Sunday, June 23, 2013

Protest on Franklin Today After Cancelled Deep Green Resistance Event

Folks walking down Franklin this afternoon will doubtless have noticed the protests outside LaunchPad, which were organized by radical feminists from the environmentalist group Deep Green Resistance after LaunchPad cancelled a Deep Green Resistance event planned for this evening as part of the Resistance Rewritten tour.  A flyer handed out by the activists read as follows:

"Why is the 'Resistance Rewritten" workshop not happening at Launchpad?

Launchpad cancelled our event twenty four hours before it was scheduled The two speakers that were scheduled to give the presentation are radical feminists, and Launchpad fears that giving radical feminists a voice would, in their words, "alter the community's perception of our establishment." In am email to the organizers of this event, they said that they "wish to avoid the controversy." The scheduled presentation has nothing to do with radical feminism at all - it's about historical examples of social justice and environmentalism - but Launchpad believes that censoring radical feminists from speaking on any topic will preserve their public image among those who disagree with feminism."

Launchpad issued the following statement today:

The Deep Green Resistance event that was originally scheduled for this evening (June 23rd) has been cancelled. LaunchPad is a decidedly "un-curated" space that supports local artists and organizers by hosting almost any event that members of the community wish to create. Therefore, LaunchPad is simply a venue for a wide array of (sometimes conflicting) events and beliefs, and it does not endorse specific points of view. LaunchPad's goal is to promote unity within the community and be a space that feels accessible to anyone, and by Saturday afternoon it was clear that this event had triggered a divisive debate. Therefore, rather than risk offending the trans-community we chose to cancel this event. We would prefer to not host an event that could be seen as exclusionary.

The central issue is a fundamental disagreement between two sets of beliefs. LaunchPad can not act as a "judge" in these situations, and it is inappropriate to bring the venue into the debate and expect it to render a verdict. LaunchPad instead encourages unity and collaboration through a shared understanding of different and conflicting views. Therefore, we have set aside the evening of August 11th for a healthy discussion on these issues. If representatives from both side of this argument would like to participate, please send a brief e-mail with your info to

You can read more from Launchpad and others on their facebook page.

Launchpad has found itself at the center of a long-running conflict between radical feminists in Deep Green Resistance and transgender and queer activists. I don't have time to do justice to the nuances of the respective arguments, but I'd encourage those interested to check out DGR's official statement and this article from the movement's founders, as well as these critiques from transgender activists. 

At its root, the conflict stems from divergent views of how gender is socially constructed. DGR activists argue that gender roles cannot be disassociated from patriarchy and that there is no choice (and a lot of violence) involved in a person's position within the binary gender hierarchy. Transgender activists argue that gender can be fluid and that individuals have a right to realize the gender identities they feel or choose. On the ground, this creates significant clashes, with each group accusing the other of supporting and legitimating the ongoing violence against both women and transgender people (they've also teed off on one another at left-wing events and conferences). Launchpad received many complaints from local folks arguing that their hosting of DGR constituted support for transphobia, while DGR asserts that the cancelation amounts to support for the patriarchy and perpetuates the silencing of radical female voices. 

Readers, your thoughts? While it seems unlikely that the radical feminists of DGR and local transgender activists will share the stage at Launchpad in August, I, for one, wish that they would. While I sincerely doubt that the ideological gulf between these groups can be bridged, the continued violence against women and transgendered people (neither of whom occupy the "top of the totem pole" in the gender hierarchy that's reserved for straight men) demands a strategic alliance. 


  1. Micheal Kunitzky the founder of Launch Pad has a long history of hating women. I as a proud member of the lesbian community have personally experienced his abusive bully behavior, we must come together and put a stop this man. I asked that all women in the Crown Heights community who have experienced the same abusive behavior come together and show our resistance once again on Saturday 2pm June 29th in front of 721 Franklin Ave (Launch Pad)

    1. Me and a few friends from the community will be joining you next sat . This man has pushed us women around , with such hate and anger .

      You are not alone at this fight!!

      We will be meeting at lily and figs at noon so we can discuss our indivduall experiance and have an organize rally !

    2. Well, what do you expect, really?

      It's probably killing him that if the i,z,k & y were dropped from his surname, he'd be left with the very thing he probably refers to all of you as!

  2. It's probably my cis-white-male privilege but all this seems silly in the face of our common enemy who is destroying the world while we spend all of our time fighting over bigot's views.

  3. I am not sure where I stand on the issue but I think Launch Pad should not have cancelled the event.

  4. Launch Pad needs to decide what sort of a place they're going to be. They can be an non-political meeting spot for arts, crafts and other uncontroversial events (which is useful). Or they can be a genuinely "un-curated" community space where anyone who wants to meet can do so (perhaps with some limited bylaw restrictions).

    They can't claim to be a politically neutral venue and simultaneously allow select political events while prohibiting others.

  5. Wolf in sheep's clothing!

    Sums up launch pad !

    June 29 2:00 pm put a stop to the wolf

  6. why should a transphobic group like DGR have a forum? this isn't an issue of closing out the voices of feminists, it's an issue of rejecting DGR's hateful belief that transwomen, who are subject to violence every day of their lives, are simply "men in dresses."