April 25th, in NYC for Stop Patriarchy’s International Student Day of Action! We went to college campuses and high schools all over the city and got a great response and huge support from students. People spoke out about the attacks on abortion rights and were excited to show their support by wearing stickers and posing for pictures with our loud ABORTION ON DEMAND signs!
Posts tagged activism
Cienna Madrid from The Stranger doesn’t like Stop Patriarchy’s call to protest both a Christian fascist church and a porn shop/strip club on International Women’s Day because she doesn’t get that both are expressions of patriarchy and manifestations of the war on women. She blogged about it here.
What follows is Stop Patriarchy Seattle’s response:
“It feels like the instigators chose popular targets for controversy and then manufactured their rage, rather than launching a protest with the goal of a specific change.”
From the instigators of Stop Patriarchy:
We’ve been on the streets in Seattle talking to hundreds of women in the past few weeks who not only get what we’re saying, but start pouring out their stories of abuse by repressive religious institutions, by the global sex industry, and by men growing up in a pornified culture. When we say the institutions of Mars Hill and Deja Vu/Showgirls both want women on their knees, just in different ways, it resonates with them. They’ve been waiting for a vehicle that calls it all out and makes the connections and they understand our specific goal: To END the enslavement and degradation of women in all its forms.
We didn’t “manufacture” the fact that Deja Vu/Showgirls sells women and that their shop’s videos sexualize violence against women and treat women’s bodies as things to be used for the sexual pleasure of men. We didn’t manufacture that pornography has become increasingly violent and degrading towards women with popular themes such as gang rape, racist bigotry, and incest (such as “Chester Molest Her” - a film sold at this porn shop) We didn’t manufacture the fact that this is all intertwined with and fuels sex trafficking and a global epidemic of rape. So we ask you, where is YOUR rage? This shit isn’t society becoming more comfortable with sex. This is society becoming saturated with the sexualized degradation of women. As our surprisingly popular sticker says, “If You Can’t Imagine Sex Without Porn, You’re Fucked.”
So last night, Stop Patriarchy was uninvited from the George Washington University Feminist Union meeting. REALLY!? We were initially invited to this event, in fact enthusiastically invited, but tonight, after being out in the streets fighting for abortion rights all week and challenging the status-quo on what needs to be done in terms of abortion rights and the entire war on women, the GWU Feminist Student Union – in consultation with their speakers, it seems – deemed us too radical, and shut us out entirely. This is completely unacceptable. The president of NOW, the National Organization for Women, Terri O’Neal was the featured speaker at this event, and she plays a recognized leading role in the fight for abortion rights, however what she is putting forward is for women to become the law makers, the senators, the congress-women of the nation. She believes that adhering to the terms of the country as it is, will ultimately allow women to rise up through the system, and eventually take over. She also vehemently supports the Obama administration and does not hold it at all accountable for the lack of countering against the record number of restrictions on access to abortion in this country.
Stop Patriarchy projects something very different. We are not mobilizing people in an effort to put pressure on politicians or to get anyone into the ruling class. We do not have illusions that this strategy will actually work – in fact, we recognize that this dead-end is a big part of how we have lost so much ground in the fight for women’s fundamental right to abortion and liberation more broadly. We are fighting to actually change the terms in society. We are fighting to get people out into the streets, challenging people, questioning the ways this system comes down on women, and then blames them for their second class position because we are supposedly post-feminist and can now do anything we want. The fact of the matter is, the GWU Feminist Student Union did not want us at this event because they did not want to be challenged. They wanted to deny those students attending their meeting out of a concern over the war on women the chance to be exposed to our critique and program. We represent a movement that is fighting for the full liberation of women and we get into the true realities of why things are the way they are, and why things don’t have to be this way. This strategy clearly does not sit well with the feminist union at George Washington University. This is unprincipled and does serious harm to the movement to defeat the war on women. This does a disservice to those who attended your meeting, this does a disservice to women, and this is truly unacceptable. Our message for you is that when you want to get serious about digging into the real questions about this war on women, and want to work at actually defeating it, let us know. To those who attended that meeting and all others on the college campuses who are being denied a truly radical and liberating critique and strategy, you need to check us out. To those “leaders” who continue to insist that we rely on the Democrats and attempts to become part of the very system that is oppressing women and escalating this assault on our rights, get out of the way. In the mean time, we will continue to go out very broadly, spreading this our understanding and calling forward the many who can be won to see that it is on us to defeat this war on women. We are just getting started.
