Reclaim Pride in 2022. Photo: Mary Finch
Reclaim Pride in 2022. Photo: Mary Finch

Socialist Party LGBTQ+ group

The Tories offer no solutions to the problems facing workers and young people. While workers are fighting back against the cost-of-living crisis, in the run up to the general election we can expect to see greater attempts to whip up division and hate.

The TUC, whose LGBT+ conference takes place on 29-30 June, can be an important factor in organising a collective working-class response to this division. But a fighting approach aimed at maximising unity in struggle, and a bold socialist programme are necessary.

The unions, six million-strong organisations of the working class, must mobilise their strength. That includes fighting LGBTQ+phobia – discrimination, oppression, harassment and bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people. It impacts the lives of every LGBTQ+ person and, if unchallenged, threatens our class’s ability to unite and fight the bosses and the Tories.

LGBTQ+ workers and young people have a proud history of fighting back against oppression. Legal improvements have been won, such as health provision, the equalisation of the age of consent, equal marriage, and other laws that improve LGBTQ+ rights. Working-class organisations have played important roles in this.

But no gain is permanent under a capitalist system in crisis. In Britain today, austerity and crisis-ridden capitalism threaten the gains won through struggle in the past. While austerity hits all working-class people, those groups already discriminated against under capitalism can be particularly hard hit. 

In recent years, issues around discrimination, particularly transphobia, have been on the rise. This is a result of the Tories and their policies, and also shows the need to build a movement to fight cuts and division with mass action and a socialist programme. This includes the need to build a new workers’ party to answer Tory lies, often echoed – or at least not challenged – by Keir Starmer.

A Tory lie that needs to be answered by our class is that the struggle for rights and resources in society is between different groups who face discrimination and oppression.

Tory propaganda attempts to place the blame for the oppression and lack of services, rights, and support, suffered by women and lesbians on trans people – the Tory playbook. But ending women’s oppression means ending cuts and privatisation of public services, big business’s domination of society, and capitalism.

Capitalism is an unequal, oppressive and discriminatory system, based on exploitation of the working-class majority by the tiny capitalist class. To maintain capitalism, workers face attempts to divide us on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, etc. But class exploitation unites workers. Together we have the potential power to transform society, and in the hands of the working class society could be organised, through democratic discussions and planning, to meet all our needs.

Tory ‘culture war’

For the Tories, the rights of trans people are weapons for their ‘culture war’. It is likely that ‘cultural issues’, under which they include trans rights, will be to the fore in their programme in the next election.

But the Tories are weak and divided themselves. By building the collective struggle against cuts to public services, attacks on the right to strike, and the cost-of-living crisis, we can defeat the Tories, their division, and the crisis-ridden capitalist system they defend.

The strike wave over the last year has given a taste of the power of the working class when it is united and taking action. Because of this, it is essential to link the fight against all forms of oppression including racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, to the fight against class exploitation, austerity, and capitalism.

A new workers’ party, with a socialist programme of fighting for jobs, homes, services and rights for all – including all the rights and resources LGBTQ+ people need, would also allow different struggles to come together in solidarity, and to develop that programme.

Until we end the rotten capitalist system, oppression and discrimination will be a part of everyday life for millions across the world. Socialism would open the way to building a society free from the bigotry, gender norms and discrimination of capitalism. In order to live in a world where human beings can be truly free, we have to fundamentally transform the way society is organised.

You can order a copy of the newly reprinted Socialist Party LGBTQ+ charter by going to leftbooks.co.uk Or download the pdf here.