I’m not in Glasgow right now, but the sound of men whinging in that city is reaching me over the other side of the continent. Teh menz are confused, especially the leftie ones and male tears are being wept by the bucketload all over teh interwebs. There is a part of me that is amused at the bleating, but as has been pointed out in a recent article on Bella Caledonia, this bleating leads to dark places.
Much discussion has been prompted by an article by Suki Sangha highlighting the need for women’s voices on the left. Published in the Scottish Socialist Voice, it mentions the sterling work of the women’s network of RISE, which has included in the last month alone, a major demonstration against rape culture, another in support of reproductive rights and an intervention at Corton Vale highlighting the lack of sanitory provision for women prisoners. Objections have been taken to the use of the phrase “pale stale male” which some of teh menz see as a derogatory slur and in online comments speak of feeling attacked, unsafe and silenced.
Wont somebody think of the white men?
Which brings me to Loki’s article on Bella Caledonia. Now, before I rip it to shreds, I should point out that I do have a lot of respect for Loki, despite his sexism. He is nothing if not authentic and this article and its prior draft, has prompted a great deal of very interesting discussion. Its still shite tho, and its worrying that someone who has a clear commitment to social justice is finding an attraction to neo-fascist ideas, which only goes to show how pernicious these ideas are.
The article starts by relating a story of a disaffected male youth, who is disruptive in a youth club, agonising over having failed him by excluding him from a club where nominally all were welcome. But then the problem is that when one member of a group starts behaving in a way that upsets others and that isnt challenged, then all aren’t really welcome, the only ones who are welcome are the ones who are willing to tolerate this behaviour.
Loki then goes on to contrast the feminist theory of “Toxic Masculinity” for his behaviour with the more standard liberal explanations of “poor parenting, bad environment, what do you expect?” Dismissing the former as “radical idealism” while praising the latter, the favoured theory of those who are “paid to think a little more” like cops, social workers and child psychologists as “what works” in an echoing of the sentiments of Iain Duncan Smith, he rather misses the point.
Like Loki, I strongly suspect that this youth does indeed come from challenging circumstances, circumstances which have left him feeling powerless. This “standard theory”, which Loki claims is effective, is later acknowledged not to be effective once the child reaches adulthood and merely understanding and tolerating the behaviour is insufficient, when society demands that his behaviour is directly addressed.
What Loki misses however in his discussion of parental challenges is that the boy himself is directly affected by these challenges – he is not only the child of poor parents, he himself is poor; he is not only raised among carers struggling with mental health or addiction issues but he himself is thrown into a caring role, forced to care for family members with health issues. Poverty and caring responsibilities are emasculating – a “real man” provides money, not care. On top of that he is subject to adult authority, most notably in this vignette, the demand to stop swearing.
This child has identified masculinity, a characteristic he inhabits, as a source of power in the world – emasculated by his circumstances and finding himself under adult authority, he latches on to this locus of power as a method to effect agency. His masculinity isn’t a source of oppression, it is the means by which he seeks to effect change in the world. It might be a sorry kind of privilege, but it is privilege none the less.
Loki then goes on to talk of Roosh V, the pick up artist, so successfully challenged by the people of Glasgow. Roosh V is a serial rapist, who has boasted of raping women across multiple continents. He write books and runs “classes” for men to teach them how to rape women without getting caught. He proposes that the way to end rape is to make it legal on private property, a proposal that he later claimed was satire, although its very hard to see exactly what he is satirising, given that there is a large body of public opinion which already believes that any woman alone with a man is fair game. Loki argues that while Roosh may be a doosh, we need to think of all those poor ickle men, who might have come along quite innocently to discuss how best to rape women…cos freeze peach, innit
He quite rightly goes on to link Roosh with the emergent right wing neo-reactionary movement. As he points out, these are not your skinheaded nazi types, these are carefully presented, well groomed fascists; fascist ideology all wrapped up in a bow tie. Also known as the Dark Enlightenment (a term coined by Nick Land, one of its leading proponents), this movement return to older societal constructs and forms of government, including support for monarchism and traditional gender roles, together with libertarian economics.
Loki suggests that this movement has a “a healthy culture of open debate and intellectual inquiry” as exemplified in taking on the sacred cows of the left, like Anita Sarkeesian, a woman who has had to cancel talks because of bomb threats, threats of mass shootings and has even had to leave her home in the face of death threats after her address was posted online. And all because she pointed out things which to Loki are obvious. That doesn’t sound like a terribly healthy culture to me, however much of a cow, sacred or otherwise, they may consider she is. In the vein of the white supremacism inherent in neo-reactionary ideology, he then goes on to suggest that feminists should spend their time addressing “islamic extremists”, who he considers poses more of a threat to women than serial rapists. Yet even ISIS, the most notorious organisation which defines itself as Islamic, cannot come near to the millions of murders of women inflicted by western governments, nor can its systematic campaign of rape and sexual slavery even hope to complete with the rape epidemic in the west, and the trafficking of third world women to meet the demands of the western sex industry.
Loki then goes on to demand that we accede that “some feminist activism is unhelpful”, contrasting this unhelpful activism with the helpful activism of a man, Christopher Hitchens, a forced birther, who considered that “reproduction is, if not the only thing, certainly the main thing” for women, and who announced that he would not have “ any woman of mine go to work” and (thats even before we get into his support for bombing middle eastern women in order to liberate them) then expresses concern for women who have been “whipped up into a frenzy” by these unhelpful radical feminists. These frenzied women have started demanding safe spaces and trigger warnings, the horrors!
Next Loki explores in more detail the white supremacism of the Dark Enlightenment, suggesting that opposing viewpoints on immigration are not necessarily immoral – presumably he includes Katie Hopkins descriptions of refugees as cockroaches in that. Cos freeze peach. And demands that “we” (the secular rational ones that is) come up with positive case for religion, before casually asserting that most terrorism is perpetrated by muslims, seemingly not noticing that Iraq and Afghanistan, have existed in a perpetual state of terror since 2003 through the bombs which have killed millions, launched by the West. Neither does he seem to notice that in the UK in the last decade only one person has died through islamic extremism, yet over a thousand women have died through patriarchal terror.
He worried that a “small obtrusive strain” of activism is isolating men, and there can of course be no change if teh menz are not on board. 52% of us are just not enough. Although he does seem to have some awareness of the threat of Dark Enlightenment values…after all…first they come for the communists and acknowledges the threat of a violent resolution that this movement poses, yet his solution is to reign in the “zealots” and capitulate to this neo-fascism in the hope that they will play nice and let us be.
I will finish with a quote from Loki’s article.
We should be unafraid to own up to our absurdity and, in fact, welcome the critical gaze from within our own ranks as well as behind enemy lines.
I really hope he takes on board the criticism. Cos if this shite is typical of how your average leftie man is thinking, then there is no hope. We just need to kill teh menz and rely on artifical sperm.