MPs like Simonn Danczuck are now talking of “direct action” and “more and bigger peaceful protests, more challenging of ministers, more challenging of the police to take action”.
This is because it is beginning to feel like the current inquiry panel was going to be more of whitewash than a genuine expose of “VIP pedophiles”. The chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood stated “I have yet to encounter any survivors themselves who have any confidence in the process, and in the panel, as it is currently constituted“.
Suspicion of Teresa May is understandable given the catalogue of errors so far. However, it seems like what could happen is that the existing set up could be replaced by a statutory inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act which would allow evidence on oath and compulsion of witnesses. Despite the equivocation from the government and the opposition, this is something that socialists should be strongly supporting.
Of course, the idea that we want the police, politicians and the media to investigate the police,politicians and media’s cover up of the rape of children will seem mad to some. Maybe we should be demanding a Workers Inquiry backed up by a Workers’ Militia. Maybe there can be No Justice under capitalism.
But if the left can demand justice for victims of police racism, if it can demand full inquiries into cover ups like Hillsborough, or the murder of Stephen Lawrence, we can do the same for those survivors of abuse who have either been let down by the system, or who’s abuse was actually enabled by the system.
I don’t think the left has a good record on this issue, as I have written about previously. The traditional left press has nothing to say on the matter as usual this week. But Left Unity has policy on supporting protests for justice by survivors.
At the moment, I think this means being prepared to protest in support of survivors demands for a full statutory inquiry. Hopefully, left activists will be contacting survivors groups and offering help with imaginative and sensitive protests at whatever symbols of authority may be relevant.
In the future, I think this also means fighting for access to support services for the huge numbers of survivors of child sexual abuse who have been ignored or silenced for too long. Again, working with survivors groups we need to be protest against every cut in children’s’ services and social care that makes it harder to prevent abuse or offer support to survivors.
“We need to go on the offensive”
Finally, I think that we need to go on the offensive. We should be demanding more resources are made available to help all those that are coming forward for the first time in decades. All children today must be given the right sex education to enable them to at least be aware of the range of abusive situations. Old fashioned misogynist and anti-working class ideas about a certain type of teenage girl being a slut and able to consent to sex must be eradicated from the police and social services so that Rotherham can never happen again.
We may never rid our society of child sexual abuse without a revolution. But if a revolution is to really be a festival of the oppressed it must involve all those silenced, brutalised and marginalised by the system we all are all trying to replace.