“Are we all to be ‘gender-critical feminists’ now, Father?”: On silencing and the article Graham Linehan doesn’t want you to read

Cautiously Pessimistic

Graham Linehan, the once-beloved writer of Father Ted and that other one that wasn’t as good as Father Ted but still had its moments, has recently been going about the place complaining about being “silenced” while also using legal threats to silence a piece of writing critical of him. Of course, there’s nothing really new here – it’s been years now since Sara Ahmed first observed that

“These views then get expressed again as if they are being stifled.  They get repeated by being presented as prohibited.

Whenever people keep being given a platform to say they have no platform, or whenever people speak endlessly about being silenced, you not only have a performative contradiction; you are witnessing a mechanism of power… The narrative of “being silenced” has become a mechanism for enabling and distributing some forms of expression.

Similarly, if I had a penny for every time someone proclaiming themselves to be in favour of free speech and against silencing debate used threats of legal action to shut their critics up, then maybe I’d have enough money to start hiring lawyers and trying to shut up everyone I disliked too.

I’m still very sympathetic to the principle that, when someone starts throwing legal threats around to silence criticisms, you should spread and reproduce that criticism as widely as possible, so people can read it and make up their own mind. In that spirit, the offending article is reproduced below, not as a full endorsement of the contents but just to give people the chance to decide what they think of it. If you want to know Linehan’s side of the story, that’s easy enough to find out; similarly, if Linehan can point out exactly which precise claims in the article are provably untrue, I’ll be happy to alter them.

If you’re concerned about the problem of people being “silenced” and prevented from exercising free speech, I would suggest that one good place to start might be by donating to support this blacklisted brewery worker here. And if, like me, you’re a massive fan of Father Ted and quite enjoyed that other one sometimes, and are feeling let down that such a gifted comedic great has descended into acting like a bit of a dick, then at least we can all take comfort in the fact that the guy who wrote the Office has always behaved in an admirably dignified and respectable manner, right?

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‘Reclaiming Pride’ Presentation and discussion, Bournemouth 5th March 2020

Featured

Popular talk from 2019 Bookfair presented by Paul Haw at The Four Horsemen Pub 77-79 Commercial Rd Bournemouth Dorset BH2 5RT. Suggested donation £4 on the door. 7 for 7:30 p.m. 5th March 2020. Discussion afterwards. facebook event

Paul is a volunteer youth worker, campaigner on LGBTQ+ and disability issues, and Branch Secretary of Dorset IWW.

Pdf version A3

Fundraiser for Newcastle Ewan Brown Anarchist Bookfair

Can you help our comrades in the North East?

www.gofundme.com/f/NewcastleAnarchistBookfair


We are raising money for the Newcastle Ewan Brown Anarchist Bookfair which is taking place on the 9th of May 2020. Ewan was a comrade to many across the North East and even across the globe. We are hoping to have a great bookfair that Ewan would have been proud of… Let’s make it a good one. We are hoping to raise money to cover the costs of the bookfair. Anarchist Bookfairs sadly cost a lot, so anything anyone can contribute would be a huge help. The funds will be going towards accessibility, printing, travel, food, signage, and any other hidden costs that we will inevitably run into.

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Wildcat and the Egghead: The life of Donald Rooum

Freedom News

It shouldn’t really be me writing this obituary of Donald Rooum the anarchist and his time with Freedom Press, as I knew him for a mere 17 years, a relative drop in the ocean of his experiences. But the truth is that those of his friends and comrades who would have known him best, the likes of Phillip Sansom, Colin Ward and of course Vernon Richards, all passed away before him.

With Donald passes the only remaining direct link to the anarchist movement of the 1940s, when he began to involve himself just weeks before Sansom, John Hewetson, Richards and Marie Louise Berneri were arrested for their anti-war writing in War Commentary, as Tom Brown and the syndicalists planned a takeover of the stricken publication, where splits that would rock the movement for decades to come began

Born on April 20th, 1928, he was among the last to remember a Britain at war with fascism, although too young to be called up a principled horror of war and bombs would infuse his work ever after.

Though he was known first as a Bradfordian and then for 65 years as a Londoner, Donald Rooum’s first steps as an anarchist were actually taken via a Kent hop-picking project in the autumn of 1944. The son of a left-leaning mother and trade unionist father in a red city which had produced the very first splash headline of the Communist Daily Worker, the 16-year-old already had links to the Communist Party, briefly held, when he was sent to the fields as part of a Ministry of Food placement scheme.

But he was starting to become disillusioned with the Party’s positions, and on his day off he took a trip to Hyde Park, where he came across an anarchist speaker and was immediately impressed, taking out a subscription to their paper War Commentary (which would revert to the name Freedom from August 1945) in short order. Speaking on a long interview with The Final Straw shortly before his death, he recalled:

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