trade-unionist

UK General Election 2015: It’s Tomorrow!

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Rosie Hackett, trade union activist and co-founder of the Irish Women Worker’s Union (IWWU).

As a teenager, Rosie worked as a packer in a paper store and then got a job as a messenger for Jacob’s Biscuits. Rosie helped to galvanise and organise more than 3,000 women working in the factory. They withdrew their labour and the women were successful. They received better working conditions and an increase in pay. Rosie was just 18 years old at the time.

When the Irish Transport and General Workers Union was founded in 1909, Rosie joined. Two weeks after the famous Jacobs strike, Rosie cofounded the Irish Women Workers Union (IWWU), along with Delia Larkin. It was set up to protect women from the horrendous conditions which they were expected to work in. Rosie, along with other members of the IWWU, worked tirelessly during the 1913 Lockout providing the strikers with basic food and moral sup sort. The women set up a soup kitchen in Liberty Hall.

In 1914, Rosie lost her job in Jacobs for the part she played in the Lockout. She took up a post working as a clerk in the IWWU in Liberty Hall and worked alongside activists Delia Larkin and Helena Maloney. It was here that she became connected with the Irish Citizen Army. She also trained as a printer. Rosie was among the small group, along with Constance Markievicz and Michael Mallon, who occupied Stephen’s Green during the Easter Rising and the Royal College of Surgeons. Rosie was also involved with the group that printed the first 1916 Proclamation and gave it to James Connolly.

More info on Rosie at the Women’s Museum of Ireland website.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.
—  Martin Niemöller

If people choose to ignore what’s happening in the world around them, fine. that’s up to them. but there’s a rather famous poem on a similar note that i think they should be made aware of, if it’d make any difference;

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

—  Martin Niemöller 

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you did not fit in with the ideal citizen, the Nazi liked label you. At a glance they could see your “flaws” by using a clever system of identification. Each group was identified by an ever present triangle sewn to the breast of their clothing. If you think about the GOP rhetoric today and all the people they are against, it doesn’t seem all too unfamiliar than the list below:

Pink - Gay men
Red - Political (trade unionists, socialists, social democrats, communists)
Green - Criminal
Blue - Immigrant
Purple - Religious Minority (mostly Jehova’s Witnesses)
Black - Undesireables (lesbians, Roma women, mentally ill, addicts, vagrants, pacifists, prostitutes)
Brown - Roma men

The pink triangle has special significance to me as a transwoman. On November 11, 1933, the Hamburg City Administration asked the Head of Police to “pay special attention to transvestites” and to “deliver them to the concentration camps.”. In 1938 the Institute of Forensic Medicine recommended that the “phenomena of transvestism” be “exterminated from public life.” However, for the most part Nazis made little distinction between trans people and cis queer men and women. Trans women who were sent to concentration camps wore inverted pink triangles along with cis men. And trans men wore inverted black triangles with cis women.

So forgive me if my rage starts to show when I hear that trans students in Wisconsin are required to wear green bracelets to identify them as trans to the staff and students. http://thinkprogress.org/education/2016/07/20/3800220/trans-students-file-federal-suits/

So many people have been making parallels between Nazi Germany and the United States today. I’ve always been quick to dismiss such claims, but today, it is blindingly obvious that fascism has taken hold in this country.

Fight it. Fight it always. Always challenge hate.

#alwayschallengehate #girlslikeus #transisbeautiful (at Brentwood, Tennessee)

Made with Instagram

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

—  Martin Niemöller
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
—  Pastor Martin Niemöller

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist; 

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist; 

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist; 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew; 

Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out - because I was a Protestant;

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

- Martin Niemöller

#ukraine #venezuela

First they came for the socialists,
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -
and there was no one left
to speak for me.

— 

Martin Niemoller, a German theologian and paster who was an early Nazi supporter but was later imprisoned for opposing Hitler’s regime.

We need to let our voices be heard in opposition to the killing of Christians. We cannot wait. Whether we are activists or not, normally, we need to speak up. Our silence is speaking volumes. I am haunted by something we saw at the Holocaust Museum this summer. If we are slow to speak or to action, it is often too late.

This is something my mother wrote early this morning. ISIS is killing the people we love. The people we love are dying!

They’re dying.

They’re DYING.

Is that not enough for anyone? I am broken inside because I’m a young man trying to get people to speak up, and while some of you are, I am stricken by the silence. The media barely touched the issue until ISIS killed one of their own.

If we don’t speak out now, we will ALL lose someone.

Are we really going to be silent in a futile effort to be politically correct

I’m using my voice to speak out while I still can. Will you? To the Muslims who are so careful to differentiate from ISIS and their killings, I ask simply - where are your voices? If you’re on our side, and you are equally upset about what’s going on, let the world know it.

