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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Policies are what matter for working class women

Hannah Sell

The attempts of the Blairites to undermine Jeremy Corbyn know no bounds. One of their latest ruses has been to accuse Corbyn and his supporters of sexism.

In a piece for Newsnight putting the view of the Blairite women MPs Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, accused female Corbyn supporters of accepting "low level non-violent misogyny" from Jeremy Corbyn.

The only justification given for this slur was that the winners of the Labour leadership and deputy leadership contests - Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson - are both men. Phillips completely ignores the inconvenient fact that Corbyn's front bench is the first that has been majority women.

Accountability

Phillip's smear is not merely designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, but also to try and prevent right-wing Labour MPs from being held democratically accountable to Labour Party members and their constituents.

The Newsnight piece pointed out that boundary changes are going to reduce the number of parliamentary seats and lead to competition between Labour MPs for those that remain.

For the many that have been enraged by their Labour MPs voting for the bombing of Syria or failing to oppose Tory cuts this will be an opportunity to campaign for the selection of an MP who represents their views.

According to Dawn Butler MP, chair of the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party, however, female Labour MPs must automatically keep their seats, regardless of their voting record in parliament!

The hundreds of thousands of people who have been enthused by Jeremy Corbyn's election on an anti-austerity platform will know better than to listen to this nonsense.

Far more women voted for Jeremy Corbyn than for either of the women candidates for Labour leadership. One Yougov poll of voters in the leadership contest in August found that 61% of women polled were planning to vote for Corbyn compared to 19% for Yvette Cooper and a measly 4% for ultra-Blairite Liz Kendall.

They understood that a 10 an hour minimum wage, free education, nationalisation of the railways and the other policies Corbyn stood on would improve the lives of millions of women, whereas the austerity-lite mantra of Labour's right would only make women's lives harder.

In the same Newsnight piece Harriet Harman outrageously declared that: "women's rights are never going to be taken forward by men; only Labour women can do that."

It is vital that the anti-austerity movement and workers' movement do all they can to ensure as many women as possible play leading roles. However, it is not someone's gender which decides whether they are playing a positive role in fighting for women's rights.

The 1945 Labour government only had a woeful three women in its ranks yet there is no doubt that it did more than any other Labour government to improve the lives of all working class people, but especially women. The establishment of the NHS and the mass building of council housing alone transformed the lives of millions.

Contrast that to Britain's first and only female prime minister, Maggie Thatcher, who set out to destroy all the gains made by working class women and men over the previous decades.

It is a sign of desperation that right-wing Labour MPs are attempting to use the false charge of sexism to try and divert attention from the unpopularity of their ideas.

Women anti-austerity activists need to make sure they do not succeed and fight for a Labour Party which stands in the interests of working class women.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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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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