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.


These are very useful contributions to the discussions in the women's movement.
I completely agree with Lisa that the struggle against women's oppression and for emancipation has to be absolutely central to socialist politics today for the movement to advance. This has been the case for some time now, but one could argue that today, to compromise or to under-estimate the importance of this question, is a huge political error.
This includes the struggle against violence against women (VAW). It's becoming more and more apparent, in very practical ways, that the struggle against VAW is a part of the struggle against the system. This ranges from violence in the 'private' to the public sphere. It's perhaps more apparent in the public sphere, with the super-exploitation of women's labor whether it be women garment workers in Bangladesh, to the 'export' of female labor from the Philippines as domestic workers, including illegal trafficking, to the institutionalisation of prostitution in the 'miracle' economies of Asia in the form of the 'sex industry'.
It's also apparent in that while governments sign up to every imaginable international treaty on gender equity (including the warlord-run regime in Afghanistan), and have laws against gender discrimination, the reality for women on the ground, and especially for poor and working class women, is starkly different. The gap between the rhetoric and the reality is enormous and is growing. As the system can't deliver, the rhetoric to cover this up, becomes even more fantastic.
While the class differences are sharp/ening, which impact on women of different classes and anti-imperialism is still a key aspect of feminist politics, nevertheless, the movement should be built around broad coalitions, encouraging maximum unity, around specific demands. This is still the best way to mobilize large numbers of women, i.e. working class and poor women.

This is relevant in developing countries. It's true that working class and poor women face these more than the rest. You have thrown some insight into this and thanks for sharing.