Rape is no joke, photo Paul Mattsson

Rape is no joke, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party

Following the recent Leicester Reclaim the Night march, the local Socialist Party invited the University of Leicester Feminist Society to speak at a Socialist Party meeting on rape and sexual violence.

The society declined via Facebook and said that some “FemSoc committee and members… felt that the [Socialist Party] group were trying to take over women’s issues with socialism, and some felt uncomfortable with the tone of the blog post and that leaflets were being handed out at Reclaim the Night.

“Additionally, FemSoc have a policy of remaining neutral in regards to supporting any political affiliations, we don’t endorse any political parties or groups. Thank you for letting us know about the event, and we hope the event is a success.”

Leicester Socialist Party replied saying the following:

Dear UOL Feminist Society,

Thanks for your reply.

Our leaflet was intended as a contribution towards the debate on the causes and solutions to women’s oppression, particularly in response to the unfair burden women are suffering due to austerity.

Reclaim the Night events have been taking place around the country and the Socialist Party has been involved in these events over many years and in many towns and cities. Socialists have been working with feminists and others who oppose oppression for over a century. Indeed many suffragettes were socialists.

Socialists, including the Socialist Party, have a proud record of campaigning on women’s issues, with some success.

In Ireland our sister Socialist Party is playing a leading role in the fight for abortion rights. Members who sit in parliament with the Anti-Austerity Alliance have been to the fore in pushing for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment which bans women’s right to choose. Support for this demand is growing.

We welcome debate about the causes and solutions to women’s oppression. We hope that many on the protest received our leaflets in that democratic spirit.

Socialist women national meeting

Saturday 7 January, 10am-5pm, London. Venue: tbc


10-10.30am Tea and coffee

10.30am-12.30pm Women and the Russian Revolution

12.30pm-1.30pm Lunch

1.30pm-3.30pm Commissions on women and the fightback in the work places and trade unions; on campus, and in the community. These will help with the preparation of a socialist programme for women’s rights

3.30pm-5pm Abortion rights under attack and the fightback around the world