In a video posted to his YouTube channel, men’s rights leader Paul Elam made statements characterizing the American family court system as “fascist” in nature, and likened men’s rights to the flight against chattel slavery. The video, entitled “Paul Elam on Domestic Violence and Gynocentrism”, shows Elam giving a lecture at Ryerson University. After discussing the double standards surrounding domestic violence (some, like the presumption that men cannot be victims, were actually valid), Elam took questions from the audience. One audience member went into a tirade about domestic violence laws, feminism, and fascism.
“I agree with everything you’re saying,” the man said. “I just see it from the political side, and I think you’ve described a form of fascism. You’ve described a form of racism. One group is superior. One group is inferior. We can identify the inferior group because of the color of their skin, or the size of their nose, or the kind of genitals they have.” He went on to say that he worried where the assumption that men are most often the perpetrators of domestic violence (which is, actually, correct) will lead society. “We’re just one adjective away from a full-blown fascist system,” he said. “All men are bad. Well, not really. All tall men are bad. All Jewish men are bad. We’re not far away from that with this notion.”
Elam nodded silently in agreement throughout this monologue before finally weighing in, stating that he agreed with the man that they were, indeed, dealing with fascists (or “pre-fascists” as the man now insisted). As Elam put it, the bottom line is that if you’re a man in family court “you’re in a fascist place.” If you’ve had a false accusation of rape leveled against you on an American or Canadian campus, “you’re in a fascist system.” This is why MRAs need to engage in “saber-rattling” and get into the faces of people who “profit off of lying about issues like domestic violence.”
Elam: We’ve done the research. You know, there have been efforts for over a hundred years to get some kind of men’s movement off the ground. And every one of them has failed because of the concerns over mainstream sensibilities, uh, being presented to people with button-down collars and, uh, in good, proper society who promptly hear you out and say, ‘That’s really nice. Now go on about your way. We’ll get back to business as usual.’
I think it’s important that we have alternatives to things like A Voice for Men. A Voice for Men is considered a radical organization even though we’re not. We’re very…actually quite moderate. Uh, but we do need people out here stirring shit, and causing problems. A big part of the solution is that these fascists, and I, I agree with you —
Audience Member: I actually use the term ‘pre-fascist’. It just softens it, and it’s a little more accurate ’cause we’re not really at a fascist place, but they’re taking us there.
Elam: Well if you’re in a family court you’re in a fascist place, but if you haven’t made it yet you’re pre-fascist. Um, if you’re, if you’re suffering a false accusation on a college camp…campus either in this country or the United States you’re in a fascist system. There’s no doubt about it. Your life will be turned around by that fascism.
Audience Member: Yes.
Elam: And that’s why that saber-rattling, getting in these peoples’ faces, and making people who profit off of lying about issues like domestic violence — making them uncomfortable is what we have to do.
Another person, who identified himself as a colleague of Paul Elam’s and an AVfM member, spoke up next. He defended the use of the word “fascist” in discussing feminists by citing the Honey Badger Brigade’s ill-fated trip to the Calgary Expo with a pro-#GamerGate booth as well as an undoubtedly false story of Swedish citizens trying to criminalize anti-feminist beliefs. He disagreed, however, with Elam’s contention that AVfM is “quite moderate.” As he put it, “We’re radical in our rhetoric, not on what we advocate.”
Elam agreed to an extent, and decided to piggyback on the 18th and 19th century abolitionist movements, by saying that A Voice for Men is radical in the sense that “not owning black people” was once viewed as “a radical idea.” That is to say that advocating on behalf of men is akin to advocating on behalf of enslaved African men, women, and children.
Elam also touted the inclusivity of his group, claiming that “any hint of racism, any hint of homophobia, any hint of any kind of discriminatory attitude” will get you kicked out of AVfM. I wonder why Dean Esmay was never fired for calling people of color “Uncle Toms” and “Aunt Jemimahs”? Why do they continue to employ a Holocaust denier and Hitler worshiper? What about Elam’s love of white nationalist RamzPaul? Or their site’s promotion of anti-Semite and rape advocate Roosh Valizadeh? Or any number of disturbing, misogynistic articles that the site publishes? Of course the pièce de résistance is Elam bragging about his organization’s tolerance right before using the word “retarded” as a slur.
Audience Member: I mean, I think, Paul, you would probably agree with me that feminism isn’t the only problem.
Elam: Oh yeah.
Audience Member: It’s certainly not. We both agree on that. Yet we see, time and time again, who’s the ones in the liberal democracies like the ones we live in — in Canada and the United States — who are the first up to bat to stop any reform on these areas? It’s gonna be feminists. I’m only gonna make the no…statement you say we’re not radical on A Voice for Men. I’m on A Voice for Men too. We’re radical in our rhetoric, not on what we advocate. But we should own the fact that we’re radical sometimes in our rhetoric. We scream at people. We yell at people. Um…
Elam: I think I’ll accept that we’re radical in context, Dean. Uh, because there was a time when not owning black people was a radical idea.
Audience Member: Sure.
Elam: And, so, in that context we are certainly radical. But, we are science-based. We do sort of like facts. Um, we like to approach things from a good, moral platform. We don’t advocate for the reduction of anybody’s rights at all. Uh, don’t support that. Uh, as a matter of fact, um, uh, there, you would be surprised at what you see people get booted for at AVfM. Any hint of racism, any hint of homophobia, any hint of any kind of discriminatory attitude toward populations of people, uh, for any reason, it’s bye bye time.
Now, you won’t hear them mention that when they write an article about me in Buzzfeed, they’ll be too busy doing something else. Uh, but we’re very moderate in that way. So yes, I think we’re radical but we’re only radical because the times we, we are living in are so incredibly retarded.