A credible anti-racism movement cannot be led by rape apologists

Jeremy Corbyn at an SWP-organised event.

[CN: Sexual assault, abuse, racism, sexism]

I am writing this because I’ve been seeing the mental gymnastics practised by Corbyn supporters to defend his actions this weekend. And honestly, I think it’s absolutely pathetic that I have to, as Kimberlé Crenshaw wrote about intersectionality four decades ago and the left should have this down already but apparently it’s hard to support women when you’re a socialist.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, here’s a quick summary: In 2010, it came to light that one of leading members of the UK’s Socialist Workers Party, called “Comrade Delta”, was accused of rape and the SWP went above and beyond to treat this as a “dispute between comrades”. Three additional allegations have surfaced since then, and the SWP lost a lot of credibility and many members for essentially trying to cover-up the whole thing and protect Comrade Delta. The victims never got justice. (A good rundown of the SWP’s history can be read here.)

On October 6th, 2016, Media Diversified called for speakers of the Stand Up to Racism event to boycott it because it was, essentially, an SWP event. They used front organisations to camouflage but it’s pretty clear that this event was organised by rape-apologists. Corbyn’s people apparently told campaign organisers he would not be going to the event this week because of the issues SWP has with sexual assault. But here Corbyn is, at the event.

This is the part where I tell you why that’s not okay. I’ve seen people on Twitter arguing that Corbyn simply had to show his support for an anti-racism campaign due to the current climate and Theresa May’s lovely (not really) speech at the Tory Conference. How can we possibly get any accountability from these organisers when they have shown they protect each other when shit goes down? The problem here is that no credible anti-racist campaign can be run by people who don’t believe women when it comes to assault, because when push comes to shove, the subject of race will always trump the subject of gender. If we are not able to deal with both of these oppressions simultaneously, or as Crenshaw puts it, in a way that is intersectional — your movement is trash and completely useless to women of colour.

Muslim women are generally the ones who suffer the most with Islamaphobia. Women who are in the UK illegally might suffer racial and gendered abuse, but are unable to press charges because of their status. Yarl’s Wood, an immigration detention facility for women, has a documented history of sexual assault and abuse that the government refuses to deal with.

These are just a few examples, but they are all direct results of the intersection of race and gender. How will an anti-racist movement led by people who didn’t believe rape allegations and treated victims of sexual assault horrifically deal with such issues? How can we put a movement that is so badly needed, for men and women of colour, in the hands of people who worked hard to cover-up sexual assault allegations and created a toxic environment for young women?

Guess what, Corbyn and Corbynistas: Women can be immigrants too! And we deserve a movement that is both anti-racist and not misogynist. We deserve a movement that provides for the unique issues our visa statuses and gender generate. We deserve a Labour leader who doesn’t lie to us, silly women, to assuage us and then goes and supports rape-apologists anyway.

As a result of all of this, I no longer support Jeremy Corbyn and will be cancelling my Labour membership. I am extremely disappointed that Corbyn would do this. It’s not only dishonest, but it is sexist. It feels like he lied to keep us all quiet, to calm us down because we are hysterical. And now, his people are trying to gaslight us.

Nope. That’s not happening. We know what happened. Read my words: However horrible the racism in the UK has been post-Brexit (and, let’s face it, even before then), no credible anti-racism campaign can be organised by rape apologists because women of colour will be thrown under the bus. And my revolution doesn’t come at anyone’s expense.

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