Under the guise of freedom of speech, defending religious freedom and “letting kids be kids”, LGBTI people have faced an assault from recently anointed prime minister and homophobe in chief Scott Morrison.
He went on 2GB radio earlier this month to gabber with cretin Alan Jones, discussing the supposedly “skin curling” Victorian high school program teaching students about “building respectful relationships”.
Parents beware! This seemingly innocuous consciousness-raising program, designed to prevent family violence, is cultural Marxism in sheep’s clothing.
Jones claimed the program would include role playing of sexually deviant teens, including “Megan”. “We’re told that Megan is 17, she lives in the city and works in the local cafe. She’s had 15 sexual partners and describes herself as bisexual. And these girls in class are told to role model these particular people!”
Morrison said that “Megan” makes his skin curl, and assured listeners: “It’s not happening in the school I send my kids to, and that’s one of the reasons I send them there”.
According to Fairfax, Morrison promised at the end of 2017 – a year in which tens of thousands took to the streets to celebrate marriage equality, a historic win for LGBTI rights – that he would fight against “discrimination and mockery” of Christians and would enact “preventative regulation and legislation”.
Considering the obvious lack of discrimination against Hillsong Church devotees, Morrison’s repeated calls for greater religious freedom are yet another coded message to his bigoted base. For Morrison and his supporters, freedom of religion means a law to permit homophobes to refuse service to queer people. As Catherine McGregor asked in the Sydney Morning Herald:
“Will the mythical army of persecuted bakers and wedding planners also refuse service to adulterers, thieves, divorcees, usurers, women who have terminated pregnancies and other categories of sinner? Perhaps a helpful sign clarifying which categories of sinners will not be served may avoid needless confrontations.”
During another interview, Morrison was asked by 3AW’s Neil Mitchell about his position on gay conversion therapy – long discredited pseudoscientific attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, considered by some doctors to be a form of torture.
Conversion practices are carried out by evangelical churches and ministries across Australia, taking the form of exorcisms, prayer groups or counselling disguised as pastoral care. They’re also done by some religious schools.
But Morrison refused to condemn it. “It’s not an issue I’m focused on at all”, he said. “I think people should make their own choices about their own lives.”
The hypocrisy of the right in crying about free speech while demanding to have a say over the sexual and gender identities of children is stunning but predictable.
Morrison begs on twitter to “let kids be kids” and describes a program to help teachers identify transgender children as “gender whispering”. This is blowback from a sore loser who hates the idea of LGBTI equality. Those who fought for our civil rights last year must be organised to take on the bigotry of the sore losers.
There has been a vigorous argument over the direction of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) industrial campaign at Sydney University this year. Most recently, those who have been reluctant to argue and organise seriously for frequent enough and long enough strikes are now leading the charge for a “smarter” strategy of administration bans.
In late August, around 50 union members at Knauf plasterboard held a meeting in their Melbourne factory to discuss recent EBA negotiations, which had begun a few months earlier. A new HR manager insisted on attending the meeting and wasted people’s time explaining the wonderful job that company management had done taking care of the workers, in particular their recent and significant safety concerns. As he spoke, one after another the workers turned their backs on him. Soon, they began challenging the manager about a worker who had just been sacked.
Minoo Jalali was among those who resisted Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in Iran. In the early months of 1979, she joined a mass women’s protest against the compulsory wearing of the hijab in public. “That revolution was inevitable”, Jalali recounted 40 years later in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “Nobody could have really stopped the force of it. We hoped that we could steer it [but] we were wrong. And the clergy hijacked it ... and deceived many people.”
Protests and riots have spread across Iran after a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was murdered by the morality police. Amini was visiting the capital, Tehran, on 13 September when she was arrested for allegedly breaking mandatory veiling laws. Police beat her into a coma and she died three days later. Amini was buried in her hometown of Saqqez.
The international working-class movement has long been divided between two strategies to win socialism: the reformist and the revolutionary.
Revolutionary Marxists argue that socialism is possible only if the working class leads a revolution. So why organise among students?