Tuesday 12 March 2013

Our Movement Must Be a Safe Space for Women

Support this initiative by Cath Elliott and Marshajane Thompson and sign the statement below here.

We the undersigned labour movement activists stand in solidarity with all women opposing all forms of male violence against women. We recognise that male violence against women is endemic in society, and that our movement is obviously and unfortunately not exempt.

We believe that our trade union and labour movement has the potential to transform society for the better. Therefore we have a particular responsibility to confront and challenge male violence against women within our movement.

Male violence against women is not acceptable in any case. It must not be tolerated from those who hold office or power in our movement.

We recognise the enormous challenges faced by women victims of male violence, and the pressures which women face, including from abusive men, not to complain about violence and abuse. We therefore believe that, when women complain of male violence within our movement, our trade unions and political organisations should start from a position of believing women.

We believe that all women who complain of male violence have the right to be listened to and supported.

All labour movement activists have a responsibility to work to ensure that our movement is a safe space for women. Because we stand in solidarity with all women opposing male violence we accept that we have a responsibility to women throughout our movement, whether or not we are members of the same trade union or the same political organisation.

We therefore address these demands to all trade unions and political organisations which are part of our labour movement.


Gary Elsby said...

Reading Cath Elliot, is like reading a kid's book.

I'm totally offended by such a question and/or motion.

How dare this woman think otherwise of any man.

Am I really to believe that this wording is pitched at either Labour members or men (and women) of the left?

The law is the law and no woman is abused without a law being broken, in marriage or not.

The Left battled this since time began and Labour certainly led the way on all female issues of equality and maritial rights.

Am I further to believe that if I did not sign this awful motion, that I must be a supporter of male violence upon women?

Go to the police if a man abuses you.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this Phil. I'm at the TUC Women's Conference (part of the UCU delegation) and am really looking forward to hearing Cath speak to a motion on this matter tomorrow. She's awesome.

Our movement must be safe for disabled people too. I can't find an email address for you, so pardon me posting this as a comment:

Folks, can you help us make this go viral? We want to start a new disabled-people's direct action movement in Wales but first we need to ensure that the PCS trade union (or rather the Socialist Party/SWP in PCS) don't set the police on us when they don't approve of how disabled people run our own peaceful campaigns.
Please reblog, repost, retweet the link below.

Much appreciated,

DAN Cymru - Disabled Activists Network Wales

Disabled trade unionists shd be free to campaign without PCS setting police on them: http://wp.me/p37pAD-Z

PS I was a post-doc and lecturer at Keele some years back, in the Astrophysics

Gary Elsby said...

Phil, have a read of the document a bit closer.

'Within our movement'.

Who the hell is attacking women and diabled people inside a movement?

Do you realise what critics will do to a statement published in this way?

Women and diabled people need protection from fellow Labour (or any other party) members?

I'd urge the complete opposite of this call and ask them to take fr granted that no such acts will be tolerated inside this, or any other movement and in the first instance, go to the police.

Gesture politics.

One high profile TV news reporter collared me and started to throw silly questions at me because I dared be a GE candidate after walking out of the Labour Party. It went like this:

"Gary, you want the BNP to win really, don't you".

I told her to Fuc* Off.

These people operate 25 years out of date and are on a self indulgence trip.

Gary Elsby said...

What do you think of the new Marxist Pope?

Phil said...

Dear Gary,

1) You've got some brass neck to critique someone for their writing style.

2) Sadly, as the SWP debacle, the attacks at Occupy camps, the current ongoing RMT case amply demonstrate, the culture of not talking about the abuse of women in labour and radical social movements has created a culture of silence where it can go unreported.

This is not an academic point for me - a Labour comrade of mine has recently been attacked and she does not feel she's in a position to seek redress either through the movement or via the police.

I want a cultural change to happen where there is zero tolerance for this sort of thing. And for that it has to be talked about, not swept under the carpet.

Gary Elsby said...

A rather simplistic and silly approach.

Just give me the name of the man who has attacked a woman or a disabled person within the Labour movement or some other left wing organisation and I'll take it to the police.

If the woman wants to co operate further, her identity will remain anonymous even to you.

sadly, Phil, I fear you are being taken for a mug with a cock and bull story that has no merit.

To think that the Labour Party (no chance whatsoever) houses a violent man who attacks women or disabled people, is so utterly stupid, I takwe this stance from the outset.

It gets even more dafter, when the alleged victim, chooses to not involve the police and instead, complains to a committee.

What daft nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of crybaby radical feminist rubbish. Any woman who feels the need for "safe spaces" is a weak, pathetic coward. This is a non-issue - no one supports violence and the law is there, eager to help and readily accessible to any woman who needs it. You are defaming every socialist.

Phil said...

I'm guessing you don't know any women who've been attacked and seriously sexually assaulted by a "comrade". Unfortunately, I do.