by Jack Brindelli
At 12 noon on the 30th of May, hundreds of ordinary people will gather in Norwich’s Haymarket, as the Norfolk People’s Assembly hosts the local wing of a national day of action against the new Conservative majority government, after the general election earlier this month. We at the People’s Assembly are steadfastly opposed to the Tories vicious plans for Britain, and the implications they will have for the people of Norfolk. On David Cameron’s watch as Prime Minister, the country has become bitterly divided along the lines of wealth inequality. His government’s cuts have shamefully targeted society’s most vulnerable – from the disabled, to the unemployed.
by Jo Swo
It’s not exactly radical to say we live in a victim blaming society. I’m not just referring to sexual assault either, which that phrase is now so well associated with. We are blamed, and blame others, for drinking too much, staying out too late, not planning journeys home, going out in the first place, and leaving drinks unattended to go for a quick smoke outside. As a consumer, you are held accountable for everything that could possibly happen, whether or not it’s in you control, because you chose to put yourself in that position (i.e in a club/bar).
Going out is a fantastic paradox, because it’s when people want to relax, drink, and let down their guard, but the environment you’re in is universally accepted as unpredictable and often dangerous. You pay for the privilege to step onto private property, it could be in the form of a stamp at the front door or a drink at the bar, and you are left to your own devices (or the devices of others).Continue Reading
by Aaron Hood, UUEAS Students with Disabilities Officer
Mental health has always been an immensely important issue, I don’t know about you but I think something which effects as many as 1 in 4 people ought to be taken somewhat seriously. Given the results of the election the issue will be more important than ever. Heartless welfare cuts, draconian welfare sanctions, and secure and dignified work becoming even sparser. In such desperate times we will need each other more than ever.
TW: rape, sexual assault, sex-shaming
by Asia Patel
On the 15th April 2015, the Union of UEA students held a free film screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on american college campuses. It was made by the same Academy Award-nominated team that created The Invisible War, a film about sexual assault in the United States Military. The documentary was followed by a skype call with the director, Kirby Dick, and a discussion with a panel consisting of Holly Staynor (Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer), Beth Smith (Women’s Officer), Anjali Menezes (Sexual Assault Awareness Committee), and me from the UEA Feminist Society Committee.
The documentary itself focused on the stories of survivors of sexual assault, particularly of Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark, two former students at the University of North Carolina who were raped on campus. In the US, reports such as those of sexual assault can be dealt with solely by the college itself, with people in place to decide relevant actions to be taken upon attackers, and to support survivors. However, when these two survivors reported their rapes, they were not supported by their university.
by Adam Edwards
The start of spring brings with it one of the fixtures of Norwich’s cultural landscape. Norwich Fashion Week 2015 is now drawing to a close, and the more I reflect on it, the uglier it seems.
I’m sure I’m not alone in the reservations I have about this, or any other event that tries to promote fashion as a force for good in our communities, lives and world. That said, I’d also like to try to move the debate beyond the realms of body idealism, anti-feminism and classism that are inherent in the fashion industry, and not remotely obfuscated in provincial events such as our city’s. I want to progress the argument into the realm of the truly terrifying, into which Norwich Fashion Week readily transports us.
We’re all aware of the uncomfortable truths that tremble at the edge of thought when we consider disposable fashion, but I want those truths dragged under the light of scrutiny.
by Jack Brindelli
4 years ago, the late, great socialist icon that is Tony Benn addressed the Burston Rally in rural Norfolk. The rally is an annual event to commemorate “the longest strike in history”, where Tom and Annie Higdon defied the local authorities to open a ‘strike school’, after being sacked for agitating for better study and work conditions. They stood alongside 66 of their 72 students and their parents, and hand in hand with the community against their unfair dismissal – and they won. And at that year’s rally, Tony drew one vital lesson from that past struggle for those facing the inhuman austerity cuts of this decade — “Tie your ropes together.”
In the face of an unelected Tory regime, hell-bent on slashing disability benefits, privatising our education system, and in the process of razing our National Health Service to the ground, the multitude must stand united against this bare-faced tyranny. We may be affected differently to the separate cuts within each of our lives, but if we are to overcome them, and to build a society of dignity and freedom for all, we must recognise the common ideology that underpins each austerity measure.
On Sunday night, over one-hundred parents, teachers, students and community activists packed the St Alban’s Church Hall to discuss the plight of another Norfolk School in the here-and-now.
by Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich South candidate.
People who ‘get on their bikes’, as Conservative politicians advise, do so for many reasons — some life-threatening, some ‘merely’ economic. All but the wealthiest of them are among vulnerable groups that can become scapegoats when governments need to divert attention from their failures. Migrants should not be blamed for a country’s woes as they are people simply seeking a better life and do not deserve to be demonised.
However the anti-migrant rhetoric rarely addresses the colonial, environmental, and economic causes of migration. These include conflict, and also the aftermath of human rights abuses and absolute poverty. Britain claims a proud tradition of providing refuge in such cases. If human rights don’t apply to everyone, they don’t apply to anyone, and I’d challenge anyone to pledge never to leave the UK if we were sunk by say, rising sea levels or a fascist regime. However at times of major migration, there are always those who want to keep the stranger out.