De-occupy Glasgow

UpdateOpen Letter from Glasgow Women’s Activist Forum

I cant honestly say that I was ever that enthused about the “Occupy Movement“.  After seeing a live link up from Occupy Wall Street earlier this month, I did feel a frisson of revolutionary excitement, but it faded by the time that 15th October came round.  It was genuinely amazing and inspiring to hear from an OWS activist live on video link, and when asked what we could do to support them his immediate response was to bring the Occupy movement to wherever we were.  But once the initial rosy glow evaporated, I cant say it was an action which filled me with much enthusiasm.

In Glasgow there was considerable debate within the activist community in the lead up to the global day of action on 15th October.  Should we be supporting the better planned Edinburgh Occupy?  Should we be looking to set up our own Glasgow Occupy?  Or should we be concentrating our activities elsewhere?  In the end the decision was kind of made for us when people unknown to the activist community set up a facebook event which attracted considerable support.  In such circumstances it would have been horribly elitist of us to stand at the edges shouting “Look, you’re doing it all wrong”, we needed to roll up our sleeves and muck in, at least to some extent.

The launch on the 15th was quite good, if a bit unfocused.  Lots of people, good diversity, interesting banners, a few dogs, some leaflets, a gazebo…and that was about it.  I said my hellos, shortly followed by my goodbyes and wished it well.  From that point onwards I fell firmly into the “Meh, it cant do any harm” camp – not willing to condemn it as pointless (although to be honest I didnt actually see the point), but equally unwilling to give it active support.  In the following week and a half, I’ve popped back and forward at various points, asking people’s opinions on it, chatting to bods there that I know from ther activity and some that I met for the first time there, followed the tweets, the blogposts and the news articles, good and bad about the whole Occupy movement.  My position remained that I didnt really see a point to it, but it had undeniable potential and may possibly grow into something worthwhile, so didnt write it off, but at the same time the time/benefit ration was in my opinion seriously out of kilter.

Any occupation, particularly long term ones will hit problems.  The recent 7-month occupation of the Hetherington Research Club was not without its issues.  There we dealt with homelessness, sexual harassment, drug taking and mental health issues on top of onging and constant battles over particularly sexist, but also racist and heteronormative attitudes.  In total over the course of the seven months, three people were excluded from the occupation.  The only formal sanction that we had  within the space to deal with behavior was to determine that we couldn’t deal with it and exclude the perpetrator.  Despite the existence of a safer spaces policy and later a grievance procedure being developed there was a time when the sexual harassment of female activists within the space became so extensive that some refused to return to the occupation during that period.  Some never returned at all.

The Hetherington Occupation was a very different kettle of fish from the Occupy movement.  With a clear set of demands, it had seized control of a well equipped secure building and as the occupation had gone beyond its first days and weeks, turned it into a social space opening it up beyond the students and recent graduates who had created it to established activists, community organisations, international activists and individuals from the community who were in the process of becoming radicalised.  No occupation exists in a bubble away from wider society – sexism, racism, homelessness, migration issues, violence, drug and alcohol issues, homophobia and mental health issues are all prevalent in Scottish society – it is utopian to believe that they either would not emerge or could be “legislated” out of existence through a safer spaces policy.

The Free Hetherington, however flawed and imperfect did tackle a number of these issues head on, but it did it in a context of a consistent base of empowered and aware individuals.  It was never perfect, but safety and security was taken seriously and there was a genuine attempt to overcome some of the issues which led to some of the original occupiers feeling unsafe within the space.

But back to Occupy Glasgow.  As I said earlier I cannot claim to have been particularly involved with the occupation – although I kept tabs on it from afar.  My initial skepticism seemed ill-founded after a very successful public assembly was held on the 23rd October with a high proportion of attendees from the general public, a number of established activists and trade unionists engaging, however problems were becoming apparent.

The start of the occupation was a Saturday, and Saturday night in George Square can be a strange place, yet despite my reservations that the occupation would be over before it started, it seemed to pass without incident.  None the less given a city the size of Glasgow, the problems that it has and the lack of services to address them it was somewhat inevitable that in time, people in need of food and shelter would find their way to a central location providing both.  A number of people with a range of issues found their way to the Occupy camp at the same time as the politics and experience level of the activists involved declined.  The semi-cultish “anti-politics” of the Zeitgeist Movement and David Ike started appearing associated with Occupy Glasgow – something which I believe has also been found in other Occupy locations.  Additionally there were rumours of neo-nazi occupier and a racist element to the camp.

By the Tuesday, I was sufficiently concerned at some of the things that I was hearing about the camp that on one of my regular visits, I drew aside an activist that I knew to express my misgivings, where he confirmed that there was a level of dodgy politics within the camp, but that their overwhelming issue was with vulnerable and aggressive people turning up.  I grew even more concerned at this but he assured me that while he would take what I had raised on board it was all in hand and a “safer spaces” policy had been implemented that evening.

I first heard the news on Wednesday lunchtime.  Reporting was sparse however it was apparent that a rape had occurred within the camp. Later it transpired that she had arrived at the camp and despite the Occupy Glasgow’s efforts to obtain her accommodation, she was not offered anything suitable, despite being six months pregnant.  This is absolutely shocking and a disgusting reflection on Glasgow City Council.  Occupy Glasgow should be commended for the efforts that they put into attempting to obtain her suitable accommodation in the face of an uncaring bureaucracy, yet must also be held responsible for what happened next.  They eventually offered her and her partner a tent for the night – the most prominent tent in the entire camp, right at the front and in full view of the square.  From that moment on, fully knowing her vulnerability, her pregnancy and lack of accommodation, they had full responsibility for her safety as with any other member of the camp.  Her partner left shortly afterwards then, according to press reports a group of men turned up and started drinking with some of the occupiers, then entered the tent.  Occupiers overheard her crying and the men emerged from the tent offering them “shots”.  Where upon they called the police.

Their initial statement is below

Occupy Glasgow is shocked and deeply saddened about the alleged sexual assault on one of the individuals that have been co-inhabiting George Square with the separate Occupy Glasgow movement.

“Since October 15, Occupy Glasgow have provided free food, shelter and clothing to some individuals who had none of their own and we immensely regret any harm that may have befallen one of these individuals.

“We are fully committed to working with Strathclyde Police in their current investigation, and in continued improvements to the provision of safety to occupiers, the homeless and the general public that use George Square.

The distancing from this woman, referred to without reference to gender coupled with the implicit benevolence of the camp and lack of responsibility for what has happened is stunning without even mentioning that what later transpired to be a gang rape is referred to as an “alleged sexual assault”.

After work, I went down to Occupy Glasgow for the general assembly that night and talked to some of the participants.  I was genuinely shocked by some of the attitudes that I found there.  The woman was referred to in one conversation as an “undesirable element”, there were continual references to “alleged” rape/sexual assault, questions were raised about whether she had invited them into the tent and how genuine her claims were and her “vulnerability” was repeated over and over again as evidence of their lack of responsibility for her wellbeing.

The meeting which followed was little better.  The overwhelming impression that I gained from that meeting was that this was a terrible tragedy which had befallen the camp due to their kindness and benevolence, but was really nothing to do with them, and that all they needed to do was to rectify the security situation.

Horse.

Stable.

Bolted. 

I can’t (and don’t want to) remember all of the comments which were made and left unchallenged during that meeting, but I sat there transfixed with anger and my teeth on edge.  Online the discourse was little better with a continual stream rape apologism, minimising, othering, denial and victim blaming coming from some of the Occupy Glasgow contingent.

This isn’t the first rape that has occurred in the Occupy movement, and the victim blaming that has gone on here is replicated in a rape of a 14 year old at Occupy Dallas, while Occupy Baltimore has discouraged victims of sexual offenses reporting them to the police.  The leaderless nature of the Occupy Movement, and lack of accountability leads to informal hierarchies taking hold – and at the top of the hierarchies are generally the straight white males.

When sexist people are allowed to join and define a movement this drives women away; but, when women stay away, men, including sexist men, become the defining voices within the movement

At the moment there is no possible way that Occupy Glasgow can continue.  This rape was fully preventable and it is a sobering reflection on the culture of the left that it happened.  I am sure that there are many good and genuine people who have been involved in Occupy Glasgow, as with other Occupy camps, however the current situation is untenable.  It is perhaps unsurprising that sexual abuse has occurred within a movement which started off by welcoming a rapist as a hero.  While I continue to support the aims and ambitions of the Occupy Movement, its methods and culture need seriously rethought.

A woman’s place is in the movement and not just as a fucktoy for teh menz.

Cross posted to Village Aunties

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145 responses to “De-occupy Glasgow

  1. Jonathan Nicholson

    On the 15th and the list of what happened you forgot mention me doing keepy-uppys, trying to volley the ball, but falling over and then me going to Queen Street Station rather timidly! Apologies for defacing your otherwise interesting blog x

  2. Thank you for such a sober honest account. The whole thing is too horrible for me to say more.

  3. THIS was the response from a member of the Occupy Glasgow group to this blogpost on the Facebook group. This is exactly why Occupy Glasgow needs to end.

    “People lie about getting raped all the time, and people get off with rape all the time. The law would rather allow a few people to get off than be wrongly imprisoned. The mail basis it articles on circumstantial evidence a lot of which will probably not stand up in court. There may be a lot of facts that we don’t know yet. She may have been off her face on drugs for example and didn’t resist sexual advances, then when they wore off reported it as rape (unlikely but possible).”

  4. disgusting bit of victim blaming

    I’ve now deleted this comment in respense to the reply below, I think my anger was getting in the way of my judgement

    • Despicable. Can tell why you’ve callen yourself meh instead of saying who you are on FB.

    • I’m going to leave this comment up. It demonstrates far, far better why Occupy Glasgow needs shut down than anything I write ever could

      • How can one comment on a public group, open to anyone to join and with 1400 members, possibly demonstrate anything about a wider movement?

        • Its the comment above that was posted on the facebook group and reposted here (starts “People lie about getting raped all the time…).

          The comment that was removed was so stunningly offensive it was breathtaking.

          • Strange how you delete the comment that reveals very pertinent facts about the alleged rape victim that challenge your view that the ‘poor victim’ was a saint – but more importantly, reveals how claiming the alleged victim was a saint supports your hidden agenda yet leave the other less articulately presented and more blatantly ‘offensive’ comment in place.

            Once again you have proven the true intention of your ridiculous blog has more to do with slandering the occupation than it is supportive of an alleged rape victim.

            If you felt it necessary to remove my comment then you must by the same token remove the comment ‘People lie about getting raped all the time…’

            In a balanced article all the facts should be presented, just as they would in court proceedings. The truth clearly threatens your agenda.

          • The person calling themselves MEH, pretending to be someone for the camp is a friend of your Mhairi (she is on your facebook friend list)…Her name is ***********. I have proof. Stop writing Bullshit!!!

            It’s so counterproductive to the movement. The reason YOU were removed was because you and at least 8 of your friends were deliberately trying to undermine us.

    • I know you want to highlight the obscene misogyny some people associating themselves with the camp are posting online but it is *not on* putting such damning and horrible slander about the poor poor woman at the heart of this online.

      attack the movement, that’s your choice. do the same to the woman, and it’s not feminism. anyone running a website has a responsibility to not let hate speech be posted, no matter how much it helps your argument.

      for all you know this was written by someone in london or new york stirring things up by mashing up the worst of the rumours online. and even if it wasn’t, it’s unthinkable that that woman could have to read it some day or that others might report this as some kind of account.

