Direct Action Gets the Goods: How You Can Join the Abortion Fight  Chicago's Federal Plaza, site of an abortion rights rally "We Will Not Go Back" today, June 25th, at noon.

Direct Action Gets the Goods: How You Can Join the Abortion Fight 

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.” Ursula K. Le Guin

We Will Not Go Back

Roe has fallen. Now is the time for unity, not enmity from our comrades. The energy we expend arguing amongst ourselves when the real enemy surrounds us exhausts and weakens us all. There are many ways to fight for reproductive justice. An article published recently classifying the work of the CDSA SocFem Working Group as neoliberal “solutions” is demeaning and uncomradely. It has no place in a big tent organization and only tarnishes our collective reputation.

Narrowing the scope of work only serves capital and makes no sense politically or practically. There is plenty of work to go around and solely focusing on electoral politics and labor organizing limits the material changes we can make today. Let’s be clear: abortion is under attack, and it is simply the first domino in a planned war on all bodily autonomy.

As we fight for reproductive rights, we are also witnessing a moral panic surrounding trans children and adults. This manufactured hysteria is resulting in discriminatory laws and restrictions to medical care that is dangerous, if not deadly. Attacks on bodily autonomy are historically the first step in establishing fascist regimes. Moral panic around LGBTQ identities and restrictions are inroads to mainstreaming hate. Stealing a person’s right to their own body is a clear path to robbing them of all other political rights; a pattern history has repeatedly demonstrated. ChristoFascists are openly courting liberals, and they are all banking on us not standing in solidarity with one another. Reproductive justice specifically demands the right to transition, and we stand for complete reproductive justice, not just the crumbs of abortion.

Voting and organizing our workplaces is the absolute least we can do. But there is so much more. We are — and have been — doing the work. When the SCOTUS decision leaked, we, along with our Defund CPD comrades, responded quickly because we have organized around Dobbs v Jackson since SCOTUS agreed to hear the case in May of 2021. What is breaking news to so many has been on our horizon for years, and in addition to doing all we can to protect abortion in a Post-Roe America, we are focused on the next steps, including creating a welcoming environment for those newly politicized by the Dobbs ruling. We encourage everyone seeking those next steps to organize with us. There is a place for everyone in the movement.

And yes, we work in coalition, including with comrades in nonprofits. We are proud of our partnerships, a method employed by SocFem comrades since at least 2018. We work in coalitions because this fight is bigger than us, and the way to build our movement is to work side-by-side with those who share the majority of our politics. People witnessing the front lines of the continued attack on our autonomy — including nonprofit workers — are as receptive to our politics as baristas and warehouse workers. Implicit attacks on mutual aid and abortion funds do not convince newly activated socialists to join us. At best, they remain neutral. At worst, they reject further discussion about how we end not only this oppression, but all oppression of the masses. Condescending language that belittles people’s hard work is never how we win.

The situation today is the result of many neoliberal failures. But it is also a resounding success for our enemies. The dismantling of abortion is due to the disciplined, violent actions of the fascist Right. To win, we must stand in solidarity with the oppressed everywhere. Dividing ourselves only aids our enemies. 

What Can We, As Socialist, Do Right Now?

Provide Direct Material Aid

Fund abortions. Mutual aid is a deeply radical act of community care, and our annual Fundathon team this year raised over $32,000 for Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF). CAF was presented with the Lucy Parsons Award for Community Organizing at the Debs dinner, organized by CDSA, two weeks ago. You can sign up for their Rapid Response email list and also volunteer with them as demand is already at record levels even before Dobbs stripped abortion rights. Nationally, Fundathon raised over $2.6 million to provide direct health care, an initiative supported by SocFem since 2019 or longer. Fundathon is a cornerstone of our work and to disparage it is an unprincipled attack on the entire working group. 

