In recent weeks, an international group of misogynists (yes, seriously) that call themselves “Return of Kings” online began coordinating meetups around the world for this upcoming weekend. Multiple venues were advertised for Seattle, including the Central Library.
It’s an understatement to say that the views that this group hold on women and the LGBTQ community are stomach turning. They’re not just sexist and homophobic – they’re proud advocates for sexual violence against women. They’ve argued for legalizing rape on private property. They epitomize the worst aspects of humanity. They are Rape Culture, personified, and they want to bring Rape Culture even further into the mainstream.
Some have argued that we should ignore these reactionaries. That they will shrink away if we deny them attention. The opposite, of course, is true. We cannot allow the victories of the feminist movement to be rolled back publicly. We cannot shy away from challenging the Far Right. They must know that working people of all genders are going to continue to fight, that we will not compromise, that we will win true equality.
All over the world, ordinary people did just that, organizing counter-protests. Here in Seattle, constituents reached out to my office, calling for action. Socialist Alternative scheduled a counter-protest at the Central Library. Working people and youth prepared to stand together, and send a clear message – there is absolutely no place for rape culture, sexism, and bigotry anywhere in our community!
Yesterday evening, due to these efforts, the international meetup was canceled – just two days before these misogynists had prepared to meet.
This victory shows why we need to actively organize against all forms of bigotry. If we had done nothing, the meet ups would have gone on, and we would be condoning the creation of public space for misogynists to coordinate violence against women.
We need to stand up every time – every single time – there is a coordinated effort to exploit and assault ordinary people. We need to stand up to every xenophobic group, challenging sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant and anti-poor rhetoric – all forms of oppression –every time they rear their heads in our community. And we need to build on these actions by expanding our movements, and going on the offensive in the fight for social and economic justice for all communities.
That is the very essence of solidarity.