The Southern Poverty Law Center, EMILY’s List, and other groups dissolve ties with Women’s March

If Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez (SM&P) would simply resign as co-chairs of the Women’s March, Inc. (“WMI”, the original parent organization of the 2017 March), then the upcoming March, scheduled for January 19 in Washington, D.C., would be a lot more unified, stronger, and with a bigger crowd. But now the whole organization, which includes many splinter marches not formally affiliated with the WMI, is fracturing, and that has seriously slowed the momentum that the March inspired two years ago.

I’ve posted about the WMI’s troubles before, and if you want the backstory, go here to see my earlier posts. Although there had been some earlier criticism of SM&P for cozying up to the antisemitic, homophobic, and misogynistic Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, things blew up when Tablet posted a long exposé of the March’s heads, revealing their antisemitic remarks, their ties to the NoI and raising questions about financial improprieties of the WMI.

This was about the same time that two feminist actors and #MeToo supporters, Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano, severed ties with the WMI because of the antisemitism of its leaders. Very quickly other Women’s March groups also severed ties, with most vowing to march independently. Then the think tank of Germany’s Social Democratic Party—one of that nation’s two major political parties—rescinded its Humanitarian Award to the Women’s March because of Sarsour’s antisemitism. Predictions are for much reduced attendance at the January 19 event in Washington.

NBC News and Haaretz report about the disintegration of the movement. I hope that, when the dust settles, the WMI will flourish under new leadership. In view of the debacle, the WMI has done some furious backpedaling, now including Jewish women in the list of oppressed groups for which they march. But it hasn’t worked, for SM&P have a history of antisemitism and support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that is largely populated and propelled by antisemites. Further, the WMI’s attempts to court Jewish women and disavow the organization’s connection with the Nation of Islam have been slow, reluctant, hamhanded and unconvincing.

But now the greatest indignity of all: the Southern Poverty Law Center, an authoritarian Leftist organization that in the past has demonized Maajid Nawaz, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Leftists critical of Islam) as “anti-Muslim extremists”—and faces its own accusations of financial shenanigans—has, without much explanation, quietly removed itself as a sponsor of the WMI. You can read about it at The Daily Beast (click on screenshot below), which names other important groups withdrawing sponsorship from the March:

Since the SPLC has deemed the Nation of Islam an “organized hate group”, it’s pretty clear why they’ve severed ties with the WMI, but they’re coy about it:

The Southern Poverty Law Center will not partner with the Women’s March this year, The Daily Beast has confirmed.

Jen Fuson, a spokeswoman for the SPLC, said “other projects were a priority,” but added they would continue to be involved in marches at the local level in areas where they have offices.

. . . The SPLC’s quiet move away from the Women’s March is in stark contrast to its press release two years ago,

“As an official partner of the march, the Southern Poverty Law Center stands in solidarity with its organizers’ vision — that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ — and with the march’s mission to bring together communities ‘insulted, demonized and threatened by the rhetoric of the past election cycle,’ the SPLC said in January of 2017, calling itself “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Through our core issues, we work to protect the rights of the working poor, LGBT, and undocumented immigrant women whom the Women’s March on Washington seeks to unite.”

Other groups have also recently broken away from the WMI, including EMILY’s List, a well known PAC devoted to electing pro-choice Democrats to office. That’s ironic in light of the Women’s March’s 2017 harassment of anti-abortion participants. And there are other withdrawals as well, though people are cautious about issuing reasons or statements:

 A spokeswoman for EMILY’s List did not immediately return a request for comment.  The National Council of Jewish Women told The New York Jewish Week Wednesday they would not be a partner in this year’s march.

A spokeswoman for the Women’s March did not immediately return a call for comment.

According to this tweet from Tali Goldsheft, a digital media marketer, at least eight other groups have withdrawn sponsorship from the D.C. Women’s March:

You can see the list of sponsors who remain on the Women’s March sponsorship page: these groups include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the March for Science, the NAACP, the American Federation of Teachers, and, of course, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as well as other Muslim groups. It’s shameful that groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and (especially for me), the March for Science are still sponsoring a group whose origins are avowedly antisemitic (WMI spokespeople even admitted that in the organizational days of the WMI there was explicit antisemitism, though the co-leaders still deny it).

The Women’s March, Inc. is now experiencing what is known in the argot as a “train wreck.” It could be stopped if the group cleaned up or cleared up its finances, stopped using Nation of Islam functionaries as security for its march and, most of all, asked Sarsour, Mallory, and Perez to step down, replacing them with leaders who don’t hate Jews and who don’t have a history of antisemitic actions or remarks.

