Transphobia at the London Anarchist Bookfair 2017

467 posts / 0 new
Last post
anonymouscommun1st's picture
anonymouscommun1st
Offline
Joined: 1-11-17
Nov 2 2017 16:56

Thank you so much!

Mcgoofle's picture
Mcgoofle
Offline
Joined: 2-11-17
Nov 2 2017 22:34

I didnt go this year but I heard all about it from a comrade who did go and became very angry at what he felt was a very disapointing end to a very good event....
However RAG (Revolutionary Anarchist Group Birmingham) stop me and ask me when we meet(once a week) have made a collective desision that we feel that as far as we understand ID politics...which isnt very well quite possibly, it seems to be:- completely lacking in class analysis, very divsionary and very distracting and therefore we tend to discourage it within the group.I would also remind comrades that last year the kerfufle and hoohar was to do with the lively discusion around the various kurdish groups and their disagreement (who let them in ??).

Shameless plug warning:- https://libcom.org/forums/united-kingdom/revolutionary-anarchist-group-birmingam-rag-02112017

Craftwork's picture
Craftwork
Offline
Joined: 26-12-15
Nov 2 2017 22:45

One of the dumbest things I've come across in a long time:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155287986257424&set=a.10151012915332424.421836.517852423&type=3

Admin edit: to remove identifiable photo of an activist.

comrade_emma's picture
comrade_emma
Offline
Joined: 16-09-17
Nov 2 2017 22:43

What do you think "ID politics" is?

past tense
Offline
Joined: 11-10-12
Nov 2 2017 22:43

A statement in solidarity with the London Anarchist Bookfair Collective.

From some friends of the Bookfair

On Saturday 28th October the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair took place in North London. As usual several thousand anarchists and fellow travellers from diverse tendencies attended, ran stalls, held meetings and other activities.

The Bookfair is organised by a small voluntary collective of five, with a wider group of supporters who help out with setting up, facilitating areas or aspects of the events on the day, collecting donations to cover costs of this free event, tidying up at the end, and so on. It is a monumental amount of work, that generally falls on this small group of people (with families and lives, like the rest of us), who come together to spend much of the year running up to October facilitating the staging of an event and a space for several thousand others in the movement. The Bookfair Collective have always shown willing to take on board suggestions, follow up ideas, and include people and organisations with a view to broadening the range of ideas encompassed and the diversity of the program. They have always been open to more involvement in running the Bookfair.

Saturday’s events and the Open Letter

There were a series of incidents at the Bookfair this year which included distribution of leaflets about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act being consulted on and an ensuing stand-off. Several people intervened to stop what looked like a developing potentially physically violent incident against a lone woman activist by a group of people. We would hope that most people reading this would do the same.

Some of the people who intervened to do this were members of the Bookfair Collective but they were not doing so as a group in ‘authority’ on the situation, but as individuals and friends supporting a comrade; just as other bookfair-goers in the past have stepped up to stop others being chucked out. We would suggest it is a misinterpretation of events, and the role of the collective, to see this as a ‘Bookfair Collective intervention’ in order to stop the self-organisation of the group involved.

In the wake of the events on Saturday, an Open Letter has been written and circulated online, calling for changes to, and a potential boycott and/or picket of, next year’s Bookfair. Other public statements are also being discussed around withdrawal/disaffiliation with the Bookfair, here for instance.

The open letter claims

“a pattern of response from Bookfair organisers where incidents of transphobia, anti-semitism, islamophobia, racism and misogyny are ignored” and “organisers have stepped in to defend and support those who use oppressive, violent and dehumanising language to perpetuate racist, colonial and patriarchal systems of oppression.” and the collective “allows racist imperialism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny and ableism to ingratiate themselves as part of the culture of the Bookfair”
We would dispute this and would call for specific examples for any of the above, and evidence that we can reasonably judge from, enough to prove a pattern that the Bookfair Collective have refused to deal with them when raised.

What is the Anarchist Bookfair?

More fundamentally, we would ask to whom are the demands in the open letter really directed?

The Bookfair is not set up to be the representative body for anarchists, nor can it be. It is neither a membership organisation, nor are members of the collective Mediation Practitioners, there to settle the sometimes seismic differences and different perspectives that attendees bring to the event.

