I am generally against letting the far right set the terms of a debate. That’s why I think calls...
Summer is over and the far-right have not gone away.
On October 13th the far-right Democratic Football Lads Alliance plan to march in London. In the last year thousands of them have taken to the streets, uniting racists from UKIP to Generation Identity. By manipulating information and outright lying, the far-right now present themselves as free-speech campaigners and protectors of women and children from sexual abuse committed by “Muslim” and “Asian” men.
Back in the real world.
We know that sexual assault and abuse aren’t isolated acts of violence. Rape culture is rampant and widespread. Most sexual violence is committed by people that are in our everyday lives – our husbands, boyfriends, ex-partners, priests, sports coaches etc. Ignoring this fact contributes to why women and girls are still not believed and supported when we speak out. What the #metoo movement has made clear is how utterly normalised and widespread sexual and gendered violence and harassment is.
Racism and sexism go hand in hand.
So, why do the far-right use the terms “grooming gangs” and “industrial-scale abuse” for Asian and Muslim men, but make no mention of sexual abuse in the Catholic church or international sports teams? By scapegoating migrants and refugees, the far-right deliberately ignores the fact that sexual abuse happens in every country, culture and community – and in our own homes. Sexual violence will not be stopped by racist solutions such as tightening national borders or making the problem only about men in minority communities, nor a return to “traditional’ gender roles for women. The far-right do not have genuine answers, because this would mean them recognising and confronting the fact that white men continue to hold more power, structurally, in all spheres of our society – whether in politics, our communities or workplaces.
When the far-right are left unchallenged their confidence grows, their messages become more hateful and their ideas more accepted. This is how fascism has begun in the past.
Feminists to the front on 13 Oct.
The Women’s Strike Assembly are calling for a joyful and militant feminist presence to confront the Democratic Football Lads Alliance on Oct 13th. We will disrupt the far-right’s attempt to use our experiences of sexual violence for their racist agenda. It is time to put an end to the lie that all the victims are white women and all the perpetrators are black and Asian men. Far from being weak and in need of “protection”, women in every community are the ones holding families together, putting food on the table and making ends meet. We are powerful, even more so when we take action together.
We are calling on feminists of all genders to come to London on Oct 13th. We need your help to mobilise at least 500 women, trans and non-binary people to form a feminist anti-fascist bloc to lead the counter-demonstration and show the far-right what a feminist response to structural and systemic violence actually looks like. We will hold space, make noise and keep each other safe. There is transport from other cities being organised. On the day there will be childcare and food provided, and there will be information nights across the country in the next month.
Now is not the time to be silent and stay at home.
Let’s make feminism powerful again. Anti-fascism must be feminist, and feminism must be anti-fascist.
Women’s Strike Assembly – London, Birmingham, Cardiff; Kurdish Student Union UK, Plan C – London, Birmingham, Essex, Cambridge, The x:talk project, Sister not Cister UK, Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), Glasgow Anti-fascist Collective, SolFed, Birmingham Anti-Fascists, Feminist Fightback, Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants, Class War Women’s Death Brigade, Sisters of Frida