No-platforming is a coercive set of tactics designed to silence an individual or group. It involves censorship, but censorship can be subtle or systemic while no-platforming is narrow and blatant. It utilizes strong-arm tactics promoted not by an authoritarian government but by a group of people. It is a more democratic way of shutting people up. The term apparently originated in the 1970’s in Britain, where it was at first narrower in execution and target (exclusively against fascists of the old-school variety). Like most social phenomena, the practice predates coinage of the term. – Hearth Moon Rising – No Platforming Hurts All of Us
In doing a little background reading on “no platforming” I came across this post on a Wiccan blog, discussing the issue of “campaigns by trans activists to silence and marginalize Dianic Witches.” Initially I imagined a snarky comment of my own about the potential dangers of no platforming a witch but upon reflection realized that that would be disrespectful, smug and not really very clever.
Instead, it’s actually worth listening to what the author has to say, particularly because it has a very familiar sound:
Blacklisting is the most familiar no-platforming tactic. It was used during the McCarthy era by the US government and unofficial anti-communist groups to deny writers, actors, artists, and academics the opportunity to perform, exhibit, publish, or teach. It has been used in recent years to ban Dianic feminist Witch Z Budapest from venues for leading ritual and to try (unsuccessfully) to keep Australian feminist Sheila Jeffreys from publishing her book Gender Hurts. A closely related censorship tactic is that of the organized boycott…
Then there is the targeting of advertisers with boycotts to get articles suppressed from magazines, the manufacture and mindless re-blogging of incendiary untrue accusations that can be easily researched, and the deletion of WordPress blogs, Tumblr blogs, Facebook accounts, and Twitter accounts that have not violated any stated policies but which nevertheless offended some anti-feminist. You’ll have to take my word for it at this point or will be here all day – there are too many examples even to fill a large book. Obviously these strong-arm censorship tactics cannot be blamed solely on the Pagan community but are part of a wider anti-feminist culture, with trans women usually the purported beneficiaries. Trans women who speak out against these tactics are strongly criticized or even no-platformed themselves.(1)
I must admit that the radical feminist wiccan world is alien to me, as it probably is to most of the readers of this blog. Still, it’s worth remembering “First they came for the Dianic witches but….”
(1) Note that the “feminists” referred to in the post above are what are sometimes dismissively referred to as TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) whose crime is that they reject the notion that gender is merely a social construction.
It is indeed a strange world when acronyms like WBW (Women Born Women) need to be invented and an even stranger one when people are persecuted for believing that there is truth to the concept behind it, but for this view they have been utterly demonized – placed in the same category (those who must be silenced) as all of the rest of the world’s “deplorables.” The typical tone of the anti-“TERF” polemics is the sort of hysterical ranting all too common these days – reflected, for example, in the article “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism” is violence or in another blogger’s recent assertion – “Trans exclusionary radical feminism is racist, it is western colonialism—it is fascism.” And we all know what that can mean…