A call to arms

On 26 September 2015 Mike Buchanan gave a well-received presentation to 20+ MRAs in Oxford. Four were already members of his party, but more joined up after this talk, and/or offered to attend an anti-MGM rally, and/or put themselves forward as potential candidates for the 2020 general election. A productive day. The rest of this blog post consists of his presentation.

Good morning. I’m Mike Buchanan, leader of the political party Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them) – J4MB. We’re an anti-feminist party because the only form of feminism of the slightest consequence in the UK over the past 30+ years has been radical feminism, a gender supremacy ideology driven by misandry (the hatred of men). I’m also the person behind a number of blogs:

Campaign for Merit in Business

The Anti-Feminism League

The Alternative Sexism Project

I’ve written nine books since 2008, four of them largely concerned with gender-related matters. The first was The Marriage Delusion: the fraud of the rings? – a review of the institution of marriage, which might explain the title and content of my final blog:

Men Shouldn’t Marry

My last book FEMINISM: the ugly truth was published in 2012.

In this talk, when I refer to men’s rights, please take that to include boys’ rights too, depending on the context. I’ll be using a few acronyms. In case anyone isn’t familiar with them:

MRAs – Men’s Rights Advocates, or Men’s Rights Activists. They can, of course, be either men or women.
MRM – Men’s Rights Movement
MGM – Male Genital Mutilation
FGM – Female Genital Mutilation

I’ve been deeply interested in gender politics for the past six years or so – far fewer years than many people here – but I’ve worked full-time in the area over those years, whether writing books or engaged in other activities. My talk will focus on the political struggle for men’s rights, so I’ll start with a few words about J4MB, the political party we launched over two and a half years ago. It remains the only political party in the English-speaking world fighting for the human rights of men and boys on many fronts.

While we believe there’s considerable merit in challenging feminism as an ideology, we don’t believe it can be destroyed as an ideology. We are, however, convinced it can be thwarted politically, and that’s where our focus lies.

Since we launched the party in 2013 we’ve had over 100 appearances on mainstream radio and television – almost all of them are on our YouTube channel – and countless articles have been written about us. This is more mainstream media exposure than all other men’s rights organizations have achieved collectively, and globally, over the past 40 years, although A Voice for Men, an American website, is by some distance the most-visited and most influential men’s human rights advocacy website in the world. The J4MB website typically gets over 1,000 visitors a day.

I’d like to recommend the websites of two people who are with us today. The first is William Collins, whose website is, to my mind, the gold standard for concise, information-rich pieces relating to individual men’s rights issues. We link to his pieces all the time. Then there’s <name redacted>, who posts material under the pseudonym MrShadowfax42. He recently posted a priceless video of Adolf Hitler doubting his own insanity after being confronted with remarks made by Julie Bindel, a radical feminist.

I’d also like to recommend the website of Herbert Purdy, who unfortunately can’t be with us today. His website is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand feminism, and its consequences.

When we launched J4MB I was confident it would be difficult to raise money. Men’s rights organizations have a chequered history of being chronically under-funded. I was also sure it wouldn’t be difficult to find people willing to stand as candidates at general elections.

I was wrong on both counts, as it happens. We had two or three donations on launch day, including £100 from a man in London who’d been following my earlier campaigns, but had never made a donation to them, nor made himself known to me. The party has been financially solvent from that day to this, and I’d like to thank <name redacted>, the Party Treasurer, for all his hard work.

We’ve had a shortage of suitable MRAs willing to stand as candidates, which I believe is a symptom of a wider problem of men’s non-engagement at a practical and political level. I’ll be talking about that shortly.

A few words on our strategy, which has evolved since the general election in May. We’re now committed to challenging only the political party or parties in power at the time, because only they have the power to reduce or end the assaults on men’s human rights. At the last general election we fielded two candidates, Ray Barry of Real Fathers for Justice and myself. At the 2020 general election we plan to field candidates in the seats which were the top 20 Tory marginal in 2015. We already have income streams in place to fund the £500 deposits of all 20 candidates in 2020, and I’m pleased to say 10 of those deposits are being funded by four party members who are here today. We want to pose a credible threat that if we get enough votes, or even deter enough people from voting Conservative, their prospects of re-election will be substantially reduced. I believe that’s a very achievable objective.

