Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

I read Margaret Atwood’s book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ while delivering a sailing yacht across the north Atlantic. Between watches I shared the book with one of my crew, too gripped by the horrific content to wait until she had finished reading it. The really sick thing is that a national emergency created the perfect timing for a ruthless authoritarian coup to strip women of their rights and that component remains a distinct possibility right now due to the Covid Pandemic. We have already seen far-right Governments within Europe legislate to remove women’s rights. The single most powerful political weapon is to strip away the rights of half the entire population of a country and embolden the other half to express their grievances with failed Government policies by persecuting strong outspoken women; it is the ultimate divide and conquer’ tactic and shockingly, it is going global! Now that we have a Tory Sovereign Dictatorship in the UK, how long will it take them to weaponize Covid even further to emulate other despotic regimes?

The evidence that this powerful assault on Women’s rights is growing is featured in a Byeline Times Article entitled “IWD 2021The Global Anti-Rights Networks Behind Madrid’s Anti-Feminist Rally.” Sian Norris warns us of “A virtual protest organized by Spain’s Women Of The World Platform is part of a global assault on women’s and LGBTIQ rights.” Featured “On International Women’s Day, the Women of the World Platform will hold its annual anti-feminist rally. The event will take place virtually due to Coronavirus restrictions. Attendees are rallying under the banner ‘Wo + Men: With the Other Half of the World’ and are encouraged to ‘stop for a moment to remember what is the feminine identity, so different from the masculine one, and that both are complementary’.” She says that “Complementarity is a concept on the religious-right that essentializes men and women into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’.”

Norris explains that this “Is linked to the concept of ‘gender ideology,’ a term invented by the Vatican in the 1990s to attack and undermine women’s and LGBTIQ rights. It portrays gender as an invented concept that is dangerous and destructive for children, families and society at large. Women of the World Platform (not to be confused with the feminist WOW festival) claims that feminism has been ‘derailed’ and is ‘hatred of men, it is victimhood, it is supremacy, it’s a struggle of the sexes, a rejection of motherhood’. It promotes a ‘reverse sexism’ narrative which states that quotas and anti-sexual harassment campaigns mean that men are the real victims of sexism. The strategy of ‘modern sexism,’ sexism against men, has also been adopted by Spain’s far-right Vox party which campaigns against abortion and LGBTIQ rights, and laws protecting women from gender-based violence. Vox and its allies claim that gender-based violence does not exist and that it should just be referred to as ‘violence’.”

Norris elaborated on “The Women of the World Platform was founded in the early 1990s by Profesionales por la Ética. It is a coalition of anti-choice, ‘family rights’ groups from around the world, including Real Women of Canada, Pro Vita in Romania, and Pro Vita & Famiglia in Italy, In The Name Of The Family in Croatia, Peru’s Pro Mujer, Moms For America, Kenya Christian Professionals Forum, and more. The Platform has attended the anti-rights World Congress of Families, (WCF) where it met the Real Women of Canada before becoming partners. The WCF is an event that brings together anti-abortion, anti-LGBTIQ organizations to swap strategies and has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. All of the organizations a campaign against women’s rights to safe and legal abortion, including in countries where abortion remains illegal, such as Fundacion Vida SV in El Salvador.”

Norris reported that “The Women of the World Platform also partners with CitizenGO, a global anti-rights campaign with links to Spain’s far-right parliamentary party, Vox. CitizenGO presents itself as a community of active citizens working together to defend and promote life, family and liberty. It is famous for its online petitions against same-sex marriage, sex-education and abortion, while promoting a conservative Christian agenda. The WCF’s founder Brian Brown is on its board, along with Russian Orthodox oligarch Alexey Komov. The campaign group works across three different continents and has more than nine million followers, making it a major global force in the anti-rights movement. Its connections to far-right political parties go beyond Vox to include Germany’s AfD, Lega in Italy and Fidesz in Hungary. In 2019, it was accused of being a US-style ‘super pac‘, driving voters towards far-right parties in the European Parliament elections.”

