Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Kathleen Stock Under Fire as LGB Alliance Trustee.

with 7 comments

New LGB Alliance Aims to Evict Trans People From Activism | by Phaylen  Fairchild | Medium

Controversy Grows.

Avant-propos…

As part of this Blog’s coverage of French politics I am reading the most recent book, La Nef des Fous, (2021) by leading red-brown writer and philosopher Michel Onfray It would be helpful were there a word for his kind of philosopher, something like poetaster for poet, to describe the author of over 150 works. Onfray self-identifies as a left wing Nietzschean and post-anarchist, amongst many other identities. The founder of the magazine Le Front Populaire, which brings together ‘sovereigntists’ of all sides, left and right, from articles by the far right (Alain de Benoist), sympathetic coverage of the far right, Florian Philippot, and, amongst others, Génération Frexit (and so it goes..) He recently hosted a beano attended by four thousand people for the hard right wing polemicist of Éric  Zemmour.

La Nef des Fous, (the Ship of Fools, an allegory, see Plato, a state run by dysfunctional crew.) has as its theme ‘decadence’. Hence the sub-title, Nouvelles du Bas-Empire, the declining and falling late Empire. The author modestly says that one could have proposed a book of 500 pages on the subject. In its place we will have to put up with his “impressions”. This he calls an ephéméride which helpfully corresponds to the “obsolete” English “diary or almanac”. In brief, a log. A year. 2000.

This work is a pile of piffle, a mob of moans, and a dustbin of thought. A kind of cross between the Daily Mail and Spiked. It is a series of vicious rants against targets such as Greta Thunberg, left wing parties, trade unions, against Black Lives Matter, rising crime, paedophilia, and…the suing of the Tavistock Gender clinc (he refers without naming her to Keira Bell, 23 and…a transgender woman who demands recognition as the mother of her (biological) daughter. With the wit to which one becomes accustomed to, Onfray remarks, C’est Gide à l’envers: famille je vois aime! (Page 181)

Now that somebody as low as Onfray can ironise over the love of a transgender woman for her daughter gives a flavour of the prejudices these issues arouse. It could be said that reading them written from another country makes them look starker.

Today our Log sees another raft of incidents.

Shadow minister criticises Kathleen Stock for being LGB Alliance trustee.

In a letter apparently replying to a constituent, Taiwo Owatemi, the Labour MP for Coventry North West and the shadow equalities minister, said: “I am greatly concerned by [Stock’s] work as a trustee for the LGB Alliance group

Owatemi said she had read the “strong and principled” request from the Sussex branch of the University and College Union for a university-wide investigation of “institutional transphobia”, which earlier this week caused Stock to say the union had “effectively ended” her academic career at Sussex.

In a later statement, Owatemi said: “I was clear in this letter that I was not passing judgment on Prof Stock’s academic work, and did not call for action to be taken against her.”

Most of the letter was devoted to Owatemi’s criticism of the LGB Alliance, saying that the group “should be rejected by all those who believe in equality. They oppose reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which has long been the position of my party and to which we remain committed.

“Furthermore, the group opposes LGBT+ inclusive education [and] believe that adolescents should not be able to access puberty blockers (in flagrant disregard of the entire concept of ‘Gillick competency’).”

She also claimed the group had criticised measures to make conversion practices illegal and refused to condemn those who were against same-sex marriages.

“Every single one of these stances is diametrically opposed to my beliefs and the position of my party. I note that an appeal against their charitable status is due to take place next year, and I will be monitoring the case with keen interest.”

Owen Jones:

Blue Labour Anti-Rootless Cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery:

The issue of the day.

Despite the above, whatever your position on the issues the criticisms of Stonewall are pretty weighty.

Have listened to 3 of these.

Update.

Having listened to the disturbing evidence about Stonewall in the Nolan Podcasts issues like the below remain,

“Over recent years, women with views like mine have routinely been described as hateful. This happened even when we made it clear that we oppose bigotry and support laws protecting transgender people from discrimination. But what is shocking is the escalating language and threats, to the point where Stock – the author of a well-reviewed book on this subject – was advised by police to install CCTV.

