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Open Letter to rabble about: Meghan Murphy

Image: rabble.ca

Editor’s note: This article is one part of rabble.ca’s coverage of calls to remove Meghan Murphy’s writing from the site, and a subsequent call for rabble.ca to continue to publish her. If you’re following the story, you can read the petition against Meghan Murphy HERE. You can read the petition in support of her HERE. You can read the open letter in support of Meghan HERE. rabble.ca’s initial statement on the calls to remove her HERE. Our second statement on the petitions can be found HERE. You can read Antonia Zerbisias’ opinion of the situation HERE. You can find the article that sparked these actions not on rabble, but at HERE at Feminist Current. While we have closed comments on this blog post, you can join the discussion HERE at babble.

Open Letter to rabble about: Meghan Murphy

We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep dissatisfaction with rabble’s response to the recent attacks on Meghan Murphy.

In past weeks, Meghan Murphy has become the target of a vicious and focused attack that we believe is aimed not only at her -- as the most visible voice of a set of feminist principles with which we broadly agree -- but at women in general and feminists specifically.

This attack -- sparked by an article at Playboy magazine and a petition inspired by the Men’s Rights Movement and women who are known for their promotion of the sex industry -- focuses nominally on a brief piece written by Murphy in response to nude photos published of a trans woman named Laverne Cox. Her piece criticized the notion that the publication of highly sexualized, pornographic photographs of a woman or trans woman is "empowering." We see no fair basis upon which the piece can be characterized as "transphobic." Moreover, the definition of "transphobia" is, like its partner in discourse, "whorephobia," a subject of debate. For those of us who still adhere to democratic standards and principles of fair journalism, it is disturbing to see critique converted to "phobia/personal attack" resulting in an end to rational discussion.

Given that there is no reasonable argument that Murphy’s article discriminates against or is disrespectful to trans people, it is our belief that the breadth and vitriol of the attack on her and the ideas she articulates is rooted in a broader attempt to marginalize and inevitably silence women and feminists who agree with her political views -- and ours.

As evidenced by her work at Feminist Current and at rabble, Murphy has taken a principled, feminist position in opposition to the institutionalization of women’s oppression and exploitation through prostitution and in support of the goal of the abolition of prostitution beginning with the criminalization of the men in charge of the prostitution industry -- pimps and traffickers -- and the consumers of women’s bodies -- johns.

There has been, and is, deep division across many constituencies with respect to this issue, accompanied by a concerted effort from the sex industry and those on the sex industry bandwagon -- often including women -- to attack, smear, stalk, harass and threaten any woman -- or man -- who threatens the flow of cash streaming from women’s backs into the pockets of exploiters. In our view rabble has consistently supported, published and given wide berth to these voices at the expense of reasoned argument, debate and discussion, rather than articulate a principled stand on the issue.

The one ray of light at rabble on feminist issues and prostitution is Meghan Murphy. Unlike many in the pro-prostitution, anti-feminist, and transactivist movements, Murphy depends on analysis and reasoned argument in articles she has written at Feminist Current and rabble. Her detractors have failed to actually engage with the arguments Murphy makes. Instead they favour vicious, personal attacks and astroturfing. These attacks now threaten her employment and career, not only at rabble, but elsewhere.

As women and feminists who depend on Murphy’s integrity as a journalist and her ability to think and write analytically and lucidly, this is of deep concern to us. We support her and we vehemently oppose the effort to silence her public voice.

But the issue goes beyond Murphy herself to the principles of journalism, democracy and the valorization of public speech for a wide variety of otherwise marginalized voices. It is obvious that we live in difficult political times wherein there is deep polarization across many political divides and within oppressed communities with respect to political and "cultural" issues. While it may not be possible for rabble to take a principled position on each and every issue, we, your readers, demand that at the very least you provide an environment wherein reasoned discussion is encouraged and ad hominem attack is not tolerated.

