NorSCARF’s June meeting was held online again due to the pandemic, and this month we were joined by writer, historian and activist Louise Raw. Louise is a frequent contributor to the media and at cultural and labour movement events. She is author of ‘Striking A Light’ about a women-led strike within a matchmaking firm, and is organiser of the Matchwomen’s Festival which celebrates the role of women in historic fights for social justice.
Louise spoke for NorSCARF on the theme of ‘Women and the far right’ and provided fascinating insight into how women are viewed within far right ideas, and how women have been involved in fight backs against fascism and repression. Here’s the audio recording.
Looking back over a one-hundred year period, Louise took us from Ethel Carnie Holdsworth’s contributions to the birth of British anti-fascism in the 1920s, to the sexual assault of suffragettes and other women protesters by police. She described the Nazi idea of Kinder, Küche, Kirche (Children, Kitchen, Church) which firmly set women’s oppression within fascist ideology, and the prominent role of women during the Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists.
In a more contemporary context, Louise spoke about the dangerous rise of misogynistic ideas and the continued prevalence of women’s oppression within far right ideas today. Whether it be abusers such as the English Defence League’s Tommy Robinson and Britain First’s Paul Golding, or ‘incels’ such as Elliot Rodger who put anti-women ideas at the heart of his abhorrent killing spree. Similarly, within governments, Louise spoke about far right agendas in the USA, Brazil, Hungary, and Poland, where repression of female workers within domestic violence and abortion services is common.
Much of the meeting involved attendees speaking enthusiastically about women fighting back, using examples such as the #MeToo movement, the North Staffs Miners Wives, and the prominence of women within the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The main message of the meeting was that women are always key players in fighting for justice and resisting oppression in all its forms. And Louise was keen to remind us that it was a woman – Dolores Ibárruri – who gave rise to the ubiquitous call of anti-fascists across the world;
Listen to Louise’s talk here.