British suffragettes photo exhibition

Selling ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ newspaper. Melvina Walker (centre) and Nellie Cressall (on her right). Nora Smyth c.1914 Image with kind permission of Paul Isolani Smyth from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

This photo depicts selling of ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ newspaper, by Melvina Walker (centre) and Nellie Cressall (on her right). Photo by Nora Smyth c.1914. Image with kind permission of Paul Isolani Smyth from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 17 November 2018 East End Suffragettes – revealed for first time in 100 years

East End Suffragettes: the photographs of Norah Smyth
2 November-9 February 2019
Tues-Sat: 11.00-18.00 daily
Admission free

EAST End Suffragette photos from 100 years ago, are revealed, for the first time in Britain. The venue is the Four Corners Studio, 121 Roman Road, close to Bethnal Green tube station, East London. Exhibition opening is Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm, until February 9. Pioneering campaign photos of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes (ELFS) from 1914 to 1916, are being shown. They have been loaned by the Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

The photos are the work of Norah Smyth, used to illustrate workers’ conditions in the East End of London and the activities of the ELFS in its weekly paper.

Norah was originally inspired by the suffrage campaign of The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) led by Emmeline Pankhurst and daughter Chrystabel Pankhurst in 1911.

She soon met the other Pankhurst sister, Sylvia, and in 1912 they joined supporters and formed a branch of the WSPU in East London. They were moved by the terrible poverty of the working class in that area, and inspired by the history of trade union struggles such as the match girls’ strike in 1888 and the socialist ideas of the Independent Labour Party. They opened a shop in Bow Road, with a head board ‘Votes for Women’. Norah came from a wealthy family and used her inheritance to support the struggle.

During 1913, Sylvia was arrested and started hunger and thirst strikes until she was released to get better, ten times, under the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. The branch was very active and supported strikes at local factories. Their orientation towards working class struggle was too much for the leaders of the WSPU, who focused on getting the vote for property owning middle class women.

By January 1914, Chrystabel demanded that the ELFS separate from the WSPU. This it did, becoming more socialist, adding the colour red to the traditional suffragette colours of white, green and purple.

The ELFS organised Women’s May Day parades from the East India Dock Gates to Victoria Park, six mile marches to Holloway prison to show solidarity with suffragette prisoners, and held open air meetings all over the East End from Canning Town to Hackney and Stepney. Every week they had a stall in Roman Road market.

Many men took part in the events and the police regularly used force against them.

For a short time in 1913 the ELFS set up a ‘Peoples Army’ modelled on James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army and began drilling, to defend workers’ demonstrations and form protection for Sylvia against re-arrest. In March 1914, they set up a weekly paper called ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ as the ‘only suffrage paper in the country which makes a distinct appeal to working people’.

Articles covered workers housing and work conditions and struggles and their own campaigns. Here Norah Smyth’s photographs played a key role. In May, the ELFS opened their own HQ in 400 Old Ford Rd, which included two large halls, where meetings and clubs were held.

When World War 1 broke out in August 1914, Emmeline and Chrystabel Pankhurst immediately capitulated to the patriotic propaganda and dropped the suffrage campaign, whereas the ELFS became more resolute. They became pacifists and redoubled their support for working class families through welfare schemes in which local woman participated.

Unemployment rose as factories closed. Then conscription of the men left the women trying to care for the children on belated payments. Woman ended up working in munitions and clothing factories on sweated labour conditions. When the ELFS opened some food distribution centres (milk, eggs and barley) for starving woman and children, and communal canteens, hundreds turned up. They organised free nurseries and set up a shoe and toy factory to employ women.

The Dreadnought called for equal pay and working conditions, and rights for soldiers’ and sailors’ wives and ‘Down with sweating’. By 1915, when compulsory conscription was brought in, they campaigned against compulsion. State repression against these rallies increased.

One million working class soldiers were conscripted but many had no vote. The new Franchise Bill excluded poorer men, conscientious objectors, women under 30, and poor and widowed women from the vote. In March 1916, the ELFS changed its name to ‘Workers Suffrage Federation’ (WSF) and demanded universal suffrage for everyone over the age of 21 years. This was not achieved until 10 years later.

The two revolutions in Russia in 1917 inspired the WSL tremendously and they became revolutionary socialists. The new workers’ soviets in Russia seemed to them to parallel their community organisations. The Woman’s Dreadnoaught changed its name to ‘Workers’ Dreadnought’ and stood for ‘household soviets and international socialism’. In summer 1917, it campaigned for ‘a paralysis of military force’.

The WSF set up peace pickets outside parliament with slogans ‘War is murder’, ‘Soldiers in the trenches long for peace’, and ‘Bring back our Brothers’, and ‘Stop this Capitalists’ War’. In 1918, the organisation became the ‘Workers’ Socialist Federation’ and affiliated to the Communist International. Norah and Sylvia attended conferences in Russia and Amsterdam and Sylvia attended the second congress of the Third International in 1920, where the setting up of a British communist Party was debated. There were differences with Lenin.

