Trans/intersex Solidarity Gathering Bournemouth 28th October.

Fellow Workers! Stand by our trans and intersex comrades in the U.S.A. An injury to one is an injury to all. 13:00 hrs Bournemouth Square (remember to put your clock back).

Donald Trump really doesn’t want you to do this, he’s counting on you not giving a shit.

From the organisers: “This is a gathering in solidarity with our trans and intersex family in the States dealing with the potential disgusting changes to the US definition of gender and sex.

The Trump administration wants to remove the word ‘gender’ from two key laws and replace it with ‘sex’, specifically they want to ‘define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with’, which goes against scientific and medical evidence from the AMA and APA.

This would remove protection from discrimination in the workplace, in schools, housing and healthcare to name a few.

Combine this with the recent changes to passport gender markers (to ‘sex marker’) and the resulting difficulty trans people have faced in accessing a passport, and you can form your own conclusions.

We gather in solidarity with our trans family, and our intersex family, to show that we #WontBeErased and #weseeyou

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Statement from Bristol Solidarity Federation regarding ‘norwich SF’ facebook page.

Please share widely, especially if you are an anarchist and/or revolutionary unionist.

Taken from facebook: Solidarity Federation – Bristol 19th October

We were shocked and angered to see the bitterly transphobic messages appearing on Norwich Solfed’s facebook page this week. Our last contact with Norwich SF was at a federal conference a year ago, where the Norwich delegate informed us they were now the only member of Norwich Solfed. Norwich’s facebook page hadn’t been active for several months, so we assumed that the group had disbanded. We were aware of some bad blood between the current member and ex-members of Norwich SF. We don’t honestly know who is running their facebook page at the moment; whether it’s a troll, a former member with an axe to grind or a lingering bigot who simply hasn’t understood the organisation which they are part of. We plan on looking into this and we sincerely hope that whoever posted that message is nothing to do with the Solidarity Federation.

We can say in no uncertain terms that the views expressed on the Norwich SF page are abhorrent to us and not remotely representative of the views of the Solidarity Federation. We feel ashamed to share a name with anyone who thinks and talks in those terms.

We’re not going to go into the specifics of what happened at the London Bookfair. But to be clear, our objections to the Trans-Exclusionary ‘Radical Feminism’ espoused there and elsewhere are as follows:

  • Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary folks are non-binary. All of them are valid. Statements like ‘woman=adult human female’ aren’t ‘expressions of facts’, they are gross over-simplifications of complex issues that are designed to bait people and stoke transphobia. Don’t pretend you can’t see that.
  • Self ID is the only true measure of a person’s gender. As anarchists, we believe that the State should have no role in defining a person’s gender.
  • The claim that trans folks in women-only spaces pose a threat to the women in them has zero evidence to support it. There is a considerable amount of evidence that trans folk of any gender are at a huge risk of violence and denying them access to safe spaces, as the TERFs are campaigning for, would be massively harmful. The TERF’s claims that they are protecting women-only spaces are disingenuous and don’t stand up to scrutiny. Digging out a few token examples of trans women who are predators is a poor justification for demonising an entire social group.
  • Transphobia is a real, material force for oppression. It needs to be stamped out. Claiming that transphobia is ‘very far from being of vital importance to most people’ just shows that whoever wrote that post doesn’t know any trans people. An injury to one is an injury to all. Think about what that means.
  • TERFs are far-right bigots in a left-wing skin. Their tactics and rhetoric are no different to the tactics of Tommy Robinson and the rest of the alt-right, co-opting feminism and using the fear of sexual violence to persecute an already marginalised group. We can do better than buying their shit.

If anyone is unfamiliar with these issues and wants to know more, we can recommend the following organisations:

  • Sister not Cister UK
  • Sisters Uncut
  • Action for Trans Health
  • And if you can, we highly recommend checking out the excellent ‘Why we Fight the TERF War’ workshops which are running up and down the UK.
  • You can also contact Solfed’s LGBT+ co-ordinator.

Finally, we want to apologise on behalf of the whole Federation for what Norwich have done. We really hope that no-one exposed to their toxicity has been negatively affected by what was said.

Our Federal conference is next month and we will be raising this issue then. In the mean time, we would welcome contact from anyone involved in Norwich SF who can shed some light on what has happened.

We will investigate what’s happened and deal with it. SF will never be a safe hiding place for bigots.

Anna Campbell – Rest in Power Fellow Worker

From Bristol IWW

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Fellow Worker Anna Campbell, killed by Turkish forces while fighting alongside Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in the defence of Afrin.

Anna was a dedicated feminist, social justice and environmental campaigner known to members for her activism around the student occupation movement, ecological and community outreach projects in Bristol and Sheffield. She was a key organiser in the IWW’s IWOC group, also being involved with the Empty Cages Collective, Smash IPP and Bristol ABC.

