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Red Writer: I stand with Irene Gallo.

Near the middle of The Grass King's Concubine there's a three page section where one of the protagonists (Aude) explains to one of the inhabitants of the Grass King's reign the basic principles of socialist. It's in chapter 17, pp.217-19, if you want to check. It states, pretty much in black and white, that the character -- and the author, as it happens -- is opposed to a system in which a small number of people have the bulk of the wealth and power, at the expense and to the detriment of the many. I believe this to be true and I included it in the book on purpose. Both Grass King and its sequel, A Fire of Bones which I am working on at present, are overtly, deliberately, avowedly political books. I'm a political writer: more, I am an openly socialist writer. And I'm proud of it. No insult calling me a communist or a pinko or any such thing can offend me, because this is who I am, at core; these are my principles and I hold to them. A system which favours the few over the many is broken. A system in which wealth trickles upwards from the poorest, the excluded, the disprivileged, is immoral. Oppression, deprivation and exclusion are the fruits of unregulated robber-baron capitalism, and the latter in the form in which it currently exists is industrialised feudalism.

A few weeks ago, Tor books art editor Irene Gallo, writing in her own space and under her own name, not in relation to her employer, called Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, the leader of the self-named 'Rabid Puppy' movement which is presently trying to spread the culture war between hard right and centre-right in the U.S.A. a racist, sexist, neo-Nazi. And she's right. I'm not going to provide links here to prove this: I have no interest in giving the man the clicks. But google him, look at his website and you will quickly find that Ms Gallo wrote no more than the truth. Today, Mr Beale is spear-heading an attack to get Tor to fire Irene Gallo, for daring to stand up to him, and getting his followers to write letters to this effect. He does not like what she said. And he wants her silenced and punished.

Mr Beale defends his own abusive language in terms of the U.S. free speech laws, and has used that to launch racist, sexist, homophobic and bullying attacks on many people within the sff community. He has a *right* to be abusive, he tells us, over and over. But he does not believe that this right to what he calls 'free speech' should extend to anyone who contradicts him, or talks back. He does not believe that Irene Gallo has this right. Oh, he has wrapped this up in a specious argument about her position in the industry, but she made her remarks about him in her private capacity. While he abused his membership of SFWA, the official body for professional SF writers, to use the sfwa twitter feed to make a vicious racist attack on writer N. K. Jemison. For this, he was thrown out of SFWA. If anyone has demonstrated an abuse of position, it's Beale and not Ms Gallo.

Mr Beale believes in freedom only for himself and those who agree with him. He believes he has the right to police the words and lives of everyone else and punish or destroy them if they offend. He is the perfect robber capitalist, dreaming of a world in which the rich -- and he is very very rich -- control everything, from resources and awards to bodies and thoughts of those who he considers his inferiors. He's trying that today with TOR books.

And this red writer is standing here in his way. The US culture war does not belong in our genre, which is global and not the property of any one interest group or political belief. Do I want right-wing books and writers in my genre? Yes, I do. Writing belongs to us all. Do I want *only* right wing books and *only* white, straight, American male writers? No, because that is counter not only to the roots of sff -- which lie in the work of writers of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and political views -- but to my personal principles, which believe in inclusion and support for the many rather than privilege for the (predictable straight white male) few.

I stand with Irene Gallo.

Or, and if you want to go and denounce me and my books as communist, feel free. I'm not ashamed of my politics.

Skirt of the day: denim.


Jun. 15th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
The thing is that the more moderate puppies have endorsed Beale, though, and not put space between themselves and him. And all of them have happily flung insults at anyone who disagrees and tried to silence debate. They are all signed up to an agenda that sets out to shut out women writers, writers of colours, LGBT writers and any writer who does not share the puppies' political views. That in itself is racist, sexist and so on.
Should good right wing sf be eligible for a Hugo? Absolutely. There are many writers I read and enjoy whose politics are to the right of mine. I'd be happy to see them on the ballot. (Indeed, why Edward Willett's wonderful Marseguro, which won the Aurora Award in 2009 was not also on the Hugo ballot that year baffles me.) Should any group be able to control and dominate the awards for their own ends? No.
The puppies seem to think that work by women and writers of colour, and LGBT writers would not make the list without special treatment. They have said so, over and over. They treat the award as if it should be only for straight white men. That's a deeply political stance, and a deeply reactionary one.
They are now trying to silence a woman who spoke up against them: this is a familiar tactic of the right -- they demand free speech for themselves but deny it to those who oppose them, especially if those people are not just like them. Irene Gallo works for Tor, yes, but she belongs to a historically marginalised group -- women. That the puppies have gone after her this way, rather than, say, demanding that Tor cancel John Scalzi's contract because he 'slandered' them also speaks volumes. They assume that they have the right to police her speech, because they assume they have more rights that she does. Classic sexism.
Women have exactly the same rights of free speech as men. It's not for me to question what Gallo should or should not have said. It's not for Beale, either.
The puppies are using the 'not all men' argument, which is a classic way to derail and to turn attention from the actual problem onto the much more socially familiar ground of undermining the speech of those who come from positions of less historical privilege.

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