Staying and fighting versus leaving?

LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
edited July 1 in Epiphanies
At what point in a political party do you give up staying and fighting and instead leave when your party (that you're otherwise fine with) embraces something like racism, transphobia or homophobia which targets a minority?

When the leadership embraces the prejudice and passes/advocates for harmful laws?

When the disciplinary procedures aren't being used against this prejudice (and you've seen them used swiftly and effectively on other matters) so people can voice it with impunity?

When a sizeable group of bigots in elected office are already starting to bully and harass people from this minority out of the party but haven't taken over yet?

Other?

Comments

  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    I don't think there's an objective answer to this. I mentioned in the "Take up the cross" thread that I had argued in our local UMC church that we should stay and witness for being open and inclusive. What I didn't go into was the response. Some folks said that they were just too tired from fighting on this (and they really were.) Christ said, "Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" [Luke 14:28] If that's true of our approach to discipleship, perhaps it is also suitable for our political challenges.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Louise wrote: »
    At what point in a political party do you give up staying and fighting and instead leave when your party (that you're otherwise fine with) embraces something like racism, transphobia or homophobia which targets a minority?

    When the leadership embraces the prejudice and passes/advocates for harmful laws?

    When the disciplinary procedures aren't being used against this prejudice (and you've seen them used swiftly and effectively on other matters) so people can voice it with impunity?

    When a sizeable group of bigots in elected office are already starting to bully and harass people from this minority out of the party but haven't taken over yet?

    Other?
    IMO, one has to decide what one is willing to excuse to get the government one wants.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    The problem is, one cannot get the government one wants. Well maybe a small handful can, but the vast majority will be disappointed with one thing or another. The idea of trying to get the government one wants is a pipe dream and doesn't lend itself to useful strategising. One must work for a government that is close enough to what one wants, for the time being.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Louise--

    Speaking generally, because that's the way you framed the OP:

    Maybe it depends on why a person belongs to a party in the first place. Is it a vision of how the world should be, and how to get there? Individual identity? Community/cultural? (I.e., are the people around a person all in a particular party?) Has the person always belonged to the party, and never realy thought about it?



  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Sorry, accidentally posted before ready. Will work on an addendum.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    I've given up. I used to be in Labour, but got fed up with right wing shit. You don't always get what you want.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited July 1
    I gave up on the liberal party and joined the Greens a few years ago.

    Either way we desperately need proportional representation to bring about government by consensus. The U.K. doesn’t really have a government - more a cronies club, which is soon going to include the civil service too.

    It seems like revolution will be the only way to bring about real change. And that idea gives me no pleasure at all :disappointed:
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    But at what point do you become personally culpable because, for example, to get the government you want, you've thrown Jews or trans people or POC under a bus? You'll get what you want but you've sacrificed others in far more danger than yourself to get there?

    For example no government is going to give me what I want in terms of tackling managerialism (giving managers too much power and pay compared to experts doing the job who know what they're doing), so I compromise on something that would benefit me and vote for my rather managerialist party anyway, but if the compromise is saying 'I'll put up with trans people being constantly harassed and denigrated', when I'm not trans and so somebody else suffers, surely there's something worse about that?

    I had decided to stay and fight because I saw a case where my vote as a member might help keep a very able and hateful candidate out of our constituency but I now see trans people being harassed out of our party and the person in charge of discipline seemingly doing nothing. (If the anti trans people were doing the same with anti semitism their feet would not have touched the ground - so there's a definite unwillingness to act)

    Once you see that institutional prejudice is at work, by staying part of that institution are you complicit? What would you need to do if you stayed not to be complicit?
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    IMO, if one chooses to stay, one should be an active and vocal proponent for change. However, this only works if there is a realistic chance for change. Votes are important, but I don't think they are enough.
  • I think the main thing to consider is this: is the world where you are a member a better of worse one, however marginally, than the one where you are not? Are trans folk better served by you being there at party meetings to defend and support them, or on the outside making clear how transphobic the party is? If the party is defeated then what party is elected instead? Are they better, worse, about the same on the issues you're concerned about? How much worse do the opposition need to be on, say, racism before you decide to fight the racism in your own party while still trying to see it elected?
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    So before I reply properly to folk, can I apologise as I've had some feedback that I was being unclear? I was asking about allyship and how to be a good ally to marginalised groups in an institutionally prejudiced political party - specifically in my case, trans people but the same thing would apply where racism or homophobia was the issue. In particular (thanks Lil Buddha) I'd especially like to hear from people affected by these issues at the sharp end - what sort of behaviour would you want to see from people who want to be useful allies?

