‘sexism in activism’ meeting held in liverpool

By Adam Ford

Earlier this month, a group of about a dozen activists met in the Liverpool Social Centre to talk about the problem of sexism in activism. The event was organised by Angry Women Of Liverpool (AWOL), following a recent discussion of the everyday difficulties women face in groups across the left. But over the past few weeks, the issue has been pushed very much to the forefront locally, due to a number of misogynistic incidents in and around the Liverpool activist ‘scene’. This session was therefore called to discuss exactly why sexism is endemic in groups avowedly committed to equality for all.

As the meeting began, we all introduced ourselves and the organisations we were a part of, before naming women who inspire us. We were then asked to think about the gender balance within our organisations, and we discussed some ideas about what factors might play into the large male to female ratio prevalent in almost all (the notable exceptions being AWOL itself and the News From Nowhere women’s cooperative). Continue reading “‘sexism in activism’ meeting held in liverpool”

liverpool anti-workfare action report

Adam Ford took to the streets as part of a lively national campaign


On Saturday, around forty activists responded to a callout by Liverpool Solidarity Federation, and picketed companies profiting from the coalition government’s workfare scheme. The demonstrators generally won a sympathetic reaction from the public, and the contribution of local musicians provided a much-needed morale boost as the skies opened. Continue reading “liverpool anti-workfare action report”

thatcher and liverpool – thirty years on

Adam Ford writes on revelations that the Thatcher government discussed a ‘managed decline’ of Liverpool.

Ah, the summer of 1981! The spectacle of a ‘fairytale’ royal wedding was a distraction for some as a Conservative PM led a ruling class offensive and unemployment skyrocketed, while riots shook the inner cities. ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’, some have commented today, as government documents from those days are released under the thirty year rule.

toxteth riots, 1981

Amongst revelations that the government lied about negotiations with the IRA during the hunger strikes and that Thatcher – shock! horror! – paid for her own Prime Ministerial ironing board, we are given a glimpse of the Thatcher cabinet’s reaction to rioting in London, Bristol and – in particular – Liverpool. It turns out that Thatcher played referee in a policy battle between then Chancellor Geoffrey Howe and then Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine. Continue reading “thatcher and liverpool – thirty years on”

liverpool: police on the offensive

In the aftermath of August’s riots, James Roberts writes on attacks on young people in Merseyside and the community response

It was only once I sat down and started trying to write about events in Liverpool over 8th-9th August that I thought about how much there was to write, and the complexity of issues that needed covering. From on-going police brutality and repression, to the effect of cuts in youth services in Toxteth, to grievances that continue to exist in the area thirty years after the 1981 uprisings.

Unlike in many areas, here there was very little looting. The main destructive element of disturbances could be seen in smashed windows and burnt-out cars – with much of the collective anger directed at the police. Most people involved were teenagers or in their early 20s, and a good number of people came from other areas of Liverpool to join in. Despite the mass media focus on ‘black youth’, the crowd was multiracial. Some young white men did come along to stoke racial conflict but most of the crowd seemed to be there to confront the police. Continue reading “liverpool: police on the offensive”