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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2013

India: Mass rage against rape

Slutwalk London 22 September 2012, photo Paul Mattsson

Slutwalk London 22 September 2012, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The brutal gang rape and murder of a female student in India has provoked daily mass protests of women and men across the country to demand justice and stop violence against women. The protesters have also railed against police and political corruption and the oppression of women which is rooted in both India's feudal legacy and its modern capitalist development. New Socialist Alternative (the Socialist Party's sister organisation in India), which has long campaigned for women's rights, argues, in the following extracts from their leaflet, for system change to end the oppression of women.

The unprecedented anger in Delhi and across India against the gang rape of the medical student is an expression of the seething discontent that has been building against the system for a long time.

The response of the authorities to this spontaneous expression of anger has been to use the police to brutally repress demonstrators.

Saptarshi Banerjee (New Socialist Alternative) addressing protestors in Kolkata, India, photo India's Smile NGO

Saptarshi Banerjee (New Socialist Alternative) addressing protestors in Kolkata, India, photo India's Smile NGO   (Click to enlarge)

The heinous crime of rape happens everywhere: it happens inside homes, in families, in neighbourhoods, in police stations, and it is increasing.

Modern industrial times have increasingly brought women out of the confines of their homes and women's roles have changed phenomenally, but the ruling capitalist system, driven and controlled by the values of feudalism and patriarchy, has yet to come to terms with this change.

Across the political spectrum there is a contempt and impunity towards women and their rights. The system's mind-set perpetuates hatred against women and disregards the fundamental right of women for freedom.

Violence against women in India is particularly rampant amongst the marginalised communities such as Daliths, Adivasis, women workers in unorganised workplaces, sex workers, etc, for which the conviction rate is abysmally low or non-existent, with the perpetrators largely roaming free.

Most of the incidents of rape and sexual assault go unreported because of the feudal values that dominate Indian culture and society. The custodial torture and rape and the sexual crimes committed by state agencies barely evokes much indignation.

Solutions

While the perpetrators of such crimes must be punished, the solution does not lie in reverting back to medieval practices such as the death penalty or castration.

Nor does the solution lie in increasing police surveillance. This will only end up empowering the government with unprecedented powers and to act with impunity against working people. For so widespread a crime band aid solutions are not the answer.

We blame the system and the ruling class for this malady as they have thoroughly failed to develop society beyond feudal and medieval values and practices.

Violence against women is a product of a diseased system called capitalism, where people are conditioned to see women as inferior and to see women's bodies as commodities or objects meant for pleasure.

A campaign against rape in isolation from all other aspects of women's oppression will not work. Rape, like domestic violence and sexual harassment, is a symptom of a deeply unequal class-based society that leads some men to think that they can control women, including sexually. This is reinforced by women's material inequality and lower status in society.

We must challenge sexism and through the process of struggle, which will see millions of people question the brutal, sexist and exploitative capitalist society in which we live, look for a socialist alternative.


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In The Socialist 9 January 2013:


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India: Mass rage against rape

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Obituary

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London Underground cleaners strike over New Year

Tyne and Wear Metro strikers tell bosses to end poverty pay

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