NORWICH DEFENDS DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR – DISPATCHES FROM THE ANTIFASCIST COUNTER-PROTEST

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.

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WE ARE NOT YOUR BOGEYMEN – NORWICH RESISTS THE FAR-RIGHT IN SOLIDARITY WITH DRAG STORYTIME

By Anonymous

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. 

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NORTH MACEDONIA’S SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH POLICE BRUTALITY AGAINST ROMA

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by Jonathan Lee

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. 

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THE GREAT COPYRIGHT SCAM

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by Alex Valente

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.

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WE LIVE IN A CORRUPT AND VIOLENT STATE – JOHNSON’S RESIGNATION WON’T CHANGE THAT

By Rowan Gavin

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?

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OFFSHORING: A DEMONSTRATION OF CONSERVATIVE CRUELTY AND XENOPHOBIA

by Sarah Edgcumbe

CW: mentions of suicide, sexual assault

The war crime-laden conflict in Syria has not ended; Saudi Arabia (at the time of writing) continues to drop British-made bombs on Yemen; Israel is once again escalating its policy of state-sanctioned slaughter of Palestinians; the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan, reducing armed violence, but increasing the risk of persecution and repression; Bosnia is teetering on the edge of a relapse into conflict; violence in the Central African Republic is ongoing; human rights abuses in Eritrea and Ethiopia continue. These are merely a few examples of the conflicts and instabilities which blight the lives of civilians who otherwise simply wish to live a life of safety, health and happiness. 

Safe routes of asylum to the UK should be available to all who need them, not least because Britain is complicit in an untold number of conflicts and repressive governments around the globe. Yet of all those who require support and protection, only Ukrainian refugees are deserving of such assistance, according to the Conservative government; one clear demonstration is the introduction of the government’s  ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. Of course, Ukrainians should be welcomed to the UK – or any other country they’d prefer to claim asylum in – but so should refugees from any other context of conflict or persecution. Just as Russia has obliterated parts of Ukraine leaving a trail of war crimes in its wake, so too has it devastated swathes of Syria. Why then, as a nation, are we willing to be so selective as to who we will welcome as refugees?

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TWO BILLION BEATS BY SONALI BHATTACHARYYA – REVIEW

By Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

The presence of South Asian characters in British theatre is not the extreme rarity it once was. Whilst South Asians and people of colour more widely are still hugely underrepresented in theatre – as actors, writers, directors and in storylines – there has undoubtedly been some progress in recent years. What remains less visible, however, is South Asian characters engaging in rich discussions of history in all its complexity, from a questioning, left-wing perspective. If this is not for you, you should probably avoid playwright and Momentum activist Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Two Billion Beats, showing now at London’s Orange Tree Theatre.

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POLITICAL ACROBATICS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, AND ISRAELI OPPRESSION

by Sarah Edgcumbe

“A disgraceful attack on the Jewish state” is how one conservative American publication responded to Amnesty International’s most recent report on the 2nd February. The Amnesty report, which bears the title ‘Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity’ was published by Amnesty on the 1st February this year –  predictably attracting the wrath of Israel whilst generating much controversy. The Israeli government responded as maturely as ever, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid alleging that “Instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations.” Meanwhile, a range of wilfully ignorant journalists and public figures have labelled the report “anti-semitic”. Here we go again. 

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THE BEST READS OF 2021

By Ewa Giera, Sarah Edgcumbe and Samantha Rajasingham

Content warning: mentions of violence against women, police violence

From getting through that ‘to read’ backlog while stuck at home to reciting inspiring extracts at protests and on picket lines, we have read in many ways these past 12 months. As ever, at The Norwich Radical we believe in the written word as a world-changing source of joy, inspiration, education and hope. In this article, three of our contributors come together to share the best things they read in 2021, new and old. Each recommendation comes with a link to buy it direct from the publisher or on bookshop.org (where possible), but we encourage you to use your local bookshop in the first instance if you can. Happy reading!

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SPOKEN WORD, SLAPSTICK AND SURREALISM – CRYSTAL PALACE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

By Carmina Masoliver

South East London has given me a new found love for cinema. After enjoying the Catford Mews’ short film festival recently, I made a point of attending the Crystal Palace International Film Festival (CPIFF) in September. Since 2010, CPIFF has been bringing independent films to the big screen from across the globe, including short films, mid-length films and feature films of all genres.

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