Tweet Follow @Jeggit
By Jason Michael
IN A RECENT ARTICLE discussing the trial of Marion Millar we touched on the idea, common among many gender critical feminists in Scotland, that there exists a shady government conspiracy the intention of which is to undermine and weaken the fabric of society to the harm of women and girls in particular. In fact, we find this same idea everywhere we find gender critical feminism. This is, essentially, a conspiracy theory — which is not to say that it is necessarily untrue, only that it is the belief or theory that there is a conspiracy somewhere up in the higher echelons of government to implement policies conforming to a ‘gender ideology.’ Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. In this article, the third in a series on gender critical feminism, we will take a closer look at this notion of a conspiracy. What is hoped is that we can better understand the nature of the conspiracy — as described by gender critical feminists — and attempt to discover whether or not this is real or imagined. More importantly, we will try to discover what this conspiracy, as a central myth of the anti-gender movement, means.
Across social media we find a number of iterations of the conspiracy hypothesis. Most often we find it repeated on Twitter, by far the most favoured platform of the anti-gender movement. Any search including keywords such as ‘trans,’ ‘SNP,’ and ‘cabal’ will produce a number of tweets outlining the basic premise of the belief. This one from user ‘Wings2RevStu’ (13 May 2020) provides a fairly typical description:
The SNP has failed on everything important: Scotland has been ‘dragged out of the EU’ without a choice (indyref). At the heart of the SNP is a nasty, abusive entryist cabal focusing on trans issues to the detriment of women and girls.
The proposition is that the Scottish National Party — the party in government in Scotland, headed by Nicola Sturgeon — has been captured by an ‘entryist cabal’ which aims to push through policies which advance the objectives of a gender or trans ideology, and that the Scottish government is doing this in full knowledge that such legislation will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing — and to the lives — of women and girls. We see, especially on social media, a preponderance of this particular vocabulary (which we discussed in the last article). The ‘entryist cabal’ describes a clandestine group of plotters within the leadership of the SNP made up of transgender people or ‘trans activists’ who have infiltrated the party (entryism) in order to achieve their social and political goals by stealth.
At this point we must concede that the SNP, as a liberal and socially progressive political party, has marketed itself as an LGBTQ+ positive and inclusive party. There are visible gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in every part of the aparatus of the SNP, and, as some have suggested, in its efforts to be sexuality and gender positive these people may be over represented. But, and in fairness, it was not so very long ago that white straight men were over represented in the politics of, well, everywhere. Yet, we mention this because it at least appears to support the claim the party has been ‘captured’ by trans rights activists (again, entryism).
What this observational analysis fails to consider, however, is that this increase in visibility of women and LGBTQ+ people in politics is a trend right now being replicated in almost every liberal democratic country around the world. So, we are left with two possibilities: i. Either what we are seeing is a levelling of the playing field in what has forever been a male environment and a progressive swing towards more inclusivity, or ii. evidence that the transgender conspiracy is gloabl — that this is a secret plot aimed at world domination. Most people, following Ockham’s razor, assume the simplest explanation to be the real explanation and so assume the first possibility to be the truth. Gender critical feminists, as the evidence suggests, tend to go with the second; seeing what is happening in Scotland as a symptom of what is happening globally.
Interestingly, the anti-gender movement is not the only populaist movement coming to the same conclusion. QAnon in the United States, for example, is built up around the conspiracy theory that rich and powerful people are kidnapping and murdering children so as to rejuvenate themselves by drinking the adrenochrome found in their blood. QAnon also believes that this ‘cabal’ of vampires — which includes advocates of trans ideology — has captured the US government and governments around the world. The belief that a global elite of bankers and financiers (code for ‘the Jews’) is plotting to take over the world and institute a one-world government is central to the mythology of white supremacist far-right and neo-Nazi movements and has a long history in the far-right.
