Facing Reality’s piece on “Silence of the Left – child sexual abuse” eventually, via another piece after Rotherham, and a meeting with a difference for Left Unity, eventually led to the possibility of something practical. Facing Reality put a motion to his Left Unity branch, who improved it, and got it passed at Left Unity’s national conference without F.R. having to be there.
It shouldn’t have been controversial. But the “Communist Party of Great Britain” refused to support it, leading to one member “fearing for his personal safety“. They even went to some length in their
Left Unity conference report newspaper explaining what was wrong with it!
So, what was their problem – apart from their Obsessive – Compulsive Abstenstion – Disorder?
Why survivors need to be in the driving seat of any campaign
Well, firstly, we didn’t specify what our precise demands should be so they’d be voting for “nothing”.
But the whole point of what my blog, and Left Unity are saying is that we do not know exactly what resources are needed to help the hundreds of thousands of mainly women survivors of sexual abuse in childhood. Tiny groups like the CPGB and even just small ones like Left Unity cannot know what it would cost to help survivors deal with what was done to them. However, a left group can try to bring together those working in the field together with survivors groups to come up with a “needs budget“.
To pretend that The Party alone must have The Answers was always daft. But with this issue, it would be disgusting to not put those who have been silenced for so long in the driving seat of any campaign Also, it is only by focusing on the self-defined needs of survivors that we can avoid the political opportunism of those on the right who only raise abuse when the perpetrator is someone they don’t like. (The left must not fall into the same trap just because Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet covered up abuse.)
(Of course,if the CPGB or anybody else have already formulated a list of demands to mobilise people around, please put it in the comments section and I’ll make a list of links at the end of this piece)
Why we need socialist feminist theory of child sexual abuse
Part of the inspiration for my original post was the lack of any detailed Marxist or socialist analysis of child sexual abuse. I’m not qualified to provide that, but there is clearly a need for some work here. I was surprised that the CPGB, who presumably believe that Marxists should have theoretical discussions, seem to think that our understanding of the issues should aided by people who “possess deep expertise within the domain rather than their political convictions”. Perhaps this is why the CPGB have had as little to say about the issue as most of the rest of the Left. But personally, I would find it useful to see what those who understand women’s oppression and the construction of childhood within the framework of class societies as having something useful to say.
(If the CPGB or any other group can post a link to the comments showing me where this worked out theory is, I’ll post it to this blog. Perhaps I just haven’t been able to find it yet)
Anyway, thankfully the motion was passed. Left Unity members should be in a good position to make or strengthen contacts locally and nationally with a view of campaigning for justice without being tainted by accusations of hypocrisy and/or opportunism. So its time for this blogger to send a few emails to see if we can initiate some local action.