Come the day of the Bookfair that space the organisers have facilitated is filled with the politics brought into it by the anarchist movement itself, in all its initiatives, vivid colours and traditions. If a chasm of difference exists over issues that flare up, such as last weekend, the Bookfair Collective are not in a position, nor have the physical resources to arbitrate. So we ask: whose responsibility is this and how do disagreements (sometimes leading to threats of violence or actual violence) get dealt with? The existing statement on these issues can be found on the Bookfair’s website.

We are left to wonder whether anarchist practice has become so inculcated by ‘customer service’ culture that even the Bookfair is attended by consumers forgetting the fundamental essence of DIY, self-organisation and self-regulation of events.

The Bookfair Collective operates on the principle that it is not for the small collective that organises it to take on defining and enforcing a rigid policy on safety and behaviour; it is for the wider movement that takes part in the Bookfair to do so, along anarchist principles of opposing centralized authority with dispersed and grassroots responsibility.

Points raised in the open letter call for a radically different event, with a much more centralized program, organized or tightly overseen by the collective. If we as a movement, decide that this is what we want, many more of us will need to commit time and energy to organising and supporting this annual event.

Where next?

We reject transphobia and have all actively supported struggles against oppression. We support the right of trans identifying people to live their lives free from harassment and abuse, to organise, campaign and engage in debate with whoever they choose; and to be addressed by the gender pronouns of their choice. We support the rights of all women to be heard. We recognise that both trans activists and gender critical feminists are currently feeling attacked, at times to the level of their very existence and identities. We would hope that everyone participating in London Anarchist Bookfair would treat each other respectfully and continue to believe that dialogue is possible so that we can strengthen our struggle against oppression and build a better world. We reject bullying and intimidation – in physical or written form.

The Bookfair can never be the ‘dreamed of Utopia’ the open letter imagines, despite all our desires and dedication. We agree with the open letter on one thing, that we should all always be challenging ourselves and each other to widen liberation and ensure the Bookfair is a safe and respectful event, drawing in communities, and reflecting them. But we also believe it needs to allow for discussion and dissent, while excluding hatred and oppression.

We are not members of the Bookfair Collective but some of us have been in the past, and some of us have been involved in wider support work for Bookfairs. All of us are long-time attendees of the Bookfair. As such we hope that it continues, we offer our solidarity and practical support to the Bookfair Collective. We urge the Collective to look beyond the signatories of the open letter to the many wider groups and individuals who attend and take part in the event every year, and to realise that they do have a groundswell of support out there.

Rather than calling for a boycott of the Bookfair, we would challenge the writers of the open letter to engage meaningfully with the Collective and others to help create the change they want. In the light of the statement’s refusal to engage with the Collective until their minimum demands are met, the Bookfair Collective would be reasonably entitled to ignore the open letter.

So we stand by the Bookfair Collective, and salute how the Bookfair is organised; recognising the immense work done in making it happen every year. But it remains up to all of us who attend and take part in it to ensure that it measures up to the standards of love, solidarity and empowerment that we all desire. It is not possible for the small collective that currently facilitates the space to police them. Nor is it fundamentally anarchism.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Nov 2 2017 22:43
Mcgoofle wrote:
However RAG (Revolutionary Anarchist Group Birmingham) stop me and ask me when we meet(once a week) have made a collective desision that we feel that as far as we understand ID politics...which isnt very well quite possibly, it seems to be:- completely lacking in class analysis, very divsionary and very distracting and therefore we tend to discourage it within the group.

you know what actual divides the working class? racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, nationalism etc
You know what doesn't? opposing that shit.

but somehow the people pointing out the existing divisions get treated like they caused them and told it divisive, lacks class analysis

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 2 2017 23:04
Mcgoofle wrote:
However RAG (Revolutionary Anarchist Group Birmingham) stop me and ask me when we meet(once a week) have made a collective desision that we feel that as far as we understand ID politics...which isnt very well quite possibly, it seems to be:- completely lacking in class analysis, very divsionary and very distracting and therefore we tend to discourage it within the group

https://libcom.org/blog/identity-crisis-leftist-anti-wokeness-bullshit-22082017

Mcgoofle's picture
Mcgoofle
Offline
Joined: 2-11-17
Nov 2 2017 23:09

I find the whole raffle of who is more oppressed slightly confusing, Micheal Portillo is gay, would we say that he is oppressed? i dont think so somehow.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 2 2017 23:16
Craftwork wrote:
One of the dumbest things I've come across in a long time:

Do you mean the banner? Looks like sub-Dawkins new atheist pablum to me.

