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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Letters to the Socialist

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Cologne sex attacks show need to fight sexism and racism

An article in the last Socialist responded to the mass and seemingly coordinated sexual assaults on women in Cologne ('Sexual assaults in Cologne exploited by racist establishment and far right').

It explained how the racist media and politicians have opportunistically exploited these crimes to attack migrants and refugees - despite no attackers having as yet been identified.

The article also said "the race supremacists are hypocritically denigrating the victims again as 'our women violated' by Arabs". This statement is true as far as it goes, but I think it's deeper and more profound than just "denigrating" these particular victims.

A centuries-old aspect of Western racism has been the myth that darker-skinned men prey on white women. This partly explains why, in their coverage of the recent Rotherham grooming scandal, so many journalists and politicians lapsed into hysterical 'multiculturalism gone mad' accounts.

Not a shred of evidence existed for this. In fact, the vast majority of perpetrators of child sex abuse and exploitation are white.

But we also need to acknowledge that much of the power of this racist narrative arises from sexism and patriarchy. Women's bodies are seen not as our own, but as belonging to society as a whole. Hence the outrage among so many men (and some women) when "our" women are violated.

Women's bodies belong to ourselves - no one else. The Cologne story shows the battle for our sexual and physical autonomy still has a long way to go.

It also points to the fact that the fight for women's liberation, and for the eradication of racism, needs to be part of the larger, socialist struggle to transform society as a whole.

Kim Hendry, Lambeth

Reshuffle rubbish

Earlier this month, Jeremy Corbyn yet again indulged his inner dictator by ruthlessly dispatching two fawns from his shadow cabinet and daubing their blood on the walls of his constituency office.

Screaming maniacally at the media gathered outside his home, he waved his crown of ethically sourced toucan feathers to indicate his infallibility, and urinated over a pentagram made of the bones of dead omnivores adorning his front garden to reassert his leadership credentials.

He explained, while carrying aloft a half-birch tree, half-dolphin hybrid he called "son", that he was celebrating a successful reshuffle and wished to be left alone.

If this sounds unfamiliar, it's because it only happened in the minds and on the sketchpads of cartoonists holed up in the offices of the Sun, Express and Telegraph.

Rudi Abdallah, Waltham Forest, east London

Brum budget

The leader of Birmingham City Council has finally stopped referring to "illegal budgets" in consultation meetings. It may have had something to do with me telling him there was no such thing as an illegal budget.

This is, of course, a step forward. But he continues to dismiss the idea of a legal no-cuts budget using prudential borrowing and reserves to buy time to build a campaign to win the funding back. This despite Stoke-on-Trent Council using 15.5 million of reserves to prevent further cuts, freeze council tax and reduce council house rents. And it isn't even a Labour council!

Birmingham Council continues to argue its finance officer wouldn't sign-off the budget, and the government would send commissioners to carry out even bigger cuts. So who does run Birmingham Council, elected members or unelected officers?

Clive Walder, Birmingham

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In The Socialist 20 January 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

Civil service: 1bn on consultants

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Them & Us

Socialist history

1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday

Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

Shop workers lobby council against Sunday opening

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


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triangleThe Socialist inbox

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triangleKirklees council opens consultation of library services

triangleLobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Why we're lobbying the council for a no-cuts budget

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime


triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

trianglePresidents Club sexism scandal: what you thought

triangleFor workplace trade union organisation against sexual harassment


triangle1967 Abortion Act reflected social changes

triangleRacist smears won't stop child sex abuse


triangleVienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity


triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women


triangleNo fudge with the right wing


triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: The Iran 1979 revolution

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