Socialist feminism – what we say
End Victim Blaming! Protest against any attempts to blame women for violence against them, including in the media and by the police. Demand fact-based sex and relationship education in schools, and training in workplaces where necessary, which is LGBTQ+ inclusive and includes comprehensive discussion on consent, abuse, sexuality and gender, as a way to begin to tackle sexist attitudes.
End violence against women and other oppressed groups, including state violence! No trust in the police to keep us safe. Demand an open and democratic inquiry into the murder of Sarah Everard, and other murdered women such as Blessing Olusegan, involving elected representatives from the families, communities, campaign groups, trade unions, and other relevant organisations.
Defend the right to protest, end police harassment! We cannot accept attacks on the democratic right to protest or to assemble publicly. Oppose the new Police & Crime Bill. Organise mass resistance to any attempts to intimidate or repress protests, including the trade unions mobilising their 6 million members.
Community control over the police! The main role of the police on the basis of capitalism is to protect the system and private property, not working class people. We need democratic control over where police are deployed, how they carry out investigations, and over the hiring and firing of police officers. Drive out sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic police officers!
End sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace! As job insecurity and unemployment increases, so does sexual harassment as many women and LGBTQ+ people feel too worried about losing their jobs to speak out. Trade unions must organise to fight sexual harassment in the workplace, including with collective protests and strike action, such as the McDonalds and Google workers did in the US.
Decent pay and conditions for all workers. Women workers make up a majority of key workers and must be at the forefront of the battles to win what they owe us! Back the demand for a 15% pay rise for health workers as the first step towards a mass trade-union led struggle against the public sector pay freeze. End zero-hour contracts and share out the work without loss of pay.
Resources and support for survivors of domestic abuse. The majority of violence against women and children happens within the home or by someone known to the victims. Reopen all refuges and invest to expand spaces. A mass programme of council house-building to meet need and offer an escape route for those who need it.
Free, high quality local authority provided childcare for all who want it. Invest in training, jobs and infrastructure to expand service provision. Wherever cuts or closures are threatened as a result of losses during lockdown or otherwise, take these businesses into public ownership while maintaining all jobs.
Defend and extend reproductive rights. This Tory government includes among its ministers reactionaries like Nadine Dorries (with responsibility for women’s health and maternity care!) who has repeatedly attempted to reduce the time limit within which women can access abortion. Resist these attacks, remove the need for two doctor’s signatures. Full access to fertility treatment on the NHS for all who need it.
Make the streets safe for all! 97% of young women have experienced harassment on the streets. We’ve had enough! Any and all measures that women and communities demand to help them feel more safe should be provided. Local and central government must reverse all cuts to street lighting and to staff on public transport and at bus and train stations. Reverse cuts and invest in services to support survivors of gender violence in all its forms. But the reality is that these measures will not make us truly safe while misogyny and the capitalist system which breeds it remain.
A united movement to challenge power, control and oppression in society! We need to ensure that the anger felt at the murder of Sarah Everard is translated into a movement for change, not forgetting the many other women and gender non-conforming people who are killed daily as a result of gender-based violence, particularly People of Colour. Capitalism and its political representatives seek to divide ordinary people by whipping up sexism, racism and other forms of prejudice and exploitation. Our movement must be representative of the whole of the working class, fighting against all forms of oppression and unequal power relations within society.
We need system change! For an international, socialist feminist struggle against capitalism – an inherently oppressive and exploitative system. Sexual assault, rape and violence against women and LGBTQI+ people happens the world over, because capitalism exists globally. It’s a system based on the oppression of working class people in the interests of profit, with specific sections of the working class facing oppression because of their gender, race, sexual identity and more. The system benefits from our oppression and exploitation, conditioning people to see women as subordinate to men and objectifying our bodies. We stand in solidarity with the millions who have protested in huge movements around the world in recent years against gender violence and misogyny. We need to build a strong movement which fights to change the system and for a socialist feminist alternative in Britain and internationally.
Here is a model motion which can be moved in trade union branches, campaign groups and students unions:
This union branch/group/students union notes:
- The devastating murder of Sarah Everard, as one tragic example of gender based violence, which causes two women a week to be killed in the UK.
- The victim blaming of Sarah which took place in the media, insinuating she was to blame for walking home alone. This is an example of myths around rape and gender based violence which are perpetuated within our society and it should be challenged.
- The outrageous response by the police to the peaceful vigil in Clapham Common (and other areas around the country) which resulted in kettling attendees, dragging them away and arresting some.
This union branch/group/students union resolves:
- To send solidarity to the family and friends of Sarah Everard, and all those who turned out to the vigils and protests
- Organise any necessary action to defend the right to protest, including mobilising our members to future protests and vigils
- Demand that the Labour Party and other opposition parties oppose the Police and Crime Bill which aims at extending police powers and attacks the right to protest. Mobilise our members to lobby and protest this bill
- Hold a meeting of our members to discuss gender based violence, victim blaming and any related issues in the workplace that our members face. Where appropriate launch workplace campaigns to tackle these issues, including training on consent and sexual harassment