Women's Fightback, Feminism

The hijab and the Saudi factor

Sadia Hameed is a spokesperson for the Council of ex-Muslims in Britain, and a director of Gloucestershire Sisters, a women's organisation working in minority communities, particularly around tackling harmful traditional practices. She was interviewed by Sacha Ismail for Solidarity. See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools. We need to question the idea of multiculturalism. Diversity of culture is a great thing, but harmful ideas and practices need to be challenged and criticised. Multiculturalism should be about taking the wonderful parts of all cultures and...

Against the school hijab ban demand

See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools. In his most recent letter defending his demand for a hijab ban in schools, David Pendletone says “I … do not think that you need to have a solution [of how a ban might be enforced] to support a ban of the hijab for children in primary schools”. This is absurd and deeply irresponsible, given the counter-productive and dangerous consequences of many (I would argue all) possible scenarios of enforcement. What it reflects is that this demand seems founded more on an insistence that ‘something must be done’, more than on...

Left splits over West Midlands mayor

The entrance of former Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob into the contest for the Labour candidacy for West Midlands mayor is causing a bitter row within Momentum and the Labour left as a whole throughout the region. In principle, the idea of a female ethnic minority candidate is attractive. But Yaqoob’s record makes her a highly problematic prospective candidate. There are many aspects of Yaqoob’s record that have caused concern, but the most obvious is her campaign, as an independent candidate, against Labour’s Naz Shah in Bradford West at the last general election in 2017. Now, Shah –...

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time. Editorial note Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the...

Banning hijab in schools

This article was part of a debate we had earlier this year. Our 2020 conference voted to reject this call for the ban on the hijab in schools. Our 2004 policy- to oppose all calls for bans on the hijab - stands. The full debate can be found here. I will be moving a motion for a ban on the hijab in schools up to Key Stage 3 at the Workers’ Liberty conference in December. I want to explain why. The hijab isn’t just a piece of clothing, or even just a piece of religious clothing. It has strong political connotations with religious conservatism. It is closely associated with the notion of modesty...

Leicester protest at Trump’s state visit

Despite the rain and it being a weekday, roughly 100 people gathered at Leicester’s clock tower to protest the ridiculous state visit laid on for Donald Trump. There was a buoyant atmosphere and a diverse crowd — much like the previous Trump actions in Leicester, just a little smaller. Leicester was an early starter on the anti-Trump circuit due to the rather odd invitation from the Director of the Richard III Centre to Trump, who predictably believes he is descended from the controversial monarch. Leicester against Trump, a coalition of Greens, regular folk, and supporters of Workers’ Liberty...

Letters

Defining people's oppressions? I’m canvassing opinions on the call for marginalised groups of people to “define their own oppression”. The LGBT+ organising group at the National Education Union conference argued for a definition of transphobia which I agreed with. It was however defeated on the basis that there are conflicting views on what constitutes transphobia and that the amendment was anti-woman. The arguments in favour were largely that trans members had agreed on the motion and we should, as a union, listen to them. I think this is a relatively weak line of argument. For example, if a...

SNP trans contradictions

On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the SNP member of parliament Mhairi Black gave a fantastic speech calling for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). This came two days after the only trans councillor in Scotland quit the SNP accusing it of institutional transphobia, and just weeks after 15 senior members of the SNP wrote an open letter, publicly attacking the SNP’s plans to reform the GRA, the very reforms Mhairi gave an impassioned speech prompting. The reforms to the Gender Recognition Act shouldn’t be that controversial. The current...

4 June against Trump

Hundreds of thousands are likely to turn out for the protest on 4 June (from 11 a.m., Trafalgar Square) against US president Donald Trump’s state visit. The crowd is likely to be even bigger than when Trump last visited, in July 2018. It will take up the same causes: peace, migrant rights, women’s rights, and more. Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity will be there, working with Labour for a Socialist Europe (L4SE), Young L4SE, and Another Europe is Possible to push the anti-Brexit, lower-borders, migrant-rights, European unity message. Remember, Trump has said “Many people would like to see Nigel...

Organising cleaners in the 1970s

Shown as part of the “Women Organise!” film season in Manchester, The Nightcleaners is a documentary about the struggle to organise women office cleaners in 1970-72. The film has many resonances today when organising cleaners and other low-paid, insecure workers is again a central task for the unions. The filmmakers of the Berwick Street Film Collective (one of whom, Humphrey Trevelyan, was at the Manchester showing) were not traditional documentary makers, but saw themselves both as part of the women’s fight and as creatively producing a piece of cinema. The result is a film that is a...

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