Repost: From Russia with love

I’ve seen a whole host of outrage on my newsfeed this weekend about Russia’s placing in the Eurovision Song Contest from friends in the UK and Western Europe. When it looked like they might win, there was a stream of updates about homophobic Russia and how terrible it would be for them to take the trophy, all willing Sweden on to pip them at the post. Yet in 2014, Sweden’s winner Måns Zelmerlöw said on national television that it wasn’t natural for a man to sleep with another man. In fact, he called homosexuality ‘avvikelse’ – which is a deviation, or an abnormality. You can watch it here if you understand Swedish. Call me esoteric, but it’s almost like its been set up for me to write a rambling blog post about nationalism, queerness and popular music. Given Zelmerlöw’s frankly bizarre personal politics making not much of a dent in a public outraged by Soviet victory on the day of Ireland’s historic marriage vote, lets ask, “Why specifically Russia?” Is it because of high levels of public knowledge around their anti-queer laws, or is it something a bit more complicated or maybe even more sinister than that?

Continue reading here:

Glasgow Events from 19/05/2015

Hi all,

Apologies about the later update, we’ve been swamped this weekend. Tonight it would be awesome if you can make it along to Govan and join in the conversation about the Farmhouse Project. It is a cracking attempt to keep common-held assets available to us all (rather than having the council sell them off to developers). Also, tomorrow evening, we’ll be putting on a presentation and discussion about anarchism and film, something a little less heavy going than our last two discussion group meetings.

Loads more to check out as well…


Community-led Research for Community Organising!

Tuesday, May 19 at 6:30pm

Plantation Productions, 978 Govan Road, G51 3AJ

Interested to find out what we’ve got planned at the Farmhouse Project?

Want to share your ideas and get involved?

Keen to contribute to a discussion about the current and future status of the Farmhouse and Garden?

This won’t be your standard Public Meeting format – but an opportunity to explore the different elements of the project we’ve been putting together and for you to give us your feedback and ideas in a range of small group discussions.

It’ll also be an opportunity to find out how you can get more involved.

Snacks & refreshments provided by our brilliant caterer Joey!

Get in touch if you have any questions

PHONE: 07419373317

EMAIL: info



Anarchists and the Silver Screen

Wednesday, May 20 at 6:45pm – 9:00pm

Fred Paton Centre, 19 Carrington Street, G4 9AJ

Cinema emerged at a time of upheaval. It was a tangle of new and old technologies, made possible by industrialisation but also long plagued by competition and patent wars. It could be a popular, accessible, and playful way to communicate anarchist ideas and imagine new worlds. On the other hand, cinema was very quickly tamed as a commercial form of entertainment within capitalist and colonialist networks. Films became more expensive to make through artificial scarcity and monopolistic control of the means of production and distribution. A few formulas crystallised to make films predictable as investment vehicles, stifling cinema’s ability to say something new. Any alternatives to capitalism are ridiculed and mocked – while some of the finest moments of classical movies unwittingly show glimpses of utopia and some anti-authoritarian flair.

Using examples from the early days of silent cinema to DIY punk video and avant-garde art films (but leaving documentary aside), the first question our speaker will pose for discussion is – how have anarchism and anarchists been represented in narrative cinema, and does it matter? We will then consider another side of the matter by discussing ideas about anarchist aesthetics and whether a politically radical film needs to be visually and formally challenging as well. The discussion will then move to issues of production and distribution: what models have been used in historical attempts to make films in a liberatory and non-hierarchical way? How can the dominant mode of production (anchored in material and intellectual property) be challenged?

The Radical Film Archive will be in attendance with a hard drive full of films that are free to copy (bring a flashdrive), and there will also be some free DVDs.


Glasgow AF discussion group is open and free to all, however any donations towards costs will be appreciated. Tea/coffee/juice/biscuits will be provided free of charge. Our venue is accessible to wheelchairs/powerchairs. We will also have a book stall from the RiB project with books and other related material for sale. We ask that all those attending this event read the brief introduction to our safer spaces policy here:



Sunday, May 24 at 7:00pm

Tchai Ovna, 42 Otago Lane, G12 8PB

A free entry benefit show of poetry, stories and songs from clean-living, well-adjusted, fairly-young people hosted by Glasgow’s newest zine of words and pictures.

