Letters

Various pieces of correspondence in no particular order:

Subject: Shedding light on the shadowy world of ‘spy tech’ by Gillian Tett, Sept 10th

Date: 10 September 2022 at 15:57:11 BST

To: magazineletters@ft.com

Dear FT Letters Editor,

In posing the question who those protesting against Palantir would prefer to manage NHS data, this interesting article gives us only the options of a less efficient company, an insecure public body, or the ’creaking’ NHS itself. However, the best answer is surely obvious: a well-funded and equipped, publicly-owned NHS, ensuring fair remuneration and conditions for its highly-skilled workers, properly safeguarded against circling corporate sharks, no longer creaking but thriving. This vision is at odds with current economic policy, but as reader TC87 states in the same issue’s letters page, rolling back privatisation is urgent. Private companies seeking to extract multi-million pound contracts and poaching NHS staff may be indifferent to the values of our NHS founders and their public service ethos, and unaware of the immorality of profiteering from people’s ill-health, but many patients, professionals, campaigners and other citizens who believe in the common good uphold these principles as basic to civilised society. 

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

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From: Frankie Green  Subject: Drag Queen Story Hour, 11 August Date: 11 August 2022 To:guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

To provide pleasurable social and educational events in a time of hardship for many families is an invaluable public service, as is introducing children to the diversity of humanity and the fun that stories can involve (‘‘I’m just trying to make the world a little brighter’: how the culture wars hijacked Drag Queen Story Hour,’ 11 August). As a volunteer reading helper in primary schools I’ve seen how important encouraging a love of books and enjoyment of reading is for children, and the immeasurably positive effects on their lives and literacy this has. It can also counteract both the pressure of the official syllabus and the worrisome ubiquity of screen time. 

It’s appalling to read that the ‘sovereign citizens’ and other rightwing forces who, in concert with fascistic, lgbt+-hating and misogynist fundamentalists in the USA, are attacking Drag Queen Story Hour events at libraries may find their anti-drag attitudes agreed with by some so-called ‘gender-critical feminists.’ A tautology, surely, for what is all feminism essentially if not critique of oppressive, fixed gender roles unjustly based on biological determinism? That’s how we saw it in the Women’s Liberation Movement since the 1960s.

The current protests must be resisted, for they are not simply local expressions of insulting bigotry and ignorance but part of a concerted attempt to roll back hard-won rights happening in the context of an ominous rightward-shifting political situation.

Sincerely

(Ms) Frankie Green

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July 2022 To London Review of Books Letters Page (unpublished)

Together the LRB contributors writing on the overturning of Roe v. Wade  (LRB, 21 July) illustrate the atrocious nature and implications of that draconian decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and its certain outcomes of suffering and death. They create a magnificent composite picture of how the intersecting of patriarchy, class, racialisation and colonialism impacts on girls and women, particularly devastatingly for those who are Black, migrant and poor. The cruelty and hypocrisy of the fatal combination of state power, misogyny and Christian fundamentalism is highlighted in fifteen pages of brilliant and excoriating analysis. 

         Notably, all thirty of the writers are women. Of course, why not? After all, it is our collective and personal rights to self-determination, bodily autonomy, personhood, equal citizenship and control of our own lives which are under attack from this dystopian legislative putsch. We need autonomous organisations campaigning against the punitive, inhumane ruling of rightwing male supremacists, and do not need any mansplaining added to it. And yet, whilst we rightly focus on this aspect, the fact remains, no-one becomes pregnant by themselves. Which begs the basic question: why are so many men unwantedly causing so many pregnancies? 

         Leading me to think that male contributors to, and readers of, the magazine presumably all have colleagues, mothers, children, sisters, aunts, partners, friends, for whom pregnancy is or has been an issue, and many will have responsibility in situations involving pregnancy themselves. Similarly to white people who recognise their responsibility in fighting racism, men who are allies, who support women’s liberation, who abhor sexism and male violence, could raise their voices, challenge other men and contribute to campaigning. Writers might use their skills to further integrate anti-patriarchal analyses into pieces on economics, warfare, history, etc – all of which subjects, as the article shows so clearly, involve and impact on women and LGBT+ people, all of our reproductive and sexual, physical and mental health. As Gazelle Mba points out, there’s a connection between a state’s powers to enforce childbirth and to invade and control other countries. In this context, and that of assaults on our NHS and other public services, work is needed not only to restore and maintain abortion rights, but towards the radical transformation that the Third World Women’s Alliance envisaged, as described by Sophie Smith: the creation of non-exploitative societies based on justice, which prioritise meeting people’s real needs for healthcare, housing, food and respect. 

         Powerful conservative forces, mostly men, have taken it upon themselves to plot and impose a gross injustice upon society, which will have appalling repercussions globally. It may be incumbent upon other men, men who see the wrongness of this, to explore what role they might play in the opposition and resistance to such a travesty.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Think global – Act local!

Subject: Canterbury’s street market and CCC (unpublished)

Date: 30 July 2022 at 13:59:06 BST

Dear Kentish Gazette Letters Page Editor,

I was shocked, when attending Fridays’ public meeting about Canterbury City Council’s plans for the city’s street market (Gazette, 29 July), to discover the appalling way in which the council has behaved toward the traders. These traders work extremely hard in this essential and much-loved feature in the heart of Canterbury. Yet they and their families are being treated with contempt by councillors, and the risk to their livelihoods is being disregarded.  This is especially unforgivable in the current cost-of-living crisis which is driving people into destitution. The market is invaluable to the community and certainly not replaceable by a gentrified ‘boulevard.’ CCC should withdraw its plans and listen to local residents, who want and need the market. It is particularly important for disabled citizens to be able to shop in one location; this access issue appears to be being ignored by plans to place stalls at sites dispersed around the city. 

However, the most egregious revelation is that the council’s decision to approve their own plans on Thursday night was based on a report using inaccurate information derived from manipulation of income figures. Failure to issue invoices to the traders is a surely dereliction of fiduciary duty and the local authority’s responsibility to tax payers, and should be subject to investigation. 

Contrary to Councillor Clark’s opinion, people are not simply against change; as he says, it ‘means opportunity, and we should grasp that opportunity.’ In fact, we can only hope that the major change so many people would like will come about through seizing the earliest opportunity to demand and acquire a democratic and transparent city council.

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From: Frankie Green Subject: “first Jewish Ukrainian refugees arrive in Israel” 10 March 2022

Date: 10 March 2022 at 13:11:57 GMT To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letters Editor,
Israel’s ‘law of return’ is not, as the Guardian claims when reporting on that state’s intention to take in thousands of Jewish people fleeing Ukraine (“first Jewish Ukrainian refugees arrive in Israel,’ 10 March), simply ‘reviled by Palestinians.’ It is a policy which contravenes international law and UN resolutions whereby people displaced by war have an inalienable right to return to their homes and land. The refusal to adhere to this principle after forcing the indigenous people of Palestine into exile when Israel was created, and the ongoing exclusion of those people and their descendants in the global diaspora, was and remains a flagrant and cruel denial of human rights and a clear perpetuation of a state of apartheid. Decent people worldwide are revulsed by such injustice, and see that the double standards at work can only be rightly described as racist.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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From: Frankie Green 

Subject: Interview with Rosie Duffield MP, Gazette 2 December

Date: 5 December 2021 at 16:09:13 GMT To: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

Dear Gazette Letters Page Editor,

Surely by now the electorate is tiring of Rosie Duffield’s disingenuous attempts to portray herself as unfairly misunderstood? [Gazette, 2 December]

Her claim to be an ally of the transgender community will ring hollow to many people. Why would a trans ally be a guest speaker on a panel at the recent conference of the LGB Alliance, an organisation causing enormous harm to people whose rights and safety are threatened by anti-trans lobbies? The specious attempt to pit women’s rights against trans rights is a misguided simplistic argument rejected by many of us who have been involved in feminism and LGBT politics since before she was born. Trolling and misogyny should always be opposed. However when she re-tweeted Piers Morgan, she was not disapproved of for having re-tweeted a man’s tweet; the person in question is a right-wing commentator who was undermining – and jeering at – the importance of an inclusive and vital cancer prevention public health message. It is inappropriate for a Member of Parliament to thoughtlessly play with Twitter so irresponsibly.

The assertion that she has stood up for Jewish people is also risible; hundreds of Jewish people have been expelled or suspended from the Labour Party for having the temerity to disapprove of the atrocious Israeli regime, having wrongly believed the party’s self-description as being democratic, socialist and pro-human rights. Duffield played a part in this unjust purge which saw the cynical conflation of anti-zionism and anti-semitism weaponised to facilitate the removing of elected leader Jeremy Corbyn and the policies which would have brought about a very different government than that under which we suffer today. In doing so she not only betrayed many constituents but revealed herself as unfit to be a parliamentary representative, as indeed her behaviour continues to demonstrate, characterised as it is by lack of judgement and knowledge and the absence of narcissism the post should require. 

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

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Re pollution of sea and rivers by water companies, published online in Whitstable Views: https://whitstableviews.com/2021/11/14/sewage-scandal-2-boycott-spreads/

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Financial Times, 30 October 2021

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From: Frankie Green 

Subject: Guardian obituary of Sutcliffe  15 November 2020 at 13:58:16

To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com Cc: obituaries@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letter Editor,

Why on earth would the Guardian see fit to publish an almost full-page obituary of Peter Sutcliffe (Saturday, 14 November)? Do we not know enough already about this vicious misogynist mass murderer from the copious and adequate reportage on other pages? What do you consider justifies your providing readers with a swathe of autobiographical details, anecdotes about his time in prison, clothing, appearance, etc, and yet another photograph? 

While it may be fascinating for some to learn that he became ‘a keen reader’ who ‘showed an interest in ceramics,’ I suggest it would behove your editorial policy to consider the potential effects on the survivors of his attacks, the families of the deceased women and all the other women he terrorised, and the wider question of how such information, juxtaposed with obituaries of deceased politicians e.g., legitimises this women-hating criminal in a way he does not deserve. Naming the victims of heinous crimes while minimising publicity to the perpetrators is now accepted as good practice and I cannot be the only one incredulous to find the Guardian not having the awareness to follow this principle. How about an apology in your Corrections and clarifications column?

