Fawcett Society’s defeat illustrates need for alternative political action…

The news that Fawcett Society have been denied an attempt to challenge the legality of the government’s budget is obviously a blow to the fight for equality. However, it also illustrates some fundamental problems with ‘traditional’ structures and attempts to reform the system instead of radically challenging the social relations that are central to constructing the many inequalities that exist in the system.

It’s common knowledge that the judicial system is hardly gender neutral, nor is it very representative of the less ‘privileged’ sectors of society. The judge may see the bid as ‘academic’, but these cuts will involve a systematic attack on many women’s lives. There are talks of an appeal, but I think there needs to be more consideration of nontraditional forms of protest.

This is why the direct action initiated by the student movement against the cuts is fundamental to a broader anti-governmental protest. It illustrates the need for a radical movement to join in force with groups all across the spectrum. It relates to Murray Bookchin’s work regarding communal and civil relations influencing people’s experiences and resulting direct action and revolutionary activity. Thus, whilst some people may see the anti-educational cuts as an exclusive student movement; it is also a result of broader communal dissatisfaction in areas such as gender. Thus, Fawcett Society, amongst others, should explore the possibilities to appeal, but they should focus on a broader radical approach – we aren’t going to stop things if we primarily work through the system, the system that we are attempting to undermine.

I am no law buff, but there were clear grounds in my opinion for a legal challenge; even the Equality and Human Rights Commission is enacting a report into the nature of the governmental budget in relation to equality. However, there are only so many reports that we can have commissioned to say exactly the same thing; we need to take action that is more immediate and less able to be brushed off by elitist and hegemonic structures (may I add, heternormative and masculine). The budget and the CSR is clearly a gender biased, ideologically driven, traditionally framed programme, which spells out some of the worst cuts we have ever seen.

Enough is enough. For equality, we have to recognise that fighting within these structures will never achieve the type of equality we could hope to gain. Personally, I don’t think we will ever achieve full equality; there will always be the remains of the derogatory traditions that existed in the past – it’s evident in most areas of life. However, to achieve a society where women aren’t expected to do child work, stay at home, work in specific jobs – but at the same time, aren’t denied that right; that is the type of equality we need to strive for. Also, an equality that respects freedom of expression in areas such as sexuality, but which applies human right principles – something I have already talked about. The principles including diversity, social freedom and liberation.

The judge used excuses such as the complaint was lodged too ‘late’; pathetic. Also, the judge ignored that Fawcett’s bid wasn’t trying to get this judge to classify the budget as unlawful, as I understand it anyway. As one person on Twitter pointed out:

“To be clear: Fawcett were seeking permission for a judicial review. That’s been denied.”

Permission for further consideration; not for an out or right condemnation. Correct me if I am wrong; but I think the judge is wrong here. To have a predisposition about the result of a judicial review, would supposedly be against the rule of law. But as I said, there is obvious problems with attempts to go through the ‘proper’ legal channels.

We need to see a growing coordination of the movements; the student’s, the women’s, the disabled people’s, the LGBT’s (and the other diverse sexualities not included in that acronym – such as asexuality), and ethnic minority’s movements. All these groups are set to be hit by these government policies, as are many other groups – and obviously class cuts across this; but we must not view this within a narrow class framework; Bookchin eludes to the problems such a focus would have.

The women’s movement has suffered a blow, but in ways it was to be expected. The legal system is fraught with power structures that pose problems for these often excluded groups, to access justice. Only through civic based and broader based alternative political protests will we strike a real blow to the power structures that reinforce this society’s social relations.


8 thoughts on “Fawcett Society’s defeat illustrates need for alternative political action…

  1. I am trying to work on a very non academic-except when researching-and outcome focused process, so I reacted to your post v simply.

    I’ve devised this process that incs research, campaigning and lobbying to get the job done for minority groups to make more strategic waves when fighting government policies.

    The problem with the Left is that there is too much talk and not enough strategy, so out of frustration of attending amazing discussions but little outcomes, I’ve decided to develop this process.

    My response below:

    Campaign Working Group

    « Fact Sheet: Job sharing / flexible working at Westminster
    Fawcett Society’s defeat illustrates need for alternative political action…

    Fawcett Society’s defeat illustrates need for alternative political action….

    Interesting and topical piece about Fawcetts failure to get the high courts to consider their review on the unfairness to women within the budget.


    1. Women centric groups need to form partnerships with other groups-disabled etc when lobbying.

    2. Too much focus on the Westminster lobbying process and not enough on the grassroots movement.

    3. Looking to the wider picture-Judicial system if inherently white, wealthy and not representative of ‘equality’ groups, which will always prove an obstacle.

    Next Steps:

    1. How do we begin to engage the Womens sector that we’re all in this together and it would help us to work as partners? Is this a funding issue?

    2. More work has to be done at looking at cases where campaigns were won because of dual tactics used-top down and bottom up towards one main coherent goal.

    3. Some of these Women groups are also predominantly ‘white,middle class and educated’, maybe they need to open up and reach out within their own sector. Events need to be developed within this sphere..

    This is a work in progress and will keep you posted as would then finally like to host an outcomes based event with a myriad of women AND men towards gender balance sometime next year which people like you are needed.

    1. Thanks a lot for posting this, it’s really interesting.

      I agree with the way in which you have broken down the post to form basic action points. I think it is fundamental that women’s groups form strong grassroot connections across the various movements, as well moving away from more ‘traditional’ political processes that tend to be framed by gender bias. Also, as you say, there is too much talk, and we need more action!

      Please keep me up to date with this, the outcomes event sounds very interesting and I would be very happy to post a blog advertising it if you would like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s