On The Women’s March

By An Anonymous Member

I don’t want to write this post. I love women. I believe in the political power of women. Women, an experience and identity formed through trauma and pain, is also a site of joy and sexuality and resistance. To organize as women for women is a potent antidote to a world poisoned by white supremacy, male supremacy, and capitalism. And yet, I must ask you all to not support the women’s march occurring tomorrow.

The women’s march could have been something incredible. It could have been the launching point of a reinvigorated women’s liberation movement. Instead, it is an event devoid of politics, integrity, and solidarity with women across backgrounds. The left, including us at BFL, owns some of this. When it comes to populist actions such as the women’s march, the agenda is set by whatever group can get the Facebook event up the fastest. The left has been in a reactionary position for a long time, despite knowing the anniversary of the women’s march would be significant, we did not make moves to organize it.

However, that does not excuse or explain the egregious actions taken by the current women’s march organizers. It is a women’s march, yet no women’s group or antiviolence group is involved in the organizing nor did the organizers reach out to them.

The organizing meetings were kept private (which is not a problem in and of itself), but without subsequent outreach, it resulted in the rest us scrambling to find basic information about who was behind this and how we could plug in. A small group of leftists was finally able to access a meeting last week, where we were continually shouted down by the organizers for bringing up the issue of working with police as well as the fascists who claim to be marching in solidarity with them. They claimed we were disrespecting the process ( a process that dedicated 3x more time to scheduling the next meeting than it did to actually discussing the ethics of paying Cambridge Police Department thousands of dollars for police details).

Yes, you read that right. Our local fascist group, Resist Marxism, has had an event page up for at least a month claiming to march *with* the women’s march, in support of women, and even has a lineup of female speakers (North Shore Antifa has good background information on them at this link). And yes, you read that other thing right. The women’s march organizers are trying to raise $5000 to cover the cost of permits and fees, a large chunk of which will be going straight in Cambridge Police Departments pockets. Anything left over will be split among the organizations involved (again, none of which are women’s organizations or anti-domestic/ sexual violence organizations).

The police are a white supremacist and male supremacist organization. They are a danger and an enemy to all women. They exist to protect the men who hurt us and punish our sisters who speak out. And it is black women who bear the brunt of that punishment. The money given to Cambridge PD will be used to incarcerate, beat, sexually assault, and punish women as well as men of color (and anyone else not rich enough/ powerful enough to buy them off). The women’s march is funding the very institution that is standing in the way of our liberation.

The most egregious aspect coming out of all this the fact that the organizers made the conscious decision to lie to you all about Resist Marxism and the role of the police. Last Thursday, I raised up the point that they are well organized, they will be there, and they will hurt women. In response, the organizers said that it was best to ignore them, that they had a right to be there. As we have argued on this blog before, that strategy allows fascists to grow and it is imperative that they not be allowed a platform of any kind. I responded saying as much as well as emphasizing the danger they were putting the attendants in, not only by allowing Resist Marxism a platform, but by not informing people that fascists would be present.  They eventually agreed to put out a statement.

I want to stop here. I want to write a story where we struggled together, hurt each other but in the end, had each other’s backs. I love women. I believe many of the women involved in this are new and well meaning. I think many of the women involved in this could be incredible organizers, once they have experience and mentorship. I know all of the women involved in this have been targeted by male supremacy in one way or another, we all have. That is why we need to fight. I don’t want to continue writing this. But I have to.

Their statement is lying. You can read it here: https://sites.google.com/site/januarycoalition/announcements/counterprotests-1. This was published after the meeting where I and other leftists informed them of Resist Marxism’s presence. It originally said there was a small chance of counter-protesters, but that was normal and to be expected at any protest event and that they would have peace police keepers to prevent “violence”. It was clear in the meeting that preventing violence meant turning people who confronted Resist Marxism using a diversity tactics would be turned over to the police.

Because of community pressure, they edited the statement to acknowledge that one group of counter-protesters will be in attendance and added that police would only be involved as a last resort. That is still a lie. Resist Marxism is not coming as counter-protesters, the police are already heavily involved, and the organizer’s refusal to face the politics of this situation and provide a coherent analysis of the fascists attempt at cooptation only makes it that much easier for feminist causes to be mutated by white supremacy. Given that the collective organizing this march is almost entirely white and that fascists organizers and collaborators such as Garret Kirkland and Daniel Kontoff (who is also a serial harasser of women) have been freely allowed to comment on their event page, it begs the question of who the organizers are aligned with. It certainly isn’t sex workers or black women or trans women or homeless women or fat women or undocumented women or lesbians or disabled women (despite the claims of the organizers that they are working with the city solely to make the event more accessible) or Jewish women or bi women or women who have been targeted by male violence. Frankly, I can’t think of a single group of women who are being prioritized by this action except for white women who, whether it be for lack of consciousness or malice, are aligned with white supremacy.

