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An enjoyable radical read

I really enjoyed reading Freedom Socialist Bulletin # 24 — some great articles. I particularly enjoyed “I don’t want to let go of my rage” by Maria Mardones and “Loud, Proud and Effective,” the review of Graham Willett’s book, Living Out Loud.

I do wish Maria and others the best of luck in their case against those Victorian Police who showed such unnecessary brutality at the S11 demonstration. We should all support Maria in her struggle and remind political leaders that we will not accept this type of attack on our right to demonstrate and will fight for the type of society we wish to live in.

It is obvious why Maria went into further rage when her local branch of the ALP told her that she should not have even attended the protest. Well done, ALP branch — I always enjoy it when the ALP shows its true colours. It is great that people like Maria will not stick around to take part in your version of “working class struggle.”

I must congratulate the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women for the establishment of your new organising centre. Although at times I disagree, I do admire your commitment to carry out your goals and your commitment to working class struggle. It is a great achievement to have another organising place.

I would also like to know where I can purchase the book, Living Out Loud: A History of Gay and Lesbian Activism in Australia. It sounds like a good book which belongs on our bookshelves. I would love my 17 year old daughter to read it.

Another good read with a difference is The C Word, written by longtime feminist activist, Jean Taylor. It is her story which details her relationship with her former partner who died from breast cancer. It is a moving book which raises different issues. I personally found it a difficult, but refreshing, read. I am so sick of reading books about this topic which have been written by the medical profession. I urge people to read it. Request your local bookshop to order it as we should be supporting our leftwing writers.

We should also congratulate Sigrid Borke on her oral history, In and Out of Port. It just won a community award. Great stuff.

Good luck with your work, and I’ll look forward to the next edition of the Freedom Socialist Bulletin.

Gaylene Seadon
Northcote, Vic

Editor’s note: Living Out Loud and In and Out of Port are both available from Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Solidarity Salon is open every Tuesday and Saturday, 10.00 am – 5.00 pm and by appointment. Phone: 9388-0062.

The C Word is published by Spinifex Press. It can be purchased directly from Spinifex Press, 504 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 9329-6088.

Disability pensioners miss out again!

DSP Australia Inc is launching a public awareness campaign of how again people with disabilities have missed out on the $300 one-time payment in the federal budget, which is again being given to the seniors but not the young people on pensions.

When the GST was first introduced, seniors were promised a $1,000 payment as compensation — which most have not received. So, seniors are now to get $300, but there is nothing for Disability Support Pensioners. We see this treatment as discrimination.

Judi-Ann Leggets
DSP Australia Inc
Werribee, Vic

Liberation, not “cure”

So the story that gays can turn straight has recently hit the headlines. The publicity originated from a religiously-linked group of psychologists called NARTH, who say they can “cure” gays with something called “reparative therapy.” Their website contains a press release heralding the flawed study by Dr Spitzer. It’s not surprising that these homophobes do not publicise the balanced study that contradicted their findings.

The flaws in the methodology of the Spitzer interviews come from the 200 people recruited for the study — who were drawn from people claiming to have had some change in their sexual practice. Not surprisingly, the result of the study reflected this.

However, at the same American Psychological Association meeting, the opposing, more balanced study using a random sample of gay people who have attempted to change their sexual orientation by request showed wildly different results.

The study by researchers Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder found that only six of 202 people in their study reported changes in their sexual orientation. Further, they found that in many cases, the patients after treatment are left in a far worse state, some suicidal and depressed.

Both the American Psychological Association and the Australian Psychological Society have stated policies against “reparative therapy,” as there is no ethical or scientific reason to think that homosexuality must be “cured.”

Rod Swift
West Australia

Defend Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi, the well-known writer and active defender of women’s rights and human rights, is in danger!

After an interview in which she expressed her views on a range of political and cultural issues, including the rights of women in Egyptian society, the Mufti of Egypt declared that she had transgressed the limits of Islamic precepts and teachings. Based on the Mufti’s declaration, a fundamentalist lawyer has requested permission from the General Prosecutor of Egypt to implement a process called Hizba and have her tried by a religious Shariat court for blasphemy and be separated from her husband, Sherif Hetata, on the grounds that she is no longer a Muslim.

We must not allow this outrageous attack against a gifted and courageous woman. Nawal El Saadawi, who has spent her life fighting for freedom of thought and action, has paid the price through imprisonment, exile, the loss of her job and the banning of her books, without flinching.

Send your protests to Farouk Seif Al Nasr, Minister of Justice, Lazoughly Square, Cairo, Egypt and to Maher Abdel Wahab, the General Prosecutor, High Court, July 26 Street, Cairo, Egypt.

Nadia Mahmood,
Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women’s Rights

Visit Republic Now!

Friends and comrades, the website of Republic Now! is up and running. May I remind you of the URL:

La lucha continua! On with the revolution! Please spread the word. Provide the web address to anyone who might be interested. Thanks.

Klaas Woldring
Frenchs Forest, NSW