Tuesday, 16 August 2011

PRIDE NOT PROFIT - Socialist Party at Pride

Keep Pride Free!
Pride began as a political demonstration for gay rights in Stonewall, New York. In the UK this movement has become highly commercialised, as can be seen by the large brands which dominate the Pride march. The focus has moved from confronting all forms of discrimination against LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer) people to a domesticated a-political street party, in hot pursuit of a mythical “pink pound”.
No longer a political protest march, this year, Pride in Brighton is charging an entrance fee to the festival. This excludes many working class LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer) people on low incomes from sharing in what should be an inclusive demonstration and campaign against discrimination.
We reject the commercialisation of Pride, supporting a free celebration of LGBTQ diversity and freedom, and against cuts, privatisation and other attacks on LGBTQ rights. At the same time we think a major part of the anti-cuts movement should be campaigning for LGBTQ charities and services that are facing funding and grant cuts to be fully funded and resourced by the government.
Fight The Cuts!
This year’s Pride takes place against a backdrop of vicious cuts from the Tory/Liberal coalition. It also follows on the heels of 750,000 workers striking against these attacks on June 30th. Impending cuts to public services and benefits will hit LGBTQ people in Brighton and Hove particularly hard. LGBTQ people are more likely than average to work in the public sector, so many of us are threatened with unemployment. Housing benefit cuts will force LGBTQ people into unsafe areas or into sharing, with the danger of homo- or trans- phobic flatmates.
HIV/AIDS treatment will be endangered by NHS privatisation. Multinationals looking to take over services will neglect unprofitable sexual health campaigns and LGBTQ organisations won’t be able to lead such campaigns if their grants have been cut. The government's academies policy, taking schools out of local authority control, will make it harder to combat homophobic bullying and will open the door to extreme religious and other agendas that promote homophobia and prevent teachers tackling LGBTQ issues in class.
With crisis comes scapegoating. 73% of respondents to Brighton’s ‘Count Me In Too’ survey (CMIT) said that they had experienced abuse related to their sexual identity and/or gender identity in the past five years. Politicians may resort to attacks to cover up for their policies, as Thatcher did with Section 28.
These cuts are not inevitable
Bankers preached the free market until their lust for short term profits crashed the world financial system and economy. Then, they were bailed out with our money. Now they say we have to pay the costs of the crisis they created.
Why must we pay? Big business takes £95 billion from the public purse every year in tax avoidance and evasion. Directors' pay in FTSE100 companies is now increasing at a rate of 32% a year, while the pay of most workers is stagnating or falling.
All the establishment parties support the cuts, only disagreeing over how sharp and swift they should be. LGBTQ communities alongside the wider trade union and workers movement have to get organised to fight the cuts.
The 500,000 strong 26 March demo and the strikes to defend public sector pension rights were just the beginning. More action has to be organised for the autumn. A one day public sector general strike should be called by the trade unions against cuts and privatisation.
We have to take action to defend past gains. Socialist Party members are active in Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition which is organising our communities in fighting back.
But we also need to extend our rights, such as winning same sex marriage equality, and improving services. The reforms of the last period were won through struggle. We need a new mass workers’ Party to fill the gaping void on the left of British politics. It would give a voice to all those who want to fight back against the capitalist system and the prejudice and division it fosters.
The resources of our planet can be used for the benefit of all, not just the super-wealthy few. We fight to transform society and for socialism, a democratic system based on need not profit. If you agree with us, join the Socialist Party!
In the past week over $3trillion was wiped off the global markets as panic gripped the system. Part two of the financial and economic crisis, which has been brewing within the system since the first collapse in 2008, is now threatening to unfold across the globe.
The capitalists are blindly groping their way through this crisis, however on the basis of capitalism they can do little more than hope beyond hope that the 'markets' will leave them alone. Now more than ever it is crucial that we build a fightback, for a democratic socialist society, base on the needs of the majority not the short-term profit motives of the few.
Wednesday 17th August, 6pm, phoenix community centre Talk and debate on defending LGBTQ rights and services, fighting the cuts and socialism. Speaker, Shona McCulloch UNISON rep (personal capacity), Brighton and Hove Socialist Party member info.bhsp@gmail.com www.brightonhovesocialistparty.