On the road again: Weston Radical Bookfair 2023.

Three of us spent a pleasant day in the West country at the second Weston Super Mare Radical Bookfair, hosted  by the North Somerset LGBT+ Forum and the Sanctuary Cafe. Unfortunately this friendly progressive venue is closing shortly due to rising costs. Our comrades have another location lined up for next year so keep an eye on the facebook page and if you’re in the area perhaps visit the Sanctuary Closing Night Bash on Saturday, 18th February From 18:00-23:00.

We made many new friends and met up with some old ones, a good start to the season and we hope to do it again.


Pictures by Green.

November Remembrance Day blog, by Peregrin.

It’s November, which means it’s the time for red paper poppies again. When I’m asked why I’m not wearing a poppy it gives me pause for thought. Unlike many that obediently wear their poppy I do actually think about what I’m doing nowadays, if I choose to wear or not wear one I will at least do so mindfully and with purpose. Don’t get me wrong when I was young, I used to blithely wear my red poppy and remember all the dead people I had never met and never knew. Then, later, I would wear my white poppy to challenge that narrative of only remembering those who died as soldiers in the war. I’ve moved on again since then.

When I’m asked why I’m not wearing a poppy there are several reasons behind that. Most people that ask won’t want the answer. I suppose the easy answer is that I think that it’s more important to help the living than remember the dead. That’s a sound bite so let’s go deeper.

Even as a child I instinctively understood that history was important. We had to remember the suffering from the past to learn how to stop it happening again in the future. It should be a process of evaluation and improving. In my innocence I thought that’s what the red poppy stood for. That in some way we could prevent war by wearing it. As I got older I somehow came to believe that we could prevent war by remembering all the victims; soldiers, civilians, men, women, children and animals. I’ve come to the understanding that if this were true we would no longer have war or suffering or death, because remembering isn’t enough. We need to understand the reasons for it and put in place prevention and cures.

War – what is it good for? Well, it’s very good for making some people very rich. It’s very good for killing people, but not just any people; it doesn’t kill politicians and not so many rich people. It appears that the majority of people who are killed are going to be the poor old working class. Who does the fighting and the killing? It’s not so much the rich and the officer class is it? It’s the working class, privates, our children, the boys with the stars in their eyes off looking for adventure, and family, decent pay and heroism. Taken away to serve the ruling classes in a bid for control of the planet’s resources.

When I’m asked why I’m not wearing a poppy I reflect on the glorification of war, the way the poppy is used as a recruiting tool. We wouldn’t need to raise money through charities to support the victims of war if we did away with the wars of the ruling classes. The best way to support those victims is to stop making them.

I used to wear the white peace poppy, of course I was a pacifist back then, a hippy child of innocent heart. I used to believe in peaceful protest. In my naivety and because it made sense to me in the fight for justice and peace and equality, I thought it would make sense to the ruling classes to give up their wealth and their power, I don’t know why I thought they would want the same things that I did. I thought we could march and that when we had enough people we could just ask for what we want and make a better world for everyone through co-operation.

I think I’ve grown up a bit since then. Why would the rich give up their power over us voluntarily. The more power we take the more they will try to defend what they have. They don’t care about fairness or equality, that’s a lie they spin to the working class to get them to comply with the system from which they benefit the most.

When I’m asked why I don’t wear a poppy, these are the thoughts that go through my mind. How does it benefit anyone to wear these symbols? They are symbols of compliance, they are to distract us by making us think about the dead rather than the living, a great display of pageantry and theatre to entertain us. The class war continues while we look the other way and remember, but we never learn, we just remember the past when we should be looking into the present. Looking at all our class who die and are killed by the system, the same one that caused the wars in the past and that causes the continuing class war today.

When I’m asked why I don’t wear ay poppy, these are the thoughts that go through my head but I don’t have the words to express those thoughts and they wouldn’t understand or care if I did. They would take it as a criticism but it’s not. If you want to wear your poppy, if that’s your thing, if that’s how you make a difference in the world go ahead. I don’t care if it’s red, white, purple, black or rainbow coloured, I appreciate the sentiment behind the idea of trying to stop war. I just don’t think a poppy has the power to do that, I’ve lost faith; I think we need to think about it more.

When I’m asked why I don’t wear a poppy and why I won’t be attending Remembrance Day this year I ask the question why don’t you wear transgender badge?  Why won’t you be attending transgender day of remembrance when we stand together to remember a group of people that died this year around the world? Killed by the system, the same one that continues to kill people even to this day, young people who had to die for the crime of just wanting to be themselves. Because maybe if we remember the present instead of the past we might be able to figure out a way to stop it all happening again and again into the future. We do need to take action though – Watch, record, evaluate, understand and take action.

Transgender Day of Remembrance – 20th November  – Think it over!

