The Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh has reignited the #MeToo movement. Millions watched live as Blasey Ford was unwavering in her testimony, and Kavanaugh fought back by painting himself as a victim, albeit a belligerent and dishonest one. Anger at sexual abuse, and its casual acceptance by the ruling class, is reaching a boiling point.
As we go to press, Trump and the Republicans have conceded a “limited” FBI review of Kavanaugh. This is a partial victory in the face of widespread outrage and gives time to build mass demonstrations. It is still possible to defeat Kavanaugh’s nomination. This would be an enormous victory for MeToo and could be the starting point of a true mass movement against Trump and the Republican agenda.
On the other hand if the Republicans manage to push Kavanaugh through it will be a defeat for women, LGBTQ people and working people generally who are all threatened by an even more reactionary tilt on the Supreme Court.
Elite Culture Exposed
Brett Kavanaugh should have been been forced to withdraw on the basis of his right-wing politics and the threat he poses, particularly to reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade, which is supported by 64% of Americans. He also has a long record as a judge of consistently taking the side of corporations over their employees. But if his nomination is defeated, it will be due to the mass anger at sexual abuse reflected in the #MeToo movement, and not at all to the so-called resistance of the Democratic Party establishment.
The Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations have exposed the culture at the elite, private high schools, and Ivy League university fraternities and societies. This is a horrifying, misogynistic world where there is literally a culture of raping women that is passed from generation to generation of ruling-class youth. This is the culture that future judges, politicians, CEOs and presidents are steeped in, one in which rich, white men make a game of objectifying, humiliating, and assaulting women.
Political Establishment in Crisis
The Republican leadership appears to have learned nothing from the reaction of women to Trump’s history of sexual abuse. Fearing that the chance to get another right-wing justice onto the Supreme Court could be slipping out of their grasp, especially if they lose control of the Senate in the midterms, they appear willing to brand themselves as the party of predator enablers if that’s what it takes.
Prior to Christine Blasey Ford coming forward, Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed all but assured. The Democratic Party leadership refused to enforce a party line vote on Kavanaugh for fear of hurting midterm chances of Democratic Senators in states Trump won. The Democrats’ “resistance” was limited to some combative questioning in the Senate confirmation hearings.
Women Fight Back
From the Women’s Marches to the recent McDonald’s strikes against sexual harassment, women have shown they are ready to move into action against sexual abuse.
Increasingly, there is a contradiction developing between the willingness of ordinary women to fight back and the Democratic Party establishment which does virtually nothing to organize a real resistance movement in the streets and the workplaces.The Democrats fear that once women, young people, and working people experience a big victory through struggle they will demand changes that may not be acceptable to the party’s billionaire backers.
Currently there is understandably a massive desire on the left to punish the Republicans by electing Democrats. There are also significant expectations in the record number of women running and especially in the candidates running and winning on a pro working class program similar to that of Bernie Sanders, some as open socialists. The whole situation points to a sharp fight with the leadership of the Democrats in 2019, if they control the House, on impeachment, Medicare for All, as well as taking real steps forward on women’s rights.
Big sections of U.S. society and young people in particular have been moving to the left in recent years on economic issues, LGBTQ rights, union rights, and fighting racism and sexism. #MeToo, galvanized by the predator Trump’s election has the misogyny of the elites in its sights. This is sparking a broader women’s movement in the streets, communities and workplaces to take on the epidemic of sexual harassment and sexual assault but also to defend the gains women have made from the relentless attacks of the right.
From fast food restaurants to the highest court in the nation, a movement that utilizes the traditions of the working class – mass protests, direct actions, and strikes – can force the ruling class and political establishment to make serious concessions on women’s rights. This movement also needs a program that challenges the ruling class and capitalism which perpetuates sexism, racism and mass inequality. We stand for a socialist feminism that points towards an egalitarian society where a privileged elite would no longer exist.
- Unions, women’s organizations, and other forces must launch a mass campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Defend Roe v. Wade: for free, legal, accessible abortion as part of a national Medicare for All health system.
- No predators on the Supreme Court or in the White House, Impeach Trump.