Quote:
The Haitian Revolution begins with the Bois Caïman ceremony. Ready to carry out their plans, the slaves meet in Morne-Rouge to make final preparations and to give instructions. The slaves decide that “Upon a given signal, the plantations would be systematically set aflame, and a generalized slave insurrection set afoot.” Rumors circulate that white masters and colonial authorities are on their way to France to fight the Crown’s recent decrees granting mulattoes and free blacks rights. Though false, these rumors “served as a rallying point around which to galvanize the aspirations of the slaves, to solidify and channel these into open rebellion.”

The Bois Caïman ceremony and subsequent insurrections are the result of months of planning and strategizing. There are two hundred slave leaders involved from around the North. All hold privileged positions on their plantations, most of them commandeurs with influence and authority over other slaves.Through strategic maneuvering these leaders successfully unite a vast network of Africans, mulattoes, maroons, commandeurs, house slaves, field slaves, and free blacks.

The Bois Caïman ceremony takes place in a thickly wooded area where the slaves solemnize their pact in a voodoo ritual. The ceremony is officiated by Boukman, a maroon leader and voodoo priest from Jamaica, and a voodoo high priestess. Various accounts from that night describe a tempestuous storm, animal sacrifices, and voodoo deities. However, over the centuries the ceremony has become legendary, and it is important to note it can be difficult to distill fact from myth. Some historians, for example, believe the ceremony took place on the 22nd of August, not the 14th.

http://library.brown.edu/haitihistory/5.html

Is it a model for organising? Definitely not. But the slave uprisings and movements like the Diggers and Levellers were the very beginnings of proletarian politics 50-150 years before anarchism and marxism developed as secular revolutionary ideologies. For slaves, religious meetings was often the only form of group association possible and often used to organise.

On top of that, people still get street attacked for their real or perceived religion constantly - whether it's hijabs being grabbed or attacks on brown people because they're 'muslims'. Just fucking tone-deafness when it comes down to it. There's all kinds of problems with religion, organised religion is obviously fucked, but why have a banner just insulting people?

Fleur
Offline
Joined: 21-02-12
Nov 2 2017 23:23

You don't think it may be a little more nuanced than "one rich white dude isn't oppressed over his sexuality" ? You don't think the rich, white and dude descriptors may actually counterbalance the gay thing? Perhaps that life may be just a titchy bit more complicated? I love how oppressed minorities being vocal and uppity are always "divisive" and ultimately distract from the critical class warrior actions of banner dropping.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 2 2017 23:30
Mcgoofle wrote:
I find the whole raffle of who is more oppressed slightly confusing, Micheal Portillo is gay, would we say that he is oppressed? i dont think so somehow.

Not at all, but no-one's doing this, so why bring it up? What you're talking about is oppression olympics or extremely liberal representational ID politics, not what anyone here would argue.

On the other hand lots of people keep getting deported to countries where they could be imprisoned or killed due to sexuality or gender identity.

This comes back to the fucking bookfair leaflets. The leaflets seem to posit trans rights as some kind of Tory conspiracy against women (even though one of the anti-legislation group's biggest parliamentary supporters is the very-Tory David Davies).

A much clearer explanation for that legislation is that the Tories (all parties in fact) have immigrants as their main scapegoat at the moment, and Theresa May in particular is fond of deporting LGBT refugees to imprisonment and death. It's politically very useful to at the same time expand rights for LGBT British citizens to drive a wedge between them and LGBT immigrants. There's even a neologism for this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonationalism And you can see it working when May gets invited to awards ceremonies: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/18/prime-minister-theresa-may-addresses-pinknews-awards/

Craftwork's picture
Craftwork
Offline
Joined: 26-12-15
Nov 2 2017 23:41
Mike Harman wrote:
Craftwork wrote:
One of the dumbest things I've come across in a long time:

Do you mean the banner? Looks like sub-Dawkins new atheist pablum to me.

