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The Suffragettes

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  • 12-02-2018 1:43am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,697 ✭✭✭


    I'm wondering what people make of this piece
    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/

    The columnist has been getting a lot of stick online but I tend to agree with a lot of what he has to say.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,117 ✭✭✭✭Junkyard Tom


    From your link:

    'I know of no evidence that their noisy and lawless campaign hastened the arrival of votes for women by a single second'.

    Peter Hitchens.

    I kind of like Peter Hitchens but he doesn't seem to understand that you can't garner evidence from an alternate reality.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,697 ✭✭✭DickSwiveller


    From your link:

    'I know of no evidence that their noisy and lawless campaign hastened the arrival of votes for women by a single second'.

    Peter Hitchens.

    I kind of like Peter Hitchens but he doesn't seem to understand that you can't garner evidence from an alternate reality.

    I've never heard of him before reading this but found him a welcome alternative to the saturation coverage RTE and the BBC have given this subject. Not sure what you mean about an 'alternate reality'.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,117 ✭✭✭✭Junkyard Tom


    I've never heard of him before reading this but found him a welcome alternative to the saturation coverage RTE and the BBC have given this subject.

    He's the Brother of Christopher Hitchens who was a 'leftist' atheist intellectual I'm sure you've heard of. Peter tends to follow an opposite path to Christopher and is more of a conservative Christian.
    Not sure what you mean about an 'alternate reality'.

    Peter writes 'I know of no evidence that their noisy and lawless campaign hastened the arrival of votes for women by a single second'. For evidence that the actions of the Suffragettes did, or didn't, hasten women getting the vote you'd have to have the exact same sequence of historical events only without violence.

    The latter point above is the alternate reality I was alluding to - one that didn't happen and can't be recreated as some sort of grand experiment rendering Peter Hitchens' 'begging the question' little more than rhetoric.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,697 ✭✭✭DickSwiveller


    He's the Brother of Christopher Hitchens who was a 'leftist' atheist intellectual I'm sure you've heard of. Peter tends to follow an opposite path to Christopher and is more of a conservative Christian.



    Peter writes 'I know of no evidence that their noisy and lawless campaign hastened the arrival of votes for women by a single second'. For evidence that the actions of the Suffragettes did, or din't, hasten women getting the vote you'd have to have the exact same sequence of historical events only without violence.

    The latter point above is the alternate reality I was alluding to - one that didn't happen and can't be recreated as some sort of grand experiment rendering Peter Hitchens' 'begging the question' little more than rhetoric.

    Ah, right. I knew the surname sounded familiar. Christopher Hitchens wrote some great articles for Vanity Fair while he was living with aggressive cancer, put together in a small book called 'Morality' after he died. It's a really great read.

    You have a point there. Where I agree with him is in relation to the saturation coverage and this continuous narrative that women in rich, Western countries are still oppressed. The women who whinge about this sort of stuff are invariably well healed, successful, middle class women. It's a joke.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,117 ✭✭✭✭Junkyard Tom


    Where I agree with him is in relation to the saturation coverage and this continuous narrative that women in rich, Western countries are still oppressed. The women who whinge about this sort of stuff are invariably well healed, successful, middle class women. It's a joke.

    Any conscious person knows this is rubbish. In reality, women are as equal as they can be, in the workplace, in politics, in education and in life in general, until someone finds a way of making men have babies.

    Peter Hitchens.

    'Until someone finds a way of making men have babies'. That's just stupid to be honest. What he's writing about is 'the burden of care' which doesn't just include babies and is most certainly viewed as an externality by the business world which means that it affects women far more than men.

    Maybe more women in politics and business would make the issue of unpaid care less of an business externality [/sarc]

    I dislike this gender-war bullshit and don't want to contribute to it any further.

    I'm out.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭donaghs


    Peter Hitchens was originally a leftist in his youth like his brother, but went very Conservative as he got older.

    The most interesting thing I found out recently about this was that the women's anti-suffrage movement was actually larger than the "suffragette" and "suffragist" movements. Something you wont hear about in movie adaptations.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_National_Anti-Suffrage_League

    Some modern historians actually contend that at the height of the Suffragette activism, most women didn't actually want the vote (hard to prove of course).
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/05/did-most-women-want-the-vote/

    In case anyone thinks that pointing out uncomfortable evidence means that I'm some sort of regressive misogynist, I'm not, I very much believe in women's vote and equality, etc. Shouldn't have to point that out, but so many conversations get sidetracked/attacked if it seems that someone has challenged the accepted consensus.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    You have a point there. Where I agree with him is in relation to the saturation coverage and this continuous narrative that women in rich, Western countries are still oppressed. The women who whinge about this sort of stuff are invariably well healed, successful, middle class women. It's a joke.

