Project Censored Radio Show:

Why even "left-leaning" media censored the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride

September 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following RUSH TRANSCRIPT is from the September 2, 2014 Project Censored Radio Show hosted by Mickey Huff and Dr. Peter Phillips (which airs on the out of New York City). Sunsara Taylor is from and and Dennis Trainor is from Acronym TV.


Mickey Huff: You were recently arrested for your actions in Texas. Please tell listeners why you are there and what you are doing and a little more about Stop Patriarchy.

Sunsara Taylor: Hi Mickey, thanks for having me on. I am down in Texas with and the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, we've been down here about a month, traveling across the state, rallying people to stand up for women's right for abortion. The main reason is we are currently in a countdown to the greatest round of abortion clinic closures to hit a single state since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion over 40 years ago.

Texas had 46 abortion clinics in 2011 and on September 1 of this year they are scheduled to close down all but 6 or 7 of the clinics. This is going to be devastating for women across Texas, but it is also a major precedent being set in a national war against women's right to abortion so that is why we are down here. And we went into the streets on Wednesday, a number of us, in front of the UT campus on the first day of classes to challenge young people and students, this is their future, one in three women will get an abortion and these rights are being stripped from them right now. This is a watershed moment what is being molded into place. And it is time for people to step out of their comfort zones, out of their routine and put something on the line.

We've seen that we cannot rely on the courts and we cannot rely on the politicians to protect women's most fundamental rights to decide for themselves if they are going to have children. And so a number of us were in the streets, a number of students gathered and watched, some students came into the streets with us, at one point the police singled some of us out and arrested us, we spent the night in jail. It's not the greatest place to be but we were happy and very proud to be standing up for women at this critical juncture and many need to join us and do the same.

Peter Philips: Sunsara Taylor hi, this is Peter Philips. You were arrested last weekend on the 27th and you were actually standing in the middle of the street in downtown Austin, Guadalupe St. I've seen pictures of that and this is from your website and others but I have heard no coverage of this in corporate media whatsoever. So how are you getting the word out and that, of course, will lead into Dennis's part of this so talk a little bit about that.

Sunsara Taylor: You know what is interesting, Peter, is that there has actually been some significant coverage in the local news and the national news. In Texas the Austin Statesman did a very powerful video of what we did on Wednesday, a number of places, Univision has covered it extensively, the whole month of activity. What has been most striking is that there has been a resounding silence almost across the board by the so-called "progressive" or "left" media.

A lot of it I think stems from the fact that the main Democratic platform has been to be silent and let these closures happen and a lot of the "pro-choice" movements are very tied in to the electoral strategy and frankly down in Texas this is Wendy Davis's campaign for governor. You know, Wendy Davis has made a big point of not talking about abortion and most people in Texas don't even know these clinics are closing, that is what we've found as we've gone out across the state.

So while there has been some coverage, there should be more in the mainstream or corporate media as you call it. But what may have been the most shocking is how much, even many of the outlets, "progressive" and "left" outlets that have covered Stop Patriarchy and last summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, this summer they have almost universally suppressed this story. There is no news on the civil disobedience and arrest that happened August 11, two weeks ago, and five arrests just a couple days ago. There is no coverage of the fact that this law is going into effect and that there is a major effort that involves many national abortion providers in this country and people throughout Texas standing up and resisting this. It has been ignored, and as well as ignored it has been suppressed.

Mickey Huff: Let's get to this suppression. Dennis Trainor of Acronym TV. Sunsara and I spoke earlier in the week and she told me a story of your coverage of her and Stop Patriarchy and so on. Tell us a little about your experience with the interview that you did.

Dennis Trainor: Absolutely, thanks for having me on. We had Sunsara on to talk about the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride when the ride began, and we produce and distribute our show across Free Speech TV and their web site and in addition cable networks. We distribute to many websites including my own known as Popular Resistance. We have a kind of informal syndication with many websites, one of them being Truth Out, that regularly publishes my work and that is coming to the point of the suppression here.

In the beginning of our half hour show there is an introduction where I explain to viewers passionately why I was a supporter of and a signatory of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and why I was proud to be among other people, and then we did the interview.

The editor I usually work with at Truth Out was incredibly moved by the interview, by the piece, by the subject and it was slated to be published "above the fold" in digital media terms, on the front page of Truth Out, where it did land, I am told, for 20 or 25 minutes before it was pulled.

And it took me several days to get an explanation. The most forthcoming explanation I got was the piece was deemed to be an inappropriate endorsement of the organization Stop Patriarchy. Now what is hypocritical about that statement is the fact that a shorter clip, a 3 minute clip, in which I introduce my interview of Sunsara in which I explicitly endorse Stop Patriarchy, that video and text was left up on the website—but not the total interview with Sunsara.

That is just one example of how the story is being suppressed from my end. What I saw as I was preparing to do this interview and other people on the left found out I was going to do this interview is people were saying "Don't get involved with Stop Patriarchy, don't endorse Stop Patriarchy." There were journalists going down there to expose Stop Patriarchy, warned me that my credibility, which I have taken years to build up, was going to be called into question. And the best narrative that I can come up with to explain all this is that people are either directly linked to the Democratic Party or they are self-censoring based on their idea of the politics of what they think is possible.

