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Democrats try to channel abortion rights protests into deadlock

Thousands of protesters in more than 300 cities marched on Saturday in support of women’s basic democratic right to get an abortion. The protests were in response to the May 2 leak of the Supreme Court’s draft ruling confirming that the right-wing majority in court is set to overturn the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade decision, which declared that state laws prohibiting abortion were unconstitutional.

Most of the rallies were held under the auspices of the “Bans Off Our Bodies” group, which included liberal organizations such as Women’s March, MoveOn and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The rallies drew thousands of attendees, with the two largest in New York and Washington DC each attracting around 20,000 attendees.

Thousands of other rallies attended in Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Boise, Idaho; Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Seattle among other cities.

Abortion rights protesters walk past a puddle as they march from the National Mall to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. [AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades]

Estimates from the Guttmacher Institute estimate that at least 26 states, including Idaho, would be “certain or likely” to ban abortion when Roe vs. Wade is overthrown. This would effectively ban the right to abortion for more than 36 million people, according to Planned Parenthood. In anticipation of the reversal of the 1973 court ruling, over the past year, Republican-led states such as Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Idaho , Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas have passed laws or signed bills that ban abortions, in some cases as early as six weeks, long before most women even know they are pregnant. .

These reactionary measures, appealing to the Christian-fascist base of the Republican Party, are deeply unpopular. In addition to the thousands of people who demonstrated over the weekend to oppose the Supreme Court’s impending decision, an NBC News opinion poll conducted earlier this month found that 60% of those polled were agree that abortion should “always” or “most of the time“. legal, while only 5% said the medical procedure should be “illegal, no exceptions”.

While the working class overwhelmingly supports this basic democratic right, for the second weekend in a row, Democratic Party-affiliated organizations, politicians and their appendages in the union bureaucracy, have dominated the protests. It’s part of an ongoing effort to channel mass opposition to the unpopular court ruling behind Democrats and the utterly bankrupt prospect that voting for ‘pro-choice’ Democrats in November would protect abortion rights. .

What fraud! The same party that has been unwilling and unable, over the past 50 years, to codify Roe vs. Wade expects workers and youth to believe that this time, they will do something.

Never mind that the Democrats currently control Congress and the White House. If they truly considered abortion rights a matter of life and death, Democrats could eliminate the undemocratic filibuster rule and pass legislation tomorrow guaranteeing a woman’s right to choose.

Speakers at the rallies refused to make the connection between the attack on abortion rights and the broader attack on the democratic rights of all people, including the failed Republican coup of January 6. Democrats, servants of the same oligarchy as their fascists, Fellow Republicans,” seek to cover up the class content of attacks on democratic rights, including abortion rights, by limiting their calls for identity politics, blaming white men or all men or “patriarchy,” rather than the capitalist system.

Democratic speakers have never dared to try to explain how they could tell abortion-rights supporters that their strategy must be centered on voting against dastardly Republicans, when apparently every week President Biden calls for a “strong Republican Party” and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi campaigns for anti-abortion Democrats like Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While the thousands who marched this weekend are sincere in their defense of abortion rights and other democratic rights, the bankrupt perspective embraced by speakers and organizers is a sure path to defeat. This rotten perspective was exemplified at the Washington DC rally. whose guest speakers included Janeese Lewis George, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a Democratic member of the DC City Council.

After identifying herself as a member of the DSA, George said the Democratic Party’s failure to codify the legal right to abortion nearly 50 years later Roe vs. Wade was because the District of Columbia was not a state and there were not enough “black, brown, Native, and disabled people in the U.S. Senate.” Serving as a vote trickster for the Democrats, George told attendees, “We need to make sure we have a supermajority in Congress and the Senate. We need progressive Democrats in every seat of Congress. We need you to vote.

Also speaking at the same rally were Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015 in California.

The SEIU sold nurses to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles this month, to Cabell-Huntington Hospital (CHH) in Huntington, West Virginia, last December, and to the nurses’ strike and Kaiser engineers in Northern California the same month. In December 2020, SEIU Local 121RN, in coordination with the Hospital Corporation of American in Southern California, pushed through a rotten contract after a 92% strike vote.

Similar pathetic calls to vote for Democrats, made in coordination with support from the union bureaucracy, were seen at the other rallies. At the Austin rally, which began at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Texas, Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett told the crowd, “We can’t just win this battle at the courthouse, we have to win it. at the ballot box. Similarly at the Los Angeles rally on Saturday, Democratic Representative and mayoral candidate Karen Bass told the crowd, “We will fight. We will vote.

The defense of democratic rights, including the right to abortion, will not be preserved by “the ballot box”, but only by the political mobilization of the working class, against the two capitalist parties and the whole framework of capitalist politics.

More than 16 months after Trump’s failed coup, it is clear that the Democrats will not serve as a bulwark against the increasingly fascist Republican Party, but rather serve as an accomplice.

The most ominous signal of this danger was the presence of fascist counter-protesters at many of the rallies, including those who participated in one way or another in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, armed and masked III Percent Fascists, wielding semi-automatic rifles, threatened protesters and roamed the perimeter of the march as police watched and did nothing. At a Sunday rally held at the Arizona State Capitol, more than a dozen proud boys militiamen joined anti-abortion counter-protesters. At the rally in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, a dozen members of the neo-Nazi group America First called out to abortion rights protesters.