No, I don't mean the banner. Communism is against all forms of obscurantism and mysticism (including religions), but is not merely anti-religious/theist. This is just one aspect of the social order that will have to be abolished.

Marx wrote:

Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.

It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.

It's true that historic revolts did have a religious element, but so what? Communism wasn't on the agenda back then.

In today's world, these ideologies hamper the development of class consciousness, are often used to suppress class movements by reasserting false, interclassist solidarities on the basis of beliefs, communities of believers, ..., and anti-revolutionary/anti-communist ideas are often transmitted through the authority of religious institutions.

Mcgoofle's picture
Mcgoofle
Offline
Joined: 2-11-17
Nov 2 2017 23:56

I just find this whole thread about who is more repressed and needs more safe spaces than anyone else very depressing, i come froma group with at least 5 LGBT comrades who find the whole concept of 'if you are trans then you are more repressed than say any other working class person who is a person of colour or some other person the state may seek to divide us against' is just odd. if the state thought 'ohh I know lets see how we can turn anarchists against one another' they couldnt find a better way.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 3 2017 00:09
craftwork wrote:
In today's world, these ideologies hamper the development of class consciousness, are often used to suppress class movements by reasserting false, interclassist solidarities on the basis of beliefs, communities of believers, ..., and anti-revolutionary/anti-communist ideas are often transmitted through the authority of religious institutions.

This is done equally by militant atheism as any particular religion these days. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other new-atheists are obsessed with asserting western dominance over the rest of the world and attacking muslims specifically. They're one of the many strands (alongside right libertarians, MRAs etc.) that has led to the popularisation and re-branding of far-right politics. The EDL, Pegida etc. are also on the surface anti-Islam/anti-jihad movements, whereas really they're much closer to '80s street fascists than anything else and primarily concerned with attacking brown immigrants.

So we can say that both religions and attacks on religions divide the working class. Is the answer then to just pile on attacks on religion or to look at the material effects of those politics? Does it need a bit more nuance than 'religion is stupid'?

craftwork wrote:
It's true that historic revolts did have a religious element, but so what? Communism wasn't on the agenda back then.

If you actually read the post you linked to, when challenged on that point, Active Distribution denied it, which shows he doesn't have a decent grasp of history so should maybe avoid trying to be so clever.

Also I haven't read the ethnological notebooks, but Marx in those (and some late letters) was engaged in a massive revision of an exclusively western-european road to communism, suggesting the Mir and other peasant communities could go directly to communism without an industrial capitalist stage being a necessity.

craftwork wrote:
No, I don't mean the banner. Communism is against all forms of obscurantism and mysticism (including religions), but is not merely anti-religious/theist. This is just one aspect of the social order that will have to be abolished.

Organised religion (capitalist/feudalist religious institutions) will be abolished - otherwise there's no communism. Religion as in sets of beliefs will be massively undermined by communism since the institutions promoting it have no material basis, and you'd hope many of the social roles it takes on are done properly without all the trappings. But I don't think you get to communism by smashing through religion first or telling people how stupid they are.

comrade_emma's picture
comrade_emma
Offline
Joined: 16-09-17
Nov 3 2017 00:17

Marx didn't seem to keen on atheism by itself in the Paris Manuscripts, and Engels in Anti-Düring seemed to be even less keen on actively suppressing religion since that will just give it more steam and that capitalism development is already killing it by itself.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Nov 3 2017 00:30

"Religion is stupid" is a bit kiddie punk militant for my taste but racist? There's no shortage of black atheists and secular African socialist movements, I can't imagine they'd be exactly thrilled about having their views spoken for.

Craftwork's picture
Craftwork
Offline
Joined: 26-12-15
Nov 3 2017 00:37
Mike Harman wrote:
craftwork wrote:
In today's world, these ideologies hamper the development of class consciousness, are often used to suppress class movements by reasserting false, interclassist solidarities on the basis of beliefs, communities of believers, ..., and anti-revolutionary/anti-communist ideas are often transmitted through the authority of religious institutions.