  5. Really well written. I will never respect the Occupy George Square group for how they have reacted to this, prioritizing their poxy camp over peoples’ safety.

  6. Thanks Mhairi. You articulate what I am thinking far better than I can say it myself.

  7. Pingback: Rape “Switch” Component Identified in Human Males and Possibly, Females. « pornalysis

  8. What a pathetic excuse for an article, venom and garbage. Shame shame shame

  9. i’ve been staying at occupy glasgow most nights since the 15th and i dont think that this is a time to point any fingers. we are some of the best most welcoming people i have met and we never thought that something like this would happen. the people that had to deal directly with the aftermath of this were trying to do there best. this is not a time to give up this is a time to get down to george square and give it your all. did you think this was going to be a walk in the park? what we are trying to do is massive and we may not go anyware with this. but we have to try. please dont give up us

    • A rape occurred in activist space. Since then the official fb page has provided space for such rape-culture apologetics as:

      list of some of the victim blaming that has occurred

      edited by Mhairi

      While at the same time allowing those who confront these points to “Fuck off!”, and when a PM was sent via the offensive message notification system about this direct attack I was told by the culprit (and supposedly page mod) that it would remain and to never PM about offensive actions on the page again.

      Surely the proper action given this would be to respectfully disband the George Square camp and if its members want to carry on they can lend support to other camps around Scotland?

      • another disgusting bit of victim blaming

        edited by Mhairi

        • response to disgusting bit of victim blaming

          edited by Mhairi

          • Yeah, Meh if you have any connection with OccGlas and believe in the movement you need to reveal yourself to them as soon as possible so you can be told to GTF. I’m starting to wonder if you’re the bs at the heart of this shit-storm. To anyone reading this – Meh does not speak for anyone I know or have met at OccGlas. I feel frankly disgusted every time I read one of his/her posts.

            Perhaps you are trying to say ‘it is not my fault this happened’ or that the camp is not to blame for the assault as this blog seems to suggest. but you don’t do that by posting such noxious inexcusable slander about someone who is very upset about what happened and who has a court case at some point where each of these things could be used against her.

        • response to disgusting bit of victim blaming

          edited by Mhairi

      • Facebook ‘pages’ do not have a ‘PM’ function. ‘Offensive message notification system’ (aka ‘report abuse’) is sent to Facebook, who do not reply. You have been caught lying Sir!!!!!!!!!!!

        • You are clearly associated with Occupy Glasgow, why do you post under a pseudonym?

        • Incorrect; the pathway to report abuse on a Page comment is:

          1) Press the X on the comment
          2) Select “Report as Abuse…”
          3) Select “I don’t like this comment” as the commenter in question was making a direct insult to another
          4) Fb gives two options (copy/paste):

          Message NAME to remove
          Let NAME know that you found this comment objectionable

          Block NAME
          You and NAME will become invisible to each other on Facebook, which means you can’t see or contact each other

          I opted at that time to PM as I felt that while the comment was out of order the person may have calmed down and realise that direct insults are bad form, in much the same way posting as a page mod then switching to a personal profile to agree with yourself, liking your own comments or anon posting on a topic where you have a vested interest are all seen as bad form.

        • The person calling themselves MEH, pretending to be someone for the camp is a friend of your Mhairi (she is on your facebook friend list)…Her name is **********. I have proof. Stop writing Bullshit!!!
          It’s so counterproductive to the movement. The reason YOU were removed was because you and at least 8 of your friends were deliberately trying to undermine us.
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    • I think that it should be obvious that when someone is raped, it IS time to point fingers!

  10. Thank you for this article Mhairi, and for going in person to investigate the situation at Occupy Glasgow and report back. I didn’t have the stomach for it; I’ve had much the same “meh” reaction as you, and know from past bitter experience how leaderless movements nurture replication of existing oppressive power structures. I also know that “in my day” (the 80s) and in previous times of radical movement, women end up silenced and pushed out; at best this results in a separate feminist movement. I actually think that’s what is needed now; for young (or all) feminists to get so sick of all this and to realise that withdrawal of support and parallel organising is the only way.

    Look at Greenham Common; those women occupied for years and they dealt with serious police violence and violence from men of the left; they stood strong as warriors and inspired a generation of women and peace activists. We need to be amazons again for our sisters; we can’t rely on male-dominated movements to pay lip service to “safe spaces”. Male feminist fellow travellers are welcome of course to organise their own support. And this time round we should be inclusive of trans women and genderqueer folk, who are daily vulnerable to rape, sexual assault and murder also.

    • I hope this doesn’t lead to separate movements.

      We should remember that the wider movement, that is the trade unions and so on, is pretty progressive albeit in a liberal way. Fairy recently our movement won equal pay legislation for councils, for example. While individuals are often sexist, the institutions have positive rules and mechanisms.

      If you start to think of just the far left, ad-hoc protests and conspiracy theorists as “the movement”, it gets depressing really quickly.

  11. Thanks for writing this. I have found the last few days to be completely depressing. The attitude I have seen from people who share my privileges has been deeply troubling. I really hope that some people will take some time to examine their privileges and start to listen (actually listen) to women instead of telling everyone they are wrong. I am pretty horrified how any criticism of very very real problems is dismissed as some kind of conspiracy to discredit the occupation. I also do not see the choice as being between misogyny, sexism, classism, conspiracy theories, antisemitism etc. and ‘creating change in the world’. The fact that people continue to say we need to leave aside important issues to protect the ‘movement’ is absurd.

  12. Dearie me, what a load of childish immature crap…YES a citizen is INNOCENT until proven guilty ms hitler! But that isn’t the worse of it, you lot have stolen the name of socialist and therefore undermining if not ensuring that citizens will not support the concept of socialism, whilst you lot are running around…gees, I remember people like you when I was very active in the socialist movement, it made our skin crawl just listening to it. On one occasion I had to speak up at a communist women’s workshop when it was clearly announced the “men were our class enemies”! Totally unbelievable stuff…Get this through your thick skulls, yes women make up roughly half of the human race BUT BUT so do men! Anti women sentiments/conduct should not be tolerated BUT BUT anti male sentiment/conduct should not be tolerated. There are vile men around AND AND there are vile women around…so cut the crap…stop calling yourselves socialist or learn what socialism is all about! Another thing..YOU are also responsible for your health and safety, you just can’t rock up to a protest and expect the organizers to hold your hand and wipe your bottoms! You are a disgrace for attacking this protest…IF you are too stupid to realize how revolutions begin, by ordinary citizens..of all shape, sizes, economic situations, male female etc then do NOT be that spiteful to undermine those that are least trying! You lot are probably being assisted by the system cause they, couldn’t do a better job at thrashing socialism as you lot do….grrr

    • “Dearie me, what a load of childish immature crap”..
      You lost.

      • The person calling themselves MEH, pretending to be someone for the camp is a friend of your Mhairi (she is on your facebook friend list)…Her name is *********. I have proof. Stop writing Bullshit!!!
        It’s so counterproductive to the movement. The reason YOU were removed was because you and at least 8 of your friends were deliberately trying to undermine us.

        GROW UP!!!

  13. Spot on Mhairi. Really glad you wrote this.

    Until the events of this week I shared your initial reaction. The Occupy movement had obvious problems, like all movements do, but was generally worth supporting. “Scrap capitalism and replace it with something nicer” was back – only this time with stupid masks. Usually with these things if new folk are there the decent, working class ones will eventually get involved in doing better things because they have a real, concrete interest in change and the conspiracy theorists and toytown revolutionaries will dissapear back into the ether or find other ways to waste their time and inexplicable constant supply of money. What harm could it do?

    But you can’t make change without openly challenging power. To challenge power you need to acknowledge it exists. Occupy can’t and won’t do this. They have no power to change anything – because they explicity wish not to take that power. Or in some cases because they already have it.

    Power structures exist within movements whether we want them to or not. Saying you are “apolotical” is saying you deny power. Class power, white power, male power. Distancing themselves from the victim of a rape (which they then triviaise by turning it into an a mere allegation) is a consequence of power denial. The subsequent outpouring of misogny, victim blaming and rape apology makes clear this is not a movement worth even limited support anymore and the camp in George Square needs to end now. If you don’t acknowledge power – you don’t have to take responsibility. But we do have power (as activists and as men) and so we have to grow up and take responsibility.

  14. Brilliant Mhairi, thank you. I am still aghast at the statement you posted up thread from Occupy Glasgow. I was already angry about what had been stated by them to the press about this incident but this is extremely worrying. It is so important to highlight and share this analysis, and I am so glad you have.

    • I speak as an individual, supportive of the Occupy movement, but not representative of it.

      I know many many other women who share my view. This blog is feminist claptrap from someone whose nose is clearly out of joint for not being involved in the organisation of a ‘silly wee protest’ that later transpired to be more popular than she predicted.

      • I speak as a member and supporter of several left-wing and humanist organisations including the Occupy movement. I know a LOT of women, both ‘ordinary’ and ‘high-up’, who are often shouted down and excluded for being seen as ‘silly feminists’ when they talk about sexism, abuse, rape, silencing and other issues that are rife across all political and activist spectrums. If a number of women are experiencing these problems they need to be addressed rather than ignored. This ‘feminist calptrap’ attitude is one of many things that allows these problems to persist, and I’m appalled but not surprised that so many supposedly forward-thinking people still spout them to avoid having to confront real issues within their movements.

        • THAT..is not the issue Inmate4 my son, everyone is aware of that BUT it is the opportunist supposedly feminist that clearly wants to be the centre of attention (and there are quite a few of them out there in several left-wing and humanist organizations and as many males) and in this case, becomes judge jury and executioner in order to crap on other citizens that have taken the time to get out there and protest on BIG PICTURE ISSUES that in the past and still is, lead to the kind of discrimination that REAL female rights activists are well aware of….What I said above, altho a bit testy given the incident involved, I don’t back away from..the fight isn’t about you or some out of touch socialist party pretending to be saving us from the evils of capitalism (and only they can do so). Only the proletariat can do that and you can witness that in Glasgow London New York etc etc…they are the proletariat, whether they know that or not or whether YOU like that or not……..me ps me not involved in the Glasgow action, am speaking for myself…..

          • So, you’re saying that ‘Yes she was raped and there’s an issue, but ignore that for the ‘Big Picture?’ She is PART of the big picture.
            What right do you have to be the jus
            dge of who the ‘real’ activists are? Or ‘Real’ feminists? Last I looked, feminists across the spectrum of political views DO get angry when incidents like this are sdhuffled out of the way to protect other peoples’ images. I never said the fight was about us only. No-one did. I know full well what the Occupy movement is about, and also feel that it itself, at least in Glasgow, is somewhat out of touch itself, doing far too little to spread the message beyond its own congregation. I spend day after day telling people why this is an important issue ‘son’, people who think the Occupy movement is about other things entirely or about ‘wasters’ or ‘lazy bastards’. And when they hear about incidents like this and see the ‘shut up about it’ attitudes coming from some of the members, they get driven away with yet another conception of the group as unpleasant. It’s not a woman’s traumatic rape that makes people think we’re all bastards, its what we all say about it afterwards.

  15. Pingback: #Occupy left, right? ~ #OWS #OccupyNZd #ONZ « Rik Tindall blogs

  16. “Meh” you are clearly a thug with no coherent politics, a medieval world view and no class consciousness.

    Your knowledge of what women want is risibly simplistic and contemptible, and therefore right up there with the likes of the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Express.
    You destroy any potential for unity or serious democratic organisation and generally make things difficult for those truly working hard to fight for their sisters and brothers.

