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An apple, a pear, a plum, and a toaster

Oct 7th, 2015 11:33 am | By

Victoria A Brownworth has thoughts on Julie Bindel and no-platforming.

The University of Manchester Student Union thinks lesbian feminist writer and activist Julie Bindel is worse than ISIS.

If that sounds extreme, it is. Manchester SU could not come to a conclusion on whether or not ISIS, unarguably the world’s worst terror group, should be sanctioned by MSU, but they were unanimous that Bindel should be.

Take that in for a moment.

I have. I’ve been taking it in since Monday.

As co-founder of the feminist anti-violence group Justice for Women, Bindel has been no-platformed previously for speaking out on a range of gender issues. She is actually best known for her writing and speaking on sex trafficking of

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They have been made aware

Oct 7th, 2015 10:58 am | By

The Manchester Students’ Union has updated its statement about its no-platforming of Julie Bindel.

They’ve withdrawn the no-platform and apologized?!


The pre-update portion:

Last week we received a visiting speaker request form for Julie Bindel to be invited to speak at a society event.

As per our external speaker processes, it was flagged as potentially in breach of our safe space policy.

After reviewing the request in more detail, the Students’ Union has decided to deny this request based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.

You can read the full safe space policy here.

The post-update portion:

Updated 07.10.2015

Further to our previous

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Oct 7th, 2015 10:28 am | By

Wikipedia on the National Union of Students no-platform policy:

NUS No Platform Policy

No Platform is a policy of the National Union of Students (NUS) of the United Kingdom. Like other no platform policies, it asserts that no proscribed person or organisation should be given a platform to speak, nor should a union officer share a platform with them. The policy traditionally applies to entities that the NUS considers racist or fascist, most notably the British National Party,[1] although the NUS and its liberation campaigns have policies refusing platforms to other people or organisations. The policy does not extend to students’ unions who are part of NUS, although similar policies have also been adopted by its

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Oh but the Yanks might not like it

Oct 6th, 2015 5:48 pm | By

Facebook told me Meryl Streep and the Pankhurst slogan is trending, so I took a look at the trending…and was embarrassed. It’s so creepily and narcissistically US-centric that it makes me cringe. Apparently everyone everywhere is supposed to be alert to what Americans Might Think About This and act accordingly. And that’s supposed to be a progressive view? Please.

This piece by Yohana Desta at Mashable for instance –

Some quotes are timeless. Others are ill-timed.

The hive mind behind the film Suffragette, a biopic about the women’s suffrage movement in England, is learning that lesson the hard way after a recent gaffe that shows the film’s stars wearing shirts with an ill-advised quote spoken by suffragette

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Purity and absolutism

Oct 6th, 2015 4:59 pm | By

Jane Fae has thoughts on the no-platforming of Julie Bindel.

It was a feminist conference that did for me. I was due to speak at Feminism in London this month, but have now agreed not to, apparently because my views veer too far from accepted doctrine.

The topic of the talk in question was “speech and space”: my view is that the demand for absolute freedom of speech emerges from privilege; and that virtual spaces should be policed and protected in ways similar to physical space. I have watched over the last couple of years as various mobs have attacked women online – Caroline Criado-Perez, Stella Creasy, Mary Beard. The list is endless, and more must be

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12 MSF staff and 10 patients

Oct 6th, 2015 12:23 pm | By

The Guardian reports that the US keeps changing its story on how we happened to bomb that MSF hospital in Kunduz.

US special operations forces – not their Afghan allies – called in the deadly airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, the US commander has conceded.

Shortly before General John Campbell, the commander of the US and Nato war in Afghanistan, testified to a Senate panel, the president of Doctors Without Borders – also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – said the US and Afghanistanhad made an “admission of a war crime”.

Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had

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The wrong kind of union

Oct 6th, 2015 11:34 am | By

The Mancunion reports on the censorious Student Union, quoting from a public Facebook post that is no longer available on Facebook:

In a blog post on her official Facebook page, Women’s Officer Jess Lishak said: “The proposed society event requested to invite two highly controversial and offensive speakers; radical feminist and famous transphobe Julie Bindel, and journalist and ‘men’s rights activist’ Milo Yiannopoulos.”

What a foul way to talk – “famous transphobe.”

“We unanimously decided to not allow Julie Bindel to be invited to speak at an official SU event. We also approved the request for Milo Yiannopoulos on the provisos that, should the event go ahead, there will be extra security put in place for everyone’s safety.

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Oct 6th, 2015 10:17 am | By

Julie Bindel on Twitter:

Julie Bindel ‏@bindelj
I wouldn’t mind, I was looking forward to wiping the floor with @Nero then necking a bucket of martinis with him. And making him pay for it.

Nero (Milo Yiannopoulos) in reply:

Milo Yiannopoulos ‏@Nero 16 hours ago West Hollywood, CA
You didn’t stand a chance you batty old dyke. But yeah I’d have picked up the tab. I know how low-income lezzer households are xxx

Notice a difference?

Yet she was banned, and he was not.… Read the rest

Thus diminished as people and as students

Oct 6th, 2015 9:57 am | By

There’s a petition you can sign:

Petitioning University of Manchester Student Union: Let Julie Bindel speak at the University of Manchester!

The University of Manchester’s Students’ Union has banned Julie Bindel from speaking at an event called “From Liberation to Censorship: does Modern Feminism have a Problem with Free Speech?” to be held on University premises on 15 October.

Credit: Elena Heatherwick

Her presence “was flagged as potentially in breach of our safe space policy. After reviewing the request in more detail, the Students’ Union has decided to deny this request based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.”
We reject this on the following grounds:

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Fight back

Oct 5th, 2015 5:54 pm | By

So poking around on Google and Facebook for more information about this ridiculous and illiberal no-platforming of Julie Bindel by the University of Manchester Student Union, I found that the group putting on the event has postponed it in order to fight the no-platforming. This isn’t over.

The University of Manchester Student’s Union informed us this afternoon that they are banning Julie Bindel from speaking in a panel discussion on feminism and censorship. The reason for banning her is given as “based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.”. The full statement can be found here.

We were very sad, though in no way

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But why didn’t you say this at the time?

Oct 5th, 2015 12:16 pm | By

Robert Reich on Facebook:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in an interview published today that individual Wall Street executives should have been prosecuted for their actions leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, but that the U.S. Justice Department and other law-enforcement agencies focused instead on investigating or indicting entire firms. “A financial firm is of course a legal fiction; it’s not a person. You can’t put a financial firm in jail,” he said. “It would have been my preference to have more investigation of individual action, since obviously everything that went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.”

Well, thank you Ben. But why didn’t you say this

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Fairness? What’s that?

Oct 5th, 2015 12:02 pm | By

Last week, there was this: Julie Bindel Statement on Withdrawing from Feminism In London

Julie’s blog is down, so she’s asked me to host her statement here — I think it’s brilliant and am honoured to publish it.


I am very sorry that I feel I have no choice but to withdraw my contribution to the Feminism in London conference this year. It is particularly difficult for me to do so because FiL is one of the few feminist conferences that dare include me on their programme (in case of disruption from anti-feminists claiming I am transphobic, biphobic, Islamophobic and whorephobic). In fact, FiL had, in previous years, left me off the programme (but had me speak) in case

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The new normal

Oct 5th, 2015 11:43 am | By

Nick Cohen is appalled by the way some on the left go after liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who campaign against Islamism.

I have enjoyed the Guardian for decades. But too many of its contributors have lost their wits and abandoned their principles over radical Islam. They show no signs of finding either soon. As a matter of course, they publish a defence of the silencing of Maryam Namazie, an ex-Muslim feminist, or a piece denouncing Maajid Nawaz, the Muslim leader of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation.

