No to Red-Baiting in the Reproductive Justice Movement

National Declaration of Radical Women by Nga Bui, NYC
August 1, 2022

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 on one of the most visible militant groups, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Radical Women, a veteran socialist feminist organization with decades of experience in the reproductive justice movement, speaks out against this dangerous game of divide and conquer.

The “Declaration against RiseUp4AbortionRights” – signed by NYC for Abortion Rights, United Against Racism & Fascism NYC, Brooklyn People’s March, Shout Your Abortion, The Jane Fund, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group and others – deplores the Rise Up’s connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). He calls this well-known luminary from the left a cult of personality. He accuses both Rise Up and RCP of using pyramid schemes to raise funds and exploitative methods to recruit. These unsubstantiated claims are backed up by other “crimes”: wearing white pants stained with fake blood, holding the living dead, using pictures of clothes hangers and describing forced pregnancy as “women’s slavery”. The statement calls on “reproductive groups to unite now to publicly discredit Rise Up” and demands that “the group withdraw from pro-abortion spaces.” This divisive attack is like a whistle to the corporate media, which is crawling all over the issue in coverage of daily beast and The interception.

As flawed as Rise Up may be, the reality is that the group has been at the forefront nationwide in advocating for abortion — but not the only group as they claim. He has consistently staged protests and used bold tactics such as unfurling huge banners at sporting events to draw media attention to the issue. He expanded his message after being criticized for his focus on women who have abortions being transphobic and limiting. Its green wave imagery is ubiquitous and its anti-capitalist message is spot on. His audacity resonated with young people.

Truth be told, it is largely the left, including radical women, who have staged rallies, speeches, marches and demonstrations throughout the past year to draw attention to the impending debacle. of the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, moderate feminist organizations pushed fundraising online and waited for the Democratic Party to come to the rescue.

You have to think that some of the venom expressed in the statement comes from groups that have done much less than Rise Up and may regret its appeal to young people. Others can be pushed to undermine the influence of the left in the whole movement. How condescending for them to demand that Rise Up go away rather than trusting young supporters to come to their own conclusions about whether Rise Up’s strategies work in the long run.

Radical Women launched the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice a year ago to build the kind of coalition effort we believe is urgently needed to preserve abortion and achieve full reproductive justice. The mobilization attracted feminist groups, grassroots organizations, trade unions, radicals and individuals coming together for a common cause. Although Rise Up has often competed with the actions announced by the mobilization, we have managed to work in cooperation with it in various cities, including New York. Rather than demanding political conformity, we believe in respectfully discussing differences. As the right escalates its attacks on the most vulnerable, a united front of labor organizations is essential to repel them.

Red-baiting, smearing people or groups for their radical associations, is not acceptable in the movement. It needs to be stopped before it further hurts women, people of color, non-binary, trans, and the poor who seek to find a channel for their rage as their rights are taken away. It is undeniable that those of us who fight for abortion rights and reproductive justice will have differing opinions. It is essential that we learn to work together in mutual respect instead of excluding, shutting up and witch-hunting each other. Independent organizations and activists can unite around issues while maintaining our differences. The future of reproductive justice and of all social movements depends on it.

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