While it may seem far-fetched to link this thinking to members of the anti-gender movement, it has not been absent. In 2015, ‘Mr Malky,’ an outspoken gender critical feminist, shared an image on Twitter that was problematic to say the least. This was a cartoon of six piglets suckling from a large sow. The piglets were labelled ‘MI6,’ ‘Mossad, ISIS,’ ‘Al-Qaeda,’ ‘CIA,’ ‘Israel,’ and ‘Boko Haram,’ and on the fat mother pig, in bold red type, the word ‘Rothschild’ surmounted with a picture of a flaming bank and a red Star of David. In this overtly anti-Semitic and conspiracist tweet she asked: ‘How is this anti semitic?’ There has always been an overlap of the conspiracy theories of the anti-gender movement and those of anti-Semites and the racist far-right. The same is true of QAnon and the far-right. These are overlapping and interconnected movements.
It is in the earliest occurrence of this conspiracy theory that we find all of its elements together, and from this that we can trace their journey and mutation through right-wing racist movements to the present. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was first serialised in a Russian newspaper in 1903 and was later collected and published in book form. These twenty-four ‘protocols’ purported to be the minutes of a secret meeting of highly influential Jews — called the ‘Elders of Zion’ — in which they set out their plan to destroy civilisation by corrupting morals, to take over the markets and the news media, and to create the conditions for Jews to take over the government of the world. Almost immediately this work was discovered to be a fraud, likely the production of the Russian secret police operating in France, and Czar Nicholas II ordered its suppression. But it had escaped Russia and was widely read across Europe, influencing fascists like Adolf Hitler.
All the conspiracy theories about the global take over by a ‘cabal’ (from the Hebrew ‘Kabbalah’) we now see in the far-right, QAnon, and the anti-gender movement find their origin in this anti-Semitic fiction. The anti-gender movement shares this belief in a global take over with the racist far-right and it shares it with QAnon. What it also shares with QAnon is the Blood Libel myth (also found in The Protocols); the belief that this cabal is murdering children. In QAnon, as we have discussed, this takes the form of an insane vampire story, but in the anti-gender movement’s version it is about the harm done to children by medical experimentation by the global elite-controlled ‘Big Pharma.’ Here we must be careful. It is true that there are serious medical ethical questions around the treatment of children — around the treatment of anyone — but this simply cannot be equated with the medical experiments conducted on children in Auschwitz by men like Josef Mengele.
Absolutely, there is room for discussion around the appropriateness of puberty blockers and other medical interventions involving children. No one is suggesting there shouldn’t be. Yet still, the anxiety surrounding the ‘medicalisation of children’ has become a fixation of gender critical feminism, and here again we see the shady influence of ‘money,’ of ‘globalists,’ and of course ‘Big Pharma.’ The details may differ, but the themes of these two myths are the same; a powerful cabal feeding off the blood of children — a perfect reiteration of the Blood Libel myth from The Protocols.
Now, this is not to say that Big Pharma isn’t real. Of course it is. We live in an age of multinational — globalised — corporations with which state governments are struggling to content and regulate. This is a serious problem. We live in an age of the super-rich, where billionaires are able to use vast sums of money when the planet is quite literally melting to take pleasure trips to space. This too is a problem. And yes, liberal democracies are becoming more inclusive. But none of this adds up to a totality, to a global conspiracy. Critique is required, for sure. But perhaps we should focus on the real causes of our social and economic problems rather than on fin de siècle anti-Semitic fantasies. Capitalism and its political form, neoliberalism, are the driving forces behind the exploitation of people and the environment, and it is these that are behind ‘Big Pharma’ — not trans people (or Jews).
What we find everywhere, far beyond any connections between the far-right and the anti-gender movement, is the primal connection between the billionaire class and the political right. By funding right-wing movements, think tanks, and organisations — like the Heritage Foundation, where we get all this anti-trans nonsense and conversion therapy — the rich keep us looking in the wrong direction and blaming the wrong people; usually the weakest and most vulnerable. This — this — is the real conspiracy. This is the great conspiracy.
The Most Dangerous Conspiracy Theory in the World