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Women’s Assembly: how not to organise

On 22 February around 200 women attended the Women’s Assembly in London. Joy Macready reports

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Tightly stage-managed by Socialist Action and Counterfire, the top-table speakers were predominantly Labour, Green Party and trade union officials – none of whom were leading the fightback against the cuts. The sole activist was Louise Irving of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign.

Not one concrete proposal or new campaign came out of this conference. There was no talk of action or future Assemblies; at the end, everyone patted themselves on the back just for turning up.

A telling indication of what class of women the organisers were aiming at was that there was no crèche to help working class women to participate. And that was reflected in those that came: mainly older women, and not that many rank and file union militants or community activists.

This is definitely not what is needed to build a fight back against austerity. We need a working class women’s movement built democratically from the bottom up by those involved in daily struggles and strikes, not by bureaucrats. We need to involve local activists, women’s groups and federations, as well as building a fighting movement within the trade unions through rank and file women’s caucuses and conferences.

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