Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

“Don’t exaggerate the influence of Russian propaganda” Ukrainian socialist Taras Bilous serves in the military – and right from there he fights the stereotypes of the Western left about Ukraine (and Russia). We spoke to him

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Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF) http://www.europe-solidaire.org/ has published and translated an exceptionally good interview about Ukraine :

Taras Bilous is a Ukrainian socialist, editor of the left-wing intellectual magazine Spilne and an activist in the Social Movement. Bilous has been serving in Ukraine’s territorial defence forces since early March. And in his spare time, he engages in lively polemics with Western left-wing activists, intellectuals and politicians on Twitter and in the most authoritative left-wing publications about the need for solidarity with Ukraine. “Meduza spoke with Taras Bilous about where foreign stereotypes about Russia and Ukraine come from and what can be done about them.

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63762&fbclid=IwAR3aCeR6YPuBIZBTWwUkxBZe9RMegOD1pYePv2CQ_IPm5nt4nVMF_clzobQ

See also : https://commons.com.ua/en/


In Russia there is rather little knowledge about the inner workings of Ukrainian politics, it is usually discussed only in the context of “pro-Russian – pro-Western”. Please explain what place you and Social Movement have in it.

We should start with the fact that in Ukraine, as in Russia, there are systemic and non-systemic politics.

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Britain – “The War on Woke”

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Attacks on trans people are an international phenomenon in the 2020’s. The article below examines these bizarre and dangerous politics in Britain, where they have featured in the grisly Conservative party contest to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Predicted winner Liz Truss is likely to promote a couple of transphobes to high-level Cabinet posts. These developments are likely to encourage transphobes in Ireland who recently got a boost on RTÉ Radio 1 presenter Joe Duffy’s live phone-in programme.

The source of this article is the British revolutionary socialist publication Anti-Capitalist Resistance. https://anticapitalistresistance.org/the-war-on-woke/

roland rance details the latest goings-on in the anti-trans moral panic, placing Kathleen Stock’s appalling attacks on trans people, their defenders and families, in the context of reactionary attempts to divide liberatory struggles.

When examined, the moral panic about trans people never survives surface scrutiny. To pick a recent example, when transphobic academic Kathleen Stock resigned last year from her post at Sussex University, it was widely misreported that she had been sacked for her views. This was then used to smear supporters of trans rights and opponents of bigotry as “censors”, and Stock was misleadingly compared to academics who had been fired from their jobs because of their support for Palestinian rights. Unfortunately, this sleight of hand was echoed by some on the left, who mistakenly accepted this comparison, and expressed solidarity with Stock on that basis.

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Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – Leaflet Published by Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU)

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The ILWU is a new solidarity organization based on the following points of agreement :

Basic Principles :

◦ Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now

◦ Refugees Welcome Here

◦ Self-Determination for the Ukrainian People

◦ Neither Moscow nor Washington

The ILWU supports the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

This is the first public leaflet issued by the ILWU. A Ukrainian translation follows the English text.

Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom


We are a group of trade unionists, socialists and anarchists who want to express our full support to you and help you organise to obtain all your rights while you are in Ireland.

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We are all Salman Rushdie

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The New York attempt to assassinate the writer Salman Rushdie means statements of solidarity are required.

Two declarations posted below come from the United States of America. PEN America is a branch of the worldwide association of writers which stands for

the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible https://pen-international.org/who-we-are/the-pen-charter

From Ayad Akhtar, PEN America President It is hard to find words to express the emotions occasioned by today’s shocking attack on Salman Rushdie.

As a former President of our organization, Salman means so much to us. His leadership in the wake of 9/11 set the course for the two decades which have followed. He has been and remains a tireless advocate for imperiled writers, for unfettered intellectual and creative exchange, and one of the last half-century’s great champions of freedom of expression. But it is in his own truly seminal, challenging body of work that Salman has stood most powerfully for the values of PEN America—work that has questioned founding myths and expanded the world’s imaginative possibilities, at great cost to himself.

On a more personal note, as a writer whose own work is fundamentally shaped by an early encounter with The Satanic Verses, it is particularly horrifying to me that the nightmare set in motion by the fatwa in 1989 is still with us. We are all thinking of Salman today across the PEN America community, and praying for his recovery.Salman Rushdie delivering the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the 2012 World Voices Festival, which he co-founded. Read his remarks on censorship here.“Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or, to use the catch-all term so beloved of the tabloid press, controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.” —Salman Rushdie, “On Censorship” 

The second declaration is a publication of Feminist Dissent :

Rushdie’s Right to Write, Our Right to Dissent

As Salman Rushdie lies gravely injured in hospital, Feminist Dissent expresses sorrow at the brutal attack on him and on Ralph Henry Reese in New York state on August 12, 2022, at an event focusing on asylum for writers. It is our fervent hope that Salman will recover to write and live a full life again. We send our love and solidarity to him, his family and friends around the world and to all those whose lives have also been endangered by this renewed threat to freedom.