Proceedings are set to include highly-evolved poetic incisors chowing down on the meat of human relationships and leaving the truthy bones bare for all to see in the poems of CATHERINE MADDEN ( CHRISSY BARNACLE, singer and player of musical magical realism so magic you’ll float slightly above the floor and so real you’ll discover your teeth were clenched without your knowledge, will be singing and playing ( Also present will be MICKY DEY, playing his beautiful yet chilling, vast and sweeping yet intimate and gut-gripping songs of longing ( RORY PORTER will not be discouraged from reading a few story-poem-poem-stories starring private detectives, anti-Roman rebels and Warwickshire visionaries ( and you can also expect tall tales and street stories from SEAN CAIRNS, a man born in a crossfire hurricane equidistant between love, hate, Edinburgh and Glasgow ( Perhaps most excitingly of all the West Coast’s own DANGLE MANATEE will be regaling those assembled with folk songs, volk stories and perhaps even a pueblo play sure to solicit affects both Brechtian and sublime (

This free show will be a benefit for The Samaritans and The Campaign Against Living Miserably so bring a pocketful of change. Forza Issue #1 will be on sale for £2 on the night and ALL proceeds will go to the above charities.

( //

Word x


Critical Mass: May-BEES!

Friday, May 29 at 6:30pm

George Square

6.30pm, for 7pm start, from George Square.

General Critical Mass Info:

As with last month:

We haven’t decided upon a route (‘though the start point will be the column in George Square), and are open to suggestions! Either on the day when we congregate, or in advance on this page!

The ride will be a gentle one, which will go at a pace that suits everyone: all are welcome! :)


Banner Tales of Glasgow in Govan

Saturday, 30 May at 11:45am to 4:00pm

The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Road, G51 3UU (opposite Govan underground)

A selection of workplace and community banners with close association with Govan will be on display along with discussions throughout the day. Be there at 11.30 for tea and coffee.


Dungavel Demo

Saturday, 30 May at 11:45am to 4:00pm

Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre

Detention is a blight on our immigration system. People in Dungavel are being held indefinitely and some have been held for months and even years. Let’s show our opposition to detention and remember the people in the system.

Bring your friends, bring your colleagues, bring your banners


Do we need feminism? Gender inequality, violence and sexism in the present day

Monday, June 1 at 10:00am – 6:00pm

Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street, G40 1BP

What does feminism mean in the present day, and to what extent is the current attitude towards feminism different from the way feminism has been seen in the past? What are the legacies of second-wave feminism and what can we still learn from it today? Are younger generations of women aware of the persistence of sexism, sexual violence and gender inequality, and can feminism be useful in tackling these issues?

This workshop explores current attitudes towards feminism and its legacy in the present, and promotes discussions about the role feminism can play in the struggle for a more equal and less sexist society.


10-10.30/Welcome & Introduction

-Sue John, Glasgow Women’s Library

-Dr Rosemary Elliot, Director of the Centre for Gender History

10.30-12.30/Do we need feminism today?

Keynote lecture: Prof Fiona Mackay (University of Edinburgh), Transforming the face of politics? Women politicians and the feminist campaigns that got them there

Respondent: Dr Victoria Browne (Oxford Brookes)

Followed by roundtable discussion with:

-Louise MacKenzie and Judith Hunter, Glasgow City Council Equality Network

-Emma Ritch, Engender

12.30-13.30/Lunch break

13.30-14.45/Fighting sexual violence

Respondent: Dr Andrea Thomson (University of Glasgow)

-Dr Rosemary Elliot & Dr Annmarie Hughes (University of Glasgow), Language, the law and the question of consent: Historical perspectives on sexual violence in 20thcentury Scotland

-Hanna Brown, Rape Crisis Lanarkshire and STAMP (Stamp out Media Patriarchy) project leader

-Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid (TBC)

-Kirsti Hay, Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership

14.45-15.15/Tea & coffee

15.15-17/Learning from feminism

Respondent: Dr Vikki Turbine (University of Glasgow)

-Dr Sarah Browne (Independent Researcher), Looking back, moving forward: Legacies and lessons from the Women’s Liberation Movement in Scotland

-Dr Akwugo Emejulu (University of Edinburgh), title TBC

-Sophie Kromholz and Halina Rifai, TYCI Glasgow

17-18/Wine reception

See also Centre for Gender History website:

REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE (or add yourself to the waiting list) @


Candid Plastic – Live Storytelling

Monday, June 1 at 8:00pm

The Griffin, 266 Bath Street, G2 4JP

An eve of TRUE STORIES told by you!