Yours sincerely
Frankie Green

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Subject: Capitalism and socialism

Date: 17 April 2015 at 14:05:16 BST

To: newsdesk.times@krnmedia.co.uk

Dear Whitstable Times Letters Editor,

Mr S R is totally right to state (Whitstable Times, April 15) that capitalism is a system that works.
            It works absolutely fantastically for the new head of British Gas who will be paid £3.75 million pounds a year. It is working similarly brilliantly for tax-dodgers, hedge fund managers, property investors, private landlords, employers refusing to pay a living wage, multi-national corporations profiteering from the privatisation of our National Health Service, and everyone else benefitting from the siphoning off of public money into private pockets. The massive transfer of wealth being facilitated by the multi-millionaire privately-educated class currently in power is a huge success for their elite cronies.
            Indeed, it’s a system that undoubtably works for anyone who is comfortable with the devastating and morally corrosive effects of market forces which are impoverishing millions of people and wreaking havoc with our physical and mental health.
            Thankfully, this situation can change, because human nature is not fixed as Mr R claims. It contains many potentialities, of which greed is but one amongst others such as the ability to co-operate, care, empathise and share with our fellow human beings. Which dominates will depend upon the values encouraged or suppressed by society. We have a chance to vote for a better one; let’s help to create it.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: An open letter to Flo Lewis, ‘LGBT in UKIP’ – ‘I didn’t march for this.’

Date: 5 June 2015 19:04:41 BST

To: news@pinknews.co.uk

Dear Flo,

I was very lucky to be able to take part in the first Pride march in London during time within the Gay Liberation Front. In your article in Pink News asserting that your group had a right to march in this year’s Pride, you cite that original march as an historical precedent that your group is heir to. It seems to me that you have somewhat misunderstood the facts regarding that event, and I am therefore writing to provide some information that may be useful. In light of the welcome news of the decision that your group will be disallowed, I would like to add my comments to the debate.

Firstly, despite your thinking that the first march almost completely consisted of gay men, I assure you that many women were amongst those ‘few hundred men who marched, years before my birth,’ who faced ‘serious abuse and threats when they set off from Hyde Park. They were pioneers and must be celebrated for their courage.’

Those women, of whom I was one, went on to work in hundreds of organisations working for the rights of lesbians because of what we had experienced including losing custody of our children, our jobs and housing, being stigmatised and ostracised or incarcerated as mentally ill. Some of us have worked in coalitions with gay men and others and in Trades Unions against class exploitation, racism, ableism and sexism. We have also worked in the overlapping causes of justice for those, including LGBT people, seeking refuge after fleeing persecution elsewhere in the world (often as a result of British military intervention in their countries of origin) and combating racism in its myriad forms (also a direct legacy of British imperialism and colonialism) and the principles of human rights, feminist and anti-racist causes – and continue to do so. 

I’d like also to let you know those women and men in GLF came from and celebrated a variety of European and world-wide backgrounds. We were well-aware of the traditional practice of scapegoating immigrants, and anyone regarded as ‘other’ by racist mindsets (as if Britain was not a nation formed by migrants), by the political establishment, as a means of turning people against one another and diverting attention from real common enemies, such as unjust systems of power, economic greed and mean-minded notions of nationalism. In the current rightwing climate, we see the same old same old dynamic in the hate-mongering attempt to stir up resentment against involvement in Europe, immigrants and people in need of safety. Ironically, all the while – if preserving national sovereignty were something you cared about – it should be obvious that the real threats to democracy actually come from the machinations of global corporate capitalism such as TTIP, e.g.

I remember clearly how our intentions back then were based on progressive principles of sharing, open-heartedness, internationalism and human solidarity. We were not simply about ‘equality’ – a much-misused term. Most of us were not seeking equality within an unjust system, but radical social transformation. The clue to what was going on is in the names! Gay Liberation Front, Women’s Liberation Movement. If you are interested in history then you will see that at the time of our movements’ flowering, the world was undergoing huge changes brought about movements in countries throwing off colonialism, the Black Power movement, the civil rights movement … in that context we analysed the political situations of patriarchy, capitalism, white and male supremacy, and developed an understanding of the links between oppressions.  We felt ourselves part of a time in which the struggle for universal liberation from oppression was in ascendency. We were joyful and celebratory as part of that zeitgeist, not only because of developing a pride in being lesbian or gay. Our activism was carnivalesque in the sense of turning the world upside down, inverting and mocking the traditional power structures. I cannot speak for other women and men who formed that original contingent, or subsequent generations of activists (though if any of them read this they are welcome to add their names to mine), but I can say for myself that I believe most of us in that optimistic era never dreamt of a time when a group such as UKIP would co-opt our activism, our language and our cause in a specious attempt to give itself legitimacy. You misrepresent the notion of inclusivity and render it superficial at best if you think we could be connected in any way to the kind of narrow, xenophobic views espoused by UKIP. 

A group of men and women who were in GLF march in London on the 40th anniversary of UK's first Pride.
Ex-GLFers march in WorldPride, London, 2012, 40th anniversary of first march

In 2012 I was again fortunate, being able to be amongst people at the front of the London march with the banner “Veterans of 1972,’ marking the fortieth anniversary of that first march. Simultaneously I was proud to be part of the anti-pinkwashing campaign, marching against the attempts by Israel’s government to hijack hard-won rights as a propaganda smokescreen for its oppression of the Palestinian people under the slogan: No Pride in Israeli Apartheid. (This follows a slogan adopted by an Israeli LGBT group opposing the ongoing theft of Palestinian land, ’No Pride in Occupation.’) I saw this as a continuation of GLF’s radical tradition of solidarity; standing opposite the South African embassy I recalled countless demonstrations in Trafalgar Square calling for an end to that previous vile apartheid system. With thousands of other people I’ve marched for that cause and many others, including subsequent Pride marches and anti-Clause 28 with my family and friends comprising a hugely diverse mixture of humanity. 

I didn’t march for this: a noxious political party representing an appeal to the basest elements: fear of others, ignorance, bigotry and repression. The presence of UKIP on a Pride march is an affront to those who took part in long struggles for justice. The racist and anti-democratic nature of UKIP cannot be disguised by its adopting a tactical veneer of respectability, and it is a travesty to present yourselves as victims bravely facing intolerance. 

I sincerely invite you to rethink your positioning of yourself in alliance with this party and to join the worldwide movements for justice and liberation. 

No Pride in UKIP – No UKIP in Pride.  

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Problem Solved: pornography

Date: 20 March 2015

 Dear Guardian problem page,

I appreciate the compassionate way you deal with the people who write to you seeking advice on their problems. But I was disturbed by your response to the woman who wrote ‘my husband looks at pornography while looking after our baby girl.’ (Guardian, 13 March 2105.)

While you do say the ‘main priority is you and your baby’s mental and physical wellbeing,’ you did not say what is surely the most obvious thing: this man should on no account be left alone with this child. Even a child too young to understand what is going on will pick up on it, will see and hear what this man is doing. (There’s no way of knowing the girl is asleep, by the way, as we only have this man’s word for that.) This may involve serious long-term damage; what we experience as children becomes normalised.

It may be true that this man has an addiction and should seek professional help. However this doesn’t go to the root of the problem, the widespread acceptance and legitimisation of pornography, which is now so mainstreamed that women such as your correspondent feel obliged to incorporate it into their relationships. Her marriage is one of many irreparably damaged, a casualty of the cynical pornography industry. Actually challenging the idea that using pornography is acceptable would help people far more, and give strength to women who may not want to be thought prudish or uncool.

I think you must be aware of feminist critiques of this toxic industry. In addition to the resources you provide this woman why not help her by pointing out the great campaigns that work against it, such as Stop Porn Culture?

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Labour voter defections to Green party – whose responsibility?

Date: 21 March 2015 at 16:38:09 GMT

To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

It is faulty logic that blames erstwhile Labour party supporters switching to the Greens for the potential post-election worsening of the Tory devastation Jeremy Beecham describes (Letters, 21 March.) Clearly, many people yearn for the chance to vote for politicians of integrity who express commitment to progressive policies and social justice, who work against the structures of neo-liberal capitalism’s austerity, privatisation and public service cuts, and who fight the climate change threatening our planet’s survival. 

            Surely, should the worst happen on May 7, the blame should be laid fair and square where it belongs: on a Labour party which has signally failed to provide that chance. Had Labour taken a principled stand and provided real opposition to the ConDem coalition, it is obvious they would not have ‘haemorrhaged’ voters. 

            Candidates with left-wing ideals, honourable exceptions who would challenge Labour leadership policies, don’t appear to have the same backing as those busily targeting constituencies such as Brighton Pavilion. The appalling attempt to oust Caroline Lucas, one of our most honourable and progressive MPs ever, further inclines many people to vote Green. 

            Everyone who wants an end to Tory rule must think carefully and tactically about achieving that, but if we fail, put the responsibility where it belongs.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

21 July 2015

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Subject: Tolpuddle

To: Regional Secretary, South West TUC; cc Morning Star

Thank you for all your work organising this year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival – it gave people the inspiration we need to carry on defending our rights.

It is axiomatic that racism has no place in Trade Unionism, and that racists have no place in such events. You will have received many expressions of protest from people shocked to find a zionist stall in the Martyrs’ Tent (with banners reading ‘Bournemouth Action for Israel’ and ‘Trade Union Friends of Israel’) and I hope you will give thought to us and heed our voices. We all – organisers and attendees – have a responsibility of solidarity with oppressed peoples everywhere as part of our internationalism. During the apartheid South African regime I do not recall seeing supporters of white supremacy presenting themselves as ‘TU friends of SA’ – it would have been as risible as the situation we were appalled by at Tolpuddle. To cite the principle of freedom of speech as justification is entirely misleading. It is matter of pride that Trade Unionists here and around the world have aligned with their colleagues in Palestine against the genocidal actions of Israel, a racist state, and a matter of shame that its supporters were allowed a presence at a festival dedicated to human rights and justice.

