John on November 20, 2011 at 10:48 am
She supports the movement but not the local incarnation which she describes as both sexist and racist:
I want to support Occupy Edinburgh, but I can’t.
I want to support an explicitly anti-capitalist, feminist movement that shows alternative ways of organising society. Despite having heard some positives, I don’t think that is happening at Occupy Edinburgh – not now, anyway.
Occupy Edinburgh is sexist. Thankfully, unlike Occupy Glasgow, I haven’t heard about any rapes or sexual assaults, but it’s still sexist.
People have said that they feel physically intimidated; that they can’t express their views freely; that certain members of camp, specifically the ‘security team’ have a lot of power (which makes them feel uncomfortable); and even that women have been told that they are not allowed to talk about the rape at Occupy Glasgow.
She then goes on to describe how women weren’t able to attend the GA meetings because they were washing dishes. Also, Occupy Edinburgh seems to welcome anti-Semites:
I was already in a bad mood: the night before I was up doing an essay and ended up in a massive Facebook argument with a bunch of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists on the Occupy Edinburgh Facebook group. I don’t really give a shit about conspiracy theorists, but when it becomes anti-Semites, that’s a big problem. I won’t work with racists. And I don’t think I should have to.
But, I thought, maybe that’s just some nutballs on the Facebook group, maybe the people at the camp are actually cool, I should go at least once instead of being cynical and dismissive.
Unfortunately I was right to be cynical and dismissive.
I did meet some nice people, especially someone I won’t name here who had been camping for several days. However I also found that there were some very powerful voices that were shutting down debate.
Within five minutes of starting our meeting, a man from the ‘security team’ asked us what we were doing, criticised us for coming in and trying to change things without having camped there (the irony being that we don’t feel comfortable or safe enough to camp), and was basically very intimidating. He said if someone had concerns they could raise them at a General Assembly. (Incidentally, we couldn’t raise our concerns at the General Assembly that evening since long debates about de-humidifiers were prioritised over talking about making camp less patriarchal.)
It turns out that this man thinks feminism is an evil created by ‘Jewish bankers’. He is also one of the most prominent people at the camp, and people listen to him.
Furthermore, there seem to be no clear aims to what’s going on – if there were, perhaps feminists could have a space to talk; instead, people are there because of ‘Jewish bankers’, because they don’t believe in climate change, because the 1% are lizard people/Rothschilds/Illuminati.
Remember, this is a supporter of the group. Her criticism isn’t of the “these people are dangerous to themselves and others” variety. She’s saying they’re a collection of fringe kooks bordering on cult-like behavior:
A member of camp who was sympathetic to us and raised our concerns has been intimidated, told he wasn’t allowed to talk about it because there was a reporter on site who might overhear. He has since left the camp. I’m completely appalled at the way he’s been treated by some members. Now people are minimising what happened to him, saying it couldn’t have happened, that there are two sides to every story, that it’s just a misunderstanding. I’m sorry but no, the first rule is that when someone has a legitimate complaint like that you listen to them and believe them.
If this was the testimony of an ex-scientologist, Anonymous would be all over it. As it is, this is coming out of the group they helped create. I wonder if they see the irony.
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