The hate group masquerading as feminists/Help Defend Jacobin

Help Defend Jacobin


From Salon:

“RadFems'” openly discriminate against the transgendered while clinging to a reactionary definition of sex

Thursday, Jul 11, 2013

This article originally appeared on Jacobin.


I’m an endangered species. Nearly half of people like me attempt suicide. Hundreds of us are murdered annually and, worldwide, that rate is only increasing. Those of us who have a job and a place to live often lose them both; too many of us can’t acquire either in the first place. What I am is a transgender woman, one of the lucky ones.

I’m lucky because I’m white, and because I have employment, housing and health insurance. I can’t get too comfortable, though, because every few days, a tragic headline reminds me of how fragile we are as a group: “Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill Passes,” “Transgender Inmates At Risk,” “Transgender Woman Shot.” The world is not kind to us and the news never lets me forget that sobering fact.

In some bizarre alternate reality, however, I’m seen as a villain who invades “real” women’s spaces and perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes. A small but vocal band of activists known as “Radfems” see transgender women like myself as a blight on the feminist movement, but — because their views are not representative of the feminist movement as a whole — many trans*-inclusive feminists refer to them as TERFs, or Trans*-Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

The chief TERF figurehead is a Maryland attorney named Catherine Brennan who once served as a liaison on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. In July of 2012, a petition circulated to have Brennan removed from that position because, to put it mildly, she flatly rejected the “Gender Identity” half of her job description.

Apart from a sordid internet history of harassing, misgendering, and mocking trans* people, Brennan co-authored a letter with Elizabeth Hungerford to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to argue against — yes, against — legal protections based on “gender identity or expression.” In so doing, Brennan has effectively allied herself with those on the Right who viciously deter trans* folks’ attempts to secure employment, housing and safe public spaces.

Since vacating the American Bar Association liaison position, Brennan has continued to spread her anti-trans* viewpoints at the annual Radfem conference. Every year, the Radfems gather in a “women-only” space to promulgate their politics of exclusion. Every year, however, conference organizers find it even more difficult to book space as people begin to recognize the Radfems for what they are: a hate group.

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See Jacobin for the original article: CounterPunch and the War on Transgender People

Original Counter Punch article: The Left Hand of Darkness

From Socialist Worker:

Jacobin needs our support

Bhaskar Sunkara
July 15, 2013

On July 10, the left-wing magazine Jacobin published an article by Samantha Allen titled CounterPunch and the War on Transgender People,” which challenged a strand of radical feminism whose proponents, in Allen’s words, see a transgender woman as someone who “invades ‘real’ women’s spaces and perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes,” and who acts “as a blight on the feminist movement.”

In particular, Allen singled out Catherine Brennan as a leading proponent of trans-exclusive radical feminism–to the extent that Brennan has argued “against legal protections based on ‘gender identity or expression,'” according to Allen. Allen also cited the CounterPunch website for publishing an article by Julian Vigo that defended Brennan and condescendingly attacked transgender activists for daring to criticize those who consider them a “blight.”

Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara recently announced that Brennan, in response to Allen’s article, has reportedly begun legal action against the magazine–and that Jacobin is raising funds for a legal defense. Here, we reprint his call to contribute to Jacobin’s legal defense–and hope readers will support it.

Dear readers,

This week we were pleased to publish a wonderful essay by Samantha Allen on “CounterPunch and the War on Transgender People.” It’s a moving piece that brings to life the type of discrimination that trans* people experience on a daily basis.

In the piece, Allen laments the fact that portions of the Left, including some self-described feminists, are still bullying this vulnerable population. What’s more, these reactionary voices are even finding outlets in some of our best publications, like CounterPunch. As Allen writes, “…pundits of both liberal and radical varieties can demonize us, ignore us, and question our legitimacy because they can get away with it.”

As is the case with many other issues–and largely due to a lack of time and resources–Jacobin hasn’t provided a very good counterweight to these tendencies. That’s why we were so proud to publish Allen’s piece, and it’s one of the many reasons we stand behind it without reservation.

But not everyone is so pleased with its publication. Catherine Brennan, whose views are critiqued in the essay as being transphobic, has instructed her lawyer David Diggs to prepare litigation against Jacobin magazine.

