Saturday, 30 January 2010

The consequences of QQT

As the dust settles from Julie Bindel's latest foray into Queer/trans friendly territory, we can see what a malign influence she is. Reports are still coming out from those who were inside the RVT, and no doubt recordings will be made available which underline what a mistake it was to invite someone like her to any kind of open public discussion. People like her provoke very strong reactions, which they then stir up and use for their own purposes. We must make the point, as loudly as we can, that the demo outside was peaceful and that we were not involved in any of the nastiness.

Doubtless Bindel will use this in another article in the Guardian or Standpoint to crap on trans people (even though it was not only trans people who have a problem with her). This is her stock-in-trade, she cannot win the argument so she provokes... classic tactics used by the morally dubious, from Goebbells to Palin, claiming to be the victim of bullying when she is the one with access to national media.

So what happens next? Let us be clear, we are at war. This is not just about an evil individual using her power over one of the most disenfranchised and downtrodden communities, in an attempt to define us in the way she would like to. It goes a whole lot further than that. Last night I spoke to one of the representatives of the sex worker community and he described how she had been instrumental in having the law changed to make life more difficult for sex workers. Life for these people is now apparently measurably worse.

This is about Julie Bindel's campaign to have Gender Reassignment Surgery removed from NHS funding. This was the purpose of the incredibly badly written and distorted article in Standpoint Magazine, a hard-right wing organ apparently established to influence an incoming Tory government, which, despite the veneer and airbrushing, is going to be as nasty and right-wing as Thatcher's. This article was clearly intended to establish her credentials as an anti-trans journalist, who would be able to assist the Tories with making "cost savings" to the NHS budget by getting rid of GRS. It is worth noting that the Taxpayers Alliance, the Tory Party's alter ego, has been publishing costs of GRS in various NHS areas around the country.

Cometh the hour cometh the Bindel. Assisting the Tories to achieve these cost savings (at the cost of lives) will be just the boost her career needs. This woman clearly has ambitions along the lines of Melanie Phillips, yet she has one attribute which Mel P does not; she is a lesbian and as such will be seen as someone who can write about us with credibility. The value to the Tories of Julie Bindel in this situation will be immense. Trying to remove GRS from the NHS will generate a lot of negative publicity and some Tory MPs will come under pressure from constituents affected by the changes. Being able to find someone who, however dubiously, can give them some kind of justification for doing this will be God's gift to Cameron.

Julie Bindel's next career move is planned, her positioning ready to take advantage of a Tory government, the sky is the limit, she will achieve greatness over the dead bodies of transgender people.

Our reaction? This is something which needs to be set in train very quickly. We need a united national organisation which can speak for all, or pretty much all, transgender people, and their supporters. PfC has been very successful up to now in improving things for trans people, but they have achieved this success with a Labour government not a reactionary Tory one. What is required now is not a fight for more but a defence of what we have and that is going to be achieved not merely through rational considered argument and political lobbying, which PfC and others have done very well, we need a bigger voice, we need to be able to shout as loud as Bindel, so that when her campaign (no doubt coordinated with the Taxpayers Alliance and Central Office) to have GRS removed from the NHS starts in earnest we can make our voices heard.

We need a national organisation not merely because then we will have much better opportunities to get our voices heard in the media, but also will be able to show unity in the face of the inevitable provocation which Bindel will engage in. As a community we will need to be disciplined and well organised.

Back in November, I was at a conference in Sweden about trans issues and there I met a group of people from Ireland who had formed a national trans organisation there. In a country with a much greater degree of hostility to us than the UK they have been able to achieve much greater progress for trans people than anyone could have expected. A national trans organisation has also resulted in them being able to bid for funds from the EU which has helped their cause immensely and resulted in a greater unity amongst all trans people in Ireland. It is time we did the same. We need to establish a similar organisation in the UK, bid for funds and start to employ people to deal with the media and to put our points across more forcefully, countering Bindel's lies, provocations and disingenuous distortions. We will need a properly established constitution and democratic elections to an executive, but there are constitutions of other national organisations which we can borrow and adapt. We have people in our community who have experience in running trans organisations on a smaller scale, we need their expertise and experience to turn to something larger.