Whoever you are COME SHARE THE sordid DETAILS OF YOUR LIFE with an eager crowd over a lovely lil bevvy!

We are asking for stories about FAKING IT.. We’ve all been there.

Pretended you knew someone’s name for a year too long?

Can’t look someone in the eye?

Kept a diary back in the day?

(Bring it along, read a passage!)


There will also be a CONFESSION BOX being passed round for those feeling a little shy..Which we will dip into throughout the night!

So even if you don’t want to tell a story COME LISTEN!

Can’t wait to hear all your juice!


Email a brief description of your story to;


C u ther!


What is Happiness? And What Are Its Determinants? – Prof. Alex Wood | Glasgow Skeptics

Monday, June 1 at 7:00pm

The Admiral Bar, 72a Waterloo Street, G2 7DA

“Happiness” is a term thrown around in everyday conversation with very little thought given to what it actually means. Does it mean a balance of positive to negative moods? Life satisfaction? Living in line with culturally valued characteristics? Living in a country that doesn’t constrain potential? Each of these has different philosophical bases, and which definition we adopt shapes the lives we lead, and (via the government’s agenda of measuring and targeting of happiness) the societies in which we live. In this talk, Prof. Alex Wood will show that neither philosophy, social science, nor psychology is sufficient to explore “happiness” in isolation and an interdisciplinary approach is needed. Based on datasets of over 200,000 people, Alex will examine the relationship between happiness and income, personality, disability, employment, and a range of social science indicators.

Alex is Professor and Director of the Behavioral Science Centre at Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, which links the behavioural sciences (such as psychology) with the social sciences (such as economics and management) in order to better understand connections between economic, psychological, and health outcomes and their determinants. One of the youngest professors in UK history, Alex completed his BSc in Psychology at the University of Leicester in 2005 and a PhD in Psychology at the University of Warwick in 2008. From 2008 he worked in the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, initially as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer, before accepting a Chair (full professorship) at the University of Stirling in 2012 at age 29. He has nearly 100 scientific publications and over £1 million in grant income, in recognition of which he was recently awarded an Honorary Chair in Psychology at the University of Manchester and the GSOEP prize for "Best Paper 2012-2013" (with Christopher Boyce). His hobbies include hill/mountain walking, philosophy, reading, and eating curry, but not all at the same time. His website is at and he’s on Twitter at

Doors open at 19:00 for a 19:30 start.

Accessibility: As per the policy of the Admiral Bar, access to the venue “can only be provided to patrons who are sufficiently mobile and capable of independently evacuating premises, or with the minimum of assistance”. Unfortunately, this leaves the basement inaccessible to most wheelchair users.



Saturday, June 6 at 7:00pm

Garnethill Multicultural Centre, 21 Rose Street, G3 6RE

LGBT Unity Solidarity Group invite you to celebrate our community at the Queer Gaylidh Dance Party.

A ceilidh to get everyone dancing, and then some DJ sets by our awesome queer allies.

This is a party for everyone, and you’re very much invited.

100% queer, 100% inclusive, everybody welcome


This is a fundraiser to keep the LGBT Unity Project as powerful as ever!


Tickets £3 on the door, free for asylum seekers and refugees



Sunday, June 14 at 7:30pm

The Glad Café, 1006A Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 2HG

Feminist free jazz, punk, noise and metal, infused with passion and humour; Copenhagen’s Selvhenter play their first gig in Scotland.

