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The Suffragette Movement

Book Reviews: 'Sylvia Pankhurst', 'For Communism', & 'People over Capital'

For communism – but what else . . ?

Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire. By Katherine Connelly, Pluto Press

Author Katherine Connelly admires Sylvia Pankhurst for her radical but reformist political struggles, her opposition to the First World War and support for the Bolshevik revolution.

Suffragette Humbug

Not long ago the hoardings of London startled the man in the street with ugly black and white posters asserting that women were poor, that women were sweated, that women walked the streets, and that misery and vice stalked in our midst, all because women had not the vote. Those statements, issued by the Suffragettes, were and are unblushing falsehoods, unsustained and unsustainable by any shred of evidence.

The Socialist is in no quandary as to why the many are poor. It is not because propertied women have not the vote, nor even because women in general are not electors—it is because the many are robbed. And the stopping of this robbery depends not upon a mere all round increase in the number of votes, but upon the intelligence of the workers and the correct use of the vote in their hands.

The “Reform Bill”

After long years of promise the Liberal Party have drawn up a Suffrage Reform Bill. With a long sham fight about “Home Rule” and “Welsh Disestablishment” in front of them, the measure seems to have had its last and first reading.

Although a majority of the Liberal Members of Parliament have “won” their seats by reason of their sympathy (real or feigned) with “Woman Suffrage”, that proposition is left entirely out of the Bill! Many of the Liberal employer M.P.’s are now opposing female franchise on the grounds of “unfitness”, calmly ignoring the fact of the millions who are “fit” enough to make huge fortunes for Liberal masters in the factories and mills. But such hypocrisy is in keeping with Liberal traditions!

Socialism and Woman’s Suffrage: why we are opposed

The Ultimate Object
At  the moment of writing there appears to be something of a lull in the militant suffragist movement; and, therefore, before our blood is once more made to creep by the harrowing stories of struggle and martyrdoms – so ably narrated by that institution of sweetness and light, the daily Press – perhaps neither time nor labour will be wasted in briefly studying the agitation for Woman’s Suffrage from the stand-point of Socialist philosophy.

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