Many of the blog and opinion pieces you have sponsored have not met that basic expectation. Personal attack against certain voices appears to be encouraged, thus legitimizing the kind of vicious campaign levelled against Meghan Murphy and her supporters. By not taking a firm stand and making a clear statement in support of Murphy’s journalism, published in your own digital pages and appreciated by a broad spectrum of women, feminists, and male supporters of feminist principles, you are implicated in the current witch hunt. rabble thus harms not only Meghan Murphy both personally and professionally, but also stifles public discussion of complex and difficult issues that are simply not covered adequately in mainstream media.

We believe that rabble has a responsibility to affirm its commitment to giving the voices of the largest class of oppressed humanity -- women, and most especially Indigenous women, women of colour and women living in poverty -- a hearing and a public forum for principled debate. We would like to see a new statement that acknowledges that rabble accepts its responsibility to act with professional and political integrity in the treatment of its staff, its writers, and the national and global feminist movement.

Yours truly,

ORGANIZATIONS:

Feministas of Canada

S.A.N.T.A.S. (Uruguay – Argentina – Spain)

Mujeres de AgrupaciÛn Lucretia Barredes (Uruguay)

Lunas Lesbianas Feministas (Mexico)

The Störenfriedas, German Blogger Group

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

WoLF ( Women’s Liberation Front)

Deep Green Resistance

ROSE (Remember our Sisters Everywhere)

CATWA (Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia)

CLES (Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle)

LAWC (London Abused Women’s Centre), London, ON

Women Fight Back, Vancouver Island, BC

Newfoundland and Labrador Feminists and Allies

The Resist Collective, Vancouver, BC

NorMAC (Nordic Model in Australia Coalition)

Collective Shout Australia

Persons Against Non-State Torture

EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating)

Sisyphe.org

Le collectif d’aide aux femmes exploitées sexuellement, Le CAFES

CATW-Asia Pacific

Resistenza Femminista, Italy

INDIVIDUALS:

Alena Nikole, WoLF

Alexandra Pelletier, Montreal, Quebec

Ali Bee, Norwich, UK

Amanda Thornhill, Parrish, FL, USA

Amy Titus, Ashland, OR

Ana Popovic, Montréal, QC, community organiser

Andrea Stumpf, Vancouver, BC

Angie Conroy, Cambodia

Anna Fisher, London, UK.

Anna Hoheide, Blogger

Anne Pyterek, Crestone, Colorado

Anne-Marie Bilodeau, avocate retraitée, Montréal, QC

Aoife Emily Hart, Vancouver, BC

Betty Qi, Stouffville, ON

Bo Novak, Bath, England

Bonhomme Fannie,Montauban, FRANCE

Brigitte Tucker, Australia

Carol Hanisch, Ellenville, NY, USA

Caroline Laplante, animatrice en art collectif, Québec

Caroline Werner, LISA Wiesbaden, DIE LINKE (german left party)

Cassaundra Blythe, Havelock, ON

Catherine Weiss, Melbourne, Australia

Cathryn Atkinson, Squamish, BC

Celia A. Nord, Chase, BC

Chantale Caron, directrice générale, Centre de prévention du suicide  Pierre-de-Saurel, Québec

Cheryl Lynn Bergen BSW, RSW, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

Chloe Gustella, Melbourne, Australia

Chris Cherry, Writer and Former Communications Director, SC Democratic Women’s Council

Chris Hedges, Journalist, Princeton, NJ, USA

Chris McDowell, Vancouver, BC for ROSE (Remember Our Sisters Everywhere)

Christine Boyle, Q.C., Professor Emeritus, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Christine Le Doaré, juriste et militante féministe, Paris

Ciara Carpita, Resistenza Femminista – Italy

Claire Young, Professor Emerita, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Colette Price Swietnicki, New York City, NY, USA