    Women in this country earn - on average - 21% less than men and are more prominent in low-paid, part-time and zero hour contract jobs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,282 ✭✭✭✭Eric Cartman


    Women in this country earn - on average - 21% less than men and are more prominent in low-paid, part-time and zero hour contract jobs.

    Not on a job for job basis they don't
    if you know of any case of that , please report it as it is illegal under Irish law.

    The wage gap is a myth that has been debunked in Western Europe time and time again. It doesn't exist.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    For evidence that the actions of the Suffragettes did, or didn't, hasten women getting the vote you'd have to have the exact same sequence of historical events only without violence.

    The latter point above is the alternate reality I was alluding to - one that didn't happen and can't be recreated as some sort of grand experiment rendering Peter Hitchens' 'begging the question' little more than rhetoric.
    I take your point about the "what if" scenarios. However I would still tend to agree with him on this point. Everything changed after WW1, people don't really appreciate that. It was the end of the old order.

    You could apply the same reasoning to the violence used by rebels in the Easter Rising of 1916. We still tend to glorify them and credit them with the major swing to Sinn Fein in the 1918 elections. But the really noteworthy thing about those elections was that the voting franchise was extended to all men over 21 yrs and women over 30yrs who had a fiver. As opposed to the old system of property owning males voting on behalf of everyone.
    The first ever woman MP elected was Countess Markievicz. The system had changed, but not because she had used violence as a rebel or as a suffragette. Everything had changed anyway.

    What if the suffragettes hadn't planted their bombs, and the Easter Rising had never happened; would the results of the 1918 elections have been the same anyway? We'll never know.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    Very few times in history have oppressed people achieved self-determination without violence. I'm not suggesting that it can't be done, but in all honesty you're going to find very few examples in human history of this happening.

    Now, obviously one can question whether violent resistance hastens or actually sets back the achievement of self-determination, and whether there is actual causation from one to the other, but this is a little like studying geological history - we can't say for sure that mantle plume eruptions cause mass extinctions, but we can say that several of the biggest mass extinctions in history are correlated with contemporaneous super-eruptions. In the same way, perhaps violent resistance merely occurs alongside the achievement of self-determination without actually contributing to it, but it's a massive, massive stretch to suggest this given the almost total absence of case studies which do not involve violence.

    The civil rights movement in mid-20th century US might be an interesting case study. When you learn about this in school, it's generally presented as a largely non-violent movement (the million man march, the bus boycott, etc) but how much of this is realistic? Dig a little deeper and you'll find that there was an associated undercurrent of violent activism:
    From 1964 through 1970, a wave of inner city riots in black communities undercut support from the white community. The emergence of the Black Power movement, which lasted from about 1965 to 1985, challenged the established black leadership for its cooperative attitude and its practice of nonviolence, instead demanding political and economic self-sufficiency to be built in the black community.

    So again, I'd challenge anyone here criticising direct action, civil disobedience and violence in the suffragette movement to find examples from history of movements which achieved similar aims without using these tactics.

    I'd also take issue with the word "lawless". Frankly, seeing as effective methods of protest are almost always outlawed by those in power seeking to limit the success of political opposition, I'd argue that a successful protest movement is by its very nature a law breaking movement. Even the water charges protests in Ireland, which were ultimately successful, involved an amount of civil disobedience in the form of preventing the installation of water meters. Again, whether this was a contributing factor to the success of the movement we can never know, but it's one more example of a movement which achieved its aims and involved an amount of law breaking to do so.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭donaghs


    Very few times in history have oppressed people achieved self-determination without violence. I'm not suggesting that it can't be done, but in all honesty you're going to find very few examples in human history of this happening.

    Now, obviously one can question whether violent resistance hastens or actually sets back the achievement of self-determination, and whether there is actual causation from one to the other, but this is a little like studying geological history - we can't say for sure that mantle plume eruptions cause mass extinctions, but we can say that several of the biggest mass extinctions in history are correlated with contemporaneous super-eruptions. In the same way, perhaps violent resistance merely occurs alongside the achievement of self-determination without actually contributing to it, but it's a massive, massive stretch to suggest this given the almost total absence of case studies which do not involve violence.

    The civil rights movement in mid-20th century US might be an interesting case study. When you learn about this in school, it's generally presented as a largely non-violent movement (the million man march, the bus boycott, etc) but how much of this is realistic? Dig a little deeper and you'll find that there was an associated undercurrent of violent activism:



    So again, I'd challenge anyone here criticising direct action, civil disobedience and violence in the suffragette movement to find examples from history of movements which achieved similar aims without using these tactics.

