Jack Barnes, a volatile American Men’s Rights activist known for his harassment of feminists on Twitter, is now threatening to unleash a new offensive designed “to strike fear in the hearts of feminists.” In a post on Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men bristling with violent language, Barnes declares that
we have our hands on the throat of feminism. This isn’t the time to ease up. This is the time to squeeze harder.
The ostensible subject of Barnes’ post is a several-weeks-old piece on News.Com.Au by Australian writer Kerri Sackville about a road-raging, red-Jag-driving man who shouted “slut” at her when she honked at him for blocking the road. Barnes adds to the abuse, declaring her a crazy, misogynist (!) “cunt.”
The real source of Barnes’ fury at Sackville is a campaign she launched last December to “name and shame” men who sent abusive and threatening messages to women online using their real names.
And that’s what leads Barnes to what he says is the real “point of this article,” a declaration of virtual war against “Sackville and her fellow feminazis.” He writes:
Here is what we do. We make it hurt. If they want to continue to do this then we make them regret it. They need to learn that their are consequences for doing this. They need to learn that we will extract a pound of flesh, figuratively speaking. They need to learn to fear retribution from us.
Barnes claims that this “retribution” won’t include physical violence, but he doesn’t specify exactly what it will include, merely suggesting that he will soon have the “tools” necessary “to strike fear in the hearts of feminists.” And by soon he means next month.
We won’t use violence. We don’t need to use violence. How do we make these feminists think twice before going all Gestapo on any guy who has the balls to call out feminism or individual feminists on their FemKKK behavior? Well I can’t tell you that right now. Lets just say a plan is in place and being brought into fruition as we speak. Expect it to be revealed before the end of February provided that everything goes according to plan.
Barnes then launches a preemptive strike on any even slightly ethical MRAs who might be “wringing their hand” [sic] over his mysterious threats, bluntly informing them that “this fight is about to get dirty. Deal with it.”
Barnes — using a rhetorical switcheroo common amongst MRAs — frames his threatened offensive as a defensive move. Feminism is dying, he asserts, and like many dying beasts it is lashing out against its enemies in a desperate frenzy. He predicts that
feminists will become increasingly more vicious. … MHRAs with lives ruined, imprisoned and dead is not outside the realm of possibility.
As he sees it, not just Sackville and her fellow Australian ally, writer Clementine Ford, but all “public faces of feminism” are fair game for “retribution” for whatever offenses he’s decided they’re guilty of.
You don’t get a warning. You all have engaged in this despicable behavior. You will receive consequences. Go ahead and whine and cry about the horrible MRAs threatening you. We don’t care. This isn’t a threat. This is a statement of fact. We will not use violence. But we will make you hesitate to ever do these things again.
Barnes apparently believes in some sort of collective guilt, making clear that he will hold prominent feminists “responsible” not only for their own alleged crimes, as he defines them, but for the behavior of what he calls their “mindless minions.”
This is not the first time Barnes has announced his desire to harass feminists into silence. Usually he remembers to put the word “harass” in quotes, as if this will be enough to transform harassment into something that doesn’t sound quite so bad.
Usually, but not always:
Nor is this the first time that Barnes has issued threats that he insists aren’t really threats.
Indeed, I myself have been the recipient of some of these non-threat threats. Last November, after someone doxxed him and his family, Barnes decided that I needed to be held “responsible” for the doxxer’s actions, even though I had nothing to do with that person or persons, didn’t know who they were, and didn’t even know about the doxxing until I learned about it from a video by AVFM head honcho Paul Elam a day or two later.
I made it clear I knew nothing about the doxxing or the doxxer (who later ended up doxxing me). I condemned the doxxing, publicly and repeatedly. It didn’t matter: Barnes declared the doxxer to be a “cult follower” of mine, so anything they did was somehow my fault.
“I promise you David,” he wrote in an AVFM post, “that for the rest of your life there will be nights you cry yourself to sleep in anger and frustration over me.”
Indeed, he wrote, if anything happened to his family as a result of the doxxing, he would literally show up on my doorstep for
a face to face in person discussion … No cops. No lawyers or prosecutors. No judges. No jury. No hiding behind a computer. Just me and you. …
I don’t know of any parent that would blame me for stomping a mud hole in your fucking ass and walking that motherfucker dry for what you have done!
What I’ve “done” is to condemn the doxxing that Barnes blames for putting his family at risk.
Barnes is hardly the only AVFMer who believes in this sort of guilt-by-non-association; assorted others rallied behind him on Twitter, repeating his accusations and defending his threats. The title of Elam’s video on the doxxing declared bluntly that I was “Trying to Get MHRAs Killed.” How? By writing critically about AVFM.
Elam’s bizarre inflation of my carefully documented criticism of MRAs into an attempt to literally “get MHRAs killed” is not only jarring; it’s ominous. By pretending that the writings of feminists leave MRAs, quite literally, in mortal peril, Elam, Barnes and others associated with AVFM can justify almost any actions they might take against feminists, no matter how sleazy or underhanded or even violent, as a form of self-defense.
Abusers who think — or simply pretend — that they are the victims are some of the most dangerous people in the world.