Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And you thought Feminism had disappeared?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIt's been a long time since I saw an event organised specifically around socialist feminist politics. So it was refreshing to receive details about this one, and I'm more than happy to give it a plug. It looks very good indeed; I'm given to understand both that men can attend, and that it's not meant to be a specifically student thing (although students are welcome!). The first part of this post is the details for the conference itself, and the second is some information about the organisation that has called it, and its supporters.

FIGHT BACK FOR WOMEN'S LIBERATION

Feminist Fightback is a conference for feminist activists, which will beheld on Saturday 21 October at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

The conference will include a variety of speakers, discussion and activisttraining workshops on themes including sexual liberation, international solidarity and women's struggles as workers.

Planned sessions include:

- Pornography, objectification and freedom of speech- Equal pay, low pay and workers' struggle

- Prostitutes: workers or victims?

- The fight for abortion rights

- planning actions for the next year

- Building campaigning women's groups

- Men's role in anti-sexist struggles

- Against war, against theocracy

- Iranian women fight back

Feminist Fightback is free and open to all, whatever sort of feminist you are or whether you are just interested. We are particularly encouraging trade union and student activists to get involved. The agenda is a work in progress - please give us suggestions!

For more information visit our website, http://www.fightback.org.uk/ or email us on sofie.buckland@nus.org.uk

LAUNCH STATEMENT - FEMINISTS FIGHT BACK

Discrimination and exploitation at work, unequal pay, domestic violence,sexual objectification, denial of reproductive rights, rape, racism, war,poverty and religious fundamentalism... The fight for womens liberation has not yet been won. Womens rights are everywhere under attack, and yetall over the world women are at the forefront of some of the most inspiring struggles for freedom, equality and social justice - as womens' rights campaigners, as community activists and as workers.

Despite our continued desire for freedom and equality, too many women today feel that feminism doesnt speak to them.

Too many people think that feminism is about being made to feel guilty for what we do with our bodies or how we express our sexuality; about a group of experts telling other women how to live; or about a handful of rich and powerful women getting to the top. We think feminism is about ordinary women coming together to challenge sexism in their own lives, and to support women around the world demanding their rights.

We want a feminism that fights. A womens movement that is about activism, not just talk; about grassroots campaigning, not just lobbying; about politics, not just about lifestyle choices; and about liberation for all,not just equality for a privileged few.

The Feminist Fightback conference aims to empower women of all ages tofight back against oppression and exploitation. It is a one day event where women can debate the issues which affect their lives, share their experiences, and, most importantly, develop practical ways in which they can turn feminism into activism.

Feminist Fightback is open to all. Whether you want to share your experiences and ideas as an activist, debate with us about how to end oppression, or just find out more about what feminism means - come and get angry, come and get active, come and help us change the world!

Supporting individuals include:

Prof. Susie Orbach - London School of Economics, author of 'Fat is a Feminist Issue'

Debbie Hollingsworth - Ruskin College students' union women's officer

Rachael Ferguson - Sussex University women's officer

Petra Urwin - SOAS Women's Society president

Teodora Todorova - Nottingham University women's officer

Vicki Ward - University of Wales Lampeter women's officer (Swyddog Merched)

Sofie Buckland - National Union of Students national executive committee

Janine Booth - Hackney TUC president (pc)

Kate Ahrens - Leicester Health Unison (pc)

Camila Bassi - Sheffield Hallam University UCU

Beth Aze - Salford Unison

Faz Velmi - Battersea & Wandsworth Trades Council (pc)

Houzan Mahmoud - Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (UK)

Surma Hamid - London Metropolitan University

Louise Gold - Sheffield University, NUS Women's Committee 2004-6

Laura Sterry - Nottingham University

Laura Schwartz - University of East London

Jo Read - NUS Women's Campaign steering committee

Mary Partington - Education Not For Sale Women

Maddy Evans - Essex University People & Planet

Anna Wolmuth - Oxford University People & Planet

Ruth Cashman - Newcastle University

Ann Marie O'Reilly - People and Planet Steering committee

Charlynne Pullen - Access and Academic Affairs Sabbatical Officer, Oxford University Student Union 2005-6

Louise McMullen - Amicus

Prof. Barbara Taylor - University of East London

Dr. Amrit Wilson - London Metropolitian University

Pauline Bradley - Shop Steward, West Dunbartonshire Unison Scotland

Hannah Roe - Co-Chair of Women's Campaign, Oxford University

Marsha-Jane Thompson - London Unison Young Members' Convenor

Darcy Leigh - Edinburgh University

Sitara Amin Tilly - Alexandra Park Sixth Form, London

Supporting organisations:

Education Not for Sale Women

LRC Socialist Youth Network

Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (UK)

Please add your or your group's name to the statement by emailing team@fightback.org.uk

8 Comments:

Blogger Louisefeminista said...

I will be attending and so will be the Stroppy One. I pleased to see one of the backers for the conference is Amrit Wilson. I remember reading her book years ago about the experiences of asian women in Britain (Finding a Voice)and it is highly recommended.

But.... the question I want to ask is, how independent is this conference? Is it just AWL...

3:54 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

I think the AWL kicked it off, but from looking at it I'd say the sponsors list is very far from only being AWL.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Louisefeminista said...

I hope so. And yes, seeing names like Amrit Wilson attached to the conference is a good omen.

Anyway, will still go as there isn't a Fem conference this year though last year's was disappointing....

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,

FEM 05 was very disappointing. There's an interesting critique on the ENS Women website (I'd post it here but for some reason cut and paste isn't working at the moment!)

It's on the www.socialistfeminist.org.uk front page, entitled: "FEM 05: a wasted opportunity"

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, eh?

I'd say the fact that the AWL initiated this event reflects very well on the AWL and very badly on pretty much every other left organisation, none of which appear to give a toss about socialist feminism any more.

7:17 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

I don't think Louise was having a pop at you, so much as just putting the question.

7:50 AM  
Blogger stroppybird said...

Janine

It is good that someone intiated the event, trouble is if it is associated with one group it can put some people off.

I would hope this could kick start links across all the groups on the issue of feminism and socialism. Perhaps feminists within the left can create an example of how the left can pull together rather than apart.

Soemtimes I can be quite optomistic :-)

2:52 PM  
Blogger Louisefeminista said...

Oh dear, I was not having a go at anyone. I was just interested in seeing how many people who are not connected to the AWL were involved in the conference. I believe it is a fair enough question and as an ex-Trot I know only too well about independency. I am surprised to get a bit of a defensive reaction and it does bring out my own cynicism.

3:26 AM  

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