Many of us are founders of Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) which defended Rushdie in the wake of the fatwa issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. Against the demonstrations that attacked Rushdie for having hurt Muslim sentiments and calls for his book to be burnt, WAF argued that women’s right to dissent was deeply intertwined with Rushdie’s right to write.

We knew then as we know now that many calling for Rushdie’s murder were the same fundamentalist leaders who contributed to women’s oppression within communities. We spoke out in the name of our secular traditions, with the banner ‘Our tradition, struggle not submission.’

WAF was equally committed to anti-racist politics that opposed the demonisation of all Muslims as fanatical, as it was to challenging fundamentalism in all religions—Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Muslim. It called out the ways in which fundamentalists were exploiting patriarchal power to control women and sexual minorities.

Unfortunately, the dangers that we warned against then are still among us and yet, too often, they are not named. Authoritarian and fundamentalist forces are stronger than ever.

We are not only devastated by the attack on Rushdie’s life, we are angry. We are angry at the failure of both the left and the right to take a stand for freedom of speech and conscience, and to advocate for the abolition of blasphemy and apostasy laws.

All those who believe in universal values should hold to account states such as Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia which have promoted hate, organised vigilantes to attack writers, and kept alive the concept of blasphemy. 

No individual Muslim should be held responsible for the actions of another. In fact, people of Muslim heritage are often at the forefront of struggles for socialism, secularism and against blasphemy laws, yet too often their struggles are mocked and diminished as pro-imperialist or Islamophobic. We stand with them, and the struggle for secularism everywhere.

We call out Muslim fundamentalist organisations (including those in western countries) that advocate death to blasphemers such as atheist bloggers in Bangladesh, while complaining that any criticism of them is Islamophobic. We need to stop treating them as advocates of human rights.

We call out those sections of the left that see Islamists as anti-imperialist allies and attack Rushdie as a stooge of the West. Organised violence against artists, writers, feminists and free-thinking dissidents has been alchemised by post-truth politics into support for the suppression of ‘offence’. We recall the refusal of many writers to support their own organisation PEN’s award to the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo. In refusing solidarity, they helped create a world in which it was possible for writers or teachers to be murdered with barely an eyebrow raised in polite society.

Salman Rushdie has always understood the importance of opposing all forms of authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism. He supports persecuted artists everywhere, from Ukrainians fleeing war to murdered bloggers and cartoonists.

In 1989, about 40 women of Women Against Fundamentalism confronted a huge fundamentalist march demanding death to Salman Rushdie, and the banning of his book. We shouted ‘Salman Rushdie Zindabad’ and today we repeat, ‘Long Live Salman Rushdie’.

Note: The next issue of Feminist Dissent is on Freedom of Expression. Stay tuned. https://feministdissent.org/blog-posts/rushdies-right-to-write/

The voters of Kansas USA Favour Abortion – Landslide Victory for the Pro- Choice Movement

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The Wizard of Oz is a brilliant movie, especially when you factor in the time it was made. From top to bottom, with the script, music, performances, …

Follow Kansas

In the state of Kansas, USA, voters have decided to make abortion legal. A referendum produced a landslide pro-choice result : 59 per cent Versus 41 per cent in favour of keeping Abortion as a constitutional right.

Pro-choice activist Mandy La Combre offers this comment from Ireland :

“Go Kansas!! 👏👏👏

profuckingchoice #AbortionIsHealthcare #abortionrights

It seems Judy Garland and the Wizard 🧙‍♀️ of Oz approve.

American blogger Clay Jones celebrates

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/
— Read on ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/

Elisa Moros writes an interesting article concerning the Ukraine policy of the Spanish left. There are parallels with Ireland.

It is dated April 26 2022

The terrible images reaching us after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv region reveal the scope of the Russian offensive. These images force political leaders to unanimously condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine, including Putin’s natural allies (the far-right). In this context, some of the most radical among us feel the need to express -if only through an aesthetic gesture- their aversion to national unanimity. For example, Members of Parliament (MPs) from the CUP (Catalan pro-independence radical left) and the BNG (Galician nationalist left) as well as the Secretary General of the PCE (Communist Party) refused to applaud Ukrainian President Zelensky when he addressed the Spanish Parliament.

This aesthetic gesture is hardly surprising. Rather, it is the logical consequence of the analysis and positions of the Spanish left on the Ukrainian situation. Albert Botrán (CUP MP) explains the meaning of his gesture in his article “Applauding Zelensky“, in which he begins by stating that “Only Putin is responsible for the Russian occupation of Ukraine”, only to contradict himself in the following paragraph by denouncing the “responsibilities” of the other powers and the Ukrainian state. While only four MPs pushed their logic to its conclusion by refusing to applaud Zelensky, the logic of “Well yes, but actually no” is practically unanimous within the Spanish radical left, which (1) designates the NATO as (at least) co-responsible for the conflict, and therefore (2) opposes any concrete material support to the Ukrainian armed resistance in order to “prevent escalation” and (3) systematically points out (and often exaggerates) all the flaws of the Ukrainian government/state. This then serves in practice as a pretext for these leftists keeping their distance from all sections of the Ukrainian population, and leaving them alone in the face of the Russian imperialist attack. Read the rest of this entry »

“The right to resist.” A manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

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“The right to resist.” is a manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

This is a Manifesto of Ukrainian feminists. Many Ukrainian feminists have come together with a common statement about their priorities. These include armed and unarmed resistance, and a reconstruction of Ukraine centred on equitable social reproduction, labour rights, equality and democracy. It was published in Commons and other online sites on Thursday July 7 2022.

