Women & Socialist Politics
Organisation: Socialist Party
Collection:Abortion and reproductive rights
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

29th April 2013

Many thanks to Joan Collins for forwarding this to the Archive.

This is an interesting document issued by the Socialist Party around 1998 which engages with issues around Women and Socialist Politics.

The introductory piece argues that given the ‘increasing radicalisation of women’ as a part of ‘social struggle’ and that ‘women have been to the forefront in defending their communities against the heroin plague and are playing an increasing role in trade unions, most clearly seen in the Dunnes Stores’ strikes’ that ‘The Socialist Party seeks to be the voice of these fighters who will play a crucial role in the struggle for a new society based on the needs of people rather than profit, thereby laying the basis for genuine equality between women and men’.

It argues that the ‘liberal agenda’, that is ‘the winning of the right to distribute information on abortion, the right to divorce, and more broadly the ending of the Catholic Church’s veto on social legislation are undoubtedly important gains’, but it continues ‘however, it needs to be emphasised that these changes war more the product of broader social change impacting the attitudes and struggles of working class people rather than of the enlightened intervention of middle class intellectuals’. And it argues that ‘the most important point though is that while change has occurred, it is still far short of producing anything remotely approaching equality for women. Nor has the political establishment of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ any perspective for how to achieve the fundamental changes which are needed.

It states that ‘we believe the struggle for women’s rights should be part of the overall struggle for change in our society. It is the bosses system which benefits from the oppression of women’. And it also argues that ‘while fighting for every defence of the gains won by women in the past and for even advance in the present situation, our struggle will continue until we fundamentally change society, to a socialist society where all oppression is ended’ which it argues is the only way of guaranteeing full equality between men and women.

It concludes:

We believe that these are not just aspirations, they are worth fighting for and can be achieved. As the great Irish socialist, James Connolly said; “There are none so fitted to break the chains as those who wear them’.

Other articles argue ‘For progressive social legislation’ with particular focus on the X case, and for action on the issue of violence against women as well as ‘For the full social and economic liberation of women’. In each instance the position of the SP is outlined in some detail. For example in relation to the first it argues amongst other points:

- for legislation to give effect to the ‘X’ case judgement - Remove the constitutional ban on abortion. - Full family planning information and counselling to be provided free of charge through the health service. - No to exporting our problems abroad. For the provision of abortion in Ireland through the health service

The leaflet also outlines SP party policy on the heroin crisis, health and education. And as with much of the material output by the party it concludes with the following:

The Socialist Party stands for a truly secular democratic and socialist society. The Socialist Party stands for taking power out of the hands of the bankers, speculators and wealthy industrialists and transferring it to those who do the work and create the wealth, working class people. We stand for public ownership and democratic socialist planing of the key areas of the economic activity.

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