Queering The Pitch

AnarCom Network

As the de facto homo-hating Tories cement their ‘new’ regime firmly on the right, the Foreign Minister responsible for the safety of UK citizens abroad, James Cleverly, tells LGBTQI+ football fans planning to go to the World Cup fiasco in the Emirati statelet of Qatar to show “a little bit of flex and compromise”

He went on to add that “These are Muslim countries (sic), they have a very different cultural starting point for us. I think it’s important when you’re a visitor to a country that you respect the culture of your host nation.” One wonders what advice he would have found acceptable to give black citizens visiting apartheid South Africa.

This follows the arrest of redoubtable human rights and queer activist Peter Tatchell there for protesting outside the National Museum of Qatar with a placard bearing “Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion’ #QatarAntiGay.”

LGBT organisations engaging with FIFA have said

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Red and Black Telly roundup.

Red and Black Telly roundup.

Fascists from Misantropic Division attacked volunteer of Operation Solidarity in Lviv [Ukraine]

Enough 14

Ukraine. A message from Operation Solidarity about a fascist attack on one of their activists in Lviv. Originally published by Operation Solidarity Telegram Channel.

In Lviv, fascists from the Misanthropic Division attacked our fellow volunteer, who was helping soldiers with ammunition, equipment, and bulletproof vests. It happened near a military supply store, where he went for new purchases. He has a broken finger.

Let us not forget that Ukrainian anti-authoritarian and left-wing activists are organizing resistance to the invaders, helping the fighters, supporting hospitals and people in need of food, care and scarce medicines. Attacks on us, our comrades or acquaintances = SUPPORT TO THE OCCUPIER.

We strongly recommend all racist fighters to stop doing nonsense in the rear and start doing useful things. Want action? You know where to go.

Image above: One of the attackers.

The Authority of the Boot-Maker. By Mal Content.

Here’s the whole thing.
You can all now pick holes in it, not that Mal would give a shit.

Death in the English Channel – ACG (GB) and UCL (France) statement

The Anarchist Communist Group.

The following is a statement agreed by the ACG and the Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL) in France.

The recent twenty-seven deaths of refugees in the English Channel follow another ten deaths this year of desperate refugees attempting to cross to the UK. There does not appear to be official figures for the number of deaths in similar circumstances over the last twenty years, but last October a figure of 296 was given of those attempting to cross by boat or tunnel. These latest figures raise the number of deaths to over 330, to say nothing of the thousands who have met their deaths in the Mediterranean. Our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of those who have died.

Both the British and French governments have attempted to place the blame for these deaths on people traffickers. But it wasn’t the traffickers who supplied the arms to vicious authoritarian regimes and who intervened in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, with bombings and occupations, destabilising the region, it was the Western powers, and that includes France and Britain. In addition, the French state has carried out a war against the refugees, dismantling their camps and pulling down their tents in the middle of winter, running out rolls of barbed wire around a camp at Lille and along the railway tracks to Calais, rounding up migrants, subjecting them to harassment, gassings, and strip searches. On the day of the tragedy that resulted in the 27 deaths, the sub-prefect of Boulogne-sur-Mer sent the police to stop the survivors being supplied with dry clothes.

There have been 1,281 recorded attempts to cross the Channel since the beginning of the year, involving a total of 33,083 people, according to the French maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea. The British Home Office recognises that 25,792 refugees managed to reach Kent, and the Maritime Prefecture says that it has brought back 8,200 during rescue operations.

The refugees don’t come to the West just to annoy people in Calais and in Kent. They are fleeing mass murders, bombings, oppressive regimes and political and religious persecution. Many are Kurds who have been forced to flee from Iraq, Iran and Syria. They are not coming to the UK to “scrounge” as has been stated by Priti Patel and other Conservative MPs in parliament, but because there are already existing migrant communities who can support them and provide work, often off the record. Indeed, in early November, Patel stated that 70% of refugees were ‘economic migrants’ and she has not substantiated this spurious allegation. Tory MPs like Edward Leigh and Julian Lewis have gloated in Parliament over the deaths, saying that it would act as a lesson for those attempting to cross the Channel into Britain.

Both the French and British governments have expressed hypocritical sympathy for those who have died, Macron saying that he would not let the Channel become a cemetery. His actions say otherwise. Meanwhile Boris Johnson allocated £54 million last summer to stop crossings. Both are cynically using the crossings to exacerbate the tension between the British and French governments.

It is precisely because of the militarised and heavily fortified crossing points, particularly at the entrances to the tunnel at Coquelles, that have forced refugees to take to sea, often on improvised rafts.

Johnson came to power because of Brexit and one of the aims of Brexit was to end the influx of migrants, especially from the Middle East. This is failing significantly, as around 25% of refugees manage to cross to Britain. In France there is the run-up to the presidential elections, and candidates are keen to show how zealous they are to combat migration.

