Radfem2012 and the right of freedom of association

There have been the usual cries of “transphobia!” over the internet within the last week or so regarding the forthcoming Radfem2012 conference in London.

Article 11 of the Human Rights Act ensures that everyone has the right to freedom of association (or protest) as long as the purpose is non-violent, and is in the interests of protecting the rights and freedoms of a group.

A few snippets, with emphasis added:

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This is a right closely linked to the right to freedom of expression.

It provides a means for public expression and is one of the foundations of a democratic society.

The right applies to protest marches and demonstrations, press conferences, public and private meetings, counter-demonstrations, ‘sit-ins’, motionless protests etc.

The right only applies to peaceful gatherings and does not protect intentionally violent protest.

The right to peaceful assembly cannot be interfered with merely because there is disagreement with the views of the protesters or because it is likely to be inconvenient and cause a nuisance or there might be tension and heated exchange between opposing groups.

Freedom of association

Everyone has the right to freedom of association with others.  This includes the right to form and to join trade unions and to join with others to pursue or advance common causes and interests.  It also includes the right to formally join or create associations.

Necessarily included in the right of association is the freedom not to associate with others.  There is no right for any individual to join a particular association if other members of the group decide not to include them or to expel them on the basis that their membership was not compatible with the aims and interests of the association.  However, in relation to trade unions, if a decision not to include a person has adverse employment consequences, any such decision must not be unreasonable or arbitrary.

So it is our human right, as radfems, to have a peaceful gathering of radfems only. Lots of other groups are allowed to gather or assemble without inviting counter ‘viewpoints’ – eg the Labour Party can have a conference without the Conservatives and vise versa. Muslims are allowed to assemble without Christians and vise versa. Alcoholics Anonymous can meet without having non-AA members in attendance. And radfems are allowed to meet without having non-radfems – those opposed to all or part of radfem politics – in attendance.

This means, not only transwomen are excluded, but a lot of others as well – pro-porn and ‘sex-positive’ pro-prostitution liberal feminists and 3rd wavers, postmodern (pomo) and queer feminists, and males. That is right, all of you are excluded. Therefore the accusation of being ‘transphobic’ is bunk, they are merely on the list of many others, who are not welcome to Radfem2012.

Radical feminism is a revolutionary politics for the liberation of all women from male domination.  Radical feminists neither seek ‘equality’ with men within a fundamentally oppressive system, nor simply to extend women’s range of choices whilst leaving that oppressive system intact.  Radical feminists are engaged in the struggle to end all forms of male violence, and for the liberation of all women from patriarchal oppression.  In short, we are engaged in a struggle for total social transformation.  In Catherine Mackinnon’s phrase, radical feminism is ‘feminism unmodified’.

That also includes excluding liberal feminists who may be partially aligned with radical feminism, but insist on putting forth their liberal “what about the men” agenda. Nor are we interested in the male point of view as to what feminism should be. We do not want to tinker with the male system of domination, we want to eradicate it, for the liberation of all females.

So all of you, all of you opposed to the radical feminist point of view, are excluded from the conference. That is not ‘transphobic’, that is a political strategy – we get enough of the libfem/trans point of view all over the internet every day of the week – we are meeting together to get two days without hearing about it, as is our human right.

The kerfuffle that transwomen are feminists is difficult to believe. When I attended the Feminism In London conference a few years ago, no transwomen bothered to turn up, such is their interest. Their interest is only in disrupting feminism rather than contributing to it – this protest against Radfem2012 is a protest for protest’s sake. Besides which, the ‘transfeminist’ platform is primarily ‘sex-positive’ pro-pornography, pro-prostitution, the antithesis of radical feminism, and on those grounds alone are unwelcome.

