Women's Fightback 10, September/October 2011

Agitators, educators, organisers

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:16

The Bolshevik women, who had years of experience in making propaganda and agitation, fought off accusations of “feminine weakness” to take a full part in making propaganda in the civil war which followed the 1917 Russian revolution.

Alexandra Kollontai travelled to the front taking instructions from the centre, and making speeches. Nadezhda Krupskaya did the same on the Agitational Boat. For all the Bolsheviks the civil war was a continuation of the revolution.

In May 1918 the first Russian women’s conference was held. Just 130 delegates attended. But a Women’s National Congress held in

Sexism and the media

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:13

In the aftermath of the shocking Raoul Moat case in July 2010 people sought answers.

Some bloggers and commentators blamed Moat’s ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, who Moat shot alongside her partner Chris Brown. Women in public services (social workers and policewomen) were also blamed.

At the time the Guardian labelled this focus on women as “bizarre”, yet similar prejudice was revealed in recent news reports surrounding the inquest into Moat’s death. BBC Radio 4’s Six O’Clock News on 5 September focused repeatedly on the break-up of Moat and Stobbart’s relationship as the “catalyst” for

Women are now losing more jobs

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:11

Straight after the 2008 crash, more men than women lost their jobs, with male unemployment peaking in 2009. Male unemployment has since dropped by 6%. But the number of unemployed women has risen by 13%.

Women are suffering from the cuts in public sector jobs (400,000 jobs due to go in the next five years) and in retail.

Women workers are also having their hours cut. At the last count 12.2% of women working part-time would like to work full-time.

Black and minority women and the cuts

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:09

We are witness to an unprecedented attack on the welfare state and legal aid services.

We are experiencing some of the most inhumane and brutal spending cuts to essential services that were historically set up to address poverty and inequality. The cuts will have a disproportionate impact on all women, but they will have a specifically dangerous impact on marginalised and vulnerable black and minority ethnic women who need protection from violence, abuse and persecution within family and community.

Specialist refuges and other black services are disappearing fast and those concerned with

Single mothers are not to blame for the riots

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:04

This summer’s riots have given impetus to regressive Tory rhetoric on morality and family life. The “failings” of single parents (single mothers especially) are central to that rhetoric.

The Daily Mail had its own set of statistics and accompanying explanations.

• 57% of single parents have never been married and have chosen to be single parents — the lure of benefits and council houses is behind that choice.

• 75% of children born to single parents will fail (fail, not do less well, but fail) at school.

• 70% of these children will be drug addicts and 50% will have alcohol problem.

Laughable,

Resist cuts to domestic violence services

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:02

Today I met a family where the daughter, just 12 years old, has lived in 19 different housing projects over her short life.

She has moved frequently because her mother has suffered at the hands of two abusive partners, and lost her job because of this. The girl’s little brother, at nine years old, “sees” the man who used to make his mum cry in every dark alley, and around every corner, despite knowing he doesn’t live in the city any more. Far from being an atypical set of circumstances, this story is very familiar to workers who, like me, work in the domestic abuse sector in the UK.

In January

UK Feminista: preachy but useful

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 14:00

On 13-14 November UK Feminista held their national conference at Birmingham University.

Feminista calls itself a coordinating “tool” for feminists; it provides website space for different feminist groups to publicise their events, and runs regional meetings to help small campaigns get off the ground.

UK Feminista’s politics were very similar to that of the London Feminist Network: radical and liberal feminist, anti-sex worker, white, middle class and with no substantial analysis of sexuality, capitalism or class. The opening plenary on the need for feminist politics included a speech by Finn

Socialist women in Birmingham

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 13:58

Kelly Purple describes her experience of organising at Birmingham City University.

A standalone feminist fightback at Birmingham City University is practically non-existent right now, though there have been general student campaigns which have the support of the Students Union.

As a member of the Socialist Students Society, I’ve tried to bring up female issues whenever possible and I’ve had some good discussions with other members. The society as a whole, however, focuses mainly on student issues, or at least it has during the events of the past year.

The Students Union organised some

Dorries fails but we must defend the right to choose!

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 13:55

According to the UK Abortion Rights campaign, one woman in three will require an abortion at some point in her life.

Such a right is integral to women’s ability to control what happens to our bodies, to be free from unwanted pregnancy and the burden of raising unwanted children, and to exercise sexual freedom to the full. After decades of campaigning, many women in the UK still do not have full, free access to abortions, and the Con-Dem government is taking steps to dismantle the limited reproductive freedoms we have fought to defend. The religious right is being strengthened by the Tories and

Women students get ready to fight back

Published on: Fri, 23/09/2011 - 13:51

It’s now almost common to hear people say that the Coalition government’s cuts will hit women the hardest.

Unfortunately, it’s common because it’s true.

From public sector job cuts, of which two thirds will hit women, to attacks on benefits, to the trashing of what remains of domestic violence provision, women are at the sharp end of the Tories’ class war.

What’s true for working-class and poor women in general is also true for most student women.

We already take significantly longer to pay off student debt due to career breaks and childcare. The tripling of university tuition fees will

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