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MRAs coming to Winchester University

(75 Posts)
winchfem Wed 27-Feb-19 01:54:45

Hi everyone,

I've name-changed as this is quite outing, but I wanted to ask for some support regarding a problem at my university. I've learned today that two members of Justice for Men and Boys, namely Mike Buchanan and William Collins, have been booked by a member of staff to give talks on the first of March. Many people I know have rallied to create a petition which might at least postpone these events if not cancel them completely. I was hoping, if you can spare the time, that some users in this topic might be able to lend their signatures?

The petition can be found here.

I really appreciate it if you can but have no hard feelings if you can't, it just seemed like the best place to ask. Thanks in advance.

ColeHawlins Wed 27-Feb-19 02:00:37

The problem with objecting to their talk is that it plays into the general practice of "no platforming" that is currently holding sway in academia.

I think it's much healthier to host and hear a range of views, however fringe or abhorrent they might be to individuals (with the proviso that no laws are broken).

I'd be more inclined to check whether the invitation is consistent with general practice at Winchester, or whether other speakers have been no-platformed, and if they have, complain about the inconsistency.

I'd also be pushing back against any MRA message via pickets and student media, but not actually protesting their presence, per se.

MrsTerryPratcett Wed 27-Feb-19 02:03:01

What Cole said. Find out if they no platform Muslim, Jewish, right-wing or feminist speakers generally.

Picket away, preferably with funny signs that make them look like the nobbers they are.

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Wed 27-Feb-19 02:06:42

That’s no different to no-platforming feminist speakers.

Surely better to not-protest their attendance but publicise why their ideas are repugnant. And attend the event and ask questions.

If we are really in the side of free speech, we have to be willing to hear things we profoundly disagree with.

The problem with no-platforming is that it becomes difficult to articulate exactly what your points of disagreement are, because it’s so easy to just not listen or engage.

SignMeUp Wed 27-Feb-19 04:02:13

I'd find out what their talking points will be and create leaflets to counter them. I would definitely attend and ask questions. Make them admit they hate women in their own stupid ways
Better to let them "expose" themselves, and counter protest or ridicule.
Don't no platform if you value free speech.

IamThereforeIdontIdentify Wed 27-Feb-19 04:11:28

Agree with other posters. Don't no-platform them. Expose them for who they really are.

MsJeminaPuddleduck Wed 27-Feb-19 05:28:57

What Cole said

donquixotedelamancha Wed 27-Feb-19 06:46:56

Many people I know have rallied to create a petition which might at least postpone these events if not cancel them completely.

Why? Genuinely why would you try to stop someone speaking in public (at a university of all places) unless they are promoting violence?

We're British. We don't shut people up, we take the piss.

YANBU to think them fools (I've seen one interviewed, he's an idiot) but YABU to call it hate speech and say they should have the right to assembly removed.

NotTerfNorCis Wed 27-Feb-19 06:54:53

Buchanan is not a skilled debater, although he has a few years experience now. He always seems to be talking from a pre-rehearsed script. If you look at his website, you'll see it's full of stories denigrating women as a class: 'one woman did something stupid/bad somewhere in the world, therefore all women are stupid/bad!' If you know Buchanan's ground he should be easy to trip up in debate.

Collins comes across as more intellectual on his site. He was good at presenting existing, respected arguments in an intelligent-sounding style, then twisting them to suit his MRA purposes. Someone who wasn't well informed, or who wanted to believe, might be convinced. I remember a story that Collins wrote once. It imagined that all males died overnight. Collins was describing a terrible human tragedy but you wouldn't have known it. The point of the story was how selfish and useless women are. His female characters aren't that bothered about the men dying, but civilisation quickly falls apart, and the women are reduced to waiting for one of them to give birth to a boy child who will save them all.

DonaldTwain Wed 27-Feb-19 06:58:44

Is there even such s thing as Winchester university?
Who knew?

