The following is a letter written to the Guardian, in response to an interview with Unite leader, Len McCluskey:
Len McCluskey says that the security forces are “involved in dark practices” to discredit Jeremy Corbyn (Len McCluskey: intelligence services using ‘dark practices’ against Corbyn, 23 July, andhttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/25/len-mccluskey-adds-context-to-his-comments-on-mi5). McCluskey has been in politics long enough to call it on the establishment.
Corbyn is under attack not because he is not a leader but because he is the leader they don’t want us to have.
1) Corbyn calls for the mass participation of the electorate, starting with the hundreds of thousands who have joined Labour to elect and then re-elect him. Compare this with his opponents. When Angela Eagle was asked would she stand down if her constituency party rejected her, she replied: “The constituency parties have been suspended for this entire election.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041r0vz)
2) Corbyn targets “inequality, neglect, insecurity, prejudice and discrimination”. Not only gender balance in Parliament but pay equity for women who are “over-represented in the lowest-paying sectors: cleaning, catering and caring – vital sectors of our economy, doing valuable work, but not work that is fairly rewarded or equally respected.” (Jeremy Corbyn to set out measures tackling discrimination at work, 21 July)
The 24% pay gap between women and men hides an even more shocking reality (https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/07/gender-pay-gap-uk-women-earn-300000-less-men-lifetime). According to Prof Alison Wolf: a female graduate with two children can expect lifetime earnings that are 88% of her husband’s, 57% for those with middle-level qualifications, and 34% for those with no formal qualifications. Since “about 13% of women of working age can be classified as professionals, managers or employers”, the remaining 87% are closer to the floor than to the glass ceiling. (Working Girls, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2006/04/rise-of-professional-women-decline-female-altriusm/)
While these 2006 figures need updating, we know that women of colour and immigrant women earn even less; that 79% of austerity cuts to wages, benefits and services have fallen on women; and that women are the primary carers in 90% of families.
Corbyn starts with those of us at the bottom. We always knew that was revolutionary. No wonder he is under attack.
Selma James and Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike
25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX
Tel: 020 7482 2496 or 07956 316 909