    I'm aware that just asking the question can be taking up too much space for my voice, so if I'm out of order please don't hesitate to tell me.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    IMO, if one chooses to stay, one should be an active and vocal proponent for change. However, this only works if there is a realistic chance for change. Votes are important, but I don't think they are enough.

    Suppose you were a proponent of gay rights in the 1950s, and you were generally politically left of centre. No matter what you do, you're not going to get equal marriage any time soon. The best you can possibly hope for is decriminalization of homosexuality, and if you get that, you'll still be stuck with rampant prejudice. Should you walk away from the Labour party because your fellow party members are mostly homophobic bigots, or should you keep advocating from within the party? In part, it depends what the other parties are like. Is there a mainstream non-bigot party that you can jump ship to?

    If everyone who shares your opinion stops engaging with mainstream politics (because of bigots in the mainstream parties) do you have much chance of progressing your agenda? You need organizations outside the main parties to be pushing for rights for trans people (or whoever), but you also need the cause to be adopted by political leaders within the party, and I think you're more likely to do that from the inside.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    The current traction Black Lives Matter has not been from the inside of any political party. Nor have been most rights movements. The people in the party must do the voting, but significant change is driven from the outside.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited July 1
    [cross posted with you LB]

    We don't live in the 1950s, and we're not talking about something that's decades away from the mainstream. There's been a recent (past few years) uptick of prejudice against trans women in particular, in a mainstream party which was previously doing a reasonable job of tackling this kind of thing. This is because determined transphobes have got into positions of power and are also organising online where they target and harass trans folk and allies.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    ISTM, Transphobia's strong presence in British Feminism has allowed transphobes space to operate. I think there are also people, especially men, who are afraid to seem anti-feminist so will not challenge them. If there is a Hell, the British press and mumsnet will be there for their nests of vile transphobics.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Louise wrote: »
    But at what point do you become personally culpable because, for example, to get the government you want, you've thrown Jews or trans people or POC under a bus? You'll get what you want but you've sacrificed others in far more danger than yourself to get there? ...
    If, to get what you want, you're prepared to throw people, whether Jews, trans, POC or just peoples' grannies or white members of the lower middle-classes, then you are personally culpable. What you want, however high-minded or well intentioned you fool yourself into thinking you are, can never justify intentionally doing such a thing, or being reckless as to whether such is the consequence of your actions.

    Not do good intentions whitewash iniquity.

    There may be times when you feel you've no option but to co-operate with others who are unsavoury. If so, do all that you can not to be smeared or tarnished by them, and never fall into trying to defend the indefensible.

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Guilt by continuing association? I think that happens the first time you stay silent when you know you should have spoken up. If any organisation loses the ability even to listen to minority complaints without dismissive condescension, then it's essential to resign. And a good idea to explain why at the time of resignation.

    But if there is a genuine listening capability then there is hope of reform and change. I think it's necessary to make a judgment for yourself on that kind of basis. The ascent of intolerant or phobic views in positions of organisational power may not be a permanent feature, provided the power is not used to silence or marginalise.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I think there are a few levels at which people can operate. Being a member of a party that promotes injustice is one level. It may well be useful to organise a mass protest resignation in this instance. But as a member, you are implicitly supporting unjust policies. If you just vote for them because they are the best of a bad bunch, that's ok. As LB points out, you don't have to be in a political party to work for change.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    ISTM, one has to weigh the possibility of effecting change from within vs from without. Either way it is a tough slog when the leadership of the party that should naturally be on the side of trans isn't.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    This will be an issue in Labour, I think. For the last few years, it has been pro-trans, and Corbyn has made a point of expressing such views. Starmer has sounded cagey, (a deafening silence, according to some), but I wouldn't be surprised if he retreats to a more conservative position, as on BLM. Then it will be up to the individual's conscience.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    I have never been a member of a political party but I always vote. I understand that I am never going to agree with everything the party I prefer at any particular time has done or is proposing to do.

