In keeping with yesterday’s announcements I want to offer a clarification of AVFM’s position on recent events at MRA London.
As most of you who follow things here know, there has been a shake-up within that UK men’s rights group which has resulted in disputes between members over who is in charge, and even if there ever was a group over which anyone was ever in charge.
Being situated in Texas and having had conflicting accounts with different members of the group has added even more to the confusion, but I have been provided with enough information to make a decision on what AVFM policy will be regarding the entity MRA London.
Before I go into the details of that decision there are some things I want to make clear. First, neither I nor AVFM as a whole were in any way involved in the internal problems of MRA London. I received sketchy reports from different people involved as to their take on problems, but the problems themselves were entirely internal to that organization. I doubt seriously that anyone on either side of this would dispute that.
I have no position at all on who was “right or wrong” in terms of their internal dispute. My decision to continue to recognize Andy Thomas as the AVFM connection to MRA London was not based on a determination that he was right and his opponents were wrong, but on our established history and other factors that I will expand on later in this statement.
I am not in the least interested in trying to ascertain who was more or less at fault in MRA London’s internal conflicts. It is not that I am indifferent to right and wrong in this case, but simply as a pragmatic matter I cannot and won’t try to wade through several weeks/months of infighting, insinuation and accusations between people in conflict 8,000 miles from here and even pretend that I can come up with an informed judgment.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to cast blame on me for my choices all they want, but any suggestion that I had a hand in MRA London’s implosion are in error. I am simply trying to pick up the pieces here in a way that benefits the mission of this website.
That means I am not picking sides, but instead picking what looks to me to be the best path for AVFM and for the MHRM, generally speaking.
My experience here is with Andy Thomas as the official liaison between MRA London and AVFM. That has been on our masthead for months. All my official dealings with the organization have been with Andy. Andy is the owner and webmaster of mralondon.org. Andy was the individual from MRA London that spearheaded all the activism I was aware of, including the confrontation with officials of the Irish London Center which eventually led to the Radfems being locked out of that venue.
Andy remains, in my view, the one individual who has led activism efforts from that group. The only other person affiliated with MRA London that I had any regular dealings with is Erin Pizzey.
Speaking of Erin, she has already come out in support of Andy in this dustup.
The question now becomes one of simply dealing with realities on the ground as they are at this moment, and remembering that aside from all the drama and theatrics, my obligation is to foster and follow the activism.
Implosions like this are messy. People get hurt, on all sides. Betrayal is felt, on all sides. Fingers are pointed in all directions, and no matter where you land your support, you are going to pay a price with someone.
If it is like every other situation like this I have encountered, there is blame enough to go around for everyone. Like I said, though, it is not my position, nor am I interested in it being my position, to attempt to sort out and pass judgment on someone else’s mess. My only job here is to protect AVFM and to ally with individuals and groups that have the potential to enhance our efforts.
So to cut to the chase, several factors become clear.
- At best, MRA London in its previous form was a loose amalgamation of individuals with a shared interest in men’s activism;
- There was no central authority for the group that we know of;
- The only actual activists that we had any formal relationship with out of MRA London were Andy Thomas and Erin Pizzey;
- Andy Thomas is the owner and webmaster of mralondon.org and is the only one that has ever acted in that capacity;
- Andy Thomas is asserting ownership of the name MRA London while this is in conflict with others in the organization;
- Andy Thomas is asserting that he is the official leader of that group, which is also in dispute by other members;
- Andy presents as the most compelling and credible candidate to actually use the MRA London group, in whatever form it ultimately takes, as a platform to launch organized and directed forms of men’s rights activism;
- Current rumor (unconfirmed) is that the previous members of MRA London have already formed a new group, under a new banner. So, the decision here is a relatively simple one.
AVFM recognizes Andy Thomas, as it always has, as the official liaison between AVFM and MRA London. And since he now singularly asserts his authority over the name and infrastructure of the group, we recognize that as well.
There are other factors, having to do with the best interests of AVFM and the MHRM, that lend more support to our decision to maintain the historical relationship we have had with Andy Thomas of MRA London. I am not at liberty to discuss them, but they are compelling.
That being said, in my mind any additional reasons are not necessary. The case is made quite clear without relying on the other reasons.
I understand fully that there will be dissent to this action. Anyone who likes, including other members or former members of MRA London and other interested parties are welcome to voice that dissent in the comments to this announcement.
What will not be allowed is for any conflicts or residual resentments about this to infect this site as a whole. This is the thread for bickering, if people want it, but I won’t allow the disagreements to spill over into subsequent posts to this website.
The AVFM position has been established on this, and now we intend to move on back to our mission. What happened to MRA London won’t be repeated here.
As a footnote to these events, there was some criticism that dirty laundry was being hung out. I understand the distaste for that. I have learned some of those lessons the hard way. But the fact is that this shakeup was not going to go unnoticed. If anyone concerned about the public nature of the dispute feels they could have handled it more effectively than getting it out and done, the comments here are also a good place to detail your plans.
In time, this affair will pass. I am fully confident that most, if not all the members and former members of MRA London will move on to better days, having learned from the experience.