DonaldTwain Wed 27-Feb-19 07:00:13

Well bugger me with a fish fork, there is.
If that’s the level of booking these two fruit loops are getting, I don’t think world domination is imminent. Turn up and take the piss.

NotTerfNorCis Wed 27-Feb-19 07:04:29

By the way, Buchanan himself is very anti-debate. I used to argue with him and his cronies online. They used insults and intimidation to try to make people back down. I won one of Buchanan's 'gormless feminist' awards! (That used to be 'stupid woman' before someone persuaded him it looked a bit sexist, even for him.) Buchanan genuinely seemed to think that giving someone an 'award' meant he'd won the argument and definitively proved them wrong. So do be aware that anyone who does engage with these MRAs might well be in for some online vilification and abuse. Having said that, the pool of Buchanan's followers is so small, you've got to ask yourself if that matters.

adultFemaleElf Wed 27-Feb-19 07:16:02

I do not support no-platforming.
Even when I disagree with the person being no-platformed.

feministfairy Wed 27-Feb-19 07:19:46

Great comments.
Do as women's groups currently meeting in the UK do when discussing the removal of women's rights - engage in respectful debate.

ToeToToe Wed 27-Feb-19 07:31:48

Mike Buchanan has visited Mumsnet before grin

He was roundly handed his arse on a plate by the fabulous women (and some men) here.

He stood for election in the W Mids. He got 150 votes. Lost his deposit. wink

Ignoring him is far, far more powerful than protesting him. If you protest him you give him power/publicity. He's just an angry man. Angry at the small strides women have made towards equality.

LangCleg Wed 27-Feb-19 08:20:42

We're British. We don't shut people up, we take the piss.

I concur!

Don't try to no-platform, OP. It does not lead anywhere good.

Whatisthisfuckery Wed 27-Feb-19 08:31:51

I agree with all the above. Don’t no platform them. Let people hear them speak and make up their own mind. Any undergrad worth their salt will be able to take their ideas apart and dismantle them. Sun light is good, letting these idiots become martyrs is not. How can we crush harmful ideas if they’re not aired out in the open and challenged?

RiverTam Wed 27-Feb-19 08:37:17

agreed, don't no platform them. You;re at university, which should be a bastion of free speech and you should be able to robustly debate these people.

But I would get assurance from the university/union that if they allow MRAs a platform that they don't de-platform women speaking about women's rights.

VickyEadie Wed 27-Feb-19 09:38:42

I'm entirely against no-platforming. If Winchester University has previously no-platformed feminists (or anyone else), I'd be using that at some point to bolster the argument that some people are making value judgments on everyone else's behalf, which is very, very dangerous indeed.

SleepDeprivedCabbageBrain Wed 27-Feb-19 09:41:20

No platforming is bad. If you believe in your argument, go and make it!!

ToeToToe Wed 27-Feb-19 10:04:00

You just have to remember the uproar when Nick Griffin was on Question Time - lots of people calling for no-platforming then.

But that TV appearance finished him and the BNP. He was shown up to be the utterly vile individual that he is.

Mike Buchanan is fairly similar - utterly vile, and far less known that Nick Griffin. Most people will have never heard of him. Let him have his little talks. Better still, go and challenge him - he really shows his true colours when confronted by a woman.

LizzieSiddal Wed 27-Feb-19 10:14:02

Go along with questions. Make him look like the tit he is.x

BettyDuMonde Wed 27-Feb-19 10:32:18

I’d try and get one of the current women’s org speaking tours to come along on the same day, personally.

Book another room on the other side of campus and see how opposition to both pans out. Could be great for publicity for feminist talking points!

ChattyLion Wed 27-Feb-19 10:34:04

Turn up and take the piss.

This sounds like the best tactic IMHO

ChattyLion Wed 27-Feb-19 10:36:59

And/Or have a different petition which doesn’t seek to stop these creepy men speaking but which does outline clear objections to their ideas and get people to sign that as signatures of support. While underlining that they are welcome to put their views up for debate at the university.

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