VENUE: Unite the Union, Heneage Street West, Birmingham B7 4AX
Pinkwashing is a propaganda strategy used to conceal human rights violation through the facade of support for LGBTQ+ rights, used by apartheid Israel and corporations such as HSBC.
HSBC invest over £800million in and provide syndicated loans worth up to £19billion for, companies arming Israel. One such company is Caterpillar, who supplies the Israeli military, with specifically designed weaponised bulldozers. These bulldozers are used specifically to demolish Palestinian homes, factories, agricultural land and civilian infrastructure, including water pipes and networks on Palestinian territory assigned by the UN. Caterpillar also provides equipment to: reinforce the apartheid walls in Gaza and the Westbank and for the construction of settlements and settlement infrastructure on stolen Palestinian land, in violation of UN Security Council resolution 242.
To obscure their complicity, and protect their branding, HSBC provides sponsorship and funding for LGBT+ pride festivals across the world, and in the UK they are the main sponsors of Birmingham pride. This funding acts to ‘pinkwash’ HSBC’s image, concealing their involvement in human rights abuses.
Palestinian LGBTQ+ group, Aswat, have called for transnational solidarity to campaign against HSBC’s sponsorship of Birmingham pride:
“From queers to queers, we want to call on all UK groups and specifically groups in Birmingham not to accept HSBC’s sponsorship, in the name of transnational solidarity. We, Palestinians, want to send companies and states who pinkwash their crimes a clear message: oppressed groups know too well that no one will be free unless we are all free, and no group’s rights should be used to cover the violation of any other group’s rights.”
2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that led to the birth of the modern Pride movement – but the struggle for ‘Absolute Freedom for All’ – the original aim of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) who founded Pride inspired by the Black Power Movement – is far from over. States, corporations and institutions at the heart of the military-industrial-complex that makes billions of pounds of profit from a weapons industry that continues to murder queers (and others) across the world use Pride as a tokenistic event to try to clean up their reputation – and we ain’t going to stand for it!
Come to this public meeting to learn more, get involved and be part of a movement to campaign for Birmingham pride to drop HSBC as a sponsor and to highlight the pinkwashing nature of Israel and complicit companies such as HSBC.
Dan Glass – from ‘No Pride in War’ and Beautiful Trouble – a book, web toolbox and international network of artist-activist trainers whose mission is to make grassroots movements more creative and more effective.
Sara Khan – Liberation and Access Officer at University of Manchester Students’ Union, member of the NUS LGBT+ committee, active around QTIPOC, LGBT+ rights and decolonising campaigns.