    Thankfully so called “activists” and other similar spoilt-brat individuals/individualists like you tend to come to sticky, unnoticed and unremembered ends in truly revolutionary situations.

  17. “she sounded as if she was crying”

    That should be a big enough of a sign to suggest that what was going on was not consensual.

    It doesn’t matter what was happening a day before that, or and hour before that. Me using public transport instead of a car increases my risk of assault. It doesn’t mean I brought it upon myself though. Or does it?

    It’s like Bill O’Reilly talking about a woman once who was raped and murdered.
    He seemed to suggest that because she was drunk and walking by the side of the road that it was perhaps her fault that she was raped and murdered.

  18. I just hope that the woman can find a way back from this and her child gets a chance. Glasgow is like a fuckin horror film at times.

  19. We need to do something to stop the corporations from destroying us and the planet. It may already be to late. If you don’t want to get involved, atleast get out of the way!

    • If the self styled “communist” authoritarian nations have taught us nothing, it is that “the left” doesn’t always equal right or better. Making a case for ignoring the hugely misogynistic nature of a group because at least it makes an attempt to “stop the corporations”? Well fuck that shit.

      I am opposed to the violence of capitalism, but I am not so blind as to want to see it fall to a system with worse problems. I know myself and Mhairi disagree on the exact borderline where this would occur, but I feel we are both agree on much of the end-goal.

      • Seems to me that you are not interested in a good debate, you just want your own vision confirmed in anyway you can. You are making things up as you go along.
        1: I didn’t say ignore the misogynistic nature of a group anywhere, did I?
        2: This isn’t a misogynistic group. When I was there last there were at least 50% women on site. And not all the men are misogynistic either. Some present may be, I didn’t see or hear anything of that nature from anyone. There clearly are some comments on the FB page that are offensive, stupid and rude. But that doesn’t make the group misogynistic, does it?
        I appreciate that you don’t want this system to fall for a worse one. That in itself is a valid reason to get involved instead of staying away. But please don’t! I’m glad you’re not. We don’t need people who are causing division, we need people who want to unite. And that includes women, men, victims and perpetrators. We need healing and not more wounding. We need unification, not division.
        On a last note:
        I would like to congratulate you women, -seperatist feminists-, for shooting yourself in the foot like this. I have been a victim of abuse and bullying from people with similar idea’s like yours and I have been enjoying the show. You just made a public statement that you don’t want to get involved and I and others will remind you of that when you change your mind.

        • I am taking the “official announcements” (retracted and standing) from the camp, the commentary of several people who I respect who have been involved with the camp and and the assumption that the fb group is moderated according to the groups general policies. If the occupation don’t support misogyny then they have the platform to demonstrate that in quite simple terms, yet have consistently chosen to do the opposite.

          I’m baffled by the rest of what is posted. You call for unity but then admonish me to stay away. You claim that I’m not here to debate and then create a strawman to attack rather than address any point I’ve raised so far; it stands to reason I’m going to advocate my position until it is demonstrated as wrong. I accept you may not have been making a case to ignore misogyny but it has came across that way to myself, and I feel that even with the best intentions that is exactly the outcome your stated actions would lead to.

          • NO! Keith it is your stand and those of your pretend socialist comrades that creates misogyny where none exists! You are confusing a systematic/capitalist manufactured perception of how women should behave, act, dress, eat etc etc and the same /system capitalists manufactured perception regarding males. In the ABSENCE of alternative education, both males and females have fallen under this manufactured environment EQUALLY!

            You are confusing the 21st century requirements with that of the 19/20th centuries approach to these issues…I repeat, FEMALES and MALES in their masses have fallen EN MASSE and apparently at this stage, quite willingly, under the propaganda of the system and their media…assisted by those, such as, apparently? members of the ssp who are nothing but opportunistic wannabees.

            To deal with this NEW situation of the 21st century, alternative education & media is required. Attacking ONLY males…ONLY creates misogyny, if you do not feel like attacking those who cause it, the globalists/corporations, then at least recognise that fact…it is YOU and your lot that creates misogyny, sure, you may end up getting more working class males thrown into prisons without due process but where does that get you? National Socialism is perhaps your true agenda ssp?

            Aside from all that and yes, there are other issues…IF you are who YOU claim to be and there is absolutely no evidence of that…YOU and your supposed Scottish socialists party comrades would get your arses down to Glasgow, apologise and to the organizers there and ASK how you can help and bloody do what you are asked to do, AND EDUCATE BY EXAMPLE, DO by DOING….If you had done this from the beginning, instead of having immature and spoilt brats pontificating, you may have PREVENTED the serious incident from occurring in the first place.

            I note on your ssp site that you are as good as advising your fooled supporters to don bobby outfits and go down there to Glasgow and evict the protesters yourselves….unflamingbelievable! One will need to look into who owns that ssp name, it is a name too important to leave to you lot….me

          • Check your privilege and stop beating on that strawman.

            Nowhere have I attacked a single gender. I have attacked the rape-apologetics I have seem being posted and supported. In many cases above I have no idea as to the gender identification of the individuals involved (yourself included).

            As for leading by example I am. I would show some respect of the situation that has developed and call Occupy Glasgow to end. I would also encourage those who still feel the Occupy movement to be of worth of join other occupations around Scotland or beyond.

            As for your points on the SSP/parties, I’ve never been affiliated to any party and don’t see that changing, so don’t really feel qualified to comment. On casting doubt on my identity, that is patently absurd.

          • Yes, Indeed, baffling isn’t it? I call for unity but then thank you for staying away and ask you to keep doing that. I am not as naive to think that there is a possibility to create unity with people like you and the rest of the seperatist feminists. It is better for us all if you would stay away. Now for the rest, please get out of the way so that the rest of the 99% can focus on getting at the banks and the rest of the 1%. Thank you very much.

        • You want “perpetrators” involved in your “movement”, “me”? JESUS WEPT

  20. Having observed the antics of the camp for several days I decided to withdraw my support. A distinct democratic deficit emerged whereby people decided that they could advocate their own agenda and have it voted on afterwards. stratification was an obvious problem with several cliques having formed and GA’s had little representation from them, so becoming increasingly marginal. I have to admit to agreeing with both you and “me” (sorry he picked an unfortunate name) what happened was inexcusable, she was effectively under the protection of the camp and should have been looked after or turned away (the attitude and language of the camp I would have expected (nothing bad is anything to do with them) but it is possible to try and extract too much from these circumstances.

  21. Mickey & Minnie

    I have been involved in the camp since day one,and have a vey mixed reaction to this blog post.

    Firstly the writer raises some very real concerns about sexism within leaderless movements, nad makes fair criticism of an” initial statement”.

    But the only statement made by Occupy Glasgow was the one read to the press at 3pm on Wednesday. That is the only statement. There no early draft.

    I expect this statement was written by an individual who is no longer within the core and posted on Facebook or suchlike, which has zero officiacy.

    Also speculation and using tablids as source material is uncouth. And lazy.
    The occupiers had agreed that to protect the survivor’s identity, a policy of “no comment” would be adopted.

    Also I would implore the write to remove text and comments containing speculation about the victim. No if’s no but’s. This shows deep disrespect for the woman.

    No circumstance excuses a rape. Speculation about the victim only serves to satisfy a need for tittle-tattle, and more speculation. The woman’s anonymity is paramount.

    Aside from all this the writer shows a deep concern for the safety of women on the site, and with that I fully agree. It has been very difficult for the women here to be heard. In fact a fair 50% of us(males) left the camp in the past day in dismay, after our sisters were ridiculed, and verbally attacked when trying to present a perfectly reasonable proposal. The aggressive atmostphere was overwhelming, and not just felt by the females in the marquee.

    I myself and 2 others attempted to eject a man under the influence and other attendees tried to “reason” with us, whilst a guest facilitator left in tears.

    The camp women were shaken & angry, and for good reason. It appears that aside from one group, there are many onsite who have no idea where their attitudes have led them.

    I will not return. We are simply outnumbered by aggressive misogynists.

    However I do feel that physically the space is now very safe, the planning of the re-structure has mad ethe small camp into a fortress complete with alarms/one staffed entrance, and various other measures, but not in any other way.

    Half of the other men I have met here are sincere, egalitarian, inspiring and effective people. Unfortunately we were overpowered. We are not professional activists, could not survive in this enviroment, and given that most established ativists in Glasgow chose to stay away, we had o-one to help or guide us.

    I hear (online- not the best source) that a womens encampment may be in the pipeline, and I really hope it happens. I would fully support this, given that I watched and challenged women being marginalised on a daily basis. It only took 2/3 days for us to be outnumbered by a misogynist group.

    A few of the guys fell into this, a few left, but most stuck it out to try and challeege these attitudes. We were too small a group, and sadly aside fro the idealists among our number willing to stick it out and hope for the best, we could not change this.

    I wish the women’s working group well, and If the elements I have referred to are wiped out, both of us would happily return. I’m sure the others who have left in the past day would too.

    The only way to eject the bad element is too outnumber them. If you truely care about this cause, and can arrive en masse to reform it-please do.

    • I have now edited the comments. The statement quoted above is the first statement issued by Occupy Glasgow which was given to STV and is quoted by them in their news reports

    • Further to this, Myself (Minnie) and my partner (Mickey) have now returned to the new camp. Much safer, great teamwork, and all we need now is support and solidarity from the wider movement, which is coming in, slowly, but surely. We were not sure if the safety measures and expulsion (not sure if that is what it is called?) policy would be upheld but after spending this week at the camp, we are now happy with the situation. With all movements, new people will come and go, but it seems the folks onsite 24/7 have this in hand now. I think the fencing/one gated entrance/communal tents/women only space etc has helped a great deal- we have even had the kids onsite. I personally have found it to be far more welcoming to not just women and kids, but to everyone in general at the park. I think there is still a problem with wheelchair access (raised tonight) but I think (don’t quote me) there are new grounding options for that. Peace – Minnie

  22. Pingback: De-Occupy Glasgow « village aunties

  23. No mhairi, I do not blame the ssp for everything 🙂 just for being tunnel visioned and reactionary on only one of the many issues that are symptoms of the capitalist system and undermining those that are trying to go for the cure to end that system

    SSP site:
    James Carroll What position should be taken if there is an eviction ?.
    Yesterday at 12:23 · Like

    Mhairi Mcalpine Give them a hand to evict the place

    No wonder the system is walking all over the human race, note this…it is the ordinary human beings of this planet that will stop them, if they can be stopped that is. They may not be able to talk the newspeak that both you and the system use only too well, they may not have the same religious like views that you do but in spite of you and the system, they may just well prevail. You = if the shoe fits…….

    I do note that there are some at SSP querying the direction that the ssp is going with this…..listen to them folks.

    Jimmy “I think what we should be doing as the SSP is offering political and theoretical guidance, support and a political outlet for the frustration and anger that led to this protest”

    I would add Jimmy…practical support. At least Jimmy is not advocating joining the police and evicting them…..like most on the ssp site….

  24. Note: that was not monkeybcme….twas me

  25. That is not all that you have edited mhairi, also deleted direct quotes from the ssp.

    NO inmate4, no one said anything about ignoring violent crime. This is the sort of comment made by people who wish to distract and misinform. Stating the obvious, such as rape is a terrible crime (AND it is) then when that smokescreen is in place, defending groups pretending to be socialists and trying to assist the State in stopping protest against the State…. at the same time attempting to divert debate away from the very real conflict within/between socialist orgs/socialists and women’s rights v feminism separatism. The system could not do a better job at controlling the proletariat as this……

    And could this be a news flash…?