This could become a modern day holocaust - it’s the same type of crime, the same type of genocide. People are being killed simply for disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs. Sound familiar?

Speaking out doesn’t mean hatred. It doesn’t mean our words have to be hateful! Courage is not hatred, and if we’re going to talk about generalization - that’s one of the biggest generalizations I’ve seen, and it’s wrong.

There’s a time to be silent about an issue. This is not that time. Enough is enough.

Share this post with #WeAreN #EnoughIsEnough and #StopISIS and join the cause. If the media isn’t going to help us, use social media - share this everywhere! Our silence is speaking volumes more than our words ever could, and it’s time we open our mouths and say something. Reblog. Share the cause. It might save a life.

Sign the petition. 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—  Martin Niemöller
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
— 

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) 

Holocaust Memorial Day 

Tuesday, 27 January, 2015

5

Do you remember that evening when you had asked about the women of my family? Proud to have a story worth telling, I had talked about Sita, my mother’s mother, a freedom fighter and a trade unionist, loving mother to five children, and a thrifty homemaker. Sita when she died in 1974 was “Mata-ji”, respected Mother, to all in her town.

“Why are some women chosen to become mothers to many, and not others,” you had asked. “Is there a price that they have to pay in return?” Your questions had made me think some more. Someone once said that memories contain the map of identity. In this marble temple, the fractured memory of Sita, yet subsumed in the son-bearing, nurturing, and virtuous body of Bharat Mata–Mother India, the Hindu mother of Hindu sons. She is Sanskrit, and she is Hindi. She is the source, chaste and pure. 

Erased from her body are all markers of desire, passion, and longing that as a mortal woman Sita must have felt. Covered over are the wounds inflicted upon her for being born woman in an upper-caste Hindu family.

Turning to you I had asked curiously about your own grandmother. You had replied, “My grandmother was also called Mata-ji by some, yet she would find no place in this great temple.”

That same evening I had talked about my grandmother’s struggles to attend high school, the first for any girl in her family. The main hurdle was that the road to school led through the tawaifs’ quarters. Interrupting me with a sudden bitter tone in your voice, you had said, “How could the daughter of a respectable Hindu family be allowed to walk through an area where women wallowed in depravity, obscenity, and disease?”

Always on the margins of respectable society, the tawaif, now seen through the filters of Victorian morality, becomes a prostitute; bearer of everything foreign, including the Urdu language. The regeneration of Hindu society demanded that the tawaif be removed, physically from the proximity of respectable areas, and culturally from music itself. 

You tell me a story of a time and place far away, where a mission was launched to rescue music from the baneful influence of Muslim musicians and tawaifs. The respectable men of town began a very successful mission to put a stop to the practice of inviting courtesans on festive and other occasions to perform in Hindu homes. From the uncharacteristic sharpness of your tone, I had a sense there is more to this tale than what you have just shared. But I am almost hesitant to ask. The history that has made me the woman I am, stands confronted by the histories you relentlessly unravel now. 

You talk about you grandmother, the once powerful Chaudrahin or leader of the now beleaguered tawaif community in Benaras. Attracted by Gandhi’s inclusive call to Hindus and Muslims, men and women, to join the national movement, she had organized a very unusual meeting of courtesans in 1921. Presided by a framed photograph of Gandhi, the meeting passed a resolution to weed out obscenity in music and to promote nationalism by singing patriotic songs at all occasions.

The irony of this meeting is not lost to you. You are aware of Gandhi’s outburst against what he termed ‘the obscene manifesto of a group of tawaifs in Barisal’. Their crime: they had organized to help the poor, nurse the sick, and support the cause of Gandhi's Satyagraha. Gandhi declined to recognize them as Congress workers, or even accept their donations unless they gave up their unworthy profession which made them worse than thieves. While thieves merely stole material possessions, these women stole virtue.

Worst however was yet to come. Barred from performing on the radio till Nehru intervened, many tawaifs like your grandmother immersed their instruments into the Ganga and stopped singing altogether. Others got married in a desperate bid for social acceptance. 

And so, as a nation marched towards freedom, a group of women whose private lives became public scandal, fell off the map. You tell me about the day your grandmother was summoned to the local police station when a zealous young Indian state decided to suppress immoral trafficking by cleansing entire localities of their original inhabitants: prostitutes and tawaifs. 

That day, your grandmother decided to leave forever, the city that had been home. 

First they came

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Pastor Martin Niemoller

“ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”
- Martin Niemoller

Be careful on your silence and your justification on these actions. You might be next.