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Nazis in Ukraine

25 Feb

I have been watching the events of the last two weeks or so in absolute horror. The sight of open Nazis in Ukraine with Nazi insignias on their clothes, waving far right flags used in the war by Nazi collaborators and getting, until recently, uncritical coverage in the BBC and other media outlets, fills me with rage and despair, as an antifascist, as a Jew and as a human being 😦

There is however a real risk of any social anger against Yanukovich and his backers in the Kremlin being written off as being driven by the extreme right, a tactic that Russia has made use of before despite an increasingly intolerant and far-right political climate towards gay people, Muslims and other minorities with the Putin regime’s tacit approval. While they have come to be dominated by the extreme right, such as the extreme right wing, antisemitic Svoboda party, one of whose activists established a ‘Joseph Goebbels research centre’ and the the even further right Pravy Sector, initially at least the makeup of the protests was a lot more mixed and included left-wingers and even anarchists. The character of the protests changed when neo-Nazi activists were able to overpower other groups protesting, by for example smashing up a stall by Ukrainian trade unions in the square. The fact that they were physically more well prepared and well armed put the fascists at the forefront of most of the fighting against the police and government. They were able to set up barricades deciding who came in and out of the protest camps and most of these were dominated by far-right groups. However even now the protests are not fully dominated by Nazis – many homeless people came to the protest camps for example attracted by the free food.

It may seem unusual in the UK but protests with this sort of mixed character are not unusual in Eastern Europe. In 2009 for example, there were protests in Moldova against the Communist Party who at the time controlled the country. These protests eventually forced the removal of the governing party and resulted in a victory for a coalition of ‘pro-European’ parties, some of whom, but not all, included the extreme right. Russia was quick to allege fascist involvement in the protests, a charge that didn’t really stick given the wide range of people involved in them. But there was a grain of truth involved in these claims. The protests split the country with many Russian speakers, rural people and older people being against them and shocked by the disorder. On the other hand fascist groups were involved in the protests as well as ordinary people, leftists and ‘liberal‘ pro EU nationalists such as the ‘Hyde Park‘ group (portrayed in western media as a liberal, pro-European integration group, but when I took their leaflet on a demonstration I walked past while I was living there, I discovered it was racist).

Although I do have some time for some of the activists in this group and others of a similar political nature, the insipid pro-EU liberalism of these organisations as a whole, and uncritical attitude towards anything which opposes Russia, leaves much to be desired – their politics don’t tend to go further beyond the idea that “we should join the EU and all be nicer to each other”, and with the implied idea being that EU integration, likely to be opposed by Russians, is itself a good idea in itself, that it will automatically make the country more prosperous etc – and that the only “problem” is Russia. Thus in these social movements and organisations you get liberals, pro-EU “economic liberals” and free-market types alongside social democrats and leftists who think that joining the EU will lead to a more “european style” democracy and standard of living – and fascists, who will have very different motivations for wanting closer ties to the West from the above, but the vagueness and apolitical liberal nature of the above means it’s easy for them to support it or to be supportive. When there I came across a few people who supported government austerity plans and supported the EU because they imagined that they would largely impact old Russian people who were “communists” – these plans were popularised on this basis, too.

Groups like Hyde Park are often in favour of human rights and campaign for very reasonable things, but they also campaign against things like “the russification of the national curriculum”. Being pro-western and pro-EU usually implicitly means the increased use of the national language – and the marginalisation of the Russian language. It is doubtful whether many of these groups would organise protests against for example, Romanian and Ukrainian nationalists in the same way.

In addition, irredentist nationalist slogans such as ‘Basarabia pamant Romanesc‘ (Bessarabia is Romanian land) were common during these protests, some people (not all of them far-right) thinking that closer integration to the EU would be a way to reunite with Romania, something which is by no means only supported by the extreme right but is promoted by them as the answer to the country’s problems – an answer that by implication excludes Russians. A closer look at the groups promoting this ideology reveals racism against Russians and Jews as well as extreme homophobia. I once looked out of the window on the way to work and saw protesters with Romanian flags, ‘Basarabia pamant Romanesc’ and the Celtic cross on a black background leaving you in no doubt as to where they were politically.

Here’s a video of Moldovan fascists marching to be part of Romania.

When I was there the new Moldovan government introduced an austerity programme which included, for example, ending free bus travel for pensioners. Surprisingly this received a bit of public support from some people I met who initially at least saw these policies as targeted at old Russians and Communist Party supporters. One of these people also told me that “our language is very dirty, with a lot of Russian words”. On my way to work I used to walk past a headquarters of a religious group with an icon of Jesus and Mary facing the traffic – facing inward was a billboard alleging a conspiracy between Jews and the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church complete with “photo evidence”, a surprising theory given that this church has been caught selling copies of the Protocols and other extreme-right literature in Russia.

That said most people I met there who had been involved in the protests or were at least supportive of them were definitely not fascist, but were very dissatisfied by the inequality presided over by the Communist Party and also, frequently, actual and perceived discrimination in favour of the Russian minority. They were in the majority of cases motivated by real and justified anger at the government, and in the moldovan case fash were in a definite minority. The protesters occupied government buildings and struck at the power of the state. You have to remember that the left in these places is practically non existent and where it does exist the organized left isn’t worthy of the name, being bag carriers for the Kremlin and presiding over neoliberal policies and corruption, promoting Russian nationalism and trading on Soviet nostalgia, but with something far nastier frequently lurking underneath – the former communist president of Moldova describing a black opposition activist as ‘a negro who came down from a tree’ . The lack of a left that is not nostalgic for the soviet union and with it, Russian rule over the ‘backward’ eastern european countries, itself a key idea in Russian imperialist nationalism has been one of the contributory factors that has opened the gateway for the extreme right.

The fact that Russian far-righters have been involved on the opposite side to the Maidan protesters, and, ludicrously, that the police have reputedly been told that the protesters are led by Jews despite clear evidence of fascist involvement, demonstrates that the idea that Yanukovich’s regime and the Kremlin are motivated by antifascism is hard to swallow, as is Putin’s claim that he is against corruption and imperialism when the regime is perfectly happy to tolerate their own oligarchs and use Russian military bases in former soviet countries as a way to control them.

With that in mind however, it is clear that the far right have played a huge part in the Ukrainian protests, bigger than their part in Moldova or even for that matter in the Orange Revolution in 2007, where groups such as UNA-UNSO, a paramilitary organization which was one of the forerunners of Svoboda, played a role in the demonstrations, and several figures in Viktor Yushchenko’s party had links to them. By unbreaking the link above BTW you can see an odd article combining a call for Ukraine to join the EU with antisemitic statements about ‘Jewish lords’. It is estimated that around 30% of protesters are involved in far-right groups such as Svoboda and Pravy Sector and many more will sympathise with them, especially because these neo-Nazis have been doing the bulk of the fighting with the government. Even more concerning is the fact it looks likely that Svoboda may enter a coalition in the new government. This used to be their old logo by the way:

Svoboda's original logo. nice huh?

If Russia’s conduct has been grotesque as they try to portray themselves as a bulwark against fascism it has been equally sickening to see the UK government portray these events as entirely peaceful protesters while Nazi symbols have been on display and protesters have been photographed with weapons, wearing helmets and shields with far-right leaders screaming about how they want to kill their enemies. The images of lynch mobs and ‘government supporters’ forced to pray at shrines for dead protesters (when they say government supporters what does that mean, officials or just some poor random Russian?) And the reports that Nazi propaganda has now been legalized are extremely disturbing – whether or not we should have such a law it’s a strange priority for a new government. The images of these “friendly protesters” daubing Celtic crosses and SS symbols on areas they occupied should worry anyone.

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The more disturbing part of this is the entirely uncritical attitude of the EU and the American government, describing the protesters as being ‘peaceful’ even when they are photographed with fascist insignia and weapons. It is, to pit it mildly, very unlikely that Ukraine will become a Nazi dictatorship to say the least. One of the candidates for the new president, Klitschko, looks like an apolitical figurehead brought in on the basis of his popularity elsewhere, and he is far from being universally popular with the protesters at Maidan, especially not the organized far right. Like most of the high profile politicians there such as Yulia Timoshenko, the corrupt ‘gas princess’ feted by the west and seemingly transformed into some sort of Aung Sung Suu Kyi figure, Klitschko has had his own rumours of corruption such as a doping scandal.

It may even be that Yanukovich’s old party get back in at the next elections. We don’t know, all sorts of scenarios could play themselves out. However the deeply concerning thing for now is the possibility of further ethnic violence in both Ukrainian and Russian areas – already there are reports of Crimeans in Sevastopol holding ‘antifascist’ rallies to ‘defend Russia’. In the early 1990s the leaders of the pro-Russian separatist breakaway state of Pridnestrovie (Transnistria) used pro-Romanian and anti-Russian sentiments by Moldovan nationalist leaders such as the slogan “Suitcase – train station – Russia”, to justify breaking away from Moldova. The fears people had of the possible consequences of Moldovan independence were very real given that during the 1940s the Nazis had turned the area into a giant death camp.

