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LETTERS – Harvey Weinstein exposes society riddled with sexism

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Issue 2576
The Oscars Academy expelled Weinstein
The Oscars Academy expelled Weinstein

I’ve been sickened, but not surprised, by the recent exposure of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s horrific treatment of women in the film industry.

The case has exposed a culture of cover-up and blackmailing.

Perhaps the most damning case concerns Ambra Battilana Gutierrez who went to the police after Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2015.

The cops set her up with a recording device for her next meeting with Weinstein.

The recording of their meeting proved that he sexually harassed and intimidated Gutierrez and he admitted to groping her breasts.

If he had been charged, Weinstein could have faced jail.

But New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr decided not to press charges. Within days Weinstein’s lawyer paid £7,000 to Vance’s re-election campaign.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ decision to expel Weinstein is welcome, but is not close to the justice that needs to be served.

And despite the actions of institutions such as the Academy and sections of the media, the state has been slow to press charges.

The film industry is riddled with sexism and sexual harassment. In a recent study 36 percent of women respondents “strongly agreed” that sexual harassment was a significant barrier to entering the profession.

It is built into the system that women have to sell their bodies in order to “make it”.

We have to see the Weinstein case in the context of a society in which rape victims rarely have justice.

And I fear that the lack of action in the past over Weinstein will make it harder for women to come forward now.

We need to point to the recent Women’s Marches as a hopeful sign in the fight for women’s liberation.

Emma Davis, North London

BBC’s bias on Russia

I watched the BBC drama-documentary Russia 1917—Countdown to Revolution with increasing anger that licence payers’ money was spent on such a biased, reactionary programme.

Rightly, the makers acknowledged that the Russian Revolution changed the course of human history. It showed that it’s possible for ordinary people and workers to collectively remake society. 

Outrageously though, they chose six right wing and only two socialist historians/commentators to tell the story.

All the twisted interpretations, misapprehensions and lies told about the revolution were regurgitated as a kind of official truth. 

So we learned that Lenin was a cowardly megalomaniac in a wig, driven by ambition and revenge. Trotsky was a genius opportunist, charmer and manipulator of crowds.

Stalin was a bit of a plodder. But his reign of terror from 1924 to 1953 was not much different from the dictatorial decrees Lenin imposed on everyone, like abortion rights and legalisation of homosexuality.

It was a sickening spectacle, which demonstrates the lengths to which the BBC will go to service the interests of the rich and powerful. 

Perish the thought that workers today may be inspired by the idea of a socialist transformation of society.

Nicola Field, South London

Mhairi Black is wrong on Corbyn and the SNP

I listened to Mhairi Black’s speech to the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference with interest.

You cannot be other than impressed with her commitment to justice and her vision of an independent Scotland that can potentially end hardship and inequality.

Unfortunately, she spent a large part of her speech attacking Jeremy Corbyn and Labour—ignoring the failures of her own party.

During the last ten years under the SNP Scotland has become considerably poorer. One in four children are living in poverty.

The blame lies mainly with the Tories and past Labour administrations.

However, the Scottish government has tax raising powers and now has considerable welfare powers, most of which it has not considered using.

SNP-controlled councils have also imposed vicious cuts.

Bob FotheringhamGlasgow

Build a mass movement against the FLA

I took part in the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) mobilisation against the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) in central London earlier this month.

After witnessing abuse and racism from a number of FLA marchers I am more convinced than ever that we were right to make a stand.

We need a mass movement against the FLA, including trade unions and football supporter groups from the various clubs.

I recently passed a motion through the London region of the RMT union.

It stated that our members who go to football matches will organise against any reactionary elements that intend to split fans on religion, race, sex or anything else.

The FLA will not go away by itself. We cannot let it turn into the next Pegida street movement or let far right elements back into football grounds as we saw in the 1970s and 1980s.

Fellow fans and trade unionists must go back to their clubs and unions and start organising against the FLA immediately. That can begin with the SUTR conference this weekend.

Phil RowanSouth London

Liverpool FC, drop deal now

Liverpool Football Club’s US owners are looking for a buy out of the club that will net them £1 billion.

They have signed a deal with Tibet Water. This Chinese company profits from the brutal military occupation in Tibet.

We should all call on Liverpool FC to drop its sponsorship deal with Tibet Water now. 

John AppleyardWest Yorkshire

Dementia tax still a threat

The Tories still want to take people’s homes from them.

The Tory ‘dementia tax’ is rightly hated.

But social care minister Jackie Doyle-Price has said people with “care needs” shouldn’t be allowed to pass their homes onto their children.

That won’t apply to the rich, of course.

Karin FletcherManchester

The Tories ARE vermin

Graeme Tweedy writes (Letters, 11 October) that he doesn’t like Socialist Worker calling the Tories “vermin”.

He says it’s crass and lowers debate.

But the founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, is rightly famous for saying that the Tories are “lower than vermin”.

Bevan was right to say it, and so was Socialist Worker.

Sandra BuchananEast London

We can shape national fights

John Nisbet asks why we support the movement for Catalonian independence when we are internationalists (Letters, 4 October).

Movements may start out as one thing then morph into another.

In the English Revolution of 1640 crowds chanted for the abolition of bishops.

By 1642 they were calling for democracy and religious tolerance.

The left can inject into movements ideas and activity that can take workers away from narrow horizons.

Barry Conway, Wigan

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