Furthermore, it is imperative that Palestinians, people of colour or anyone who may be subjected to racism who participates in TUC events such as Tolpuddle can attend confident that their right to be free from persecution will be upheld by organisers and comrades. Obviously this cannot be ensured if zionist groups attend. Is this not a space where progressive people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and ethnicities can come together in common cause knowing we are with others committed to liberation? It was disgusting that a South African woman who has experienced apartheid was subjected to racist harassment by one of the people from the zionist group, who asserted that ‘Palestinians breed too much’ (apropos of the children slaughtered by Israel in its latest assault on Gaza) and accused people fundraising for Medical Aid for Palestinians of collecting money for weapons! 

As the South African sister said, quoting Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” It would be disappointing if some within progressive movements have not yet understood this, but is heartening that public awareness of the truth about Palestine has increased to the point that most people knew that this group’s attendance at Tolpuddle was unacceptable and challenged the organisers for allowing it.

Setting themselves up to be opposed and subsequently claiming victimhood is a time-worn tactic for Israel’s supporters, who clearly have no concern for justice and no place at Tolpuddle. I trust this situation will not recur in future years. 

Thank you for your time.

Solidarity, Frankie Green

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Subject: Ageism and ‘Let’s Move To …’, 24 October

Date: 25 October 2015 at 14:50:57 GMT

To: weekend@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Weekend,

How very tiresome for your reader to find that ‘the landscape is awesome’ at Church Stretton (’Let’s Move To …’, 24 October) ‘but it’s full of elderly folk.’ Still, her fellow resident, John W says that ‘everyone’ is working to save their historic library building from closure by Shropshire Council. So, could it be that these older people are actually playing a useful, active role in this ‘friendly, vibrant community,’ as they do in most places, indicating that prejudice based on birthdate is as misplaced as any other kind?

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: a proposal for Republic policies

Date: 7 December 2015 at 16:52:08 GMT

To: @republic.org.uk

Dear Republic,

I’m hoping to come along to the Members’ Day/AGM. In case I don’t make it, I wonder if I might make a suggestion? 

I’m glad to receive the campaign literature and admire all the campaigning work. There is one detail that always sticks, I find. Could Republic please stop using the titles which the monarchy bestows upon themselves and are deferentially used: the titles ‘Prince’, ‘Princess’, ‘Queen,’ etc? Would it not be more in keeping with our principles to call them by their names – e.g. Charlie Windsor, Elizabeth Windsor, etc? 

Using titles like ‘Prince’ contradicts republican beliefs, as it gives legitimacy to the ludicrous claim that they are special, rather than people like anyone else. The terms are meaningless; they’re part of the emperor’s new clothes-style farce of the concept of ‘royalty’ and surely need to be exposed as such.

Hope you are able to act on my proposal. Many thanks for your consideration.

Best wishes
Yours for republicanism, secularism and democracy
Frankie Green

Wearing t-shirt from Republic campaign: 'Citizen not Subject'
With local campaigner and writer Julie Wassmer on the event of some wedding, May 2018

“In what way are those whom we call lords greater masters than ourselves? How have they deserved it? Why do they hold us in bondage? … They have shelter and ease in their fine manors, we have hardship and toil, the wind and rain in the fields. And from us must come, from our labour, the things that keep them in luxury.” John Ball, C14

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Subject: Radio 4 Any Answers  Date: 5 March 2016 

 ‘No society that legitimises the commodification and buying of women’s bodies can truly call itself civilised. Let’s hope Jeremy Corbyn is open to understanding this. In opposing austerity he rightly says poverty is not inevitable. Joined up thinking please: poverty drives prostitution! A progressive politician should challenge the patriarchal assumption that men have some automatic right of entitlement to access and use women. I’ll vote for Jeremy if he commits himself to adopting the Nordic model of legislation and the Labour Party develops policies aimed towards the abolition of prostitution.’

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Subject: The views of Mr Brazier, 11 May Date: 13 May 2016 at 16:47:35 BST

To: newsdesk.times@KRNmedia.co.uk

Dear Whitstable Times Editor,

Yet again you have allowed Julian Brazier space to promulgate his toxic, divisive views on migration (‘Too many people and not enough houses’, Times, 11 May.) Would local reporters not find it interesting to do some investigative journalism instead and counter this xenophobic nonsense? (Why not check out, e.g., http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/jan/05/expert-views-housing-bill-end-affordable-housing’?) His claims that the country’s critical shortage of housing results from us living longer and population growth caused by immigration are risible, and the media have a responsibility to challenge them.

Immigration is of course the timeworn scapegoat for directing attention away from the effects of decades of housing policies which have favoured landlords and private investors. It is also immoral to use it cynically to obscure the real situation in order to boost an ideological argument for leaving the European Union. Brazier’s column came in the same week that John Major was warning that ending freedom of movement for EU citizens could mean we lose the skilled workers we need – doctors, nurses, care workers – and the Office for National Statistics showed that migration figures had been misrepresented and used for scaremongering. 

Property ‘developers’ and rentiers use housing stock for profiteering rather than home provision; vulture-like global super-rich elites buy up property while social housing continues to be sold off and not replaced – and MPs are amongst the landlord class profiting from letting substandard property at high rates that create poverty. Meanwhile, many houses stand empty – the Big Issue last year estimated there are 10 empty homes for every homeless family in England. If ethical principles prevailed, instead of the current profit-oriented capitalist market forces, the political will would be found to solve this problem.

Instead, the Housing and Planning Act now being driven through by Mr Brazier’s government attacks social housing further and benefits property developers, with councils compelled to sell off their highest-value vacant housing and the extension of the disastrous ‘right-to buy’ policy to Housing Associations. ‘Pay-to-stay’ rules will be imposed on tenants and other changes will sharply reduce security of tenure in social housing. Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute for Housing,Terrie Alafat, fears ‘some of the proposed measures in the bill will make it incredibly difficult for councils to build new homes – and that almost 7,000 vital council homes a year could be lost.’

There is no simplistic, Malthusian co-relation between migration and housing availability, as Mr Brazier would have us believe. It is not immigrants but an unfair economic system and governments who put profit before people, and regard buildings and land as commodities rather than homes, which are at the root of the shameful, preventable homelessness which is a scandal in this rich country.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Letters page: Jo Cox’s murder and Julian Brazier Date: 30 June 2016

To: newsdesk.times@KRNmedia.co.uk

Dear Whitstable Times Editor,

When Jo Cox MP was murdered local people gathered to protest and mourn her killing, as did millions nationwide. A group of people met at very short notice at the Peace Bench on Whitstable beach with candles and flowers, and held a minute’s silence before speaking of their grief and commitment to redouble their efforts to honour and promote the values she embodied. We printed copies of her much-quoted statement – ‘we have far more in common that that which divides us ‘ – and photographed people’s tributes.

Imagine my surprise to see one of those photos in the Whitstable Times, wrongly captioned as having been taken at the site of Jo’s murder, and accompanying an article by Julian Brazier MP (Times, June 29.) The irony of this juxtaposition will not be lost on anyone who, as Jo did, opposes xenophobic sentiments and anti-immigrant scapegoating and supports the principles of openness, justice and common humanity for which she was killed. As these ideals continue to be disrespected by those carrying out the horrifying racist and fascist assaults people are suffering in the wake of Brexit, while Mr Brazier reflects on the risks associated with being an MP might he also pause to wonder whether the Conservative ideology to which he subscribes may perhaps have played any role in contributing to the appalling and divisive social climate whipped up by rightwing media and politicians? 

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: ‘Refugees Welcome.’, 6 August Date: 7 August 2016 at 11:43:30 BST

To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letters’ Editor,

Your correspondent ER’s open attitude to migration seems refreshing in today’s xenophobic climate but underlying her opinion piece from Aotearoa/New Zealand (‘Refugees welcome. Don’t expect paradise’, 6 August) runs the same collective amnesia that besets many settler colonial projects. Nowhere is there mention of the indigenous people, the lack of sovereignty and equality they endure, and the story of Maori dispossession by European imperialism, the legacy of which is ongoing. 
            This invasion and subsequent ‘whites only’ immigration policy has meant racism thrives amongst people whose sense of entitlement invisibles the truth of the history which enables them to enjoy the fruits of an imposed economic system of individual property ownership. British or American people with the financial means to leave ’the north’ (as opposed to genuine asylum-seekers) can benefit from ‘affordable house prices’ in this context. The urge to leave is understandable, but isn’t there a case to be made for those who fear the likes of Trump and other right-wing horrors staying put and organising opposition to them, rather than fleeing to places whose problems were caused by previous influxes of settlers? Meanwhile, the ‘Shetland ponies, fat sheep’ and free-running dogs E enjoys, with other introduced species such as stoats and cats, continue to devastate the environment of this ‘overwhelming beautiful’ land. 

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Home Affairs Select Committee issues Date: 13 September 2016

To: leader@labour.org.uk and Home Secretary, Amber Rudd

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

I am writing to express my serious concerns about the Home Affairs Select Committee’s interim report on its prostitution inquiry.

When the interim report was released in early July, campaign group, Nordic Model Now! published a response setting out its bias, including:

§  It failed to recognise the serious harms of prostitution both to those who are in it and to the wider society and that nothing can make prostitution safe.

§  It failed to mention the UK’s binding obligations under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (known as the Palermo Protocol) to tackle both the demand for prostitution and the poverty and inequality that together drive sex trafficking. 

§  It failed to consider the impact of prostitution on equality between the sexes in contravention of the UK’s binding obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

§  It ignored important recommendations about how to improve protection of children.

§  It wrote off the evidence from a large number of women’s organisations, survivors of prostitution, and other individuals who argued for the Nordic Model, incorrectly labelling them “emotive” and based on “moral” judgements. This is particularly concerning given that the commodification of human bodies for sexual access clearly violates moral, ethical principles of human behaviour. This must concern any socialist opposed to exploitation.

§  It insisted – against all the evidence and common sense – that prostitution and sex trafficking are completely separate issues.

§  It did not accept the internationally agreed definition of sex trafficking and the implications of this definition.

§  It ignored evidence that sex buyers are more likely to be sexually aggressive than other men and so any increase in the numbers of men buying sex is likely to lead to higher rates of rape and sexual violence generally.

§  It dismissed evidence of the success of the Nordic Model (also known as the Sex Buyer Law). This has now been introduced successfully in several countries and reduced demand for prostitution; hence, the UK is now being targeted by the prostitution industry, looking for new markets. 

