Women's Fightback no.7, February-March 2011

A great awakening

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:37

Elaine Jones begins a four-part history of the role of women workers and socialist activists in the Russian Revolution.

The role played by working class and socialist women in the 1917 Russian revolution highlights many important lessons for socialists. What were the political events that shaped the involvement of women in the Russian revolutionary movement? What kind of women got involved? What change did the Russian revolution bring for women? Why did some socialists organise among working-class women?

In the latter half of the 19th century Russia was still primarily based on a rural economy

Big society has a big cost for women

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:30

The “Big Society” is central to the Tories’ election campaign and ConDem coalition government policy. Instead of services being provided by an “inhuman, monolithic” state, communities can run their own post offices, schools, libraries, transport services, and housing projects.

This is a “big advance for people power”, they say. Individuals and communities will have greater control, rather than policy being dictated “from above”. A new era of community will be established as people work together to shape services and support each other. The transition to this “Big Society” will be supported by

Women of Hull Against the Cuts

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:25

With a grand total of one woman regularly attending the local trade union organised anti-cuts committee and only a handful active in the student movement in Hull, the need for women to organise collectively here is dramatic!

One of the few women’s centres in Hull has just had a 100 percent funding cut and is quietly preparing to close. The work it does around sex education in an area with one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe and the help it gives women leaving violent relationships and its nursery are being replaced with… nothing.

Women of Hull Against Cuts (WHAC) is a small

Stop the cuts that will kill women

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:19

I work as a domestic violence worker for a central London health trust. Before the prospect of any cuts, the refuges and domestic violence services I work with were already under pressure — not able to meet demand for their services, the refuges never having to wait to fill a room. Now it is and will become much worse.

Women fleeing violence arrive in the small hours, often with children, few possessions, still carrying evidence of their latest injuries; unable to tell anyone where they were, to have visits from family and friends, often not trusting family and friends.

The pressure on women

Solidarity with Palestinian women workers

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:14

At the end of November, members and friends of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty took part in a ten-day delegation to Israel and Palestine. We visited Palestinian activists resisting the Israeli occupation, Israelis supporting them and workers’, women’s, youth and left organisations in both countries.

On the last leg of our delegation we were invited to the Second General Conference of Women for the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), who organise around 300,000 public and private sector workers.

Despite the pressing injustice in the West Bank it is a testament to the PGFTU

Give sexism the red card

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 16:04

The recent sacking of sexist Sky Sports presenter, Andy Gray, is a step forward for feminism. But, it’s not without limitations.

Gray was dismissed from his seven-figure salary job after he and fellow presenter Richard Keys agreed, off-air before a Premier League Match, that assistant referee Sian Massey and women generally “probably don’t know the offside rule”.

Gray initially only received disciplinary action for his sexism. Had Gray’s comments been a racist slur, the furore could have been so great Gray would have been sent packing immediately. When Jade Goody called Indian actress Shilpa

Making our voice heard in the unions

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 15:59

In January Janine Booth became the first ever woman to be elected to the London Transport seat on the National Council of Executives of the railworkers union, the RMT. Becky Crocker spoke to Janine about the election and organising women in a male-dominated industry.

JB: Several women members have contacted me to say my election has given them a boost and made them feel there is a place for them in the union.

It has been dispiriting to see so few women in union leadership positions — I am the first from my region, and only the third woman to serve on the RMT executive. The union has never had

NUS Women's Officer: vote socialist feminist!

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 15:38

At the Women’s Conference of the National Union of Students (15-17 March), Jade Baker will be standing for National Women’s Officer. She explains why…

“I’m standing as an anti-cuts activist, proud supporter of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and a revolutionary socialist feminist.

“I want to see NUS lead the student revolt against cuts and fees, not sell it out, and the Women’s Campaign should be at the forefront of this fight.

“I am sabbatical VP Education at Westminster University — with a diverse and mainly working-class student body. I’m from a working-class background and

For a national network of women fighting the cuts

Published on: Wed, 09/02/2011 - 15:32

In Merseyside, London, Hull and elsewhere Women Against the Cuts groups have been formed in response to the Tory/Liberal cuts. Other already existing groups — such as Feminist Fightback in London and Newcastle Claimants Group have also been working on how the cuts affect women.

We need to discuss how to develop a national network to help mobilise working class women in the fight to stop the Tory/Liberal cuts, to help overcome the domination of men in the anti-cuts campaigns and to fight for a better society. All socialists and anti-cuts activists should be part of that discussion.

We should

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