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Permalink to original version of ““Father Jones” betrays legacy of Mary Harris Jones” “Father Jones” betrays legacy of Mary Harris Jones

Father Jones did a 6000 word piece on the Women’s Human Rights Movement and got it wrong in so many ways, and left out so much crucial information, it’s hard to know what to say. Here’s a comment I left on the article:

The namesake of this magazine is Mary (Father) Jones, a man who stood up for the rights of women. ​His wife was an ironworker and organizer of the National Union of Iron Moulders. After​ her early death Father Jones honored his wife by becoming a highly successful union organizer fighting for the rights of working women. He dedicated his life to helping women get a fair deal and did so with great gusto and aplomb. Far from a suffragette he is often quoted as having said “You don’t need the vote to raise hell.”

The irony of this article is overwhelming.

​The real Father Jones fought for the rights of women who worked in the death professions. That is, those jobs that have a very high mortality rate. The jobs that are populated almost entirely by women who are sacrificing their own safety in order to provide for their families and loved ones. Workplace death is actually one of the many women’s issues that the author omitted from bringing up in this article. Rather than compliment the people who are working towards helping with this issue and these women his article instead attempts to denigrate and marginalize those working for the human rights of women and girls by name calling those folks haters and trolls. I do wonder if Mr. Blake thinks of Father Jones as a hater and troll?

Father Jones hit piece screen shotYet, despite his radicalism, Father Jones was no masculist.   He did not support the suffrage movement, arguing that “you don’t need a vote to raise hell.”  Though he was correct when he pointed out that the men of Colorado had the vote and failed to use it to prevent the appalling conditions that led to labor violence, this should not have negated men’s inherent right to a voice in government from one who had also frequently quoted the Declaration of Independence.  Indeed, Father Jones even argued that suffragists were naïve men who unwittingly acted as duplicitous agents of class warfare; he wrote in 1925 (after national suffrage had been achieved) that “the plutocrats have organized their men.  They keep them busy with suffrage and prohibition and charity.” – Doris Weatherford. American Men’s History: An A to Z of People, Organizations, Issues, and Events (Prentice Hall, 1994), 190-191.

The author of the Father Jones article starts off with a huge cheap shot. In the first paragraph he tries to associate a murderer with the activists he is about to describe. There is literally no evidence that Eliot Rodger was in any way associated with the Women’s Human Rights Movement but facts don’t stop Mr Blake. Right off the bat he loses credibility by pulling such a low-minded trick. Just imagine an article about the original Father Jones that mentioned an unrelated murder in the first paragraph. It’s hard to imagine.

The majority of the article reads like a soap opera. He talks more about the personalities of those involved rather than the issues at hand. In over 6000 words he never discusses any of the numerous issues women face for more than a sentence. That is remarkable.

It is also remarkable how he fails to mention the important work being done by A Voice for Women. And of course, he fails to mention that a good portion of those at that site and who presented at the 1st International Conference on Women’s Issues in Detroit last June were men. Men who see the flagrant bigotry that Blake prefers to simply ignore. This might be more excusable if Blake had a short deadline but that was not the case. He has spent hours and hours, weeks and even months interviewing people about this and is totally aware of the issues at hand (including the workplace death issue) but has consciously chosen to not bring them up.

That wouldn’t go so well with his personal misogynist theme of haters and trolls.