§  When discussing the Nordic Model, the report quoted more than five times as many individuals and organisations that opposed the approach as favoured it, even though some had clear vested interests in the sex trade and some of the quotations were based on conjecture and not evidence, and at least one was based on entirely fabricated information.

§  It uncritically accepted the purported success of the New Zealand approach (which fully decriminalises all aspects of the sex trade, including pimping and brothel keeping) and ignored evidence that it has not in fact made the lives of women in prostitution safer or better and has led to an increase in child prostitution and sex trafficking.

For more about what was wrong with the interim report, please see Nordic Model Now’s full response at http://nordicmodelnow.org/2016/07/17/response-to-the-home-affairs-select-committees-interim-report-on-prostitution/.

Eight out of the eleven committee members were male and prostitution has a very different impact on men than on women. Men make up 99% or more of the buyers. Women and girls on the other hand make up the vast majority (80% or more) of those who are bought and sold. And when the buying and selling of one woman is legitimised, it implies that any woman, anywhere, can be bought and sold, reducing her to a commodity.

We now know that the inquiry chair, Keith Vaz, is someone who buys sexual access to vulnerable young people. The Times reported on Saturday 10 September that he said about one of them that “Someone will need to break him tonight.” Vaz’s conflict of interests goes some way to explain the extreme bias of the interim report. It does not, however, explain why all of the other members signed it off.

I am therefore writing to call on you to back the Nordic Model Now! demands:

1.     The interim report must be scrapped.

2.     All members of the inquiry must make a declaration of their sex buying history or step down.

3.     At least 50% of the members of the inquiry must be female.

4.     The chair must be female and should have experience in the field of male violence against women and girls.

5.     All evidence must be weighed against our obligations under the Palermo Protocol and CEDAW.

I also call on you to back the Nordic Model as the only human rights-based approach to prostitution. This decriminalises those who are prostituted, provides services to help them exit, and makes buying human beings for sex a criminal offence, in order to reduce the demand that drives sex trafficking. The Labour Party should surely recognise that prostitution is paid abuse and should not be legitimised.

This is not a private matter, but a transaction from which third party profiteers benefit; it is an issue needing to be dealt with by progressive political policy; otherwise policies which seek to promote gender equality are rendered meaningless.

Please write to the Home Secretary to ask her to address the demands laid out above, and debate this properly in order to educate your colleagues to call for the implementation of the Nordic Model in England and Wales.

*

Subject: Whitstable people deserve an apology

Date: 16 September 2016 To: jrose@thekmgroup.co.uk

Dear Editor,

With no charges being brought against the three members of our community reported on in June as having being detained by police in Calais while taking essential food and clothing to the desperate people trapped there, would it not be appropriate for your paper to issue an apology now for its sensationalist front page article and the appalling abuse and harassment these citizens have suffered as the consequence of such irresponsible journalism? I suggest the best way to say sorry would be to make a donation to the  humanitarian projects these admirable people undertake in solidarity with our fellow human beings fleeing war zones and seeking safety. That would go some way towards making amends for the divisive and racist effects of your damaging report.

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: ‘sex for rent’

To: youandyours@bbc.co.uk Date: 21 October 2016

Dear You and Yours,

Thank you for highlighting this appalling situation. A sexist culture which objectifies women, and commodifies sex, has combined with homelessness, poverty and lack of housing to enable opportunistic predators to exploit vulnerable people. Legislation should outlaw such abuse, and a civilised society should provide housing as a human right.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: ‘survival sex’ Date: 21 October 2016

To: womanshour.yourviews@bbc.co.uk

Dear Jenni Murray,

The term ‘survival sex’ is, as you said on this morning’s programme, a terrible term. But may I suggest so also is ‘sex worker’, a euphemistic misnomer masking the reality of prostituted people’s experience. And after all, isn’t all prostitution a ‘survival’ mechanism? How many women would take up being mauled and penetrated by endless strangers if given a better choice?

Will Women’s Hour consider using the term ‘prostituted people,’ instead of aiding the attempts by the prostitution industry to sanitise itself by presenting this exploitation as a legitimate form of work?

Sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: A response to letter Saturday 15 April on prostitution and the M Star Date: 15 April 2017

To: letters@peoples-press.com

Dear Morning Star Letters Page,

If, as Kevin W wonders, the Morning Star is developing an editorial policy on prostitution in favour of the Nordic model (M Star April 15), the paper is to be congratulated on taking a progressive stance on this issue. Far too many leftwing publications and organisations are still aligned with the position that human bodies can continue to be purchased for use by punters until ‘the social and economic conditions‘ of class society disappear. Women campaigners are all too familiar with the retrogressive concept that our liberation can wait till socialist conditions prevail; until then our commodification and objectification is presumably to be perpetuated. Mr Ws argument omits analysis of a crucial structural oppression, that of patriarchy and its validation of men’s assumed entitlement to buy and use other people’s (mostly women’s) bodies. 

He is right, however, that the cruelty of the poverty-generating schemes of capitalism like neoliberal austerity which drive women into prostitution, as happens to the character of Katie in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, must be opposed. There should be no good reason why that fight cannot go on in tandem with that against the prostitution industry, however. Advocates of the Nordic model most definitely do not endorse punitive or judgemental attitudes toward prostituted people; rather, they insist on the need for the provision of justice, living incomes, proper support and alternatives to an exploitative industry fuelled by men’s demand for sexual gratification and power. This entails an unashamedly moral, but not moralistic, insistence on human dignity and worth, which any socialist should have no problem supporting. 

Sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: Jackie Walker and Whitstable Labour Club Date: 19 July 2017

Dear Canterbury and Whitstable Labour Party committee members and activists,

I was surprised to find that an event I attended at Whitstable Labour Club on Monday has been perceived as controversial by some in the local Labour Party, and even treated as being so problematic that it should not have happened. This seems to me so absurd it would be funny were the issues involved not so serious. Having seen Jackie Walker’s one-woman show twice and found it moving, interesting and important, as did others in the audience, I consider it a great shame that these critics didn’t take the opportunity to come along to engage in open discussion and find out the truth.

Clearly Jackie Walker has been the target of a sustained vicious smear campaign, threats and false accusations by an alliance of right-wing media, the Labour Party right and the pro-Israel lobby. This must have been as harrowing as it is insulting. Yet she continues to deal with it with dignity and honesty, answering all accusations flung at her, as her show makes clear.

Anyone who has not yet seen ‘The Lobby’, Al-Jazeera’s three-part investigation into the extent of Israel’s pernicious influence on and interference in British politics, and the lack of compunction with which organisations such as the Israeli embassy, the Labour Friends of Israel and the JLM deploy undemocratic methods against human rights defenders, should do so in order to understand the context in which this is happening. Despite this report’s vindication of Jackie, the campaign against her continues unabated. http://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/

With no qualms whatsoever about trying to discredit and silence supporters of Palestine, in their attempts to defend the indefensible Israel’s apologists can only come up with accusations of anti-semitism. As Norman Finkelstein describes in his book ‘Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History’, Israel’s supporters are experts in contrived controversy – whenever Israel is under pressure to stop its persecution of Palestinians, another alleged outbreak of anti-semitism requires the mounting of an egregious campaign. This diverts attention away from Israel’s ongoing atrocities. The success of this malicious red herring tactic is all too obvious. Jackie and others who support the Palestinian quest for justice have felt the brunt of this; their words are cynically distorted and misrepresented.

I am not in a position to know whether people in the local LP who object to the performance of Jackie’s play at the Labour Club are unwitting participants in this process or amongst those deliberately perpetuating such contrived controversy and untruths. One can only hope the former is the case.

It is a shame that it is necessary to continue to affirm that activists do not oppose the oppression of Palestinians because it is perpetrated in the name of Jewish people; we oppose it because it is oppression. As a Palestinian woman who attended Jackie’s show said during the Q & A session, the Palestinians greatly need support from progressive people outside Palestine in their struggle for human rights, the end to illegal occupation and apartheid and the torment they face daily. As international solidarity has grown, the truth of Palestinian dispossession known more widely, and the non-violent tactics of Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions take effect, so the backlash from the state of Israel has been ramped up. Malicious smear campaigns, and the attempt to conflate anti-zionism with anti-semitism, are part of this. Rather than the actual injustices of the past 100 years since the infamous Balfour Declaration and the 70 years since the Nakba or catastrophe being addressed, this disgraceful situation continues.

For some people who joined the Labour Party recently it has been disappointing to witness the response of the local CLP to this smear campaign. Rather than taking a strong stand and seeking to understand the truth of the situation, the prevailing attitude appears as a pusillanimous failure to take any action (to the best of my knowledge) other than a letter to the NEC about the suspension of pro-Corbyn members such as Jackie. Attempts by concerned members to hold open debate on the issues or discuss the possibility of passing motions of solidarity were quashed by officers, and instead a ineffectual informal meeting was held, which couldn’t even agree to send an informal message of support to Jackie.

Thanet is our neighbouring constituency, in which lifelong anti-racist activists such as Jackie have fought tirelessly against UKIP and Farage. The lack of solidarity with her is shocking. E.g., networking with women and women’s groups in adjacent areas is part of the Women’s Officer’s remit, yet has not been in evidence. Rather than acting on the principle that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all,’ a basic tenet of the Labour Movement, with the honourable exception of some individuals it felt like the branch has turned its back on Jackie, leaving her defence to comrades nationally and international figures such as Noam Chomsky! It would be encouraging if Labour Party representatives shared the sense of shame and outrage many members feel over this.

Instead, people appear anxious to disassociate themselves and unwilling to allow open debate. Although, ironically, people who have caused a stir over this have themselves brought it to public attention, there have even been fears expressed that Jackie’s show at the Labour Club may somehow harm the new MP. Apart from the issues of suppression of debate and censorship of political theatre this raises, it shows a strange naivete. If the right wing media and/or the Israel lobby wants to smear anyone, it will. It doesn’t matter how nice you are, how inoffensive or amenable you appear, how carefully you play the game, you will be lied about and falsely accused if it suits their purposes. As Chomsky made clear in the classic ‘Manufacturing Dissent’, the purpose of the media in a capitalist system is to obscure the workings of capitalism. Anyone on the left knows this. Anyone who remembers or knows about the McCarthy era should be extremely sceptical about witch-hunts, not be cowed or worried about guilt by association. Elected Labour representatives need to be able to withstand the way this nonsense is deployed. It would be a source of pride to many constituents if attempts to gag activists were challenged rather than colluded with, and an understanding of the need to uphold the basic socialist principle of solidarity was demonstrated. It is to be hoped that this will happen; it would be so much more positive if ways were found to support one another to resist campaigns of untruth which seek to divide us, rather than granting them credibility.

