Revolution #199, April 18, 2010
Anti-Abortion thug found NOT GUILTY in Ohio
In Akron, it's legal to assault someone who stands up for a woman's right to choose
On July 18, 2009, Charles Wright, a long time women's rights advocate, was assaulted outside of a women's clinic that does abortions, the Akron Women's Medical Center. He and others were defending women trying to get into the clinic, from the verbal and physical harassment of anti-abortion lunatics. At one point, Charles was punched so hard in the head by an anti that he crashed to the ground, and was rendered unconscious. Charles was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, where doctors discovered that he had 6 broken ribs. He spent 2 days in the hospital, was in intense pain for weeks, and ended up with a hospital bill totaling $38,000. [Read on-line about Akron Women's Medical Center]
After months of delay, the thug, Nathan Chesley, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. In fact, it was Chesley himself that called the cops and make an audio taped confession! In addition, there was a video tape of the entire incident that was confiscated from the anti's, clearly showing what happened.
But on March 24, 2010, after a couple days of trial, the jury found Chesley NOT GUILTY of aggravated assault!! There was shock and horror among the pro-choice forces in Akron. Every person I talked to in the Akron pro-choice community are saying that they don't ever want to go back to the clinic. They are afraid this verdict will actually escalate the harassment and violence they've been subject to for years. In fact one person wrote in an email, "I fear because of this NOT Guilty verdict in Akron, doctors, clinic workers, and volunteers will be at risk."
A pro-choice person wrote on Facebook: "In Akron Ohio, it is legal to beat a person unconscious on clinic property, as long as they are defending the legal right of a woman to choose. Now the anti-choice zealots have permission to beat the crap out of us. And Charles is in fear for his life... He knows he is not afforded the protection of a citizen of this country. Is it because he was defending women? Is it because Charles is gay? Both? I am angry, I am sick, and I am afraid."
And there is reason to be afraid. After the verdict, there was a slew of letters posted on the Akron Beacon Journal website, many of them from antis. And they were vicious. In addition to the comments themselves, many of the avatars on the postings displayed guns, rifles, and target symbols. And some of the names that go along with the anti-abortion venom are "tiller killer" and "angry white."
Some of the fascist comments: "A win for the good guys." "The violence that goes on in the clinic, the snuffing out of innocent life,—that is the real issue. And, do not give me the tired line of this is a woman's right to do whatever she wants to her body ... We ALL know in our hearts that the murdering of innocent life is wrong and we (our nation) will and is being judged by this. Violence outside or inside the clinic is not right. However, to compare a few broken ribs with the countless number (millions) of babies murdered in the USA every year is appaulling."
Who are these anti-abortion lunatics? Some of the most aggressive are part of a group called the "Jericho Riders," a motorcycle ministry that is hooked up with, among others, the "Christian Minutemen." These kinds of forces, and many more, are part of a wave of fascist reaction, that have been in the field around abortion and homosexuality for a while, and now being expanded by the new wave of "Tea Party" protestors.
As was written in Revolution recently, "The extreme nature of the situation is reflected in, and revealed by the extreme remaking of U.S. society called for by the section of the ruling class identified with the Republican Party.
"To them, church and the family—and traditional fundamentalist Christian religion and draconian, repressive family values—must assume a radically greater role in the functioning of society. God, guns (in the hands of racists, anti-immigrant vigilantes, and fascists), and religion are asserted with a vengeance." from "The Battle Over the Healthcare Bill... The Fascist Reaction... and the Potential for REAL Revolution." (Revolution #197)
And how did this thug, Chesley, get acquitted? There is lots of debate by pro-choice people over this. The political climate, mentioned above, certainly had an influence on the jury. But it was also the case, as Bob Avakian describes in the DVD, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, of the prosecutors all of a sudden forgetting how to prosecute! They had Chesley's taped audio confession to cops... but didn't use it in trial! The prosecutor, Chad Vanorman, initially wasn't even going to put Charles on the stand to tell what happened to him! There were many other witnesses that were subpoenaed to testify, and were never called, including two clinic employees. The prosecutor didn't take on the ideological arguments of the "defense," letting most of it go without objection. And during the jury deliberations, Vanorman told Charles (who is also a well known atheist) that he is a Christian and that Charles should read the Bible!
So what now? The fascist lunatics are all puffed up. The pro-choice forces have been temporarily set back. The Akron folks are really scared, including one woman who feels really guilty about being scared! At the same time, they are outraged and angry at the verdict, but don't know what to do. They don't know who to blame, and they don't understand how a thing like this can happen "in a democracy." They feel very alone and isolated. I've listened to the fear and outrage, and at the same time struggled for the understanding that the source of this is the system. We urgently need revolution. We need to find the ways to fight back now—to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—to liberate women and all humanity.
One Akron woman I talked to had traveled to Wichita, Kansas to defend the clinic of Dr. LeRoy Carhart. She had already been in touch with World Can't Wait about the outrageous trial verdict. We grappled with how to respond to this challenging situation, and we've begun to strategize with others about how to take this on.
This whole situation brought home the words of Bob Avakian: "There may be a need, and in fact almost certainly will be a need, for conscious revolutionary forces to take the lead in opposing certain fascist initiatives which take form, to a significant degree at least, as attacks on bourgeois-democratic rights and norms and, in certain cases perhaps, even some figures identified with bourgeois democracy and liberalism; but, let me underline, this must be done not by way of promoting and defending bourgeois democracy and bourgeois-democratic political leaders, but instead radically recasting this and directing it against the whole system of bourgeois rule, that is bourgeois dictatorship (which is what is actually embodied in the dominant political structures in this country) and the capitalist-imperialist system this enforces." ("Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution," available at revcom.us)
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