£8 Adv





Roller Derby

Tier 1 of the British Roller Derby Champs will be battling it out in the final round to see who is victorious and who can be named the British Roller Derby Champions. Competing are Auld Reekie Roller Girls, Central City Rollergirls, Glasgow Roller Derby, Middlesbrough Milk Rollers, Rainy City Roller Girls and Tiger Bay Brawlers

Approximate timings for the weekend are

Saturday, May 30

12-2pm: Game 1 – Rainy City v CCR

2-4pm: Game 2 – Grd v MMR

4-6pm: Game 3 – Arrg v TBB

Sunday, May 31

10.30-12.30pm Game 4 – Rainy City v GRD

12.30-2.30pm Game 5 – MMR v TBB

2.30-4.30pm Game 6 – CCR v ARRG

Tickets are available as weekend passes for £12 or day tickets for £7 and as always children under 14 go free. There are only 200 tickets available each day so snap them up before they’re all gone and prepare to see some epic Derby.

tickets available:


United Glasgow FC

Womans 5 and 11-a-side

Now Recruiting

These sessions still on at Firhill Complex on Monday evenings – everyone welcome!

We’re also still looking for some additional players for our 11-a-side team who’ve entered the SWFL Division 2 West this season. If you’re still looking for a team then get in touch!

Training costs only £1 per week and the team has already been invited to play in Bristol during the July break and to other tournaments in Ireland and France.

Come and get involved!


Parkour Scotland Spring Term – (4th April – 23rd May)

Saturday, May 23

Rottenrow Gardens

Parkour Scotland is launching in Glasgow, starting with it’s new spring term class led by David Banks.

Just five pounds gets you a session with one of the top and most innovative coaches in the UK. The session will be followed by a supervised jam for you all to train with your peers and try out some of the new technique’s learn’t in class as well as sharing some of your own.

This class is recommended for all levels. From new coaching techniques, to mastery of the fundamentals of Parkour as well as their application this class has something for everyone.

Meet at Rottenrow Gardens at 11.50 to settle before the class begins. Show-ups are welcome on the day but priority will be given to those who email and book in advance.

Contact – davidbankscp


Glasgow Parkour Girls 5km or 10km run!

Sat June 13th from 11am

We’re running 5km or 10km together, so pick your distance and start training!


Email future events including name/time/date/location/description to:

If you know someone who would like to be added to this list then please direct them to:

You can leave this list at any time by sending a blank email to:

The Autonomy Update is brought to you by Glasgow Anarchist Federation. Visit our blog at:


What is #wecantmarch?


A new blog dedicated to folks who can’t march but want to self-organise in upcoming struggles. Hell yeah!

Originally posted on :

On May 9th, 2015, thousands of people marched in London and demonstrated in Cardiff, just a day after we woke up to a Tory majority government. Several more rallies and demonstrations have been planned for the next few weeks (e.g. Sheffield and Bristol), and local and national anti-austerity groups are finding the energy to fight back.

Not all of us are able to participate in these actions.

Within its first 24 hours of being thought up and used, thousands of tweets were made using #wecantmarch and it gained a huge amount of attention on Twitter. So many amazing radical people – disabled, trans, queer, people of colour, working class, international, parents and those with caring responsibilities, and people who intersect many of these categories – are contributing to the hashtag. People are offering stories about why they cannot march against Tory cruelty, celebrating alternative forms of radical activism, demonstrating their…

View original 488 more words

Repost: Anarchist Thugs Respond: A Word About Saturday’s Events at Downing Street

Read the full article here.


“The masters of London have to be made to understand that they are surrounded by enemies. We outnumber them. Their entire strategy has been based on the assumption that we are better people than they are. They’re right of course. We are. We would never dream of kicking anyone out of their homes – even them. We’d never resort to guns and bombs like they do. But that very sense of decency that makes us refrain from doing so compels us to take action.

That’s what we did on Saturday.

The Tories need to know that their every move will face determined—and if need be, militant—opposition. When police attacked a peaceful protest, this time, protesters fought back. History must now record the very first day of the new regime was marked by battles in the streets. It will not be the last. And history is very much what’s at stake here.”