In academia, speakers at Bath University, surely the most malign[ed] higher education institution in Britain, call ex-Muslims “native informants”, as if the decision of free men and women to decide for

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Get a wider lens

Oct 5th, 2015 10:27 am | By

If you search “Meryl Streep feminism” on Twitter you will find an absurd controversy in action: people expressing shock and horror that Streep wore, for the cover of Time Out, a t shirt that says


The cover story is about a new movie in which Streep plays Emmeline Pankhurst. The movie is titled Suffragette. It’s about the suffragettes. The slogan was coined by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Tweeters are freaking out because omg Streep is white, that’s appropriation, doesn’t anybody know any history?!

History. Slavery has been a thing throughout human history. It has been used as a metaphor throughout human history. It is not the exclusive property of Americans, not even Americans whose … Read the rest

ACLU v Trinity Health Corporation

Oct 4th, 2015 6:02 pm | By

The ACLU and ACLU Michigan have opened a second front against the bishops and their stinkin’ “ethical directives.”

DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced a federal lawsuit today filed on behalf of their members against Trinity Health Corporation, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country,  for its repeated and systematic failure to provide women suffering pregnancy complications with appropriate emergency abortions as required by federal law.

Yes. Yes yes yes.

“We’re taking a stand today to fight for pregnant women who are denied potentially life-saving care because doctors are forced to follow religious directives rather than best medical practices,” said ACLU of Michigan Staff Attorney Brooke A.

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Keep looking for alternatives

Oct 4th, 2015 12:16 pm | By

Pema Chodron said a thing on Facebook on March 13, 2013. That thing has 3,637 likes and 1,976 shares. I think that’s 3,637 and 1,976 too many.


Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives.

In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation, the beginning of the beginning. You could even put “Abandon hope” on

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A figure of gothic melodrama

Oct 4th, 2015 11:36 am | By

Deborah Orr did a nicely blistering piece about the Women-Murderer “museum” in August.

Mark the Ripp-Off, otherwise known as Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, is the man behind a new museum in Cable Street in the East End of London. Except he isn’t. He’s behind a lurid new tourist attraction in Cable Street in the East End of London, which is dedicated to exploiting an already much-cultivated fascination with the unknown killer of five women between 1888 and 1891.

I hadn’t properly taken in the extent and grotesquery of the fascination until this “museum” came along. What is this sick shit? There’s nothing cool or nostalgic or fun about the serial murders of desperately poor prostitutes in late 19th century London. … Read the rest

Tasteful Jack the Ripper souvenir items for your collecting pleasure

Oct 4th, 2015 10:20 am | By

Or you could just take a shortcut and go to the Jack the Mutilating Murderer of Women “museum” shop’s page. That tells you all you need to know about this “museum.”


There’s a wine glass for £8.00, the shot glass we’ve already seen for £6.00, a “latte glass” for £7.00, a mug gold-rimmed for £10.00, and the poshest of all –

MUSEUM OF JACK THE RIPPER TANKARD MUG – GOLD RIMMED £15.00 That’s an investment, that is.

There’s a t shirt for £14.00 and a top hat for 45. Oddly, I don’t see any shawls or ragged dresses or women’s shoes with holes in them.

There are keyfobs (key rings … Read the rest

Yet more dapper laughs

Oct 4th, 2015 9:30 am | By

For more on the horrifying Jack the Ripper “museum” check out the historian Fern Riddell on Twitter, starting with her Storify of her visit to the “museum” itself.

I’m in the middle of doing that now, so I’ve just encountered this tweet:

Fern Riddell ‏@FernRiddell Sep 30
@tkingdoll no, they’ve made a change apparently, just not on any of the shop stuff…

Because there’s just nothing funnier than the murder and mutilation of women.… Read the rest

Always revolting

Oct 3rd, 2015 5:54 pm | By

Linda CoxRead the rest