According to Norris “CitizenGO’s campaigns cover a range of issues. In 2019, for instance, a petition was launched to protest against LGBTIQ characters in Disney films. In the UK, it is currently campaigning to prevent the extension of telemedical abortion in early pregnancy. Disney films aside, CitizenGO focuses most of its energy on opposing so-called ‘gender ideology’, in concert with its founding group HazetOir and Agenda Europe. It campaigned to prevent the European Parliament from adopting the Estrela Report, which would have obliged EU member states to teach comprehensive sex and relationships education in schools. The report was replaced with a more conservative approach. It was also involved in promoting the European citizens’ initiative One Of Us, aimed at undermining women’s rights to abortion.”

Norris reported that “In collaboration with Vox, HazteOir and CitizenGO have campaigned to implement a ‘parental pin‘, which requires parents to expressly authorize their children to attend sex and relationships education which they claim equates to ‘indoctrination of gender ideology’. A spokeswoman for the women’s rights organization Women’s Link Worldwide told Byline Times that CitizenGO uses legal avenues to try and roll-back abortion rights. ‘It has been very active against service providers on abortion rights,’ she said, citing examples such as when CitizenGO campaigned to defund the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It currently has a petition supporting attempts to get Spain’s Constitutional Court to rule on an appeal by the right-wing Popular Party against a 2010 legal change that allowed abortion on demand.”

Noris reports “What we see here is similar to what is happening in other countries and similar to what happened in Poland,’ the spokeswoman added, referencing the recent ruling in Poland’s Constitutional Court that extended the country’s abortion ban.” She describes “A Global Anti-Rights Campaign” saying “These groups are very well-connected and they are replicating their strategies all around the world,’ the Women’s Link Worldwide spokeswoman told Byline Times. ‘We have seen CitizenGO replicate its strategies from Spain in other countries, particularly around sex education.’ This includes transplanting its campaigning and legal strategies to countries in East Africa and Latin America. In 2018, in Kenya, CitizenGo launched a petition that helped to close 23 Marie Stopes International abortion clinics in the country. Abortion is illegal in Kenya except when there is a threat to the mother’s life. It also launched a petition against comprehensive sex education in the country.”

Norris warns that “The tactics employed by CitizenGO echoed its actions in Spain and the EU. In Argentina, where abortion was finally legalized in December 2020, CitizenGO via HazetOir is linked to the anti-abortion Catholic association Centro Nacional de Oración. The organizations are also connected to the highly-secretive, ultra-Catholic Mexican sect El Yunque. Back to Spain, the spokeswoman from Women’s Link Worldwide expresses her concern about what could happen if these anti-rights organizations and their far-right allies in Vox succeed. ‘We have already seen this roll-back in the winning of Vox,’ she told Byline Times. ‘We have seen what happens in other countries, in America, in Poland. They are examples of what can happen if we don’t stop this’.”

The assault on women’s rights is not as extreme here, yet! But in the Canary Article entitled “The pandemic must not be used to force women’s rights back to the 1970s,” Jasmine Norden presents a few positive achievements before warning of the potential for retrograde steps. She said “On International Women’s Day, there’s lots to celebrate in terms of the movements for gender equality around the world. There’s been great progress in some places during the pandemic: Argentina’s abortion legalization signified a huge victory for reproductive rights; Donald Trump was voted out of office; a transgender woman achieved a landmark victory for transgender rights in the US. However, there has been a more sinister effect of coronavirus (Covid-19) for women.”

The Canary say that “Increasingly, reports are finding that women are taking on the majority of childcare and home schooling, and have also been more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic. This has led to fears that the pandemic has hampered progress in gender equality. As a result, we must take extra care to ensure coronavirus recovery includes planning for recovering equality. Reporting on ‘Childcare and home schooling,” they point out that “In July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures showing that women spent significantly more time on childcare in a day. A third of women subsequently said their mental health had suffered because of home schooling. A further study by University College London (UCL) found that women were more likely to have given up working to look after and educate children during lockdowns.”

The Canary quoted “Emla Fitzsimons, a research author and professor at UCL’s Institute of Education, said: Many mothers who have put their careers on hold to provide educational support for their children will need to adjust again once schools reopen and the furlough scheme tapers off. These figures show that women who have reduced work hours to help their children will need support to get back to the workplace. While reports show men are taking on more housework than they did decades ago, we cannot settle for women being the default for childcare responsibilities. Children are returning to school, but the future remains uncertain as to whether they will stay there; men must step up to take on an equal share of childcare.”