It would be good to feel confident in the hope that this could all be discussed in an informed, democratic and open way.

Yours sincerely, in the spirit of freedom of debate, Frankie

*

Subject: Woman’s Hour, prostitution and false equivalence

Date: 27 September 2017

To: womanshour.yourviews@bbc.co.uk

Dear Women’s Hour,

Following Julie Bindel’s excellent explanation on Woman’s Hour (27 September) of why the prostitution industry belongs in history’s dustbin, we hear that a spokesperson from the pro-industry lobby will appear on the next day’s programme.

This is another example of the kind of false equivalence the media promulgates and which Helena Kennedy in the same episode clearly showed to be morally and logically wrong (managing to do so despite being disrespectfully interrupted by Jane Garvey.)  

We’d not expect to have to listen to apologists for other atrocious unacceptable institutions being given equal time to present their arguments. (“And now, a speaker from the Klan on justifications for slavery/ a man on why domestic violence is acceptable”) This notion of there being ’two sides’ in the name of impartiality does not serve the cause of women or other oppressed peoples, in fact it sets it back by demonstrating and perpetuating appalling ignorance of the reality it distorts. 


*

Subject: Girls’ rights, education and sexual exploitation Date: 7 October 2017

 Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

Challenging the assumption of patriarchal entitlement, which your correspondent so clearly describes as underpinning the atrocities of female genital mutilation and child “marriage”/rape and abuse (Letters, 7 October), must also make the connection between these issues and the prostitution industry, and involve commitment to its abolition. Otherwise, the noble goal of ensuring that no-one is to be left behind or left out proclaimed by many is rendered meaningless.  
            Pledges from any political party, trade union or civil society organisation purporting to care about gender equality and the right of girls to education ring utterly hollow if they fail to understand that it is not legitimate to continue to relegate a sub-section of women to being forever available for male sexual access. This makes a mockery of any notion of equality. Any social justice policies worth their name must challenge the assumed right to, and demand for, the purchase and use of the bodies of prostituted people, and resist attempts to normalise their commodification and sale by suggesting this exploitation be seen as an acceptable form of work.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: Letters 7 November – Greek term for government Date: 7 November

To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

Kathy Kirkbright asks if classicists know of a Greek term for ‘government by dirty old men.’ (Letters, 7 November). From the 1960s onwards in the Women’s Liberation Movement, we always called it phallocracy. Covers all ages, professions and geographical areas. As relevant now as the current, global upsurge of feminist resistance against it. 

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green 

*

Subject: Jonathan Freedland on exemption from war crimes, 25 November Date: 25 November 2017
Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

I wonder if I might correct an error of omission in Jonathan Freedland’s article on the breakdown of international law (‘Mladic was unlucky. Today most war criminals go free’, 25 November)? As he rightly says, it is appalling that the idea of bringing such perpetrators to justice seems a distant memory; the hope that those responsible for atrocities will be prosecuted has faded as British and US complicity means the post-WW2 process, as Phillipe Sands says, has stalled. 

 While any list such as that compiled by Freedland of culpable regimes and their leaders who commit mass murder, bombing, maiming and torture of civilians, destruction and other crimes with impunity – Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Assad’s Syria, Pinochet’s Chile, along with Afghanistan, Iraq, etc – may be too long to complete, to leave out the actions of one of the major international players is utterly absurd and an insult to anyone who cares about the people suffering daily under pitiless Israeli military attack and brutal persecution. The terrible plight of the Rohingya people enduring ethnic ‘cleansing’ rightly garners international outrage. Yet the Palestinians have been suffering similarly for seventy years, waiting in vain for justice in forced exile or under illegal occupation, siege and apartheid, while Netanyahu and his ilk not only evade the ICC but are hosted by Downing Street. How can the irony of this escape anyone? 

Yes, all upholders of human rights must ensure the pursuit of justice continues, even in the face of ‘international community’ inactivity; nobody should suffer war crimes, and no perpetrator of those crimes should escape prosecution. But without exception.

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

*

Subject: Re: Israel-Palestine (Case Ref: RD1478) Date: 27 November 2017

Dear Rosie Duffield MP,

Thank you very much for your response to my email about Palestine. I greatly appreciate your reiteration of your belief in the importance of upholding human rights and your recognition of the terrible suffering of the Palestinians.

I completely understand that you are very busy and MPs’ time is pressured, but was sorry to hear that you felt unable to meet constituents last week to discuss these issues. Despite it being budget day, over 60 MPs, including Jeremy, met with hundreds of their constituents on the day of the lobby and attended the packed meeting to discuss Israel’s imprisonment and merciless ill-treatment of Palestinian children. I am really glad that you are concerned about the issue of these child prisoners and I hope you will therefore show your support by adding your signature to EDM 563 http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/563

I would like to thank you also for David M’s reply on your behalf to my previous email regarding the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, in which he set out your views on the situation. I am sorry to have to say that these beliefs, if they are indeed held by you, are rather worrying. It is disappointing and somewhat baffling to find that our MP has been inadequately briefed and badly-informed. This is surprising given quite a high level of awareness in this constituency as to the truth of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and active campaigning by local people, e.g. successfully working against Canterbury City Council’s awarding of contracts to a firm profiting from Israel’s brutal military colonisation, and there are of course Palestinians amongst the university students supportive of Labour during the recent general election. 

To state that ‘it is right to commemorate this historic anniversary and to recognize the relationship that we have with the state of Israel’ seems odd, given that the declaration is a source of shame to many people, who know it as one of British imperialism’s most egregious acts, which paved the way for the catastrophic dispossession and ethnic ‘cleansing’ of the indigenous people of Palestine, and the ongoing cruel persecution they suffer daily. To have facilitated the supplanting of historic Palestine by the creation of state of Israel is not something that can be given a gloss in any positive way whatsoever. The British state should apologise for Balfour – not legitimise it. Britain bears responsibility for the suffering of millions of people, and its relationship with Israel continues as one of complicity, cynical self-interest and the trade in lethal weaponry and militarised population control, technology it exchanges globally with other oppressive regimes. The recent documentary ‘The Lobby’ http://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/  exposed the pernicious and far-reaching influence in Britain’s politics of Israel and its lobbyists, many of whom work cynically within political parties here, which should also be a source of outrage.  

I suggest a fundamental question must be addressed when considering Balfour: on what authority did Britain arrogate to itself the entitlement to make such a declaration? It was a manifestation of the same racist imperial hubris shown in its continued support for Israel’s subjugation of an entire people. 

Clearly, as David said, ‘The legacy of Balfour reminds us that the words and actions of politicians can make a difference.’ In this case, words have resulted in appalling consequences, with Israel inflicting an endless stream of atrocities upon the Palestinians. To help right these wrongs, it is incumbent on political representatives and citizens to have knowledge, both historical and current, of these issues. Only a few minutes of watching easily-available video footage is sufficient to make one aware of the actions of Israel today and every day: soldiers seizing, beating and imprisoning children; invasions of land by armed settlers with military protection brutally attacking civilians, the burning and razing of olive groves as part of the systematic destruction of the Palestinian agriculture and economy; the demolition of homes; the forced evictions of people from their homes to be taken over by settlers; the spraying of communities and pollution of land with sewage, etc. 

Israel evades prosecution for war crimes with impunity. In this context it is nonsensical to perpetuate the false notion of equivalence between ‘two sides’ who are responsible for blocking peace, and, while calling for ‘an end to the blockade, occupation and settlement construction,’ resurrect the spectre o‘terror attacks’. Israel is a state founded on terrorism, from catastrophic events such as the Irgun’s 1946 lethal bombing of British HQ at the King David hotel to today’s ongoing colonisation and apartheid, the callous use of Gaza’s trapped civilians for target practice and the shooting at fishermen in their boats, etc. In terms of terrorism, the villages of the West Bank are routinely invaded and traumatised day and night by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians’ steadfast commitment to non-violent protest is met with lethal military force and rarely mentioned in the West, which prefers to perpetuate the notion of them as terrorists – the list is endless and quickly reveals the arbitrary use of gratuitous violence with which Israel gets away, terrorising the Palestinian people as a matter of course. Britain’s collusion is a disgrace. Strong international pressure, including sanctions, needs to be brought to bear on Israel to cease its lawless behaviour and observe international law.

The concern you have shown for refugees is greatly appreciated by many people. The plight of the Rohingya people has rightly invoked international outrage. Yet Palestinians have similarly been subjected to inhuman, racist treatment for seventy years. The Palestinians comprise one of the world’s largest refugee populations, as a consequence of their forced expulsion from their ancestral homeland. Millions of refugees entitled to return should be accorded their rights under international law and UN resolutions, which Israel ignores.

Even a cursory look at the map reveals that ‘a viable state of Palestine’ has been rendered impossible by Israel’s land theft, particularly as Israel clearly has no intention of ever allowing a Palestinian state to exist, stealing for itself more and more territory. I hope you will feel able to consider such issues and support all attempts by politicians, parliament and civil society to bring justice for the people of Palestine.

Thank you again for your time.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely, Frances 
*

From: Frankie Green 
Subject: letter re hate speech on Israel, 16 August
Date: 16 August 2019 at 18:14:30 BST
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

Why should Ya’ir Klein fear that opposition to Israeli policies towards Palestinian people may lead to ‘promoting anti-semitism further’ (Letters, 16 August)? Criticism is aimed at the policies and practices of a state, not at Jewish people as a whole, and conflation of the two remains an absurdity despite attempts to define them as synonymous.

Supporters of Palestinian rights, exercising the freedom of speech Ya’ir Klein supports, do not oppose oppression because it is carried out by a Jewish state, but because it is oppression. Anyone curious as to the accuracy of the use of terms such as ‘apartheid and ethnic cleansing’ can check out the definitions thereof for themselves. If accusations are found to be valid, what may be incited is commitment to human rights advocacy, which is not hatred but its opposite.