In addition to supporting CAF, we encourage comrades who are able to also support Midwest Access Coalition (MAC). With Roe fallen, Illinois will become a bigger healthcare destination as trigger laws will criminalize abortion in most of the Midwest. MAC has been providing material support to travelers seeking care in our state since 2014, and we encourage comrades interested in providing rides, accommodations, and other direct aid to partner with the local experts, MAC. They’re also linking volunteer-hopefuls to Operation Save Abortion, an all-day training hosted by Abortion Access Front which will guide registrants through different ways they can join the fight. 

Agitate Institutional Power

Join us in the streets today, June 25th, at noon in Federal Plaza, to let everyone know we will not go back! We will continue to have abortions regardless of “legality”! Chicago for Abortion Rights (CFAR), our strongest ally, has been working tirelessly for years to raise awareness about this moment and to get folks out in the streets! Many of us directly organize with CFAR, and we welcome everyone who wishes to join us. You can contact CFAR directly and be added to their mailing list.

Reject the court decision! Our comrades in Argentina, Ireland, and Mexico gained reproductive rights in the streets. People power in coalition with labor is the only way to secure our future and to suggest we believe otherwise is insulting. Our endorsed rallies have always highlighted union voices, and we encourage members to support strike actions and to support all union initiatives. 

Keep your community safe. Safety in the streets is always a priority for our actions, and if you want to help keep us safe, consider joining the Red Rabbits. You can contact this radical abolitionist safety group here.

Challenge Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). Use our toolkit to unmask religious zealots masquerading as health care. Fighting Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A Toolkit was developed last year as a way for comrades to do the work on their schedule, from wherever there is internet access. It is an accessible way to fight for reproductive justice if circumstances prevent you from joining us in the streets. 

Engage in jail support. Criminalization is a key part of the attack on abortions.  Abolition is the bedrock of socialist feminist theory, and none of us are free until we are all free. Jail support is another way to practice care for our community. You can donate funds or sign up to volunteer

Expand your political education. for our wrap up panel on July 17th at 4 pm. This panel, featuring co-author Erica Meiners and youth organizers from #NoCopAcademy and/or Cops Out CPS and Stop General Iron concludes our collaboration political education series with Defund CPD, Abolition. Feminism. Now. Participate in Defund CPD’s monthly to engage and ask questions around abolitionist topics.

Build a Better CDSA

Coalition is critical to creating the world we envision, and a large organization means we must work to develop internal connections. We strive to work in coalition internally, in addition to our external coalition work. We currently work closest with Defund CPD, but have made overtures to several other CDSA groups, including both the Labor Branch and the Electoral Working Group. We welcome all to join us at our monthly working group meetings, held the second Monday of each month on Zoom. Our next meeting is July 11, and you can register here

CDSA members organize for a broad range of other organizations, and we support building relationships wherever the work takes us. Workplaces, LGBTQ spaces, Independent Political Organizations (IPOs), religious organizations. Our organization should aim to be diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to anyone who shares our politics no matter where we find them. Many people doing the work in adjacent spaces — including workers at nonprofits — are socialists in waiting. Our job as socialists is to welcome new people as they realize that capitalism has failed.

Practice Hope

The times are bleak, but we keep us safe, and our community will protect us. Abolition teaches us to imagine a better world. Dream big. Envision the world we want. The fight we are in is a marathon, not a sprint. Strive to practice care whenever the opportunity arises; every time we choose solidarity, we make a material difference. In the words of Mariame Kaba, “hope is a discipline.” 

Abortion access is the bare minimum. Reproductive Justice is the goal. We stand proudly on the shoulders of those before us, and commit to crafting a better tomorrow.

We’ll leave you with a quote from Abolition. Feminism. Now. See you in the streets. 

“As the state too quickly absorbs or coopts seemingly radical tools and languages, and sometimes entire organizations, in the service of legitimating state violence, abolition feminism centers a critical and generative flexibility and a culture of political education that is intimately tethered to on-the-ground social and political movements.”