Savita’s tragic death 10 years on–Socialist Feminism is the way forward

Text of Socialist Party leaflet for tomorrow’s protest to mark the 10th anniversary for Savtia’s death.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Savita Halapannavar, a horrific tragedy that sparked a major social movement for bodily autonomy and equality. This culminated in the historic victory for Repeal and pro-choice legislation in May 2018, which resonated worldwide and gave further impetus to the global feminist revolt. 

Backward establishment 

We should never forget who won this victory, and who didn’t. Mass campaigning and protests by women, LGBTQ and young people, the direct-action initiatives of ROSA around the abortion pill, directly highlighted that abortion was a reality in Ireland, and general pressure from below won this victory. It certainly wasn’t the parties of the capitalist establishment in the form of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens.

At best they dragged their feet on this issue, at worst they actively blocked and opposed referendums on repeal itself. Since 2018, they have continued to facilitate church control over education and health, and block consent-based, LGBTQ-inclusive sex education. 

In fact, Dr.Peter Boylan has pointed out in the last week that the influence of the Catholic Church in health is growing, €1 billion per annum is gifted from the state to the hospitals it controls. 

They stand for a system that has:

–          Created the fertile soil for the misogynistic, LGBTQ-phobic and racist right-wing ideas like those of Trump, Bolsonaro or Andrew Tate.

–          Resulted in the richest 252 men on our planet having more wealth than all of the women and girls in Africa, Central America and South America combined.

–          Created a cost of living and housing crisis due to the profiteering of developers and big businesses. This is having a particularly detrimental impact on women in one-parent families, and those in violent intimate partner or abusive family situations.

This system is capitalism. It’s one built on oppression, inequality and exploitation.  

Right-wing backlash

In the supposed “land of the free”, the largest capitalist power in the world, the unelected US Supreme Court has overturned Roe V Wade and launched a historic attack on abortion rights. The CCP capitalist regime in China is likewise clamping down on abortion and LGBTQ rights at a time when it is faced with an unprecedented crisis. 

There is a right-wing offensive taking place against movements against oppression such as #MeToo and #BLM, they are being attacked, vilified and dismissed as a “woke culture”. In Ireland, in recent months, we have seen the Irish Times, Independent Newspapers and RTE propagate blatant transphobia or give a platform to those who wish to do so.

“Woman, Life, Freedom”

As we march here in Dublin today the movement against Iran’s theocratic government is about to enter its seventh week. In the wake of the horrific murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman killed by Iran’s “morality police”, women and young people have led the way in courageously challenging this dictatorial regime. A new generation is saying no to the policing of their bodies.

This has sparked a broader movement against the Iranian state’s clerical rulers that has united workers and young people from different ethnic and national groupings. Workers in Iran and Kurdistan have taken industrial action that has brought sections and society to a halt. Inspiringly, it has sparked solidarity protests in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan and the regime is potentially teetering on the brink of collapse. 

Socialist feminist struggle 

This movement is a testament to the fact that a multinational, multi-ethnic and multi-gendered active movement of working class and young people has the power to bring about a revolutionary change in our society. 

We do not have to accept the world our capitalist rulers have given us: systemic inequality, murderous wars and the destruction of our ecosystem. We can overturn their rotten order and build a humane, democratic and socialist society, one built on solidarity and equality in which the collective ownership and democratic control of society’s wealth can allow each and all of us to flourish.

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