Sincerely
Frankie Green

To: info@clevehillsolar.com Sent: 18 December 2017
Subject: proposed Cleve Hill solar ‘park’

Managing Director, Hive Energy

Dear Sir,

Thank you for the community consultation leaflet regarding the proposal by Hive Energy and Wirsol to place the country’s largest array of solar panels on rural land between Whitstable and Faversham.

As residents of Seasalter living in close proximity to the area we wish to object most strongly to this plan, in agreement with the view expressed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England Kent that this site is absolutely unsuitable for such a development. 

We are in favour of the development of renewable energy and opposed to fossil fuels. However, consensus amongst environmentalists generally favours the placing of solar panels on rooftops and re-using previously developed or brownfield sites. Micro-generation, serving communities, should be a priority, rather than vast arrays on a massive scale benefiting multi-national corporations, 

The physical and visual impact on the landscape of this industrialisation of the countryside would be devastating. As is often the case in such applications, claimed benefits are exaggerated and far outweighed by damaging impacts.

The North Kent Marshes are internationally important for birds and the area in question borders an extensive Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar-designated site. Much of the site is within the Natural England-designated Greater Thames Estuary Natural Area and Character Area, while almost all of it is noted as an Area of Greatest Habitat Opportunity (enhancement) and as a Biodiversity Opportunity Area.The site adjoins the Kent Wildlife Trust reserves at Oare Marshes and South Swale while the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds manages areas in nearby Seasalter Levels. The Saxon Shore Way long distance public footpath runs along the coast and is used by thousands of people who appreciate ‘an unrivalled diversity of scenery from the wide expanses of marshland of the Thames and Medway estuaries,’ as the Ramblers’ Association describes.

The importance of safeguarding countryside against encroachment, preserving the character of ancient towns, and not allowing monstrous projects involving detrimental impact and misuse of farmland cannot be overstated. Your proposed development would change the character of the area and destroy the visual amenity afforded by the open countryside views; it is in effect a major industrial development not in keeping with its surroundings in terms of scale or character.  Policies on developments in the countryside posit that they must not have an adverse effect on the appearance or character of the landscape. Your project would severely impact on the visual amenity of the countryside, which would be destroyed by the ruinous installation of solar panels over nearly 900 acres, associated equipment and security fencing, access road construction, concrete and steel for panel mounting, fuel for vehicles, use of surveillance etc. Residents are, naturally, also expressing concern about flooding risks on this plain. We would appreciate being informed of flood risk assessment submitted to the Environment Agency.

There are also issues of long-term impacts which need addressing. E.g., once the site has been built upon there is a significant danger that the site could be considered brownfield in the future and so could be a preferred site for houses or some other industrial use.

Moreover, while use of solar power is generally understood as cleaner – more environmentally friendly, less toxic and lower in climate-changing emissions etc – than other energy sources, there remain significant potential environmental impacts associated with solar power – land use and habitat loss, water use, and the use of hazardous materials in manufacturing etc, such as those outlined by the Union of Concerned Scientists. ‘The PV cell manufacturing process includes a number of hazardous materials, most of which are used to clean and purify the semiconductor surface. These chemicals, similar to those used in the general semiconductor industry, include hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and acetone. The amount and type of chemicals used depends on the type of cell, the amount of cleaning that is needed, and the size of silicon wafer.  Workers also face risks associated with inhaling silicon dust. Thus, PV manufactures must follow laws to ensure that workers are not harmed by exposure to these chemicals and that manufacturing waste products are disposed of properly. Thin-film PV cells contain a number of more toxic materials than those used in traditional silicon photovoltaic cells, including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride. If not handled and disposed of properly, these materials could pose serious environmental or public health threats’ and ‘while there are no global warming emissions associated with generating electricity from solar energy, there are emissions associated with other stages of the solar life-cycle, including manufacturing, materials transportation, installation, maintenance, and decommissioning and dismantlement.’ (https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-solar-power.html#.WjUu-62cZjQ) Local people would therefore appreciate information on both Hive Energy and Wirsol’s policies on these issues.

Additionally, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (https://cleantechnica.com/2009/01/14/danger-solar-panels-can-be-hazardous-to-your-health/) has warned that ‘solar panel production creates many of the same toxic byproducts as those found in semiconductor production, including silicon tetrachloride, dusts, and greenhouse gases like sulfur hexafluoride … silicon tetrachloride, for example, makes land unsuitable for growing crops. And for each ton of polysilicon produced, four tons of silicon tetrachloride are generated. There are steps that the solar industry can take to minimize toxic risks, however. The SVTC recommends that manufacturers test materials for toxicity before using them. Additionally, the group asks manufacturers to ramp up takeback programs. But as getting solar panel manufacturers to take back their products after 25 years (the average lifespan of silicon-based panels)’ can be problematic, we would like to know what the longterm plans for Cleve Hill are regarding recycling and anti-toxicity.

As Griff Rhys Jones has said, during a previous protest against Hive Energy’s plans to place a large solar farm in an unsuitable rural environment, ‘it is not elitist or nimbyist  to care about the countryside … it is the proper demand of a citizen.’ Devon MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has noted in her campaign for fairness on solar farms, ‘people are right to feel angry about the impact of industrial scale solar farms.’ There are myriad reasons for opposition on the part of local citizens, residents, visitors, environmental organisations and local politicians to your proposed development. Together with our neighbours and other members of the local community, therefore, we shall strongly object to a Development Consent Order being granted by the Secretary of State, in the interests of protecting from despoliation this cherished landscape.

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Subject: PIP assessment experiences Date: 27 January 2018 at 20:13:26 GMT

Dear Laura Pidcock, 

Thank you so much for taking up the issue of PIP and securing a debate on it – and for all your work to achieve social justice.

My experience of the PIP application process is minor compared with myriad cruel experiences other claimants endure; however it was humiliating, farcical and deprived me of income.  Several points may be of interest for your research.

I received DLA for twelve years, being awarded it indefinitely due to a diagnosis of systemic lupus, an auto-immune condition, the symptoms of which include chronic fatigue, joint pain, weakness and depression. It’s a variable and incurable condition, for which I was monitored by St Thomas’ hospital. 

DLA payments stopped at the (arbitrary) cut-off point last year and I was summoned to a PIP appointment by Independent Assessment Services – ATOS using a different name. From the point of view of being interested in how private companies are taking over or being meshed with public services, I noted that their office is housed in the local council offices. 

The woman who carried out the ‘assessment’ told me she was a qualified nurse. The govt’s refusal to grant our underpaid NHS nurses a pay rise was currently in the news and I remarked that her present job might be more lucrative than working in the NHS, to which she replied that she would never return to it, the pay being so much better in her new role ‘especially as the company is really doing so well.’ For ATOS, it seems, there is a magic money tree.

Just one example of public resources invested in training health care professionals benefitting the private sector’s profitability, while the NHS is drained of staff. And nursing skills are not necessary for filling in tick boxes so are being wasted; presumably employing medically qualified staff gives ATOS a veneer of professionalism. 

Because I had rested in preparation for the interview I was marked down for being able to communicate ‘appropriately’, despite my explaining that such activity tires me and is difficult for prolonged periods. I know the route to the office so was able to avoid the ‘cognitive and memory difficulties’ I experience when fatigued. The day of the interview was a relatively good one for me – if it had not been I wouldn’t have been able to attend – I was still exhausted by the end of it. I wouldn’t be able to to use public transport for such journeys. Ironically, however, because I drove to the office this was counted against me, due to my having the strength to use the gears! 

I know many disabled people are suffering terribly from withdrawal of DLA/refusal of PIP and are in far worse situations than mine. However I feel it’s important that variable chronic conditions and less visible disabilities are better understood and factored in. We often have to face the implication that we are lying or exaggerating. It is astounding and upsetting that ATOS, Capita, etc, can override and ignore the diagnoses and opinions of patients’ Consultants and GPs – experts who know and have treated us – and the previous assessments made of us when we were officially deemed eligible for DLA.

DLA had enabled me to use a Motability car, providing independence and access to places which can be otherwise unreachable. I can’t speak highly enough of this organisation and the vital support they provide to disabled motorists, thousands of whom have now lost their vehicles. There is a kindness inherent in the project which I have so appreciated when in need. This is in such stark contrast to the mean-minded punitive attitudes and austerity policies of the Tory govt.

I so hope that your work, and the principles espoused by Jeremy Corbyn, will eventually end this appalling regime of siphoning public money into private pockets and heartlessly causing citizens impoverishment, misery and hardship. 

I hope the debate goes well!

All best wishes and solidarity

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Subject: Whitstable oyster farming: CCC must consider dangers to public and environment

Date: 4 March 2018 at 13:53:58 GMT To: Chief Executive, Canterbury City Council 

Dear Sir,

I write as a Whitstable resident living in close proximity to the shore. I have become increasingly concerned by the exponential proliferation of oyster racks placed on the beaches by the Whitstable Oyster Company. 

Safety concerns are paramount. At the beach for recreational use with grandchildren and other visitors during the past summer we have been deterred by the risks to swimmers and sailors on our beaches which have previously been safe to use, and on which the public has exercised unrestricted and unobstructed rights to engage in leisure pursuits and water sports. 

I understand that this industrial development of the foreshore commenced without the company responsible obtaining planning permission, or obtaining the relevant licence from the Marine Management Organisation, prior to the work being done, and that the company claims exemption from such requirements. Any decision to grant such exemption is patently absurd and concerned residents request that this be reconsidered as a matter of urgency, not least in the interests of preventing accidents which are clearly a grave risk.

Not only is infrastructure on this scale completely inappropriate in a seaside town like ours, warning notices placed by the company are inadequate and effective in terms of preventing risks regarding danger or obstruction to navigation and beach users. Unbelievably, further development is planned eastward of the harbour, increasing the hazards and removal of public access. 

There are also grave concerns regarding the environmental impact of large-scale farming of Pacific oysters, categorised as a European Alien Invasive Species, as well as the damage being caused to the beach by the company accessing the racks.

