Given the furore that erupted over the alleged rape in the Socialist Workers Party a couple of years back you would think the left and the far-left in particular would have learn't a lesson from all this. But no, it seems that some "comrades" remain oblivious to women's rights.
In Australia there have been allegations of abuse that have led to the resignation of 14 members from the Socialist Party including one of their local councillors. They have issued the following statement:
This is an announcement of resignation from the Socialist Party, Australian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).
We, the undersigned, refuse to be party to the cover-up of allegations of violence against women and will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse.
Over recent months we have watched the organisation we built be torn apart by attacks on a woman comrade for coming forward with serious allegations of abuse by a leading male member. We believe such allegations should always be investigated with seriousness and sensitivity, while open to scrutiny and democratic oversight. Instead, we have witnessed an attempted cover-up, defence of the alleged perpetrator and disgraceful treatment of the alleged victim.
As committed socialists and Marxists, we consider this an unforgivable breach between theory and practice. We have a proud history of fighting to end the oppression of women in society. We have published important material on the many ways women are oppressed by capitalist society and have expressed solidarity with the many movements throughout history that have fought and challenged this oppression. However, this important work will amount to nothing if we tolerate the silencing of women within our own ranks.
We are entering a new period of history where self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are inspiring people into political action and shaking up the capitalist system. A whole new generation is discovering the ideas of democratic socialism. Socialists should welcome them with open arms. But this can only be done on the basis of taking a principled stand against all forms of oppression.
The struggle for a socialist society – a society that puts the interests of people before profit – must be founded on the understanding that we cannot challenge capitalism while condoning violence against women within our movement. We must oppose all forms of oppression on the basis of class, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexuality.
We have a world to win through struggle, solidarity and socialism. We intend to fight for it.
Emma Da.Toby DSue M
The Socialist Party (Australia) are connected via the Committee for a Worker International (CWI) to the Socialist Party (ex-Militant Tendency) in the UK