Monday, May 21, 2012

Negative Bitching, Complaining, and Whining

Last Thursday, on the 17th of May, there was an event held on Legislative Plaza here in Nashville that was announced as a feminist general assembly, or FemGA.  If the perverts at Westboro Baptist get to call themselves Christian, I suppose the bunch at ON can call themselves feminists and their little gathering last week a feminist event.  On the other hand...

Let's backtrack just a bit and see how the event came to be in the first place.  At the Occupy Nashville GA on May 8th, a proposal was presented that ON have its GA on May 17th be a FemGA, in solidarity with FemGAs scheduled all across the country to be held on the same day.  The proposal was presented by a woman who quickly advised she saw no need to devote the entire GA to feminist issues. 

As has happened over and over again in ON and other Occupy groups, when the subject of feminist concerns was raised, there were immediate cries (from the usual suspects, of course) of divisiveness, a declaration of how "isms" are "tools of the 1% to divide us."  Although the proposal included a statement that the FemGA would present their own agenda, ON's GA discussion of whether or not to allow the FemGA quickly devolved into their resolution to come up with ideas of their own of what should be on the agenda for discussion.  There were, after all, the cautions that people didn't want a FemGA to be "negative," or include "bitching," "complaining," "whining."  Before it was over, they got really clever (and dismissive) by embracing the watered down event and proclaiming we should all wear pink.  Because nothin' says women's issues like pink, I guess.  See the sham discussion for yourself here.  It's the first 10 minutes of that video.

Although that GA on May 8th did include saying that some sort of outreach should be undertaken to advise women and others who might want to attend, nothing was posted about it on the Occupy Nashville or Occupy Nashville Social Media facebook pages or even on the ON .org official site until over a week later,  the day before the event was scheduled to take place.  And, not surprisingly, there was confusion even in those announcements that came so late:  ON was posting that they were hosting a FemGA.  The people who were actually sponsoring and were going to be the facilitators of that meeting were posting that it would be a FemGA.  Nowhere was it mentioned that this wasn't going to be a special FemGA, but, instead, a part of the usual Thursday night GA as was agreed to when ON's GA watered down the proposal presented on the 8th.

As noted in my post on the Women Occupy Nashville facebook page, there wasn't a lot that was feminist about that GA.  Again, there were the cautions that it's "divisive" to talk about women's issues.  Why can't we all just get along, right?  Finally, at almost the end of the labored event, there was a brave feminist voice whose eloquence and passion spoke to the heart of the issue, and that's privilege.  More to the point, male privilege in patriarchy.  Darlene spoke and told all who would or could hear how we got to this point, what and where the problems are.  Her message was impassioned, beautiful, and true.  You can skip over the bullshit that for the most part postured painfully as a FemGA and hear what she said by fast forwarding to 1:20:40 in this video.  (That portion goes until about 1:33:01.)

By the time the "Fem"GA concluded, we'd endured yet another round of condescending crap about how we're all "human" and have the same rights so wtf's the problem.  That's shorthand for what the deniers had to say, of course, but if you're inclined to wallow in it, you can watch the whole thing for yourself.  I'm not feeling the need or desire to go over it all again.  It was the usual diatribe, punctuated with assurances about how much they really do, of course, love women. 