    It’s not necessarily a question of whether the suffragettes were justified in using violence, rather than main point raised in the thread is if their tactics actually helped further their cause. I.e. the rest of society (men and women- and men in power) agreeing to their demands.

    It’s an interesting question that can get overlooked in our more progressive politically correct times.

    I’m not sure if violence ALWAYS is needed by oppressed people to achieve freedoms. In the case of civil rights in the US, Martin Luther King JR wasn’t a total plaster saint, but he was the decisive factor in convincing the majority of Americans, and their president LBJ, of his aims. By 1965, the legal aspect of racial discrimination had been overturned. More separatist and noisy groups like black Muslims and black panthers , and inner city riots, certainly made a lot of noise, but it’s definitely harder to point to any concrete acheivements, unless you count things like “consciousness raising”. I’d argue they helped create greater division in America, allow people like Governor Ronald Reagan and President Nixon get elected and spread fear about the decline in “law and order” etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    donaghs wrote: »
    It’s not necessarily a question of whether the suffragettes were justified in using violence, rather than main point raised in the thread is if their tactics actually helped further their cause. I.e. the rest of society (men and women- and men in power) agreeing to their demands.

    It’s an interesting question that can get overlooked in our more progressive politically correct times.

    I’m not sure if violence ALWAYS is needed by oppressed people to achieve freedoms. In the case of civil rights in the US, Martin Luther King JR wasn’t a total plaster saint, but he was the decisive factor in convincing the majority of Americans, and their president LBJ, of his aims. By 1965, the legal aspect of racial discrimination had been overturned. More separatist and noisy groups like black Muslims and black panthers , and inner city riots, certainly made a lot of noise, but it’s definitely harder to point to any concrete acheivements, unless you count things like “consciousness raising”. I’d argue they helped create greater division in America, allow people like Governor Ronald Reagan and President Nixon get elected and spread fear about the decline in “law and order” etc.

    Exactly. There's correlation but not necessarily causation, and I reckon we'd need to find a historical example of an oppressed group achieving freedom without any associated violence being involved, in order to make any kind of meaningful comparison. I'm just coming up short, can anyone think of one we could study here?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Gandhi?
    ML King?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭donaghs


    recedite wrote: »
    Gandhi?
    ML King?

    I see what you're saying, but the above poster is making the point that alongside those movements, there were also had people prepared to use violence to achieve the same aims. Although in the case of ML King, you could argue that most of the Black radicalism and inner city violence came after the bulk of civil rights legislation had been passed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad


    recedite wrote: »
    You could apply the same reasoning to the violence used by rebels in the Easter Rising of 1916. We still tend to glorify them and credit them with the major swing to Sinn Fein in the 1918 elections. But the really noteworthy thing about those elections was that the voting franchise was extended to all men over 21 yrs and women over 30yrs who had a fiver. As opposed to the old system of property owning males voting on behalf of everyone.

    I would suggest that although these changes made a huge difference to the electorate the swing to nationalism had already happened once the 'secret ballot' was brought in. So I agree about what you said re 1918 noteworthy election, but just pointing out that the secret ballot had already taken most of the power from the property owning males.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    donaghs wrote: »
    I see what you're saying, but the above poster is making the point that alongside those movements, there were also had people prepared to use violence to achieve the same aims. Although in the case of ML King, you could argue that most of the Black radicalism and inner city violence came after the bulk of civil rights legislation had been passed.
    Both generally exist alongside each other, yes, but often unconnected or even opposing each other.
    If the peaceful ones achieve the results, that reflects no credit on the activities of the violent ones.
    I'd say Gandhi and MLK are examples of that.

    At other times, other people (such as Gerry Adams) have used a more dualist approach. In these situations, its harder to say definitively which tactic worked best.


  • Registered Users Posts: 554 ✭✭✭Creol1


    The First World War and the fact that it led to women filling the roles of men led to a change in perceptions of women, and this played a bigger part in the granting of partial suffrage to women in 1918 than "direct action" before the war. (Many suffragettes shamed men who declined to participate in this pointless war by handing them white feathers, although this is forgotten.)

    The granting of suffrage should also be seen in the broader context of the Representation of the People Act, which also granted suffrage to working men. Following the 1917 Russian revolution, many élites were afraid of the same thing happening in their own country and giving the vote to working men was a concession and a means of involving them in the established political process instead of revolution. Granting suffrage to middle-class women may have been calculated as a means of diluting this.


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