Are we in danger of emotional and reactionary hysteria over the Roastbusters gang? How do we really effectively fight rape culture?
While we can legitimately criticise the comments of Radio live talkback hosts Wile Jackson and John Tamihere, there is a danger of this snowballing into an emotive and reactionary witchunt. Already we have seen elements of this with the enthusiasm, in some quarters, for violent vigilante action against members of the 'Roastbusters' gang , calls for tougher police action, curtailment of the legal rights of those charged with crimes and censorship of the internet.
There have, inevitably, also been the calls for more 'parental responsibility' which often conceal some reactionary views about the nature of the family unit and the role of women both in the family and in wider society. Such views have nothing to do with the emancipation of women.
It is evident that some very reactionary and unhealthy agendas are piggybacking on the Roastbusters case, much in the same way that the right wing and moralistic Sensible Sentencing Trust will often use high profile murder cases to promote even longer prison sentences and to attack judges they don't think are 'tough' enough.
As a socialist I will always argue that women's oppression is inextricably linked to capitalism and, I think, it is this view that firmly counters the 'lynch mob' mentality or the reactionary views that seek to 'individualise' the problem as simply the lack of parental skills within the traditional family framework.
Dismantling 'rape culture' means dismantling capitalism.
We cannot end rape culture without demanding an end to the profit-driven media industry which systematically objectifies women; without demanding reproductive justice, or health care, or education, or ending poverty. None are possible under capitalism.
And we cannot tackle the oppression of women generally without linking the struggle to the wider class struggle and against all the divide-and-conquer tactics used to maintain capitalism.
In March this year, Green Left TV and Socialist Alliance (Sydney) and Resistance held a seminar on the topic of 21st Century Feminism.
One of the speakers was Green Left journalist Lisa MacDonald. She spoke on the culture of violence that exists in our society and how women can fight collectively to end this culture. Above is the YouTube posting of Lisa's talk.