And in addition the very real likelihood of attacks on, for example, Jews – in the last few months several antisemitic attacks have taken place and there are reports of Jews being threatened and told to get out of the country – as well as Crimean Tartars who often traditionally identify with Ukraine in an area that is majority Russian and who are discriminated against and tend to have a far higher poverty and unemployment rate than the rest of the population as it is, having been deported by Stalin and only allowed to start returning at the end of the 1970s.

The wider implications of the protests and what they mean for the far-right will be felt for a long time to come. While it is very unlikely that the far right will emerge completely victorious and the leaders of a new Ukrainian Reich, as some of the more hysterical commentary from pro Russian sources has seemed to imply, this is a huge victory for the far right and they are extremely strengthened by it, they have grown in confidence and gained a fair amount of experience and some public support, despite the fact that the majority of Ukrainians have not participated in the protests and nowhere near the numbers of, for example, Egyptians who did. The repercussions of this will be felt for a long time to come. At the level below the top echelons of the state institutions like MAUP, the Ukrainian university which had ex KKK leader David Duke to speak and routinely gives ‘lectures’ attacking Jews, will feel more confident in propagating their views now they know they can do so with impunity.

Some further thoughts.

It is difficult for leftists to argue in these countries that there was anything good about for example Lenin and Trotsky when many Eastern Europeans experienced even Lenin’s rule as a brutal occupation and following his death the cult of Lenin became inextricably linked with the Soviet state and Russian rule. The whole concept and vocabulary surrounding ‘communism’ has for a lot of people become linked to ethnicity (although austerity measures, rising inequality and attacks on already shit pay and conditions affect everyone regardless of ethnicity) therefore especially here, taking all your views from these ‘dead Russians’ is unlikely to be helpful, one reason perhaps why Trotskyism never took off there).

There is a worrying tendency in many eastern European countries for some people within the state to take advantage of the bitterness that people feel about the Soviet occupation and communist rule and use this to argue that the Nazi occupation was as bad, or less bad than what happened under communism. Ironically these trends started to develop in some countries under communism itself with Ceausescu arguing before his death that Antonescu, the fascist leader during the war, had in fact been a national hero. Likewise in Ukraine, the Holodomor (the famine in the 1930s which killed millions of people) has become a cornerstone of the far-right, who have used popular anger about the suppression of information about this issue and the lack of recognition about it, especially in Russia, as a way to promote nationalist conspiracy theories and far-right ideology.

In Hungary, much of the Jewish community have boycotted the official commemorations of the holocaust because they whitewash Hungary’s involvement in the war and refuse to admit that the government did anything wrong. A similar trend has emerged in Lithuania, where the EU has actively assisted in propagating this agenda, and where leading politicians have described Nazi sympathizers during the war as heroes and partisans and anti-Nazi fighters as criminals. And the EU are somehow absolutely fine with this state of affairs just as they are with the ‘peaceful protesters’ in Ukraine.

'peaceful' protesters

Watching this from over here makes me feel so powerless. Not really much else I can say. And yeah I know I don’t have links to back up everything I’ve said here but it’s late, work in the morning and I’ll put them in tomorrow or over the next few days. Comments, criticisms etc always welcome.

Guards turn women’s prison into personal rape dungeon

19 Jul

I have changed the title because what happened here can hardly be described as “sex”.

Reading about it has really upset me and stuck in my mind. We read about and hear about so many terrible things but this? I don’t even have words to describe what happened here.

If you have any compassion this story will make you sick to your stomach. But it needs to be heard. It needs to be exposed if we are to truly understand what we are fighting against and the necessity of overthrowing this barbaric, corrupt system where people can get away with such things and how a state of affairs can arise where people are simply locked up for money for scumbags like this to do as they will with them.

If nothing else it is an illustration how every aspect of our “humane” system is underpinned with violence and the threat of violence. Cases like this are how the US justifies the invasion of other countries.

The depravity and the impunity of the barbaric system which allows these bastards to get away with this and for their victims to be seen as so worthless that they got away with it for years. Oh, it’s OK. They’re only criminals.

The two defendants are getting less than two years between them. No doubt there were many more who haven’t been charged.

The greatest democracy on earth. What a sick joke.

 

A complaint for civil damages was recently filed against the Live Oak County jail system in Texas, naming the county and three guards as having turned the jail into their own personal sexual torture dungeon.  The complaint alleges that three guards at the county jail ran a “rape camp” where they “repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates,” and forced them to masturbate and sodomize male guards, and one another. The three guards named in the report are Vincent Aguilar, Israel Charles Jr. and Jaime E. Smith.

The complaint states, ”Beginning sometime in 2007 to at least August of 2010 the Live Oak County Sheriff’s office ran a ‘rape camp’ known as the Live Oak County Jail,” the complaint states. “In this facility, numerous jailers, all employed by the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates over an extended period of time. These forced acts of lasciviousness included, but are not limited to, forcing female inmates to repeatedly perform oral sex on male guards, forcing female inmates to repeatedly masturbate the male guards, the male guards masturbating in view of the female inmates, male guards forcing digital penetrative sex acts in the female inmates’, forcing female inmates to engage in sexual sex acts with other female inmates, including but not limited to forcing female inmates to have oral sex with each other, among other things.”

“In addition to the repeated sexual assaults, numerous female inmates were sexually harassed. Certain male guards would strip the female inmates of their clothing and provide only shaving cream to conceal their genitalia. Certain male guards would sometimes force the female inmates to shower in front of them while instructing them to shave their vaginas. In other instances, while detailing their degenerate sexual fantasies, the jailers would pin the girls against a wall, grope their persons, verbally berate them, digitally rape their vagina and/or anus, then force them to perform oral sex.”

“In order to facilitate their carnal impulses, these guards would withhold food and water, engage in physical abuse, restrict privileges and verbally and emotionally abuse the women – even threaten to kill them in order to compel their compliance.”

The author of the report is a little naive talking about how all this is coming about as a result of a “need for vengeance” whereas in fact the prison industry in the US (and it’s coming here, too) is earning some people a lot of money. Nevertheless he or she makes some points which are spot on:

Presently, America has more prisoners than any other country in the world, by both per-capita and total population.  No one does prison better than the land of the free, where 86% of the federal prison population is there for victimless crimes.  The costs associated with this vast level of incarceration are staggering, and they are only going to get worse as the number of prisoners over the age of 65 is rising at 94 times the rate of the general prison population.

To me, I view our present prison system as a form of double victimization.  When criminals are incarcerated, their victims are forced to pay for the associated incarceration costs through the tax system, so in essence, the system victimizes the victim twice.  Further, in the vast majority of cases, at some point in the future, that prisoner is going to be released from prison.  So society has a choice to make.  They can either stick with the current system of vengeance based double victimization, which leads to high rates of recidivism and churns out exceptionally violent and sociopathic criminals, or society can look for more humane and cost efficient alternatives.

It seems that is a long way off.

It’s a grim topic but rape and the threat of rape is a key weapon in the oppression of women (and men) in a patriarchal capitalist society. The fear of violence and particularly the threat of rape helps to control people’s behaviour – for example, not going out after certain times, not wearing certain types of clothes, and socialise people into different roles, don’t behave in a certain way, too loud, too assertive or whatever or you might get raped. When institutional abuses occur victims of rape are routinely denigrated and blamed for what happened to them. Male rape and the phenomenon of prison rape is frequently viewed as something that is almost funny and in some way deserved.

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You only have to look at the reaction of a huge range of institutions to the abuse of children by Jimmy Savile and other BBC presenters to see the results.

It is used and has been used as a weapon of war and to dehumanise the “enemy” throughout history. The most notorious example in recent years of the widespread use of rape as a weapon is the Congo where millions of women have been raped but there are countless examples in the history of the 21st and 20th century, such as the use of it by all sides in the Balkan conflicts during the 1990s.

The fact that these individuals were given such power over others and the fact that scumbags like this are given the authority to use that power with impunity is a symptom of the barbarity and the immorality of capitalism and its “monopoly on violence”. This is what it means, this is the system that law and order fetishists end up endorsing, a system which criminalises the poor and crimes against property more than crimes against people – and uses those crimes against people to legitimise its existence and to “keep order”.

The claim that the law enforcement industry is there to protect citizens against criminals is shown up as worthless by the fact that they allowed this rape camp to exist for so long and turned a blind eye to the abuse, and that now that it has been exposed, two of those responsible will receive less than two years between them despite the fact they are guilty. They are a worthless sham and should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

Why Tenant Blacklisting Is A Recipe For Abuse

30 Jun

Their “motto” is a bit fash to say the least … as someone whose struggling to find a property to rent this shit makes me sick

the void

rigsby-routledgeThe Landlord Referencing Service (LRS) run by Paul Routledge reveals just how far out of control landlords in the private rental sector have become in the UK.

