SWP Facing Problems with Marxism 2014.
Statement Regarding Marxism Festival 2014 and the Socialist Workers Party
Trigger Warning: Discussion on rape-apologism
The Marxism Festival is the annual summer school event of the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP). Our rejection of this year’s request to book rooms at the University of London Union for Marxism Festival 2014 is due to the fact that the Socialist Workers’ Party has, over the last year, proven itself to be a corrupt, rape apologist organisation which prides itself in creating an unsafe space for young women. As elected officers – like many others in the student movement – we see the SWP’s handling of rape allegations against a senior member as a despicable denial of sexism.
Here at ULU we have a clear policy which outlines a zero tolerance stance against sexual harassment and violence. We believe survivors of sexual harassment and aim to offer the best possible support we can. Last year we were angered that the SWP was able to hold Marxism 2013 here but we didn’t not have oversight on what type of organisations hired out ULU. ULU is first and foremost a space for student organisation and we aim to put the welfare of students first. We stated that we were going to bring in measures to ensure that democratically elected officers have powers over ULU conference bookings and we did.
At Marxism 2013, many students and mostly women activists, who attended in order to protest against the SWP, were submitted to verbal and physical abuse by members of the party. This only adds to our concerns for the safety of students at ULU when the SWP is present. Furthermore, criticism of the SWP leadership has been constantly silenced and suppressed at every turn and often met with violent behaviour as well as accusations that it is we who are sexist and sectarian.
The Socialist Workers’ Party has tried to silence any activist within the party who has tried to fight for justice for the women who have been victims of sexual violence at the the hands of the leadership. Instead of supporting those women, the SWP instead started a victim-blaming campaign and protected the perpetrator. To quote a member of the SWP “we aren’t rape apologists unless we believe all women tell the truth, and guess what some women and children lie”.
To the SWP, we say that you are beyond help and progressive debate. You are disgrace to the left and we have no wish to help support any growth in your oppressive organisation. The bottom line is that you do not have any right to use this space, you are not welcome here or anywhere near our union and we will not be harassed by your organisation. As students and activists, we stand united against sexism.
Susuana Antubam (Women’s Officer)
Natasha Gorodnitski (Ethics & Environment Officer)
Maham Hashmi (Black Students Officer)
Thomas Ankin (Disabled Students Officer)
Andy Turton (LGBT+ Officer)
This is utterly, completely, wrong.
I feel strongly about this since I have been at left meetings held at ULU since the mid 1970s.
Ban one, then why not another?
This was particularly lame, they have “no wish to help support any growth in your oppressive organisation.”
Fuck me, lets look at some really oppressive organisations and practices in some fucking oppressive countries.
Noteworthy are the signatures of the following added on the Facebook declaration:
Leah Edwards, Co-President Welfare & Campaigns, SOAS
Fanni Rintakumpu, SOAS Feminist Soc
Resham Akhtar, Co – Women’s Officer – SOAS
So what about this?
As members of SOAS Christian-Muslim Dialogue Society, we oppose your vilification and targeting of university Islamic societies including SOAS Islamic Society on the issue of gender segregation in their events.
We support the right of each student to act according to his or her personal religious convictions. For some, segregated seating serves these convictions and allows participation in mixed events. We support the right of SOAS Islamic Society to accommodate both segregated and mixed seating in any event.
We oppose the notion that segregated seating is somehow indicative of extremism, and believe this to be motivated by Islamophobic sentiments.
As members of a Society including Christians, Muslims, and individuals of other faiths and none, we stand with SOAS Islamic Society in this matter.
A London university’s student union has come under criticism for allowing a pro-female genital mutilation supporter to speak at a debate on campus.
Haitham al-Haddad spoke at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on Monday, despite having previously publicly advocated his support for FGM.
In a video posted on YouTube, he lectures on the importance of knowing female circumcision in the UK is illegal and says there is a “proper” way of carrying out FGM.
“In some countries.. they do [circumcision] a way that cause harm for the female,” he says. “There are some statistics it can cause 25% death of females.. This is called the Pharaonic circumcision.. We are not talking about that. They cut extensively. That is harmful, definitely. But it is consensus of all the scholars that female circumcision is sunnah [proper].
The event was organised by the Islamic Finance and Ethics Society and although al-Haddad spoke about why lending money with interest is forbidden in Islam, several students voiced their concerns at the preacher being given a platform.
Nadje Al-Ali, professor of gender studies at SOAS, told The Huffington Post UK: “I am saddened and angered that the SOAS Islamic FInance and Ethics society had provided a platform for someone who can only be described as a preacher of hate and ignorance.
“Aside from his extremely problematic views on FGM, which would be challenged by most serious Islamic scholars, he is on record of making anti-semitic, sexist and homophobic remarks. Freedom of speech needs to be applied within the principles of not inciting hatred.
It might be interesting to see something Resham Akhtar’s Page about that!
Update: Nothing on SWP Marxism page, literally nothing, no list of speakers to begin with, yet.