Residents therefore pose the following questions to Canterbury City Council, the MMO and other bodies: 

What steps are being taken to address the obstruction that these racks are causing to navigation and leisure use of the beach? How large an area of the beach west of the harbour will CCC allow the racks to extend over? Has CCC given consideration to the implications of the planned extension of the development to Long Beach, west of the harbour? Why have they not taken enforcement action? Will CCC give proper planning consideration to this development and to its impact on other users of the sea, to the environment and the interests of the wider public? 

It beggars belief that one company is allowed to expand its exploitation of the town in pursuit of profit for its business interests, untrammelled by regulation or concern for the interests of the public. Whitstable is not simply a resource to be exploited for private commercial gain; it is a living community whose citizens cherish its beach facilities and natural environment. As the local authority CCC must step up to their responsibility to protect our interests, rights and safety, and safeguard the environment against despoliation and enclosure. Furthermore, if the correct procedures have not been followed, your constituents need to know the reasons.

I look forward to hearing from you with regard to these issues as a matter of urgency.

15 May 2019 To: The Planning Inspectorate Re: APP/J2210/C/18/3209297
I write regarding the forthcoming Planning Appeal hearing, in order to add my comments to representations to be considered by Public Inquiry.
I am appalled that the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company is appealing against the decision that it must remove the hazardous and ruinous metal racks that it has spread along the coastline in this area of Kent.
As a resident of Whitstable I am aware of the importance of this area for leisure use by local residents and visitors who now endangered and inconvenienced by WOFC’s arbitrary and self-interested actions. We are unable to take part in activities widely enjoyed such as swimming, windsurfing, sailing, enjoying a beautiful view, etc; normal activities on a beach previously enjoyed as a public amenity. 
Most importantly, however, I am concerned by the environmental threat posed by these industrial-scale installations and the oyster farming taking place on huge areas of the foreshore. I am witnessing the degradation caused to wildlife by continued expansion of the racks which result only in profit for the private company and yield no community benefit whatsoever. This coastal area is subject to protection measures which are being recklessly ignored. At a time when awareness of the vulnerability of our fragile ecosystems and the importance of estuarine and wetland landscapes is growing, this sort of damaging development is not to be tolerated. 
People in Whitstable are increasingly exasperated by the use of our town and its beach by this company who seem to regard the area as their own private fiefdom, based on an historical legal anachronism which it has exploited against the interests of the local community.
I trust you will uphold the previous decision that the company must remove these structures and urge you to ensure compliance with this decision.
SincerelyFrances

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Subject: examination of CHSP site Date:16 May 2019 at 11:02:25 BST
To:CleveHillSolarPark@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Dear Sir or Madam,
I write as a registered interested party and concerned local resident regarding the forthcoming examination of the site of the proposed Cleve Hill Solar ‘Park.’
This is an extremely significant decision-making process, impacting as it does on a large area of internationally important wetland environment and potentially having a hugely negative result for both the local human community and the ecosystem of wildlife for which it forms crucial habitat. At a time of growingawareness of the fragility of our planet, and the numerous human-made threats to its survival, it is of paramount importance that decisions about industrial developments which alter the use of agricultural land and valued landscapes are environmentally sensitive and do not contribute to further devastation. (The greenwashing of such projects by presenting them as generating renewable energy and thereby mitigating climate change does not bear scrutiny – the irony of the piecemeal destruction of the planet on the pretext of saving it should be obvious to anyone.)
To this end it must be seen that decision-making is carried out in a fair and impartial way. I am concerned therefore to learn that one of the examiners appointed to this case was previously involved in approving development in the same area, David Rose having recommended the granting of consent for the London Array wind farm and substation at Graveney against the wishes of the local community. 
At that time he commented that the“principle of seeking to avoid large scale intrusive development in the countryside carries considerable force; and the quest for an alternative brownfield, more urban-related or better concealed site has considerable attraction. However, there is no justifiable basis to suppose that any other realistically feasible and suitable site exists to accommodate the proposed substation.”This of course doesnotapply to the CHSP proposal as there are clearly numerous ‘feasible and suitable’ alternative sites that could be utilised. My concern is that Mr Rose should not, on the basis of his previous involvement and knowledge, try to make the case for the spare capacity of the substation justifying the installation of the currently proposed project. This argument should not be given priority, however expedient it might be to the private companies behind the scheme.
This situation does not inspire confidence in the examination process and raises serious doubts. It is self-evident that examiners should bring objectivity to their tasks and not be influenced by previous experience or involvement. We are therefore very concerned and call upon the Planning Inspectorate to register this complaint, afford it due consideration and act accordingly.

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Subject: Your question in Hansard 21 May 2018 

To Rosie Duffield MP Date: 22 May 2018

As a constituent I would be grateful if you would clarify the situation regarding your written question as per Hansard 21 May, as follows: “To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to support Palestinian refugees seeking to enter the UK as a result of recent violence in Gaza,” to which you received an answer from Caroline Nokes, Minister for Immigration.

Could you please let me know where and how this question originated and on what grounds you have asked such a question? The reason I ask is that – while of course any Palestinian person seeking safety here should be dealt with sympathetically – I wonder if Palestinians themselves, or representatives thereof, have requested that such questions be asked in the British parliament? 

As I understand it, the Palestinians who have suffered Israeli attacks are calling for recognition of the Right of Return to their homes from which they have been ethnically ‘cleansed’ – an inalienable right guaranteed under international law and e.g. UN resolution 194. They have been steadfast in their resolve to return to or remain in their homeland, and continue to resist being driven out with great bravery, despite horrendous Israeli violence. This Right of Return is a primary principle of the Palestinian quest for justice – many retain the title deeds and keys to the properties from which they were driven during the Nakba. 

To ask therefore about the UK receiving them as refugees would seem to contradict this. Indeed it would seem to be exactly what Israel would prefer as part of its colonisation project: to dispossess and drive out yet more Palestinian people. It would be ironic if the assertion of the right of return led to further ethnic ‘cleansing’ and I’m sure you would agree the UK and its politicians should surely not be colluding with that by focusing on plans that involve further removing Palestinians from Palestine. I hope you will understand my puzzlement on this issue and be able to clarify the matter. 

FYI a great deal of work has been done clearly showing the feasibility of return (I recommend that of e.g. Dr Salman Abu-Abu Sitta https://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-right-return-feasible/5608, whose excellent resources were cited by Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions activist Jeff Halper during his meeting in Canterbury last night.)

Support for the Palestinians suffering under Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza and attacks during the Great Return March is commendable, as people continue to die from wounds inflicted by the Israeli military and thousands more, including children, have been maimed and permanently disabled. It is right that our parliamentary representatives respond to this atrocity, and your recent comment on the massacre of demonstrators is welcome. I trust that MPs of conscience will continue to exert pressure on Israel to end the violence it meted out during the march, its subsequent current bombing of Gaza, vicious attacks on peaceful demonstrators in e.g. Haifa, etc. I hope you will support calls for an end to the Israeli-UK weapons trade, understand the need for sanctions on Israel’s apartheid regime, uphold the rights of Palestinians wishing to return to their homes and ask questions of the government which pertain to these rights. Thank you.

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Subject: Eyewitnessed: Guardian Pictures of the week 2 June 

Date: 2 June 2018 To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian ,

How delightful to see a half-page colour photograph of Israelis cooling off’ in a lake in the Jordan Valley (Eyewitnesses Pictures of the week, Saturday, 2 June.)

As they will all be past, present or future participants in Israel’s military, perhaps they need a refreshing break after or before a stint firing at unarmed Palestinians. One of them may have been the murderer of 21 year old volunteer paramedic Razan Al-Najjar, one of the many deliberately targeted and killed while assisting wounded people, or one of the others mercilessly slaughtered with all the courage it takes to shoot fish in a barrel. Or perhaps they just maimed some of the thousands injured. The West Bank is closer to their kibbutz, so perhaps they just dragged some children into prison or raided or destroyed houses there. Incidentally, of course, Palestinian families there may have originated from the very part of the region now occupied by the people in the photo enjoying access to water supplies systematically denied to Palestinian residents and farmers. https://www.palestinecampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/jordan-valley-factsheet-2012-WEB.pdf

Last month your Head of Photography said ‘our human response is vital in helping to inform a decision over what to publish or, just as importantly, what not to publish.’ In adding insult to injury your photo shows a cruelty befitting Israel itself. In a week that British weaponry sales to Israel peaked, civilians in Gaza were bombed, Israel began construction of an underwater wall on the coast of already-besieged Gaza, more people were killed and injured at the so-called ‘border’ (from which the homeland they were driven from is visible), whole villages are resisting demolition, and the UK failed to support a UN resolution calling for desperately-needed protection for Palestinians, mainstream media continue to downplay Israel’s atrocities and western complicity with them. Readers may have once expected a greater degree of journalistic fairness in the Guardian. They now ask: why is it normalising the vicious apartheid regime of Israel? 

I hope to see a photo of the brave and dedicated Razan Al-Najjar in next Saturday’s centre spread. 

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Morning Star article on BAE & LGBT  Date: 4 August 2018

To: letters@peoples-press.com

Dear Morning Star Letters Ed,

Thanks to Symon H for challenging the participation of those profiting from dealing in weapons of mass destruction, such as BAE, and military forces in Pride events (‘Why do some LGBT rights groups regard arms dealers as allies?’, August 4.) When taking part in the UK’s first Pride march, London 1972, many of those of us in the Gay Liberation Front and Women’s Liberation Movement never imagined that decades later we would see hard-won rights hi-jacked and used for pinkwashing the imperialist and colonialist ventures causing worldwide carnage and suffering in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, etc. Most of us demonstrated not simply for equal rights in an unjust society but for its radical transformation, and in internationalist solidarity against oppression, racism, militarism and ‘the narrow and patriarchal discourse of the nation-state and the glory of war’, as the group ‘Against Equality’ puts it.*  

The sight of uniformed lock-stepped blocks of soldiers marching along is a chilling moment of contrast to the carnivalesque, bright, rebellious spirit that Pride originated in, leaving us to ‘wonder if they do not see the burnt remnants of entire cities decimated in the thirst for oil, or the corpses of adults and children deemed as “collateral damage.”” Such a travesty and betrayal of a radical movement reveals the limits of the neo-liberal politics of equality and inclusivity.

