Originally published 12 March 2021 updated 17 March 2021
Go to the main Socialist Party page for articles about the vigil for Sarah Everard and reports from around the country, and our policy statements. This is an extract of London-based reports.
Also see the Socialist Party International Women’s Day rally which took place on 7th March 2021.
Clapham Common: We will not be silenced
Socialist Party members went down to the protest in Clapham to demand the ending of violence against women.
We should be safe in our own homes, at school or work, on transport, going for a run or walking down the street. Free from sexual assault or harassment. These protests are an important part of that struggle and amazing to be part of.
Social distancing isn’t properly implemented inside many workplaces, trade unions have had to fight to protect members at work. The police haven’t arrested these bosses.
But when women and men protest for safety the police wrestle them to the ground and arrest them. It’s the hypocrisy of a capitalist system which defends profit over everything else.
I went to the Clapham Common protest/vigil because I was outraged. The abuse of power and the gender politics enabling that behaviour.
It really hit a nerve as a woman knowing that it was not an isolated incident. Sexual harassment and assault is an inevitability in our lives. Despite the great strides for liberation that we have fought for, in a capitalist society our entire beings will always be commodified and some men will have a sense of entitlement to our bodies. That is terrifying and heartbreaking.
The vigil was a perfect mix of solemn respect and rightful outrage. It was an incredibly powerful environment, chants and banners, candles and bowed heads.
The strong police presence was insulting but totally unsurprising. The flowers on the floor outnumbered them anyway.
North London: Solidarity with bold organisers
I joined the Priory Park vigil in north London to demonstrate solidarity with the organisers who boldly continued with the vigil despite police calls to shut it down. By going I was protesting for all those who have not only endured abuse, harassment and violence but then been silenced by institutions that claim to protect us, such as the police.
Stop the Cuts!
by Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party and TUSC
I remember when underground trains in London had a carriage in them with a dedicated guard. If you were your own, or if the carriages were empty (and scary), you would get in that one. They got rid of this service. A service that kept us safe seemed too expensive, and now they want to do this on the overground.
Street lights have been turned off and turned down everywhere. Last year my street lights plunged us into darkness, we had to threaten not paying the housing association our service charge because nurses coming home late felt scared getting out of their cars. It took them 6 months to fix it. All the time they took our service charge.
Women have less financial security due to austerity, cuts and capitalism, all contributing in cultural changes and power dynamics within relationships, this affects our safety.
Yes, men have to change, but then so do some female politicians who think it’s acceptable to cut the services that make us safe and then claim that they speak for women like me. They don’t.
We don’t want fine words. We need:
- Better street lighting
- Fully funded, safe and affordable public transport system
- More spending on support services for victims of abuse and rape
- Democratic community control of the police
I think Met police chief Cressida Dick should go after the police treatment of the 13 March vigil. It illustrates the bankruptcy of the call to just get as many women at the top, and all our problems will be solved. We need system change and that system needs to be socialist. We cannot trust pro-capitalist politicians, instead we must fight for a socialist alternative to sexism, inequality and the crisis of capitalism.