Misogny on the left

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Popular Women’s MovementMovimiento Femenino Popular (PWM-MFP) presents our newest project to better acquaint activist and working women with a few local sexist and abusive men. This is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly. We warn our friends, the activist and working women of Austin, about our the enemies within leftist political activism so our friends can be forearmed against these manipulative and predatory men.

Organized expressions of the Austin “left,” that is to say the legal-left, have accomplished so very little because they neglect to take stock of enemies and friends. Men are protected by organizational structures and friend groups when they are accused of abusive behaviors, when in reality they are enemies of the people. Likewise we have seen friends of the struggle treated like enemies by the very same people. Brave women who have come forward have been dismissed, discredited, bad-mouthed, and even silenced by well-connected men and their supporters.

PWM-MFP does not consider men generally, and particularly working class men, to be our enemies. We consider the sexism in our society to be an enemy, this is produced in our relationship to production, private property, and how it is reproduced culturally. Even when it has become clear that a person has transgressed against women, very little is ever done about it beyond minor formality. Abusive men persistently organize and a plethora of excuses are made for them to continue unscathed. This is the default standard of the revisionist and liberal legal-left.

The exception to this has been the emergent Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement, which has time and time again showed a high level of commitment to the working women of Austin. This example has resulted in a high number of women taking up the ideology, guidance, and leadership from Maoists. We are inspired by and unified in these experiences. From the campaigns to oust abusers led by the former Red Guards Austin, to the struggle against abuser Richard Morrisset led by the former Revolutionary Student Front, these are the struggles which inspired and forged us.

They taught us an important lesson—everything that is reactionary is the same; it will not fall if you do not hit it. This holds true for the reactionary behavior of men (for the most part) who have too long gone unpunished.

Millions of women, survivors, and their supporters spoke up for the whole world to hear in the #MeToo movement. Sadly this movement had limitations. While a lot of awareness was raised, very little changed in terms of retaliation for abuse and prevention of abuse. The effects were limited to professional careers and entertainment. We all watched as high judges like Kavanaugh remained protected. #MeToo hardly had any reverberation at all in the activist movement and activist women went on being taken advantage of.

It is one thing to shut down streets and mess up traffic; this is a good expression of outrage, but it shouldn’t be the only outlet, there must be more. By forming our organization we hope to accomplish more and organize women in the interest of combating sexism and abuse in all its formations—this necessarily means clearing the trash in the leftist activist movement and smashing the headquarters of misogyny, including traitorous women collaborators.

By listing abusers and other sexists, we not only raise awareness, we make it known that action will be taken, and business as usual is now foreclosed.

We cannot rely on the sexist system. Capitalism is based on extracting profits, which means selfishness and sacrificing others for economic gain—it cannot contend with what is best for working women. Workers generally have no representation in this system. Rape, assault and abuse cannot be voted away. Women must grasp the necessity of self-defense. Self-defense is posturing unless it accepts and maintains an offensive component—women have to go on the attack.

The oppression of women did not fall from the sky. Women were not always oppressed. The oppression of women stems from and is reproduced by class society, specifically the emergence of private property and the need for inheritance to be passed down. What follows this is that the oppression of women can be once and for all ended with the end of class society. This means we cannot collaborate or work with the police whose main function is to protect private property with enforcing the class system. The same goes for the entire state and all its many apparatuses.

Capitalism produces ideology and determines the type of ideas which make up capitalist society. While the oppression of women far out-dates capitalism, the latter requires new forms of women’s oppression to keep itself going. Among these, we find not only patriarchal ideas as a vestige, we find new ideas which are perfectly suited to become weapons in the arsenal against women.

Chief among these currently is postmodernism, an ideology in which all power is considered diffused. The contradiction between a working man and working women is seen as the same as that between a capitalist man and a working woman. All problems are understood as interpersonal and intersectional problems. This takes the pressure off the system in a big way and keeps everyone treating enemies like friends and friends like enemies and so on.

Certain ideological outgrowths of postmodernism come in the form of identity politics, a certain type of opportunism which places identity above all else, including a person’s politics and political practice. This is used by abusers and sexists to play up their own identities to avoid accountability. Many male activists will use postmodernism to seem “woke” or progressive as a way to get women activists to let their guards down. The whole rancid ideology seeks to remove women from the struggle by dividing them into sub-groups which are constantly vying for their own agendas. We must be clear that working women all have a material basis to unite against class society and trends like postmodernism that oppose revolution.