So that's where we are right now. Why I think Stop Patriarchy is seeing so much resistance in the streets and in the media for this summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride.

Mickey Huff: Well Dennis Trainor, perhaps also as we saw in Ferguson, MO where Carl Dix was specifically targeted by the police chief there for arrest, Carl Dix no strangers to civil rights issues and also co-founder of the Revolutionary Communist Party of which Sunsara Taylor is also a member.

Sunsara Taylor: I am a supporter.

Mickey Huff: I'm sorry. Thank you for the clarification. Might that have anything to do with it, in your estimation?

Dennis Trainor: Absolutely, it directly has to do with it. I think the person who spoke most eloquently of this is a woman named Diane Derzis who runs the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, and where Sunsara and Stop Patriarchy made a stop in the 2013 Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. As I was doing background for my interview with Sunsara, I spoke with her and she said she got called and she got emailed and was told, "The commies are coming, the commies are coming." She said, you know, if they are going to stand up and help keep my clinic open I am happy they are coming.

Mickey Huff: It sounds common sense to us, Dennis.

Sunsara Taylor: I do want to add there is definitely a campaign of vitriol and slander against the Revolutionary Communist Party. It is very COINTELPRO. A lot of it is on Twitter. It is on social media. There are articles and slander about "outside agitators." All this sort of thing. I just want to fill out the picture just on the censorship.

The group calling itself "Texas for Reproductive Justice" formed just for the sole effort of wrecking and opposing the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and they never once mention that this round of clinic closures is about to happen. They don't once mention the emergency confronting Texas and the country. Instead it is a hatchet job, rumors, tabloid-style rumors and slanders and misrepresentations of both Stop Patriarchy and the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian the leader of that party in particular.

And then this group, it is interesting... One of the main people behind it went on to publish articles... There was an article that Alternet commissioned from one of their own writers that covered what the Freedom Riders had done, that article was finished and submitted but it was never published. Instead Alternet picked up on a hatchet job written by one of the main forces behind this Texans for Reproductive Justice and has been publishing these attacks—anti-communist attacks, anti-Freedom Ride attacks. And that is getting wide-spread play, actually. published an article by the same author.

When we asked for a chance to respond they said there was no way they would let a group write an article about itself, which is exactly what they did when they let this person publish an attack on us in the name of objectively reporting on slanders and rumors that she herself self-created.

I just wanted to fill out a pattern of repression and a misrepresentation and I definitely think the idea... Look, many people on the "left" have a lot invested in being the "franchise managers" in the fight against oppression but they really have tremendous animus for the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian in particular because this is a party and this is a leader that is about not just opposing but getting rid of the very root of the horrors of this system. They are trying to create a situation where revolutionary forces get isolated and other people are scared away from even standing up against this emergency because "You will be associated with the communists."

And on both counts it is just outrageous in principle; it creates a whole atmosphere where people don't know the crimes being done against women right now and are not able to stand up against it. And it creates an atmosphere where the forces of state repression have a lot more water to swim around in and cause great harm including the kind of thing you were reporting on last week with Carl Dix and others being singled out for arrest and that sort of thing.

Mickey Huff: Sunsara Taylor it is like a neo-McCarthyism among progressives and again Peter Philips and I are not members of the Revolutionary Communist Party but we have noticed that when we have covered certain issues and so forth on Project Censored we have drawn ire of some of these groups and so forth. Institute for Policy Studies springs to mind, which is not to say that these organizations or individuals don't do good work in other areas, certainly Truth Out does, but it pains us, if we're going to be honest and if we're going to hold ourselves to the same standard against censorship then we have to speak out about these types of efforts to silence people and to skew and attack people. We do have common cause.

Peter Philips: Sunsara we're almost out of time but you are there, you are one of the organizers of Stop Patriarchy, a number of other activists are with you, young women. It seems an attack on you personally for maybe your ideological orientations versus the issues that are being played out here, the closing of abortion clinics here in Texas that in a massive way undermines any liberal media organization to not cover that particularly undermines the issues at hand, the closing of abortion clinics.

Sunsara Taylor: You are absolutely right. I think it is important because obviously this is an attack on us, those of us associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party and those associated with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and that should be opposed by everybody on the principles that Mickey laid out. People should learn, they should defy that slander and they should go to and they should learn about the Party or and learn about that organization.

But it has the added effect you are describing, Peter, at a watershed moment, one of the greatest moves backwards in women's right to abortion and reproductive freedom that has happened in over 40 years and this is an attempt and an attack to keep people from looking at what is being done to women's lives and standing up fighting against this. And it is very, very dangerous and damaging because it is not a communist narrative. It is something communists care about but it is not a "communist narrative" or something we've made up, that this is a high stakes moment for women.

This is actually why huge numbers of women who are not communists have united with us and are standing up with us in the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride but many of them have faced exactly what Dennis has said and what he's faced. He is not a Communist either but he was told if you stand up and you associate with these people, your credibility will be dragged through the mud, there were threats issued against him and others and this is very, very damaging and everyone should be concerned and speak out against.

Mickey Huff: Sunsara Taylor from Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas thank you very much for joining us and telling us your story. Dennis Trainor I am sorry that we are out of time right now. Acronym TV. But Dennis Trainor, thank you for coming on and sharing your story and for taking the courageous stance you did for free speech.

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