Wobblies and gender


A tweet by Lindsay Shepherd:

Oof – the writing and thinking in that post is so bad I have to go look at the Facebook group. I’m especially curious about what any of that has to do with the IWW – the Industrial Workers of the World aka Wobblies.

The About page sounds IWW-compatible, ish, sort of.

The General Defense Committee (GDC) acts in defense and solidarity for those oppressed by capitalism. We advocate for a model of community self-defense, where marginalized people are provided with a platform to speak and organize.

The GDC works in tandem with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a grassroots labour union, with the understanding that a broad strategy is needed for the defense of persecuted communities.

But the front page is another story.

The first item is the one Lindsay Shepherd tweeted.

No, Deborah. Trans students deserve an apology.

This troubling release has made Wilfrid Laurier University‘s position absolutely clear and it’s thoroughly unsurprising. Deborah MacLatchy has decided to inform us about some elusive “independent fact-finder report” (invisible to us commoners) seemingly created to entertain the alt-right’s favourite weapons “do non-binary people really exist?” and “cis people need a safer space too”. The MacLatchy administration has, once again, made it blatantly clear that Wilfrid Laurier University is not safe for their students nor the surrounding community. For shame.

No, Deborah. Showcasing blatant transphobia is not a “reasonable classroom teaching tool”. You wouldn’t showcase Peterson’s blatant misogyny- would you? Would you showcase it if it was aired on TVO? Your followers think that you would.

No, Deborah. You don’t do enough to ensure that your school has “necessary supports and tools to help those who have experienced marginalization and discrimination to engage fully”. Should you have had a postering campaign demanding an apology for trans students? Should the victim’s complaint been registered through unofficial channels? Your followers think that you should.

No, Deborah. We absolutely refuse to “turn the page on a very unfortunate incident”. We absolutely refuse to let you call trampling on our existence the “politicization of an issue”. We absolutely refuse to let you admonish us with your call to “put an end to it.”

Your followers, the far-right, aren’t going to stop. Your centrism will continue to cater to them. You’ve made it clear that our community must defend itself, and we absolutely refuse to take this sitting down.

What does any of that have to do with the IWW? Or capitalism?

A post December 25:

For all my trans and nonbinary siblings out there at holiday gatherings today, I hope it goes as smoothly as possible. For all the individuals whose pronouns won’t be respected or names will be ignored, chin up and try to stay strong. For everyone whose families might treat them with intolerance or bigotry, know that I love you, and that your worth isn’t determined by them. For anyone who can’t present the way they want to today, I hope that you get through it as quickly as possible, and maybe you can wear something that at least feels not whollly uncomfortable. For the people out there wearing binders, remember to stretch as you eat, your binder can get tight as your stomach fills up. For the transfem people out there who can’t shave or wear makeup today, you are still beautiful, you are always beautiful. And for the people who don’t have a family or place to go today, I hope you can find some safety and comfort.

What does that have to do with the IWW?

I don’t know, it seems to be a very small group; I wouldn’t have been aware of it if Lindsay Shepherd hadn’t tweeted it; maybe it’s just one person dressed up as a group. But I do wonder why the IWW is being arbitrarily attached to this touchy-feely gender idennidee stuff, especially when actual labor issues don’t seem to get a mention at all. It makes me wonder if there’s a fashion for co-opting labor and socialist groups to promote gender idennidee instead.

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