Friday, May 15, 2015

The Women's Equality Party

It's started, already it's started. And I'm god-damned tired of it! So this is my rant. Aimed at all the women I know, liberal and radical feminists alike. 

When the announcement of the party was made, I thought "finally! Finally someone is creating a political party with women's rights at the centre of its philosophy!" I felt hopeful. I thought that maybe in the next general election we would have candidates whose campaigns were fought on issues like male violence, funding for women's services, and the extra burden austerity places on poor women. 

But alas, I now fear it's not going to be. Why? Because the party hasn't even got going yet and the infighting has started. And you know what, it all boils down to that classic trick of patriarchy - that women CANNOT disagree and work together. For some reason we expect that a party aimed at representing 50% of the population is going to have philosophies and policies that the ENTIRITY of that 50% will agree with. And when that doesn't happen, women say 'well I'm not joining, they don't represent ME!' 

This is nonsensical to me. Men have been successfully working together whilst fundamentally disagreeing for centuries. It's how patriarchy is still alive, despite racial and class oppression. Black men, poor men, rich white men all somehow manage to set aside their differences in order to collectively oppress women. 

And yet, we seem unable to do the same. The current political parties have well established 'fringes', made up of so called 'back benchers', whose views fundamentally differ from the mainstream party views on several issues. And still, somehow they manage to keep a cohesive enough whole to operate. 

Why can't we do the same? There are issues that we ALL agree on, and interventions that we ALL would back. Yes there are points where our politics diverge and our solutions differ drastically (e.g. Around sex work/prostitution). But even here, we still agree that at the heart we want to protect women. 

The party is in its INFANCY. They are still developing their policies. So we have two options: don't join and sit outside complaining that the party isn't being run how we want it to be. Or, join and influence the policies from the outset. Yes option two means we'd have to compromise, and sometimes some of us wouldn't get what we wanted. But answer me this, last election did ANY political party offer you PERFECT match policies? Or where there issues which you compromised on, to vote for the best of a bad bunch? 

Personally I'm going for option two. I'll compromise. Because at least this party has the potential to make this country a better place to be a woman. Something no other party is even considering, let alone offering.