by The Norwich Radical team
This past year was trying in different ways than the first two of this new decade, but no less keenly felt for that. The pandemic – not over, not yet, probably not for a long time – has whittled down everyone’s immune systems, patience, well-being and welfare. It has also been exploited as a means to pass more authoritarian policies into effect, in the UK and elsewhere.
In our country alone, as our co-editor Rowan Gavin wrote in July, “unelected and corrupt powers continue to wield violence in the name of policing, and continue to roam our streets [as they] regurgitate bigotries that were once only voiced in public by fundamentalists and neo-fascists.” The cost of living, coupled with inflation and profit-mongering, has meant a cold, hungry winter for many.
And yet, Rowan pointed out, we “return every time to the communities of people that resist these cruel forces, today and the next day and the day after.” We return to organise where we can, find reasons to celebrate when we can, and endeavour to have as much fun as we can along the way.
Between January 1st 2022 and 25th November 2022, Israeli forces killed 199 Palestinian civilians, including 47 children, and at least 15 women. Perhaps the most high profile killing occurred in May 2022, when Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) whilst covering a story in the Occupied West Bank. She was wearing a press vest at the time, marking her clearly identifiable as both a journalist and a target. Others present at the time, including a colleague who was injured, made it clear that there were no Palestinian fighters near them when they were targeted by direct fire. This incident was, in effect, a continuation of Israel’s deliberate policy of targeting journalists as a means of shutting down any reporting which can contradict the Israeli state narrative – and, once more, Israel escaped without repercussions.
Hannah Jane Walker is the author of The Power of Feeling Sensitive in a World that Doesn’t, which was released earlier this year. I know Hannah as a poet and theatre maker who created a show about being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). The term, coined by psychologist Elaine Aron, refers to people who score highly on sensory-processing sensitivity. This often appears as increased emotional sensitivity, stronger reactivity to both external and internal stimuli, and a complex inner life. As a fellow HSP, I contacted Hannah to interview her about the book and being an HSP.
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.