Colleen Fuller, Vancouver, BC

Colleen Glynn, Richmond, BC

Coralie Allison, Director, Collective Shout Australia

Coralie Pittman, Melbourne, Australia – Collective Shout

D.  Klaric, Toronto, ON

Dana Seilhan, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Danielle Cormier, Vancouver, BC

Danielle de Ronde, Ottawa, ON

Daphne Gilbert, Associate Professor – University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, B.A. (Hon.)(Manitoba), LLB (Manitoba), LL.M. (Yale), Of the Bar of Ontario

Derrick Jensen, Crescent City, CA, USA – Deep Green Resistance

Diana Boston

Diana Salles, Emoryville, CA

Diane Matte and Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle

Didier Bois, abolitionnist activist, Paris, France

Dominique Bernier

Dr Meagan Tyler, Feminist Academic, Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Erin Graham, Vancouver, BC

Dr. Helen Pringle. Senior lecturer U.N.S.W (University of New South Wales)

Dr. Julian Vigo, London, UK

Drew Walker, London, ON

Elaine Audet, directrice des Éditions Sisyphe, Montréal

Elaine Grisé, MA in Sexology, Women’s Centre Coordinator, Montréal, QC

Elizabeth Ann Calhoun, Grandview, MO, USA

Elizabeth Fleetwood, Australia

Elizabeth Hungerford, Maynard, MA, USA

Elizabeth Pickett, Founder – Feministas of Canada

Elizabeth Sheehy, FRSC, Shirley Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

Emanuel Marcos Abinzano, Cordoba, Argentina

Emily Bagnald, WoLF, occupied Mi’kma’ki (aka Nova Scotia, Canada)

Emily Pascall

Emma Anstruther, Cambridge, MA USA

Emma Walker, London, ON

Erin D. Jackson, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Ernesto Aguilar, Houston, TX, USA

Estella Muzito, Kampala, Uganda

Estrella Sicardi, Montevideo, Uruguay

Fathia Hizam, ancienne membre du bureau directeur de l’Association Tunisienne des Femmes démocrates (Tunisian Association of Democratic Women)

Florencia Negreira, Canelones, Uruguay

Françoise Pelletier, feminist, M.A. Art-thérapie, Mental health counselor, Maison alternative de développement humain inc, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC

Frank Austin, Atlanta, GA, USA

Gail Dines, Professor and founder, Stop Porn Culture, Boston, MA, USA

Hanna Dahlberg, Blogger, Die Stˆerenfriedas, Germany

Heather Black, Toronto, Ontario

Hélène Morin

Hilla Kerner, Vancouver, BC

Inge Kleine, Munich, Germany (Abolition 2014)

Isla MacGregor, NorMAC, Australia

Ismène Fleury, France.

J. Renee Bernard, Farmer City, IL, USA

Jacqueline Gullion, Vancouver, BC

Jaqueline Sephora Andrews, Seattle, WA, USA

Jan Watson- South Coast Environment Group WA

Janet Hacker, Victoria, BC

Janet Suarez, Canleones, Uruguay

Janice Latisha Betts, Manti, Manabi, Ecuador

Janine-Heather Goodrum, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Jean Enriquez, Executive Dir, CATW-Asia Pacific

Jennifer Bilek, Woodside, NY USA

Jeanne Sarson, Truro, NS

Jenifer Walker, London, ON

Jennifer White, London, ON

Jess Martin Dueck, Exploited Voices’ Allies (EVA)

Jewelles Smith, Artist, BC

Johanna te Boekhorst, Chilliwack, BC

Johanne Heppell, translator, Plaisance, Québec

Johanne St-Amour, Québec

Jonah Mix, Deep Green Resistance, Crescent City, CA

Fran Luck, Executive Producer, Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI, New York City, NY, U.S.A.