If the opinion polls are correct we could be operating in a much more hostile political environment soon, the brick wall we hit with the Equality Bill is just a small foretaste of what is to come. Make no mistake, over the next few years trans people will be under attack from all sides. Now is the time to get organised and make a fight of it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Pied Piper of Male Domination

“Can the Subaltern Speak?” asked Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak. Are those in the lowest and most oppressed positions permitted any kind of true expression of their true feelings? The media by which all of us express ourselves in the era of mass communication remains in the hands of those for whom the preservation of the existing hegemonic order has always been the priority. I hear you cry, there are plenty of underclass who speak out, who make us aware of the plight of subalterns of every kind; women, black people, Asians, Muslims, lesbians, disabled people…!

So let us examine someone who speaks for two of these groups; a lesbian feminist.

“There is a false power which masculine society offers to a few women who “think like men” on condition that they use it to maintain things as they are. This is the meaning of female tokenism: that power withheld from the vast majority of women is offered to a few…”

...said Adrienne Rich in 1979. She might have been describing the sad life story of the Lesbian Feminist Separatist of the 21st century, reduced to the status of hired assasin. With calculated duplicity, she decides that being able to bring to the attention of broadsheet-readers the problems of rape and domestic violence is worth the sacrifice of the lives of transgender people. Access to the media, to write about the ultimate act of violent masculine hegemony, the violation of women’s bodies, is worth the sacrifice of the lives of transgender people. If I join with the oppressors, show my colours, demonstrate to them that I am one of them, that I am willing to exercise the same power of hegemony as a cisgendered member of the gender binary, they will permit me to write about those within their ranks who take male hegemony a step too far (and in doing so undermine the cause of male dominance).

It was her decision, yet it was not a decision which was hers to make.

She will make a healthy career from pretending to speak for the subaltern, but they can be sure she is one of them, as Margaret Thatcher would say. In the final analysis she will maintain the order of things, their order. She will shit on those below her just as they shit on her, and this can be used against her, if she ever tries to cross the line, to really challenge their dominance, just as the dictator forces those around him to commit crimes from which there is no way back. As Spivak said;

“The putative center welcomes selective inhabitants of the margin in order better to exclude the margin.”

The real enemy are those who would threaten the very atoms of male domination by removing its foundations at a molecular level, if men can become women and women men and other genders, our naturally assumed power is but a chimera, a trick of history. But who can take on this threat, who can rid us of these troublesome trannies? By criticising them we become open to easy accusations of gayness, which would never do!

Up to the mark steps The Lesbian Feminist Separatist. The doer of men’s dirty work. The men watch silently and smile, the foundations of their castle safe from disintegration, the power of the Phallic maintained and defended at two removes, they don’t even need to fire a shot.

But what will this Pied Piper of masculine domination want in return? The rapists, the pervs, the scumbags they would rather do without anyway, throw to the lions this sacrifice, a punishment for humiliating us by raping our sisters, wives, daughters or mothers. Payback time.

The calculation by her? Much simpler. I hate rapists. If I do your dirty work and take on the trannies, will you let me crush the rapists, pervs and associated male scumbags? After all these trannies’ lives must be so miserable that they are happier dead anyway…

Deal, a calculated betrayal, an esprit fasciste and a token woman and lesbian is admitted to the inner circle at once defending it and legitimising it. A win-win situation. For some.

But who pays and who wins? The transgendered pay, the male hegemonists win, and they don’t even have to play. Feminism’s soul is sold and it becomes protector of that which it once sought to change. As the trans people seek to explain their apparently complex lives to those who take rigid gender assignations as given as gravity or the air that we breathe, the defender of the status quo, the protector of the hegemony drowns out their voices with loud, shrill, distorted one liners and externally imposed misdescriptions of who we are, located in Daily Mail “commonsense” and expounded Jan Moir style with innuendo in place of fact and insinuation in place of understanding. She does her duty well.

To explain oneself is to exist, to be-in-the-world, to deny a people the possibility of explaining themselves is to deny their existence, to nullify and vaporise, a cultural genocide which threatens to become a real genocide.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Most Dishonest Politician

To be given the title "Most Dishonest Politician" is quite a feat these days; there is a lot of serious competition out there, however sometimes a particular politician rises to the occasion with levels of dishonesty which would shame Geoffrey Archer.

