'Pre-op'. 'Post-op'. 'No-op'. Not until recently did anybody question why trans people should be defined exclusively by whether or not they'd had genital surgery. Though gender variance has existed in most cultures throughout time, trans people today – particularly women – are still forced to situate themselves in relation to the idea of the medicalised 'sex change'. Have you had the op? Are you planning to? Are you taking testosterone? How far will you go?
In a number of recent articles, Jacques Sapir has argued for the 'logic of fronts', stating that the Left must temporarily subordinate its ideological differences with far-right groups such as the Front National to pursue the common objective of leaving the euro. Writing for Le Monde Diplomatique, Frédéric Lordon strongly rejects this view, arguing that any euro-exit must be from the left and to the left, not shackled to forces with fundamentally different conceptions of what 'national sovereignty' would entail.
By Frédéric Lordon. Translated by David Broder
Will the debate on the euro ever be free of the curse of the Front National? Without doubt, everything seems set on condemning it to this association, especially in an era when all kinds of confusion and hysteria mix together to the extent that it is impossible to have even the slightest rational debate. But what are we to say when some of the advocates of euro exit add to the intellectual mayhem, identifying themselves as of the Left but then calling for improbable alliances with the far Right?
"Under Blair and Brown, I’d usually felt angry and disappointed; now, I was desperate and defeated. Working at the PCT as it was dismembered and downsized, watching as arts funding, unemployment and disability benefits, mental health services and support networks for women and LGBT people were ruthlessly cut, I’d often told friends that one problem I had with the coalition was I could never decided which MP to despise the most. Arguing in favour of abolishing the Human Rights Act, Theresa May had spoken of ‘the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat’, and she was always near the top of my Hate List." Juliet Jacques, Trans: A Memoir
In 2011, Juliet Jacques received an invitation to the launch of Diversity Role Models in the Houses of Parliament, a charity that aimed to tackle homo/bi/transphobic bullying in schools. In her memoir Trans, Jacques recalls: “I wish we’d had that at Oakwood, I thought – but could I go to an event fronted by the Conservative home secretary?” This scene captures the contradiction of pursuing trans rights from neoliberal states. In the end, Jacques pragmatically decides to attend, with the intention of avoiding the guest speaker – Theresa May MP.
A meeting was held at the Chamber of Deputies on 31 March 2015 to mark the hundredth birthday of comrade Pietro Ingrao. Rossana Rossanda sent this message, which talks about Ingrao’s role in the history of the Italian Communist Party and the splits within it in 1956, 1968 and 1991. An (Italian-language) video of the event is available at radioradicale.it
I can only thank you for having invited me to attend the event marking Pietro Ingrao’s hundredth birthday. Through his victories and defeats, Ingrao has remained the point of reference for my own parabola as a communist. I am considered an ‘Ingraian’, even though he always refused to be characterised as the leader of some sort of tendency. This was not because of some a self-sacrificing sense of discipline, but rather, I believe, born of an ambition of no small significance that took shape at the end of the 1930s: namely, his decision to devote himself to working in an internationalist, militant community, the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI).
"Jeremy Corbyn's victory means Labour's living dead have been vanquished—and English politics has come to life again". Tariq Ali, writing for the Independent, expresses much of the energy surrounding Jeremy Corbyn's storming entrance to become the next leader of the Labour Party.
In 1960, Ralph Miliband, writing for the very first issue of New Left Review, is far more sober about the Labour Party's past, present and future and the battle for socialism. To mark Corbyn's landslide election victory and the promised repositioning of the Labour Party, the Verso blog is publishing 'The Sickness of Labourism' from behind the New Left Review paywall.
“It is a very difficult country to move, Mr. Hynband, a very difficult country indeed, and one in which there is more disappointment to be looked for than success.” Disraeli, 1881.
The last General Election has had at least one beneficial result: it has shocked many more people into a recognition of the fact that the Labour Party is a sick party. And it has also helped many more people within it to realise that the sickness is not a surface ailment, a temporary indisposition, but a deep organic disorder, of which repeated electoral defeats are not the cause but the symptom. What this means is that the sickness would have been as serious if Labour had won the last election. Victory at the polls, given Labour’s recent history, policies and leadership, would only have delayed the crisis, for a while, and given the Labour Party an altogether deceptive appearance of health. This is why a proper diagnosis must take electoral defeat into account, but only as one element of Labour’s condition.