Anna travelled to Syria last May to participate in the grassroots feminist and socialist revolution that continues to grow in Rojava (the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria). Anna spent her first months in the country fighting in Deir ez-Zor, Isis’s last major stronghold. However when Turkey launched an assault on the city of Afrin in late January. Anna insisted that she be redeployed there. She gave her commanders an ultimatum, ‘Either I will go home and abandon the life as a revolutionary or you send me to Afrin. But I would never leave the revolution, so I will go to Afrin’.

A spokesperson from the YPJ said of Anna (who took the nom de guerre ‘Helîn’ in Rojava): “comrade Helîn will always be a symbol as a pioneering internationalist woman. We will live up to her hope and beliefs. We will forever pursue her aim to struggle for women, for oppressed communities.”

Our thoughts and condolences are with Anna’s family, friends and comrades at this time.

Rest in Power Fellow Worker.

For more information on how you can support the Kurdish struggle please see:
Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign / Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network

Anarchy by the Sea! Dorset Radical Bookfair 3rd June 2017

Callout now for stalls (£10 each) and meetings. Visit dorsetbookfair.wordpress.com or contact dorsetbookfair@riseup.net
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Crabgrass: internet organising tool from Riseup.

Presenting we.riseup.net

For the last eight years, we have been developing a web application called “Crabgrass,” running at https://we.riseup.net. For many people, this site has been quite useful, with tens of thousands of active users. However, we have never announced this service publicly, until now. We finally feel that the code is mature enough that we want to climb every mountain top and scream at the top of our collective lungs “Crabgrass is here!” Or maybe we should just tell all our Riseup users about it in a newsletter? Yeah, probably that last one.

What is Crabgrass?

In a nutshell, Crabgrass is a simple way for groups to edit shared wiki pages. Crabgrass, however, has a few features that make it unique in the world of collaborative web applications. In particular, Crabgrass is designed to allow people to privately collaborate within a group and with other groups. Uniquely, Crabgrass allows for powerful searches, including full text searching, across the entire universe of things you have access to.

At Riseup, we believe that all technology encodes systems of power. In the long run, the only way for us to use technology for good is to create or deploy technology that reflects the way we want to connect with each other, and not the way that the surveillance economy wants us to. Crabgrass was designed by and for people practicing bottom-up, democratic organizing.

Crabgrass has been our collective’s communication tool for internal organizing for the last eight years. We use it for everything: we have many internal committees set up, we document all our minutes and research, we upload files and images, we use it for group discussions for big issues we need to mull over, and we use polls and voting in order to find consensus and make decisions. There is no way our distracted brains would be able to keep track of everything otherwise. Riseup would not exist without it!

Why Pigeon thinks you all should use Crabgrass

The collective member who primarily writes these newsletters, Feral Rock Pigeon, has this to say about Crabgrass: “I am the least technical of all the Riseup members, and I find myself constantly muddling through this technological world. I am required to use the Google stuff (drive, docs, etc.) for some non-Riseup work, and I am always lost navigating through the fog. Ugh. In contrast, I started using Crabgrass a long time ago, never got any training in it, and have always been able to track and see everything I needed in logical way.”

There you have it! We did not pay her anything for this endorsement!

Help us improve crabgrass

Lots of people are using we.riseup.net  to organize in their collectives and movements. That’s exactly what it is meant for–self organization of social movements. Crabgrass is driven by people who care about it becoming a better tool for themselves, their groups and everyone.

Maybe you’ve chopped vegetables or washed teargas from peoples eyes at a protest. Maybe you’ve helped setup a barricade or tidied up the space it was meant to protect. Let’s apply the same spirit of self-directed mutual help to the improvement of this collective space. If you have 15 minutes please join us in building the platform we all want in order to build the world we want.

See https://github.com/riseuplabs/crabgrass-core

And a big shout out to aliaksandrb who for the past couple months arose from the ether to send daily bug and feature patches that have already gone live. AMAZING. If you are a developer, it’s a great time to get involved.

Some warnings

We recognize that Crabgrass has some bugs, and we are actively working to fix those. We are excited about this new release, but recognize that it is not perfect, and we will continue to iron out problems, as well as adding new functionality. We know that many people want calendaring functionality, and etherpad/ethercalc integration.

Also, please realize that putting something in Crabgrass does not inherently mean it is secure. If somebody with access to a page makes it public, then that page is public to any human or robot on the internet. So, as with any communication tool, it is important that you talk about your security protocols, and have some understanding of how the tool works. Understand who has access to a page, and that those with certain access can share the information (inadvertently or not) with others, by directly sharing the page, inviting others to the group, or having their account compromised.

Crabgrass does not feature end-to-end encryption: like with email, the Riseup collective has access to all the information on Crabgrass. There is currently no good way to support client-side encryption for a web application in a manner that prevents the provider from gaining access to the data. Nevertheless, we do plan to support some limited forms of client-side encryption in the future.

Keep it alive!

We have devoted thousands of hours to developing Crabgrass and maintaining the service. If you use it, please help us cover the costs of keeping it going. As always, please donate