Salford’s Working Class Movement Library is set to host an event under the banner of LGBT History Month. Sadly, they have also invited a woman with a history of a long list of discrimination against trans folks, bisexuals, mothers, sex workers, and Muslims.

It’s both mystifying and grossly disheartening to learn that an event professing to celebrate LGBT struggles welcomes someone who not only publicly rejects the LGBT label but actively works against significant sections of the LGBT community. [1] This same speaker consistently complains of being “no-platformed”, whilst denying the agency of Muslim women who wear a niqab – whether or not they are LGBT and feminist Muslim women – using a racist, xenophobic and anti-working class newspaper, the Daily Mail, as a platform. [2]

Therefore, as with anyone with a history of hate speech, many members of the communities listed have rightfully spoken out about the invitation of Julie Bindel regarding these serious issues. We recognise that the working class has trans and bisexual members, and they should be supported and welcome in our movement. We consider it deplorable that an institute which celebrates the history of our class welcomes someone who actively works against the principles of class solidarity.

To such protests, Julie Bindel has since responded:
“For a load of Cambridge-educated idiots to tell me I can’t speak about growing up lesbian with a working-class background… quite frankly they can go and jump off a cliff.”

“This venue isn’t something that any of them would have the slightest bit of interest in at all. They’re keyboard warriors, they wouldn’t schlep their arses to a venue that actually does real work [documenting the lives of disadvantaged people].”

“They’re only interested in concepts and whether someone’s anti-polyamory.” [3]

We, as the Manchester General Members Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, feel that directly engaging Bindel in her remarkable level of ignorance on this matter is pointless. As a working class union, with members and supporters who are the target of Bindel’s hate filled rhetoric, we feel it important for us to clarify our position on this matter. It’s also important for us to offer a sharp rebuttal against Bindel’s bizarre suggestions that working-class LGBT folks are neither critical of her or actively oppose her actions.

  1. We disagree with the assumption that everyone protesting Bindel’s rhetoric is Cambridge educated. We also disagree with the assumption that attending Cambridge automatically means you are not working class – we consider class a relationship to employment and the need to work for a wage (or subsist on benefits), rather than just the extent of your education.
  2. We always support people willing to speak about their struggles, especially those most disadvantaged by society.
  3. We actively support the health and well-being of our members and our communities therefore do not utilise the harrows of suicide in our critiques.
  4. We have advertised and attended events held by the WCML, and the WCML have hosted events celebrating the historical achievements of our union’s members.
  5. We do an enormous amount of work organising in our workplaces and our communities; not
    only fighting bosses and the abuses of the welfare system but also opposing the prison
    industrial complex, partaking in solidarity actions for migrant workers, being involved in
    LGBT struggles, organising against discrimination in the workplace, fighting against the
    activities of the far-right – the list is long.
  6. We not only document the lives of the disadvantaged, as our history is extensive; our songs
    are sung proudly on the film Pride, our martyrs still remembered. We also create history and
    fight for the disadvantaged right now.
  7. We are members of the working class and that is the basis of our organising.
  8. We are not solely interested in concepts handed to us by academics like Julie Bindel. We are interested in rewriting concepts by practice. In creating a new world in the shell of the old.
  9. We are a union whose members span broadly across the spectrums of race, gender, sexuality,
    ability, and faith.
  10. Whilst we respect the positive work she has done and still does, we wouldn’t allow Julie
    Bindel to be a member of the IWW based on her actions, nor would we work with her. She
    doesn’t represent the interests of our class by her repeated attempts to divide us using her
    reactionary ideas on gender, sexuality, faith, whether one is a mother, or how a person earns
    a wage.

The Industrial Workers of the World has consistently fought for all the working class, organising workers regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, or faith. This is not something we assign to history – it’s a struggle we fight to this day. Whether it’s discrimination in the workplace, the violent bigotry of the far-right, prejudice and intolerance within the working class movement, as working class organisers we see the need to fight against these actions, building a new (and better) world for
our class.

We, the Manchester General Members Branch of the IWW, call on the WCML to seriously reconsider the invitation of Julie Bindel, or any person who attempts to divide the working class, to any event they host. It would be disingenuous for the WCML to uphold itself as a pillar of working class struggle whilst continuing with their support of this event as it has been organised. This is unless they don’t think trans people, sex workers, bisexuals, mothers, and Muslims are worthy of human dignity. Which is neither good activism, feminism, or working class politics.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!


[1] accessed 06-01-17
[2] accessed 06-01-17
[3] accessed 06-01-17