    Today, The SSP declared that all protest, all demonstrations must halt immediately unless cleared by us, the SSP and our separatist feminist ss.

    Failure to do so will result in, we, the SSP, with the assistance of the police (and army if necessary I presume), will forcibly evict you from positions that you occupy that is challenging the corporate system and global crime…..nice one

  26. Mod, you should let radical comment, for and against go through, it improves political awareness and tests current theories….but tis your forum…

  27. Pingback: How not to be a patriarchal arsehole « Be young and shut up

  28. With regard to your observations on Mr Assange:
    http://johnpilger.com/articles/protect-assange-don-t-abuse-him
    If only things were simple.

  29. While it’s all well and good that you’ve had your wee rant, let’s get down to the crux of the issue.

    A [woman, described offensively edit- Mhairi] made an allegation of rape. It’s not instantly gospel truth if it passes her lips – there’s as much chance of that being true as her being slipped some cash from the Daily Record to make the allegation.

    We can’t let a false flag operation bring down our movement, so suck it up people and get on with making change happen.

    P.S. When you stay on the streets, your safety is your own responsibility. How would the ‘collective camp’ be able to see what’s going on inside your tent?

    • Oh good god. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you just blamed a woman who was raped for her own rape.

      As far as was reported, the ‘collective camp’ did find out what was going on inside the tent and called the police (although allegedly had to discuss doing so beforehand, as if there was any alternative).

  30. Hi Mhairi. I’d already read your post and thought it was absolutely spot on. Just to say, sending sisterly love and solidarity from Edinburgh. Some of these comments, without even being able to see the worst ones, are horrendous. I feel like feminists in Edinburgh and Glasgow are under attack. This horrendous rape has just shown how so many people, supposedly on the side of the underprivileged, actually see women as objects and fucktoys, incapable of independent thought. Massive love and solidarity and let’s hope that some of teh menz take some note from both of our posts. Kate

  31. Pingback: The Zeitgeist Movement and Occupy UK: An Anti-Globalisation Cult. « Tendance Coatesy

  32. Someone turn the lights on please this tunnel is dark.

    i dont understand the mentality of people when speaking about people they dont know anything about.
    So all zeitgeist members are are cutlish… just how…??
    Can i have some sort of proof on this, as i’ve been a member for over 2 years, never done anything cultish, apart from when we had national elections, i was asked by the state to do my bidding for society, cultish…mmmmm..

    So because we dont believe in the use of politics to solve the planets problems, people put is in a box and label it a cult, my 9 year old daughter has a far more advanced thought process than this.

    Brilliant eh…

    OK, so does that mean than any group can be classified as a cult, ie a cult of Manchester Utd fans or a cult of Labour voters. How far does this term go, or is it just used to label groups that either people know feck all about or are not sure of the message being advocated.

    i too feel so uphauled that a woman can be subject to any kind of attack in the middle of glasgow city centre. I hope she is ok and they catch the feckers for this. Surly the cctv that is all around the square must have come in useful.
    I was listening to the news reports with regards this, stv and bbc ran with their has defo been a sexual attack on a woman, and then the story would run, that its an alleged sexual attack. Not sure if this has now been found to be true that its a sexual attack..
    It highlights just how un safe our streets are, even with all these cctv and police, the illusion of safety.

    So please dont generalise all people, as its not a fair description.

    Anyway i’m off to sacrifice my lunch.. 🙂

    • Its the unwillingness to engage in debate and the dismissal of anyone who disagrees as “closed-minded” that sends out cult vibes.

      It wasn’t an “alleged sexual attack”, it was a gang-rape, right in the middle of George Square.

      It doesn’t highlight how unsafe our streets are, it highlights how unsafe Occupy Glasgow is.

      CCTV doesnt see through tarpaulin you know.

      • ok so you say YOU feel a cult VIBE, so its opinionated then, not fact.
        And i can assure you, i’m not closed minded, if you have solutions with regards todays societal issues, i will sit and listen carefully much like most other zeitgeist members i know.

        All i was asking for was clarification on the incident, has this been confirmed by the police that it took place? Can you answer this for me please, as i am still unsure.

        And you are wrong, it highlights how unsafe our streets are, we have high crime figures in scotland particularly glasgow, so to say this is the fault of the occupy event is not giving the full story, it happened on a street in Glasgow.
        Does that mean any other crime thats happened in or around the occupy event is the fault of the occupy group??

        CCTV doesnt see through tarpaulin you know, very good…lol
        We have more than one camera covering various different angles, i’m pretty sure one of them would come in useful, even if its to view people going in and coming out of this tarpaulin tent.. That was my point, so please dont try and belittle the points.

        • Yes, a gang rape took place. It happened on a street in Glasgow that was *occupied*.

          I think that there is a level of responsibility for security which rests with the occupiers, including protection from sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and rape.

  33. The way I see it is this:

    i) The Occupy Glasgow site was/is clearly not safe for women, as a gang rape has occured on the site.

    ii) Glasgow is not a safe place for women, as a gang rape has occurred in it’s centre.

    iii) The rapists are clearly not safe, as they have raped a woman.

    So, the rapists, The Occupy Glasgow site, and Glasgow, indeed, this whole patriarchal society, shares in the blame for the horrible rape that has occurred.

    iv) Any talk, indeed any impicit suggestion, that the woman is somehow to blame for being raped, by, for example, being ‘vulnerable’ or ‘homeless’ or ‘not appropriate to be on teh Occupy Glasgow site’ is part of the problem, a manifestation of the Patriarchal bollocks that has so evidently dominated her and seen her a something to be used, ignored, or put aside, not protected, supported, and fought for.

    How anybody can argue against this, I do not know, but no doubt they will.

  34. what John noted above is spot on,

    Also we live in a sick society and sick things are always happening, hence why we need to change this system. That is where my focus is, not interested in the blame game. I have done a quick search online, i’m not disputing what this girl has gone through, but all the reports i have read still allude to it being an alleged sexual attack.

    Mhairi, you are stating a gang rape HAS happened. Until this is confirmed by the police, which if it has, i have not seen or heard about it, it is an alleged incident.
    It may not have happened, but on the other hand it may have happened.

    But coming out on public forums and advising people of a definite serious sexual assault has happened, is not right. As the police have not confirmed this, they have confirmed a reported incident.

    “My position remained that I didnt really see a point to it, but it had undeniable potential and may possibly grow into something worthwhile, so didnt write it off, but at the same time the time/benefit ration was in my opinion seriously out of kilter.”

    How can you possibly view something as pointless but also viewing it as having the potential to grow into something worthwhile. If its pointless its pointless. , this makes no logical sense.

  35. FUCK RIGHT OFF with your “alleged incident”.

    Its a gang rape, its happened – deal with it. This “alleged incident” shit is *exactly the fucking problem*. Why *EXACTLY* are you and others so keen to insist that this isn’t a gang rape but an “alleged incident”.

    WHY????

    • No need to swear Mhairi, i never resorted to this type of language.
      No need.
      I think you are missing my viewpoint, and i can only apologise for that Mhairi, not hear to cause arguments or confusion.
      But can you pass me a link with regards this so I can read for myself.
      As i never believe anything until i investigate it for myself.

      Again, all i am looking for is the clarification of the incident from you, as you have advised that it has definitely occurred.
      So pass me the information that you have please so i can read it for myself, i have read so many conflicting stories with regards this horrible incident, I only want to know the truth. Not what the bbc or stv say, as its usually bull…

      • We are discussing an unspeakably horrible act that is full of implications around gendered power. Don’t tell anyone not to get upset about it, or that there’s no need to swear. There is every need to swear.

        These crimes are always “alleged” in a way that thefts, murders and assaults never are. If STV can report it straight-up as a rape then why do you need to make it “alleged”? I think STV have a better legal team than you.

        Given the constant denial of the reality around gendered crime in our society it really looks like an attempt to avoid the horror of what has happened, what happens all the time, and the responsibilities that places on any organisation hosting events in a public space. That’s why people will swear at you.

      • Given that its been reported to police is it more likely that she is lying or that she was raped – which is it and why do you think that.

        WHY EXACTLY ARE YOU AND OTHERS SO KEEN TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THIS DEEMED AN “ALLEGED INCIDENT”.

        WHY???

      • FUCK YOU with your tone argument.

  36. so because i ask for the clarification, you folks jump to the conclusion that i am calling this person a liar.. WHAT???

    Nothing wrong with asking for more details, and the reason myself and others are looking at his as an alleged incident as just now thats what it is. And by going through all the reports so far, it has not been confirmed, it is under investigation, until this part of the process is complete, then it will be or

    Now you can then detract from this and go off on any tangent you feel fit to, but the legal system in this country has been grossly unfair to females in these assaults, but wither STV or any other broadcasting company has a better legal team than me, is a moot point to be honest. Are they involved in this case???
    Also mainstream media has never reported anything straight up in their lives, hence why people are sceptical. And why they look for answers elsewhere.
    ie, a place where someone is advising that something has defo happened, then you will then have people asking questions, especially if all this has come from mainstream media reports.

    I can see me being a closed minded zeitgeist man, is my downfall here as i believe in questioning everything.
    I’ll just go back to my dark tunnel and wait for the light to be turned on, i wont ever ask people for information as its obviously too much for them to relate these small facts onto others.

    I wish you a happy life 🙂

    • Mate, you don’t get it. Women have been told by men that they haven’t really been raped for centuries. And here you come, with your word “alleged” rape, which really means, “maybe hasn’t been” raped. You are continuing a patriarchal approach to rape, a gendered crime. As far as I can see, and hear, there are witnesses to this crime, and this woman has reported this crime to the police, along with others from the camp. So, yes, I repeat a question to you. With the two options available to you:

      i) She’s lying, she hasn’t really been raped.
      ii) She’s telling the truth, she’s been raped.

      Why are you siding with the former, by using the word “alleged” and not the latter, by leaving out the word alleged?

      Also, you don’t get how telling a woman to not be so angry about people like you casting doubt over the reality of rape, where 55,000 women get raped every year in the UK alone, is just not on. You’re not the one who has to walk the streets, afraid that you might be raped. You’re not the one you has to stand up in court, only to be told you haven’t really been raped, or worse, if was your fault, because you were drunk or dressed like a slut. This is what women have to put up with, not you. So, don’t tell a woman how to react to your male, privileged, “alleged” crap.

      • no dude, i get all you are saying and you have missed my point totally, hence why I asked for clarification, i dont make up these words alleged. And i did ask for more information, so please dont turn this round to a male\female issue which its not, its neither, its a human issue, but thats besides the point.

        I used the word alleged as its the only one available to me that fits the context of my statements above.
        Also i am well aware of our shocking crime stats and i’m also shockingly aware of the miss information that circulates our society. Again hence why I asked for clarification, as all the reports are saying one thing and message boards are saying another.

        But to jump on one part of my posts and slate them is not the way dude,

        You yourself advised “As far as I can see, and hear, there are witnesses to this crime, and this woman has reported this crime to the police, along with others from the camp. So, yes, I repeat a question to you. With the two options available to you:
        i) She’s lying, she hasn’t really been raped.
        ii) She’s telling the truth, she’s been raped.”

