Thoughts on Manchester after the bombing – Mal Content.

Another day, another home-grown fanatic, another child of North-Western Europe and more casually chosen victims of freakish ultra-conservative ideologies and their cultures of violence. The killer’s parents fled a post–Stalinist dictatorship, they were born into the liberal-bourgeois culture that tolerates newcomers up to a point, but is founded on institutional racism, structural oppression and the legacy of empire. They will have watched their parents’ homeland smashed to bits on television, before or after becoming conservatised by the latest fascistic religious death-cult.

In the aftermath, the stars that shone out of the gloom were not the self-important politicians, the bungling secret service or swaggering armed cops but Manchester’s Working Class, many having Middle Eastern heritage themselves. The taxi drivers and hospitality workers offering mutual aid and practical solidarity. The NHS staff working flat out all night, the homeless first aiders, the residents who sheltered and fed strangers. Then as the dust settled, Mancunians at home and away rushed to identify with their city, to defend its diverse culture and celebrate its unique characteristics.

The difference between a city and a nation-state is not just one of scale. The latter, its boundaries arbitrarily drawn and extended by conquest, has always to construct an artificial identity that uneasily juggles the opposing interests of rulers and ruled, the conceit of parasites and the aspirations of paupers. Its values are those of the rich excused to the poor and imposed on them by force or deception. It’s best defined by whatever its bosses claim it isn’t and whoever it’s currently at war with. We have common enemies, but we’re not on the same side.

A city, on the other hand is a community in the sense that its people are genuinely interconnected and dependent upon each other. It grows organically over decades or centuries, it is the sum of whatever its citizens do for each other, what they offer to and receive from the wider world. It is visibly built and operated by the Working Class, who feed it, light it, keep it moving and clean. The rich may occupy bits of it, divide it, rob it, starve it, even ruin it but they cannot claim any credit for its identity.

By the way, if this doesn’t make you appreciate Fire and Ambulance Crews, A&E facilities, Junior Doctors and hospital beds, nothing will.

Solidarity With Trans Prisoners: Noise Demo at HMP Doncaster.

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January 22nd is International Day of Solidarity With Trans Prisoners, a day to highlight the struggles of our siblings behind bars and fight for a world without prisons.

Following the tragic and preventable death of Jenny Swift last month we will be demonstrating outside HMP Doncaster at 4pm after visiting hours. Wrap up warm, bring torches, glow sticks, sparklers, bright things, and things to make noise – we want to be loud enough for the people held inside to hear and let them know they’re not forgotten. Sound systems, loudhalers, drums, pots and pans, anything you can think of! facebook event

HMP Doncaster is 22 mins walk from Doncaster train station, well connected by rail. Manchester No Prisons are organising minibuses from Manchester and will be able to shuttle people from the station to the prison and back on the day, Leeds Action for Trans Health are coming from Leeds, Sheffield Action for Trans Health and Queer Agenda Sheffield – QASh are organising lifts from Sheffield. We’ll update with more information about lifts as it becomes avalable – comment on the event if you’re driving and have spaces going.

Love and rage,

Action for Trans Health