Day 4 in DC, fighting for Abortion on Demand, and confronting people with the REAL TRUTH on all this
We’ve been out on the street as much as the weather will allow – fingers and toes become painful and then numb within half an hour in this subfreezing weather, even with those amazing toe and hand warmers.
Yesterday, after our crew had counter-protested the anti-abortion fanatics at the local Planned Parenthood (shamefully, Planned Parenthood staff came out and insisted that our side stay away – a request we ignored because of how unconscionable it is to allow the Christian fascists to stand unopposed!), we went out to a college campus. We were decked out in bright stickers and signs sticking out of our backpacks which read, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!”
The response from the students was mixed but overall very positive. A handful of students were vehemently anti-abortion and refused to stop. But a good number of those who began by saying they were against abortion were quick to add that they understood there are sometimes circumstances that makes it necessary. We never found this satisfactory and we never left things at this. “Do you realize that right now it is very difficult for millions of women to get an abortion? 97% of rural counties in this country do not have an abortion provider. Doctors have been killed and women are being shamed. The truth is women who cannot decide for themselves when and whether to have a child have no more freedom than slaves.” This would usually get people really tuned in – most people don’t know any of this. People have the misconception that abortion is somehow widely available and over-used.
After jolting people as to what the reality is, we would go further still. “Fetuses are not babies. They are a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Because of this, abortion is not murder and there is nothing wrong with it. It is a perfectly moral and responsible decision to get an abortion if a woman wants one.” This would open up discussion in a very deep way. No one we have talked to has yet heard anything like this. People asked a lot of questions and we would provide answers. The truth is, not everyone who began inclined against abortion got won over in the course of these conversations, but a lot did! Especially among young people, young men as well as young women.
There were also a great number of people who were incredibly supportive and happy to see us out. They thanked us as they walked by, saying things like, “I am with you!” The notion that is being widely promoted by the anti-abortion forces this week, the notion that this new generation is the “Pro-Life Generation” is a fucking lie. This is one thing we are seeing face to face and close up in every outing we have. But, it is also the case that the anti-abortion elements of this generation are far more mobilized and energized than the greater portion that supports the right to abortion. And, it is clearly the case that – owing not only to the vigorous fight that has been waged by Christian fascists to demonize and restrict abortion over decades, but also to the craven capitulation to this fight and its terms by the official “pro-choice” movement – most people who support the right to abortion still think of it as something that ought to be avoided because on some level it is wrong.
This is why we would spend so much time arguing with people – even those who agreed in the main. And then there was the ongoing challenge of fighting for people to see the need to ACT. To join in a movement that is fighting to end all forms of enslavement and degradation of women. It really is not enough to support the right to abortion, in a society where that right is being taken away if you are not fighting to defend and expand access and to destigmatize abortion and to defend providers, you are allowing this right to disappear.
Day 4 in DC, out defending Planned Parenthood and counter protesting the lunatic anti-abortion Christian fascists, then doing mass outreach at Howard University! Another great day!
Forced Motherhood=Female Enslavement
Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!!!!!
