JewishCurrents, July 9, 2021
I’ve been following di rozeve pave (Yiddish for Pink Peacock), a queer, Yiddish, anarchist space in the Govanhill neighborhood in Glasgow, Scotland, with fascination and delight since they opened their social media accounts in the summer of 2019. As they’ve been preparing to open their pay-what-you-can café, they’ve also built a vibrant online community where they host weekly havdalah events, as well as carnivalesque queer variety shows featuring music, burlesque, and other performances. They also seem to have a preternatural talent for Jewish lefty merch, selling posters and pins, mini-golems, and a bright pink, bilingual “daloy politsey/fuck the police” tote.
That tote became the center of controversy a few weeks ago, as police—responding to a complaint about its display in the window of the as-yet-unopened café—showed up at the home of Pink Peacock board members and co-founders Morgan Holleb and Joe Isaac, eventually charging Holleb with breach of the peace. The incident followed coverage of Pink Peacock in the right-wing tabloid The Scottish Sun, looking to drum up outrage about the space’s “no cops, no terfs” policy, which prompted vandalism of the storefront.
Recently, I spoke to Holleb about how this confrontation with the police relates to broader dynamics around law enforcement in Govanhill and across the United Kingdom, and about Pink Peacock’s aspirations as a queer, Jewish, anti-Zionist space. Our conversation has been condensed and edited. It originally appeared in yesterday’s email newsletter, to which you can subscribe here.