First They Came for the Travellers: Solidarity with Govanhill’s Roma

It is International Romani Day AKA Roma Nation Day on April 8th 2012. Join us in Govanhill to celebrate: see our Facebook page. Read about day of action in London here.

International Romani Day flag

The Romani flag proposed by the 1971 World Romani Congress.

I’m worried. I’m worried about the drift to the right in Govanhill, in Glasgow, in Scotland, in the UK, in the World. I’m worried about encroaching fascism. I think the time for saying “You’ve just Godwin’d yourself on your own blog” is over. It’s not funny any more: ask Trayvon Martin’s family. Ask the ethnic minorities and Jewish families of Toulouse. Ask the families of 77 dead teenagers in Norway. Actually, ask me. I live in Govanhill. They haven’t stared coming for me and mine yet, but my neighbours may be at risk. You think that’s hyperbole? At what point will you start worrying?

I was in a taxi last week, and was treated to a diatribe on how dreadful things are these days in Govanhill, where I live, as the taxi driver knew, because he picked me up there.

Glasgow Taxi advertising lapdancing club

This is not the taxi. But it is a Glasgow Taxi advertising a lapdancing club. Another reason to stop using Glasgow Taxis. Photo by lenivor on Flickr

Specifically, how awful the Roma in Govanhill are. This speech culminated with a self-satisfied description of how the driver’s sister had thrown a bucket of water out her back window onto an older Roma woman who was using the garden below as an outdoor toilet. ‘What kind of people go to the toilet outside?’, he asked indignantly, without pausing to consider that maybe one answer is ‘The kind of people whose bladders aren’t that reliable after years of childbearing, who live in grossly overcrowded conditions with no working toilet or no running water or too many other people using the toilet’. That’s without even considering, ‘The kind of drunken idiots who pee in public on their way home from the pub’, many of whom I have seen in Glasgow over the years, mostly male and white. More

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Spreading the Village Aunties’ Homemade Honey: Women’s Workshops on Social Media

For International Women’s Day I thought I’d start making concrete plans around extending the scope of village aunties in Scotland.

When I had the idea for this blog, it was all about a collaborative media venue for pro-independence feminists of the left to contribute to Scotland’s conversations, arguments and plans for the independence campaign, and for Scottish independence itself.

Part of the dream was to get loads of women blogging and tweeting and otherwise using social media to contribute and to discuss and to refine theories and to organise. I hoped then and still do that 1,000 feminist flowers might bloom all over the social Web; it’s never been about this blog being the only place for pro-independence feminist writing.

So the next stage after getting the blog going was always going to be starting up workshops or collaborative learning groups for women who want to write, comment, discuss, contribute to Scotland’s cybernat revolution, but who would like a bit of support to get going.

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