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.
Grassroots posters giving an alternative take on the general election
Hundreds of people surrounded the fences this weekend. Hera Lorandos spoke to women who have suffered inside.
Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
Drax is the UK's biggest source of CO2 emissions – and we're paying for it, writes Almuth Ernsting
For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
Housing campaigners' gains in Bristol are spurring on a national movement to build a renters' union, writes Stuart Melvin
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports
On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.
Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns
The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
Ken Loach, Dawn Foster & Soweto Kinch to speak in Croydon at the first event of a UK-wide series organised by The World Transformed and local activists
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill