1. The WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7 states:
“We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.”
As class-struggle anarchists dealing with the relations between gender, race and class, we must, in theory and practice, pick a path between two pitfalls. On one side is economic reductionism – the reduction of all political questions to the social relations of production – which erases the perspectives and struggles of women, queers and people of colour; submerges their voices within an overly generalised class narrative, in which the idealised Worker is implicitly white heterosexual and male; or consigns their struggles to a secondary importance compared to the “real struggle” of (economic) class against class. On the other is a stultifying and inward-looking liberal-idealist identity politics, concerned fetishistically with the identification of privilege and the self-regulation of individual oppressive behaviour to the (near) exclusion of organised struggle, which, while amplifying the voices of the marginalised, consigns them to an echo chamber where they can resonate harmlessly.
The Civil Partnership Bill was signed into law in July and the first civil registrations are expected early next year. The new legislation provides same-sex (and heterosexual) couples with ‘marriage-like benefits’ and can be seen as a move towards equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transsexual) people.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Celebrations have recently been seen all over the world, as a celebration of sexual diversity. It's worth remembering the history of Pride celebrations, of their origin in a homophobic and repressive culture, and their challenge to a world that refused to recognise sexual freedom. In this article, Paul McAndrew discusses the origins of Pride as a moment when the queer community in New York stood up and fought to be proud of their sexualities.
This year it feels as if there has been a revamping of homophobia in the north which has had, unsurprisingly, significant support from the church and those in political and therefore institutional power.
We have witnessed the DUP quash the third attempt to legalise queer marriage, bigoted ‘Christian’ bakers refusing to follow through with a service they advertised because it went against their “deeply held beliefs” (not to mention all the other services they provide that do go against their beliefs). This was followed by the the DUP attempting to bring in a 'Conscience Clause' to legalize and institutionalize homophobia; to make it legal to refuse service to someone because of their sexuality. The above examples are only a few of the homophobic incidents that have taken place recently.
The resistance and the fightback from these incidents must be queer-led and supported by our straight allies. Moreover, it should be noted that incidents like the above push us into a defensive stance; as opposed to an offensive one.
Aidan writes "As a queer and a participant in the anti-water charges movement, I regard Aodhán Ó Ríordáin's comments as a rather cynical and desperate attempt to paint one of the most promising movements for progress in this state as somehow regressive, and to staple together some progressive credentials for himself by co-opting LGBT demands and organising.
Joan Burton has seized upon her brief inconvenience in being faced with the people in Jobstown last week to try and smear water charge resistance in general.
Now the Phone is already notorious for inventing quotes from random people she claims to meet about how they just love austerity so perhaps you’ll forgive us some cynicism. In any case, according to the Irish Times:
"Joan Burton has accused Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy of “smirking” while protesters threw missiles and taunted gardaí with homophobic and misogynistic remarks during the water chargers protest."
A critique of liberal conceptions of 'intersectionality' and an outline of an anarchist, class struggle approach.
Privilege and the theory around it is a significant topic of debate at the moment among those interested in radical social change. Touching on many issues dear to the hearts of anarchists, it is hard to avoid.(i) Yet, the two are not fitting together as well as they should and there is a sense of unease about this. (ii) Much of this is because privilege theory has emerged from US academic circles rather than anarchist ones and, ironically, has been co-opted to protect middle- class privileges. (iii) This is a situation in need of repair if we are to maintain our links with feminist, anti- racist and other struggles against oppression. If we are to create a mass movement capable of social change then it has to be able to engage with everyone in the first place.
Guest writer, Dónal O’Driscoll, contributes to the ongoing discussion on intersectionality and privilege theory.