Our purpose must be to unify working women under revolutionary leadership. Women are doubly exploited, first as workers in production, and then as unpaid homemakers. Add to this the endless degradation, sexualization, and constant threat of attack and sexual assault. We have the most to gain from accomplishing revolution and nothing to lose but bondage. If you are sick of abusers getting a pass and seeing women who muster the courage to come forward being denounced, ridiculed, or ignored, then you should get organized with us. We are taking the gloves off and refusing to tolerate further humiliation. Women become activists to change the world, yet face the same hardship, lack of leadership, and abuse that we face at the hands of capitalist society. No more!

Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!


KIT O’CONNELL – GUILTY OF MACKTIVISM –

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Kit O’Connell is a longtime activist and journalist in Austin. His career in journalism sprouted from the Occupy movement in 2011, where he grew a following by covering direct action and marches. He considers himself a “queer gonzo journalist” who is a defender of human rights, anti-fascism, sex work, sex-positivity, and the LGBTQIA, disabled, and hemp communities.

O’Connell puts his politics, his career, and his sex life on public display and uses his leftist politics and queer feminist persona to serve his personal lifestyle. He alternates political quips with endorsements of polyamory. Young people just entering the activist scene stumble upon his political demo livestreams, “righteous” weed culture, and sex toy reviews. His trajectory leads away from revolution and is rooted in nihilistic bohemianism. He uses his queer and disabled identity to justify his views.

Social media and blog posts by O’Connell demonstrate his opportunism over the years. He leaps at any chance to be at the forefront of any leftist movement at the time, including Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Harvey relief, anti-fascism, and more. Additionally, he peddles his counter-revolutionary, drug-centric, sexually-explicit ideas as somehow being progressive in nature. His “activism” centers around writing on polyamory, sex, and cannabis, none of which will liberate the working class. He promotes prostitution with articles such as “The Green Party is Failing Sex Workers,” while others reach new lows like “5 Kinky Toys from the Dollar Store.” This emphasis on individuals over class analysis does not benefit revolutionary women. His views only further sexualize women and serve the capitalist class. He fails to analyze the concrete conditions of the difficulties faced by working class women or explore the struggles of women outside of their sexuality. This failure shows an insidious fixation on sex, common in mackitivists.

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As a self-aggrandizing creep, O’Connell poses a risk to women who wish to organize. He encourages women to be involved in things that may bring unnecessary state repression down on them. He publicly invites women new to Austin to political events and to smoke a blunt in the same breath. He condemns sex trafficking while promoting unscrupulous porn collecting, without stopping to analyze the fact the statistical evidence shows that the porn world is rife with sex trafficking. He disagrees with how the porn is made, but he is happy to continue to be a part of its demand.

O’Connell is a co-founder of “Oh Shit What Now?”, an organization that claims to be “an educational collective based in Austin, Texas, with members from diverse political perspectives… staunchly antifascist…” This collective works with a variety of organizations like the Austin Yawp, Crustacean Zine Library, MonkeyWrench Books, ATX Resistance Action, Raising Resisters, and even Peaceful Streets Project—which allows and defends fascists in their organization.

O’Connell is only out to make a brand for himself and does not care about pursuing revolutionary working class politics. He receives over $250 a month via Patreon to fund his self-indulgent writing. He is unconcerned with the many self-contradictions that exist in his politics. Some of his Facebook posts are against voting while others support the election campaign of local vendida Susanna Almanza. Almanza’s dealings with Southwest Key and her cooperation with the gentrification of East and Southeast Austin discredited her to the left long ago.

Like a typical macktivist, O’Connell has an agenda of sexual contact with activist women, making money, and seeking attention for himself. O’Connell and his ideas are alienating to women and should be challenged. Those who work with him in Austin Common Ground Relief and other organizations should either require him to fundamentally change his behavior or not work with him.


ALEJANDRO CACERES – GUILTY OF ABUSE –

pols_feature2Alejandro Caceres is an abuser and former immigrant rights organizer who uses identity politics to deflect from criticism. He was employed with Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership until he was terminated following an investigation initiated by his former partner. He was previously employed by Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, organizes with ICE Out of Austin in a leadership capacity. MonkeyWrench Books has yet to make a statement about his abuse, so we believe he is still a member of their collective.

Caceres’s former partner, Nancy, was courageous and outed Caceres as an abuser and womanizer in a Facebook post. She detailed how he manipulated and lied to her about the nature of their relationship. Although Caceres led Nancy to believe that he was monogamous with her, he continued relationships with other women under the guise that he was in an “open relationship.” This deception effectively removed Nancy’s ability to consent to a continued intimate relationship with him, as she would not have chosen to be with him otherwise. Caceres used liberal sex positivity language to cover up his manipulation and lies to Nancy—lies which would eventually land her in a hospital on suicide watch. Caceres encouraged Nancy to drink to excess and then used her state to manipulate her into sexual actions that she would otherwise feel uncomfortable with.