I’m a white woman. I’ll be there confronting the fascists as will the rest of BFL. To be liberated from Gender as white women are to openly and proudly reject Whiteness, to betray our race and the violent legacy we are implicated in. We ask that if you plan to attend, join us in confronting the fascists.

We will not be there in support of the march or the organizers, we can’t be. It would betray everything we have fought against and everything we hope to build.  The day will come where millions of women will march together under a united platform of liberation and on that day, we will march with the joy

2 thoughts on “On The Women’s March

  1. Speaking as just me, Sarah, just want to clarify a couple of things. Our group was aware of the counter protesters from day one as they made multiple attempts to contact us through Facebook and post their event to our pages and as a group we made a decision not to allow them to advertise through our event page or other social media by naming their group or allowing posts about their plans. When you showed up, we also had discussed our plans around this issue at two previous meetings. Two of our members have extensive experience organizing rallies, training and employing peacekeepers and that was always our plan, but we also knew anything we shared would be public and available to anyone. The statement about counter protestors that I posted after you came was something I wrote a first draft of as a google doc and everyone on our group account made edits and suggestions, once all final edits were completed on the statement, I posted and did not edit wording. Those idiots came briefly today, made some noise and left after about ten minutes which is what we expected. There was no violence, no police intervention, and no arrests. We are a group of all volunteers that really started meeting three weeks ago and most of us had never met before this month and none of us are professional rally organizers or know of every feminist group in the area to invite, we came from a range of life experiences from college students to women in their 70s. We also all have demanding jobs and children and had a lengthy agenda to get through on the evening you showed up. None of us are perfect or can make all the right decisions., but I don’t know of a way to hold a large rally at a public park without permits and meeting with the city to obtain the permits. One of our major goals was to make the event accessible, so not getting official permits to hold the event, there were five in total park, generator, food, entertainment, and parking, and that required meeting with the city of Cambridge people which included police, fire, parks, mayor’s office, recreation, parking, department of public works, mayors office and more. If I can plan a rally, then I think anyone can, so feel free to create your own event. and I will be there because personally, I think we need to find common ground because all women are under attack right now and as a person who is now 52, I remember what is used to be like and don’t want any of us returning to that time. I belonged to me too before there were hashtags or even an internet. — Peace, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for commenting. Just a quick response to your main points:

      1. The decision to not allow them to advertise was a good one. The decision to hide their attempt at cooptation was a poor one that prevented people from making decisions about their safety & made it that much harder to organize against them.

      2. Resist Marxism did not attend as counter protesters, they attended as supporters of the march. It may seem like a sematic diffrence, but it is a huge deal in terms of how the feminist movement addresses white supremacy. To countinually insist they were counter protesters is to absolve feminists of our duty to develop a political platform that completely disavows white supremacy.

      3. The reason Resist Marxism was there so briefly was becuase there was a large contigent organized & spearheaded by BFL as well as several other leftist groups who showed up with the explit purpose of confronting, shouting down, and driving out the white supremacists- which we did. The peacekeepers tried, often aggressively, to prevent us from doing this. You cannot dismiss their presence as small and only lasting a few minutes, the only reason it turned out that way was because of leftist groups who took action that the womens march collective tried to prevent.

      4. As for putting on a large rally without permits, we’ve done it as well as many other groups. Its possible.

      5. As for not knowing every feminist group in the city, that’s understandable. However, it is not understandable how the January Coalition didn’t manage to find even one to work with.

      6. We all have jobs, children, disabilities, we all are coping with poverty and oppression. That is the same for us as it is for you. We have every reason in the world to do this poorly, to lower our standards for ourselves- but the world deserves better. We deserve better. We don’t expect perfection, there always painful comprimises that needs to be made in this work but compromise was not even on the table for the January Coalition.

      7. Please do come out to our events. We don’t disagree, we must work together and build together as women. Finding common ground cannot supersede principles however.

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