These are the words I gave at last night’s amazing, angry, joyful, loving, demo against Trump and his muslim ban. I know most of the thousands of people couldn’t hear what the speakers were saying. Because there were just so many of you there. Your bodies filled the space, soaked up the sound and responded with chants, shouts and woops. (Note, just because you might think you’ve got the biggest megaphone, doesn’t mean you have. Believe me I know, I’ve tried them all)
I wanted to say something that really matters to me. Whenever we do come together the collective strength seems to dissipate over our different styles, vocabularies, tactics . Whether we should wear a particular hat, or cover our faces, or say the word cunt. These things are not the issue, and in the battle for true accepting diversity, they are in themselves worse than pointless. (I am wholly aware of the irony of criticising the tactic of other people’s criticism of other people’s tactics). But over 46 years of marching, meeting, chanting, signing things, arguing has taught me other people’s tactics are not the problem. If someone’s activist style isn’t your style, fine, move on, do it your own way. But don’t get in the way. Move out of the way.
“Speaking as a historian, member of UCU and from, but not for, The People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove. I’m your official Minister for Nagging – its a feminist post.
We are in the midst of a shitstorm. we need to draw a line in the sand.
A beautiful rainbow red and green line in the sand.
We are going to need to confront oppression and enact resistance in everyway we can. Every way that Trump, the new right agenda comes at us, we are going to have to fight back.
We need to fight back against , The legitimisation of misogyny
The institutions of racism, Enforcement of gender and sexual structures of oppression
The rolling back of even the most compromised formal acts of equality – to birth control or same sex marriage
The literal killing off of people with disabilities, the sick and the poor,
Economic precarity, And the escalation of imperialist militarisation
And I would add Let’s remember that this is not a problem that is happening over there, somewhere else. This is happening here in our bubble by the sea– increase in experience of racism, increasing criminalisation of protest, cuts to our children’s services. I’m sure you have your own local issues to add to the list.
We are all in it together – because they are coming for us all.
Right now we have to fight the muslim ban. We know how this could end. We know where fascism leads.
So perhaps we could learn a lesson from the past. Lets save our energy for where it really matters. We are going to respond in different ways and from different positions, there is room for them all. Building solidarity, reminding us that there are other ways to live, being an ally, bearing witness, taking the piss and holding a mirror up at the hate,appealing to the organisations and structures that purport to represent us. Raising funds, raising awareness, signing petitions, kicking off on facebook or kicking off in the streets. We are not each other’s problem. Other people’s tactics are not the problem. Don’t let them distract us over matters of style. Demand a place for us all.
I’d like to close by quoting David Harbour, because he could have been speaking about us, here, now ‘We will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts …and those who have no hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters.’
Because in this world, to love, angry, creative, radical love. Is a political act. ”