        As far as i can see and hear, there are witnesses, – I was not aware of any witnesses, again hence why i asked for more information.
        If there are witnesses it does beg the question how can they witnesses and not do anything to prevent, also if they witnessed how come there have been no arrests.
        You can throw a piece of rubbish out your car in george square and there will be an automatic fine rushing its way to you instantly. Through the use of these cctv cameras, so where were these pointing when this was all going on.

        And how can i or anyone answer that question, cmon, i wasnt there. So to answer honestly is not going to happen, i’m only going to be able to form an opinion of the facts known at the time.
        So to answer honestly would be to say
        I dont know. Hence why i was asking more more information.
        And to be honest i still haven’t found anything more, so i will await to hear what happens and hope that this victim in this receives as much care to help her through this.

        I can remember giving evidence at court to a serious crime, when a female accused a male of something similar, it turned out she was making it all up for whatever reasons, but the point being made is that these things do happen, and the stigma was left on the guy to carry. But i know it works both ways.

        And that full last paragraph is so far off the mark dude, your making me out to be some finger pointer at alleged crime victims, thats whats not on dude.
        You have no idea who i am or what my background is, and how do you know i’m not female.

        Dont slate people for asking questions, i only asked for more information, if you actually read my 1st post, thats all i was doing, plus defending some points made about the TZM.

        • See the Daily Mail report linked to in the blogpost for comment from witnesses.

          I think you ask a very good question of how there could be witnesses and no one could have intervened.

          Two men have now been arrested in connection with the offence.

          Why do you think she was making it up, given a 3.6% conviction rate for reported rapes, it it not just more likely that it was yet another failing of the system. Either there are shit loads of rapists wandering about scot-free or shit-loads of women wandering about alleging rape at the drop of a hat. Given that rape is estimated to be underreported by 90%, I know which one I think it is.

        • As Mhairi says above:

          “I think you ask a very good question of how there could be witnesses and no one could have intervened.”

          Mhairi *has* given you the information, and yet, you persist od trying to derail her points by using the term “alleged,” asking for facts (which you’ve already been given), and refusing to see that you’re part of the problem, by suggesting that this rape victim might be making it up, by refusing to believe her unless you have more facts, which have been given to you already re:

          i) witnesses
          ii) actual arrests

  37. What I am saying is that there are two possiblilties
    1. There has been a gang rape
    2. The woman went to the police with an allegation which isn’t true.

    I go with the first, why are you going with the second

    WHY EXACTLY ARE YOU AND OTHERS SO KEEN TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THIS DEEMED AN “ALLEGED INCIDENT”?

  38. ok folks, you are now putting words and phrases out there i have not used.
    I have never wrote i think she is making this up, i have never questioned the victim here.
    And the reason it looks like i am not a believer is because you are picking up on one word in my posts, “alleged” its the only word the fits the context, and you are running with it. I gave an example of alleged being used in court.
    Asking for more information is not a crime, and i’m sure i heard a police officer in one of the reports refer to this using the same language.

    And it took how many posts for this information to be given:
    See the Daily Mail report linked to in the blogpost for comment from witnesses.
    Two men have now been arrested in connection with the offence.

    “Mhairi *has* given you the information, and yet, you persist od trying to derail her points by using the term “alleged,” asking for facts (which you’ve already been given), and refusing to see that you’re part of the problem, by suggesting that this rape victim might be making it up, by refusing to believe her unless you have more facts, which have been given to you already re:
    i) witnesses
    ii) actual arrests”

    John, this information has just been given to me, it was not revealed to me on here until 7pm tonight, i posted my “asking for more information” posts way before then.
    It does not say anywhere about there being arrests on this blog until 7pm
    So going with this information that there has been arrests i would then obviously know the facts. I dont know where your going with this, other than trying to make me look like some awful person for asking for more information, you have used the word alleged just about as much as i did. I have an interest in the occupy movement that is why I was asking for more information. Thats all, nothing more nothing less.

    This is my last post, i apologise if people took my asking for more information as a disbeliever of this crime. Not my intent.

    • So, now you are worried about how you are being made out to be something you are not. You feel out of control of your image, your identity, your truth. You feel unjustifiably questioned, misunderstood, wronged. It wasn’t your intent to make the victim out to be a liar, only that you didn’t believe this was an actual crime until you had facts, proof, regardless of the fact that *she* said she was raped. But, that doesn’t count. She’s just the victim.

      So, now you feel like a victim yourself. You don’t feel like I’m being just towards you, as if I’m not giving you a fair deal. But, why has this become about *you*? What about her, the woman who has been abused, assaulted, raped?

      I got the sense that you were more interested to protect your own agenda, namely making sure your precious Zeitgeist Movement wasn’t damaged, than actually supporting a victim of rape, the one who has really, *really* been wronged. And now you feel wronged for being called on your own crap, on how you don’t actually give a shit about her, how this was all just your attempt to protect your little agendas from being harmed, so her horrific event was termed by you, “alleged”.

      THat’s the way I see it, mate. You might think I’m wrong, and you have every right to see it the way you want. But, that’s the way I see it.

  39. Even if there were no witnesses, that doesnt mean there was no rape. It just means there were no witnesses.

    Even if there were no arrests, that doesnt mean there was no rape. It just means there were no arrests.

    Even if there is no-one charged, that doesnt mean there was no rape. It just means no-one has been charged.

    Even if there are no prosecutions, that doesnt mean there was no rape. It just means that there are no prosecutions.

    Even if there are no convictions, that doesnt mean there was no rape. It just means there were no convictions.

    How the fuck would you feel if your stereo got nicked, and people insisted on talking about the “alleged theft” of your stereo, demanding to know if you had witnesses or if anyone had been arrested and insinuating that you were making the whole thing up.

    Thats a poxy stereo – this is the gangrape of pregant woman who had nowhere else to go.

    • I agree with everything you have said, but could you please remove the part about her “condition”? we must protect her identity. This makes her identifiable out of the women their that night. (and delete this comment after?) Many Thanks – Minnie

      • If you are referring to her pregnancy, I believe this has been reported in other places and is now common knowledge.

        As to the comment after, I am unclear why you would like that removed.

  40. Ay vay. Firstly, thankyou for saying your piece and inviting feedback.

    In my book there are at least three possibilities.

    1. There has been a gang rape
    2. The woman went to the police with an allegation which isn’t true.
    3. A situation arose where a vulnerable person seeking refuge and camaraderie suddenly realised she was in the company of brutal psychopaths who saw her only as an object to be exploited, and that it was too late to get away. The police are working with her account, the accounts of other witnesses, interviews with suspects, and evidence collected, to build a full picture of what happened that night and take the appropriate action against any and all guilty parties.

    Sexual assaults involving alchohol and spiking with drugs are common as dirt in this city. They are notorious for being difficult to prove and try as the onus is on the accuser to prove that their lack of consent was shouted from the rooftops and defended by the complainant under our legal system. If she or anyone else at the scene was intoxicated, memories would be hazy and unreliable, the victim can be unconscious or amnesic. Post traumatic stress disorder can also leave memory gaps, perhaps to protect the violated person from the enormity of the horror they have been exposed to. This is not ‘blamer’ speak. What happened was dark and disturbing, and my first reaction beyond one of compassion for the victim(s) (because, make no mistake; this was an attack on a community) is to shout from the rooftops and try to raise awareness. Nobody who knows what really happened should be on here talking about it, so most of us will use the word ‘alleged’ in acknowledgement of this.
    I came along to George Square to see what was going on. What was going on was fascinating, grubby, and frankly unfit for the children. It was also tremendously heartening. With barriers broken down, Glasgow was letting it all hang out, her scars and neuroses exposed for all to see. A lot of people spoke of feeling frightened on Friday. Others found comfort and solace. I found the latter. I know the darkness of this beautiful city along with its light, and I am willing to look her in the eye and listen to her story.
    My experiences of watching the camp grow and change have taught me things I would have learned in no other arena. The day The Incident was reported I arrived at lunchtime to the horrible news. Would I have run? Don’t be silly. I womanned the abandoned kitchen for a spell, chasing out the young team with the attitudes so I could take in the enormity of it in peace. Company around the tent, including police, were peaceful enough. The press were everywhere. The souls were milling in and out. There was no present danger. A man brought me pumpkin seeds. He said “These are for the real protesters, not the homeless and the jakeys”. I took them diplomatically and said “I’ll distribute these, sir.” The good soul beside me helping mop up looked at me with hurt fury. “Is he for real? I was homeless once…” I looked her back in the eye and said “Yes, so was I.” Naturally I did not base my distribution methods on the domiciliary status of the recipient(s), in fact I didn’t even ask.
    People have appeared like angels throughout, offering home baking, hand knits, banquets, labour and love. Maybe some of these kids needed picked up and dusted off. Well, the people who called these protests have abandoned ship, if that is the action they choose, in the right place. Glasgow can pick up and dust off with the best of them. So, back to PTSD and violation of the person. Glasgow is a beautiful and deeply troubled city. Its men and boys are dying in droves. Drugs, suicide, alcohol, soldier games. We have a conversation to have as a city about what exactly is going on.
    Let me quote myself, if I may be so bold; “A situation arose where a vulnerable person seeking refuge and camaraderie suddenly realised she was in the company of brutal psychopaths who saw her only as an object to be exploited, and that it was too late to get away.”
    Ringing any bells? What about the betrayal of sending men and women who have pledged to protect our security with their lives if necessary to kill and be killed under false pretences? There are bigger issues here than the gender divide.
    I respectfully request that you call the dogs off Glasgow. She’s doing her best. Allow her to hope. You wouldn’t catch me sleeping down there. I’m not brave enough. But that’s not because I’m a woman. If you’re going to call Glasgow out to protest you must look her in the eye, warts and all.

  41. With love, sister. I have a little boy. His lower lip trembles when he gets frightened. My daughter is weaker in body, fiercer in spirit. Let’s hear it for the human race. Down with exploitation.

  42. Also this:

    http://links.org.au/node/2567

    (Excerpt; free to print for non-profit I think)

    By Jack Ferguson

    June 23, 2010 — Scottish Socialist Youth — If you’re the kind of person who knows there’s a lot of problems in our society, and you’re looking for solutions for what to do about it, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself here on our blog.

    There’s also a good chance you might have come across something called the Zeitgeist Movement. If you have, and you’re attracted to the ideas it puts forward, this article is our attempt to argue that Zeitgeist offers no real solutions to the economic and ecological crises that human civilisation is facing. In fact, quite the opposite: instead of explaining to people how we can change our society for the better, many of the ideas put forward in the Zeitgeist films have their origins in far-right and racist groups, and they’re ideas which are both crazy and useless…

  43. It is quite clear that you are eager to jump on cashing the misery and horrible experience of this woman.

    Also it is quite clear that you are one of the numerous misandrist, sexist feminist sensationalists who have no intention of trying to find the truth before alleging anyone of a serious crime as rape.

    For you and white feminists like you it DOES NOT matter what happened; what happened was your version of reality.

    If these men against whom you are leading a lynch-mob did NOT rape the woman, would you take the responsibility to go to prison for causing

    1 – psychological, social and most probably economic damage to the lives of these *men*
    2- causing the Occupy movement and their local organisers psychological distress
    3- publicly lying and spreading false information with the intent of causing malice

    White liberal women are the bane of any progressive movement. White left should have learnt some lesson from the 60’s 70’s and 80s, when they were sold out by the sexism of female supremacists and their subsequently successful actions to institutionalise misandry and sexism against men.

    • Mhairi has not accused a particular men of anything. She has simply refused to doubt the victim, by not using the phrases “alleged victim” or “alleged rape”. She simply uses the word victim, or rape. So, what’s your problem? She’s not doing damage to any men, because she’s not using any men’s names?

