The name is a deliberate reference to Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners [the group set up during the 1984-85 miners’ strike and which features in the film Pride]. All of the people who were involved in setting up our group had watched Pride the year before and been really inspired by the story. The idea of queer communities coming together to stand in solidarity with other marginalised communities, of seeing the connections between the oppressions of traditionally separate communities and building bridges across these divides, we found really powerful.
We decided to use the name Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants to build on the history of radical queer politics and solidarity. We see our activism today as picking up the mantle from those who campaigned during the miners’ strike.
In the 1980s, members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners saw the way miners were being demonised by the press and violently attacked by the police as a clear parallel to how the queer community had been treated. There’s a moment in the film where Mark Ashton points out that the police have stopped targeting gay clubs quite so much recently, because they are busy bullying and attacking mining communities instead.
As queer people, we know what it is like to be labelled illegal. We have experience of being targets for the police and media, and we know what it’s like to be scapegoated and turned into objects of hate based on who we are. We think it’s crucial to use the experiences of our community to find commonality with those targeted most harshly through state oppression now. We want to use the strength of our queer community to stand in solidarity with groups who are being attacked.
Our actions have tended to be quite theatrical and a bit camp. We try to use the colourful creativity associated with queer performances and drag shows. We have been able to do some very eye‑catching and fun actions.
Recently we protested outside of the Danish embassy against the policy they passed which allows authorities to confiscate cash and valuables from refugees entering Denmark, including jewellery. We left large amounts of jewellery outside the embassy. The idea was that if they want jewellery so badly they can have ours – as long as they stop stealing from refugees.
We also burned £35,000 of ‘Theresa May’ money in an action that was covered by Newsweek and the Independent, which we were really pleased with. It drew attention to an unfair and dangerous new policy, which will mean non-EU workers in Britain can be deported after five years unless they are earning more than £35,000.
Several members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants have been to Calais to volunteer through their trade unions and other groups. We also work closely with self-organised migrant groups in the UK, most notably through Movement for Justice, who do incredible work with people inside detention centres. We co-organised Peckham Community Pride with Movement for Justice, which brought together lots of different groups of people and celebrated diversity. The communities in Peckham have been targeted for anti-immigration raids, racist ‘go-home’ vans and immigration detention, and it was great to be part of a Pride march that celebrated their resistance and power.
It’s important for us to provide a direct challenge to the rhetoric and attitude that pits LGBT+ people against migrants, and to challenge the use of LGBT+ people’s rights to justify racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. We want to inspire others to take action and to continue to build on the links between our community and migrant communities in the UK and beyond.
We aim to raise more money for the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk through bucket-shaking in Soho and other ‘gay areas’ and hosting events. It’s important for us to provide direct, practical solidarity, so the fundraising activities are really important for us.
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
In the first of a series of interviews with migrants' rights and racial justice activists from the US, Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia
Yasmin Gunaratnam reflects on John Berger’s gut solidarity with the stranger
Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
As man-made global warming gets closer to the tipping point, Andrew Simms finds reasons to be positive about averting catastrophic climate change
Greenwald speaks Trump, War on Terror, and citizen activism
Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Amandla Thomas-Johnson over the phone from Brazil. Here is what he had to say on the War on Terror, Trump, and the 'special relationship'
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform
Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out
Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History
Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.
A book review every day until Christmas at Red Pepper
Red Pepper will be publishing a new book review each day until Christmas