‘Transfeminism’ is now showing itself to be anti-female too. Well-known transactivists such as Julia Serano have this kind of thing to say about female reproductive and contraception issues:

…but I have to say that as an infertile woman, all this contraception-centric feminism over the last month has been alienating for me…
~ @JuliaSerano, 03 March 2012

Serano does not speak for ‘infertile women’ at all. I am an ‘infertile woman’. Reproductive issues are still feminist issues, whether it affects you directly or not. Most females spend many decades of their lives fertile, and reproduction issues span a large segment of life. That isn’t something one forgets conveniently at menopause. The reason Serano and other ‘transfeminists’ don’t get it, is because they have not had to live as fertile females – their fertility has been always from the male perspective. And of course, this is one point radfems keep making, the difference being raised as a girl, a fertile female, is vastly different to being raised as a boy and with the lack of reproductive repercussions of a male.

This makes ‘transfeminism’ generally at odds even with liberal feminists, those libfems who still care about abortion and contraception rights. ‘Transfeminism’ is very much at odds with those liberal feminists who are anti-porn. Yet ‘transfeminists’ like Serano are setting the agenda within liberal and 3rd wave feminism.

So if radfems are ‘transphobic’ they are also libfem-phobic, sex-poz-phobic, pomo-phobic, 3rd wave-phobic, pimp-phobic, etc. Except that we are not. The word ‘phobic’ comes from phobia – ‘fear of’. We don’t ‘fear’ any of you, we just disagree on a political level. Get over it.

This thread will be moderated.

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28 thoughts on “Radfem2012 and the right of freedom of association

  1. Excellent. Thanks!
    About almost every meeting, congregation, etc is selective in some way or another. Yet the MRAs, trans and other libfems never attack the thousands of male-only meetings that celebrate male supremacy in about almost every sphere of power.

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  2. I don’t recall the libfems protesting about this convention in London in March this year. Men only, not only that, but Christian men – many of whom hold very anti-feminist views like anti-abortion, anti-contraception.

    Where is the big blog post by the F-Word decrying that anti-feminist convention?
    That’s right, there was none. If libfems are are so hot on the issue of ‘transphobia’, then their lack of critique on the Men’s Convention and only on radfems is very telling – it is solely an anti-radfem platform and not grounded in any sincere beliefs. It shows that libfems are primarily anti-female with their constant attacks on radical feminist beliefs, and not on patriarchy-upholding events, like Christian men’s groups.

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  3. Excellent – the right for everyone and this includes Radical Feminists, to freedom of association (or protest) etc. means precisely that. It does not mean Radical Feminists must allow individuals who oppose our aims to demand right of access to our meetings/events. But I forget men are accorded the right of defining what this Act means whereas we biological women are denied our fundamental right of meeting without the presence of males.

    Last week another male only event was held and no one protested at fact this event was for males only. Is it because challenging male right of meeting together is too frightening and it is far easier to attack Radical Feminists who do not have the socio-economic power Male Supremacy continues to accord men as a class/group? The answer is a resounding yes.

    http://www.antipornmen.org/2012/05/07/uk-mantalk-glasgow-on-may-17th/#.T7oNa0XgiSp

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  4. Libfems who are genuinely interested in radical feminism are welcome to attend (it is just that we will not be taking the usual libfem ‘suggestions’).

    Most radfems went through a period of liberal feminism on their way to radical feminism. When libfeminism just didn’t answer all the questions or come up with any solutions, suddenly radical feminism started making sense.

    Of course, there are those that never make it past liberal feminism. They tend to disappear before about 30-35, as 3rd wavers are primarily a young woman’s ‘movement’. Most women do actually start to wake up to the overall gameplan of patriarchy after about 30, realising that ‘playing the game’ that patriarchy wants (sex positivism, capitalism, beauty etc) is actually not beneficial to equality nor liberation.

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  5. Thanks for this, Davina. The legal status says it. We have the right to gather as females (FAAB women) in an environment free from male-born presence, and to discuss our own politics.