Judith Morz, Blogger, Germany

Julia Long, UK

Julie Bindel, Author, Journalist, Feminist Campaigner, UK

Karina Ansolhabere, Montevideo, Uruguay

Karla Mantilla, Hyattsville, MD, USA

Katarina Vidovic, Croatia, EU

Kate Graham, Edinburgh, Scotland

Kathleen Barry, Ph.D., Sociologist and Professor Emerita

Kathy Miriam, Santa Fe, NM, USA

Kathy Scarbrough, E. Brunswick, NJ, USAKim Pate, Sallows Chair in Human Rights – Faculty of Law, University of Saskatchewan and Executive Director – Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS)

Komal Gilani, Austin, Texas

Krista Sawchuk, London, ONKylee Nixon, Edmonton Supporters of Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, Edmonton, AB.Laurel Long, MD, USALeah Harwood, Toronto, ONLee Lakeman, Vancouver, BCLeslie Gildart, Boston, MA

Laurel Long, Maryland, USA

Lee Lakeman, Vancouver, B.C.

Lierre Keith, California, USA, co-founder – WoLF

Lily Munroe

Linda MacDonald, Person Against Non-State Torture, Truro, NS

Lira Laluz, Montevideo, Uruguay

Lisa MacLeod, Sahuarita, Arizona, USA

Lisa J. Whelan, London, UK

Lise Bouvet, Ressources Prostitution, Paris, France

Liz Waterhouse, ShoutOut Australia, Western Australia

Lorna Garano, El Cerrito, CA, USA

Lori Jean Meyer Khan, Houston, TX

Luke Bourke, Melbourne, Australia

Lynda Davies, Former Frontline Worker – VAW, Ottawa, ON

Madeline Beckett, St. Louis, MI, USA

Maggie Jihan, Knox, ME, USA

Maggie Sinclair, Edinburgh, Scotland

Manuela Schon, LISA Wiesbaden, DIE LINKE, Member of City Parliament, Wiesbaden, Germany

Margaret McCarroll, London, ON

Marie Hume, Mannum, South Australia

Marie-Andrée Boivin, militante pour les droits des sourds et des femmes, maîtrise en communications – profil média expérimental, UQAM, Montréal, Québec

Marie-Pier Lauzon, Québec

Marina de Carneri, Roverto, Trento, Italy

Marion Wallace, Memphis, TN, USA

Martin Dufresne, Editor/translator/activist, Montréal, Qc

Martine Roucole, FRANCE, Militante Osez le Féminisme

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Coventry, UK

Mary Ceallaigh, Tucson, AZ, USA (WoLF member)

Mary Lou Jones, London, ON

Mary Moylan, St. John’s, NL

Mathew Gustella, Melbourne, Australia

Matthew B. Ezzell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA

Matthew Holloway, Australia

Max Dashu, Suppressed Histories Archives, CA, USA

Max Wilbert and Deep Green Resistance Seattle

Maya Shlayen, feminist activist & journalism student

Megan Bourke, Melbourne, Australia

Megan Walker, London Abused Women’s Centre, London, ON

Meike Matarazzo, Oakland, CA, USA

Michèle Anne Rannou, Locronan (finistere), FRANCE

Michele Landsberg, Toronto, ON

Michelle Belden, Maine USA

Michelle Hurtibise, London, ON

Michelle Lyn Jones, Winchendon, MA – Deep Green Resistance

Micheline Carrier, éditrice de Sisyphe.org, Montréal, Québec

Miep Rowan O’Brien, Carlsbad, NM, USA (WoLF member)

Miranda Yardley, Essex, United Kingdom

Mira Sigel, Feminist Blogger, Germany

Monica Moore, Melbourne, Australia

Monique Carbonell, Lilburn, GA, USA

Morris Dalla Costa, Journalist, London, ON

Myrian Machain, Sydney, Australia

N. Fraser, Guelph, ON

Naida Pintul, Heidelberg, Germany

Nancy J. Meyer, Hyattsville, MD, USA

Natacha Rault, Geneva – Switzerland – economist

Nicholas James, Ottawa, ON

Nicole Jameson, Collective Shout, Adelaide, Australia

Orla Hegarty, BMath, MASc, WoLF member, Newfoundland & Labrador Feminists and Allies

