We are issuing a statement to express our support for the Patriarchy and the Movement event and the community members who called attention to the manifestation of patriarchy in our organizing. We support the brave individuals who stood up and spoke out against oppressive behavior during the event. We support the right of survivors and survivor-centered accountability processes. We support the rights of those facing oppression to speak out against the harm done to them and to identify those participating in oppressive behavior.
The event itself was meant to identify patterns of patriarchal oppression within the anti-capitalist movement, support survivors and promote anti-patriarchy work. During the discussion portion of the event a survivor’s attempt to identify a person who has demonstrated a pattern of oppressive, patriarchal behavior was silenced. This exchange was triggering and harmful to many of the attendees and replicated the patriarchal patterns identified earlier in the event. It also had the effect of derailing the important discussions around survivor support that had been taking place up until that point. That such behaviors took place within an event centered around dismantling those very same behaviors clearly demonstrates the need for a strong anti-patriarchy survivor-centered stance within the anti-capitalist movement.
It is often easy in theory to say that we are anti-patriarchy or anti-oppression, but it can become extremely messy and challenging to put those theories into practice when it involves those we trust, respect, and care about. As painful as it often is, we need to continue to recognize patriarchal and oppressive behaviors within our organizations, communities and ourselves. Our responses must be survivor-centered and supportive of those being harmed by patriarchy and oppression. The work of responding is EVERYONE’S work regardless of gender and should not only be the burden of those who are most oppressed by it.
We look forward to seeing our allies and Fellow Workers in the Toward Gender Equality Committee and the Portland IWW come forward and show support for anti-patriarchy work such as the Patriarchy and the Movement event. We encourage them to be proactive in recognizing and addressing the damaging forces of patriarchy in organizing as we all work to create a new world in the shell of the old.
The Patriarchy Resistance Committee,
Portland Industrial Workers of the World
“Don’t be afraid to speak up, and resist. Every time we speak out, we empower others to do the same. Don’t be intimidated by the mechanisms which are classically used to silence and discredit us. Other feminists who have had similar experiences will have your back and be there for you. We are many more than you think. Resistance begins when fear stops.” — from the statement from the “Patriarchy and the Movement” event organizers