The posters sealed it for him; an airbrushed David Cameron, Photoshopped to look younger, slimmer, more athletic and less dodgy. However, this is only the tip of an iceberg of dishonesty which forms the basis of his own personal, and his party's fundamental existence.

Apart from the obvious visual dishonesty, Cameron's less than candid approach to his own financial situation was revealed in his interview during the Tory Party conference in the Autumn. When asked about his fortune, he was evasive, and claimed that he was unable to tell exactly. Pressed several times on this, he has never given a correct answer. This is perhaps understandable since he is reported to be worth something like £30 million pounds, most of which was unearned. This attempt to conceal his riches, subject to zero scrutiny by a supine and Tory-supporting media, stands in stark contrast to the way he presented himself as the politician who would 'clean up' politics. Perhaps his desire to conceal his wealth stems from the mortgage he is getting the taxpayer (us) to pay on his house in his constituency. Why does a man with 30 million pounds need to get the taxpayer to fund a huge mortgage on a house for him in Oxfordshire?

Using the opportunity, during the MP's expenses row, as cover for a not-so-subtle attempt to rig the voting system for the election after next (if he is elected), his "proposal" to reduce the number of MPs to 500, disguised as a "cleaning up" of politics is actually nothing to do with honesty and everything to do with disingenuous lies. His new system would simply deliver a built-in Tory majority, so that he could win any subsequent election with fewer votes than Labour. This is not a new broom, as he falsely trumpets, this is dirty, dishonest, underhand politics as usual.

Europe is where the Tories are the weakest and Cameron's "Cast Iron Guarantee" to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty has turned out to be forged from paper-mache; his consorting with racists and homophobes in Eastern Europe who celebrate atrocities committed by their own Quisling collaborators with the Nazis during world war two are an insult to people such as my grandfather, who fought and died fighting the Nazis. To claim that this bunch of fascists will help Cameron achieve any kind of influence in the EU is akin to claiming that black is white. The dishonesty goes on.

Cameron's "apology" to the LGBT community for his party's promoting of the notoriously homophobic "Section 28" needs to be seen in this light, consorting with homophobes behind our backs while telling the gay community that their votes are safe with them...

The dishonesty reached its zenith in recent months when Cameron deliberately tried to talk down the country's economic prospects. Although the UK is in no danger whatsoever of losing its AAA credit rating, Cameron has done all he can to try and give that impression. If anyone with any sense had believed him this could have seriously damaged the recovery the country is now experiencing. He is prepared to damage the UK's interests, such is his desperation to become Prime Minister. However it goes deeper than this; he is still perpetuating the lie to use as an excuse to slash public spending if he is elected. In fact his party is ideologically opposed to public spending (except defence) and this is just being used as a pretext to cut the police, schools, hospitals, universities, welfare, pensions and anything which helps the poor. The dishonesty runs deep in the Conservative Party. It is part of its DNA.

Of course no analysis of dishonesty in the Conservative Party would be complete without mention of their claims to represent newness, freshness and "change". In contrast to these claims, frequently made, and frequently glossed over by his friends in the media, any examination of their policies, especially their economic ones, shows that they are little more than recycled Thatcherism; a return to the policies which caused our social services to be run down, which resulted in mass unemployment, poverty wages and a very high crime rate. If the Tories get in this is what the next decade will have in store for the United Kingdom, a re-run of the 1980s. For David Cameron to claim that his policies represent a new start when one of his main ones is to repeal the ban on bloodsports beggars belief.

This list of his dishonesty is in fact too long to detail here but include the way he publicised the death of his son (note how Gordon Brown sought no publicity over his similar misfortune; this speaks volumes about the relative morals of these two people). Suffice to say that, in a field of intense competition, David Cameron, the politician with no principles, no substance and lots of PR wins by a furlong. Maybe the only thing worse than the dishonesty manifest by David Cameron is the free ride he has been given by the media. One expects the sycophantic treatment of him by the Daily Mail (although this is still not justified and effectively amounts to propaganda) but the lack of scrutiny given to him by the TV stations, most notably the BBC, amounts to collusion in his deception. God help us if he becomes Prime Minister.