Let’s reclaim Pride as a protest
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) activists are organising to reclaim the Pride march in London after the event was dramatically scaled back this year.
Two meetings called to discuss how to take back and organise the event brought together hundreds of people. The mood is clear—we have to return to the roots of Pride as a protest that raises the banner of LGBT liberation.
For many Pride is the one day when they can take to the streets together, out and proud. It is a coming out process for thousands.
The TUC hosted a meeting following a motion at TUC LGBT conference. Speakers expressed fury at the lack of accountability and transparency of Pride London.
There was anger at the refusal by Tory mayor Boris Johnson and Westminster Council to allow the full parade to go ahead. Many rightly saw this as an attack on LGBT rights.
People were concerned at the increasing corporatisation of Pride and agreed that LGBT businesses should not be allowed to control it.
This message was conveyed to a follow-up meeting hosted by Gay Star News last week that also included representatives of gay businesses.
The meeting agreed that Pride must be free, inclusive and representative of all LGBT people. It also said that pride must be a political, campaigning event led and organised by LGBT people.
A further meeting has been called for 5 September at the TUC offices. This could provide a real opportunity for LGBT people from across London to reclaim Pride and shape the future of the event.
Wherever possible, LGBT Socialist Worker supporters should be delegated from their trade union or organisation to attend. Email Peter Purton, TUC LGBT officer, to register at firstname.lastname@example.org
Viv Smith, east London
Don’t joke at our expense
This year’s Marxism Festival was a great event. We were particularly impressed by the large number of disabled people attending.
We feel that this reflects the growing movement of disabled people against austerity and the growing number who are for radical change.
Yet one incident left us with some serious concerns about the attitudes of what we believe to be a very small minority of those attending.
One individual was overheard saying, “Given the quality of some of the contributions perhaps the event should be renamed Autism 2012.”
We are sure that the vast majority of those attending would have been shocked and disturbed to hear such a comment. The socialist movement is rightly opposed to humour that tries to make those from oppressed groups the butt of jokes.
The implication here that those with autism are intellectually inferior is ignorant and unacceptable. These attitudes perpetuate the oppression of disabled people and have no place in our movement.
Lenin referred to revolutionaries as tribunes of the people. This attitude must extend to disabled people as well as other oppressed groups for anyone who claims to be a socialist and revolutionary.
Rob Murthwaite and Ellen Clifford, north London
One Blair is bad, but two would be diabolical
All across Britain former Blairite ministers are raising their snouts from the privatisation trough as word spreads of a possible Second Coming.
At a recent Labour Party fundraiser held at the Emirates Stadium, well-heeled guests gave multi-millionaire Tony Blair a standing ovation. Labour’s current leader Ed Miliband, on the other hand, received a decidedly lukewarm reception.
The minimum ticket price was £500. The top tickets cost over £12,000. No one tried to arrest the visiting war criminal.
The Blairites think that only a Blair government could impose Greek-style austerity. They hope that Blair could form a national government. And it could be even worse.
His investment banker son Euan Blair is looking for a safe Labour seat. For us this could be the Blairite zombie apocalypse.
John Newsinger, Leicester
A4e said I was too negative to find work
I attended a two-day “finding and getting jobs” workshop run by workfare firm A4e last week. Much of the focus was on having “positive thoughts” and believing in our ability to find work.
We were told to think of ourselves as “products” to be marketed. On the walls, quotes implied that we could achieve our dreams if only we try. The underlying message was that we are to blame for our unemployment.
When we disputed this and talked about economic crisis, we were told that we were making excuses and building “barriers”.
Apparently this negativity puts off potential employers. Some people may take this message on board and try to be more positive.
But I worry about those who try to change themselves but still can’t find work. I also can’t believe that, if the millions out of work stopped giving negative vibes, we would have full employment.
The Tories should stop funding firms like A4e and invest in welfare and jobs. This would make me much more positive.
Name and address supplied
In a hunt for the ‘nation’
Can someone please tell me what and where the nation is? I keep hearing references to it on the TV.
Only you see I’m standing on an island off the coast of France and I can’t find it.
Richard Lawrence, Kent
Don’t save the queen, God
I support the athletes who have refused to sing the national anthem during the Olympics. It’s a little chink in the orgy of nationalism that the Games have brought. Maybe it shows not everyone is buying into it.
Andrea Nickless, Sheffield
Take the cash from the rich
Regarding your article on the trillions looted by the rich—excellent point! This point needs to be made again and again to as many people as possible.
There is money and we don’t need cuts. It’s just that the wealthy parasites have it all and we need to take it off them!
Say goodbye to the cops
Finally some good news—the number of police officers has fallen by 5,000 in just one year. Surely it’s time to say there are some cuts that we can support?
Jen Baker, Manchester
Tories make the NHS sick
I heard that all children might be given a vaccine for flu. This sounds like a good thing. But some reports claimed that parents might have to give children the drug themselves because there are so few nurses.
It’s a sad state of affairs when we’re administering our own healthcare because the Tories won’t fund the NHS.
Denise Carey, Bristol