I’d like to turn to the notion that MRAs are engaged in a culture war or gender war. There’s a popular belief among MRAs that we’re engaged in a war against feminism as an ideology, and feminists as individuals. But are we? I don’t think we are, in any meaningful sense, and to explain that I’ll do something I’ve never done in a talk before, which is to quote a radical feminist at length.

Two months ago the website The Conservative Woman published a piece I’d written about impending legislation which will require large firms to publish their ‘gender pay gaps’. There are two radfems who regularly appear in the comments streams of many of the site’s pieces, and the same was true here.

One was ‘Fabian Solutions’, who we and others refer to as Fabian Delusions. We had the usual terse exchange of comments, then she wrote the comments I’m about to read out. They closely echo what anti-feminist commentators such as Herbert Purdy have long been saying about the corruption and manipulation of institutions by feminists and progressives. This is what she wrote:

You still don’t get it, do you? You’re trying to fight the culture war, but you don’t realize you’ve already lost it and we progressives have won. I don’t often say this to people, but I’m so certain of our absolute victory there’s nothing to be lost from revealing a few things to you.

The “Culture Wars” reached public attention in the 1960s, although the philosophical roots of the struggle had been fought for decades earlier. However, the 60s and 70s were the last period when the conservative movement still had a realistic chance to turn the tide, in Britain and the US.

However, your key error was to fail to understand the bigger picture. You concentrated on the superficialities, like explicit pop lyrics and sex on TV, without realizing that the real underlying battle was taking place behind the scenes in the media, academia and political structures of the land. That is where we Feminists and progressives concentrated our efforts, with the long-term in mind.

By the 1980s and 1990s, the effects of this were gradually being seen, as the pre-war generation retired and the baby boomer generation, which we had been able to reach out to with our radical ideas, began to take over positions of influence. Social conservatism was still widespread, in the shape of Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse, but the tide was in our favour.

By the 2000s, the progressive baby boomer generation was in charge and before long, virtually every former bastion of social conservatism was under our control. Even the Daily Telegraph and the military have fallen. The ease with which gay marriage was passed is proof of how powerful we progressives had become and how completely we now dominate every institution.

I don’t mean to sound triumphalist, but I actually feel excited about the next 50 years. With the reactionary and regressive force of social conservatism now expunged, the generation now at school will be the first one to live their lives with virtually no conservative influence whatsoever – with no prejudice about gay marriage, who are used to mothers working and earning more than men. The possibilities are endless.

It pains me to say this, but while she was triumphalist, she was broadly telling the truth. The institutional roots of the assaults on men’s rights were being established at least 50 years ago. That said, I think she was being disingenuous in one important regard. While she presents this as a coalition of feminists and other ‘progressives’ against social conservatism, their real enemy was men and boys as a class. The culture war was a GENDER war, with many men on the side of the progressives and feminists.

Because the assaults on men’s and boys’ human rights are only getting worse, it’s tempting to think that a gender war is still continuing. To my mind, though, a more useful way to think of it, is that these people won the war decades ago. Ever since then, they’ve been increasing the frequency and intensity of their assaults over the disadvantaged class – men and boys.

So if the gender war was lost decades ago, how might we describe the vast majority of MRAs? I think a military metaphor is appropriate here. The vast majority of MRAs are like the Japanese soldiers who survived in the jungles on Pacific islands after the end of World War 2, sometimes for decades.

It’s time for MRAs to accept the gender war was won by feminists long ago, to declare a new war, and fight it.

The idea that MRAs are currently fighting a war is a myth, let me turn to a second one. Decade after decade goes by in which MRAs devote their time and energy to contesting lying feminist narratives on the gender pay gap, domestic violence, fathers’ access to children, FGM, and so much more. There’s an underlying conviction that the use of facts and rational arguments are going to turn the tide. I’ve personally spent much of the past six years employing facts and rational arguments against feminist narratives.

Let’s see how that approach has worked out in one key area. It’s been known for decades that the number of male victims of domestic violence is comparable with the number of female victims. While most domestic violence has a degree of reciprocity, it’s known that when the violence is one way, the abuser is more likely to be a woman than a man – and the highest rates of domestic violence are found among lesbian couples.

