Rage, disbelief and above all a deep sense of solidarity were on display at a protest outside the Indian embassy on 7th January. Socialist Party members joined up to 500 women (and a significant number of men) who had gathered in support of India’s recently exploded movement against the heinous crime of rape and the politics and culture that normalise it. Placards raised high on the demonstration had slogans such as ‘don’t blame the victims’. Disgust at the horrific gang rape which sparked the movement was matched by an understanding of the endemic nature of this crime in Indian society. There was more to this crime than a few, extremely bad individual men.
Discussions on the protest were varied, with people clearly looking for answers as to how we can campaign to stop rape and violence against women. Socialist Party members were proud to be able to point out the work of our Indian sister party, New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India), which is taking part in the movement in India. We raised the need to view rape within the context of the sexism which is endemic within societies based on class oppression, and to link it to the struggle against austerity and capitalism.
As well as discussing the movement in India we also raised the need to fight sexism here in Britain. The Socialist Students campaign Rape is No Joke, which is take up the issue of ‘rape jokes’ in comedy, drew widespread support with many signing up to get involved. As the movement continues in India young women and men in Britain and across the world are drawing inspiration from this struggle as well as gaining confidence to fight sexism and oppression in all its forms.
Clare Laker Mansfield