In this post, I wrote about Living Rent’s lack of action concerning the transphobia of a member of its staff, Nick Durie, and of the coup that removed Sam Sharp from his position as secretary of the WTU, followed by resignations of members that left only homeowners on the committee of a tenants’s union.
Some good news: Nick Durie is no longer employed by Living Rent, which has suspended the WTU committee from activity pending an investigation.
I am a member of Living Rent (I was on the National Committee from 2020-2021, but decided not to stand for re-election) and of the Wyndford Tenants’ Union, though I am on the verge of leaving the latter, because it is currently only a vanity project for Nick Durie and Ellenor Hutson. I was on the WTU committee, but resigned because I was not told there was going to be a vote at the meeting at which Sam Sharp was ousted in a coup, so I did not attend.
Living Rent’s emphasis in dealing with bigots seems to be on “educating” such people out of such views. I think this is a dangerously flawed strategy. It assumes that everyone is equally well-intentioned, and that bigots simply need us to teach them how we are right and how they should be more like us. We do not extend this benefit of the doubt to landlords; rather than trying to educate them to stop exploiting their tenants, we seek to defeat them. Similarly, I have no interest in “discussion” with bigots — I want to defeat them. I want to stop them from causing harm. Dialogue with bigots is a luxury of the privileged, of those who are not actually being harmed by bigoted speech. To treat such people with “respect” is to treat the people they are harming with contempt.
On December 1, I wrote to LR’s National Organiser, its Glasgow City Head Organiser, and its National Secretary, expressing the above concerns and suggesting that the organisation’s lack of response, far from making this issue go away, had only intensified it, something that would obviously continue until honestly addressed. Since then, aside from suggestions that we have a meeting to discuss it, still unscheduled, it has not been addressed at all, so Mr Beaton’s article on the Republican Socialist Platform is necessary and valuable.