Our take on the London bookfair incident

Plenty of others have written about events at the 2017 London anarchist bookfair and the disagreements since. We recognise that some of the harm caused is ongoing, which is why we wanted to respond even though some time has passed.

While it is uncomfortable, and often deeply painful, to find ourselves disagreeing with people we’ve regarded as friends and comrades, trans people have been facing discomfort and hostility in our movements for a lot longer. Ignoring this conflict is not an option.

We don’t think transphobia should be tolerated in anarchist spaces and events.

As underlying attitudes come to the surface, it’s become clear that some people in our movements think such bigotry should be given credibility (sometimes on the basis of ‘free speech’) as one viewpoint among many, to be debated calmly as if it were not something doing real damage to real human beings.

We disagree. To us, ideas which try to turn disempowered groups against one another should be opposed vigorously with all the tools available to us, including, where appropriate, physical force and no-platforming.

We’re also concerned at yet another case of someone’s social capital within the movement being used to excuse their behaviour. We all need to find ways to challenge the gaps in each others’ awareness, not ignore them – and to do this in a way that doesn’t pretend we are perfect ourselves.

Some have suggested that doing so is divisive, that we should focus on state or institutional oppressions; this ignores the fact that these divisions are already there, but some of us have the luxury of being oblivious to them.

In the long run, we want to build a feminism which attacks the common enemy instead of reinforcing oppression.

Save Bialowieza Forest! Info-night

Monday 11 December 2017
@ Kebele Social Centre
14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol
8pm for tea and snacks, 8.30 for talk
Ring the Alarm! Poland’s Bialowieza forest and climate activists
under threat from loggers and the state.
Activists from The Camp for the Forest, a coalition of groups, NGOs and individuals committed to stopping logging in the last primeval forest in lowland Europe, will be coming to the UK for a speaking tour about their actions, the conditions in Bialowieza and the political climate in Poland today.
Despite a European Commission ruling rendering logging unlawful in the forest and the European Court of Justice ordering fines of 100k Euro per day for violations, commercial logging continues according to evidence gathered by Camp for the Forest.
Documenting by satnav and cameras, drones, and human observation, activists have build up a body of evidence of infractions by the Polish government, logging companies and the armed Forest Guard who patrol the forest like an occupation force.
Over 60 blockades and lock-ons have taken place since May of this year, including 20 of heavy machinery such as Harvesters.
Approximately 180,000 cubic meters [180 000 trees] have been cut in the Forest this year – 400% of logging in 2016 and 30% was carried out in natural stands of trees over  a century old.
Protesters have been labelled eco-terrorists and extremists by logging supporters. Mass arrests, invasive and humiliating cavity searches by police, physical assaults by armed Forest Guards, home raids and constant surveillance have been used to try and intimidate what is a strong, broad and peaceful movement to protect Bialowieza and turn the entire forest into a national park.
Come and hear all about it and maybe you too can join the hundreds who have travelled from all over Europe to support Bialowieza.