There were a couple of things brought up in that GA that I do want to address however, just for correction.  First of all, I do understand that if you were born after the feminist wave of the 60s and 70s, your experience on this planet has been different than if you'd been born before that.  That's true no matter your gender.  But what you might not know is just how relevant to the lives of some of us who were there in the 60s and 70s was one Gloria Steinem and Ms magazine.  When the first issue of Ms was published in 1972, there were millions of women, like myself, who had grown up in a world that didn't include birth control pills (introduced in 1960) and who had lived rather than read about the Feminine Mystique (Friedan's groundbreaking work published in 1963).  1963 was also the same year I finished my junior year in high school and when my parents informed me that "the only reason girls go to college is to meet a husband."  This would be years before the first Pell grant (the first Pell grants became available in 1972) that might have made it possible for girls like me to go to school just because we wanted an education.  It was Ms magazine that I pored over as a woman in my late 20s, finding validation for what I knew I was living.  It was Steinem's magazine that told me about Pell grants.  Ms magazine that empowered me to flee from my home on a snowy weekend in Illinois in nothing more than a robe because my husband/captor got sloppy and momentarily left the car keys where I could get my hands on them.  It may have been fate that allowed the first car I encountered when I fled that day to be a sheriff's patrol car, but it was Ms magazine that had let me know there was a place women like me and my daughter could go to start a new life that included the freedom to become, to grow, to even be, free of restraint.  And, it was Ms magazine's article about Pell grants that spurred me to go back to school, even if the last thing I was looking for was another husband.  Gloria Steinem has made a difference in my life and I'm personally aware of other women right here in Occupy Nashville for whom that's also true.  I care much less about what any person or group that she may have known or been associated with did than I do that.  Her work has profoundly changed lives and I found it offensive to hear her slammed in this "Fem"GA.

I want to say something, too, about the "war on women."  One speaker at the GA asked us to consider being more inclusive and acknowledge that there's a war on more than women.  Fair enough, on the surface, right?  She went on to speak about the power of language, and with that, I heartily concur, being someone myself who often addresses the issue of our need to use language as the powerful tool it is, to recognize and confront where necessary the words that perpetuate hate, to use words that more accurately and genuinely reflect reality.  To take back and reinvent words that have been used to shame and abuse us.  But, here's the thing...When the phrase "war on women" is used now, it's used to describe the onslaught of literally hundreds of pieces of legislation across this entire country in the past year that purport to restrict birth control, abortion, and even other health care services for women.  Not men.  Not transgendered folks.  Women.  That's who gets pregnant.  That's who bears the responsibility for failed or unavailable birth control.  That's who gets abortions.  While I'm sympathetic to the issues of transgendered individuals, I do not like seeing even what is clearly a war on women renamed in the interest of, what?  Getting along? We're talking about women in this instance.  It's okay to say women.

I wrote about misogyny within ON back in January here and made the point that Occupy in general and ON in particular will die if they continue to deny and refuse to confront the very real abuse of women within their ranks.  If one was an optimist of supernatural ability, you might imagine that having a FemGA could have a transformative impact on the movement.  You'd have to stop going to or watching an ON GA to wallow in that delusion for very long.  The very next GA held by ON after the "Fem"GA was last Saturday, the 19th of May.  If you've a hankering for indulging a display of condescending, dismissive statements about feminism and women who want to talk about feminist issues here in ON, check it for yourself by reviewing the GA here.  If you want the Reader's Digest version, here are some quotes:  "Sexism is created by elites to keep us from focusing on core problems."  After treating us to discourse on the subject of how bad women in other countries have it, we were told, "What happens here looks like fairyland" in comparison.  We're "selfish."  Over and over again, we were reminded there is "a larger goal."  Feminist issues and the women who raise them are interfering with the movement with their "pet projects," their "pet issues."  Presumably to the women who choose to no longer be abused, the point was made that it's most "divisive" of all to the movement to walk away from it.  In what must surely be one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard come out of any ON participant's mouth, one woman implied that women who have left ON are not there because they've "lost their confidence."

Mah dear, we have not lost confidence, we have lost patience.  Some of us are simply fed up with the abuse and denial and refusal to address the problem.  If the sexist musings in Saturday's GA leave any doubt that the feminist consciousness of those still a part of ON has not yet been raised in any discernible way, checking out yesterday's GA should take care of that.  You can see it here. You won't have to watch long before hearing the sneer, "We're all sexists, is what it is!" When talking about why there are ever dwindling numbers in attendance for an ON GA or direct action event, you can learn, "The only people who hate us are here," and it's suggested (yet again) that those who speak of a problem in ON are "infiltrators."