Any money raised in the next few weeks will be held in escrow and reserved for a long overdue legal defense fund. Our payment pages are all secure and encrypted, but for those who prefer they can donate via PayPal to

Your generosity is vital and appreciated. It will help safeguard our writers and our publication and enable us to continue what I believe to be valuable work.

First published at Jacobin Magazine.

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Cathy Brennan the Phyllis Schlafly of our time

From Daily Kos:

Horace Boothroyd III
Thu Jul 11, 2013

Phyllis Schlafly did extensive damage to the Feminist movement in the 1970’s but associating Feminism with Lesbianism. This resulted in scaring mainstream Feminists away, who at that time were for the most part suburban housewives tired of being treated like chattel.

Today’s divide and conquer proponent is Cathy Brennan a woman that identifies as a radical Feminist but vociferously opposes the exsistance of Transgender women as Feminists of any stripe. She is a Feminist separatist to the nth degree. And blatantly calls Transgenter Women rapists or worse at every opportunity.

As a Transgender Man I consider myself a Jedi Level Feminist, as I have seized patriarchy. In attempting to educate Radfems, including Roseanne Barr, about the caustic nature of the divisiveness inherent in excluding Transgender Women from Feminism Brennan herself referred to me on Twitter as a Transgender rapist, and then subsequently blocked me. So much for educating.

What better way to enact the politics of division than to focus on a group that society deems as less than?

Like Schlafly before her Brennan is losing momentum in her efforts to paint Transgender Women as nothing more than men in dresses. The following editorial in Salon calls her and her ilk out for the hate mongering disguised as Feminism she is really selling.

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What Really Happened When OutServe-SLDN Came Undone

From The Advocate:

Allyson Robinson’s departure from military rights group Outserve-SLDN was messy, shrouded in speculation, and leaves behind questions about the organization’s future.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
July 30 2013

When the first out transgender executive director of a national LGBT organization was asked to resign after less than a year in her post, some activists were quick to suspect anti-trans bias at work. Other observers immediately ruled bias out, citing a financial crisis within the organization.

Weeks later, there is no evidence of explicit transphobia surrounding Allyson Robinson’s June ouster at LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. What happened is a bit more nuanced, based on interviews and documents made available to The Advocate.

Members and observers acknowledged that OutServe-SLDN faced a serious financial crisis, as external donations dropped precipitously after the 2011 repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Several members clarified that allegations the organization was bankrupt are untrue, but sources inside the group confirm that OutServe-SLDN had struggled to meet its payroll in the weeks leading up to the June 22 meeting and had begun quietly laying off nonessential staff and working to minimize its overhead. The organization’s 11 full- and part-time employees on payroll had been reduced to six full-time employees and one part-time worker by June 2012.

OutServe-SLDN’s financial woes were likely compounded by a culture clash between OutServe and SLDN, which formally merged in early 2012. OutServe was a digital group of activists working together to raise the voices of gay and lesbian soldiers serving in silence under DADT, while SLDN looked more like a traditional, brick-and-mortar advocacy organization. Without the common, unifying enemy of DADT, the mission of both OutServe and SLDN became less clear. While Robinson was elected to the group’s top spot by a nearly unanimous vote last October, personality conflicts ever since between the new executive director and high-ranking board members were quite familiar to those inside the organization.

On June 22, a regularly scheduled board meeting for OutServe-SLDN took an unexpected and public turn when an email from board member Sue Fulton that proposed asking for Robinson’s resignation was inadvertently sent to the broader membership, and subsequently leaked to various media outlets, including Buzzfeed, The Bilerico Project, and AmericaBlog. In the following weeks, OutServe-SLDN scrambled to do damage control on subsequent reports that speculated about Robinson’s ouster being a result of systematic transphobia. Both Buzzfeed and Bilerico posited the theory that Robinson’s removal was sparked by anti-trans bias, with the latter publishing an article on July 10 asking if the OutServe-SLDN scenario was “LGB Transphobia Rearing Its Ugly Head?” Other reports from Bilerico and Buzzfeed accused former co-chair Josh Seefried of leading a coup against Robinson, whose star was rising, arguably overshadowing Seefried.

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The Humanity of Private Manning: My Experience As a Defense Witness

From Huffington Post:


It’s been weeks since I testified at the court-martial of Private Bradley Manning, and I still don’t know how to explain to anyone what that experience was like. I don’t even know how to feel about what I saw there.