According to the Canary “In addition, women have also been more likely to lose their jobs or be furloughed during coronavirus. Women are more likely to work in sectors such as hospitality, arts, and retail, which have been more likely to have to lay off workers over the course of the pandemic. For example, Debenhams and Arcadia, both recently bought by online companies, are likely to shed most of their store employees. At those stores alone, 77% and 84.5% of staff respectively were women. In the arts and entertainment sector, there was a two-fifths drop in the number of Black women working. This leaves many women in a precarious position.” The Canary warns that this “Further risks decades of progress in increasing women’s representation in the workforce. In this case, the government has the power to tackle this by maintaining furlough as long as it takes industries like hospitality to get back on their feet. This would protect industries from having to shed jobs that are likely to be held by women.”

The Canary report that “Most terrifyingly, coronavirus has led to an increase in domestic abuse across the world. The UK saw a 49% rise in domestic abuse calls made to the police in just the first month after restrictions began. The United Nations (UN) has called the increase in domestic violence a ‘shadow pandemic’, urging global action to address the increase as countries map out recovery. While the government has announced £19m in funding to tackle domestic abuse, domestic violence charity Women’s Aid has called for more funding from the UK government to help women effectively. Women’s Aid chief executive Farah Nazeer said: Specialist women’s domestic abuse services continue to face a funding crisis, with funding cuts and poor commissioning decisions failing to keep them secure.”

The Canary says that “Women’s Aid estimates that £393m is required for lifesaving refuges and community-based services in England, alongside ring-fenced funding for specialist services led ‘by and for’ Black and minoritized women, disabled women and LGBT+ survivors. However next year only £165 million will be delivered, with an additional £19 million announced today for work with perpetrators and ‘respite rooms’ for homeless women. We urge the government to provide further details of this funding, as it’s unclear what ‘respite rooms’ are. This shortfall of over £200 million will mean that women and children will be turned away from the lifesaving support they need. Without action, women are increasingly suffering violence in their own homes. We cannot allow this pandemic to mean less support for them.”

The Canary asks “What does this mean for equality? In a recent survey by Mumsnet, more than half of the respondents said they believed gender equality was ‘in danger of going back to the 1970s,’ a horrifying thought. If we look to previous health emergencies, the outlook is bleak: one year removed from Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak, 17% of women have returned to work compared to 63% of men. An outbreak of Zika in Brazil five years ago still sees 90% of women who have a child with Congenital Zika Syndrome out of work. With that possibility in front of us, we must take this as a call to lobby for women’s rights globally, in the home and in the workplace. The fight for gender equality is a fight parallel to and inseparable from the justice called for by the Black Lives Matter movement, by campaigns for economic equality, we cannot allow it to go backward.”

In the Canary Article entitled “On International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at one of the strongest women’s movements in the world,” they examined one of the world’s greatest female success stories. She noted that “Perhaps the strongest women’s movement in the world right now is the Kurdish Women’s Movement. On International Women’s Day, The Canary takes a look at these revolutionary women. Kurdish women came to world attention in 2014, gaining global media headlines in their fight against Daesh (ISIS/Isil) in Rojava, Syria. Yet, as is typical in a patriarchal society, western media outlets usually depicted the Kurdish Women’s Movement as young, beautiful twenty-somethings with guns, even appearing in women’s magazine Marie Claire. But Kurdish women, from the young to the very old, were struggling against patriarchy and fascism for decades before Daesh existed.”

The Canary report that “Kurdish people are the largest stateless group on Earth. Most live in the geographic region of Kurdistan, which lies within Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Kurdish people have experienced generations of oppression in all four countries, from Saddam Hussein’s Anfal genocide in Iraq, to the torture and disappearance of hundreds of thousands of people and the burning of villages in Turkey. Sakine Cansız. Yet this oppression contributed to the creation of one of the largest women’s struggles in the world in the Kurdish regions within Turkey and Syria. One of the biggest icons of this struggle is Sakine Cansız. She was a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 1978 with Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK began an armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984. Kommun Academi writes: Sakine Cansız was tasked by the leadership to build the women’s movement, a duty that she took very close to her heart.”