In GA after GA for the past couple of months, I've heard the whine that people left ON because "evil" people ran them off because they raised issues about misogyny within the movement.  Another time, we were told the real problem is that we haven't had enough violence and that provoking the police to the point where they could likeliest react with violence might get us some much needed attention and support.  Curiously enough, now the spiel is about the violence of language, specifically the matter of protesters yelling "fuck you" to the police.  You'll excuse me, I'm sure, if I allow as how I dang near fell outta mah chair laughin' when this comes from the mouth of one who has repeatedly gone in really close to the camera when something was being streamed to yell "fuck you" to those who weren't at the event.

When Darlene spoke at the Thursday night "Fem"GA, she brought up the subject of privilege and I, for one, was grateful for that.  Time and time again, I've been dismayed to see people within ON act and speak as if utterly unaware of the privilege they enjoy within ON and society at large.  For a bunch of folks who want to be perceived as informed revolutionaries, they're an abjectly uninformed lot when it comes to their own privilege and its ramifications for those around them.

I've pondered at length why it is that so many apparently intelligent, caring, involved people who have been associated with Occupy Nashville have been mostly silent about the misogyny in ON.  If I refuse to believe it's because they're selfish assholes, I can only conclude it's because they're acting on the assumption that their own experience is that of everybody else and that's allowed them to either disbelieve or discount the experiences reported by others.

If you're a student at a private institution of higher learning, you have privilege that the majority of the 99% this movement is supposed to be about do not.  If you're a student at Vanderbilt, your privilege has you in the same school where one now federal judge, Aleta Trauger, once roamed the halls in search of a bathroom.  Ms Trauger and other women occupied a men's bathroom at Vandy in the 70s, several decades before there was an Occupy movement, to protest the lack of facilities for women.  It's women like her (and Gloria Steinem and so many more) who gave you the privilege you enjoy today.  But it's fundamentally flawed to behave as if because some of us have privilege, everyone does.  As Darlene said the other night, we are not all equal.  To act as if we are only perpetuates the injustice by denying it in the first place.  No problem?  Nothing to fix.

If you have enough money to attend GA on a regular basis, whether you're driving and parking or taking public transportation, you have privilege that not everyone who wants to support ON has.  If you go before a GA, repeatedly, to berate those who are not present without understanding that fact, you are abusing your own privilege.  I'll add that when the person doing the chiding about not being on the plaza is the same person heard a few minutes earlier on stream talking about living in a home owned by the in-laws and not having to work for a living, clueless is the kindest way to describe how that person looks.

When do we get to the place in which there is finally an understanding that just because the experience and situation of another differs from your own, it doesn't make the experience of the one who is oppressed invalid or nonexistent?  Is it rocket science to understand that if we're differently en-abled, our experiences are going to be different?

Perhaps most galling of all has been the response of some self-identified "feminists" still a part of ON.  But, can we get real a moment here?  If a "feminist" woman can find at least three felons to be fuckable within about as many months, drawing from the tiny pool of the movement that has been Occupy Nashville, is it also rocket science to think that "feminist" experience might have been different from the experience of other feminist women within the group?  Feminists may or may not fuck better, but fucking more doesn't make you a feminist.  I don't personally care who or how often anybody fucks or why they do it.  I really do not.  What I do, however, care about, is when women who are first denied admission into a male circle gain acceptance after fucking and then deny the experience of other women who choose another way.  It's most especially egregious when that woman then turns around, after feminists within ON stood up for her when she couldn't join the team, becomes a mouthpiece for the boys after fucking some of them.  Is that plain enough?

One ON "feminist"'s Twitter profile pic.