This is done equally by militant atheism as any particular religion these days. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other new-atheists are obsessed with asserting western dominance over the rest of the world and attacking muslims specifically. They're one of the many strands (alongside right libertarians, MRAs etc.) that has led to the popularisation and re-branding of far-right politics. The EDL, Pegida etc. are also on the surface anti-Islam/anti-jihad movements, whereas really they're much closer to '80s street fascists than anything else and primarily concerned with attacking brown immigrants.

So we can say that both religions and attacks on religions divide the working class. Is the answer then to just pile on attacks on religion or to look at the material effects of those politics? Does it need a bit more nuance than 'religion is stupid'?

If you think bourgeois new atheism is as threatening to the working-class as Buddhist, Hindu or Islamic fundamentalism, fostered by/in support of governments around the world, then, quite frankly, you're living in a bubble, and not looking at the international picture.

Regarding reactionary new atheism, as I said earlier:

Communism is against all forms of obscurantism and mysticism (including religions), but is not merely anti-religious/theist. This is just one aspect of the social order that will have to be abolished.

Mike Harman wrote:
craftwork wrote:
No, I don't mean the banner. Communism is against all forms of obscurantism and mysticism (including religions), but is not merely anti-religious/theist. This is just one aspect of the social order that will have to be abolished.

Organised religion (capitalist/feudalist religious institutions) will be abolished - otherwise there's no communism. Religion as in sets of beliefs will be massively undermined by communism since the institutions promoting it have no material basis, and you'd hope many of the social roles it takes on are done properly without all the trappings. But I don't think you get to communism by smashing through religion first or telling people how stupid they are.

Most self-proclaimed marxists and anarchists are silent on critique of religion, not because they're materialists, but because, in the name of liberal standards of political correctness, being "non-oppressive" or "inclusive", they don't think that religion should be criticised, in case it offends people.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 3 2017 00:42

The full text of that banner says 'murderous, bigoted, sexist crap' just so we're clear. http://www.activedistributionshop.org/shop/stickers/2215-religion-is-stupid-black-sticker.html

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 3 2017 01:06
Craftwork wrote:

If you think bourgeois new atheism is as threatening to the working-class as Buddhist, Hindu or Islamic fundamentalism, fostered by/in support of governments around the world, then, quite frankly, you're living in a bubble, and not looking at the international picture.

I was looking at a banner on a stall in the london anarchist bookfair. The likely audiences for that banner are people who attend an anarchist bookfair, which of these is likely to be the bigger problem in that context? Is there anything about the banner that to say a 15 year old hijabi who walks in off the street and gets called a terrorist at school that it's not reactionary new atheism or outright islamophobia? Is their reaction likely to be 'offense' or quite thinking they're not welcome and someone might start aggressively to reciting the banner to them?

craftwork wrote:

Most self-proclaimed marxists and anarchists are silent on critique of religion, not because they're materialists, but because, in the name of liberal standards of political correctness, being "non-oppressive" or "inclusive", they don't think that religion should be criticised, in case it offends people.

If instead of a very stupid banner the stall had had a pamphlet on the Modi/BJP meat bans, Rohingya genocide, Irish care home mass graves, I very much doubt there'd be a Facebook post about it being shit. Abstract criticism of 'religion' needs something special about it beyond new atheist shit, which this does not have. Otherwise all you're pushing is a hackneyed radical liberalism, not communism at all.

Oranj's picture
Oranj
Offline
Joined: 18-03-13
Nov 3 2017 01:14

The banner is ableist, and atheism is just another religion these days. Fundamentalist atheism is a vehicle to push Islamophobia (ie racism) by Western white supremacists like Dawkins and co.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Nov 3 2017 01:17
Quote:
I just find this whole thread about who is more repressed and needs more safe spaces than anyone else very depressing, i come froma group with at least 5 LGBT comrades who find the whole concept of 'if you are trans then you are more repressed than say any other working class person who is a person of colour or some other person the state may seek to divide us against' is just odd. if the state thought 'ohh I know lets see how we can turn anarchists against one another' they couldnt find a better way.

