Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia gathered in London last weekend for the fourth International Conference on Men’s Issues, organised by Mike Buchanan, the founder of a fringe, anti-feminist British political party called ‘Justice for Men and Boys’.
Two hundred delegates attended the three-day event from a record 24 different countries, making it one of the movement’s biggest yet. “It’s the largest gathering of the men’s rights movement in the world, certainly, in terms of a men’s issue conference that is very clearly anti-feminist, there’s nothing like us in the world,” Buchanan told 50.50.
Several women attended and spoke at the event, but in a smaller breakout room ahead of the keynote speech by Karen Straughan – a Canadian YouTuber (with almost 200,000 subscribers) and, in Buchanan’s words, “the most important anti-feminist in the world” – I was, briefly, the only woman in a room of entirely white men.
Paul Elam, founder of the website A Voice For Men in the USA, joined via video link. After a speech in which he described women as “opportunistic parasites in the lives of men”, he was greeted to rapturous applause.
The de facto leader of the MRA movement, Elam is listed as a purveyor of “male supremacy” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), “a hateful ideology advocating for the subjugation of women.” He is perhaps best known for declaring October “Bash a Violent Bitch Month”,
“Young men should be furious,” Buchanan told me. “When you actually understand how the world is stacked against you, anger is a really reasonable response. Frankly there should be a lot more anger. Men should be marching on parliament in their millions.”