Everything seemed simple before, and now it’s really not. It used to be easy to take a bird’s-eye view of the entire situation. I saw it as some abstract network of people, events, morals, responsibilities, laws, consequences, past, future, the connections between them, and some process of justice or historical consensus that would resolve all this in favor of one definitive outcome or another. It was easy to talk about what Manning did, debate the ethical and legal character of his actions, and calmly contemplate what should happen next.

That was my attitude going into this – there were facts, they would eventually add up to an answer, and I didn’t need to give much thought to anything beyond that. For me, the facts were simple: I had spoken with Manning online for several months in 2009, after he took an interest in my fledgling YouTube channel, and long before his leaks of classified material. His defense team believed our conversations could show that Manning cared about his country and wanted to protect people, contrary to the government’s assertions that he had recklessly placed America and its troops at risk. And so I was called by the defense to testify about what Manning said to me: that he felt he had a great duty to people, and wanted to make sure everyone made it home to their families.

Flying out to Baltimore was disorienting; I hadn’t been apart from my fiancee and our kids for over a year, and now I was on my own in a city I’d never visited before. Still, I took it in stride and tried to think of it as something that was going to happen, something I’d get through no matter how it went, and then it would be over – the same things I would always tell myself before a dental appointment. As if this were no more than some temporary discomfort or inconvenience to my life. I drew on the same strategy I used when nervous about flying, or transitioning, or coming out to my family: pretending that all of this was completely normal to me. Of course, having to pretend meant that it very much was not, but I tried not to think about that.

“Miss McNamara?” Sgt. Valesko, clean-shaven and wearing a sports jersey, recognized me at the baggage claim and introduced himself. He carried my bags outside, where Sgt. Daley was waiting to drive me to my hotel. I joked about the fact that I was quite literally getting a ride in a black government van. As they showed me some landmarks around the area – Costco, Olive Garden, and a high-security prison – we all got to know each other. Daley told me about growing up in Shreveport, attending a superhero-themed wedding in Seattle, and shattering his wrist in a motorcycle accident; I showed him the thick five-inch surgical scar on my abdomen. They thought it was great. It was surprisingly easy to talk to them – they were very friendly, and it really put me at ease, even when I was still struggling to get a handle on everything that was happening.

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See Also:

BuzzFeed: Lauren McNamara, Trans Activist And Witness For The Defense Of Private Bradley Manning

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Bradley Manning cleared of ‘aiding the enemy’ but guilty of most other charges

From The Guardian UK:

• Pfc. Manning convicted of multiple Espionage Act violations
• Acquitted of most serious ‘aiding the enemy’ charge
• Army private faces maximum jail sentence of 136 years

at Fort Meade
The Guardian, Tuesday 30 July 2013

Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, faces a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail after he was convicted on Tuesday of most charges on which he stood trial.

Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the court martial of the US soldier, delivered her verdict in curt and pointed language. “Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty,” she repeated over and over, as the reality of a prolonged prison sentence for Manning – on top of the three years he has already spent in detention – dawned.

The one ray of light in an otherwise bleak outcome for Manning was that he was found not guilty of the single most serious charge against him – that he knowingly “aided the enemy”, in practice al-Qaida, by disclosing information to the WikiLeaks website that in turn made it accessible to all users including enemy groups.

Lind’s decision to avoid setting a precedent by applying the swingeing “aiding the enemy” charge to an official leaker will invoke a sigh of relief from news organisations and civil liberties groups who had feared a guilty verdict would send a chill across public interest journalism.

The judge also found Manning not guilty of having leaked an encrypted copy of a video of a US air strike in the Farah province of Aghanistan in which many civilians died. Manning’s defence team had argued vociferously that he was not the source of this video, though the soldier did admit to the later disclosure of an unencrypted version of the video and related documents.

Lind also accepted Manning’s version of several of the key dates in the WikiLeaks disclosures, and took some of the edge from other less serious charges. But the overriding toughness of the verdict remains: the soldier was found guilty in their entirety of 17 out of the 22 counts against him, and of an amended version of four others.

The guilty verdicts included seven out of the eight counts brought under the Espionage Act. On these counts, Manning was accused of leaking the Afghan and Iraq war logs, embassy cables and Guantánamo files “with reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the US or the advantage of any foreign nation”. The 1917 act has previously been reserved largely for those who engage in spying as opposed to leaking; the seven convictions under the act are likely to be seen as a major stepping up of the US government’s harsh crackdown on whistleblowing.

