It’s always going to be a fun day when you wake up to see ‘woke’ trending on Twitter. On Wednesday 4 October, this was – once again – thanks to the usual suspects. The Tories staged their party conference this week, and on 3 October they officially announced as part of their platform that they plan to ‘kick woke ideology out of science’. Einstein wept.
‘Stop stoking a stupid culture war’
It’s predictably hilarious – but probably also dangerous in equal measure – that there are voices on Twitter and elsewhere which unironically support such a policy. However, people who actually know something about science, and/or the term ‘woke’, reacted with anger as well as disbelief.
Professor Christina Pagel from the Independent SAGE said in a tweet:
For fuck's sake, stop stoking a stupid culture war and come up with at least one policy that makes lives better instead – preferably one looking more than 15 mthss ahead.
Science is NOT in danger from "woke ideology", which is a bullshit invented culture war concept anyway. https://t.co/ya83oO33jt
— Prof. Christina Pagel (@chrischirp) October 3, 2023
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
And as founder of the Black Economists Network Felicia Odamtten noted:
The misappropriation of the term woke is a direct result of anti-black racism in America.
I think it is so shameful that this misappropriation of the term has entered the British political discourse.
— Dr madame économiste (@FeliciaOdamtten) October 4, 2023
War on woke
The word ‘woke’ seems to have had a steady presence at this year’s Conservative Party Conference – and home secretary Suella Braverman has especially developed a fondness for it. As PinkNews reported:
Braverman claimed that the UK would “go properly woke” under Keir Starmer with “highly controversial ideas” like “gender ideology, white privilege, and anti-British history.”
So wedded are the Tories to defending Braverman’s nonsense arguments that security removed senior party member Andrew Boff from the conference for criticising them. Boff, who is openly gay, called out Braverman’s comments as “transphobic and homophobic”.
Even the senior Tory politician stated that “There’s no such thing as gender ideology”. Why, then, is the party establishment so keen on making a common enemy of the pro-LGBT ‘woke’ agenda?
Of course, this is an age-old tactic. The Tories in particular love to turn powerless groups of people – whether they’re migrants, trans people, or families on benefits – into scapegoats in order to distract from the horror that is their own governance.
They’ve u-turned on climate pledges and allowed raw sewage to be dumped into our waterways. They’ve decimated the NHS with chronic underfunding and privatisation. They’ve consistently vilified striking workers, passing anti-strike legislation and denying the need for pay rises in line with inflation. That’s not to mention the creeping fascism they’ve introduced via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the Public Order Act 2023.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If I were to list every mean-spirited, anti-working class policy of this government, I’d be here all day. What’s important is that we make clear to politicians like Braverman that we see through their divisive rhetoric.
For a great many people, the world in general – and the UK in particular – is becoming an increasingly difficult place in which to live. We can only survive by sticking together. We need to support one another against powerful people whose primary aim is to defend the interests of the 1%. Realising this and not falling for the rhetoric of those in power is, in fact, closer to the original meaning of being ‘woke’ – which is probably why it’s become a term politicians are so afraid of.
Featured image via Pexels / FPD images – cropped to 770 x 403 pixels
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.