As I’ve predicted, that won’t happen, for SM&P love their power and prestige too much: without the Women’s March, they have no limelight. In fact, they think they own the Women’s March. But if they really cared about the welfare of women and the visibility of women’s rights, they should resign.


ADDENDUM: Reader John called my attention to this new video of WMI organizers Bob Bland and Tamika Mallory appearing on The View. Whoopi Goldberg and Megan McCain question them about antisemitism, the Nation of Islam, and their denigration of antiabortion women. (Curious that Sarsour didn’t show up. . . )

My take is not only that their remarks are self-serving, but that both Bland and Mallory actually lie about the history of the WMI. For example, they claim that the WMI did not disenfranchise pro-life women, but the New York Times reported this in 2017:

Across the country, women who oppose abortion — including one in six women who supported Hillary Clinton, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center — are demanding to be officially included in Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. But those requests have been spurned, creating a bitter rift among women’s organizations, and raising thorny questions about what it means to be a feminist in 2017.

“If you want to come to the march you are coming with the understanding that you respect a woman’s right to choose,” Linda Sarsour, a Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American Muslim racial justice and civil-rights activist, and one of four co-chairwomen of the march, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Now these tensions, which have simmered behind the scenes, are spilling out into the open.

On Monday, march organizers revoked so-called partnership status – a kind of official recognition — for a Texas anti-abortion group, New Wave Feminists. (Ms. Sarsour called the initial decision to include the group “a mistake.”)

Note that, as I predicted before I saw this, Mallory refuses to step down, saying that “some people want her to remain as leader”, and that Mallory called Farrakhan a “GOAT” (greatest of all time) simply because of his great services to the black community. And I don’t believe her denial of the antisemitic remarks made during the WMI organizing meetings, as a WMI spokesperson already verified them. As Tablet reported in its emendations of the article:

An earlier version incorrectly stated that “None of the other women in attendance would speak openly to Tablet about the meeting.” In fact, at press time, Tablet had contacted or spoken to six out of the seven people present at the meeting. That seventh person, Cassady Fendlay, reached today, offered a description of the events that aligns with the version described in the piece.

In other words, Fendlay, the Communications director of the WMI, basically verified what Tablet reported, part of which is this:

According to several sources, it was there—in the first hours of the first meeting for what would become the Women’s March—that something happened that was so shameful to many of those who witnessed it, they chose to bury it like a family secret. Almost two years would pass before anyone present would speak about it.

It was there that, as the women were opening up about their backgrounds and personal investments in creating a resistance movement to Trump, Perez and Mallory allegedly first asserted that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people—and even, according to a close secondhand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade. These are canards popularized by The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jewsa book published by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam—“the bible of the new anti-Semitism,” according to Henry Louis Gates Jr., who noted in 1992: “Among significant sectors of the black community, this brief has become a credo of a new philosophy of black self-affirmation.”

. . . but multiple sources with knowledge of what happened confirmed the story.

In other words, Perez and Mallory were antisemitic from get-go.


  1. Rosmarie Maran
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    A “Women’s March” was a bad idea in the first place, I think, as women never will be a united front in any place. They will never have the exactly same agenda, just because of being women.

  2. Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “Antisemitis” is probably a typo, but it’s a good one.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      A new word and a good one! Now if someone could only get people to stop pronouncing “antisemite” “antisemete.” I can’t understand why this mispronounciation has caught on. Even Jews say “antisemete,” but they aren’t Semetes, they’re Semites, and they don’t say “antisemetism.”

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, much of the left is suffering from antisemititis these days.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        There are plenty of remedies available at book stores. However, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him think.

  3. CAS
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    A little progress is good to see…

  4. davidenglishography
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Can anybody explain to me what they are marching for? Or against?

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Is this a serious inquiry? I detect a distinct whiff of troll.

      • davidenglishography
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Do you know? If so, can you tell me? Is it some sort of secret? Or is knowledge imputed? Or is it just impolite to ask?

        • mikeyc
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          Well then, see Kiwi Dave’s comment below. You could also try Google.

          My guess is you think this is my first time on the intertubes. Let me disabuse you. Your question smells like a tactic often used by trolls – sometimes called “JAQing off” (JAQ = Just Asking Questions). It’s kind of like asking; “Can anyone explain why Donald Trump is hated by libtards”; sometimes there are clues in a question that get to motive.