Caceres often positioned himself into mentor-student relationships with other women, offering to teach them about deportation defense. Nancy initiated an investigation on Caceres at Grassroots Leadership in the hope that he would no longer be allowed to use his position as a movement organizer to further his chauvinistic desires. Caceres was terminated as a result of this investigation, although Grassroots itself was vague about the reason for the termination. This action is characteristic of liberal organizations, which pay lip service to believing survivors but refuse to take a firm stand on the side of survivors. Only after Nancy went public with this information did Grassroots Leadership release a statement about her “serious complaint” and Caceres’s termination. This statement was incredibly delayed and, to add insult to injury, Grassroots Leadership failed to name Caceres—yet did not hesitate to include Nancy’s name.

Once fired from Grassroots, Caceres blamed “white women” for his downfall rather than taking responsibility for his abusive behavior. By pinning the blame on “white women” (presumably, he was referring to Nancy, a light-skinned Latina woman), he sought to deflect from his own issues by using identity politics to frame himself, an immigrant man, as a victim of unidentified “white women.”

After I began to receive messages and hear feedback from several individuals who asked why I didn’t believe in restorative justice, defended him thoroughly, I asked Bob Libal to clarify his position on Alejandro’s termination. Bob asked me what I wanted, shrugged his shoulders, and did nothing. For an organization committed to civil disobedience, legal concerns seemed to have become incredibly important. I cannot begin to explain how exhausting it has been to try and recover from an abusive relationship. One that almost killed me.

Grassroots Leadership may have accepted my almost 13 page complaint to the board with receipts, details, and events, but they did nothing when other female co-workers brought similar abusive situations to Bob Libal. Nothing was done. Nothing. And so, the burden of explaining and dispelling rumors that Alejandro continued to spread on the community fell to me. To describe my trauma, present receipts, and continue to relive this nightmare repeatedly. And so here I am.

– Nancy Cárdenas Peña

Alehandro Caceres should not be allowed to occupy a single inch in movement spaces while he continues to cause harm and weaponize liberalism and identity politics to deflect the righteous anger of women. Women should be aware of his manipulative ploys and refrain from associating with him. All organizations that work with Alejandro should cut ties with him until he publicly admits his abuse and actively works to redeem himself. If anyone has more information about Alejandro, please come forward.


BRAD CROWDER – GUILTY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT –

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As with many sexually abusive and manipulative men, Brad Crowder leans on social status to allow him to pursue destructive interactions with women with impunity. In the Austin left, Crowder is well-known as an activist and victim of entrapment by a federal informant. He was pressured into taking part in the construction of explosive devices as a teenage anarchist and was framed by federal informant Brandon Darby. This resulted in Crowder unjustly serving time. He has used this to his political advantage and to avoid accountability for the way he treats women.

Crowder was the founder of Austin Socialist Collective (ASC), now rebranded without Crowder as Austin Revolutionary Organizing Collective (AROC). He was expelled for unstated reasons from ASC before it became AROC. As a leading member of the organization, Crowder represented the most compromising lines, always pushing for class conciliation and leading the attack on local Communist militants. While active in ASC Crowder carried out numerous transgressions.

Crowder was an untreated alcoholic. Due to the lack of organizational discipline imposed by ASC, many of their former members engaged in excessive drinking and bar culture. In Crowder’s case, he had a history of plying women with alcohol while making unwanted sexual advances and assaults. Women who are under the influence are robbed of their ability to truly consent, and in the majority of these cases of non-consensual advances, abuse and violations go unreported. While we consider drinking with Crowder to be dangerous, even in groups, we want to be clear Crowder’s harassment is not the fault of any woman. The blame squarely lays on Crowder and anyone who enables his behavior.

More than once, Crowder pushed himself on women who were not sexually or romantically interested in him and slapped their butts suggestively, constituting sexual assault. In at least one case this type of assault was committed in front of and corroborated by numerous witnesses. This sexist and abusive behavior deeply alienates women activists, especially coming from someone in a position of organizational authority. Groping, exerting pressure for sex, and using activism to seek sexual relationships must be emphatically combated.

AROC has remained silent on his removal from the group. The leadership is undoubtedly aware of his behavior while active with ASC and likely would not support or condone such behavior. Due to their hesitation to confront enemies, they have totally failed the women of our class by not warning the community at large. Abusive men who display sexist attitudes should not be treated liberally. AROC must be challenged on their silence. We cannot say for sure if he was kicked out for sexual misconduct or over political/tactical disagreements or all of the above. Either way, they removed someone known to have assaulted women without issuing a warning to the masses and swept the transgression under the rug to absolve their group. We call on AROC to support isolating Crowder and to publicly state the results of any investigations they carried out or were privy to. By doing this, the organization can choose to stand with women activists and serve as a positive example. It is obvious that they no longer work with him, which is good, but not good enough to prevent future victims.