The Johnson government has closed down any legal paths into the UK and ways of setting up safer routes, such as allowing asylum applications at British embassies, which it virulently opposes. The resettlement scheme he promised for those fleeing from the Taliban in Afghanistan three months ago has still not been implemented, forcing many to take dangerous routes to escape. As for Priti Patel, the Home Office minister, she continues to blame the French government and her own legal advisers and officials for a failure to deliver on Brexit promises. She has raised the idea of a “push-back” policy, with the coastguard and the Navy forcing refugees back to France mid-Channel. No seafarer relishes condemning anyone to drowning, and even the staff union of Border Force, the frontiers law enforcement agency, has rejected the “push-back”. Other crazy schemes mooted have been the sub-contracting of processing asylum seekers to distant countries, for example Albania. The Albanian government has dismissed this as “totally fake”.

For us, libertarian communists, the world is not divided between East and West, North and South, but between the classes, between those who rule and exploit and profit, and those who work and produce the wealth, and are used as cannon fodder by the boss class. Solidarity between French and British workers and with the migrants. Don’t let the nasty, sordid aim of restructuring capitalism on a global scale by those who rule and exploit fool you. The workers of the world have no country. It is time to resurrect a class consciousness that does not recognise borders and states. In the meantime, we must fight to stop any further deaths in the Channel.

Trans Rights is a Class Issue

Anarchist Communist Group.

On Trans Day of Remembrance (20th November 2021), we remember and honour the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months. Trans people around the world face structural, institutional, societal, and direct violence. The violence that trans people face has roots in the policies, laws, and institutional practices of capitalist society.

We have long known the function of gender roles and gender inequality in capitalism, not just in dividing the working class, but also in ensuring the cultural norms that secure the provision of unpaid domestic and care work. Following from this analysis, we add trans people’s struggle against oppression to a structural understanding of oppression in modern society. Indeed, gender nonconformity poses a threat to those patriarchal structures of gender oppression, whereby capitalism benefits from unpaid work in the home that is still, to varying degrees, divided according to traditionalist gender roles.

It is clear that transgender and non-binary people’s experience of inequality, discrimination and violence cannot just be explained with reference to individual prejudice. Structural observation shows that we must also pay attention to the role of capitalist exploitation.

One in three UK employers said in a 2018 survey that they would be less likely to hire a trans person. The retail sector came out even worse, with 47 per cent of employers saying they were unlikely to employ a trans person.

Research in the US has shown that trans people are twice as likely to be living in poverty as the general population , and that work place discrimination affects more than three quarters of transgender people, who disproportionately face such issues as loss of employment due to discrimination, refusal to hire, privacy violations, and extreme levels of unemployment. Of the reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people whose profession was known, worldwide, 58 per cent were sex workers.

From this we can see that transgender people are more likely to be working class, and therefore we must conclude that trans rights is a class issue. And the violence that trans people face is a class issue.

We in the ACG are against all oppressions and inequality both because of the hardship and suffering it causes and because we need to unite as a class if we are to be effective in our struggles. The working class is composed of people of varying sexuality, people with disabilities, those who struggle against the straitjacket of gender categories, people from many ethnic backgrounds.

Divide and rule has long been used as a tool to subjugate us. We in the ACG seek to unite the working class, because our struggles are worth fighting for together, in an integrated fight to seek revolutionary social change and to create a society in which exploitation is abolished and all resources are held in common.


Patriarchy: A design for oppression.

Chapter Twenty-two of The Authority of the Boot-Maker by Mal Content.

“I haven’t the faintest notion what possible revolutionary role white heterosexual men could fulfil, since they are the very embodiment of reactionary-vested-interest-power.”

– Robin Morgan: ‘Sisterhood is Powerful’.

If, like me you come into that category, your initial reaction to this statement may be one of dismissal, but once you’ve had the thought it never quite goes away. If you’re serious about revolution, it makes sense to regularly question whether you may be one of those holding it back. One of the reasons people glaze over when we speak of revolution is the glaring fact that almost every revolutionary movement has rapidly re-created the power structures it set out to abolish, and frequently ended up killing more of its own side than the enemy. The cure is worse than the disease! There is a reason for this, and it’s staring us in the face. Just as capitalism and state re-create each other, so do patriarchy and hierarchy.

I see patriarchy as the original and fundamental form of oppression; I believe it informs not only how men oppress women, but also how they oppress each other, and how the bourgeois state oppresses us all. The structural character of this oppression makes it virtually impossible, with the best of intentions, not to be complicit on some level, a revelation the enormity of which, takes time to sink in.

“Nothing in nature explains the sexual division of labour, nor such institutions as marriage, conjugality or paternal filiation. All are imposed on women by constraint, all are therefore facts of civilization which must be explained, not used as explanations.”

– Claude Meillassoux: Maidens, Meal and Money: Capitalism and the Domestic Community.

We see how ideological hegemony causes the oppressed to reproduce their oppression; patriarchy is a specific hegemony that cuts across economic and cultural lines, but like capitalism and the state it stands as an obstacle to a free society. By patriarchy I mean the structural

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