In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, Carol Stavris told the Communist Party’s executive at the weekend that violence against women has ‘deep roots in the capitalist system of exploitation’.
‘The position is made worse by inequality, poverty, sexist stereotyping, the commodification of women’s bodies, loss of crucial public services and inadequate support for women and children suffering abuse’, the CP Women’s Organiser declared.
She condemned as ‘reprehensible’ the denial of the right of women to hold a public commemoration for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on Friday evening. Non-violent participants were forced to the ground by Metropolitan Police officers, arrested, handcuffed and put in police vans.
‘Every effort should have been made by the authorities to ensure that the vigil could safely take place’, Ms Stavris commented. ‘We call on the government to reaffirm the legal entitlement of women and men to demonstrate and protest within the necessary Covid safety rules – rights which are severely threatened by provisions in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021’.
Her report to the CP executive committee highlighted the double impact of austerity cuts and the Covid pandemic on women. Citing a briefing produced by the House of Commons Library, she pointed out that 86 per cent of the £94 billion net reduction in public spending since 2010 comes from money that previously went to women. Noting that nine-tenths of nursing staff and three-quarters of NHS non-medical workers are women, the CP organiser urged mass solidarity with their battle to improve the government’s 1 per cent pay offer in England.
The CP executive approved plans for party candidates to contest all five regional lists in the Welsh parliament elections on May 6, two regions and one constituency in Scotland, the regional list in London and at least seven English council seats.
‘This will be one of the biggest Communist election campaigns since the early 1980s, reflecting the upsurge in party membership and activity despite the Covid restrictions on public activity’, according to Election Committee convenor Andy Chaffer.