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The Moral Verdict on Bradley Manning: A Conviction of Love in Action

From Common Dreams:

by Norman Solomon

The sun rose with a moral verdict on Bradley Manning well before the military judge could proclaim his guilt. The human verdict would necessarily clash with the proclamation from the judicial bench.

In lockstep with administrators of the nation’s war services, judgment day arrived on Tuesday to exact official retribution. After unforgiveable actions, the defendant’s culpability weighed heavy.

“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house,” another defendant, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, wrote about another action that resulted in a federal trial, 45 years earlier, scarcely a dozen miles from the Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley Manning faced prosecution for his own fracture of good order.

“We could not, so help us God, do otherwise,” wrote Berrigan, one of the nine people who, one day in May 1968 while the Vietnam War raged on, removed several hundred files from a U.S. draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, and burned them with napalm in the parking lot. “For we are sick at heart…”

On the surface, many differences protrude between those nine draft-files-burning radical Catholics and Bradley Manning. But I wonder. Ten souls saw cruelties of war and could no longer just watch.

“I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy,” Manning wrote in an online chat. Minutes later he added: “I think I’ve been traumatized too much by reality, to care about consequences of shattering the fantasy.” And he also wrote: “I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Those words came seven weeks after the world was able to watch the “Collateral Murder” video that Manning had provided to WikiLeaks. And those words came just days before military police arrived to arrest him on May 29, 2010.

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What Bradley Manning’s Sentence Will Tell Us About Our Military Justice System

From Huffington Post:


Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That’s the bad news. The good news is he was found not guilty on the charge of “aiding the enemy.” That’s ’cause who he was aiding was us, the American people. And we’re not the enemy. Right?

Manning now faces a potential maximum sentence of 136 years in jail. When his sentence is announced tomorrow, we’ll all get a good idea of how seriously the U.S. military takes different crimes. When you hear about how long Manning – now 25 years old – will be in prison, compare it to sentences received by other soldiers:

Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, received no jail time. But he was reprimanded and fined $8,000. (Pappas was heard to say about al-Jamadi, “I’m not going down for this alone.”)

Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi’s body and in another photo smiling next to naked, hooded Iraqis stacked on each other in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to six months for maltreating detainees.

Spec. Armin Cruz was sentenced to eight months for abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and covering up the abuse.

Spc. Steven Ribordy was sentenced to eight months for being accessory to the murder of four Iraqi prisoners who were “bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal” in Baghdad in 2007.

Spc. Belmor Ramos was sentenced to seven months for conspiracy to commit murder in the same case.

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I am Bradley Manning

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Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial

From Wikileaks:

30 July 2013, 19:30 UTC

Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ’espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.

The ’aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ’espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.

Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ’espionage’.

President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.

In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that – or even claim that – a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.

The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.

The US first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. What part of ’no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?

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Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is

From The Guardian UK:

The press has lost the plot over the Snowden revelations. The fact is that the net is finished as a global network and that US firms’ cloud services cannot be trusted

The Observer, Saturday 27 July 2013

Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.

In a way, it doesn’t matter why the media lost the scent. What matters is that they did. So as a public service, let us summarise what Snowden has achieved thus far.

Without him, we would not know how the National Security Agency (NSA) had been able to access the emails, Facebook accounts and videos of citizens across the world; or how it had secretly acquired the phone records of millions of Americans; or how, through a secret court, it has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data.

Similarly, without Snowden, we would not be debating whether the US government should have turned surveillance into a huge, privatised business, offering data-mining contracts to private contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton and, in the process, high-level security clearance to thousands of people who shouldn’t have it. Nor would there be – finally – a serious debate between Europe (excluding the UK, which in these matters is just an overseas franchise of the US) and the United States about where the proper balance between freedom and security lies.

These are pretty significant outcomes and they’re just the first-order consequences of Snowden’s activities. As far as most of our mass media are concerned, though, they have gone largely unremarked. Instead, we have been fed a constant stream of journalistic pap – speculation about Snowden’s travel plans, asylum requests, state of mind, physical appearance, etc. The “human interest” angle has trumped the real story, which is what the NSA revelations tell us about how our networked world actually works and the direction in which it is heading.

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