For the avoidance of doubt, I appreciate that for transgender people it is vital to be accepted in the gender to which they have transitioned. I know that this is what the statements “trans men are men” and “trans women are women” mean. I also think it is vital to have words that refer to people’s sex. Of course, it is true that trans men have a cervix and in that sense Duffield’s remark was inaccurate. But it’s also true that for many people, the words “man” and “woman” signify biological sex. And this linkage cannot be severed by diktat.”

 It seems easy, for some, to dismiss any resistance to changing cultures of gender as reactionary (or quasi-fascist). It is true that most of the MPs speaking up for Kathleen Stock so far have been Tories. By not explicitly condemning the demands for her to be sacked, while calling for an “investigation” into “institutional transphobia”, the academic union, the UCU, appeared to side with the campaign against her.

But it is a mistake to imagine that the only people for whom sexual differences are meaningful are evolutionary biologists or religious conservatives. For gender-critical feminists, our politics are underpinned by an analysis of the way female bodies and reproductive labour have historically been controlled and exploited. This is why we describe women’s rights as “sex-based”.

In common with others, including the philosopher Jane Clare Jones, I also see a connection with the environment. I think there are parallels between the failure to address the implications of our planet’s finite resources and our dependence upon it, and the idea that human potential is boundless. While I want people to be free to live as they choose, I also believe that human bodies have limits. And I am concerned about the influence on young people of the idea that, with the aid of medical technology, these can be transcended.

It seems clear that investigations of gender have a long way to go and my own understanding is neither fixed nor complete. I don’t expect most people to agree with the thoughts I have set out above and know that some will strongly object. I know too that for some people their gender identity – the feeling of being male or female – means more than chromosomes or anatomy. I want to find a way for our different ideas to coexist. But I am very worried by the lack of an equivalent recognition of gender-critical beliefs. And I think the most recent round of attacks on feminists should alarm everyone who cares about pluralism.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 14, 2021 at 12:27 pm

7 Responses

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  1. The LGB Aliiance’s statements are all online – for some reason those who accuse it of being a ‘hate group’ never actually quote anything hateful it has said. What’s more – individuals can join it, if they feel so inclined. Stonewall, on the other hand, has no mechanisms for allowing the people it purports to represent to shape its policies at all. Its activism is the activism of the business lobbyist.

    Francis

    October 14, 2021 at 12:39 pm

  2. In m comment to the last item, which appears to have disappeared, I likened Prof Stock’s predicament to Galileo. Forced to recant the theory of a heliocentric earth, at his trial he muttered, ‘And, yet, it moves.’.

    Sue r

    October 14, 2021 at 12:50 pm

  3. This blog’s coverage of red-brown esoterica is a strength in my view. What’s conspicuous in its absence is an analysis of the Left-Right Convergence emerging around certain transphobic claims and campaigns- most especially the role of a particular sort of feminist in cementing this sort of alliance. In North America, it seems to go back to the organizing against pornography and sex work from the 80’s where certain feminists did forge common cause with right wing Christians. Today a very small group of North American feminists is so fixated on transphobic themes as to forge common cause with Fox News types. These are tragic errors and highlight the need for clearer analysis.

    American Dream

    October 14, 2021 at 4:59 pm

  4. Off topic but news has come through from Rome that openly fascist mobs of the New Force group have ransacked the Offices of Italy’s largest Trade Union federation under the guise of marching againist so called Vaccine passports. This blog has been warning for months of the far right nature of anti Vax protests. Hopefully the Left will now wake up.

    IainF

    October 14, 2021 at 7:55 pm

  5. […] any longer (Coatesy has dealt with this case in some detail and in an even-handed manner here, here and here). Even if you find Stock’s views repugnant, it is surely unacceptable that students […]


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