This statement is a response to the truly scurrilous, dishonest and highly destructive, and divisive attacks hurled against Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe. We also assert in no uncertain terms that Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has never used any funds it has raised for any purposes other than exactly what the funds were raised for. Our lawyer has sent a letter to those who have accused us of financial wrongdoing, instructing them to cease and desist from spreading these blatantly untrue, baseless, and extremely dangerous allegations.
At a moment when masses of people are rising up – at last – to fight against the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, an assorted group of organizations who have done absolutely nothing to mobilize people to fight this decision when it was impending over the past 6 months, have issued a statement packed with outright lies, slanders, and out-of-context quotes against Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, the one organization that has led and continues to lead the fight against this unprecedented, illegitimate, and egregious decision. Pull back the lens and see this attack on Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights for what it is and where it comes from. This attack is a confession and exposure of these organizations’ capitulation to the very reactionary forces that have now prevailed in overturning nationwide abortion rights. When facing a powerful enemy that you perceive to be invincible, it becomes so much easier to slander and attacks those who are not only standing up but challenging all others to join in doing the same.
On the very day that women in multiple states will now be faced with the terrifying life-threatening consequences of abortion bans—these groups choose to attack the only group that has been calling for sustained nonviolent struggle and protests to stop this since January! Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has consistently, since its formation, called for the broadest possible united action, in the streets, against what was then the looming Supreme Court decision ripping away abortion rights. Read the actual founding statement of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and see whether it comports with what its accusers claim. The sad fact is that the great bulk of the “reproductive rights movement” chose to downplay the severity of the attack. They simultaneously counseled people to prepare for a “post-Roe” America rather than throw everything into preventing the decision. Many of these organizations attacked Rise Up for saying that this assault on abortion was overwhelmingly focused on women, even as Rise Up also spoke out against the way this assault would be used against the rights of LGBTQ people (as can already be seen in Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion yesterday) and consistently pointed to the disproportionate effect the overturning of Roe would have on Black and Latina women, and other women of color.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights’ actions over the past months and on the day of the decision are documented in the media around the world. The record is clear.
To the extent there is any principle involved beyond slander and scare, the scurrilous and false attacks on Sunsara Taylor, Bob Avakian, and the RCP are spoken to on the website revcom.us. Moreover, at a time when fascists in this country are not only making but carrying out all kinds of threats of violence against people who are resisting them, these attacks endanger these leaders and should remind decent people of the kind of attacks and distancing that cost lives in the 1960s.
We urge people to focus their efforts on struggling to reverse this attack on the fundamental right to abortion and not squander precious time and unity fomenting unprincipled attacks on groups and individuals that have been fighting for abortion rights and providing abortion care for years.
Signed by the following co-initiators of RiseUp4AbortionRights.org:
Merle Hoffman, Founder, and CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center
Lori Sokol, Executive Director of Women’s eNews
Sunsara Taylor, co-host of the RNL – Revolution, Nothing Less! – Show
The following is a collection of statements of support for Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights in the face of vicious, dishonest, unprincipled, libelous attacks by some within the pro-abortion “movement” which have been amplified in multiple media hit pieces.