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  6. I want this analogy and strategy to work. It is ingenuous in a way. However, I can’t yet get it to. Women-born-women are not analogous to political ideologies. It makes sense that a radical feminist conference would absolutely exclude libertarian, conservative, sex positive, and trans ideologies as based on freedom of association. I”m not sure that the principle gives the conference a “right” (using this warily) to exclude individuals or specific groups. As you yourself say, individuals who identify as liberal feminist are welcome if they are truly interested in radical feminism. So how on the basis of freedom of association can you defend the *exclusion* of groups other than radical feminists or than women-only women. I might just be sleep deprived because I’m excited about this approach and I just might not be getting it. I can see excluding groups who are antagonistic to radical feminism like men’s rights groups– so is that what you’re getting at here? And I would certainly see how excluding trans-activists works under the principle of free association. But i dont’ see how you can exclude either men or trans people generally under this principle. I want to defend feminist and women’s only space.. That’s why I’m engaging you. I hope you take this in the spirit of utmost respect and desire to strengthen the goal of women-only-spaces and other radical feminist goals.

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  7. Remember womyn, shutting down the ability of pornographers to hold business meeting convention Expos is censorship and the wrong way to make social justice whereas shutting down radical feminist conferences is righteous smiting done in the holy name of Sexpozia, the goddess of dildos both plastic and fleshy.

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  8. LOL at Thalia.

    It is blatantly obvious that the goal of gender identity as wielded by certain virulent trans activists is to eliminate the category of female. This goal, therefore, requires the elimination of radical feminism, which is the only feminism to care about status female. This goal became clear to me when the Cotton Ceiling debacle occured. Surely, I thought, people will see now just how damaging gender identity ideology is to females? But noooooooo. Lib fems and so-called trans allies defended the Cotton Ceiling, acknowledging the “unfortunate” name but saying “but it’s true, us not getting fucked is a problem!”

    Females are entitled to their own space, as they choose, end of. This needs to not be a conversation. This needs to be an accepted fact. Female self-determination cannot be the subject of debate. But we won’t change the dialogue around this unless we change the dialogue around this.

    Great post.

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  9. I appreciate you posting about this topic.

    One thing that really bothers me is that they not only want to attend the conference, but to attend while saying, “HA!!!! We broke your boundaries!!” I mean, if a might transgendered person with otherwise radical feminist politics really wanted to attend, they might be able to do so without much notice. But they want to attend, while flaunting it.

    I also find the hubub about this conference really disingenuous because, how many of them seriously are interested in radical feminism (besides to proclaim how awful it is)? And if they honestly “got” radical feminism, wouldn’t they understand the need for women only space?

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  10. @ kmiriam

    There are a number of reasons why a radfem conference is a FAB-only event. Primarily, many radfems are separatists in their every day lives and would not attend a mixed event.

    Radfems also know that the way girls and boys are brought up, the opportunities they have, are vastly different. We believe this goes a long way into shaping ‘the woman’, having the lifelong oppression as females in a female-hating world. It is a part of radical feminism.

    Males and trans usually don’t get that, they really do not know or fully understand what it is like to live one’s life as female every day from birth. Some males do have a level of understanding, but not an intimate level of understanding. And there are some trans who are actually quite offensive about this too – reliving or rewriting their ‘girlhood’ as laden with barbie dolls and wall-to-wall pink – when many radfems were not this way. It shows a very superficial understanding of the gender roles imposed on females.

    There will be many survivors of male violence and abuse at the conference – either speakers or delegates. Apart from ensuring their safety, in a mixed environment many of these women are not comfortable relating their stories – this is very similar to the counselling environment, and even the Equality Act (2010) allows for sex segregation and excluding trans.

    As females born, raised and living as women, with radical feminist ideology, on that basis we assert our human right to assemble with like-minded individuals with the same beliefs and goals.

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  11. It shows that libfems are primarily anti-female with their constant attacks on radical feminist beliefs, and not on patriarchy-upholding events, like Christian men’s groups.