Revolution Newspaper photos of our first day out in DC at the march for peace and outreach to the crowd on its way to the inauguration.
photos by Li Onesto
Day 3 in DC! Today we reached out to the locals in Columbia Heights, getting out lots of flyers and engaging in important conversations with lots of people. The mood was generally quite friendly and people were extremely grateful to see a determined movement facing the brutal cold to get the word out about the attacks on abortion rights, and the war on women as a whole. Even with below freezing temperatures, we had a great time out, as you can see! =)
Stop Patriarchy – LIVE FROM DC, Day 2: Standing Up for Abortion at the Supreme Court, Taking on the Anti-Abortion Bullshit, and Challenging the Deadly Reliance on the Democrats of the “Pro-Choice” Movement
by Sunsara Taylor
We spent most of yesterday at the Supreme Court for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We began by honoring the doctors and providers who risk their lives every day to provide women with abortions.
We read statements from some of these doctors as passersby paused to listen. Behind us was a droning voice of a hate-filled anti-abortion fanatic (he later called one of our leaders, “Bitch!” and threatened to “knock [her] out”). Off to the side were a hundred or more anti-abortion activists praying in small circles or kneeling in prayer before the Supreme Court. The whole backdrop only underscored the heroism of the providers who actually give women abortions – and how essential it is to honor them. All too often, they are accompanied and called out by name and known only by those who hate them.
But, on the 40th anniversary, at the Supreme Court in DC, their voices and their service and their courage was heralded! Stories of botched abortions and unnecessary suffering, terror and death of women before Roe were shared. Stories of commitment to women and safe access to abortion were shared. Stories of the gratitude and appreciation that millions of women have expressed to thousands of doctors and staff were shared. StopPatriarchy.org was proud to make these voices at the center of the controversy around abortion!
TAKING ON THE ANTI-ABORTION RHETORIC
We were also proud to politically confront and expose the vicious program of the anti-abortion forces.
We got into many arguments with them. What was noteworthy about this was less that I think we are going to sway many of their hard-core organizers and activists who believe they are on a mission from god and that motherhood is the duty of women.
But, it was noteworthy that the arguments that the people in our crew were making were getting sharper throughout the day. They were cutting through the obfuscation and claim to a “higher morality” of the anti-abortion movement. They were the kind of arguments which caused many of the young anti-abortion activists to turn around and back away because they could not answer them. They were the kind of arguments that, if they were being made more consistently throughout society in this debate, could enable those who care about the lives and the liberation of women to turn the tide. Some examples:
Day 2 of Stop Patriarchy in DC! Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs Wade at the Supreme Court, taking on the anti-abortion Christian fascists, and honoring courageous abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller who was assassinated in his own church in 2009. Even though this right was won 40 years ago today, it is hanging by a thread. 97% of rural counties in this country do not have an abortion provider. In 2011, 92 restrictions were passed under the Obama administration and although they were passed at the state level, the Democrats are doing absolutely nothing to counter this attack on women’s bodies and lives. Do not get caught up in this bullshit political battle of “good vs evil”, or as many now see it ‘evil vs worse evil’. The conditions women are facing are entirely unacceptable and if you do not wish to live in a world where half of humanity is being forced into motherhood, EVEN in the good old ‘free’ U.S. of A. then you need to get with this movement, get out in the streets, and demand that women be treated as FULL human beings, deserving FULL equality in EVERY realm of society.
Reclaiming Abortion as a Fundamental Right: The Essential Alternative to Planned Parenthood’s Politics of Capitulation
By Helen Ridsdale.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and abortion remains a tense political issue in the United States. It is also more under threat than it has ever been. And yet, pro-choice activism is on the wane; while hundreds of thousands march for “life” every year, it is rare to see many on the pro-choice side in the streets. The pro-choice movement is taking a more conciliatory stance towards their opponents, and increasingly letting the anti-abortionists set the terms of the debate in the name of reaching across the divide. Conciliation seems generous and high-minded, to those who believe the battle has already been won; and indeed, many in the US today consider abortion rights to be a foregone conclusion. And particularly with a democratic president in the White House, something we can all happily, comfortably forget about. Those who once stood up for women, and stood up for abortion, have been lulled to sleep. The reality is more like a nightmare.
N17 End Pornography and Patriarchy Pageant in NYC photos sent in by Sophie Needleman.
N17 photos sent in from Atlanta, Georgia