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Socialists and the fight against rape culture, misogyny and women's oppression

For more discussion on feminism, click HERE.

October 13, 2013 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance and socialist youth group Resistance held a seminar in Sydney on March 14, 2013, on the topic of 21st century feminism. Socialist Alliance's Lisa Macdonald, a Green Left Weekly journalist, and Alison Pennington, a member of the Resistance and Socialist Alliance, spoke about the culture of violence that exists in our society, how women can fight collectively to live in an equal and violence-free society, and why socialists wholeheartedly support these struggles.

Capitalism, sexual violence and sexism

For more discussion on feminism, click HERE. For more on India, click HERE.

By Kavita Krishnan

Kafila -- First published May 23, 2013, posted at the Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. The brutal gang rape of a woman in December 2012 triggered a mass movement against violence against women in India. The perpetrators were sentenced on September 13, 2013 -- Sexual violence cannot be attributed simply to some men behaving in "anti-social" or "inhuman" ways: it has everything to do with the way society is structured: i.e., the way in which our society organises production and accordingly structures social relationships. Once we understand this, we can also recognise that society can be structured differently, in ways that do not require – or benefit from – the subordination of women or of any section of society.

A Marxist’s place is in the feminist movement

[See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.]

By Karen Fletcher

August 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tony Cliff was characteristically blunt when he set out what was to become the International Socialist Tendency’s (IST) position on “the feminist movement” in his 1984 book, Class Struggle and Women's Liberation:

Lindsey German responds to Abbie Bakan and Sharon Smith on ‘Marxist Anti-Feminism’

Lindsey German.

By Lindsey German

July 25, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I would like to respond to the articles by Abbie Bakan and Sharon Smith concerning Marxism and feminism today. Abbie’s article refers to me as a proponent of “Marxist Anti-Feminism”. I was a member of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for 37 years until I left in 2010 because I was unhappy with the direction away from the wider movements in which the party was going. I am now a member of Counterfire, a socialist organisation in Britain. I wrote a number of books and articles on the subject of women’s oppression during that time.

Like most people on the left, I have been horrified by the accusations of rape against a leading SWP comrade, and with the way in which the party has handled the issue. I therefore welcome the discussions on issues of women’s oppression that have been, in part at least, triggered by these revelations. Whatever disagreements we might have, those of us on the left have a responsibility to further develop our theories in order to deal with current questions. I feel, however, that some of the arguments relied on here are partial and in some cases distorted.

Let me run through a few points.

Marxism and women's liberation: talks by Sharon Smith, Abbie Bakan (video and text)

July 12, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Abbie Bakan and Sharon Smith's talks on why it is impossible to be a Marxist without also embracing feminism. It was presented to the International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 27-30.

Abbie Bakan is head of the department of gender studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and a professor of political studies. Her research focuses on employment equity, Marxist theory and anti-oppression politics. Sharon Smith is author of Women and Socialism, Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States and the forthcoming Marxism, Feminism and Women’s Liberation.

For more video and audio from the Socialism 2013 conference, go to Wearemany.org.

India: CPI-ML congress pledges to deepen people's resistance

Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation activists have played a central role in the the campaign against rape culture.

For more on the CPI-ML Liberation, click HERE.

By Sue Bolton, Ranchi

May 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Politicians often describe India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. When I attended the 9th congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation (CPI-ML) on April 2-7, 2013, I found that the reality was somewhat different.

(Updated April 14) Thatcher and Thatcherism: Don’t let them re-write history!

By Dave Kellaway

April 9, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- If we need yet another argument about why we must put our political energies into building a fighting alternative to [the Labour Party] then compare and contrast these statements on the death of Margaret Thatcher:

Ed Miliband MP, Labour leader of the opposition, said:

I send my deep condolences to Lady Thatcher’s family, in particular Mark and Carol Thatcher. She will be remembered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain’s first woman prime minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage.

The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.

Statement of the ‘Politics and women going together’ international women’s conference, March 25-28, 2013, Kathmandu, Nepal

April 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This gathering of left women’s organisations and activists from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kurdistan, Nepal, Philippines and Sweden thanks the Nepalese women’s movement, especially the All Nepal Women’s Association, for hosting this historic event. We have participated in three days of intense discussions about the issues confronting the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality in our countries. While we are aware that there are important differences in our specific country contexts, nevertheless, we are also united by the common problems and challenges that we face.

We are deeply concerned with the rise in religious fundamentalism of all varieties, as they seek to impose extremist forms of religious codes and conducts upon women and girls, which savagely oppress and contribute to extreme forms of violence against them.

We condemn all feudal cultural practices, such as honour crimes and witch burnings, that target women. We call on our governments to take all possible measures to implement laws and legislation to protect women from such practices. We also condemn practices such as sex-selective abortions, which are gender biased to the detriment of girl children and undermine the status of women in our societies.

Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia 2013

 

 

By the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia, 2013

March 29, 2013 -- We are gathered here to affirm the fundamental contribution of peoples of Maghreb-Mashrek (from North Africa to the Middle East), in the construction of human civilisation. We affirm that decolonisation for oppressed peoples remains for us, the social movements of the world, a challenge of the greatest importance.

Through the WSF process, the Social Movements Assembly is the place where we come together through our diversity, in order to forge common struggles and a collective agenda to fight against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and all forms of discrimination and oppression. We have built a common history of work which led to some progress, particularly in Latin America, where we have been able to intervene in neoliberal alliances and to create several alternatives for just development that truly honors nature.