A reply on the SNP piece

So the recent piece on the SNP has had some chat on various social media, and one point to come up  was the main narrative from the SNP from here-on-in won’t be one of seeking independence directly, but awaiting a crisis that they can take advantage of to reach their goal. Another of out members replied and we thought it would be good to post here both to get their response and to show how views differer even within the group:


Constitutional tensions will necessarily mount on both sides of the border, while the SNP will be more than happy to play the rhetorical oppositional that labour abandoned. Meanwhile, even as Scotland isn’t a social democratic paradise, the marked differences in how services are run, or more likely talked about (rhetoric again), will prove to accentuate the minor differences that – to those fully enmeshed within electoralism or who aren’t engaged with street politics etc. – will appear huge.

Given a better than expected outcome the SNP might well also really mean to keep to the idea of a Scottish exemption from TTIP despite their earlier commitment, and they might also keep the moratorium on fracking going. Those are two things I doubt would have happened otherwise. They are tactical responses.

The main narrative of the SNP for the next year or two is already in place anyway. “A stronger voice for Scotland” (increased democratic legitimacy), “getting what was promised” (appeals to justice), “an end to austerity”…this is what they are talking about. This *is* the narrative. And it’s so well rehearsed that it came dribbling out of one of their new MPs 2 days into the job.

It’s important to recall that narrative isn’t reality, it is what get said about or despite reality. So the SNP don’t really live up to that narrative, of course not. And while it is important to critique the narrative as mystification it is also important to track what the narrative does – because stories might not be reality but they are real, they have effects. Look at England: the left seem awed by the SNP, while everyone else is shitting themselves.

The Yellow Tory title is also bad narrative. I mean rhetorically its either really effective or it’s really shit. You get one of two responses.

1. Agreement: This usually comes from people who share your analysis already, and so functions only as a kind of affective ritual…it boils down to the in-group identification of “we are constituted as those against the snp because we are against Tories because we are against what they have done and will do”. I’m in that group. But I gain nothing by nodding my head in agreement.

2. Offence: Everyone that identifies as pro-SNP will react to the degree of identification by feeling threatened. This is an empirical point identified by social psychology and elaborated on by heuristical models of cognition. “Yellow Tories” is a short cut. It doesn’t say anything about the SNP or the Tories but relies on a quick, instinctual and affective identification of the sense that if one is bad then the other is as bad by association.

So you’ve essentially hit a nerve, and not because the critique is true… those being critiqued probably don’t care. Their supporters are likely to *feel* – because this rhetoric works at that level – that their values are being attacked and identified with the bad guys. They don’t want to be the bad guys. So they are left with a series of options. The ones that jump out most to me are: a) ignore the critique, b) ridicule it by attacking those making it in a similarly gut-feeling and heuristical way, thereby making the critiques sail amazingly passed each other, or c) entrench into their positions even further. Response c might even underpin a and b, and has been observed, empirically, to be one of the more universal features of cognition.

I admit you might get

3. People look at the critique and say “oh yeh, shit, I better look into this”. If this ever happens I reckon it’s pretty rare.


4. Oppositional groups share the same rhetoric and thereby cohere together assuming they share ideological commonality. Where this works, brilliant. Where it doesn’t… well, the examples are kinda too numerous.

All of which is just to say that narrative is powerful. I’m not about to buy into the snp’s narrative, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t see it as a fiction with real effects that help to compose the situation. It’s the situation we act in, right?

So yeh, reject and critique the SNP – but let’s not suppose to strongly that pointing out that the emperor has no clothes does very much good.

British Politics Gothic

Some creepy funnies via cardboardmoose on tumblr:

  • thatcher is dead. you saw them put her in the ground, you remember, you know. but you turn on bbc parliament and there she is, sitting between cameron and osborne. she turns to the camera and bares her teeth. it is not a smile.
  • you try to eat a bacon sandwich, but it falls from your hands. you spill a cup of tea down your front. your voice is different somehow. your brother–did you always have a brother?–no longer speaks to you. you look in the mirror and see dark hair and an awkward smile. you start to scream, but it is too late.
  • the queen is speaking, and you do not understand. no-one in the house of lords seems concerned as the words writhe from her mouth. blood drips from their ears, but still they smile and nod. you try to turn off the television but it will not stop. it will never stop.
  • black rod has come to the house. the knocks on the door echo from the ceiling vaults. soon the room will be empty.
  • you have been summoned to the whip
  • the prime minister has gone to see the queen. people are holding candlelit vigils for his memory. “perhaps this one will return”, you say, but your mother shakes her head. the corgis looked thin this morning.
  • the seats must be filled. the seats must be filled. they did not say by what. o god, they did not say.
  • the people of your marginal constituency are prepared this time. they have shored up the walls, laid the pit traps, taken the children to a safe place. the ground rumbles. they are coming. they are coming.
  • the conservatives have a majority