They supported the ‘Hands off Russia’ campaign, and lobbied the east end dockers not to load munitions for the imperialist armies being used against the Bolsheviks.

The WSF fought to build a communist-type organisation until 1924, when the Dreadnought was ended. The 100 photographs in this exhibition reveal a huge empathy and respect for working woman and their families in the East End of London and a determination to fight for the vote and socialism in conflict with the capitalist state. It is not to be missed. N.B. Most of the information in this article came from the exhibition notices and an accompanying booklet.


Saudi women protest with clothes inside out

This photo shows a Saudi woman wearing her clothes inside out as a protest; with the Twitter hashtag #AbayaInsideout.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Saudi women rebel on social media against wearing an abaya, a long traditional garment. …

In 2016, a woman was arrested by the religious police in the capital Riyadh because she removed her garment. And last year a woman was arrested about whom a movie had surfaced online in which she wore a miniskirt. …

Upon his appointment as Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman was seen as a reformer. But that image soon showed cracks because he wants to only have those reforms under his conditions. Many critics have been arrested and some of his relatives have been detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh …


One of his critics, the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, had to pay for his attitude with death. Khashoggi, who had moved to the US for fear of the Saudi authorities, disappeared at the beginning of October when he visited the Saudi consulate in Turkish Istanbul. It is now clear that he was murdered in the consulate by a Saudi death squad.

Experts about Saudi Arabia deem it unlikely that the crown prince knew nothing about the operation in Istanbul.

One should hope that these courageous Saudi women won’t be arrested and threatened with beheading, like happened to the Saudi women who had made the right to drive cars possible.

Iranian women football match spectators

Iranian women fans of Persepolis football club, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Hundreds of Iranian women at Asian Champions League final

In the Azadi stadium in the Iranian capital Tehran, hundreds of women have attended the final of the Asian Champions League. Remarkable, because for almost forty years women had not been welcome in the stadiums.

80,000 spectators saw today the match between Persepolis and the Japanese Kashima Antlers in the Azadi stadium. In a separate section, approximately 850 seats were reserved for women.

The Iranians saw their team draw 0-0. Because they lost the away match with 2-0, they did not win the Asian championship.

The women present, family members of the players, players in Iranian women’s football teams and employees of the Iranian Football Association, loudly encouraged Persepolis.

Stadium ban

In Iran there has been a ban on stadiums for women since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The religious authorities do not want mixing Muslim women with ‘excited men’, to the displeasure of many (female) football fans.

In March, 35 women were arrested who tried to attend a match in the Iranian competition. A month later, five women, disguised as men, managed to reach the stands of the Azadi stadium and watch a match there.

The fact that women were admitted today is seen as a possible new step towards the lifting of the stadium ban. Last month some hundred women were allowed to attend the friendly match of the Iranian national football team against Bolivia.

Protest during Iran-Morocco football match

United States anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-women violence and the Trump administration

This 6 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Another Extremist Conservative Attack And How Trump‘s Cuts To Anti-Extremist Programs Fueled Hate

A man walked into a hot yoga studio and murdered two women, injured others, and turned the gun on himself. Trump‘s cuts to anti-extremist right wing programs has led to a dangerous spike in domestic terrorism.

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

Misogynistic murders in Florida, USA

This 4 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Incel Kills 2 In Latest Right Wing Attack

Scott Beierle killed two women at a Florida yoga studio on Friday night. He had posted a series of misogynistic videos and songs online, and appeared to identify as an “involuntary celibate”. This is the second deadly attack by an “involuntary celibate” in 2018.

In Beierle’s YouTube videos, he spoke out against interracial couples, racial diversity, illegal immigration and Obamacare: here.

The man who shot and killed two women at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday before killing himself was a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist who railed against women, black people, and immigrants in a series of online videos and songs. Scott Beierle, 40, was named by Tallahassee police as the shooter who opened fire inside the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio, killing two and injuring four other women and a man: here.

Islamophobes attack Muslim women for driving cars

This June 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

CAIR Wants Houston Road Rage Shooting Probed as Possible Anti-Muslim Hate Crime

CAIR-Texas Seeks Probe of Bias Motive After Houston Road Rage Shooter Shouts ‘Go Back to Islam

In Saudi Arabia until very recently, the autocracy banned women from driving cars. Women who protested by driving were flogged, jailed or both.

A year ago, the women activists won a victory as the ban was lifted. However, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman had the women who had made that possible jailed and threatens them with beheading.

Unfortunately, the Saudi absolute monarchy is not the only enemy of (Muslim) women driving cars.