Otilia Puiggros, PhD Candidate, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Owen Lloyd, Deep Green Resistance, Port Orford, OR

Patricia Antuna, Montevideo, Uruguay

Patricia Karina Vergara Sanchez, DF, Mexico

Paul Lavergne, MACP, The Turning Point Counselling, Peterborough, ON

Paula Schmidt, Vernon, BC

Paulette C. Turcotte, Victoria, BC

Peggy Luhrs, Burlington, VT, USA

Pei-Ju Wang, Ottawa, ON

Pete Newbon, Walthamstow, London, Greater London, UK

Peter Maxwell, Melbourne, Australia

Rachel Goodine, Victoria, BC

Raquel Thomas-Caesar, Georgetown, Guyana

Rebecca Huntington, Lansing, MI, USA

Rebecca Thornhill, Ottawa, ON

Rebecca Whisnant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, the University of Dayton, OH, USA

Reece K. Sellin, Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Ren Fox, Seattle WA, USA

Rhéa Jean, PhD Philosophy, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, founding member of La CLES

Rhoda Mueller, Edmonds, WA, USA

Robert Jensen, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA

Rosa, Survivor of the sex industry, abolitionist, and blogger, Germany – https://zorarotblog.wordpress.com

Rose Sullivan, Québec,  Le collectif d’aide aux femmes exploitées sexuellement, Le CAFES

Ruth Greenberg, Nottingham, Britain

S.C. Gillett, Toronto, ON

S.J. Martin, Oregon, USA

Samantha Berg, journalist, co-founder – WoLF

Sanda Rogers, Ottawa, ON

Sara Lynn, Bracebridge, ON

Sarah Forrester, London, ON

Shanie Roy, Montréal, QC

Shannen Bethune, Mount Waverley, Melbourne, Australia

Shauna Devlin, Maghera, South Derry, Ireland

Sheila Jeffreys, Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Sheila McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

Shelagh Day, CM, VAncouver, BC

Shiloh Minor, Pond Inlet, NU

Simone Andrea, Fremantle, Australia

Simone Watson, Director NorMAC, Australia

Solveig Senft, Terre des Femmes, Germany

Sophia Chaudhary

Spider Redgold, The Feminine Byte, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Stephie Smith RN, Vermont, USA

Sue Breeze, Windsor, ON

Susan Barley, Australia

Susan Boyd, Vancouver, BC

Susan Hyatt, UT, USA

Suzan Attwood, Snellville, GA, USA

Sylvia Black, co-founder WoLF, Atlanta, GA, USA

Tamara Gorin, poet and front line anti-poverty and housing worker, Vancouver BC

Tatjana Cherifi, LISA Wiesbaden, Germany

Teagan Westendorf, Melbourne, Australia

Terre Spencer, Peachtree Corner, GA, USA

Terri Moore, Johannesburg, South Africa

Thistle Pettersen, Madison, WI, USA

Tracie Warden Denga, Pacific Grove, California

Trish Oliver, Beaver Hall Artist, Toronto, ON and co-founder – WoLF (Women’s Liberation Front)

Trisha Baptie, Vancouver BC and EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating)

Trisha Wilson-Singer, Mississauga, ON

Ulla Wojciechowski, translator, Oberhausen, Gemany

Veronica Penfold, Windsor, ON

Victoria Humak, Atlanta, GA, USA (WoLF member)

Wendy Lewis, London, ON

Whitney Austin, Atlanta, GA, USA

Winnie Small, Sarnia, ON

Wynell Austin, Atlanta, GA, USA

Yolande Clarke, Queenstown, NB

While we have closed comments on this blog post, you can join the discussion HERE at babble.

For readers seeking coverage on trans issues, race issues and feminist issues, you can find it on our LGBTIQ issues page, and our anti-racism issues page, and our feminism issues page.


 

 

 

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