You can sign at the link below.
 
The authors ask feminists, activists, and feminist collectives around the world to add their names to the document. 
 
https://commons.com.ua/en/right-resist-feminist-manifesto/
The Right to Resist

We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine

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For an Ireland Where Trans and Non-binary People are Equal Safe and Valued

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Both states in Ireland – formally independent in the South, controlled by Britain in the North – have a vile creepy history : child abuse, suppression of women’s rights, reactionary religious control of health and education. This “Carnival of Reaction” has deep strong foundations, built following the reactionary partition of Ireland in 1922. In recent decades, especially in the formally independent part of Ireland, popular rebellion has attacked the reactionary carnival – most notably when a constitutional abortion was repealed in a May 2018 referendum.

In days gone by a “Belt of the Crozier” firmly struck by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid was enough to kill Noël Browne’s 1950 Mother and Child Scheme. These days, after a tsunami of child abuse scandals and clerical criminal convictions, far-right causes such as transphobia are, at the popular level, rightly seen as a thin edge of the wedge. They remind us of dark periods we Irish experienced in the recent past.

A media outlet, the Joe Duffy RTÉ Liveline Show, have a mass audience. It is not directly associated with the religious far-right in Ireland. However, it has started to offer an often uncontested platform to government anti-feminist propaganda, targeting the publicly funded National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The broadcaster is not backing down : “I found it deeply disturbing after my 25 years of presenting here to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks,” the presenter says, referring to a statement from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, before adding that the censuring was “insulting” to his programme staff and, indeed, his listeners.” (Source Irish Times, June 17 2022).

A coalition Trans Equality Together led by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland was launched last week with the aim of creating an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued. Pictured: (L-R) Tiernan Arnup from AMACH! LGBT Galway, Jayson Pope, an LGBTQ+ youth activist and Matt Kennedy, of BelongTo. Picture: Julien Behal (Source Irish Examiner)

A number of human rights organizations have come together opposing the reactionary anti-trans offensive. In very measured language they state :

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

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Palestine, Tel Aviv : “There is no Pride in the Occupation”

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Thanks to Joan McKiernan for circulating this report.

Source : https://mailchi.mp/refuser/refusers-solidarity-15034809?e=2a6ffdecef

My name is Ayelet. I’m a 16 years old trans teen and an activist in the Mesarvot network, an Israeli Network supporting war resisters and political objectors. Last Friday (June 10th), at the Israeli pride parade in Tel Aviv, I was arrested for holding the Palestinian flag with the slogan “there is no pride in the occupation” in Hebrew (see below picture of my sign).

“There is no Pride in the Occupation”

I made this sign not only to show my objection to the Israeli occupation of the West bank and the Gaza strip, but also to protest the way the Israeli government uses the LGBTQ+ community to justify the occupation. The government uses Pinkwashing – displaying superficial support for LGBTQ+ rights in order to justify horrible actions. In actuality, Israel supports gay rights only when people from our community are supportive of the state’s actions. For example, a trans woman who is a soldier will be able to receive hormonal treatment, but a trans woman who is an army refuser will be sent to a men’s prison for her refusal.

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“The priority is to win against Macron’s candidate, but also against the PS candidate, who broke the agreement here“ – Interview about Danielle Simonnet, NUPES Candidate, 20th arrondissement of Paris

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This is a fascinating story from the current French parliament election campaign. Danielle Simonnet is a NUPES candidate in a constituency where Jean Luc Melenchon won 45 percent of the vote in the recent Presidential Election. NUPES brings together many forces based on the left – including the Parti Socialiste (PS), a party like Keir Starmer’s British Labour Party and the Irish Labour Party.

Despite the NUPES agreement, the PS is running against Danielle Simonnet.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former left-wing leader of the British Labour Party, is actively backing the campaign of Danielle Simonnet.

A correspondent observes : “Comrade Jeremy Corbyn, with Danièle Obono, came to support @TAG’s candidacy in the 15th district of Paris. International support from a true socialist, shamefully attacked in England for his positions for Palestine!!!! #DanielleSimonnet #JeremyCorbyn #DanieleObono”

The Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), once the agreement with NUPES failed [1] decided to support candidates of different types depending on the local situation. [2] International Viewpoint has already published an article on a broad non-aligned candidacy “Raphaël Arnault, the antifa who wants to be an MP”. This interview with Penelope Duggan, member of the NPA leadership and activist in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, gives a view of NPA involvement in a NUPES campaign.

Can you give us a quick introduction to the candidacy?

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