    Yes, this is very telling of their motivations, the whole protest is an anti-female crusade.

    Reproductive issues are still feminist issues, whether it affects you directly or not.

    Again, yes. It’s about wanting to live in a world where women have autonomy and recognition as full human beings (as opposed to the MRA/trans demands of women as servants and male-ego boosters)

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  12. There will be many survivors of male violence and abuse at the conference – either speakers or delegates. Apart from ensuring their safety, in a mixed environment many of these women are not comfortable relating their stories – this is very similar to the counselling environment, and even the Equality Act (2010) allows for sex segregation and excluding trans.

    There’s unfortunately nothing in the Equalities Act (2010) that supports this. The only exceptions being “Associations” and “Charities”, which are protected by their aims. RadFem is neither, so the segregation becomes illegal under statute.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/11/enacted

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  13. Of course you’re right, Squirrel, morally, ethically, and legally. But power doesn’t care what’s fair, just, or legal. Power only cares about maintaining its power and accumulating more. And it doesn’t much care who it has to step on or crush to do it.

    The powerful make the laws and the rules. There’s pretty much a precedent for everything under the sun so the powerful can twist and bend the the laws and rules to mean anything they want them to so power can be maintained. So altho you are legally and ethically correct about freedom of association, I guarantee there’s a precedent men will pull out of their ass to reverse it all. The system has never been women’s friend. The system was created to grant the powerful special rights and entitlements and protect their self-interests. It was never intended to protect the folks the powerful rule. I guess my point would be not to depend on the law to serve us.

    As far as I’m concerned, Radfem Reboot is a private party. We can include or exclude anyone we damn well please. It’s no different than if we decided to rent a hall for a wedding reception or a family reunion. Private parties do not fall under public domain. No public money is being used so the public is not entitled to attend or crash it. In this case, males, M2Ts or not, are not invited or welcome. Deal with it, boys and get over your master/slave mentalities and spare me your threats and temper tantrums. It ain’t gonna work. No means no.

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  14. @ The Hogath
    It is true that radfems do not fit neatly into any category, not even ‘religion’ although the nature of radfems as a group does have more in common with a religious group for the purposes of assembly. The HR Act is clearer for the purposes of assembly.

    Thus far there has been no legal challenge to the Equality Act, and perhaps that will be coming – given that a born-female seems to have no real protection against born-males, particularly those who are determined to disrupt feminism (against our aims and beliefs), which is why the religion category is in some ways a better fit.

    Having said that, I don’t regard the EA and other laws as immutable. There were plenty of laws in the past that are completely overturned today – slave owning for example, was perfectly legal back then, overturned now. It seems that all other protected categories can meet or form groups, except for born-females who wish to exclude born-males. That translates into no real protection for born-females and ignores the lifelong discrimination because of our born sex. Discrimination based on gender-roles are one thing (which M2Ts have some claim to), but reproductive vulnerbility is largely ignored by the EA and the GRA and those not born-female just don’t have a clue about that vulnerability. One of the main objections to the legislations is that transgender rights come at the expense of women’s rights – this is a backdoor approach to undermining women’s rights.

    Transgender activists are not the only category of persons unwelcomed to the conference, pro-pornstitution activists, sex-poz libfems and others are equally unwelcome, so the exclusion policy is not based on transgender alone, therefore not specifically ‘discriminating’ against that one group. The transgender activists (and libfems) that are specifically kicking up a stink are the very ones completely opposed to radical feminism – none of the ones kicking up a stink actually want to attend the event, their purposes are only to stop the conference. Their ‘protest’ is not for inclusion, only for silencing and disruption of radical feminism – that is proven because they don’t bother to go after groups like the Christian men’s group. Their agenda is clear, they just are not being honest about it.