Exclusive excerpt: 'One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution'

The following is an excerpt from Nancy Stout's new book, One Day in December:  Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution, published by Monthly Review Press. It is posted with the kind permission of Monthly Review Press. Readers of Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE.

You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below. Alice Walker’s foreword is available at http://monthlyreview.org/2013/02/01/celia-sanchez-and-the-cuban-revolution

Marxismo, feminismo y liberación de la mujer

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3210]

Por Sharon Smith, traducción para Sinpermiso.info por Lola Rivera

10/3/2013 -- Sinpermiso -- Inessa Armand, la primera dirigente del Departamento de la Mujer en la Revolución Rusa de 1917, hizo la siguiente observación: “Si la liberación de la mujer es impensable sin el comunismo, el comunismo es también impensable sin la liberación de la mujer”. Esta afirmación es un perfecto resumen de la relación entre la lucha por el socialismo y la lucha por la liberación de la mujer: no es posible una sin la otra.

Britain: Mark Steel on the crisis in the SWP -- 'Oh Good Lord what have they gone and done NOW?'

By Mark Steel

March 13, 2013 -- Mark Steel's Blog -- It shouldn’t matter. It really shouldn’t matter, should it, what goes on in the Socialist Workers Party. Their membership is roughly the average home gate at Mansfield Town. By the time I left them, in 2007, the most common comment I heard about them was, "Oh. Are they still going?" the way you might refer to Bernard Cribbins.

But somehow they’ve got themselves in such a mess that thousands of people have been gripped by it, as if it’s a real life Trotskyite soap opera, with onlookers settling before the internet with a tub of ice cream for the latest episode and gasping, “Oh my God they’ve called the faction leader a disgraceful liberal moralist, I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.”

IWD 2013: Still being fought for -- equality, justice and freedom from violence for women

[See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.]

International Women's Day 2013 statement by Socialist Alliance

March 8, 2013 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The demands of the first-ever International Women's Day Rally in Australia, in 1928, were: equal pay for equal work, an 8-hour day for shop assistants, the basic wage for the unemployed and annual holidays on full pay.

A lot has been won through struggle since 1928 yet women in Australia today still have to struggle some of these issues:

50 years since ‘The Feminine Mystique’

By Suzanne Weiss

January 31, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Fifty years ago, on February 13, 1963, the publication of US writer and activist Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique sparked a new awakening in the thinking of women across North America. Friedan denounced the repression women suffered in the aftermath of World War II, when they were forced out of wartime jobs and convinced to accept the role of keepers of the home.

Profiteers of the market launched an unrelenting but subtle propaganda campaign to venerate women as wife and mother. This role, Friedan said, was the “feminine mystique”.

This domestic existence became, Friedan wrote, “a religion, a pattern by which all women must now live or deny their femininity”. In submitting to this concept of womanhood, women gave up their self-respect, recognition of their talents and abilities, and — most importantly — their identities. Fundamentally, Friedan said, this was a scam to sell more consumer goods to women, who were to be the major purchasers for home and family.

Marxism, feminism and women's liberation

Alexandra Kollontai, a leading member of the Bolshevik Party and one its leading theoreticians on women's oppression.

[See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.]

January 31, 2013 -- Sharon Smith, International Socialist Organization (USA) member and author of the soon-to-be-republished Women and Socialism: Essays on Women's Liberation, examines how some in the Marxist tradition have approached the struggle to end women's oppression, including its attitude toward other theories. This article is based on a talk given at the US ISO's Socialism 2012 conference in Chicago. It first appeared in the US Socialist Worker. It represents an important reassessment in the approach of an influential tendency within the international Marxist movement, those associated with or with their origins in the International Socialist Tendency.

* * *

Britain: Socialist Workers Party members debate 'Leninism', party democracy (updated Feb. 3)

The first document below was produced by opposition members of British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (authors listed at its conclusion, the best known include Richard Seymour, Neil Davidson and China Miéville). The SWP is the dominant party within the International Socialist Tendency, with affiliates around the world. The SWP is presently in the midst of a major dispute over inner-party democracy. The article is a reply to SWP leader Alex Callinicos' recent article, "Is Leninism finished?"

Following that are two articles by Tom Walker, a former Socialist Worker journalist who resigned from the SWP during the current dispute.

* * *

India: Kavita Krishnan on the new movement against gender violence

January 22, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA). Filmed and edited by Pip Hinman and Peter Boyle for Green Left TV.

For more discussion on the upsurge in feminism, click HERE. For more on India, click HERE.

Britain: Reflections on the crisis in the Socialist Workers Party

"As an important part of the English-speaking left, the SWP over the years has influenced many individuals and groups. Without correction, the actions by the current leadership, along with the errors regarding women’s oppression and left organising, risk damaging the project of building a new left for the 21st century." 

[For more on the British SWP, click HERE. For more on revolutionary organisation, click HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

January 13, 2013 – PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission

Argentina: Kidnapping and forced prostitution verdict causes uproar

The case of Marita Veron would never have reached the courts except for the extraordinary courage, strength and persistence of Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco, who fought obstructions by police, highly placed politicians and the judicial system in an attempt to get justice.

By Robyn Marshall, Buenos Aires

January 8, 2012 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The failure of three judges in the province of Tucuman to convict 13 men and women accused of the kidnapping and forced prostitution of Marita Veron has caused national uproar here in Argentina. The Argentinian women’s movement, outraged by the verdict, has been united in its response to the judicial failure to convict the men, with demonstrations all over Argentina. The case has been in the newspapers for weeks, highlighting the horrendous situation of thousands of women who have been kidnapped at a young age and forced to live the life of a sex slave, locked up, bashed and terrified into submission, in order to make millions for brothel owners.

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