It's more depressing that an adult like you lack basic reading comprehension. Nobody has engaged in repression Olympics, only you and your straw man. The fact that you don't even seem to get what is actually dividing the class is even more depressing.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Nov 3 2017 01:54
Mcgoofle wrote:
I just find this whole thread about who is more repressed and needs more safe spaces than anyone else very depressing, i come froma group with at least 5 LGBT comrades who find the whole concept of 'if you are trans then you are more repressed than say any other working class person who is a person of colour or some other person the state may seek to divide us against' is just odd. if the state thought 'ohh I know lets see how we can turn anarchists against one another' they couldnt find a better way.

Well you should probably read this thread instead of the one you've made up. No one is saying trans people need extra protections, the issue is that they're currently being denied the same opportunities to confront direct threats to themselves that everyone else takes for granted. Do you and your mates also oppose `divisive` attempts by migrant or ethnic workers to tackle racism in the workplace?

An in the 80's would you and your mates ignore the AIDs crisis and continued police raids on gay bars and gay men using public toilets?

gamerunknown
Offline
Joined: 10-10-13
Nov 3 2017 02:14
Craftwork wrote:
IMO, all communists (anarchist or otherwise) should aspire to running a separate, communist bookfair, which welcomes ICC and SPGB. The present one is a bit of a mess.

Right, what basis would we have to exclude the CPGBML then? Would you want to have a serious and productive discussion with them?

Shanks wrote:
My interpretation that they are ill is just my understanding of the situation

I know they've been banned, but the parallels to homophobic and racist campaigning are stark (once we achieve actual communism or our ethnostate, these individual aberrations will disappear).

Serge Forward wrote:
If Helen behaves like a cop, how come she's the one who got kettled?

Come off it, what do you expect?

Quote:
It appears the Green Party have a bit of a problem with transphobia.

Funnily enough, one of the few transgender politicians is in the Green Party of Poland IIRC.

Oranj wrote:
So you object to trans people taking direct action against a piece of cloth?

Err, this seems a bit ineptly phrased.

Quote:
There's all kinds of problems with religion, organised religion is obviously fucked, but why have a banner just insulting people? ... So we can say that both religions and attacks on religions divide the working class.

No, not really.

Marx wrote:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.

Religion is basically any codified irrational practice of a group. To argue for the primacy of class based politics is to take a materialistic view, one which specifically excludes the possibility of the ideal preceding the material. At the same time, one can acknowledge that religion can be used as a dogwhistle for opposing immigration or advocating for clashes of culture. Sam Harris in particular has been odiously racist, claiming that "The Bell Curve" is the one piece of heresy which contemporary society cannot deal with in the discussion amongst the new atheists. Dawkins I honestly can't detect it from. He writes the following:

Quote:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Edit:

Quote:
Is there anything about the banner that to say a 15 year old hijabi who walks in off the street and gets called a terrorist at school that it's not reactionary new atheism or outright islamophobia?
Quote:
Fundamentalist atheism is a vehicle to push Islamophobia (ie racism) by Western white supremacists like Dawkins and co.

Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Goldman, all pushing Islamaphobia I take it (well, Proudhon abuses dialectics to come to some vaguely spiritual conclusion, which he's quite rightly ripped for). The 15 year old hijabi presumably wants to engage with anarchist politics and is capable of thinking for themselves - they're entirely capable of adopting a materialistic worldview. I was raised in a very Catholic family, attending mass every Sunday, Catholic primary school, secondary school and sixth form, with supplementary visits to bring Communion to housebound people and attending Sunday school run by nuns too. By the time I was 15 I was debating whether omniscience was compatible with free will with my religious studies teacher, by 17 I was the only one in my class to put my hand up to say I didn't have a problem with homosexuality. People are capable of challenging the beliefs they're socialised into.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Nov 3 2017 02:24

This thread reminded me of the Trans 101 for Wobblies series, and Part 4 seems rather appropriate
for this discussion I request everyone have a read of it.

Trans 101 for Wobblies, part 4: Common complaints about radical environments

http://libcom.org/library/trans-101-wobblies-part-4-common-complaints-about-radical-environments

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Nov 3 2017 08:44

dp

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 3 2017 08:11
gamerunknown wrote:
Quote:
There's all kinds of problems with religion, organised religion is obviously fucked, but why have a banner just insulting people? ... So we can say that both religions and attacks on religions divide the working class.

