Hamlet, Act I, Part V
“So the whole ear of Denmark
Is, by a forgèd process of my death,
Throughout her long reign, the late Queen Elizabeth II was heralded as a symbol of continuity, permanence, stoicism and unity. After all, what is the point of a British monarch if not to be an ambulatory synecdoche? And if this synecdoche remained enigmatic and silent, all the better for her to serve as a vessel filled with whatever her people chose.
“We are living in unique, unique times.”
The words of Eddie Dempsey, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, speaking to the packed-out rally for the Enough is Enough campaign at Epic Studios in Norwich on Tuesday night. He’s right. Many are saying they can’t remember a time when so many were so hard-off in this country. Meanwhile, by a number of measures, the richest few have never been so rich. My rent and the rate on my electricity meter have gone up this year, and with more price hikes on the horizon I’m worried about what it’s gonna cost to stay warm this winter. My friends, colleagues, and almost everyone I speak to are facing the same concerns. But despite all that, one thing makes this moment feel unique to me more than anything else: the strength of working people’s will to fight back.
Energy bills are set to rise by 80% from 1st October, taking the average household’s annual energy bill to £3,549. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) estimates that the average UK household’s income in 2023 will be £2,054 per month, making the cost of energy equivalent to around two months’ salary. Meanwhile, the poorest among us have been forced onto pre-paid meters which enable energy companies to charge even more for the same energy. Welcome to Tory Britain.
By The Norwich Radical Editorial Team
In the process of putting together our reporting on the far-right presence and pro-LGBTQIA+ counter-protest at Storytime with Auntie Titania in Norwich last Wednesday, we received a number of accounts from people who attended the counter-protest. We were not able to reproduce all of those accounts in our original article, but we believe that they offer valuable insight into the events in question, the strength of LGBTQIA+ solidarity in Norwich, and the lessons that can be taken forward from this action. This article reproduces more of the content of those accounts, with small edits in places for clarity and to maintain anonymity.
Content Warning: descriptions of fascist violence & racist ideology
Following the anti-LGBT protest outside a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) event in North Walsham library on 2nd August, a new event, titled ‘Storytime with Auntie Titania’ and featuring local drag artist Titania Trust, was scheduled for August 17th at the Millennium Library, Norwich. A counter-protest gathered outside the library on Wednesday ahead of the event to defend the national DQSH initiative and protect attendees from the presence of far-right protestors.
CW: violence, police brutality
On Saturday 3rd July 2021, Romani man Nevzat Jasharov (pictured above) marched through the streets of Skopje, North Macedonia with his fellow Romani citizens against racialised police brutality. The protest was in response to the death of a Czech Romani man, Stanislav Tomas, who died after police intervention in the Czech town of Teplice. Video footage of the incident showed a police officer kneeling on the back of Stanislav’s neck; scenes disturbingly reminiscent of the police killing of Black American George Floyd in June 2020.
Consider this example: Marvel Comics publishes Spider-Man, Sony makes a Spider-Man film or videogame, and your local queer fan-artist sells an art zine or print inspired by that film. There is a cost associated with each of these items: the floppy or trade collected comic; a cinema ticket or streaming subscription; the art print itself. But, there is no ethical consumption. ‘Illegally’ downloading or streaming the film, torrenting or finding a hosting site for the comic, or pirating the zine are all the same act: you are overcoming the monetary gatekeeping of art. With one exception: if you ‘steal’ from Marvel, Sony or any other megacorp you might even be doing some good (with reservations); if you do it to an artist who is trying to pay their bills, you’re an asshole.
At long last, the Johnson juggernaut has run out of road. The Bohnson’s repeated scandals, criminal convictions, outright racism and transphobia were not enough to unseat him; in the end all it took was a few opportunistic cronies seeing a chance to pull their knives. Et tu, Gove?
By Sophie Ciurlik-Rittenbaum
The Norwich Western Link, also known as the Wensum Link, is a proposed road that cuts through the Wensum River Valley. It would cut through a Site of Special Scientific Interest destroying critical habitat, most notably inhabited by one of the only colonies of endangered Barbastelle bats. The project is already over budget, and according to Stop The Wensum Link, may cost up to £300 million. The Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council is responsible for the Link and is pushing for its construction, whereas the Labour-controlled Norwich City Council has announced its opposition to the link.
Content warning: abuse, domestic violence, sexism
It is difficult not to be polarised on any given topic in the explosively divisive climate we are living through. However, emerging from the sensationalism is an irrefutable objective truth in the high-profile trial, where megastar Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife, up-and-coming actress Amber Heard, for $50 million over editorial defamation: a clear example of inherent misogyny of the media. Heard penned her self-professed subjective piece in The Washington Post, supportively discussing a ‘Transformative Moment for Women’ during the height of the #MeToo campaign. The article, which was read out during the trial as part of Heard’s opening statement, was intelligently and boldly written, focussing on the actress’ harrowing experience of speaking out as female victim of domestic violence and the progressive change within the industry that she wishes to see. Further to this, there was no mention of Johnny Depp specifically or any of the personal accounts, currently being spewed out in public, due to his bringing her to court.
It is worth remembering that Depp lost his prior lawsuit against The Sun for referring to him as ‘abusive’, and in which the British judge found him guilty on 12 counts of the alleged domestic violence. To use the defendant’s own words in court then, he has ironically made democratic activism solely “about him.”