Voting Is Not Enough! We Need to Struggle In the Streets to Win LEGAL ABORTION ON DEMAND & WITHOUT APOLOGY NATIONWIDE!
On Saturday, October 15, over 150 people gathered for a national Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights forum held over zoom titled, “Voting Is Not Enough! We Need Struggle In the Streets to Win: LEGAL ABORTION ON DEMAND & WITHOUT APOLOGY NATIONWIDE!”
After welcoming organizers from around the country new and old, Sam Goldman, host of the Refuse Fascism podcast, shared a video compilation highlighting the powerful impact Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has had through its mass protests, disruptive actions, student walk-outs, and media coverage across the country. All of these efforts by Rise Up were aimed at waking people up to the emergency facing women’s lives and mobilizing them in the mass struggle to prevent the overturning of abortion rights while there was still time. Then, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the nationwide legal protection of abortion rights, Rise Up has been leading people back into the streets to demand immediate federal action to restore the right nationwide.
The heart of the program featured Rise Up co-initiators Merle Hoffman, founder, and CEO of Choice Women’s Medical Center, and Sunsara Taylor, co-host of the RNL – Revolution, Nothing Less! – Show, speaking to the centrality of abortion rights to women’s ability to live lives of dignity and equality. Forced Motherhood = Female Enslavement! From their different perspectives, they dug into why voting alone will not stop the escalating Christian fascist frontal assault on women and brought alive the actual track record of the Democrats conciliating with this fascist assault. They directly addressed the unprincipled attacks that Rise Up has been hit with, offering a deep analysis of why resistance movements have always been met by attacks from “within.” They also spoke to their continuing fight to raise standards for the principled struggle over real differences of understanding and strategy while uniting all who can possibly be united in a fight that affects everyone’s future. Drawing inspiration and a model from both the powerful Green Wave of protests for abortion rights across Latin America and the courageous uprising of women and men right now in Iran, they laid out a fighting program for growing nonviolent resistance in this country centered on the demand that abortion is legalized nationwide on demand and without apology.
Patricia Wallin, a member of the national Rise Up team, brought alive the lessons of the Green Wave from Latin America and presented statements of solidarity from leaders of the Green Wave struggle for abortion rights from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador. This included a powerful message from Teodora del Carmen Vásquez who spent nearly 11 years in prison in El Salvador for “aggravated murder” after suffering a miscarriage.
Finally, Chantelle Piper, a national organizer with Rise Up and a member of the Revolution Club, who has traveled the country organizing and working with volunteers to start chapters and organize protests with Rise Up shared some organizing experience and tips. Most of all she pointed people to the resources available at the website, RiseUp4AbortionRights.org, and stressed that she would be available to work with people as they take up this movement so they would not be on their own.
Plans were announced for nationwide protests at courthouses around the country on December 1, the one-year anniversary of when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case that overturned abortion rights. Through speeches, dramatic bloody die-ins, and other ways, the protests should make clear that we cannot rely on the courts and have to rely on ourselves to rise up to win legal abortion on demand and without apology everywhere.
Also, November 25 is an international day against violence against women that many have taken up to fight for abortion rights around the world. Here in the U.S., November 25 is also “Black Friday.” Rise Up is calling on organizers to take creative actions together to turn it into “Green Friday” by taking out the Green Bandana of abortion rights into crowded shopping hubs and staging disruptive nonviolent actions. And, for the weeks from now until these national days of action, organizers are encouraged to get out in society tabling on college campuses and beyond, spreading the flyers and factsheets from Rise Up, reaching out to and drawing many more people into this struggle.