Recent GAs also included some mention of women being "afraid" to come to GA on the plaza.  I know that's true, because I've spoken with some of those women myself.  But the reality is that we could have come en masse as a group last week, perceiving safety in numbers, yes?  We didn't.  I lived in Chicago for 15 years, working daily in the roughest that city can offer, and it would take a great deal more than the punk nonsense I've seen from ON to seriously concern me for my physical safety.  No.  And I'm not seeing in myself or in the other women who were not there any "loss" of confidence either.  No.  They're organizing and doing good work elsewhere.  Listen up.  We are not there because we do not want to work with you.  We.  Do.  NOT.  Want.  To.  Work.  With.  You.  We've tried, some of us since October 7th, and you've demonstrated repeatedly your inability and/or unwillingness, for whatever reason, to acknowledge there is a problem with the abuse of power and privilege within Occupy Nashville.  Our leaving wasn't what was divisive.  We left because you divided the group when you supported the bullshit.

There were seven people at the Occupy Nashville General Assembly yesterday.  Seven.  Off the top of my head, I can call the names of at least eight women who were not there because they do not want to work with you again.  That's not counting the at least a half dozen more women I could name who used to regularly be a part of ON GA but are now busy organizing Vandy, and the housing committee.  Could anybody blame them if they don't want to work with you either?  Nor were the feminist men who used to so often be at ON GA present yesterday.  You had seven people there.  Seven.  And you have yourselves to thank for it.

(NOTE:  I know I promised the next blog entry after the one of May 16th would "introduce" you to the informant who contacted me about Wolfy being a pedophile, but I wanted to get this done first and don't have time to do both now.  I'll do it in the next day or so, but will tell you for now that a lot of you already know him as (first) bigwolf on the ON livestream chat channel, before he changed his name to hide from Wolfy after Wolfy began to threaten him.  Name was changed to elwood88.  More next time.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Evil Unveiled at Occupy Nashville

Since local NBC affiliate WSMV aired a feature last night about an Occupy Nashville participant being featured on a website that tracks pedophiles, reaction has been fast and furious wherever it's been posted online.  Unfortunately, a lot of what's been written in those online comments hasn't had a lot to do with the facts and that's probably due at least in part to the underlying sensational tone of the WSMV piece.

All weekend before the spot aired, the station's website ran a prominent headline across the page, pimping the coming attraction:  "Nashville-based group accuses people online of pedophilia," read the banner, and if you didn't go straight to the video from there, you could also find it just below in the Top Video list.  The promo featured voice over teasing that, gasp, maybe it's all a terrible mistake.  The tone was set.

Then it got worse.  The 7-minute report that ran Monday night was sprinkled with assertions that are not true, the most egregious example being, perhaps, the repeated statements in the report alleging that "most if not all" of those persons featured on the Evil Unveiled website have not been charged with a sex crime.  In fact, that's so far from being true, I'm at a loss to understand how the error was made and shocked that the station hasn't updated their story after they were made aware.

Not charged with a sex crime?  Really?

This page on the Evil Unveiled site offers a list of pedophiles featured on their site whose investigations EU participated in and who have been arrested for sex crimes.  There are presently 20 people on that list.  On another EU page, you'll see links to 50 profiles on their site, each to someone who already has registered sex offender status.  Yet another page offers links to 59 more profiles, each one for a convicted sex offender and pedophile activist.  Even with the inevitable overlap of names on these lists, this is patently not a case of people being profiled as pedophiles when they have no known participation in and conviction of sex related crime as insinuated by WSMV's Jeremy Finley in his report.

You'd never know any of that if you watched it, however, which you can do here.  (At the time of this writing, the video has moved to page 6 in their video library.  Or, see the story here.)

In my kinder moments, I attribute WSMV's repeated assertions that the persons profiled by the Evil Unveiled website are mostly not charged with sex crimes to be a stunning example of sloppy, lazy journalism.  Perhaps an assistant somewhere was in a hurry and didn't look at the dang site.  At other times...

Are we talking about two different sites?

