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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 July 2021

LGBTQ+ workers' charter

Leeds Socialist Party members on the city's second annual Trans Pride march, 31.3.19, photo Leeds Socialist Party

Leeds Socialist Party members on the city's second annual Trans Pride march, 31.3.19, photo Leeds Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

LGBTphobia - discrimination, oppression, harassment and bullying of LGBTQ+ people - impacts the lives of every LGBTQ+ person. The Tories cannot be trusted to end this, or protect our lives or livelihoods. Therefore a fightback is needed. The Socialist Party has produced this charter to aid the discussion and debate needed as part of building a movement to fight for LGBTQ+ liberation.

LGBTQ+ workers and young people have a proud history of fighting back against oppression. The Stonewall riots in 1969 saw the LGBTQ+ community in New York explode in anger at police repression and led to the birth of Pride events.

Such powerful movements are what have led to the legal improvements we've won, such as the equalisation of the age of consent, equal marriage and other laws that improve LGBTQ+ rights.

But no gain is permanent under capitalism. And homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and discrimination still exist and affect our lives.

These issues have been exacerbated during the Covid pandemic. Outrageously, some services have even recommended people 'press pause' on coming out during the pandemic.


Build a mass movement to end LGBTQ+ oppression

In Britain today, austerity and capitalism in crisis threaten the gains won through struggle in the past. Austerity hits groups already discriminated against under capitalism hardest.

Since 2010 we've seen large numbers of LGBTQ+ services close due to lack of funding. LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately more likely to experience mental health issues or experience homelessness; all areas where we are seeing huge cuts.

In recent years, issues around discrimination, particularly transphobia, have been on the rise. This is not just as a result of the Tories and their policies, but the failure of the trade union and labour movement leaders to answer Tory lies, cuts and division with mass action and a socialist programme.

The housing crisis, cuts to homelessness services and shelters, cuts to NHS funding and many of the other austerity attacks are hitting LGBTQ+ people sharply. Defeating austerity requires rebuilding working-class struggles.

The Tories' lie, that needs to be answered, is that the fight for rights and resources in society is between different groups who face discrimination and oppression. The truth is that capitalism, the system the Tories defend, is based on exploitation and the driving down of working-class living standards. Keeping us divided is in their interests as it weakens our ability to fight back. This tactic is what ultimately lies behind the Tories' failure to update the Gender Recognition Act (2004) to make it easier for trans people to self-identify. The Socialist Party fights for the right to self-identify and for the resources and services we all need.

By building the struggle against austerity alongside other workers and youth we can defeat the Tories, their division, and their austerity agenda! That means building fighting trade unions and a new mass workers' party.

Improving LGBTQ+ rights is an issue for the trade union movement because the unions, as the main organisations of the working class, can and have played a key role in the fight for the rights of those who suffer oppression and discrimination under capitalism.

Homophobia and transphobia have their roots in class society and the institutional inequality inherent to it, including on gender lines. Capitalism is a system based on the exploitation and division of workers in order to maximise the profits of a few.

In Britain and worldwide, a tiny group of people own and control industry, science and technology - and harness them in order to make vast fortunes.

Globally, eight people own as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity - the greatest polarisation between rich and poor in human history. In Britain, the majority of us have faced endless austerity, while a tiny handful are raking it in. For example, the CEOs of the 100 biggest stock-market-listed companies collect an obscene 73 times the average wage of their workers.

Big businesses and banks claim support with rainbow logos and by sponsoring Pride events. But the major banks and big businesses that rush to lead Pride marches and hang rainbow flags are part and parcel of the capitalist system. Many, for example, also invest in Saudi Arabia where the government sentences LGBTQ+ people to death. They all exploit the working class and have an interest in maintaining any forms of division among us.

Capitalism offers no hope of a decent future for the 99%. It is an unequal, oppressive and discriminatory system, based on exploitation of the working-class majority by the tiny capitalist class, and divides us on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, etc.

That's because it is the working class that is the force in society that can get rid of capitalism. Class exploitation unites workers of all backgrounds. Together we have the potential power to fundamentally change this rotten system. Because of our role in production - we make things and make things work - and the consciousness of our collective interests that this can generate, the working class has the potential power to replace capitalism with a socialist alternative based on democratic planning to meet the needs of all.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought misery for the working class, but it has also revealed our collective strength. 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 and capitalism.