      Personally, I think what you said is disgusting, because I feel you’re more intent of presenting a squeeky clean Occupy Movement than accepting the rape victims words and admitting a rape has happened on the Occupy Glasgow site. But, I might be wrong. So, I’ll ask you outright:

      Do you believe the victim, that she was raped, or not?

      I await your answer, as this will clear up my perception of you.

  44. I’ve been involved with OG since day one, helping where I can tho I haven’t stayed there. I also, on the day after the rape, used the word alleged. By the end of that day I had stopped, and am unreservedly sorry for having used it (god that sounds like a corporate statement but I don’t know how else to say it). For once I thought about it (and was questioned on it) I realised how it was completely unacceptable.

    Alleged is a word we use for criminals until they have been charged. The two men who have been arrested are her alleged rapists. This is right, because the police might have arrested the wrong men. To be accused of rape when you are innocent must be a terrifying thing. But as you, as almost everyone says here, the crime, as she reports it can only be taken as the truth.

    I was raped when I was 17. I told very few people and even then have been afraid that I wouldn’t be believed and that people would say it was my fault (I am a man, my rapist was smaller than me, why did I not punch him or fight him off, for instance). It was only a counselor that helped me see thru that some 10 years after that it was not my fault.

    So it shocks me that even with my background, my instinct was to use that word, and I’ve been trying to understand that, I’d like to suggest that the main cause is ignorance, coupled with a hopeful self-denial – under the influence of chronic-tiredness and panic in the midst of a media storm:
    – on the one hand, men I have spoken to using the word alleged, are confused about the difference between an alleged criminal and an actual crime. A case like Julian Assange who you mention, goes to the heart of the confusion as there is both a crime that has happened and an ‘alleged’ perpetrator who has not received (or put himself forward for) a fair trial so is usually referred to in those terms. What language should be used here that is both fair to the victims, and the principle of being innocent until proven guilty that we all also hope for? I don’t know. I would like to see the Swedish guarantee no extradition to the US on espionage charges, and have him hand himself in there there, so we can know.
    – I think there is also self-denial that came, not from distrusting the woman or her story, but from not wanting to believe that something so terrible could have happened in a camp that represents the ideals of so many people, that is the first glimmer of hope for many of us in years. Please please please, we tell ourselves, can this not be true? Please can there be another explanation? It is naive, and offensive in context, but I think it may have biased subconsciously people in their use of language. These two points are the only way I can understand how my knee-jerk reaction was so wrong.

    I say these points not to try and justify my use of the word (or find myself new enemies here), but because it feels in the midst of this horror there is a chance for better education about why such words and such gross attitudes appear – certainly a lot of people are better informed as a result of their mistakes and I hope that keeps on going. It is a tragedy but maybe it is also a chance for better awareness, better education, indeed I don’t see what alternative we have to teaching each other to improve things.

    Overall, as has been said elsewhere, just 4% of rapes lead to a prosecution, and each day since this 230 women have been raped in the UK. I am not sure of the last time the rape of a homeless woman received the press coverage it deserves (or the last time the Washington Post reported any rape in Scotland). What of the others still happening that don’t benefit from the media spotlight? And those that go unreported because women (or men) fear what will be said about them in the media and online?

    Where do we go from here? I don’t know, but I do know Occupy Glasgow has unearthed and been confronted with issues that West End Guardianista activists like myself might not normally encounter face-to-face while attending a talk at the CCA or going on a Coalition of Resistance march:
    – Firstly, the chronic homeless, mental ill-health, violence, drug and alcohol problems in Glasgow which the council appears unable to deal with. Hence the camp was split early on between those wanting to offer shelter and food to the homeless and needy and those saying it wasn’t their responsibility and would cause problems. These issues should be shouted about, not swept away if the camp closes, especially in the face of cuts to shelters, refuges, and disability benefit.
    – Secondly, the outdated, ill-informed and down-right offensive and unacceptable attitudes towards rape victims and, in some cases, women. Because these have come from some within the OG camp it would be easy and maybe reassuring to say that these were problems that only come from those at the camp or from non-hierarchical groups, rather than fundamental society-wide attitudes that are rarely challenged ( good example – http://gu.com/p/332vb/tw – or Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s recent comments ). So the solution and debate I think has to be society wide, and has to happen.

    So maybe there is an opportunity to keep this being discussed where it is often silenced? (tho I hope without tarring all involved with OG with the same misogynist brush). #Occupy seems to bring a lens of media attention to topics – in London to the link between church, finance and state, and in Glasgow to everything mentioned above. At some point this focus will go away and people will return to ignoring these issues, so I wonder, what can best be now be done?

    (maybe that is unfair to ask, I just wish someone knew).

  45. Excellent post. Welcome to Glasgow. Let us try to salvage some hope from the ruins. Ask how many vulnerable women (and men) have been literally slaughtered on these streets with nobody ever jailed for it. Ask why. Ask how it ever came to this. Don’t look to blame, but to reflect. Give thanks that this ghastly theater has shone a light on the heart of Glasgow. Misandry is also a threat to peace. Take your hats off to those who have not deserted in the field, even though they trembled, and who have the courage to defend the truth. Put it all down to experience. Wonderful grassroots ‘bottom-up’ social projects are springing up all over Glasgow and we need support and energy for a peaceful evolution. If awareness is raised the occupation is not in vain. If you want to promote Zeitgeist bumph or some other personal agenda GCC may offer an alternative location and a fence to put round it. Edinburgh or some other scottish city might be more receptive, but the Clyde Valley is too busy licking her wounds and trying to get the roof fixed. Please don’t play games with our hopes. De-occupy Glasgow? You and whose army? 😉

  46. “So, now you are worried about how you are being made out to be something you are not. You feel out of control of your image, your identity, your truth. You feel unjustifiably questioned, misunderstood, wronged. It wasn’t your intent to make the victim out to be a liar, only that you didn’t believe this was an actual crime until you had facts, proof, regardless of the fact that *she* said she was raped. But, that doesn’t count. She’s just the victim.
    So, now you feel like a victim yourself. You don’t feel like I’m being just towards you, as if I’m not giving you a fair deal. But, why has this become about *you*? What about her, the woman who has been abused, assaulted, raped?
    I got the sense that you were more interested to protect your own agenda, namely making sure your precious Zeitgeist Movement wasn’t damaged, than actually supporting a victim of rape, the one who has really, *really* been wronged. And now you feel wronged for being called on your own crap, on how you don’t actually give a shit about her, how this was all just your attempt to protect your little agendas from being harmed, so her horrific event was termed by you, “alleged””

    yeah john, i’m worried about my image and the image of the movement, get a grip dude. Just opinionated bull. I dont feel wronged in anyway, so what are going on about. This berating and anger at people is what perpetuates our sick society.
    Advising that i dont give a shit about this person and its people like me that prevent rapes being viewed in the correct manner. What a load of crap, dont ever pretend you think you know me, just from a couple of posts on a crap blog, that so far Mhairi has been accused of lying about not knowing people etc. Miss-information is a great tool eh..
    I asked for more information, you are not in the position to give it, so why bother responding. And the info that was given was not vertified in any way, I got, go look at some witness statements in my blog post and their has been arrests. We thats why i’m asking for more information, as i cant see anything anywhere that says there have been arrests.
    So John before you go shooting from the hip again, can you please pass me the information on these arrests, i want to find out more of whats gone on and where we are with catching the feckers that commited this crime. Now i can use the word alleged as all crimes are alleged crimes until an arrest and charge has been made, i did not invent the law or the language used within it.
    So John, what are you doing to help society get out of its mess??
    In what areas do you contribute in problem solving that gives you the right to question others.??

    • You’re right. I see no evidence that there have been any arrests. All I can find it that they are “looking for two men”.

      Maybe the article should be corrected to that extent, but that’s up to Mhairi.

      However, my point still remains my friend. You refuse to believe this woman when she says she’s been raped.

      I believe her when she says she’s been raped. And I believe the people who said they heard her screaming. You do not.

      You would rather use the term “alleged” as if it is some appropriate term you just use in these situations.

      But, you don’t realise that this word, and the attitude behind it, plays right into the culture that has grown up around rape. The 55,000 women who are raped every year, with only a 3% conviction rate. The constant talk of, well, it’s an “alleged” rape right now, there was no witnesses. She was drunk. She was dressed like a slut. What did she expect? Afterall, if there not doubting the reality of the rape, 1 in 3 people go on to believe that the victim of rape is partly to blame for being raped. FACT!

      And here you are, using the word “alleged” a word which sterilises the traumatic event of reality, and aids in the process of making it only possible, nay, improbable, unbelievable, doubtable, untrue.

      A man above has written about why he stopped using the word “alleged”. I highly respected his honesty. I know how he feels too, because I had to change myself when I realised how much of a privileged white male I was being. I suggest you read his comment carefully and try to figure out why he changed. I might give you some clues as to why I changed, and why I’m giving you such a hard time.

      And as for your question, what do I do etc etc. You still don’t get it. Though I could list many things I do to contribute to society, this isn’t about me, and it’s certainly not about you. That’s my point! Its not even about the normal uses of language, especially language employed by the media to manipulate the degrees of reality events are permitted, or denied, to have.

      This is about the woman. How do you think she would feel, having admitted that she’s been raped (a fucking mammoth decision, considering that she’s very likelt to be dis-believed, even blamed!), only to come across your posts demanding that her rape only being talked about as “alleged”. Go on, say that to her:

      “You can’t say you’ve been raped. You’ve only allegedly been raped. Are there any witnesses? Have there been any arrests?”

      And can you possible demand that I, let alone women, use the word alleged? We don’t want to say that to her. We don’t want to drain her trauma of reality. And in any case, what might her answers be to you? Where are you leaving her?

      The only witnesses are the men who raped her. And some occupiers who said they heard her scream. And no, the police have not arrested anyone. But, they are looking for two men.

      What more can she say?

      And can you really then say to her: Well, you see? You’ve only been allegedly raped then.

      What might she think, faced with your response to her trauma? Maybe: ‘Why are you saying “alleged”? Why don’t you believe me?’

      It’s really very simple.

      And yes, I know there are legalities involved here, but in a culture where rape is constantly doubted, sterilised of its reality, some people choose to do everything they can to push the truth of rape, the reality of it, the fucking horrible trauma
      of it. To do this, these people don’t use the word “alleged”. They don’t talk about “witnesses”. They simply listen, and stand by, the victim. They believe her. They don’t blame her. And they get angry, yes really fucking angry, because someone has come along and thought, yeah, I’m going to rape her. They’ve thought that they could get away with that. And do you know what? They *do* get away with it.

      That’s why some people talk about rape, not “alleged rape”.

      What more can I say?

      On this point I will fight, tooth and nail, against you. Not because of any agenda I have (it’s not about me!) but because I am fucking ashamed of the society in which I live, and I am often ashamed of being a man, because women who have been raped have no recourse to the law (3% conviction rate!!), and yet people like you claim the right to inflict legal terminology on them, as if the law is their friend. But, the law does not stand by women, it ignores them, calls them mad, blames them.

      So, women stand by women. That is what Mhairi is doing. She’s standing by a woman who says she’s been raped. And I stand by Mhairi in her willingness to do this in whatever way she pleases. You might tjink she’s doing that imperfectly, but I don’t give a shit. She has a right to be furious. I will certainly not come along and tell her to calm down, or stop swearing, or be more rational. She’s the one who has to be far more afraid of being raped than men, just because she lacks a penis. She has to put up with that crap, not me.

