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.
Hilary Wainwright argues against reclaiming populism for the left and for a leadership that supports people’s capacity for self-government
It may seem as though these apps are working for us, but we are also working for the apps, writes Kurt Iveson
It's over 100 years ago that domestic workers began to organise to demand the same rights as other workers. Yet with LSE cleaners on strike this week, historian Laura Schwartz asks: how much has really changed?
Omar Barghouti asks whether Donald Trump, in his recent break with America’s long-standing support for the two-state solution, has unwittingly revived the debate about the plausibility, indeed the necessity, of a single, democratic state in historic Palestine?
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'
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
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
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
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
Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
#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
How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava
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
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