Working Class Movement Library – Stand up to transphobia

Last week, an anti-trans activist with several thousand Twitter followers started a pile-on against the Salford-based Working Class Movement Library (WCML) over their decision to include rs21’s new ‘Fighting Transphobia’ pamphlet in their newsletter. She went on to share an image identifying a trans rs21 member by name, with a caption misgendering her and accusing her of being ‘anti-woman’ because she is trans and dares to speak publicly. Online harassment is not out of character for transphobes, it’s a standard tactic to isolate individuals and manufacture crises for organisations.

In response to the coordinated attack, WCML has circulated a message to its mailing list in which it not only backs down, but accepts transphobic arguments. WCML claimed that the pamphlet was promoted in error, expressed ‘sincere regret’ and apologised for ‘confusion, offence or upset that may have been caused.’ The statement does not refer to any quote or argument from the pamphlet – presumably ‘Fighting Transphobia’ is offensive all on its own. 

Here is the real source of confusion: Does the WCML believe that trans people have the right to advocate for their own liberation, or not? If the WCML welcomes discussion and is against discrimination, then why did they distance themselves from the pamphlet?

As an organisation rooted in working-class history, the WCML knows about the powerful histories of solidarity and struggle against oppression. And the long tradition of publishing and sharing radical materials is a part of that history that they know better than most. A feminist and socialist politics of solidarity must lead us to reject the bad faith arguments of transphobes claiming to speak for women. We call on the WCML to withdraw their apology, and to instead affirm a commitment to trans liberation and inclusion. 

– rs21 Steering Group

Take action

✍️ Firstly, sign the petition below calling on the WCML to retract their statement and stand against transphobia.

🔄 Share the posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

📚 Order your copy of Fighting Transphobia!

Signed by:

Anti*Capitalist Resistance Council
A*CR Trans*Mission
Partisan Collective
Manchester Leftist Action
Ebb Magazine
Girl Gang Manchester
Transgender Action Block
No Borders Manchester
Edinburgh IWW
Youth Front for Palestine
Paul Murphy TD – Member of Irish Parliament for People Before Profit
Ekua Bayunu – Green Councillor for Hulme
Graham Campbell – SNP Socialists, Glasgow City Council & STUC Black Workers Committee
Rhian Elinor Keyse – UCU NEC
Ray Goodspeed – LGBTQ officer – Leyton and Wanstead CLP. Founder member of LGSM
Alice Thompson – Feminist Library
Laura Moseley – Founder, Common Threads Press
Mallory Moore – Community activist and harm researcher with Trans Safety Network
Ian Allinson – Manchester TUC exec member
Hannah Dee – Author, Red in the Rainbow
Michael Richmond – Author, Fractured
Joseph Healy – Transform Politics Steering Committee member
Ian Parker – ACR North
Fred Leplat – AntiCapitalist Resistance
Kelly Rogers – Editor, Women’s Fightback
Laurence Jones-Williams – Lipman Miliband Trust
Amardeep Singh Dhillon – Programme Co-ordinator at The World Transformed, BFAWU branch secretary
Anita Downs – Branch Chair, Unite, SEL Medical
Nicola Redwood – Unite Branch Secretary
Raymond Morell – Unite rep Aerospace and Shipbuilding, Scotland
Martin Barrett – Unite rep Aerospace
Graham Checkley – Unite Retired Equalities Rep
Leslie Cunningham – Unite Scotland LGBT+ Committee member
Adam DC – UNITE Shop Steward
Olivia Ouwehand – Equality Officer, Unite branch NW389
James Bowen – Secretary, Unite London Digital & Tech branch LE7098L
Rachel Eborall – Unite Rep, Treasurer, South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust
Mike Thompson – Unite rep and chair of LE62 CYWNFP Unite Branch
Nicholas Cimini – Branch secretary of EIS at Edinburgh Napier
Daniel Randall – Chair, RMT Bakerloo line branch & Workers’ Liberty
Russell Christie – Doctoral researcher in LGBTQ history
Tom Gann – Editor New Socialist
josie sparrow – Editor, New Socialist / Theorist & writer.
Christopher Holmes – Greater Manchester Transport Unison Branch
Inbar Tamari – Hackney NEU pc
Paul Gerrard – Bury NEU
Tom Bolton – Joint Branch and District Secretary, Bristol NEU
John Stephens – NEU rep in Waltham Forest
Andy Cunningham – NEU South West Lancashire Asst. Dist Secretary
Lou Hayton – NEU rep
Ruth Aylett – Heriot-Watt University and College Union Committee
Alex McIntyre – Olympia Democratic Socialists of America
Nick Marro – PCS Culture Group President
Liat Norris – PCS rep
Marley Lloyd Phelps – People Before Profit
Aron Calvert – People Before Profit
Robin Koenig – People Before Profit Cork City branch convener
Jane Morris – Secretary – Built On Blood
Zad El Bacha – Staff organiser with London Renters Union
Mark Foley – Trade union rep
Nick Smith – Transform Politics (Cymru)
Sam O’Brien – Rochdale UNISON Communication Officer
David Radford – Unison Steward and International Officer
Rohanie Campbell-Thakoordin – UNISON steward, Uni of Edinburgh branch
Frederik “Freso” S. Olesen – IWW and SAC (Sweden)
Daisy Berrington – Manchester Leftist Action
Lois Jc
xenia ricart
Patrick Stack
Hazel Croft
Roland Rance
Margarita Towl
Susan Pashkoff
Kati Silverberg
Despina Mavrou
Neil Rogall
Frances Pilling
Jack Newbold
Ian Stone
Toby Atkinson
Charlie Hore
Andy Stone
Colin Fancy
Rob Marsden
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Lynne Hodge
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