If you read the entry I wrote here last night about the WSMV piece, you already know theirs was not the first report done on the Evil Unveiled website this year.  And if you saw the 3-part series on EU produced by the ABC affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska, KETV, you might be wondering why the reports are so very different.  I am.

The most glaring difference is that the 3-part series from KETV relied repeatedly on input from people involved in law enforcement, while the not quite 7-minute segment WSMV produced relied more on the accused pedophile, Albert Rankin aka Wolfy, than anything else.  When you couple that fact with their tease that it could be a "lie," it's not difficult to see how someone who didn't know any better might express outrage that people are being profiled without good reason.

But the real puzzler to me is how did this happen?  Media types aren't universally known for small egos, and one theory is that WSMV's Jeremy Finley was scooped in his own backyard by KETV's Ryan Luby and therefore was compelled to do a story.  However, the fact remained that the real story had already been told, and told well, by Luby and KETV back in February.  Did Finley feel obliged to do a different story?  No matter how far the stretch?  Maybe it's as simple as that.  Or maybe it's something else.

Of course, as noted in my blog entry last night, the question of when Occupy Nashville knew about allegations concerning Rankin and pedophilia wasn't clearly represented in the piece that ran on WSMV.  I might not have found that quite as curious had I not been involved in some communication about just that issue over the weekend before they ran their spot.

Over the weekend, I had a conversation with the member of ON's legal team that I had reported the allegations about Wolfy to back on January 6th.  She told me she had spoken with Jeremy Finley from WSMV as part of his preparation for the story and her account of their conversation led me to believe she hadn't told him that I had notified her about this for the first time on January 6th, so I asked her about that.  She replied that she had forgotten that had happened and we discussed whether or not she should call Finley and correct the information she gave him previously.  In the end, she decided she would and it's my understanding that she did.

I also contacted Finley myself via email sent over the weekend and advised him of the change.  I received an email acknowledging receipt of the information from him on Monday before the spot ran.  The spot that ran suggesting ambiguously at the end that ON legal team went to confront Wolfy after seeing publication on January 31st of the Evil Unveiled profile devoted to him only to find him gone from the plaza.  No mention was made of the fact that ON legal team had actually been notified three and a half weeks earlier.

It's all a mistake?

If you've been following this mess, you already know Wolfy is known for seeming to be unable to stop talking about his escapades.  It's that insatiable ego that landed him in the Skype interview with Finley; he thought the premise for the interview was to talk about his "revolutionary" days at Occupy Nashville.  He squirms like a worm in the interview when he realizes his mistake and is asked about allegations he's a pedophile.  On the spot, he comes up with the explanation that someone must be impersonating him.

It's the same driving ego that had him in front of a camera at every opportunity while he was here as part of the occupation on the plaza and online in chat for the ON stream bragging about his part in Anonymous operations.  And claiming to be AWOL.  And bragging in IRC rooms about being a pedophile.

Soon after the Evil Unveiled web site published the page on him, Wolfy bragged in IRC about it.  I'm guessing it's a status thing, or maybe it's just the attention he craves, any attention.  Or perhaps it was that he was operating on an assumption that he's untouchable.  It's been suggested to me by somebody who probably knows that that's indeed the case.

In the blog entry here (scroll down to "Wolfy."), I wrote about how I came to have the information regarding Wolfy being a pedophile.  In my next entry, I'll introduce you to my informant and tell you more about why it's so ludicrous for Wolfy to claim anybody is impersonating him and setting him up falsely as a pedophile.

I'll also point you to information about the people who are gathering now to defend Wolfy, and, of course, because it's what they do, attack not only the EU site and those associated with it, but me as well.  The bottom line?  They can put horns on me and give me a tail, but that won't make anything I've said untrue.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Evil Unveiled at Occupy Nashville

Just when I was sure I'd never have to write another word about the insanity that has been Occupy Nashville, local NBC affiliate WSM did an investigative piece that spotlighted an activist who was a prominent member of ON for several months.  You can see a recap of the story online here.  If your only information about the Evil Unveiled website and the participation of Wolfy in Occupy Nashville comes from the Jeremy Finley report, you're going to be lacking some vital information, however, so let's get a few more facts out here, shall we?