      So, yes, I will continue to stand by her and support her.

  47. zen rbe

    > > “i cant see anything anywhere that says there have been arrests.”

    You noticed that too?

    • yes my mistake, sorry. It had been announced in camp that there were some arrests to great cheers, but I see in the news today that the police are still looking for the men so not sure what happened.

      thanks for flagging this, and the comment John.

  48. Pingback: Why Safety Is Essential In Order For Women To Fully Participate In The Occupy Movement « Occupy Patriarchy

  49. There is a good clip on STV. Glad to hear there will be a democratic vote with all voices heard. Glad to see Glasgow behaving herself. Long may it last.

  50. … When sexist people are allowed to join and define a movement this drives women away; but, when women stay away, men, including sexist men, become the defining voices within the movement…

    … A woman’s place is in the movement and not just as a fucktoy for the menz.

    What she said. I would also add that it takes courage for gentle men to negotiate this environment. A strong female presence makes all gentle souls safer. Allegedly. I’d be down there myself, but the youngest has got hand foot and mouth disease and due to a combination of patriarchal norms and my own artistic temperament, I’m at home holding the fort single handedly. I feel like running would let the bad menz get away with it. Is that primitive? Oh well. I only came along to try and paint something. I’ll be disappointed if I return to see the camp gone to the dogs, but so it goes…

  51. Again John, you are presuming stuff about me, you dont know me.
    I never doubted anything the woman has said, you are making that up.
    Using the word alleged does not mean that i dont believe.

    So lets say the police pick up a couple of guys for this case, are they instantly classed as rapists? And if they are, what if its not them. They would have allegations put on them off the criminal charge of rape. hence alleged.

    I cant speak for woman or for anyone else to be honest.
    And do you not think that i as a human would understand how utterly horrendous this must be to go through, i have as much disdain for our sick society as you do.
    (infact even wrttiing this is untrue, as i cant ever know how she feels)

    There was a guy in the states recently who got the death penalty, when everyone who knows anything about the case, can see he was innocent. He was alleged to have committed a crime. And he got the death penalty for it.

    So going by your statement, the witnesses were the people who did the crime and the victim. And people heard her scream and cry. That is FACT.
    I have not denied that something happened on that night, i wasn’t there and neither were you. Hence why I was asking for more information.

    Then you and Mhairi both claimed there had been arrests, which is not true.
    Now the media isnt saying very much about this to be honest, so i’m wondering how you and Mhairi could know there have been arrests.
    Now its up to the police and social services and other dept to help this woman in the best way they can. And i hope she gets this help.

    So to clear up a couple of points:
    1 i do not disagree with the woman that she is a victim
    2 i do not disagree with the people who said she is a victim
    3 As for what went on that night, no one here can honestly say, we can come out and support the victim, for being a victim. And this victim has reported a rape to the police and the are investigating.
    4 i do not disagree that she has gone through a horrible ordeal that ended with this woman reporting a rape.
    Now as far as i can tell the above is FACT at time of writing

    leave the police work to the police dude.
    I got this from the bottom of the STV clip online today
    “Police investigate report of serious sexual assault at camp in George Square.”
    They are still investigating, no arrests have been made, so the information both you and Mhairi gave out is wrong dude.

    Now the reason i found myself on this poorly constructed blog was due to a ping back on a website that i admin, that was dissing the movement for being cultish, This part of my posts has been ignored.

    I think in future i have learned a valuable lesson here, i will not be defending the movement in these types of blogs again, as so far you are only reading what you want to read and skipping the rest. Treating posters like they have committed a crime themselves is not the way to have an open dialog. We could have discussed this in a better way rather than being subjected to the crap thats being thrown around, especially as some of it has been found to be untrue.

    And you are correct John this has nothing to do with you or I, my posts were about society as a whole, just your insular approach to dialog took it down a path that was not required.

    I hope the occupyglasgow can move on from this, maybe it is best that they move to a new area, as these types of occupy events are important to raising awareness of how screwed up things are.
    And i also would agree, that whenever i went to the event, it was mostly a male camp, this would put woman off from joining for the reasons pointed out on various posts.
    We also have the same problem within the TZM the majority of people are male, so there is something here that needs to be addressed, how can we make woman feel like they are part of the solutions and to also make them feel safe when contributing.
    we tried to address this, by having woman only meetings, but that isn’t the answer either we should all feel safe working with who ever is sitting next to us, which is a huge failing in our current society.
    If you want to take this further down this route and see if we can use the blog in a more positive way rather than this route taken, i’d be happy to contribute

    I’m sure there are people here that can offer some brainstorming on how we can get more female voices involved in these events.

    • “So lets say the police pick up a couple of guys for this case, are they instantly classed as rapists? And if they are, what if its not them. They would have allegations put on them off the criminal charge of rape. hence alleged.”

      No.

      If your telly was burgled and two men were picked up you have one victim of burglary and two accused of being burglars, not an “alleged burglary”.

      If you are raped and two men are picked up for it then you are still a victim of rape. It is not an “alleged rape”.

      The above use of language is rape culture in action.

  52. I believe when we had that spate of vulnerable women being brutally raped murdered in the same neighbourhood a few years back there was a highly publicised arrest, but the charges were later dropped, although this, crucially I thought at the time, was not widely reported in the press. I’m aware, though, that I believe that because that’s what was said at the time, and that hearsay is even less reliable than witness accounts. I might look back at that unpleasant episode in this city’s collective consciousness once I get the weans down. The other ‘through the grapevine’ wisdom was that different men were thought to have been responsible for the crimes, with the ‘cluster’ effect being due to the fact that GLASGOW HAD NO EFFECTIVE POLICY FOR PROTECTING VULNERABLE PEOPLE CAUGHT UP IN THE SEX INDUSTRY. There was no free protected zone where police could protect the most vulnerable. Edinburgh was doing a far better job at reaching out these women (I say ‘women’ because I do not have sources for sex workers who are not women) than Glasgow was. I’m sure there must have been some frustration surrounding this at the time from many quarters. The police are supposed to do as they are told. They are supposed to protect the vulnerable. Criminalizing sex work, and indeed stigmatizing homelessness, means the communication lines between the police, sworn to protect us from violation against person or property, and those MOST IN NEED OF PROTECTION are afraid to cry ‘wolf’. It’s just as bloody well I’m not anywhere near the square because this sort of stuff makes me really annoyed and I don’t want to pick up the megaphone and find myself telling the truth or having to mud wrestle. I’m starting to have to let go of that fear, though. I’m even slightly nervous saying it here, but I can hardly applaud others for defending the truth then chicken out myself. The truth that stalks the back lanes round the shopping Mecca.

    Mhairi, keep up the good fight. You should be applauded for refusing to let it lie. Too often violations of the person are neither acknowleged nor avenged when they are perpetrated on the vulnerable.

    No flag. No hate. We are one or we are none.

  53. Post script.

    I spoke of Strathclyde Police’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards violence against women with some bright eyed representatives of that organisation the other night. They reminded me that ‘zero tolerance’ is applied across the board, although they offered no value judgement with regard to this. When my babies are asleep I will see if I can get any more up to date information about current policy. There is an argument for ‘safe zones’ as facilitating the protective wing of the state in wrapping itself around any lost souls in need of a port, as well as those who would shelter them, rather than writing them off and dehumanising them. Examples of grassroots outreach programmes like this can be dug up from the literature, but I need to go and wash my baby right now. I’m not saying ‘declare the square a safe zone tonight’! That would be jumping the gun.

    • I think there is a balance to be drawn between minimising the violence women in prostitution experience and tolerating their ongoing abuse.

      The abuse of women through prostitution should not be toleratated.

  54. Hilarious. You and your groups are the pseudofeminists who make Glasow dangerous for women. You accept in your ranks – Free Hetherington, Glasgow AnarchaFeminists the most mysoginist man I have ever met, <name removed – edit Mhairi>.
    After he joked about raping activists I complained to the group he was involved in, also friends of your friends – who refer to feminists as feminazis. I asked if he had form and was told “Well, there was the time he strangled a girl. We were tripping in Glasgow and a bunch of neds, 15 to 17 year olds, were giving us lip, so he pounced on the only girl in the group, threw her to the ground and strangled her until she passed out. I thought that was okay because she had slagged his mum”

    The Johanna Yates trial heard that compressing the neck sends high blood pressure signals that can stop the heart in under 20 seconds, and even if <name removed – edit Mhairi> was used to strangling girls then the hallucinogens he was taking would have distorted his timing. The fact he only went for the one girl, half his size and age, shows his true colours.
    He then bated me on Indymedia with an article where I got him to admit the attack, though minimising it with the pathetic phrase “all I did was pinch her coritids- no blows”
    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/12/357875.html?c=all

    He posted under various identities there, including pretending to be a feminist hating woman as he admitted to me by email, and he crossed-linked it to the ‘antimysandrist’ site he normally posted on.
    Your friends <name removed – edit Mhairi and name removed – edit Mhairi knew about this attack, accept it, and have helped cover it up. And yet you feel to pontificate and slag others? You and your group are the real danger, utter hypoctrites, and you betray not only your class but your sex.

    • While anon allegations against individuals are not of interest to me, I’d be interested to hear of any Glasgow activist group who refers to feminists as “feminazis”.

      I can be emailed at mhairimcalpine35ATgmail.com

  55. W/R to some other interesting questions, eg. how could this happen in the middle of a crowded square?

    The bystander effect. Very important.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

    Also, this explores the nature of obedience to authority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    • Nope, the Bystander effect wouldn’t apply in this case. Nor would the Milgram Experiment. This was misogynist dudes IGNORING a woman’s cries for help. They knew what they were doing. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional or a liar.

  56. You’re absolutely bang on the money, Mhairi. ‘No’ to exploitation. Thanks for putting this up so the conversation could be had. If all the infighting can be quelled, Occupy Glasgow’s best achievement will be to open lines of free communication by hosting such conversations. There’s a lot to talk about once everyone’s warm, happy, fed, safe etc.

  57. How do you know what happened, Julia? Were you there? Why didn’t you stop it happening then? Or was it you who had the courage to break it up?

    The Milgram experiment was W/R to bigger picture. I do not wish to expand on it. It may ring some bells for some people if they’re listening, but that’s for them to deal with.

    • Being one of the woman there that night, with my male partner, I can say with full certainty no-one ignored cries for help. There were none. When the survivor disclosed to one woman, and another she knew personally at the camp the next day the police were called immediately. Does this constitute a “group descision”? A woman disclosing to her closet friends in the camp? I think not. When I was raped (many years ago) I did not cry for help. Many people do not. I know exactly how many women were onsite that night, and “Julia” was not one of them. – Minnie

  58. Pingback: Scottish Socialist Youth » Open letter to ‘Occupy Glasgow’

  59. Um… forgive me if im missing the point. There was probably a hundred sex attacks in Glasgow that night, against men, women and children. 90 of them went unreported, 8 of them will fail to be prosecuted due to lack of evidence or because of media bias, which includes social networking media as well, 1 of them your not going to hear about, and the other one was heard about in Australia. The attack brought the subject to the forefront of the global conversation even if just for a moment. But if the result of this is that we all start attacking each other who are we giving the victory to?

    The fault cannot even for a second be considered to be the fault of anyone at the camp. The attack could have happened anywhere. The fact is that there were also multiple stabbings and slashings of men, thousands of violent assaults if not tens of thousands, mostly against men. Then there is psychological violence, of which many millions suffer, mostly women but some men also. Violence of any kind is abhorrent to anyone of good morals. Is that not part of what we are trying to change?