          Of course, sometimes clues can be misinterpreted and if that is true then I do apologize. In that case, I again refer you to Kiwi Dave.

          • davidenglishography
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            I am familiar with that tactic as it is a staple of the British media. It is a way of making an accusation by dressing it up as a question,e.g. “What do say to those people who say that you’re just being racist?”. Get it? The word they want the public to hear is “racist”.

            I know how it works.

            But, no. That is not what I was doing. It was, and still is a genuine question. Ok, I have now read their “mission statement” and I an no wiser. “Transformative social change”. What does that mean? What is it they want to change and why? And to what?

            Until somebody can enlighten me I am just going to have to assume that it’s just a conjoining of nebulous perceived grievances.

            • mikeyc
              Posted January 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

              Well, from here in the cheap seats it seems that, irrespective of the mission statement,in as much as the women’s march was made up of…well…women, as Rosemarie Maran suggests above, there are as many reasons for marching as there are women. That is how one would expect a movement like this to be. It was borne, I think, for some out of frustration about lack of progress in many cultural areas that impact women, it was for others a reaction to the rise of a brand of politics that seems (with good cause) to be inimical to the progress we have made in righting cultural wrongs borne by women and for many it was an attempt to remind the world that women as a group can’t be ignored.

              It seemed hopeful to me. It no longer does.

              • mikeyc
                Posted January 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

                Gads. What I’d do for an edit button. Commas and other nonsense drifting about, a “borne” with an extra “e” and garbled sentence structures. *sigh*.

      • Posted January 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Their mission statement propagates numerous lies, such as: 1 in 5 women are raped; 1 in 3 women suffer IPV; women are paid less than men for equal work.

        • XCellKen
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          IPV ?

          • XCellKen
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Intimate Partner Violence ?

            Inactivated Polio Vaccine ?

            Google lists both, but I’m assuming its the former

          • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

            Intimate Partner Violence.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink has a mission statement.

      However, some of its goals are open to considerable interpretation – what does ‘equity’ mean? – or reasonable disagreement, as Rosemarie Maran implies in the first comment.

      • Posted January 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        From the mission statement:

        “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues…”

        I think David’s question was as reasonable as a rhetorical question can be.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          I expect I would be agreeable with nearly every one of the diverse causes that they promote (I leave open the possibility of not supporting something, simply b/c I don’t know all the stuff they are supporting). But assembled together as a Big Vague Intersectional Movement makes the whole thing pretty much doomed, in my opinion.
          Even without being severly hobbled by the failings of its leadership, it just seems to me that such organizations would tend to devolve into a fractious mess as people who prioritize one issue snipe and bicker with those who use resources to speak up about another issue.

          • XCellKen
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Kinda like “Occupy Wall Street” ?

        • XCellKen
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          There is a Youtuber named “Prince of Queens”. He is a former Far Leftist who was “redpilled” several years ago. He said if you ever hear anyone use the term “transformative”, you are a talking to a Marxist lol

  5. Kelcey BURMAN
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Did they support the Saudi teenager Rahaf Al-qunun seeking asylum? That would have really shown their real concern for all women world wide. I am guessing no as it would have been inconvenient

  6. Posted January 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    The March For Science’s leadership has ties to anti-Israel orgs. And of course the MFS took a lot of flak for tweeting anti-western and other radical leftist statements.

    • Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Good that Prof. Coyne decided to stay away from it.

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “the Women’s March’s 2017 harassment of anti-abortion participants.”

    ‘participants’? Looks more like a counter-demonstration to me. Or an attempt to subvert the movement.

    I don’t think any political movement is under an obligation to accommodate a group whose aims are directly opposed to the majority of the participants.


    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s one of the issues I agree with them on.

      Still, their opposition to anti-abortion is in no way equivalent to their anti-Semitism.

      But if they really do think Farrakhan is the “GOAT,” then it’s hard for me to see them as any more feminist than the anti-abortion people.

  8. Jon Gallant
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Women’s March, Incorporated. can surely find other sponsors to replace all those local groups, the SPLC, and Emily’s List. Can we not look forward to Hezbollah and Hamas, both welcomed into the “broad Left” by Professor Judith Butler, as sponsors? Maybe Prof. Butler and her Berkeley department will become a sponsor too, after incorporating, like Women’s March Inc. In the next step, we
    may expect SM&P (one of them, or all three) to announce that she or they are running for
    the presidency in 2020. After all, another
    TV personality made it in 2016.

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