THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 10th November 2017


Sexual harassment is a class issue

THE RIGHT-wing Christian journalist Peter Hitchens last week used his column in the Daily Mail to claim outrageously that those women who are “squawking” about sexual harassment are akin to “Militant Islamists” and that the logical conclusion of their demands would lead to all women wearing the niqab or the full burka as a defence against harassment.

This gives a glimpse into the minds of the spoiled brats of the male-dominated upper classes who squeal like toddlers when a chocolate treat they have taken is removed from their fingers. The toddlers have an excuse in that they simply do not yet understand that everything they see and like is not theirs to just take. Hitchen’s remarks remind us that the spoiled upper-class males have never been corrected in this belief. They still believe that anything, and anyone, they see and like is theirs for the taking, and that anyone who objects to being taken is being unfair to them and is a dangerous revolutionary subversive.

Hitchens though is correct in drawing a link with militant Islamism. Millions of Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding are treated in much the same way as women who are harassed and abused in that if they raise their voices to make any objection at all to the bombing, invasions, ransacking and pillage of their homes in the Middle East, they are labelled trouble-makers or dangerous militants. And so, for a very long time they have been forced to swallow their justified anger and say nothing — just like so many abused women. Some of the younger Muslims have indeed been provoked into joining the really dangerous terrorist organisations that were created by the CIA to undermine progressive governments in Arab countries. Because if you are young and you are called something bad for long enough, you wonder what there is to lose by becoming that bad thing.

And this is all because the elite white males see oil reserves and other resources of Arab countries as theirs for the taking — just like the women and the chocolate. And Arab, African, Asian and Latin American countries and their peoples are theirs to play with, like toys or computer games.

Theresa May has launched a cross-party campaign to draw up a new set of conduct rules for the Houses of Parliament after a deluge of claims of sexual harassment in varying degrees from women working there. She seems relieved for the moment to have something to divert her attention from the Brexit negotiations, her dwindling majority and the looming catastrophe of Universal Credit.

She has been engaging with women MPs from other parties to discuss a code of conduct in which those coming forward to complain of sexual harassment are taken seriously and not just shut up by their own senior party officers for fear of “rocking the boat” and “making trouble”. May herself has in the past been responsible for trying to keep this sort of scandal under wraps. The women MPs seem to agree that a proper complaints procedure is necessary, as in most modern workplaces — a success from the trade union movement.

There have been some complaints about Labour MPs as well — a sign of how much the individuals in question have taken on the mindset of the ruling class — that high office gives them personal power over other people. But most of the complaints are about Tory MPs who still cannot see that the problem lies with their bad behaviour, not with the people who rightfully complain about it. Some of them are bleating that their behaviour used to be acceptable and they have not got used to the modern ways — as though refraining from assaulting others was some sort of new fashion. Such behaviour was never acceptable, but privileged and powerful men got away with it because the victims were afraid to speak out.

Nevertheless, a proper complaints procedure must also take into account the possibility that allegations can be made for political reasons — in the same way that false allegations of anti-Semitism have been made to try to divide Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party.

This danger comes across when we see BBC interviewers whenever a scandal about a Tory MP is being discussed insisting: “And Labour MPs too...”

But if May wants to bring in a safe complaints procedure that is fair to all she need only consult our trade unions.