    Is this issue not bigger than whether it is violence against a woman or violence against a man or even a child for that matter. We should be standing united as brothers and sisters not fighting against each other and blaming each other for something we had absolutely no control over. These men are scum, but it is problems in our society that has made them this way. If we stand together we can start to address those problems. It will take time but we have to start somewhere.

    Perhaps in some way we feel we should start pointing fingers at each other. I will put my hand up, I feel a personal responsibility because i wasnt there that night and I feel a personal responsibility because had I been campaigning hard enough to get the right people down to the camp from day one the wrong people wouldn’t have got a foot in the door. Im all for raising awareness of the issues we face in society, but also to being part of the solution. That is why I am part of the occupation camp, and part of the global occupation movement and I am proud of what we are doing down there. And I hope one day when my grandchildren ask me what I did in this time of history to be able to say I was there in Glasgow and it was a hard fight but we won it.

    What we are trying to achieve here is massive. We are trying to change the world. We should be campaigning in defence of each other and standing together as those who are of moral standing looking for ways to address the problems that are inherent in human nature. The only way to do this is with a positive conversation. This conversation is not helping us achieve that, its pulling us backwards.

    The bottom line is that we need more support at the camp. Only then will it be a safe space for everyone. Men, Women and children.

  60. By way of reply to the Scottish Soclialists’ link above. I do apologise, Mhairi. Their site is not working for me just now. It is relevant anyway.

    Women are at high risk in Glasgow every night. Men are at equally high risk. This matter has been treated with the utmost gravity by all the occupants with whom I have chosen to have discourse. One of the discussions I had on Friday was with a woman who has been there since I first popped down, and we agreed that while people who had lived a sheltered life might feel frightened in the camp, for those who had lived the hard side of life it felt safe. Safer. I felt safe, and this had been the result of a process. I was a woman alone. I was deeply grateful for the calming presence of the older women in the tent on Friday. Just by their presence they helped keep the peace. I was chilled to see the order given to silence through force one of the members who was doing his level best to keep peaceful despite his very strong feelings, and the fact that he had already adjusted his delivery. I will not discuss this matter further as people have a right to confidentiality.

    I appeal to you, ladies, let go of your fear. I know we need to protect, but remember, nothing happens in that camp that doesn’t happen all the time anyway. The difference is, we’re seeing it. Who are Occupy Glasgow? Have I met them? This is a worldwide movement. Be the change you want to see. Would you shut down the London Underground because some eejits blew themselves up? Friday night there was a great deal happening. I am not associated with any official organisation. That night I had to leave the women’s tent because there were children in the company and they needed to be kept safe. I’m deeply sorry if any of the older women felt intimidated. It should not have happened on my watch. I am not associated with any organisation. Actually, the older lady beside me did not seem intimidated. I had one person in a state of deep distress waiting to talk, one person giving the order to silence a legiimate speaker by force (what happened to free speech and democracy? We have been here before. BEWARE!!!!), and an intrepid and dedicated philosopher about to pass out in front of me. I felt his forehead. This lady leant over and asked if he was running a temperature, then she settled back to the discussion. She was not phased. Warrior spirit. She was neutral and supportive when it was needed. That night she was helping me occupy just for a moment. OCCUPY PEACEFULLY. This was a PIVOTAL moment for Glasgow’s peaceful occupation. There were no fisticuffs that night.

    Now, you’ve inspired me to get down there today and see what’s going on. You’re absolutely right, society must respect the young, the old, the weak and the vulnerable. There is a core of protesters that are, to me, sacred. They are our youth, our hope, our mothers, and potential community leaders (I’m seeing the promising potential leadership from beautiful women arriving from the wilder zones of Glasgow to stand up and protect the vulnerable). This is a movement in which women must not just be heard, but take the lead where necessary. It is not a battle. IT WILL NOT BE A BATTLE. The game is to regain the hope and future of our youth. This can only be done through peace and reason. The footsoldiers will be home baking and bringing out literature without prejudice. If the women abandon the field it may well end in another ghastly puddle of misery in our city centre. You choose.

  61. Pingback: The Problem with Occupy « Random musings

  62. Francisco Silva

    Today, unfortunately, is a day I want to really forget, I found this post and with this I searched the web for more similar and I got to say that this movement (depending on each country/state) only serve the purpose of a few and not the needs of many.

    Before I delve in the context of the post, I gotta get something off my chest. I live in Portugal, and we are now going into such austerity measures that 20% of the population is going to declare either bankruptcy or is already living in conditions so bad and unhealthy that its not even a joke, we are suffering really bad with this recession and I’m one of the people that currently can’t get a job to save my life, depending on the money my parents now give to me so I can stay afloat and keep on searching for a miracle.

    My main problem with this is that, when the movement started here, we also joined it, for 3 days. People left by the masses a couple of days later without even making a stand, and worse of all is that almost 90% of the people didn’t know what they were fighting for, or what was happening there. 3 Days later, like I said previously, they just left because the next day was work day and nobody wants to get fired and live in the streets, we lost our will to fight for our rights here and got brain mush instead of a working one, everybody wants to strike here but only when its close to the weekend so they can get even more in debt and travel, or have a mini-vacation. Nobody wants to stay in a tent at the rain and such here, the society in Portugal is turned to elitist snobs with a few people who actually know what is going on. This is what this country is looking for right not, so I desperately needed to rant this.

    About the post itself, unfortunately in movements like this, innocent people suffer by inner-groups who want to take the best out of the whole group, we see this daily, and we are fighting against this, so much that the 1% are people who want to take advantage of the 99%. Every macro-group is divided by small groups or enclaves, and unfortunately not every group has the same ideals, we saw that through history and we will keep seeing it.

    Acts of aggression, whether in physical or psychological nature; gender or race discrimination; and so on and so forth cannot happen in movements such as this, as it will undermine the movement, and you can already see this being exploited by the media, in a effortless attempt to make the movement as negative as possible to inhibit the population of joining. The people must find a way to deal with these problems in a peacefully and orderly way, but I’m being Utopian in my comment.

    This rape aggression not only should it be a warning sign that things are going dangerously awry on several movement parts located in the world but also a way to change things effectively. It shows us that even inside movements like this we have problems of society in them, we need to deal with the inside if we ever hope of changing outside. Oh and women are way better speakers than man, so let them speak yeah?

    Anyway I’m dabbling too much, and possibly this wont make any sense to much :/ (not my native language)

  63. Very well put, Mhairi.

    That said, some of the comments on your blog have left me absolutely livid, whilst some have me despairing over our current society. Not only that, but these so-called activists are giving the rest of the left (if they are, indeed, left) a really bad name. I can’t believe the hostility, victim-blaming and complete lack of empathy for other people some of them have shown so far. I stuck with the HRC occupation because even at its worst, everyone was willing to come together and talk about the issues and try their best to resolve them. There were times when I had to walk away and there were decisions made that I didn’t agree with. But all in all I felt supported by many of those around me and the action proved to be a success.

    I just don’t see how Occupy Glasgow could represent anything similar. It’s an unsafe space filled with many people who are unwilling to talk about the issues the camp faces, not to mention wider society, and with no clear aim. Regardless of what happened to this poor woman, the ‘movement’ need to take a long, hard look at themselves and think about what they’re going to do now.

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  66. Mhairi, I just want to say that I greatly admire the guts it takes to post this, and deal with the trolltastic comments that have come after. May I say I think you editing of comments and your responses have been measured and fair — far more than I think I could have been over such an emotive issue. I’ve been sceptical about the Occupy Movement from the start, having listened to the marginalised voices rising out of it from the US and then the UK as things picked up speed — women, trans folk, queer folk and people of colour alike have all begun to speak up to highlight patriarchal, heteronormative and cissexist goings-on across the movement. Thank you for adding your voice.

  67. I haven’t visited Occupy Glasgow yet, but intend to this week, and will make make no comment about it until I have. My experience has been with Occupy Edinburgh, which I visited for several hours a day for two weeks, and camped at on five occasions.

    My findings:

    1. The structure is pure Patriarchy – all important decisions are made by one highly egotistical, middle-aged white man.
    2. It is antifeminist and several feminists have been insulted and/or excluded for their perfectly reasonable views.
    3. Drink and drunks on the site contribute to making it an unsafe space – particularly for women.
    4. There is an antisemitic element, which whilst a minority, contributes to making the site an unsafe space.
    5. No will exists for dealing with any of the above.

    I no longer support it in it’s current form.

  68. the truth teller

    firs of all i commend you for typing your thoughts in this blog, however i think you should get all the facts right and maybe repost this

    1.there was no offer of sutable shelter for the couple, they were point blank refused accomidation because they were not from glasgow

    2. the homeless couple involved had been at the camp for a week and a half before the incident, grafting like fuck just lie the rest of us, they attended every GA and made some good points

    3. when we moved over to the other grassy area the couple decided to pitch there tent on the square despite being advised of the security risk

    4. her partner left because she slept with someone else when he was away giving out leaflets, this was consensual and was comfirmed by both parties involved

    5. i was there the night in question and the people that turned up were not drinking with any occupyers apart from the woman in question who knew them, i was the only person with any form of limited authority there and i was run of my feet dealing with issues left right and centre, i suffer from PTSD and the stress of being the only person there that gave a fuck led to my eventual mental breakdown

    6. the men were not seen comming out her tent as she only told me what happened an hour after it occured so your quote of them offering shots is a load of shite

    7. what the fuck do you mean we welcomed the rapist as a hero? they werent occupyers, we didnt even know who perpetrated this malicious attack and we certinaly dont condone what happened, but for you to openly state that it was the occupyers fault she got raped is completly outragious and i think you are a verry narrow minded person

    • Much of the detail in the post is taken from press reports as referenced, however your points 1,3,4,5 and 6 contradict not only what has been reported in the press, but also what I have heard directly from other occupiers.

      The rapist referred to in my post which you address in point 7 refers to Julian Assange. His lawyer admits that he has raped two women, but argues that he should not be indicted as that form of rape is legal in the UK. Other than a small but vocal contingent he was warmly received at OccuplyLSX.

  69. the truth teller

    i was the only fucking occupyer there so thats BS, and if its about the wiki leaks guy then why didnt you say so, you delibratly left that out so people would think that it was OG that said that

    • I wasn’t there that night, so I have no idea who was there but others have told me that they were there that night.

      The primary source for what is written about that night is the mainstream press, I have been given personal accounts by other people which are contradictory both to each other and to what you state.

      The blogpost links the welcoming of a rapist to the occupy movement to an f-word post about Assange.

  70. the truth teller

    pish

  71. I agree utter pish.
    This blog is just an opinionated load of drivel, i hope you wore a bib when writing.
    Writing a blog and basing its source on mainstream press is a non starter. The mainstream press are a joke.
    All through this its been stated that there were witnesses and people heard and seen various different things, then you came out with there had been arrests.
    Have there been any arrests?? You told me weeks ago there had been.
    Fair enough if you dont agree with the occupy but dont go round making shit up just so folks can give you a few thumbs up on your blog…

  72. And have they been arrested Mhairi?

    • I’m not employed by the police so I don’t have any information other than that it was reported at the camp and on television news, although I cant find any online sources. It is certainly possible that they are still at large.

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  74. Pingback: Rape and the Occupy Movement, Problems & Solutions « GREY COAST ANARCHIST NEWS

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