Open letter on the selection of Steve Hedley as a Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate in East Ham South
- Category: Women's Liberation
- Published on Saturday, 10 May 2014
- Written by ISN Women's Caucus
We are writing to ask you to support this petition, opposing the selection of Steve Hedley as a candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in East Ham South ward, Newham: http://wewantawomensmag.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/an-open-letter-from-the-left-to-the-trade-unionist-and-socialist-coalition-steering-committee-against-the-nomination-of-steve-hedley/
This petition does not call for a 'no vote' for TUSC - rather, it calls on the party's steering committee to publicly repudiate their support for Hedley, and commit to not supporting his candidacy in the future. We do not think this an unreasonable demand for a socialist organisation that claims to stand for ensuring "women have genuinely equal rights". We believe that equal rights for women must include the right to live free from fear of abuse - which is not a belief that Steve Hedley appears to share given that he is a domestic abuser.
Caroline Leneghan survived Hedley's abuse and has written about her experiences. Her blog, and the accompanying images of her bruised face after an attack do make for harrowing reading, however explain perfectly why Hedley is thoroughly unsuitable as a candidate for a socialist organisation: http://carolineleneghan.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/3/
We believe overall the left has a very poor record on understanding gender oppression, and the hostile reaction to Caroline’s allegations from a substantive section of the left is tantamount to this. The left should be a place where women are able to come forward if they have been abused by anyone, and are believed. Caroline faced accusations that she is a liar when she bravely told us about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Steve Hedley. Supporters of Hedley used the fact the police did not charge him and the RMT’s investigation as evidence of his innocence. Andy Littlechild, who was Caroline’s RMT rep during the investigation, takes on some of these arguments in the attached article. It is clear from a letter from the police to Caroline that part of the reason they were unable to charge Hedley was because the 6 month time limit for taking up a case for common assault had passed. https://libcom.org/news/steve-hedley-not-cleared-domestic-violence-case-still-answer-08042013
We believe Caroline's statement and think that this means Steve Hedley should have no place in a socialist organisation. The spaces of the left must be safe for all members of the working class - including women. Abuse must never be normalized, and must never be acceptable in our communities.
IS Network women's caucus and supporters