    I tend to vote for the party which is the most moderate and sensible.
  • Telford wrote: »
    I have never been a member of a political party but I always vote. I understand that I am never going to agree with everything the party I prefer at any particular time has done or is proposing to do.

    I tend to vote for the party which is the most moderate and sensible.

    I would suggest that both moderate and sensible are in the eye of the beholder.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    I have never been a member of a political party but I always vote. I understand that I am never going to agree with everything the party I prefer at any particular time has done or is proposing to do.

    I tend to vote for the party which is the most moderate and sensible.

    I would suggest that both moderate and sensible are in the eye of the beholder.

    and when it comes to general elections it is in the eyes of the beholders
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Something weird is happening since the divergence. New posts are not appearing as new on this thread.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Let me just test that.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    lilbuddha, does this appear as a new post now?
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    nope
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    OK I'll take it up with our tech.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    There's a theory that the new post won't show til the thread count reaches the level it was at before the TERF posts were cut out. Checking some more, meanwhile I suggest you work on that basis. (I know this is really proper to the Styx but it was worth a try here.)
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    Louise wrote: »
    So before I reply properly to folk, can I apologise as I've had some feedback that I was being unclear? I was asking about allyship and how to be a good ally to marginalised groups in an institutionally prejudiced political party - specifically in my case, trans people but the same thing would apply where racism or homophobia was the issue. In particular (thanks Lil Buddha) I'd especially like to hear from people affected by these issues at the sharp end - what sort of behaviour would you want to see from people who want to be useful allies?

    I'm aware that just asking the question can be taking up too much space for my voice, so if I'm out of order please don't hesitate to tell me.

    It's a hard one. If the allies leave, then the people from that minority group who are left behind have no one to stand beside them at all. Which makes it easier for the non-allies (anti-allies?) to drive them out / get away with their prejudiced nonsense unchallenged. OTH, if the allies and the people from that group all walk away, that hits them where it hurts - in the ballot box and their pockets.

    Look at this at in terms of what you want to invest in, what's healthy for you and what you - and the group you're supporting - think will have the most impact in the longer term. As this is a marathon not a sprint. But I agree, in terms of trans-rights, we seem to be going backward not forward and I don't understand why this is.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 7
    In the UK at least it's because the anti-trans lobby have managed to weaponise feminism for their own ends. And normally progressive sources have accepted their narrative (who, after all, would want to take women's safe spaces from them, apart from a misogynist happy to see violence against them?) - Rowling, famously recently, but sources like the Grauniad as well:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/31/gender.weekend7

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2020/mar/02/women-must-have-the-right-to-organise-we-will-not-be-silenced

    A transphobic stance has become an acceptable position amongst British progressives; I can't speak for other countries but I gather it's largely a peculiarly British problem.

  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    I think that makes it incumbent on feminists to make the loudest noise and say 'This is not feminism, feminism is being used as a figleaf for an ugly position more at home on the far right.'

    And funny you should mention The Guardian, I know people who have worked there and who are pushing the J. K Rowling/TERF line - and I'm talking about people who were absolutely excellent on stuff like calling out anti-gay stuff in the church, but they're overcome by the fake feminism and the 'fragrant'* JK Rowling being assailed by the rascal multitude on Twitter, yet are blind to harassment of trans people and what this kind of bully pulpit transphobia means in practice. I switched from The Guardian to the FT over Brexit because I wanted better information and I don't regret it (apart from the expense - ouch!).

    I have made contact with people who are affected by these issues in my party and am going to take a lead from them, I've also looked at the policies of other parties, so I'm ready to leave if I can't do any more to help, but I'm also struck by what LB says about working outside. I have donated to Equality Network Scotland and will sign up again and see if I can do more for them. There's a horrifying overlap between the new transphobia and ethnonationalism and I'm very afraid about where it leads.


    *fragrant = deliberate Mary Archer reference
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    KarlLB wrote: »
    In the UK at least it's because the anti-trans lobby have managed to weaponise feminism for their own ends. And normally progressive sources have accepted their narrative (who, after all, would want to take women's safe spaces from them, apart from a misogynist happy to see violence against them?) - Rowling, famously recently, but sources like the Grauniad as well:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/31/gender.weekend7

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2020/mar/02/women-must-have-the-right-to-organise-we-will-not-be-silenced

    A transphobic stance has become an acceptable position amongst British progressives; I can't speak for other countries but I gather it's largely a peculiarly British problem.

