Keep your distance from A Voice for Men’s conference at its new location in St. Clair Shores.
That’s the basic message the organisers of the original June 7th protest against the AVFM conference want to get out to anyone thinking of protesting the conference this Friday and Saturday. In an open letter posted on Amanda Levitt’s Fat Body Politics, the original organizers urge would-be protesters to boycott the conference and stay out of St. Clair Shores.
While the original organizers reaffirm their opposition to the conference and to “the horrific and vile hatred that A Voice for Men spreads on their website,” they are concerned about the safety of anyone who might be considering protesting:
We have had numerous people reach out to us to let us know of the very real danger we could be in by protesting. Due to concerns for physical safety we have decided the best way to oppose the conference that is now going on in St. Clair Shores is to keep our distance. With AVFM’s history of attempting to provoke protestors, harassing individuals by following them to their cars or home, and filming or photographing them in order to release their private information online we don’t feel that protesting at the VFW hall could keep people reasonable safe.
While there may be others who decide to protest the conference, we want to make it perfectly clear that there are real concerns for safety. If you are planning to protest the conference, please make sure the people who are coming are informed enough about the kind of vicious tactics that AVFM has used to derail and trivialize the response to their own ideology.
Be in solidarity with us this weekend as we ensure the safety of our organizers and other protesters by tweeting to #NoMRA about why this conference and the beliefs of AVFM shouldn’t be tolerated.
I should say that I agree with this approach: DON’T protest AVFM’s Conference in St. Clair Shores this weekend. Speak out against AVFM’s misogyny, and against its efforts to intimidate its critics — on social media and any other way you can.
But unless you are covering the conference as a journalist, don’t go to St. Clair Shores. Not only do you risk being doxxed and harassed by AVFM and its supporters, but you also will be giving AVFM what it wants: a confrontation, and yet another excuse to play the victim.
Make no mistake: AVFM and its supporters want to see protesters at their conference this weekend. Don’t give them what they want.
You will be far more effective critic of AVFM if, instead of confronting them in person, you speak up online, through letters to the editor, and by spreading the word in other peaceful ways that don’t involve actually going to the conference.
I don’t personally oppose AVFM’s conference taking place, but I think it’s very important to show the world what AVFM, its supporters, and its invited speakers really stand for.
I urge you to do what you can to publicize the video I helped to put together in collaboration with Mancheeze.com that highlights the hatefulness of a number of those scheduled to speak at AVFM’s conference– link to it, embed it on your blog, whatever you can do.
You can also help to spread the word by posting the graphic I’ve pasted in below, after the jump, which collects together the statements quoted in the video. You can click on it for a larger version.