“11. So the MFJ thing: I have very serious reasons to believe the allegations against its lead members are true. They are a very, very centralized group, led by a few. They are controlling of their image and members (both of these things I have noticed from the start, but refrained from commenting on too much given the work they were doing). That they would end up abusing one of their members in that way is of no surprise to me. The people involved in this are seriously hurt and afraid and it took a lot of courage to do what they did.
I saw some really vile comments on the blog post, accusing them of sabotaging the ‘most likely biggest yarl’s wood demo ever’ and that also didn’t surprise me, given that whenever someone denounces abuse in an activist group (esp. one as big as MFJ or say… the SWP) they get shit for ‘derailing’ the movement/action/whatever demo they had planned.
I don’t think the ‘dissenters’ have anything planned to take this forward (and who could blame them for not under this situation of extreme stress?) so this is just my opinion, but surely the first thing MFJ members involved in this systematic abuse could do is publicly admit and apologise for their behaviour (publicly because I don’t want said members to go anywhere near the survivors).
I just received an email from MFJ saying that they denied all the allegations as they tried to portray the denouncement of abuse from their lead members as a sort of cynical, planned attempt from the part of former members to destroy their image. I am seriously disappointed by this. I thought MFJ could learn from the scandal around the SWP, but it’s very clear that they haven’t. Honestly I don’t know why I expected them to take a positive step given their structural tendencies towards authoritarianism.
I know the leaders personally and I’m hurt to see that human relations are so abusive in groups that are supposed to represent change, a better future even. The response from the rest of the activist community around me (although I have a quite limited view of it) has been in favour of the survivors and I’m really grateful for that. Most have decided to still organise to go to yarl’s wood independently of MFJ and that makes me so happy! We have to continue fighting with the migrant women inside that prison, even as the group supposed to ‘lead’ us into this struggle is in disrepute.
I think that continuing to put pressure on MFJ leaders is absolutely necessary. I know that some in the community might not feel responsible for bringing justice within it, but I do, and I admire the people who have come forward and put in their time and energy in this aim ❤ Mostly though, I admire the survivors and their bravery in the face of continuous abuse from the part of MFJ leaders and their followers. Stay strong, we stand behind you ❤ “