What Kind of Person Goes to a Men’s Rights Rally?
On September 28, an international coalition of men’s rights groups converged in Toronto to discuss the topic of “Men and Boys in Crisis.”
Prior to the rally I didn’t know much about men’s rights activism, except that these groups have an established tradition of responding to writers with personal attacks, seen in creatively titled blog posts like “Jonathan Goldsbie: Head in the sand, talking out ass” and “Brad Casey wants to mind-rape our women!” It is because of blog posts like these,previous events like this, anti-feminist diatribes like this, and individual men’s rights supporters with a fondness for Nazi iconography that I had developed a skewed impression of who actually goes to their rallies. I expected to encounter an all-out hate group, when in actuality the men’s rights activists I spoke to held beliefs ranging from reasonable to downright oppressive and sprinkled with a dose of crazy.
Most attendees seemed motivated by a concern for the well-being of men, or a fear of women rooted in their own personal traumas. A surprising number of men at the rally came forward as victims of domestic violence. These men felt stung by misandry—they talked reasonably about the weakness of men’s support networks and the lack of sympathy that they experienced following abuse. Almost everyone at the rally expressed concern for things like the high suicide rate among males, boys falling behind in school, and a systemic bias against fathers in custody battles. Then again, some statistics used by the activists to bolster these issues were hard to swallow: “In 50 years the last bachelor’s degree will be issued to a male in this culture,” said Paul Elam of the organization A Voice for Men.
The MRAs who met in Toronto attribute all of these problems to a single threat—a radical feminist ideology that has taken hold of our institutions and is actively oppressing men, even if most people with power in these institutions are still men. Attila Vincer, who organized the rally to take place outside of Ontario’s legislature, didn’t know if Canada or Ontario had more female or male legislators (spoiler, it’s men). Of those we talked to, not a single person protesting knew what laws they wanted to see enacted.
This Anonymous Blogger Loves to Out Western Canadian Gangsters
Eleven days before Halloween someone near Ranfurly, Alberta—a place so minuscule Google Maps doesn’t bother labelling it—cut a man’s head off and left him in a ditch. The rest of him was discovered the following Wednesday, two hours west in Edmonton, inside a garbage bag in the middle of an alley.
Initially, police withheld the identity of the victim. Then, on the following Friday morning, an anonymous bloggerreleased it himself. Hours before media would confirm the victim was 54-year-old Bob Roth, a quiet, soft-spoken manual laborer, the blogger hadn’t just identified Mr. Roth, but posited that a gang called the White Boy Posse had killed him over a drug debt.
It would be another six weeks before media and the Edmonton Police Service would confirm the allegations against the White Boy Posse (WBP), a white supremacist drug gang who embraces Nazi symbology that’s found some form of acceptance, or at least tolerance, in small Northern Alberta towns. WBP recently made international headlines after four alleged members were linked to the decapitation of Roth, the murder of Bryan Gower, and the front-door shooting of Lorry Santos, an innocent mother of four. Lorry Santos’ only mistake was answering the front door of her home. The White Boy Posse thought that her place belonged to someone else, which leads gang experts to believe they’re not the brightest Nazi medal at the flea market.
A couple of mean looking White Boy Posse members.
“They’re a bunch of whacked-out, socially awkward kids with these bizarre, racist ideas who want to sell drugs. So they go to Hell’s Angels and say, ‘We’ll kiss your butt, we’ll kiss your feet, and sell your drugs to make commission,” says Tom Jones, (not his real name, luckily) the Surrey-based blogger and creator ofGangstersout.com, which he founded in 2009 as a safe place for Canadians to out neighbors suspected of being in organized crime.
Tom Jones (or “Agent K,” named after the Tommy Lee Jones character from the Men in Black series) believes WBP is a puppet club for the Hell’s Angels. He also thinks that they entered Roth’s hometown, Lloydminster, after another Hell’s Angels farm team got busted. They’re called (seriously) The Baseball Team, and they pretend to be—so says the blogger—“just a group of guys, playing baseball.”