Ideologically Crowder aligns himself with social-fascist organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America and has been found out working with their failed re-foundationalist caucus. He is known for political opportunism, using some Trotskyism, some liberalism, some social democracy and sometimes flirting with actual communist ideas to appeal to his audience.

Crowder is not welcome in spaces or at actions where PWM-MFP and supporting organizations are present. If you organize with Crowder, give him a platform, or allow him to attend your events, then you place yourself and your organization at risk of being disrupted or physically confronted. If you have more information on Crowder or his transgressions against women, then please bring it forward to us. We warn all women of this man’s deceptive and dangerous nature. We call on all who support the struggles of working women to isolate this backward element and enforce a ban against him from all political activity. We call on activists and women of the working class to refuse romantic and sexual relationships with him and to shun him without mercy.


SCOTT GREGORY – GUILTY OF MACKTIVISM –

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Scott Gregory, aka “Rainer,” is a licensed massage therapist who was expelled from Serve the People Austin (STP-Austin) and Revolutionary Student Front (RSF) for using his position as a mentor to pressure a young woman activist into sex. Gregory consistently seeks to use social status to gain sexual partners with no regard for their emotional or mental states or well-being.

The problems began when Gregory entered the RSF mental health program as a facilitator, against the advice of senior leaders. Within the program, he used drugs and alcohol with younger women members despite his leadership role. After gaining a position of mentoring a new facilitator, he used this position of authority to pressure her into a sexual relationship, using his knowledge of her approval-seeking patterns to his sexual advantage. She regretted the relationship and faced serious depression as a result.

When his transgression was exposed, he was expelled from all activist circles, including RSF and STP-Austin. He was ordered to undergo rectification to transform his thinking and correct his treatment of women. An STP-Austin member was tasked with overseeing his rectification.

The STP-Austin member soon found it increasingly difficult to meet with Gregory. Gregory, by his own admission, was avoiding the rectification process and only attending out of fear of retaliation or consequences for not complying. Unanswered texts mounted until the rectification was eventually ended by STP-Austin.

After stopping all study sessions and losing contact with the comrades tasked with his rectification, he laid low for some time before co-founding a business, Present Company, based on the new age circling practice known as Authentic Relating (AR). The AR community is notorious for attracting pickup artists who end up in leadership positions. As part of this business, he conducted two AR workshops at OutYouth, an LGBT youth non-profit, last autumn. He has also led circling games at Guan Yin Tea House.


STP-A notified him that continuing to pursue activism or mentoring, which he can use to his sexual advantage, would result in his exposure. Yet in February, he is leading a “sex-positive” AR touching game at Soma Vida. Thus, PWM-MFP has decided, with the support of STP-Austin, to present the case to the public. Activists involved in the original investigation and rectification have provided all pertinent information to PWM-MFP, including Gregory’s own admittance of transgressing against vulnerable women under his tutelage.

Gregory uses sensitivity training and “circling” to pursue sex from vulnerable women. He relies heavily on postmodernism and public opinion to avoid scrutiny. By framing himself as a conscious activist and mentor, he disarms his students against his advances, using whatever kind of status he can attain to push for his own self-interest. Gregory uses his knowledge of postmodernist feminism to appeal to women and present himself as a man who opposes sexism, but this is only a ploy to disarm victims.

Gregory engages in consistent attention-seeking behavior and went to great lengths to further his image as an activist. He is deeply concerned about what others think of him and will maneuver to avoid a negative social reputation. This tendency led him to pretend to comply with the directives of STP-A, only to continue his anti-women patterns.

We seek to hold businesses (such as Soma Vida and Guan Yin Tea House) accountable for allowing Gregory in positions of power and demand that they no longer host his classes. By harboring an offender like Gregory, they place women at further risk. LGBT and women revolutionaries are prepared to struggle, in order to protect others from Gregory’s manipulative behavior. We insist that, until Gregory has been held fully accountable, he must be fully isolated. All progressive people must refuse to collaborate with him. Women in Gregory’s life should know about his tactic of using new age healing to attain sexual partners and pressure women under his authority into sexual relationships.

ORGANIZE WORKING CLASS WOMEN AGAINST ABUSE

Austin Women, this is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly. If you have any information, research or leads that would help us better document and warn women about “leftist,” macktivist, abusers and rapists, please contact us!

Popular Women’s Movement- Movimiento Femenino Popular

January 2019

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