    Our exclusion category is primarily based on all of those opposed to, or disruptive to, radical feminism, and we assert our right to freedom of assembly under the Human Rights Act. Any one opposed to our right is at best anti-radfem, at worst likely to be anti-female and anti-women’s rights. Women, including radfems, are human, and therefore should be able to have human rights.

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  15. This excerpt from Marilyn Frye on separtism is particularly apt, thanks to hagocrat for finding it.

    All-woman groups, meetings, projects seem to be great things for causing controversy and confrontation. Many women are offended by them; many are afraid to be the one to announce the exclusion of men; it is seen as a device whose use needs much elaborate justification. I think this is because conscious and deliberate exclusion of men by women, from anything, is blatant insubordination, and generates in women fear of punishment and reprisal (fear which is often well-justified). Our own timidity and desire to avoid confrontations generally keep us from doing very much in the way of all-woman groups and meetings. But when we do, we invariably run into the male champion who challenges our right to do it. Only a small minority of men go crazy when an event is advertised to be for women only-just one man tried to crash our women-only Rape Speak-Out, and only a few hid under the auditorium seats to try to spy on a women-only meeting at a NOW convention in Philadelphia. But these few are onto something their less rabid compatriots are missing. The woman-only meeting is a fundamental challenge to the structure of’ power. It is always the privilege of the master to enter the slave’s hut. The slave who decides to exclude the master from her hut is declaring herself not a slave.

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  16. Ooooo, I love the last two lines.

    “It is always the privilege of the master to enter the slave’s hut. The slave who decides to exclude the master from her hut is declaring herself not a slave.”

    Nail. Hammer. Bang. That’s a keeper. I will use it generously. Maybe I’ll make a gazillion copies of the quote and drop the leaflets from planes.

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  17. I’ll add the previous sentence too ‘ The woman-only meeting is a fundamental challenge to the structure of’ power.’ Meaning of course male power over females assigned at birth as female. But whole extract is spot-on – many thanks hagocrat.

    And I’m still waiting for protest action to take place whenever male only events occur such as the recent male only and various Christian Men’s Groups. These are discriminatory but all I hear is a deathly silence.

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  18. Here on this older thread at cherryblossomlife’s that reignited, is proof of transactivism is opposed to radical feminism, as well as the misogynist slurs and death threats that they routinely dish out. Gosh, I really *wonder* why they are not welcome at a radfem conference? And libfems, where is your calling out of this?

    Julie Langston says:
    May 22, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Yes it’s bull shit. But your hating anyone who isn’t a cisgender woman like you doesn’t help. I would like to mention that most cisgender women hate cunts like you as well. You forget what feminism stands for. You go straight to being sexist. Fuck yourself with a cactus in the ass.

    zephyraaurora says:
    May 22, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Here’s the funny part. I have infinite accounts. Now let me clarify, I did not call you a cunt because you are a woman. I don’t hate women, in fact I honor them. I honor them as much as I honor men, and as much as I honor transgender and intersex people. You know why? Because everyone is equal. Groups like you try to make it so that you’re better than anyone else. You’re no better than the KKK. You’re sexist and do more harm for your cause than good. My mom who is a strong feminist hates people like you because of how you treat others. You’re scum. And this is Earth, I can call you anything you want. I choose to call you an asswipe, cunt was wrong. Cunt is a synonym for vagina, and vagina’s are good. An ass wipe is something I buy for a dollar, wipe my ass with, and flush down the toilet. And it’s not because you’re a woman. It’s because you are a vile, hateful piece of shit who hates everyone who is not like her, and ends up hurting her own gender because of it. Equality not supremecy. If you can’t understand that, go die.

    Julie Langston says:
    May 22, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I would like to note that trans activism is also the feminist struggle. In the end ideally all genders should be equal. That is the point of feminism. If you believe that being a biological female entitles you to anything you are as bad as any man. Transwomen are just as much of women as ciswomen. Also you are a cunt dyke, and should go die. Seriously. Kill yourself.

