly men who pay the salaries of the individuals working in those institutions. Men are sponsoring their own muggers.
Across the developed world, there’s an unholy alliance between the state and feminists. Feminists always make the disadvantaging of men worse than it would otherwise be. Given that they are female supremacists, driven by misandry, the hatred of men and boys, how could it possibly be otherwise?
Feminism has some key vulnerabilities, though, as an ideology, one of which is becoming ever more apparent over time: Feminists’ appetite for advantaging women and girls over men and boys is insatiable. For over 30 years, feminists have worked through the state to attack many of the pillars of civilized society, most notably marriage and the nuclear family. We’re seeing ever more examples of outrageous advantaging of women and girls, such as the $34,000 additional grants I mentioned earlier on. And, as advantaging of women and girls and the disadvantaging of men and boys becomes ever more obvious to more people, opposition to feminists will inevitably rise.
So what—so, the $64,000 question—what options do citizens in democratic countries have to stop the state assaulting the human rights of men and boys? Decade after decade, men and women have sought to influence governments through presenting rational arguments. So how does that work out, when those arguments show the state’s preferred policy directions are harming men?
Let’s look at one of our key areas of interest: domestic violence. Huge numbers of studies tell us that women are at least as physically aggressive toward intimate partners as men. It’s long been known that while most domestic violence is reciprocal, where it’s one-way, the perpetrator is more likely to be a woman than a man. And feminists will tell you that this is because female perpetrators are actively acting proactively, in self-defense; a pre-emptive strike, if you like, I guess. It’s very rarely the case, though. Dr. Nicola Graham-Kevan, a leading British authority on domestic violence, reports that just 4% of women, female perpetrators, cite self-defense as a motivation—4%.
Now, some of you will have seen a video recently, set in a London park; it showed the public’s double standards when it comes to responding, or not responding, to a man becoming aggressive towards his female partner, and to a woman becoming aggressive towards her male partner. The double standards displayed by the passersby were, though, predictable. Both men and women did nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the man being assaulted, while they rushed to support the woman who was being assaulted. Indeed, a number of passersby, both men and women, laughed at the situation in which the man was being assaulted. The video went viral in days, and hits reached three million in the first week. It’s now been viewed by over seven million people, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The video was commissioned by ManKind Initiative, a highly respected male charity supporting victims of male abuse; and they recently published on their website an interesting report with 25 key facts about domestic abuse, drawing on the latest government statistics in the 2012-13 British Crime Survey.
Feminists relentlessly claim that a higher proportion of female victims suffer multiple incidents of abuse than male victims, and more incidents using severe force. Both claims are demonstrably false. In the latest British Crime Survey, 38% of the people who were victims of domestic abuse were men; 62%, women. So why are more women than men victims? Though I know some people challenge that. What do we know about abuse incident frequency and incident severity? 21% of both male and female victims suffered three or more incidents of domestic abuse in 2012-13. A higher proportion of male victims, 34%, suffered assaults using severe force than did female victims—28%.
We might reasonably expect refuge places for people to be allocated based on the risk of assaults using severe force; and on that basis, if we work through the numbers, 42% of refuge places in the UK should be allocated to men. Now, it’s important to say, we’re not saying that there should be fewer refuge places for women; we’re simply saying that there should be a damn sight more refuge places for men than there currently are.
In the UK, there are over 4,000 refuge places for women at risk, and only 25 places for men at risk. For every refuge place available for a man in the UK, there are 100 available for women at risk. But the situation is even worse than that for men, because some of these 25 places are available only for either gay or straight men, and some only for men living in the local area of the refuge. So the chance of a battered man finding a refuge place in the UK, near where he lives and works, even when he’s in considerable danger from a violent partner, is close to zero.
I repeat, this is known to be a driver of the high male suicide rate. How could it not be?
This brings me on to another claim regularly made by feminists; and it was put to me in a TV discussion only very recently: Feminists say that women should get the vast majority of available refuge places because women are far more likely than men to die at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. But what if we include, in our analysis, deaths by suicide provoked by domestic violence?
I turned to an American researcher, Richard Davis, who published a report in 2009. This is one of the report’s conclusions: When domestic-violence-related suicides are combined with domestic-violence-related homicides, the total number of domestic-violence-related deaths are higher for males than females.
Quite an astonishing finding. And you’ll never see that in the mainstream media, I can guarantee you. It blows out of the water the whole feminist argument for women to have the vast majority, for virtually all the refuge places to be allocated to women.
Now, most of the key facts about the nature of domestic violence have been known for decades. So what have rational arguments, based on this huge, huge body of evidence, done to move governments to provide practical support for male victims of domestic violence?
Nothing, or virtually nothing.