Rev. Frank Wulf
“I have followed with dismay the attacks on Rise Up for Abortion Rights coming from a variety of progressive groups also engaged in the struggle to ensure that people in the United States have free and unrestricted access to reproductive and abortion care.[Those attacking] place priority on attacking the presence of the RevComs in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. The government and employers have for many decades used red-baiting as a means of attempting to destroy social movements defending the rights of working people and the oppressed… Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled a ‘communist’ by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover and subsequently assassinated.” Read More
Jim Fouratt, gay rights activist who participated in the Stonewall Rebellion, actor, and former nightclub impresario
“These attacks on Rise Up are so similar to the attacks that happened in the 60s and 70s under the Cointelpro program by the FBI. And they’re happening today, I believe, because of the success of Sunsara Taylor and the Rise Up movement with the revcoms.” Read More
Boston May Day Collective (BMDC)
“[Those attacking] place priority on attacking the presence of the RevComs in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. The government and employers have for many decades used red-baiting as a means of attempting to destroy social movements defending the rights of working people and the oppressed… Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled a ‘communist’ by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover and subsequently assassinated.” Read More
Fran Luck, host and producer of The Joy of Resistance, Multicultural Feminist Radio on WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC
“When [movements] are really taking off and getting some power and getting some recognition, a whole group of more establishment people… often attack very viciously and slanderously… It’s a very dangerous pattern and it should be fought and it should be exposed. I’m very proud that Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights is standing up to it.” Read More
Carol Downer, Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers and Life-Long Fierce Advocate for Reproductive Rights
“…Before you seek to defame and cast out Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights on serious (but unproven) charges of being a cult and a pyramid scheme that diverts money from social and racial justice movements, you need to seek out the experiences of non-communist feminists who have worked with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), such as myself. As an anti-racist activist since 1965, and a feminist pro-abortion activist since 1969, I have first-hand experience with the RCP since the 1970s which refute these charges….” Read More
Pam Laskin, poet, author, editor, and lecturer at the City College of New York
“As an active member of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and admirer of the passion, integrity, hard work, and commitment of one of its leaders, Sunsara Taylor, I was appalled to read the recent attack waged against Bob Avakian, the revcoms, and–in particular–against an institution, Rise-Up, so committed to securing the health and safety of women’s reproductive freedom.” Read More
National Radical Women statement by Nga Bui, NYC
“At a time when a united mass movement to defend reproductive justice is needed more than ever, NYC for Abortion Rights and nearly two dozen organizations have chosen to launch an anti-communist attack against one of the most visible activist groups, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Radical Women, a veteran socialist feminist organization with decades of experience in the movement for reproductive justice, denounces this dangerous game of divide and conquer.” Read More
Karina Aybar, Therapist & Leadership Coach, Advocate, Activist
“…Rise Up’s embracing of the green bandana is not to appropriate a movement, but rather inspiration and guidance from people who were successful in protecting people’s right to bodily autonomy with massive movements in countries with less economic resources than the United States.
Rise Up has been involved in direct actions since February by disrupting, educating, organizing, and protesting weeks in front of SCOTUS and other actions, not just electing and supporting Democrats. Is Rise Up provocative style too much for some people? Perhaps.
Again, as we all know, organizing to disrupt a system will certainly bring discomfort and difference of opinions and approaches.” Read More
Rachael Wachstein, an anti-fascist fighter who worked with Refuse Fascism
“While the far right is rallying disparate groups from bible-banging Evangelicals to gun-loving white supremacists, the left and progressives prefer to fight amongst themselves. When you attack the Revcoms because you don’t like their tactics or how they organize, you are hastening our country’s authoritarian, fascist takeover.” Read More
Bay Area Youth with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights
“Now is not the time to start fighting within this ‘movement’. We might not all have the same ideologies, but we’re all fighting for the rights of women & all people who can give birth.” Read More
Nina Felshin, contemporary art curator, writer, and activist
“The attack on RU4AR is utterly malicious, shocking, and scary…” Read More
Peter Switzer, activist, videographer, editor
“Is the Intercept actually going to allow slimy McCarthy-type hit pieces like the one McMackey scratched out with zero reporting and just lazy BS hearsay from others who really don’t know much, if anything at all, about Rise Up 4 Abortion, or the RevComs, or Bob Avakian? How much do they know about CoIntelPro or the McCarthy hearings?” Read More
A medical professional, after reading Sunsara Taylor’s rebuttal to the hit-piece by Robert Mackey at the Intercept
“Detailing the complete lack of journalistic integrity, both by Mackey and by [the Intercept’s] editorial staff, is important. Illustrating the Trumpian methods of ‘argument’ he employed to extremely dangerous ends, here directed by ‘progressive’ journalists against some of the only organized forces that mobilized protest and resistance.” Read More