A Report from a Rider on the Los Angeles Abortion Rights Freedom Ride Celebration
Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

On September 14, Revolution Books Los Angeles held a celebration to welcome and honor the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders and hear them report back from a historic month-long battle which focused on not only preventing the closure of abortion clinics in Texas but 1) Launching a national counter-offensive against the assaults on abortion rights 2) Changing the terms in the fight around abortion, as the attacks on abortion have never been about babies, they have been about controlling women 3) Relying on ourselves to turn the tide on these attacks on abortion, and fight through to defeat the war on women.

A fellow freedom rider and I relayed what went through our minds when we decided to get arrested as part of the resistance waged during the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride:

We imagined what our lives would look like in a worst-case scenario—6 months to 2 years in prison, not finishing college, and being disowned by our parents. But, after imagining what the lives of women would look like—the thousands forced to self-induce and millions more forced into motherhood, we realized there was an objective need to put our lives-our bodies, on the line. Proceeding from the reality that WHEN ABORTION IS ILLEGAL WOMEN DIE, our determination to bring the woman back into the picture was fully unleashed. Knowing that we were reminding humanity that women are full human beings, and their lives and dreams are worth more than blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses, made being in handcuffs the most liberating experience of our lives.

Our report back struck a chord with a lot of people: some were so touched by our righteous rebellion, they cried, saying that more "people need to be taking this up," and others believed the riders' actions were reminiscent of the individuals that galvanized the movement of the '60s.

What struck a chord with me was one of my comrades revealing that the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride gave her a platform to tell her pre-Roe v. Wade abortion story for the first time in her life, which she described as an act that made her "feel lighter."

A rider who participated in last year's ride described the two rides as incomparable. He comically explained how Stop Patriarchy gave him countless "Oh shit" moments because members never feared bringing in revolution or confronting patriarchy head on and "WITHOUT APOLOGY."

Sunsara Taylor talked about how we were hated by some and loved by others for the same reason—our refusal to compromise women's lives concentrates our principled method and approach during the ride. The fact that supporters of abortion rights despised us caught many by surprise. The slander, which consisted of unprincipled attacks on Bob Avakian, accusations of racism—even sexism, ad hominem attacks on Sunsara, and even calling us "little bitches" for not asking certain self-proclaimed organizers in Texas before we came to fight for the lives of women, encapsulates that the phrase "War on Women" is no hyperbole. These attacks really brought to light the great NEED to link everything up, to go after patriarchy as an institution and fight not just for abortion to be readily available, but to break all the chains that enslave women, and to break with the culture that perpetuates the oppression and degradation of women.

Carol Downer, co-founder of the Feminist Women's Health Centers and member of the Advisory Board to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, emphasized the importance of bringing the woman back into the picture which epitomized what we were out to do and how this ride was one of the best times in her life (read "No One Has to Ask Permission to Fight For Women's Liberation" by Carol Downer).

Another comrade exposed the dire situation regarding women in Brownsville (a place in southern Texas with no clinics) where she said the women she spoke with would tear-up when she asked them about the rape and sexual violence that 80 percent of the women crossing the border face. This comrade also stressed the importance of getting the BREAK ALL THE CHAINS! compendium by Bob Avakian out and called on everyone in the audience to read and wrangle with it.

This celebration modeled what breaking away from the revolting culture looks like. There were discussions of the essential importance of unleashing the fury of women and what it will take to end this degradation, which manifests itself throughout the entire globe. These conversations are the conversations we should be having in society. This is what our culture should consist of—people getting together, wrangling with theory, discussing BA, reading poetry and, of course, eating good food, and having fun.

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