by laura schwartz
On 21 October women from the student activist group Education Not for Sale have organised a conference, Feminist Fightback 06 (www.fightback.org.uk). In the course of organising that event they uncovered some hypocrisy of in parts of the feminist movement.
Despite widespread calls for more young women to involve themselves in feminist activism, some radical feminists actively block the engagement of groups who don’t pass a political test.
Among some feminists there is a consensus that the only “feminist” position on sex work is to support more repressive laws and criminalisation of men who buy sexual services.
ENS Women have found themselves being frozen out for associating with the International Union of Sex Workers. Simply holding a meeting at which a sex worker was invited to speak was enough for the organisers of “Reclaim The Night” to deny us a stall at their march on 25 November (ENS activists have varied views on sex work and ENS Women has no formal policy beyond support for sex workers’ struggles, as we would support all workers organising for their rights). The reasoning — that we would “offend” ex-sex workers speaking on the platform at the event — is yet another sign of the unwillingness to debate that characterises much of the feminist movement.
ENS Women want to rebuild this movement around open debate of our political differences — if you agree, join us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. socialistfeminist.org.uk