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latest news

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

US
A socialist strategy to defeat Trump

14/02/2017: Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

  US

Scotland
Greens back SNP government austerity budget

13/02/2017: TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

  Scotland

India
Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

09/02/2017: Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

  India

Britain
Universal basic income demand gains ground

08/02/2017: What approach should socialists take?

  Britain

Yemen
Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

  Yemen

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification

06/02/2017: Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

  Spain

France
After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out

06/02/2017: Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

  France

Romania
Biggest street protests since 1989

04/02/2017: What position should the left take?

  Romania

Syria
Is an end to the war in sight?

03/02/2017: New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

  Syria

Quebec
Terrorist Attack in Québec City

01/02/2017: Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

  Quebec

 CWI
9th Latin American school a success

31/01/2017: Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

  CWI

Sri Lanka
The year 2017

31/01/2017: Between oppression and struggle

  Sri Lanka

Canada
Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?

31/01/2017: Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

  Canada

US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

  US

Russian Revolution Centenary
January 1917 - On the eve of revolution

29/01/2017: War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

  Russian Revolution

China
CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee

28/01/2017: Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

  China

Afghanistan
The limits of US power

28/01/2017: Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

  Afghanistan

US
Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!

27/01/2017: Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

  US

Russia
Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

  Russia

Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

  India

Millions on women's marches around the world

25/01/2017: Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

  US

Bangladesh
Hartal protest against power plant

25/01/2017: Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

  Bangladesh

Côte d’Ivoire
Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

24/01/2017: Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

  Ivory Coast

Taiwan
US foreign policy under Trump

24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

  Taiwan

US
CWI joins protests around the world against Trump

23/01/2017: Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

  US

US
Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech

23/01/2017: Socialist council member speaks

  US

China
New US President’s approach to China

21/01/2017: Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

  China

Russian Revolution Centenary
New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution

20/01/2017: 1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

  History

Kazakhstan
Regime increases repression

20/01/2017: Citizens forced to register with police at all times

  Kazakhstan

South Africa

Struggle is the answer to women’s oppression

www.socialistworld.net, 12/03/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Ruling establishments have long tried to ‘domesticate’ international women’s day – to shed crocodile tears for the victims of gender oppression

Liv Shange, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa)

Women are at the forefront of the rising struggles which are bound to challenge capitalism, and all the oppressions which may, as in the case of gender oppression, have originated in earlier social systems. In South Africa, women have defied the narrow space set out for them by brutal oppression, and played a key role in the workers’ and working class community struggles which have shaken the country in the last year.

The publicity around the recent brutal rape and murders of Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp have sparked massive outrage against sexist violence across South Africa. According to the Medical Research Council, only one in 25 rapes are even reported in South Africa. Drawing on police statistics, that means an average of 3,600 rapes per day!

Every year, thousands of women are murdered by the men closest to them. This is virtually a silent war against women. Breaking the silence is a good first step, but not enough. Steps towards liberation for the oppressed are won through struggle, and struggle is what is needed to fight back and eventually defeat the oppression of women. But who can take this fight to victory, and how?

Fighting sexism – no priority of this government

While International Women’s Day does not usually receive much attention in South Africa, this year the public outcry against violence against women has forced the African National Congress (ANC) government to talk about it. Unfortunately, we should not expect anything beyond talk. The same government which calls for the arrest of those who abuse and kill women cannot even provide enough DNA kits to police stations, not to mention ensure that a person reporting rape is not abused again by the police themselves!

While lamenting the violence against women, in his 2013 ‘State of the Nation’ speech, President Zuma declared that ‘violent’ protests of workers would be treated as the priority crime. There will be a special prioritised court roll ensuring that striking workers and community members are locked up as quickly as possible. Suppressing the rising mass struggles that pose a threat to their positions and to the hand that feeds them – big business and capitalism – is a strategic priority for government. Ending sexist violence is not.

While anyone, including politicians, will be moved and horrified by the details of the brutality inflicted and the numbing statistics of what sometimes appears like a war against women, in the end, for the ruling class, these are the unsavoury overheads of a system founded on exploitation, abuse and dehumanisation. As genuine as politicians, business people and celebrities may be in their denunciations of this violence, they do not have the solutions, because they are tied up with a system that cannot help but perpetuate gender oppression. The struggle for women’s liberation needs to be led by working class women, supported by working class men, and replace capitalism with a socialist system that can lay the foundation for ending all forms of oppression.

