We are Sisters Uncut. An intersectional feminist direct-action collective fighting against state violence and austerity. The #KillTheBill movement is rising and it affects each and every one of us.
This bill is the latest in a long list of oppressive legislation that this government and those before it have rolled out. Just last month, we saw the lacking Domestic Abuse Bill complete one of its final stages in Parliament, but it still leaves migrant women stranded without essential support to the hateful hostile environment policies. An environment that Priti Patel is trying to expand even further with the New Plan for Immigration. This government has made its contempt for the people clear. And with the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill they have made their inhumanity just as plain to see. But they have also made a dire mistake.
By coming for us all at once, they’ve unleashed a coalition force that bridges movement and communities. They have targeted people they perceive as powerless: we are anything but. The energy of collective liberation is catching.
Protest works. We saw it with the delay of this bill and we will see it through to defeat. From suffrage and sick pay to workers rights, the freedoms we enjoy are a direct result of making our voices heard in the streets. We refuse to be split into ‘good and peaceful’ and ‘bad and violent’ protestors. A protest on the state’s terms is no protest at all. The state’s definition of peaceful is silent.
“A protest on the state’s terms is no protest at all. The state’s definition of peaceful is silent.”
This is about more than protest and more than just this bill, it’s about laying the foundations for a movement that shifts our society towards effective, specialised community services and away from over-policing and state oppression. It’s a movement towards abolition. We need to channel this energy back into our communities to make real and lasting change. The messy work of solidarity means accepting political imperfection, committing to showing up repeatedly, and finding common ground.
Sisters Uncut was founded as a means for women and gender variant people to fight for our right to live safely. Domestic and sexual violence does not exist in a vacuum. The systems of power and privilege in our society enable and protect the actions of perpetrators. This creates a cycle of violence, which can only be broken through transforming society.
For many, organising is a means of connecting with communities, fighting for our rights, and holding those in power to account. For others, it’s also a salve, a space for magical thinking about a better future. Reflecting on this moment after a year where incidents of domestic, state, and gendered violence have soared, is essential to move forward.
Reflections from this moment
“Joining the Kill the Bill movement in Manchester has given me hope. I’ve seen remarkable groups of people who had never organised together before, building powerful actions in just a few days. The Kill the Bill coalition gave the movement a name and started to lay the groundwork for a national mass movement. We are now remembering and passing on the skills we need to organise our communities. This is what power is made of. Every action teaches us how to organise better. Every action teaches everyone involved that they have the right to decide how our society is run. Killing the bill is just the beginning.” – M (she/her)
“Organising breaks your heart and saves your life. The revolutionary work at the heart of Sisters Uncut has redefined what it means for me to be in relationship with my community. These are people showing up, with whatever tools they have, to stand together against oppression with the most fervent respect for people’s capacity. You are valued for your presence and your experience. We choose to organise together and commit to a culture of care. That choice is a radical act.” – S (she/they)
“There is nothing more motivating to me than being part of a group of people that care about creating positive change and are willing to speak up, for themselves and for others. To give their energy to that movement and support each other in taking risks. We’re far from flawless but we are committed to self-awareness and learning, and I really value the sense of connection and community that comes from organising with Sisters right now.” – H (she/her)
“Every action teaches everyone involved that they have the right to decide how our society is run.”
“When the world is shit and more shit piles on, fighting back with each other and with hope becomes essential to keeping on. It’s been amazing seeing people come together for the Kill The Bill movement to fight back, with thousands of people turning out to protest at short notice, but also in the little moments like talking to my mum about the violence that happened on Clapham Common. Amongst everything, Sisters Uncut feels like we’re building a future.” – V (she/her)
“For me, organising during the pandemic has been a salve. In a difficult time of societal fragmentation, prejudice, and fear, dedicating time and energy to collectively imagining possible futures has given me new reserves of hope. As Octavia Butler wrote, ‘the only lasting truth is change.’ Change is inevitable, and how wonderful to be a part of it, helping shape that change towards something better for us all.” – R (they/them)
Together, we imagine greater things than the scraps we’ve been given. We rise up. We fight back. If the government wants to control us, we must become ungovernable. Through the coalition, we’ve seen different groups come together to change things, but we need even more movement together. We call on our workplace unions, tenants unions, groups taking action on the ground to join together, and for all of us to come together. We must build our own systems of care, justice, and accountability. And we must take our demands and make it impossible for those in power to refuse. This bill didn’t come out of nowhere. We are part of a long line of unruly people.
We want to make clear that this is not just about protest. This is about the fact that expanded police power means more violence for our communities. This affects us all, and we will defeat it together.
Join us at the #KillTheBill National Day of action this Saturday nationwide. More information at sistersuncut.org.
Identities have been protected.
Aurelia Magazine is self–funded. We rely on reader support to secure our future. If you enjoyed this article, please consider becoming a member on Patreon, or donating a couple of quid to our PayPal. Thank you!