Women's Fightback 01, November 2006

What is Women's Fightback?

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:49

Women’s Fightback is a new paper produced by women in and in sympathy with the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. We hope it stimulates debate, but whether you agree or disagree please get in touch, and contribute articles, reviews and letters to this paper. Here is a brief explanation of who we are and what we stand for.

Who we are

We need to revive the women’s movement in the UK, Europe and world wide. That movement needs to be able to inspire the many young people who want to fight sexism, but who may not call themselves “feminist”.

What kind of feminists are we? We stand for a socialist

Stop violence against women!

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:47

By Sofie Buckland

Violence against women, in the form of rape, sexual assault, physical assault from partners and harrassment in the workplace, is a widespread and frightening problem. There are an estimated 47,000 rapes a year in Britain according to the 2001 British Crime Survey. The same source quotes 300,000 sexual assaults on women each year. Worldwide, domestic violence is the biggest cause of death in women aged 19-44. All these crimes are chronically under-reported, and the rape conviction rate stands at an all-time low of just 5.3%.

Why do these attacks on women occur? Some say that

Feminists and fallen women

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:45

Sally Lopez

The current Women’s Library exhibition on prostitution is not their usual safe and apolitical fare. Instead Prostitution: What’s going on? is an extremely partisan contribution to the controversial debate around sex work — an issue which is currently engaging the attention of the government as well as feminists. I welcome this new decision on the part of the Women’s Library to take a more politicized approach to feminism and women’s history, despite that fact that the stance of the exhibition is a clearly ‘abolitionist’ one with which I disagree.

The exhibition is curated by Sheila Jeffreys,

Any progress for harlots?

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:43

Amy Fisher reviews A Harlot's Progress, 2 November, C4

This one-off drama, conceived and written by Solidarity supporter Clive Bradley, was described by a reviewer in the Daily Telegraph as “execrable”. As you might expect, then, it was a very enjoyable, clever and thought-provoking two hours.

In 1731, at the age of 34, the now famous artist and satirist William Hogarth established his reputation with a series of paintings (which survive as engravings) depicting the adventures of a “harlot” in London. A Harlot’s Progress imagines real life people and events as a background to the production of

Is pornography free speech?

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:39

Maria Exall

Sofie Buckland’s article Pornography and censorship ends with a call for both the unionisation of sex workers and building a feminist movement that will pose real alternatives to sexist ideas. Both of these demands are surely correct and I think many socialist feminists would agree with her. However on her way to making these important points Sofie presumes other political positions that I do not think can be justified from either a socialist or feminist point of view.

Sofie says it is “shockingly naive to entrust the state ... with the power to decide which ideas should be allowed.” There

Latin America: a revolution for women?

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:36

By Rachel Ward

Last week Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega swept to victory in Nicaragua’s presidential elections, just days after a referendum banning all abortion in the country. Part of the reason for Ortega’s unequivocal opposition to all abortion has been his shift from a “communist” ideology towards the Catholic centre of Nicaraguan politics.
The continuing centrality of Catholic culture to all of South America is important when we consider the “women’s liberation” carried out under governments like the Sandinistas and Chávez, reinforcing the traditional role of women while glorifying

Abortion rights, world wide

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:35

By Becky Crocker

Worldwide, women are facing attacks on and erosions of their abortion rights. 4 November saw a significant protest in Poland against a recently-proposed amendment to the constitution that threatens to virtually eliminate abortion rights. Polish Vice Prime Minister and president of the hard right League of Polish Families (LPR) party, Roman Giertych has proposed this amendment with the aim of defending the right of an unborn child from the point of conception. A group of women’s rights campaigners and trade unionists called the demonstration with the slogan; “NO TO WOMEN’S HELL

Attacks on our abortion rights

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2006 - 15:33

By Charlie Calam

Reproductive rights in Britain are very vulnerable to attack. Almost forty years since the 1967 Abortion Act women still have to cast doubt on their own mental health to be allowed to have an abortion. This is not the right to choose.

Our ‘right’ to an abortion depends upon convincing two doctors that having a child is not in our best interests mentally or physically. The requirement for the consent of two doctors may be a formality for well-off, well-connected women, but it represents a major barrier for many poorer and less confident women, to say nothing of those who do

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