The Edible Sylvia Pankhurst March 24, 2008Posted by Zenobia in activism.
I found this article via Louise Livesey’s F-Word post on it. Louise was annoyed at Peter Tatchell’s dismissal of the current feminist movement, and I think – though I disagree with the way she worded it in a way that was a bit historically inaccurate – rightly so.
I have to take issue with another part of Mr Tatchell’s article though:
“If Sylvia was alive now, I suspect she’d be leading a left-wing feminist movement, WomenRage! They’d be occupying business headquarters and government offices to demand equal pay for women (it is still only four-fifths of men’s income), free nursery places for every child, and equal representation for women in all leadership positions.
To this end, she would probably endorse the call for electoral reform to create two-member constituencies, where every electorate would be required to vote for a male and a female MP. It is the only sure way to end women’s under-representation in parliament.
Because of her commitment to internationalism, Sylvia would also be prominent in the green, anti-war, human rights and anti-globalisation movements, and support the campaign to cancel Third World debt.”
Whoa, whooooaaa there, hang on a minute, calm down. Sylvia Pankhurst is not Socialist deodorant. You don’t get to wear Sylvia. You probably shouldn’t claim that if she were alive today she’d agree with you or be a prominent member of your organisations. We all love Sylvia very much. However, I don’t think it’s fair to hoard her all to yourself, or for us all to split her into little bits. Sylvia didn’t belong to anyone, she did her work when she was alive – and fine work it was too -, she left a legacy and a responsibility to remember the work she did and try not to shit – or indeed, jizz – all over it. I think we should respect that, don’t you?
I’m unhappy with a lot of major feminist events, but there are a lot of women doing lots of fantastic work locally that just get completely ignored, and to be honest from this I don’t get the impression Peter Tatchell will be happy with them until they recognise all the good he’s done for them and join his organisations.
You know, cause if they don’t, obviously they’re just being silly and unreasonable – a bit of a recurrent subtext in a lot of left-wing groups, I find. I mean, yawn, 40 years ago just called, it wants its debate back. Can we progress a little now please?