First of all, I want to point out that the repeated assertions in the WSM piece that those involved with the Evil Unveiled website aren't "professionals or cops" may serve the agenda of some to discount the information to be found on that site, but you should know that the ABC affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska (KETV) also ran a three part series about Evil Unveiled earlier this year and the picture they presented is not the one shown by WSM.  KETV sent a reporter to Nashville to interview the same EU member interviewed by WSM.  But the KETV reports paint a picture of a website that, while not officially aligned with law enforcement, is most certainly used by law enforcement in their own investigations.  In fact, it was because the EU site was referenced in case files for a convicted pedophile that KETV came to Nashville to do a story on EU in the first place.  I recommend you check out all three parts of their series, here, here, and here.  Indeed, EU has played a part in helping to bring to justice more than one pedophile.  Wolfy may very well be the next.

But, back to the WSM report.  Wolfy.  Wolfy, Wolfy, Wolfy.  What is it about these guys?  Do they really think they can brag about their escapades and then, when discovered, get away with claiming that someone is impersonating them?  Apparently.  In the WSM interview, Wolfy says he's 1) never heard of the EU site and 2) that he didn't know he's been accused of being a pedophile.  Except that both of these statements are lies. 

I interviewed "Victoria" myself about this and learned that not only did Wolfy know about the Evil Unveiled site, he has actually bragged in an IRC room online about being featured on it with his own page.  (You can see a transcript about that on the EU fb page here.)  Also, while I was at "Victoria's" home to speak with her, she showed me on her computer screen when Wolfy commented about how "easy" it was for him to "slip into" his pedophile mode.  Yes, he had the good timing to do it while both of us were monitoring the room.  And, yes, I would be willing to go to court and say I saw it.

There also seems to be some confusion about what other members of Occupy Nashville knew and when they knew it regarding allegations of Wolfy being a pedophile.  In my blog entry of March 8th, here, I reported a little about how I came myself to hear of Wolfy being a pedophile.  As noted, I notified a member of the ON legal team on the same day I received the information, which was January 6th.  The EU page on Wolfy wasn't published until January 31st, so it's not true that ON did not have any reports about Wolfy being accused of being a pedophile until the EU page was published.  I've also seen transcripts of IRC logs showing another prominent member of Occupy Nashville (ov3rkll/John Smith/John Watts) has been present with Wolfy in the room on more than one occasion and it's clear that the two of them know each other from ON.

The only person impersonating Wolfy in this instance is Wolfy.  I'll admit to grinning when I saw him comment in the WSM report confirming that he's from a military own informant (the one Wolfy confessed to) had already told me that.  No, my friends, Wolfy IS Wolfy.  Albert Rankin.  It's not a surprise he hasn't gotten back to Finley to follow up.  He thought he was going to be interviewed for his glorious participation with Occupy Nashville and was instead caught off guard by being confronted with the allegations about his pedophilia.  The nervousness he displayed on camera was surely genuine.  No doubt.

So,where are we tonight?  Well, surprise!  Back to bashing the messenger again!  Do check out the Evil Unveiled fb page here and also the comments on the WSM page.  The attack pack has already sprung into action, threatening to publish again the same nasty material they published (from pedophiles) about one of the people associated with the EU site.  I say go for it.  Because every time this comes up, one of them does or says something stupid to incriminate themselves and the case for their apprehension and conviction gets stronger.  They can't help themselves. 

In closing, I'll cop to the fact that I got my biggest laugh of the night when Wolfy suggested this all might be slander.  Uh huh.  In your dreams, buddy, in your dreams.  More like your worst damn nightmare and it ain't even over.