Late October round-up of UK work and social struggles and international repression news

Trans/intersex Solidarity Gathering in Bournemouth.

Industrial Workers of the World Dorset

On Sunday 28th October four Dorset branch members attended a rally in Bournemouth square to show solidarity with trans/intersex comrades in the USA, who are now threatened with highly repressive legislation, that if passed would set them back half a century at least. The category of gender would be replaced by a legal definition of ‘sex’ to be determined by a physical examination of external genitalia at the moment of birth, disputes to be settled by ‘genetic testing’.

This is not only bad politics it’s crank science, promoted by ignorant fundamentalists who don’t even believe in evolution or climate change. Nevertheless it’s already drawn approval from the far-right and TERFs on this side of the Atlantic. It’s got to be worth a fight, hasn’t it?

The event was hastily arranged on face book. We were glad to be part of a good-natured gathering of Working Class trans-,cis-, non-binary and gender-nonconforming…

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Questions without Answers: Reginald House and Old Tidemill Garden


Save Reginald Save Tidemill

On 19 October I wrote the following on the Save Reginald Save Tidemill Facebook page. My comment was written in response to a shared statement by Lewisham Labour Councillor Joe Dromey, the Cabinet Member for Finance, Skills and Jobs, that he had originally made on the I Love Deptford page about the regeneration scheme. The son of Harriet Harman MP, the former Acting Leader of the Labour Party, and Jack Dromey MP, the Shadow Labour Minister for Work and Pensions, Joe Dromey is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research, the think tank that did much to create and form the current programme of estate demolition and redevelopment with the publication in 2015 of ‘City Villages: More homes, better communities’. I asked to join the I Love Deptford page in order to respond directly to Councillor Dromey, but my request to do so was…

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Brazil: The Alternative to Fascism Is not Democracy–From Democracy to Freedom in Portuguese, Greek, and German


In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, fascist proponent of dictatorship and mass killings, has won the election. Who needs a military coup when you use voting to accomplish exactly the same thing? We’ve already explored in detail how the left and centrist parties paved the way for this. From Brazil to France, parties across the political spectrum have lost all pretense of offering any solution to social problems other than escalating state violence. In this context, it’s not surprising that politicians who explicitly represent the police and military are coming to power, as they have become the linchpin of the state itself.

Our hearts go out to our comrades in Brazil, who have already experienced a tremendous amount of state repression and capitalist violence—and will now face far worse. Perhaps the immediate resistance that greeted the election of Donald Trump can serve as a useful reference point. Yet because of the…

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Bigger than a hexadecimal: some notes on the gender binary

Cautiously pessimistic

One of the arguments made by trans-exclusionary feminists that can sound convincing, at least at first, concerns the question of gender essentialism: after all, if the categories of “man” and “woman” as we understand them are social constructs imposed by patriarchy, then how can we say that trans women are women or trans men are men, when really no one is “naturally” a woman or a man?

Once we start paying attention to things that trans people actually say, rather than just the things that trans-exclusionary feminists attribute to them, the picture becomes more complicated, as it turns out that it’s totally possible for people to advocate for trans acceptance while also arguing against gender essentialism. Still, the question of how we can make life more comfortable for people having to navigate the categories imposed by patriarchy, while also critiquing those categories themselves and fighting against any attempt to…

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Fuel Poverty Action – An Open Letter to the Secretary of State

Grenfell Action Group

Sixteen months after the Grenfell fire, on Wednesday 17 October, 50 people stood together in the the rain, outside of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to deliver an Open Letter that demanded safe and warm tower block homes. The demonstration was organised by Fuel Poverty Action. Many of those who came, spoke out.

Speakers included residents living with Grenfell-style cladding, people from the Grenfell community, and supporters. The speeches covered a wide range of issues, including the plight of children at Grenfell, the needs of disabled people in high rise blocks, and the threat of climate change and associated extreme cold weather to residents whose insulation has been removed. The common thread of safe and warm homes tied it all together, and many, including the Fire Brigades Union, Unite Housing Workers and other major trade union bodies, pledged their support to the campaign for Safe Cladding and…

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Business as normal is not an option

The South Essex Heckler - Archive

The next phase of ‘consultation’ for the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) is now underway. As far as Highways England are concerned, it’s a done deal and all that remains to be settled are tweaks to their plans. Basically, the consultations are about asking residents of Thurrock precisely how they would like to be screwed over by a six lane highway smashing it’s way through our environment, bringing yet more noise and pollution, not to mention an increase in CO2 emissions.

In case Highways England and all of the supporters of the LTC and ever increasing ‘growth’ in the region haven’t noticed, climate scientists recently released a report effectively stating that business as normal is not an option: World leaders ‘have moral obligation to act’ after UN climate report. Looking the the graphic above, were at the point where we’re moving from Oops to Fuck. Time is running out if we’re…

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Why transphobia hurts gender non-conforming cis people


Content note: This post will discuss transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, police brutality, some sources will include *phobic statements or arguments

Recent transphobic discourse has focused on claiming that trans people, by virtue of our mere existence, prop up patriarchal gender norms or that transition is a form of highly convoluted anti-gay conversion therapy by parents who are deeply homophobic but curiously accepting of the idea of having a trans child. This is obvious nonsense, it also begs the question of exactly what the effect of transphobia is on gender non-conforming people.

Gender norms are the set of social expectations placed on us by society based on our presumed gender, such as the expectation that women should be nurturing, shy and submissive while men should be strong, outgoing and dominant, the expectation that women will be exclusively sexually and romantically attracted to men (and vice versa) or the expectation in modern…

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Demands from Newham residents living in Brimstone house grow louder

Focus E15 Campaign

Brimstone house in Stratford in Newham East London is the name of the former Focus E15 hostel. Conditions have changed very little since Robin Wales closed down the mother and baby unit there 5 years ago. Families are still living in temporary, overcrowded accommodation, unsure of how long they will be left there and extremely worried about being evicted and being sent out of London altogether by Newham council. Focus E15 campaign believe that residents from Brimstone house need to be rehoused in their community close to their support networks and this is what residents are demanding.

The stressful eviction process should stop- however families must not be left in prison like conditions for years on end! Suitable accommodation must be found (even if that means the Council opening up empty properties in the borough) as big, bold solutions are urgently needed to provide Newham residents with long term housing.

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