Decade after decade, campaigners for more support for male victims of domestic violence, and those men’s children, have fought for much more support for those people, I’m sorry to say with little success. They employ facts and rational arguments, but the Home Office and other public bodies are riddled with professional feminists shaping agendas and policies, so virtually all support continues to go to female victims and their children.

I know of no examples from anywhere in the world, where facts and rational arguments have ended or even reduced states’ assaults on the human rights of men. Not one. I like to use the metaphor of a speeding train representing the state’s disadvantaging of men and boys, with train drivers representing politicians. The train needs to be stopped, clearly, but what are the vast majority of MRAs doing, metaphorically speaking? They’re throwing tennis balls at the train, thinking that eventually, when they’ve thrown enough balls, the train will stop. It won’t.

This is not to minimize the importance of facts and rational arguments. They’re the bedrock from which we need to fight a new gender war, but they’re not the weapons which will ultimately deliver victory.

Staying with the metaphor of a speeding train, J4MB’s goal is clear. We plan to lay a damned great concrete slab on the rails, and give fair warning to train drivers – politicians – what lies ahead.

The new war for men’s rights we must fight is a political war, because only politicians have the power to end the state’s assaults on the human rights of men. We had in our recent general election manifesto 20 areas where the human rights of men and boys are assaulted by the actions and inactions of the state. I’ll quickly take you through a selection of 10 of the areas:

  1. Male Genital Mutilation, MGM – it’s been illegal since at least 1861, over 150 years ago. It breaches numerous articles of UN and EU conventions. If anyone should doubt these assertions, I would refer them to a presentation given by James Chegwidden, a barrister, in 2013. MGM causes great damage to the physical and mental health of huge numbers of men globally, and none of the claimed benefits stand up to serious scrutiny. MGM will be our #1 campaigning issue for the foreseeable future. William Collins’s piece on MGM is outstanding.

  2. Fathers’ access to children following family breakdowns. An area the general public understands and has sympathy with.

  3. Education – Nicky Morgan, our Education Secretary, is also the Minister for Women & Equalities, and we know from an FOI request that her department has not the slightest interest in the gender gap in educational attainment, which has been around since the replacement of O Levels by GCSEs in the 1987/88 academic year, as William Collins explained in a blog piece. The introduction of continuous assessment in the GCSEs allowed teachers’ pro-female bias to translate into higher marks for girls than boys, for the first time.

  4. Employment. There are plenty of taxpayer-funded initiatives to encourage women into historically male-typical fields of work – £30 million on engineering alone – but none to encourage men into female-typical fields. All this despite the fact the male unemployment rate has been higher than the female unemployment rate for many years.

  5. Domestic violence – there’s virtually no support for male victims of domestic violence, and their children. The Home Office and other agencies are riddled with professional feminists from radical feminist organizations such as Women’s Aid and Refuge.

  6. Suicide – the leading cause of death of men under 50, in all age groups. The male suicide rate is now 3.5 times higher than the female suicide rate, that differential has more than doubled in 30 years. The government takes not the slightest interest in the matter.

  7. Criminal justice system – 80,000 of the 84,000 people in prison today are men. We know from a piece by William Collins that if men were treated as leniently as women in sentencing terms, around 67,000 of the 80,000 men in prison today wouldn’t be there. We raised this in a FOI request to Michael Gove, Justice Secretary, and the Ministry of Justice didn’t even pretend to have the slightest interest in the matter.

  8. Paternity fraud – a crime under the Fraud Act 2006, but the Crown never prosecutes, even when it knows the names and addresses of women seeking to commit the fraud, for example when the Child Support Agency (CSA) targets a man for child maintenance, he demands a paternity test, and is found not to be the father. Following a FOI request to the CSA, they admitted they’d learned of more than 500 new cases of attempted paternity fraud every year, for many years. God knows how many men simply assume they’re the fathers of the children in question, when they’re not. It must run into thousands of men every year taking on the financial burden of providing for children even though they aren’t those children’s biological fathers. Very often, for good measure, they’ll be denied access to those children too.