No, not really.

Marx wrote:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.

Religion is basically any codified irrational practice of a group. To argue for the primacy of class based politics is to take a materialistic view, one which specifically excludes the possibility of the ideal preceding the material. At the same time, one can acknowledge that religion can be used as a dogwhistle for opposing immigration or advocating for clashes of culture. Sam Harris in particular has been odiously racist, claiming that "The Bell Curve" is the one piece of heresy which contemporary society cannot deal with in the discussion amongst the new atheists. Dawkins I honestly can't detect it from.

Have you seen his twitter in the past three years? It's full of 'islam is not a race' strawmen/dogwhistles and ranting about the Nobel Prize. Rest of the comment is better put than my sentence.

knowngamer wrote:
Quote:
Fundamentalist atheism is a vehicle to push Islamophobia (ie racism) by Western white supremacists like Dawkins and co.

Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Goldman, all pushing Islamaphobia I take it

I'm sure like the new atheists Proudhon would claim he dislikes all religions equally, notebooks kind of tell a different story.

Proudhon wrote:
December 26, 1847: Jews. Write an article against this race that poisons everything by sticking its nose into everything without ever mixing with any other people. Demand its expulsion from France with the exception of those individuals married to French women. Abolish synagogues and not admit them to any employment. Demand its expulsion Finally, pursue the abolition of this religion. It’s not without cause that the Christians called them deicides. The Jew is the enemy of humankind.

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/proudhon/1847/jews.htm

There's a similar quote attributed to Bakunin although research in here suggests it might have been concocted in the 1920s.

So of four famous anarchist anti-religious texts, one of the authors wanted to carry out pogroms of a persecuted religious minority. Not great odds.

known gamer wrote:
The 15 year old hijjabi.. People are capable of challenging the beliefs they're socialised into

Whole paragraph replying to a different point than the one I made. I grew up in a religious household, was atheist buy around 12-13 at the latest, still think it's a fucking stupid banner and amazed the lengths people are going to to defend it on here.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Nov 3 2017 08:37

If a young hijabi read "religion is stupid" at an obviously punk inspired stall at an anarchist Bookfair carrying copious amounts of antifascist literature and came to the conclusion it's specifically about persecuting them I'd question both their reading comprehension skills and common sense. It's a lame banner but nowhere does it say "we especially think Islam is rubbish and hate you personally btw."

Dawkins is a cunt who uses atheism as a cover for his bullshit, it doesn't mean the sentiment that religion's silly (full disclosure, a view I share inasmuch as I'm an atheist and reckon that the roots, certainly of organised religion, lie largely in a manipulation of peoples to bolster state power and have fuck all basis in reality) should be off limits.

Down that route is a cringing reluctance to ever express a strong opinion on anything we don't all agree on, just in case - not to mention verging on being actively disingenuous, given how many anarchists straightforwardly are atheists and regard religion as an oppressive force in the society where they live, including people in/from non western countries, some of whom are refugees persecuted by religious groups. Should they be told to bury their opinions as well, I wonder? "The only good church is a burning church," Durruti said, before being roasted on Twitter for his intolerance towards Catholicism.

zugzwang
Offline
Joined: 25-11-16
Nov 3 2017 09:41

https://helensteelbookfairstatement.wordpress.com/

Fozzie's picture
Fozzie
Offline
Joined: 4-12-03
Nov 3 2017 10:09

Is the Jacob V Joyce who took the photo of the banner and the stallholder the same Jacob V Joyce who signed the statement demanding that the bookfair collective make:

"A commitment to continue the “no cameras” and “no filming” rule without exception given." ?

RobberBurns88
Offline
Joined: 18-12-16
Nov 3 2017 10:27

"RAG (Revolutionary Anarchist Group Birmingham) "
Remind us all to avoid Reactionary Group Birmingham.

The revolution is either Intersectional or its nothing.

Funny you admit you don't understand it.

An anarchist form of intersectionality includes class and ALL forms of oppression.

https://libcom.org/library/insurrections-intersections-feminism-intersectionality-anarchism
https://afed.org.uk/a-class-struggle-anarchist-analysis-of-privilege-theory-from-the-womens-caucus/