Post-election thoughts pt1: The SNP

Some thoughts by one of our members on the SNP in light of the recent election results. You can also read another member’s response here.

yellow tories

The leadership of the SNP must be the happiest people with the recent election results outside of the Tory front bench. Everything has lined up perfectly for them. But why would I say this when the polls were strongly hinting that the SNP could have been part of a coalition government and forced more devolved powers to Scotland? Surely they have missed out on making things better for the working classes here in Scotland?

The SNP as a political party doesn’t have the goal of making things “fairer” or to look out for us. That is the rhetoric of any opposition party the world over, and it is used to build membership and support. Once in power the SNP would get on with the same job that every government has, running the state to protect the capitalist interests of a specific segment of the ruling class while also keeping capitalism in check so it doesn’t all fall apart. At the moment that means implementing austerity and progressing the privatisation of public services; the working class will always be hard done-by.

The puzzle for the SNP  is that the segment of capitalist interest they fight would benefit most from independence. If they were seen to be helping run Britain then they would have a harder time looking out for their own interests. By missing out on coalition they also miss out on the LibDem problem of being a supporting part of whatever cuts the government were making. However, would the same fate awaited them as hit the LibDems, that of rapidly destroying their base of support? Not quite, but kinda.

The twist here in Scotland is that the SNP can always play the Westminster card, and they do, time-and-time-again. If something goes wrong, no matter what, it is down to London (or Tories or some other boogieman) and the solution is independence. It doesn’t matter that the horrendous attack on working class services by Edinburgh council are SNP led, or that they have clearly shown that they have no intention of scrapping Trident as they intend to remain in NATO, or even that a whole host of their white paper promises are for things already devolved to Holyrood. These are not the failings of the SNP, liberal democracy, or a capitalist system. Nope. It is all Westminster.

The problem for the SNP is that to keep voters on-side for now they need to be seen to be centre-left. This means giving us in the working class just enough concessions to make things look like they are trying their best until they can secure independence and then get on with looking out for their  interests in the way they want to. The less the SNP have obvious control over the better they look. If powers are devolved slowly, bit-by-bit, then they would either have to concede more and harm their interests or it would become clearer that they are just the same as any other party.

So for the SNP having a Conservative majority is perfect: they can fight and lose to them and look great while awaiting another referendum, and at the same time any flack can be avoided by saying the Tory’s are the cause and that the failure to provide opposition was the failure of the Labour Party in England.

My other thought on the SNP landslide is that it stands as another landmark point in the furthering of nationalist views in Scotland. The role of nationalism is to hide the struggle between ruling class and working class, having us in the working class to support actions that prop up a part of the ruling class rather than work on understanding our own interests and fighting to have our lot improved. Now the main narrative is that things will be made better if we get behind independence, something which has no guarantees and diverts us from taking part in grassroots struggles where we can make a marked improvement in our lives.

At the same time we can look at the voting figures in England and get a rough feeling over why people voted a certain way. On the other hand it is far more difficult to judge up here in Scotland, where the SNP present themselves as whatever will be popular in the area (so centre-left in Glasgow and centre-right almost everywhere else). Add to this the feeling of disappointment over the lack of change post-referendum and it becomes impossible to get a measure for the views of the SNP voter base. My feeling is that this time around most of their voters want a better society and some real change, but that they have been set-up for future disappointment as the SNP  fulfils it’s role as a part of the machinery of a neo-liberal social democracy.

So, if it is just a case that the yellow tories are in, what should we be doing? I’ll be putting up a post in the next few days with some more hopeful and proactive thoughts on that topic.