  9. Lack of anonymity for suspected sexual offenders. Overwhelming a problem for men, rather than women, of course. The criminal justice system rarely takes an interest in female sex offenders, unless they can be associated with male sex offenders, so the women can themselves be presented as victims. Sometimes, even then, they’re not held accountable. We recently published a piece about a man who was frequently sexually abused by his father and his stepmother 30-40 years ago, usually in the context of threesomes, when he was between 7 and 14 years of age. His father later served a 7-year prison sentence. His stepmother admitted the offences in formal police interviews at the time, but she’s never been charged.

  10. Healthcare provision. As many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer. £350 million is spent every year on national screening programmes for female-specific cancers. There are no screening programmes for male-specific cancers.

I’ve only given you a few lines on each of the 10 areas, and we have another 10 areas in our manifesto, but it hopefully gives a sense of the HUGE forces stacked against men and boys. Politicians are against us, so are public bodies, the mainstream media, and even charities don’t hold the government to account on men’s issues. In seeking an end to MGM we’re challenging the traditions of two major world religions, Judaism and Islam.

Let’s turn to the response of MRAs to all these assaults. Where do MRAs devote their time and energy? The vast majority, it seems to me and others, do little or nothing other than online. But there’s now so much material on men’s rights on the internet, and so many MRAs engaged on matters like commenting online on mainstream media articles, that we’ve clearly hit the point of diminishing returns. I’d say we hit that point at least two years ago.

What very few MRAs are doing is engaging with the real world, in which the assaults on men’s and boys’ rights continue to worsen. And of those MRAs who DO engage with the real world, very few are involved in the political battle. All too often these real-world MRAs are single-issue people, lone wolves. In the wilderness lone wolves starve, but too many of these men simply won’t make the effort to collaborate with others working on the same issues, let along different issues.

Let’s return to the metaphor of a political war for men’s rights, and let’s consider people with an active interest in men’s rights as constituting an army. Over 99% of the people in the men’s rights army limit themselves to online activities, often anonymously. They’re mostly engaged in challenging feminist narratives, challenging individual feminists, or outlining men’s rights narratives. In line with the military metaphor, they’re working in the Propaganda department. Let me repeat the point, because it’s critical:

Over 99% of the people working in the men’s rights army are working in the Propaganda department.

Put another way, fewer than 1% of the people in the men’s rights army are either fighting on the front line of the political war, or actively supporting those fighting on the front line. I ask you, how is that war going to go? Now, what would happen if even a small proportion of the people working in the Propaganda department started to fight on the front line, or actively supported those fighting there? It would surely change EVERYTHING. As an example, we could then hold street demonstrations at which we could expect THOUSANDS – maybe tens of thousands – of men and women to turn up. The mainstream media couldn’t ignore that, even if it wanted to.

How would Britain look if we won our political battles, and the state’s assaults on men’s human rights ended? It would be a country in which male babies, infants, and children, no longer had their genitals mutilated because of the religion of their parents. Boys wouldn’t be disadvantaged by the education system. Fathers would be assured of seeing their children after family breakdowns. Male victims of domestic violence – along with their children – would get the support they deserve. Men would be treated the same as women when it came to prison sentencing. Men would no longer be the victims of paternity fraud. There would, of course, be many other manifestations of living in a country which wasn’t hostile to males from cradle to grave.

If you share this vision of a Britain in which the state doesn’t assault men’s and boys’ human rights, I’d like to ask three things of you today:

1. If you’re not already a party member, I would urge you to become one. It costs from only £5 a month, 16 pence per day.

2. Join us in a protest outside the Conservative party conference venue next Sunday, 4 October, and if you can manage it, the day after as well. We’ll be supporting Patrick Smyth and others from Men Do Complain, an anti-MGM organization. These men have been putting themselves out there for years, and they REALLY deserve our support. If transport is a problem for you, email me, and I’ll see if we get some car sharing going.

3. Consider becoming a candidate for J4MB at the 2020 general election. We’ve published our strategy for that election on our website. As I’ve already said, funding streams for all 20 candidates’ £500 deposits are in place. We’ll do all we can to support you with respect to literature costs, with respect to practical support and advice, and more.

Thank you.

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