The Canary says of Cansiz that “She single-handedly managed to gather large groups of young women, often students, for discussion and educations. On November, 27th 1978 only at the age of 20, Sakine Cansız became one of the two female co-founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, when she participated in the party’s founding congress. Cansız was imprisoned and tortured in Diyarbakır prison from 1979-1991. Kommun Academi continues: The resistance of Sakine Cansız in Diyarbakir prison led to a new approach towards women in Kurdish society. It encouraged women to join revolutionary structures in the cities and moved women towards politicization in the villages. Starting with her prison resistance, Kurdish women’s activism gained increasing respect and support among the popular masses. After her release from prison, Cansız continued in the PKK, and later as an educator of the Kurdish Freedom Movement in Europe.”

The Canary report that Cansiz “Was murdered in Paris in 2013, along with Leyla Şaylemez and Fidan Doğan, both central women in Kurdish organizing.” They say that after “Decades of organizing” and “Long before the 2012 Rojava revolution in northern Syria, the Kurdish movement was developing structures for radically changing how society was organized. If you speak to any women in Kurdistan, they will tell you that this struggle didn’t start during the Arab Spring, or in the fight against Daesh. It began more than 40 years ago, though women such as Cansız, who organized tirelessly from prison. Democratic confederalism, an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-state ideology, was created by Öcalan from his prison cell. Democratic confederalism ensures that power that would usually be held by governments is given to people at the grassroots level. Local communes were set up within the Kurdish part of Turkey in 2007, empowering people to make decisions over areas of their lives.”

The Canary say that “In Syria, people began putting the ideas of democratic confederalism into practice in 2005. Within the Kurdish Freedom Movement, women’s councils, academies, and cooperatives have been created, while positions of power are always held by co-chairs, at least one of whom identifies as a woman. A crucial ideology within the Kurdish Freedom Movement is jineoljî, or women’s science. A role of jineoljî is to transform the patriarchal mindset: The patriarchy of the government, which has constructed itself on the basis of women’s bodies, feelings, ideas, beliefs and labour, intervenes constantly in our daily lives. It invades our space with violence, exploitation denial, murder and creating illusions. As important as tearing off these masks and organizing a strong self-defense against these patriarchal attacks is the construction of a mindset. Jineoloji, which we have reached by setting out from a paradigm based on freedom, will succeed in achieving this.”

The Canary reported that “Cansız and the many other women who have died in their struggle for women’s liberation, continue to be a source of inspiration not just in Kurdistan, but around the world. Within Turkey, thousands of Kurdish women continue to be imprisoned, including Leyla Güven (to the right of the photo at the top of the page), who survived a 200-day hunger strike in 2019. The women currently imprisoned gain their strength from those who have struggled before them. In the UK, Kurdistan Solidarity Network Jin (‘Jin’ means ‘women’ in Kurdish) released a statement for International Women’s Day. They said: As feminists, we know that struggle involves work and it involves love. It is militant just as much as it is joyful. Whether we look to you, our sisters and comrades who have been imprisoned by the Turkish state, to the women fighting in the mountains of Kurdistan, or the women building new ways of life across society in all four parts of Kurdistan, we see this same love and dedication in their actions.”

The Canary Continued with the bold statement: “We join your call to continue the struggle, to stand side by side as free women and raise our voices, to oppose all forms of injustice and fascism, to strive for building a society where justice and equality prevail and where the rights and dignity of women are respected. We call for unity and solidarity, against femicide and in defense of a free life and free society everywhere. United we will overcome. We salute you and wish you peace and strength. ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ is an important slogan of the Kurdish Women’s Movement. On this International Women’s Day, we must stand in solidarity with all women like Güven, locked up as political prisoners, and we must remember all those who have died in their fight against misogyny and patriarchy.”

The achievements of these brave Kurdish women set a powerful example to the world of a stable genuine democracy built inclusively, from the bottom up, around the principles of progressive Socialist equality for the mutual benefit of the entire population. The Covid Pandemic has exposed grotesque inequalities that the Tories have capitalized on in the determined race to the bottom. I expect the pitting of one set of workers against another to ramp-up industrial strife, plus the rivalry between privileged and abandoned communities and the racial ‘othering’ will also increase, but the most powerful political oppression would be to strip away women’s rights disempowering half the population to ‘divide and conquer.’ Strong evidence of corruption and demanding a full Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election could derail this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. We must protest on mass, challenge in Court and take such action immediately before the UK joins far-right Hungary, Poland and Turkey to inflict decades of oppression on us. NOT MOVE ON!