Violent revenge against women in 2014 is a worldwide epidemic. It does not have to be this way!

Why I Am Taking Part in the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014

by Sunsara Taylor | July 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


When I first took a road-trip in the dead of winter to defend the last abortion clinic in North Dakota almost 20 years ago, I still believed that the U.S. was a “free country” that took whatever course it did simply because that is what most people wanted. The forces arrayed against abortion, I thought, could be persuaded if pro-choice people just shared with them what we understood.

I understood that sometimes women don’t want to have children. I had watched girls driven out of my high school in shame because of pregnancy and fundamentalism. I grew up surrounded by women who struggled to feed and clothe the children they had. I knew about the terrible brutality men inflicted on women inside their own homes. And I had just learned that women used to bleed to death after using wire coat hangers to self-induce abortions before it became legal.

Sunsara Taylor. Photo: Special to Revolution

I had absolutely no doubt that I could persuade the anti-abortion protesters to redirect their energies towards something that would really help women.

I was wrong. I expected them to pray for “babies”; instead they prayed to “break the curse of independence that has afflicted women.” I expected compassion from people who called themselves Christian; instead they shouted us down and rationalized the murder of abortion doctors and put me in fear.

I got my first sense that this was much deeper than a misunderstanding.

Since that time, this same hardened anti-woman outlook has not only continued to terrorize abortion providers and women—eight abortion workers have been murdered and thousands of bombings, clinic invasions, and acts of terror have been carried out—this outlook has become mainstream within the ruling circles of this country. Hundreds of laws restricting abortion have been passed, creating a situation where 97 percent of rural counties do not have abortion providers. Recent Supreme Court rulings have green-lighted clinic harassment, deprived thousands of women meaningful access to birth control, and flung the door wide open to even more draconian religious intrusion on women and others.

None of this was driven by the “will of the people.” Despite significant gains by Christian fascists in shaming women and stigmatizing abortion—aided considerably by the defensiveness around abortion on the part of the Democrats and much of the pro-choice movementmost people in this country do not believe women should be forced to have children against their will.

Around abortion, no less than around the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, “popular will” is not what determined the direction of this country.

Over the last 20 years I have learned what it is that is “deeper” than a simple misunderstanding; it is the nature of the system of capitalism-imperialism we live under. Capitalism is a system that ravages the globe in pursuit of profit or advantage. In the two decades since that Fargo winter, it has hurled millions of peasants worldwide off their land and into the teeming slums and shantytowns. It has driven down wages and thrown huge numbers of men out of work. It has sucked millions and millions of impoverished and displaced women into sweatshops and brothels. From one corner of the globe to the other, it has caused tremendous changes in how people live, creating great suffering and affecting how people think and relate.

One effect of all this upheaval has been the undermining of traditional forms of patriarchy, the systematic oppression of women by men. Who  thought that more people would live in cities than the countryside worldwide or that more women than men would be graduating college in this country?

At the same time, capitalism-imperialism cannot do without patriarchy. The patriarchal family—even as it gets stretched and strained by all these changes—is still a cornerstone of society’s economic functioning. And male supremacy remains one of the most cohering social glues that hold society together.

All this has combined to create what can only be described as a global tidal wave of violence and vengeance against women—from the Boko Haram kidnappings to the increasing popularity of violent, woman-hating porn, to the all-out assault in this country on reproductive freedom. Much of this revenge arises spontaneously, out of the resentment of men who have been bred their entire lives in the outlook of this system that in order to survive and thrive you have to dominate someone else, and where the domination of women is at the core of all of this. And much of this revenge has arisen out of the conscious policy of ruling class forces who are desperate to stabilize and re-cohere society in this increasingly unstable world. This is the context in which the tremendous advances made by Christian fascists—both from the halls of power and in their reactionary mass movements—in eliminating and shaming abortion in this country must be understood.

Bob Avakian (BA), Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, put it well years ago when he wrote:

“The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances… It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms… The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement?”

This question is far from settled in the world today.

Ultimately, achieving a world without misogyny and oppression of women, as well as one without all other forms of exploitation and oppression, requires getting rid of the system of capitalism-imperialism. How this can be, and how unleashing the fury of women against all forms of male domination must be a driving force both in making revolution and in making sure it is all-the-way liberating revolution, is a vital part of what is new in Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. This opens up new possibilities for real liberation. Everyone who yearns for this needs to seriously engage the new compendium of BA’s work on this question, Break ALL the Chains! And standing up today and resisting the crimes being committed against women is an absolutely integral and crucial part of hastening this revolution that women so desperately need.

So, 20 years later, as I head to Texas to take part in the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014, I see this as a critical part of fighting to realize a whole better world. Stopping this assault on women’s most fundamental rights requires people standing up, telling the uncompromising truth that forced motherhood is female enslavement, putting themselves on the line against it, and calling forth millions of others to join in massive independent political resistance. And while people come into this battle around abortion, and should come into this battle from all kinds of viewpoints—and the rich vitality of the back-and-forth and learning from each other is one of the great things about being in this movement—for me this means not only waging this fight as hard and as smart as we can, and collectivizing with others on how to do that, it also means bringing BA’s insights on this question and others to people. It means showing the links to struggles waged by oppressed peoples all around the world, it means letting people know about the Revolutionary Communist Party and its website,, and most of all that it doesn’t have to be this way.

A radically different and far better world, one without the oppression of women by men and without all the destructive antagonistic conflicts between people and WITH real human flourishing and vitality, is possible.


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