Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/559/6691
Socialist women: Looking at the past to take action today
The Socialist Women weekend school, held in London on 29-30 November, started with a discussion on the Great Depression and a comparison to today's crisis.
Sarah Wrack, Brighton Socialist Party
It was recognised that despite the US government's attempts to introduce reforms in the 1930s, this had very little impact on the suffering of ordinary people, giving a glimpse of the short-term future difficulties now facing working-class people regardless of New Labour's turn towards neo-Keynesianism.
We later talked about the ways in which women will be hit particularly harshly by the recession as they are often in part-time or temporary work and are therefore likely to be among the first to lose their jobs.
Women will also be expected to pick up the slack as public services, particularly in childcare and health, are cut. It was agreed that these issues should be discussed in Socialist Party branches and with new people we meet who may be radicalised by such attacks.
However, it should also be recognised that these problems create yet more barriers to women getting involved in the fightback. Therefore, it is important to think carefully about the format and timing of meetings aimed at women who may have other commitments and to be patient if those who seem interested in the Socialist Party's work don't jump straight into regular activity.
Rosa Luxemburg meetings
Other sessions included 'women at work' and an update on the Abortion Rights Campaign. We also had a talk on Rosa Luxemburg and the leading role she played in the 1918 German revolution. A recommendation was made that all branches try to hold a meeting on Rosa's life in January, the 90th anniversary of her murder.
The weekend was a relaxed and informative chance to look at the progress of the Socialist Party's women's work and at opportunities for its development as a new layer of young women, angry at the failures of the capitalist system, turn towards socialist ideas as an alternative.
In The Socialist 3 December 2008:
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news