The mainstream media, too, bears responsibility for relentlessly peddling feminist narratives. In this area, as many others, the general public is woefully misinformed about domestic violence. Some months ago, we sent the BBC a formal complaint about a lengthy piece in their news program in which men were portrayed only as perpetrators and women only as victims. We detailed, in our lengthy complaint, over 50 breaches of the BBC’s editorial guidelines in the piece—over 50.
Our complaint was rejected. We weren’t surprised. I think it probably takes 100 breaches before they wake up.
When it comes to taking advice on domestic violence issues, the government listens to feminist organizations such as Women’s Aid. In Britain, we’re only too used to the sight and sound of Polly Neate, the organization’s CEO. We recently put on our website a detailed analysis of comments made by a Women’s Aid spokesman in an online discussion; we proved the woman had made at least seven statements which were demonstrably either lies or misleading. We presented our evidence to Polly Neate, and invited her to retract the statements. Predictably, she declined to do so.
We’ve publicly challenged many feminists to retract lies they or their organizations have spoken or written. Not one has ever done so. They’re beyond shameless. That won’t come as a surprise to anyone in this room, but it’s just true.
The lack of impact of rational arguments on government policy directions is undeniable. It’s true in domestic violence; it’s true in 20 [other] areas. So what alternatives are we left with?
One obvious one is to launch a political party, given that almost half of the electorate is male. We launched Justice for Men and Boys early last year; and it would be fair to say, most—many, if not most—of our policy directions are socially conservative. And we’re focusing our effort on pushing the Conservative Party into becoming less hostile to men and boys; so we’ll target Conservative marginal seats in next year’s general election.
We’re recommending to people interested in forming a party that if they form a left-of-center party they shouldn’t attack people on the right advocating for men and boys; they should actually attack people on their own side who are abandoning them. If they form a right-of-center party, they shouldn’t attack people on the left against supporting men and boys; they should attack, you know, the people on the right who are abandoning them.
The goal must be to force all political parties to change.
Earlier, I used the metaphor of the state as a train that only ever goes in one direction: advantaging women and girls at the expense of men and boys. Staying with that metaphor, our objective is to lay a damn-great concrete block on the rails, at general elections. When the parties know that the price for assaulting men and boys could be five years out of office, they’ll have to start making changes.
After we published our party’s website, we were both surprised and delighted when two things happened almost immediately that we didn’t predict. Donations started arriving from Day One, including some generous ones from people who had been following my other campaigns, that had never made themselves known to us, nor donated anything. And it was an early indication, I think, that when you present something tangible, rather than only conceptual, people are more likely to make donations.
Of course, AVfM recently had the experience on needing to quickly raise $25,000 for additional security here; and a crowd-funder raised the sum in, I believe, under 22 hours. Hour after hour, I was watching donations coming into that, and I thought, Wow, things are changing, this is getting traction. An outstanding achievement, I’ve got to say. Outstanding.
Now, the second thing that’s happened after we launched the party was mainstream media coverage. Within two or three weeks, I’d appeared on a number of BBC national and local radio programs, one of them the Jeremy Vine show, which has a regular audience of seven million listeners. We are getting the media coverage we want, but it was forming the party that was the catalyst—I mean, that’s the point I want to make, that things happen when you form a party. People are intrigued.
Most of our coverage has actually come from the BBC, which is bizarre, because I attack them with some frequency.
So launching political parties can be expected to result in media attention, and donations. And the stark truth is that political parties need both if they’re going to make an impact against feminism, which has been the defining ideology of the political establishment and other establishments for at least 30 years, I think across most of the developed world; certainly the UK. I’m convinced that if only a small amount of the time and effort currently expended by Men’s Human Rights Advocates were directed toward launching and running political parties, the result could be a game-changer.
Along with AVfM, we’re convinced the fight for men’s human rights can be waged by men and women of any political persuasion, race, creed, sexuality, and any other characteristic you care to name.
At the top of our party’s website, from the outset, there’s been a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Well, our enemies have long ignored us; they’ve long ridiculed us; but now they’re fighting us. They didn’t want this first International Conference on Men’s Issues to go ahead. They fought A Voice for Men and its legion of supporters—and they lost.
This conference is, without doubt, a landmark victory in the war for men’s and boy’s human rights. There’s absolutely no doubt. The enemies of men and boys had better get used to losing, because they’re going to be losing more battles from now on. And the day is coming when they’ll lose the war. Let’s bring that day forward. Let’s get political.
Postscript: Mike Buchanan had to shorten his speech for time reasons. He had hoped to outline his 2015 General Election strategy in the UK to help give inspiration to others in the UK or outside of it: What Will Success for J4MB Look Like?
Minor corrections noted with * or in brackets.