    Bloody hell. If you swapped out the words trans for, say gay or black, that would never made it onto the page. An ism is an ism however well written it is.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    The weird thing is, it's acceptable among progressives, and nectar to the right wing bigots. Unholy alliance? I asked my ex-friend about this, and he was mildly discomfited that it was a right wing govt that has apparently stopped the GRC reforms, but still celebrated, and told me I hate women. What a fucking madhouse.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    ISTM that if one's concerns are focussed on a specific matter, such as gender/sex identity and particularly on the interests of trans, then one is better spending one's time active within an organisation like Stonewall than being active in a political party whose concerns are much more diffuse. Furthermore, because most women appear to be unsympathetic to trans political parties seeking the maximise electoral support will avoid the issue like the plague. Focus groups have a much greater influence on major party policy-making than rank and file members. Given your initial post, Louise, I think you would find greater satisfaction by putting your political effort into a pressure group that promotes the resolution of your concerns than remaining an active member of a political party. Of course, you could remain an inactive party member, apart from voting in the nomination of candidates for political office, as well.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited July 21
    Furthermore, because most women appear to be unsympathetic to trans political parties seeking the maximise electoral support will avoid the issue like the plague.

    Thanks for that. In fact recent polling a few days ago for Yougov found the reverse was true. "Labour, Lib Dem and Remain voters, along with women and younger people, are likelier to hold more trans-friendly views than Conservative and Leave voters, men and older people."

    By 47% to 30% women agree that a transgender woman is a woman while men disagree 33% to 43%

    And while I think being active with an external organisation focused on equality is a good point and a suggestion I might take up post-Covid, the association between anti-trans campaigning and the stirrings of Eastern European style populism up here (which uses it as a wedge issue and gets it from Russia Today rather than The Guardian) means it's not just something that can be ignored when it starts to gain ground in a governing party.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »

    The direction of the trends doesn't seem good
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    The numbers are not good in any way one looks at it, IMO.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    I'm not that familiar with the UK situation, so I've been a bit reluctant to comment. My general impression is that the numbers are reasonably good on the easy questions but not so good on some questions that have always been more difficult. The Labour numbers are generally good except for the process issues, as are the numbers for younger people (<50).

    On the process questions, I think the self-ID issue may be lurking in the background even though it isn't being raised explicitly. Realistically, I don't think very many people who are not trans are going to self-identify as trans (or non-binary) just because they can. But it may be hard to combine self-ID with allowing trans people into single-sex spaces without creating some bad optics for the average cisgender person on the street. Perhaps the compromise is to make it easier to transition (young people and Labour voters positively support this) but somewhere short of pure self-ID. I doubt the average cisgender person on the street really has strong views on what the process should be, as long as there is a process, and the way these questions are worded is almost guaranteed to generate negative answers from anyone who doesn't positively believe the process should be easier.

    I think the most problematic numbers are for the last four questions, and perhaps this where advocacy aimed at improving people's understanding of gender identity is most needed. My general impression that many people who are generally supportive of trans rights still have a hard time getting their heads around gender identity, and that better understanding will likely generate better numbers here. I sometimes think that too much energy is expended directly confronting people like Rowling and not enough on building a consensus on understanding gender identity that will eventually make people like Rowling irrelevant to the conversation.

    I also find this point interesting:
    On the topic of don’t know responses, a sizeable minority of Britons are undecided when it comes to the trans-rights debate. For every question in the survey between 21% and 30% of people answered “don’t know”.

    I'm sure some of these don't knows are people not willing to reveal negative views, but it also suggests there may be room for people to change their opinions with the right kind of advocacy.
  • Yes, I think gender identity gets muddled up with gender, gender expression, gender roles and so on, and then it can be conflated with sex. It's possible that some older feminists are recalling the the use of 'gender' (as social construction), in the 80s and 90s. It is confusing.

    On self ID, I think that is a dead duck in the UK, a right wing Tory govt will not allow it.
  • Sorry, that last bit is incorrect, you can say that you're trans right now, but you will not get the paperwork.
  • On self ID, I think that is a dead duck in the UK, a right wing Tory govt will not allow it.

    Not that they can prevent it in Scotland, TBTG.
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