Not content with soaring rents and one of the least regulated private rental sectors in Europe, now some money grabbing landlords want to further line their pockets by using the threat of blacklisting to increase their power over tenants.

Paul Routledge (@Paul_Rout) claims he began the blacklisting service after being seriously injured by a former tenant.  This has led him to embark, vigilante style, on a war on all tenants by investing a large amount of his own money on a website where landlords can name and shame tenants amongst themselves.  Routledge’s ambitions were not just financial – the stated aim of this blacklist is to install landlords as the ‘Gatekeepers of the Community’.  The community was not asked what they…

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Rough sleepers being attacked in London

31 May
I just saw this on a forum I visit. Please circulate as widely as possible.
———————————————————————————————————————-
It has came to our attention that Rough Sleepers are currently being attacked in Central London by a gang of three men on a nightly basis.
We urgently appeal that this information is spread far and wide to those associated with our streets in London.
There have been at least 10 attacks that we are aware of in the last week. In all attacks the rough sleepers were alone and asleep at the time. The severe beatings have lasted a few minutes and the peoples meagre personal possessions: Phones, ID, passports and belongings have also been stolen. Due to the nature of people having to find sleeping spots off the beaten track there have been few witnesses.
The ‘gang’ consists of three white men in their late 20’s – early thirties and appear to be targeting mainly East European homeless Folk. This is significant as the attackers may be aware that those new to the country are less likely to get the authorities involved due to justified mistrust.
Violence sadly is part and parcel of the real everyday risks that exist for those who find themselves homeless. This current organised escalation in violence is a very worrying trend and we need to make our homeless community aware and do whatever we can to prevent these attacks. On one night alone we know of 3 separate attacks carried out by this gang.
For any further information please contact: beatonthestreet@ gmail.com

Meanwhile back in the real world … the curious case of steve topley

28 Apr

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2013/apr/26/atos-zoe-williams?CMP=twt_gu

If the story is as it seems to be there are truly disturbing implications. Not only could you have your support cut off for saying the wrong thing or getting to an ATOS assessment on a “good day” rather than a bad one (or you might have it cut off anyway) now you could well be locked up for a casual comment.

Although ATOS staff have medical training there is actually no obligation for confidentiality as there would be in a medical setting – so people are falling foul of it because of what they say, imagining it’s confidential.

Load of bollocks …

Austerity affecting all aspects of life among the working and middle classes

2 Mar

This is not a theoretical post just an observation. Not only have good friends of mine and loved ones been affected by the cuts to disability benefits and so on you can see the visible poverty even in relatively affluent areas like the one i live in, the large increase in the number of people homeless and seeking the assistance of food banks and the like. Despite what some people may think and what some bourgeois politicians may have us believe the economic conditions now affect all aspects of life in a profoundly depressing manner. This may be somewhat stating the obvious but a few things I have seen in the last few weeks (actually more than that but the other stuff is personal involving friends and family so I don’t really want to post it) have brought that point home.

Recently I was at a job interview in Slough for a teaching assistant position at a school, during this interview I was asked what I would do if one of the children had come to school hungry, which is a common occurence. We live in Britain ffs a first world country and there is no need apart from the so-called “logic of capital” for any child to go hungry.

The local synagogue run a service that provides meals for homeless people as well as items for needy families (without discriminating on the basis of religion) to cook themselves with, reading the newsletter I got from them this morning it said they were finding it impossible to cope with demand and the situation was expected to get significantly worse because of housing benefit cuts. Obviously the foodbanks and services provided by churches and mosques locally as well as similar services up and down the country will have undoubtedly seen a similar rise in demand. It is good that people are doing something but is it really a good thing that assistance that was provided by the state on a centralised basis is now returning to the realm of religion and small independent groups that dont have enough funds, and profit making “charities”?

It is something I dont usually like to write about or post about because I don’t even like thinking about the effects this stuff is having even though i can see it every day. Theres personal shit I could also post relating to this but I won’t. Not really comfortable with it. With the introduction of Universal Credit this will all get significantly worse with part-time workers being expected to look for jobs with more hours constantly. I think it is worth reposting Johnny Void’s excellent blog here which has links to anti-workfare and disability/claimants rights actions as well as lots of information about this stuff.

This post is not very long or very analytical because frankly I don’t like thinking about it at all but it does need to be pointed out that the fight goes on and people are trying to do something even if the victories are initially quite small.

“trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” What is wrong with them??

5 Jan

I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. I have probably done so for most of my life. I don’t wish to talk about it here (not for now anyway) but it has had an extremely destructive effect on my life, on my personal relationships, and many other things. It has made me a very difficult person to be around at times and as a result I have behaved in ways that I am really not proud of. I have suspected people of things and been completely unable to shake the doubt that there may be some truth in my bizarre convictions even though I knew what bullshit they were.

If you have OCD there are two parts to the disease, there are obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are the anxiety provoking thoughts that you can’t stop thinking about. They can be about anything, from thinking that you have left the stove on and that the house is going to burn down, to thinking you are a paedophile and have to avoid walking through parks and avoid all children. While most people experience unpleasant and intrusive thoughts of this kind, no meaning is ascribed to them. Most people simply think “ugh” and forget that they thought about it. And if they have left the stove on or whatever, then they realise it, and turn it off, and then forget about it, they don’t beat themselves up for the rest of the day about how they are a cunt and an idiot who could have killed everyone in the house and should just kill themselves.

Compulsions are the things that you do to stop the anxiety caused by the obsession. They can be mental or physical, like washing your hands, or trying to “reason” with yourself to convince yourself that you are not a paedophile or that you don’t have aids. They can also be behaviours such as seeking reassurance from other people – “i did lock the door/feed the cat/whatever, didn’t i? I did, didn’t I? Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure, can we go back and check” or by simply avoiding the thing that you are worried about. So if you have obsessive thoughts about possibly being a paedophile you will avoid going into places where you might have contact with children or might see a child, you will avoid looking at pictures of other people’s children, and you will go out of your way not to have any contact with them (it will not occur to you that this paranoid behaviour is the exact opposite of a paedo’s behaviour). It can get so bad that you can avoid going outside for fear of harming somebody, or for fear of “contamination”.

As part of the treatment for anxiety, it is recommended that avoidance is tackled first, and part of the way that this is done is something called exposure and response prevention. So if somebody is scared of catching a disease they will have to go for longer and longer periods without washing their hands, and they will have to put their hands on something that they consider dirty for example. Exposure and response prevention is considered the most effective method of treating OCD, and it is also used for other anxiety disorders such as phobias. The aim is to make you comfortable with the thoughts you are worried about or with the objects you are worried about, so that you won’t panic every time you encounter them.

With all this in mind there is a development in the world of left wing politics which I find quite troubling. The idea of a trigger in the context of anxiety disorders, especially PTSD, was, I think, originally a specifically medical warning which aimed to warn when people were going to read something very traumatic which could re-traumatise them, such as something about rape or sexual abuse. I think that this can be useful, because you do not want to tackle something that causes you the most anxiety and distress first, or before you are ready.

However, it is now being used by some of the people in the “privilege politics” circles to refer to anything from long posts about gender identity to anything to do with sex in general. It is being used as a fashion accessory. I find this very objectionable. You don’t want to have a disorder which could destroy your life. You want to recover from it, and not let it rule your life. It is not something to parade around. You don’t want to be in a position where you even have to think about things like trigger warnings, let alone to do it to show how right on you are.

Secondly, attaching a “warning” to anything that people could be worried or distressed by, as well as being offensive does not actually help people suffering from these conditions. If somebody has a phobia of spiders you do not help them by putting say a trigger warning on a post about spiders on the internet, because that will help them to avoid it and avoid eventually becoming comfortable with the object of their fear, and stop it ruling their life to such an extent. If you accommodate a person’s OCD it will simply get worse and take more and more and more and more. I do not want to have people trying to “help” me by actually making the OCD worse and in so doing impeding my ability to have a normal life, I want to get rid of it completely.

I do not think anything can be solved with avoidance, which does not help in a medical setting or a political setting. I wish I could do better but if you want to help me please don’t do it by helping me to avoid stuff, because when I’m eventually confronted with it it will be even worse.

Which brings me to my next point, that of “safe spaces”. There should not need to be a “space” where people are “safe” from sexual assault, bigotry or whatever, it is running away from the problem, and does not address why the rest of it is unsafe. You do not deal with racism, anti-semitism, sexism etc by setting up a “safe space” where these things are supposed not to happen. You deal with it by challenging it. The very fact that this became such an issue in the occupy movement shows that there is a problem in the wider political culture which cannot be solved by setting aside a small area.

I saw a great quote today on urban75, “In a society which is unsafe there can be no safe spaces”. This sums up my feelings on the matter entirely.