By Nick Baumann and Samantha Storey in the USA today:

HuffPost’s Rowaida Abdelaziz interviewed 30 female hijab-wearing Muslim drivers who were the target of Islamophobic road rage. Many of the stories came in as tips submitted to HuffPost’s Documenting Hate project, a database that tracks incidents of hate and bias. We asked Abdelaziz about her story.

This story partly came as a result of tips to HuffPost’s Documenting Hate database. Can you tell us a bit more about that project, and how it has informed your reporting?

America does not do a good job of tracking incidents of hate and bias, so HuffPost partnered with ProPublica in order to document and report on the increasing number of bigoted incidents skyrocketing nationwide. Every day, new tips of all kinds — from racist verbal harassment in grocery stores to workplace discrimination — are submitted to the database.

Each day, I comb through our database and investigate all the anti-Muslim incidents that came through. I discovered a number of incidents that each detailed a similar issue: Muslim women targeted on the road. I looked deeper into each tip, called each victim and verified their story. Once I noticed a pattern inside the database, I decided to research the issue further and began asking other hijab-wearing Muslim women if they experienced the same thing. The response was overwhelming. I knew immediately I was onto something.

What was the hardest part about reporting this story?

There were two main challenges I faced when reporting this story. The first was verifying each and every incident. I interviewed 30 women in total, spending a lot of time on the details of who, what, where and when of their experiences on the road. A lot of these Muslim women had more than one experience to share. To complicate things even more, the police were rarely involved, which meant these stories had to be corroborated by friends or family. It was a time-consuming task.

The second challenge was the lack of statistics. The most recent data set about road rage is 4 years old. And neither federal agencies nor police stations track the various types of road rage that occur.

This story features powerful photos. How did you work with the photographer?

The HuffPost photo team was excellent to work with. Muslim woman are often portrayed as a monolith, but Damon Scheleur did a fantastic job working with each unique woman and getting the perfect shot. When Damon was unable to travel for one photo shoot, the photo team found the perfect freelancer to finish the task.

What struck you most during your reporting?

Just how common and widespread the issue is. The Muslim women I spoke to kept reiterating how “normal” this was. It had become so embedded in their routine for years now. The idea of being targeted on the road was something most of them “just dealt with” because driving is essential to getting around and going about their daily lives. It shocked almost no one. And when the story published, I heard from so many more women telling me how they have gone through the same thing.

What do you want readers to take away?

I want readers to understand there are so many mundane things people take for granted. Many drivers don’t think twice about getting into their car and hitting the road. But for people of color and particularly Muslim women who wear hijab, it can be a traumatizing experience. One Muslim woman, who is both Muslim and black, expressed this so poignantly when she told me, “I don’t know what I’ll get attacked for today.” That struck me and I hope it strikes other readers as well.

There’s so much to cover on your beat. How do you pick what stories to pursue?

It is extraordinarily difficult to pick and choose what to cover when it comes to reporting on Islamophobia in America. There is just so much, all the time! What makes Islamophobia unique, is that Islam is a religion, which means anti-Muslim rhetoric intersects with issues of race, politics, gender and almost everything you can think of.

I try to pick stories that will have the most impact on policy and the national discourse. Multiple studies have pointed to a disturbingly large number of politicians and everyday people who have severe misconceptions about their Muslim neighbors, which has lead to a terrifying spike in hate crimes and situations like those in my road rage story. My hope is to pursue stories that will bring back some of the nuance and complexity and showcase the impact anti-Muslim rhetoric has on people.

American neo-nazi Spencer accused of wife-beating

This video from the USA says about itself:

Richard Spencer Accused Of Beating Wife

It seems that Richard Spencer isn’t just a white nationalist; he’s a man that beats his wife too. Cenk Uygur, Richard Schiff, and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“The wife of Richard Spencer, the white nationalist leader, has accused him of being “physically, emotionally, verbally and financially abusive” throughout their marriage, according to divorce filings in Flathead County District Court in Montana.

Nina Koupriianova, who married Spencer in August 2010 and has two young children with him, alleges that Spencer physically abused her, including instances where she was “being hit, being grabbed, being dragged around by her hair, being held down in a manner causing bruising, and being prevented from calling for help.”

Koupriianova — who went by Kouprianova in some public interviews and N.K. in the documents — “has been reluctant to call police or seek an order of protection for fear of further reprisal by” Spencer, her lawyers said in court documents.

“Much of the abuse has occurred in the presence of the parties’ children.” The documents said that Spencer’s “controversial public life” has led “his entire family to be targets of violence”, and Spencer kept a loaded weapon in his bedroom that was “accessible by children” after he was “assaulted in public” on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.”

Read more here.

The far-right leader allegedly told his wife: ‘The only language women understand is violence’: here.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS CHARGED Prosecutors have charged four members of the Rise Above Movement, a California-based white supremacist group, with attacking demonstrators and attempting to incite riots at political rallies around the country. [HuffPost]