Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pornography: Ethics and the Industry – Part 1

The Free Hetherington was a wonderful place.  Over the seven month occupation as it emerged as a hub for activists of all stripes to congregate and share ideas.  In amongst the activism, probably due to the student influence, there was a very good if a little impromptu programme of political education.  Nothing formal, although there was a popular (and continuing) Radical Reading Group, but quite often sessions would be arranged to discuss theory or ideas that had arisen.

…and it was at the Hetherington that I first saw porn.

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On the Need for Women Only Spaces

Living female is a way of life.

The first pronouncement of the midwife is the sex of the child and from there on in, sex and gender provide a context to human experience.  Female life experience is gendered and the behaviour that is socially accepted as a gendered being differs from that of males.   Our society is set up for the ungendered.  Male experience is taken as the norm  – while women’s experiences are the deviation and the gender-specific.  Throughout their lives, from toddlers to old age, men take up more time and attention in public spaces.  In the upper echelons of politics, business, law, medicine and academia men proliferate while female presence is worth note only as a oddity.

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The Honeytrap of the Worker Bees

This week, the Guardian broke the news that eight women are planning to sue the Met over relationships that they had with undercover police officers.  Over a course of 23 years from 1987 to 2010, men sent by the police to infiltrate protest groups have initiated sexual relationships with female activists, lying and deceiving them to gain their trust and through that – their information.

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Women, Media and the Law

In recent years there have been a number of women caught up in the justice system, not as perpetrators of crime as witnesses or victims in a court case, but as victims of the justice system itself, and of the media which reports on it. These cases are diverse in many ways, but the thread that binds them all together is that they all concern sexual behaviour and their perceived immorality, played out across the pages of the media with intimate details of their lives splayed out across double page spreads.

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More on the Congo

Tomorrow there will be a further protest   in London over the re-election of Kabila in dubious circumstances.  This follows on from a week of protests including 143 arrests at a similar protest on Saturday.  Protests against the elections results have occurred in a number of major cities and indeed it was chancing on one in Glasgow which piqued my interest in the country.   Since coming across the demo on Saturday, I’ve been reading up on the Congo, its history, the current conflict and our complicity in it…and its horrifying.  With five million deaths and half a million rapes in a country with a similar number of residents to the UK – it is the equivalent of the population of Scotland being decimated and every woman in Glasgow raped.
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On the Congo

Winding my way home yesterday afternoon on the bus, idly watching the world go by out of the window, I chanced on a demo of about 60 people marching over the Squinty Bridge.  I couldn’t hear much of the chanting but eventually a banner came into view – saying “Kabila must go“.  I have to confess that I didn’t have the slightest clue who Kabila was or why people would want him to go, but the internet is a wonderful thing.

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Musings on Muffs

The conversation in the pub the other night, after admittedly a quantity of alcoholic beverages had been consumed, turned to the attractiveness, or otherwise, of genitalia. The general consensus of the assembled company  was that male genitalia was, by and large, rather ugly, dangly and ridiculous, in comparison to the far neater female equivalent.  Given this near universal appreciation for the superior aesthetic quality of lady bits, the rise in modification and mutilation of female nether regions for no practical purpose is simply weird.

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Gay is the new Drab: Why Marriage Is Not The Answer

The Scottish Government is currently in consultation over extending the right to marry to gay couples.  Mixing in leftie circles, I find myself continually bombarded with people encouraging me to contribute to the consultation, always assuming that I would support such an extension, as is the dominant narrative on the left.  When I express my opposition, they tend to back off slowly with a puzzled expression.  In this opposition, I find myself in uncomfortable company: the main voices opposing gay marriage  in popular discource are voices from the (primarily Christian) Right, with evangelical and Catholic church leaders and homophobes leading the charge.  Nevertheless – while they oppose the extension of marriage as the diluting of an institution, I’m not convinced that people should really be living in institutions at all.

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A tale of two apologies

Jeremy Clarkson’s appearance on the One Show this Thursday – November 30th, the day of the public strike has become notorious for the deeply offensive comments he made.  On Friday, he issued not one but two apologies for comments made on the One Show.  The first relates to the following statement

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Union Power, Kyriarchy and the Scab

The last blogpost generated quite a bit of discussion in various places about the use of the term “Scab”, the power it holds and when its use is appropriate.

Only two schools in Glasgow were open on N30, both heavily picketed with lively and cheerful, if a bit damp, strikers.  A number of non-unionised workers crossed the picket lines and as might be expected they were challenged about whether they really wanted to work when other people were losing a day’s pay for the terms and conditions that they too enjoy.  People crossing picket lines and entering  unionised workplaces during an industrial dispute can generally be divided into three categories.

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On the Use and Misuse of the Term “Scab”

Yesterday saw the biggest strike in the history of the UK.  With 3 million workers refusing to labour after the government attempted to cut pensions provision – attempting to make public sector workers pay more and work longer for less pension.  Unfortunately as with almost all disputes, some workers did cross picket lines and did go into work.  The recognised term for such worker is “scabs” and a discussion grew up afterwards about the origins and use of the term.

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