    Louise Edwards says:
    May 22, 2012 at 5:01 am

    wow you really dont get it do you. Trans women have no interest in lording over cis women, because what trans women and most cis women have figured out is that hating each other is stupid, because in the end its the patriarchy that hurts us all. And have you really even ever known any transwomen, beyond the 5 second first impression of course. Reading your article I noticed so many of your “facts” were pulled right out of your ass. Seriously! all women have gender dysphoria! Are you really telling me you’ve never met any girls who are happy being girls(because if it were true then i wouldn’t exist according to you), or do you just hate yourself that much? You can call me mysoginist or watever, but until u get it then just die in a fire, the last thing the world needs is more people spreading hate wrapped up in a bow.

    Louise Edwards says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:36 am

    cherry blossom you didn’t even read my comment, and I never called you a cunt either, maybe i did say die in a fire, but your article made me sad. All i see on this whole web page is hate hate hate hate hate, from everywhere its ridiculous. You talk about transwomen like they are vile men that want to rape you and weird shit, but i doubt youve even met any in real life. you think transwomen somehow hold males everywhere to a superior standard, but many of us actually don’t even like men. transwomen are raped by men just as often, just as brutally as women are. we are beaten by men, killed by men, even by women(very rarely), and are shunned as outcasts by most of society, so before going on this all out crusade against trans women, maybe you should be targeting the real issue. because when a man abuses or is mean in some way to a transgirl, we expect it, alot of men are pigs. but when a women does it (any kind of women) it hurts alot, we don’t hate you, so why do you hate us. when have you actually ever heard of a transwomen attacking a cis-women physically. Sure nasty comments happen all the time but if you spent any time in high school then you know how nasty the comments between girls gets. And you know what, that is part of the problem, because the nastier we get towards each other, the more control men have over any of us.

    So just reading a trans-critical article that made a transactivist “sad” is perfectly ok to then go on a tirade of misogyny, namecalling, death threats and death wishes?

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  19. I have no doubt that there were worse ones. Just make sure you put their email addresses into the ‘to be moderated’ list in your control panel, otherwise they will spam your blog.

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  20. Here is another one CBL let through – thoroughly amazing – I do hope that libfems are taking note of their TG allies:

    zephyraaurora says:
    May 22, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I would also like to note a word is a word. I can say cunt, nigger, faggot all day. It’s a sound. Fuck yourself.

    Charming, just charming.

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  21. The more these Trans utter the more they lose their own arguments, first resort of the out classed male is misogynist abuse against the womon who out classed him! The use of this type of language is and always has been the majority domain of the male species, low lifes all who are so de’ranged and so screwed up that ‘pretending to’ be female is a game for them.
    Lib-Fems just want to be ‘buds’ with everyone they are not looking for revolution just iddy biddy reforms, happy with a few crumbs that fall of the masters table.

    Rad-Fems are left to hold the line and if WE want a conference WE shall have one.
    A done deal!

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  22. Somehow, the T people have turned this conference into a debate on transgenderism. It’s ALL about them. Always.
    I want to bring Sheila J. to the U.S. where the Constitution protects freedom of speech–for all sides. There will be hell to pay, and I am more than willing to get out my checkbook.
    You’d think she was Hitler by the way these folks are reacting.
    But then, they ARE reactionary.

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  23. I agree, it is transgender activists and their supports that have in effect, set the agenda. Although the agenda was not really finalised, the transgender portion was minimal to non-existent – Professor Jeffreys actually speaks on a wide range of radfem topics.

    Transgender setting the agenda is why I have a huge problem with either males or trans being involved in feminism. Libfems love it of course, they just love a manz to tell them what to do, which is why they like M2Ts, libfems can pretend like its about women, whilst in reality, M2Ts are behaving exactly like other males.

    Radfems aim for full autonomy, women’s liberation from all of male domination.

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  24. Pingback: Radfem2012 and Conway Hall’s ‘ethics’ « Radfem Groundhog Day

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