Solidarity, Frankie Green

*Against Equality: queer challenges to the politics of inclusion (http://www.againstequality.org/about/military/


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Subject: Letter re Off the Record by Paul Francis, September 8

Date: 8 September 2018 To: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

Dear Whitstable Gazette, 

May I correct a small but significant error in Paul Francis’s column, regarding his comment about Rosie Duffield MP [Off the Record, September 6]? The definition of anti-semitism which she has insisted the Labour Party adopt is not ‘internationally recognised’; it is in fact a quasi-legal document which expert opinion, including that of Geoffrey Robertson QC(1), describes as not fit for purpose and sadly actually fails in some cases to protect against the real scourge of this pernicious form of racism. Even its author, Kenneth Stern, has condemned its being wrongly used to curb the right to freedom of debate, most notably on the terrible plight of the Palestinians brought about by Israeli policies (2).

It is unfortunate, and disappointing to many constituents, that our MP seems to have joined the chorus of those supporting this specious document. Perhaps she has been misled by those using cynical tactics to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the popularity of which is, after all, the reason for her election.

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

(1) Geoffrey Robertson QC http://ow.ly/39vq30lGfkG

(2) https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/why-the-man-who-drafted-the-ihra-definition-condemns-its-use/

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From: Frankie Green 
Subject: letter re hate speech on Israel, 16 August
Date: 16 August 2019 at 18:14:30 BST
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Dear Guardian Letters Editor,

Why should Ya’ir Klein fear that opposition to Israeli policies towards Palestinian people may lead to ‘promoting anti-semitism further’ (Letters, 16 August)? Criticism is aimed at the policies and practices of a state, not at Jewish people as a whole, and conflation of the two remains an absurdity despite attempts to define them as synonymous.

Supporters of Palestinian rights, exercising the freedom of speech Ya’ir Klein supports, do not oppose oppression because it is carried out by a Jewish state, but because it is oppression. Anyone curious as to the accuracy of the use of terms such as ‘apartheid and ethnic cleansing’ can check out the definitions thereof for themselves. If accusations are found to be valid, what may be incited is commitment to human rights advocacy, which is not hatred but its opposite.

Sincerely
Frankie Green

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Subject: Woman’s Hour 16 November on prostitution

Date: 16 November 2018 To: womanshour.yourviews@bbc.co.uk

Dear Jane Garvey,

How can ‘Woman’s Hour’ present a discussion about the ‘managed zones’ in Leeds (16 November), not only using the euphemism ‘sex work’ but with no hint of awareness that by doing so you are legitimising the commodification of women’s bodies and colluding with the idea that this is a valid occupation? Why did you not include any representation of the point of view that the best way to keep women safe – which we should all want – is to not support the prostitution industry, but promote the alternative of the Nordic Model? No prostituted person should ever be criminalised, persecuted, prosecuted, shamed or stigmatised. But there is a long tradition of exposing the myth that prostitution is just another job. Yet you presented this item as if prostitution – with its assumption of men’s right to buy women – was somehow simply natural, inevitable and must therefore be accommodated. 

Minutes earlier you referenced the MeToo movement and other campaigns challenging the patriarchal notion that men have an automatic entitlement to sexual access to women’s bodies. I invite Woman’s Hour to think more deeply about this question. What on earth is the point of endorsing important feminist initiatives only to undermine them in the next breath by condoning the view that – on the one hand – we are saying to men that women are not objects to use for their sexual gratification and ego boosting, but – on the other hand – that sub-group of women over there, in that zone, you can go ahead and buy them and use them as you wish? This is ludicrous. Which women deserve to be categorised thus and placed in that sacrifice zone? Why would Woman’s Hour tacitly present that as OK? 

The prostitution industry is not a provider of a form of ‘work’ – in many jobs, there are constrictions placed upon sexual harassment. In prostitution, sexual harassment is the job. Payment does not make it valid. And who would choose it if not forced by factors such as poverty – the low wages, benefit cuts and cruel austerity policies one of your speakers mentioned? 

Additionally, please consider the fact that most industries providing a service have a valid purpose, albeit that the delivery of that is twisted by capitalism into distortion, exploitation, and waste – e.g., the fast food industry: low wages, precarious zero-hours contacts, unhealthy food, exploitation of humans and animals, and so on. However, the end point is the provision of food – people do need to eat. What is the end purpose of the prostitution industry? Simply the reinforcement of male power and supremacy and female subjugation, and profiteering for pimps and criminal gangs. There is no justification whatsoever for legitimising this abuse, and as it contradicts anything you have done to further gender equality it’s appalling that you didn’t even mention such issues. 

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: For letters page: “Labour must stand with sex workers” Date: 11 December 2018

To: contact@redpepper.org.uk

Dear Red Pepper Letters Ed.,

‘Selling sex is a working class job.’ (RP, Winter 2018) Really? So just because it’s the most downtrodden poorer people in society who are most likely to be prostituted, that’s OK? Can socialists not see the bigger picture and challenge the entitlement of men to sexual access to commodified (mostly) women’s bodies? Feminists worldwide are doing so and rejecting the entire patriarchal ideology that validates that assumption. You assert that it’s ‘time for Labour to stand with sex workers.’ But if we get the hoped-for Labour government and it throws out the cruel Tory austerity programme it would act to reduce poverty and precarious employment and could put generous funding into policies such as the Nordic model, by which people who wish to can exit the prostitution industry and live lives free from exploitation, enjoying the material support and opportunities all citizens should have. Unless you think a subsection of women should always remain available to be used by punters and pimps? A moment’s thought shows prostitution is not a job like any other, and progressive people should be challenging attempts to legitimise it. Come on Red Pepper, keep up! You are letting down readers who want a truly, radically transformed world.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: Letter re article ‘Convicted over protest’, December 13

Date: 16 December 2018

To: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

Dear Letters Editor,

It’s clear from your article that draconian attempts to criminalise non-violent protest are being used to deter solidarity with our fellow human beings (‘Convicted over protest’, Gazette, December 13.) However, these will not succeed as long as there are caring people like Laura and other campaigners who express the civilised and ethical values that make her a credit to our town. 

The unjust treatment of those who protested at Stansted airport in order to halt the deportation of people seeking safety here has highlighted the inhumane policies toward asylum seekers in the ‘hostile environment’ deliberately created by the Tory government. The cruel detention and deportation of people without proper legal process, often returned to countries where they face the threat of persecution, imprisonment or death, should shame us all. Laura is surely right that history will vindicate people of conscience who stand against these abhorrent policies; their actions will be placed in the great tradition of resistance undertaken for humanity’s benefit.

The absurdity of the trial judge instructing the jury to disregard the defence that such protests are justified by the desire to prevent far greater harm and protect human life, and the charge being changed from the lesser one of trespass four months after the event, has clearly resulted in an inappropriate, disproportionate verdict. Whitstable can be very proud to have produced such a fine young person as Laura and should wish her well in her quest for justice.

Yours sincerely, Frankie Green

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Subject: re proposed solar array on Graveney marshes Date: 1 January 2019

To: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

Dear Kentish Gazette,

It would be extremely ironic to destroy parts of the planet in the name of saving it! With increased scientific warnings of devastating climate change, more people are becoming aware that it’s essential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and develop clean, renewable energy. However, there is absolutely no need or justification whatsoever for industrialising a thousand acres of our countryside, as would happen if the proposed solar “park” was approved by the Planning Inspectorate (‘UK’s biggest solar park a step closer’, 27 December.)

This totally inappropriate development, the size of Faversham, would destroy the habitat and lives of hundreds of species of birds, mammals and other life-forms, including protected species. It is being opposed by many organisations such as the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Green Party, the local MP, the Faversham Society and the Graveney Rural Environment Action Team, whose Save Graveney Marshes website campaign provides information on the extent of the destruction and the enormity of the damage to residents, leisure and businesses, as well as helping people to voice their concerns.

Rooftops and brownfield sites are the appropriate locations for solar panels. Power generated from vast arrays under which nothing can live, and which impact terribly on our coastal environment, will only benefit corporate developers, who will profit from cheap access to the existing substation, with a vast area of storage batteries facilitating speculation on the energy market. This would set a dangerous national precedent for bypassing local planning procedures and ruining yet more countryside.

With registration open to 28 January there is still time for individuals and groups to express our objections to the threatened loss of this beautiful, important landscape. Please visit https://savegraveneymarshes.org

Yours sincerely

Frankie Green

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Subject: The guide to dealing with stress & anxiety Date: 3 February 2019

To: weekend@theguardian.com

Dear Guardian,

Thanks so much for the tips from Richard Branson on how to cope when under pressure, in your special guide to dealing with stress (How to let go, February 2.) Who knew having ‘a cup of tea and a think’ could be so helpful? It must be so stressful planning how to increase privatisation of our NHS, and ‘hard to focus’ on the best way to maximise profits to be extracted from the outsourcing of health care services. Reacting when a contract is lost by suing for an extra couple of million quid of public money, as the multi-billionaire ‘business magnate’ did in 2016, presumably also raises anxiety levels. 

Meanwhile, underpaid NHS staff, people opposing corporate profiteering, campaigners defending a publicly funded and provided health service, distressed rail passengers and everyone who is against the loss of our services to the private sector continue to experience very high stress indeed. Of course, Branson could do us all a favour and instantly reduce this national worry level, and enjoy more kitesurfing and tennis on Necker Island, by following common sense advice. Just let go, Richard.

Sincerely, Frankie Green

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From: Frankie Green
Subject: Gloria Estefan Q & A
Date: 17 June 2019 at 19:52:04 BST
To: weekend@theguardian.com

Dear Weekend Guardian,

Had Gloria Estefan (Q&A, 15 June) not espoused the kind of politics that led to her leaving Cuba after the revolution, she wouldn’t have to regret “not being able to sing in free Cuba”; she would be able to make music in a country free of neo-liberal capitalism and the concomitant illiteracy, impoverishment, lack of health care and educational equality which that system’s greed creates. Not so easy to buy “some Picassos” there, though, of course. 

Why is the Guardian normalising this kind of right-wing rubbish?

Sincerely
Frankie Green

1991
Camden New Journal, September 2000
I’m not really but …
Guardian, 3 April 2007
Guardian, November 2008
Guardian, 4 September 2015