After the election of the new executive director of Center for Women’s studies in Zagreb, Croatia, in the past few days we have witnessed a tide of antagonistic, unsubstantiated – and above all, sexist – attacks aimed both at the new director Dorotea Šušak, and the institution itself. [Attacks are based on the fact that she has in the past shared, on her personal social networks. tweets by J.K.Rowling, and those screenshots are now being used as an indisputable “proof” of transphobia.] These attacks are a part of the (now ubiquitous) campaign to silence and frighten women and feminists who object to misogynist and regressive ideologies and ideas.
We, as the organizations, groups and individuals signed below, strongly object to this kind of orchestrated attack on the Center for Women’s studies and their new director Dorotea Šušak. This campaign does not just disqualify and belittle all those brave women that have founded the Center in a historically difficult time, but also aims to take down the Center as an institution. As we live and work in the culture of discontinuity that not only denies credit to our predecessors, but also erases them entirely, we believe that this campaign also aims to deny the younger generations of women (and also men) access to feminist education in this space that was always a safe space for learning.
We believe that those who attack the Center and their new director in this way do not intend to have a democratic debate on the important feminist questions, but on the contrary, to silence the debate and the critical voices among it. We are witnessing the global trend of retribution over all those uncompromising women that question, both in theory and in practice, the status quo. These politics manifest through the endangerment of specifically women’s spaces and institutions, but also through the attacks aimed at individual women. We’ve watched as Michfest (that existed since 1976) was shut down, and as Vancouver Rape Relief was threatened, attacked and defunded. Above all, we reject the idea that the creation of women-only spaces and programmes is inherently transphobic.
This type of discreditation and belittlement of someone, based on their legitimate opinions stated on social networks, resembles more a tabloid-style harassment, intimidation and lynch, rather than an expression of disagreement. Given that the institutions like Center for Women’s studies everywhere, not only in Croatia, were founded on principles of freedom of speech and critical thought, this kind of unsubstantiated attack is not aimed only at the new director, but the institution itself. Undoubtedly, a political debate is important within our activist groups and academic spaces; however, boycott in this context does not offer a solution but attempts to suppress the debate at its beginning.
We, as the organizations, groups and individuals signed below, stand in solidarity with the Center for Women’s studies and their director Dorotea Šušak.
LasUsurpadoras, feministički kolektiv iz Beograda
Lezbejska i gej solidarna mreža
Žene u crnom, Beograd
Revolucionarna socijalistička organizacija Marks21
Koalicja LGB, Polska
LGB Alliance Cymru
Women Speak Tasmania
Feminist Legal Clinic Inc.
Frente LGB Brasil
Women’s Action Group (Sth West VIC)
Spinifex Press Australia
Women’s Human Rights Campaign
Women’s Human Rights Campaign – Spain
Julie Bindel, journalist and author
Kajsa Ekis Ekman, author and journalist
Svenka Savić, profesorka emerita Univerziteta u Novom Sadu
Neva Tolle, Autonomna ženska kuća Zagreb
Ingeborg Kraus, psychologist and anti-prostitution advocate
Miranda Yardley, human rights activist
Liz Kelly, professor of sexualised violence
Melissa Farley, Prostitution Research & Education
Iza Palinska, women’s rights advocate and politician, Poland
Derrick Jensen, an American author, ecophilosopher, radical environmentalist, and anti-civilization advocate.
Robert Jensen, a former professor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.
Susan Griffin, radical feminist philosopher, essayist and playwright
Stephany Seay, member Deep Green Resistance
Simone Watson, director Nordic Model Australia Coalition
Cecilia Solana (Argentina, South America)
Nikki Craft, ACLU Always Causing Legal Unrest
Mary Alice Miller
Anna Zobnina, European Network of Migrant Women
Bronwyn Williams, retired lawyer/social worker
Dana Vitalosova, writer and feminist, Slovakia
Susana Pavlou, Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies
Isla MacGregor, Free Speech Advocate
Anna Kerr, Principal Solicitor, Feminist Legal Clinic Inc.
Staša Zajović, aktivistkinja Žena u crnom
Ljupka Kovačević, Anima, Centar za žensko i mirovno obrazovanje, Kotor, Crna Gora
Viviane Morrigan BSc (Hons) MA (Hons) PhD, COAL (Coalition of Activist Lesbians), Australia
Monika Beatty, Manitoba
June Louise Ickringill, British Columbia, Canada
Rachel Moran, Dublin, Ireland
Michelle Uriarau, Co-Founder Women’s Action Group, Australia
Anna McCormack, Convenor, IWD Brisbane Meanjin
Taylor McGowan, QLD, Australia
Judith Pattison, QLD, Australia
Nikolina Zec, Osijek
Hana Lilić Prodanović
Anđelija Vučurević, Novi Sad
Jeet Chahal, London
Stefanie Bode, Psychologist, WHRC Country contact Germany
Jacqueline Langenbahn, Germany
Sabeth Blank, Germany
Dianne Landy. New Zealand
Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor, author
Janice Raymond, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts
Donna M. Hughes, Professor, University of Rhode Island, USA
Amparo Domingo, WHRC country contact for Spain.
Kathleen Barry, Professor Emerita, feminist author and activist