The rights the LGBTQ+ community have gained have come from decades of struggle. However those gains and developments can be lost. We don't want to just struggle to keep what we've already won, we need to build a mass movement, not just of LGBTQ+ people but the wider working class, which moves into action. It is only through this that we can fundamentally change society - fighting for a socialist change and the end to exploitation, oppression and discrimination.


The Socialist Party LGBTQ+ group is producing this charter to start a discussion about the demands needed to fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and what programme is needed to end LGBTphobic discrimination.

Help us to build a mass movement to smash LGBTphobia. Appeal for support for the charter in your workplaces, youth organisations and among the wider working class.

Pride

Born out of the struggles and campaigning of LGBTQ+ people, more recently we have seen Pride events become increasing corporatised and step away from their radical roots. A political Pride is more important than ever. But an annual protest is only the start of what we need.

We call for:

In our workplaces

Many LGBTQ+ workers face discrimination, bullying and harassment at work. The main bodies of organised workers - the trade unions - need to launch fighting campaigns to stand up for LGBTQ+ workers at work and in wider society. These are organisations which can put the rights and needs of workers first, before the profit or interests of the bosses.

We demand:

In healthcare

As socialists we fight for democratic control of society, and that includes in the health service. This requires democratic discussions, bringing together workers and service users, to develop a plan of what treatment, support and resources we actually need, not what capitalists can make a profit from or what the capitalist system can 'afford'. We wouldn't have to fight tooth and nail for safety measures like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to be available, or against the years-long waiting lists for trans healthcare, because resources could be allocated on the basis of need not greed.

We say:

In education

Many LGBTQ+ young people deal with the effects of capitalism's divide and rule at school, with bullying and an unrepresentative curriculum. We support students forming students' unions to be able to organise and fight.

We need:

Housing, services and resources

How many LGBTQ+ people have put up with discrimination in the workplace or bullying bosses because the alternative was being thrown on the scrapheap of Universal Credit, facing poverty and eviction? How many LGBTQ+ people have not been able to be out, or have been forced to live in unsafe conditions, due to the lack of decent housing, or been forced onto the streets? How many LGBTQ+ services, already stretched, have been stripped to the bone by a decade of austerity?

Young people

Trans rights

It is largely as a result of the courageous struggle by trans people that trans oppression is becoming more widely understood. But that doesn't mean there isn't still a lot of work to do to end it. Many trans people experience mental health issues alongside discrimination and harassment in the community and in workplaces, and when accessing services including healthcare.

The Socialist Party stands for the right to self-identify, including for non-binary identities.

We say:

Build international solidarity

LGBTQ+ people across the globe face murderous anti-LGBTQ+ regimes and horrific discrimination.

We say:

Fight for socialism

Ultimately, until we end the rotten capitalist system, oppression and discrimination will be a part of everyday life for millions across the world. We need to fight for an alternative, socialism - a system which replaces the bosses, their divide-and-rule tactics, and quest for profit above all else. So that the working-class majority is able to put the vast wealth and resources of society to use, planning society democratically to provide what we need.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 14 July 2021:


NHS

NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise

Scrap the privatising health and care bill

Tories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers


Covid

We cannot trust this government over Covid: Fight for a new workers' party

Trade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety


LGBTQ+

Pride is protest - Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

LGBTQ+ workers' charter


Workplace news

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

Brush workers into eighth week of strike

Workplace round-up


International

New wave of radicalisation in Latin America

Putting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

Kazakhstan: Solidarity with protesters attacked by regime forces


News

Keep the Universal Credit uplift

Defend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Wealth chasm widens

Right-wing study concludes youth like socialism


Campaigns

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Stop Pimlico gentrification

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Readers' opinion

England football team

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Readers' comments


 

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Related links:

Lgbtq:

triangleLondon Pride cancelled - pandemic shows protest Pride is necessary

triangleThousands march to Reclaim Pride

triangleBuild a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

trianglePride is a campaign, not a business opportunity

triangleSocialist Party LGBTQ+ members meeting

Workers:

triangleOrganising to defend our future: 9 October day of action

triangleLibya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

triangleWhipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%

triangleThe street I live on

Discrimination:

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party

triangleOnline meeting - Ending violence against women, the socialist approach

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

Unions:

triangleA pivotal moment for the trade union movement

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the unions can win a decent pay rise for health and other public sector workers

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