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Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights
Over 40 women members of the Socialist Party met on 5 January to discuss the important work we do in fighting the attacks on women and raising socialist ideas with women and men who are becoming politically active on these issues.
Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party, introduced the first discussion on political perspectives for 2019. Hannah invited the meeting to discuss the processes burrowing beneath the surface of society.
Capitalism's inability to offer a way out of the misery is building up enormous reserves of public anger. But at this stage people don't have a mass outlet.
Internationally, the emerging movement and mass anger against women's oppression are important developments and the Socialist Party is organising to participate fully.
The discussion looked at how the understanding of what sort of struggle is needed is developing, under the hammer blows of austerity, including within the 'gilets jaunes' (yellow vests) movement where workers can begin to see the need to build unity. The Tories are not confident to launch a frontal attack on women now but austerity attacks through a million ways.
In her reply to the discussion, Hannah pointed to our role in providing ideas to fight.
For example, we should call for Labour councils to commit to using their existing powers, reserves and borrowing potential to prevent those affected by Tory Universal Credit suffering hardship while building a mass campaign to get the Tories out.
In the afternoon, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge and Amy Cousens introduced discussion on how we put our ideas into action.
The Women's Lives Matter campaign to defend domestic violence services and refuges, which originates in the campaign to save Doncaster Women's Aid from closure, is a key campaign that we want to help build.
The central demand of the campaign is to fight all cuts and it has adopted the demand for needs budgets.
A petition calling on John McDonnell to guarantee that an incoming Labour government would replenish any reserves a Labour council used to avoid cuts to these services now, and underwrite borrowing made for the same purpose, is being launched.
The lessons of the Socialist Party's key role in the historic Campaign Against Domestic Violence were brought out in the discussion too.
All Socialist Party branches should get political and organisational reports on this meeting.
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