A class question

The high-profile murder of the rich, famous, white Reeva Steenkamp and the rape and murder of the poor, black, working class teenager, Anene Booysen, have led some commentators to preach about women’s oppression as a universal, eternal scourge against which we must all unite. It is true that both rich and poor women, in all countries, are affected by gender oppression in countless ways, of which rape and murder are the most extreme, but it does not affect them equally. For example, a low-paid woman worker (most likely black) who depends financially on her male partner does not have the same possibilities to control her life as her billionaire woman boss (most likely white). While women in or around the capitalist elite suffer gender-based violence, prejudice and discrimination, they also benefit from capitalism’s dependency on working class women’s low wages, unpaid labour, e.g. in the family, that keeps the economy and society going at the cost of women’s health and lives, as well as the division of the working class along gender lines. Unity in the fight against women’s oppression is either unity under a working class banner, or a sentimental exercise in reinforcing illusions in the system.

The ruling elite’s attempts at explaining the horrific violence against women, therefore, often smack of stale moralism. Zuma, for example, has pointed to, amongst other things, the ‘disintegration of the family’, ‘youth not respecting elders’ and single-parenting as causes. This adds confusion, not clarity. The family, in fact, is the main scene for violence against women. Like Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp, many of the 2,500 women who are murdered every year are killed by their intimate partners. Also in most cases of rape, the rapist is known to the victim – a husband, boyfriend, relative, etc.

Calls for harsh sentences and against bail for suspected rapists, women abusers and murderers, like Oscar Pistorius, are welcome. But violence against women is not carried out by deranged monsters, in the main. In a 2009 Medical Research Council study, in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, one in four men admitted to rape. In a 2010 study in Gauteng, one in three admitted to rape and nearly 80% of men admitted violent abuse of women. A majority of girls’ first ‘sexual experiences’, if rape can be labelled as such, are not consensual. Rape and murder are the most extreme forms of gender oppression, which permeates society in countless ways.

Women’s oppression is not an inescapable evil that has always existed and always will. In the long view of human history, it is still ‘news’! Early human societies, where there was no wealth to fight over, attached equal value to all members of the community. Patriarchy – the social order that puts men on top – arose along with class divisions.

Women workers in South Africa on average earn 18% less than their male counterparts. Black women are the majority of the unemployed. These conditions, which see women dependent on men, having their freedom and self-esteem undermined, constitute the hotbed in which sexism and abuse flourish.

Organising the fight back

Denouncing all forms of gender oppression – for example the silencing of women in rural areas, various forms of objectification and commodification of women, name-calling, wife-beating, rape – is a start. The great work of many women’s groups against rape and abuse should be reinforced with mass mobilisation, where organised workers, both men and women, have a key role to play. The fight against rape and murder of women also needs to be linked to a fight for equal pay for equal work, for jobs for all, for shorter working hours without loss of pay, for decent, free education for all, for childcare available for all, for housing, water and electricity for all, for support programmes for all women who try to escape abuse.

Community organisations and trade unions should organise not only for decent service delivery or working conditions but also against domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape. Not seeing or acting against these realities of women members amounts to condoning them.

The Committee for a Workers’ International’s experience shows that girls and women, together with men, standing up, speaking out, organising and mobilising against sexual harassment and domestic violence can have immediate effects in pushing back the abuse. For example, we have organised school students against sexual harassment – marching and picketing, organising political education schools, feminist self-defence classes, demanding better resources for schools, etc. World-wide, it is in the course of women’s struggle and workers’ struggle coming together that gains have been made – women’s right to vote, to go to school and to work, to decide if and when to have children (free abortion), to marry and divorce - are all advances that have been forced out of the ruling class through struggle.

With capitalism stuck in a dead-end, unable to take society forward, and the bosses looking to secure their rule by leaning on increasingly oppressive practices, there are dangers that such gains can be rolled back. In South Africa, the Traditional Courts Bill, which cements the disenfranchisement of women in the rural areas, is an example of this. Schools punishing pregnant learners with expulsion is another. If such threats are not fought against, the balance of power could shift even further against women. But the South African working class has long demonstrated its ability and determination to fight.

Whether the issue is defending jobs, fighting for a living wage or against electricity cut-offs, our struggles need to have a zero-tolerance against women’s oppression and build maximum unity by addressing the issues that can hold women back. Despite beautiful words from all quarters, there is no other force capable of ending the oppression of women.



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NEWS

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

Kazakhstan: Regime increases repression
20/01/2017, Andrei Prigor from Campaign Kazakhstan:
Citizens forced to register with police at all times

US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
CWI organizes protests as millions prepare to fight Trump’s agenda

Portugal: Purge in the Left Bloc
20/01/2017, Ysmail, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal):
6 CWI members expelled in undemocratic attack

India: Struggle against land grab in Pune
16/01/2017, Venkatesh Harale, New Socialist Alternative (CWI in India):
Socialists and villagers wage tireless battle

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution

China: New stage in power struggle
24/11/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Xi Jinping becomes “core leader”