Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Latest from Peter Tatchell

Two recent pieces from Green Party left campaigner and human rights activist Peter Tatchell have come to my attention. In the first he looks at the attacks of the Ahmadinejad regime on trade unions in Iran -

Iran's war on trade unions

President Ahmadinejad is intensifying the repression of labour activists. We should support them in their fight for basic rights.

By Peter Tatchell

The Guardian – Comment Is Free – 18 August 2008

There is a petition on this subject on the Labourstart website that Peter links in his article.

Secondly this week Peter commented on the passing of the former Labour MP Leo Abse who spearheaded changes to the law on homosexuality in Britain in the 1960s -

Leo Abse – Appreciation and disappointment

London – 20 August 2008

"Leo Abse will be remembered by the gay community with a mixture of appreciation and disappointment," said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

He was commenting on the death of the former MP, Leo Abse, who helped secure the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967.

"Although gay people felt huge relief following the passage of his
1967 gay law reform, we were also angry because his bill perpetuated the criminalisation of many aspects of gay life. It was not the liberation that many of us had wanted and expected," added Mr Tatchell.

"His homosexual law reform bill decriminalised sex between men, but only in narrow circumstances. It retained many discriminatory
provisions, such as the unequal age of consent of 21. These
inequalities were not finally repealed until 2003.

"The Homosexual Law Reform Society was often exasperated by Leo's expectation that it should lobby MPs to win support for his bill, while he ignored their concerns that his limited reform proposals maintained homophobic discrimination.

"Mr Abse could be quite arrogant and patronising towards gay people.
He had a sometimes dismissive, disapproving attitude towards the gay human rights movement; believing that law reform should be left to politicians like him and that gay organisations should play, at best, a marginal, backroom role," said Mr Tatchell.

Chris Moncrieff's Press Association obituary for Leo Abse on the Guardian website is here.

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