An Attack on Women Anywhere Is an Attack on ALL Women
Raising Hell on J1 in Seattle!


July 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Seattle, July 1
Seattle, July 1. (All photos: Stop Patriarchy)

Seattle, July 1Seattle arrest of protester, July 1

Seattle, July 1

From a reader:

In Seattle we took the street on July 1st, a national day of action called for by Stop Patriarchy. We raised hell and shut down business as usual! We kicked it off with a short rally and speak-out, and then we took the street. We wore “bloody” white pants, held posters with the images of women who have died from lack of abortion, and posters that said “Abortion on Demand & Without Apology.” Hundreds of people looked on as we stood in a crosswalk of a major intersection in the middle of rush hour traffic.

We chanted and agitated to let people know that there is a national assault on abortion rights, and how when abortion is illegal or not easily accessible, then women die, or they are forced into motherhood against their will. It is already the case in areas in the U.S., especially in the Deep South, that women have less legal rights than a fetus, and women are seeking out dangerous and sometimes deadly methods of terminating unwanted pregnancy because they cannot access safe, legal abortions. This is intolerable! This is unacceptable!

Seven of us were arrested, after being out in the street for about an hour, and after the cops had already surrounded us and re-routed traffic. While they were arresting us, one of us agitated about the illegitimacy of the cops, and how they could arrest us for protesting, but they get away with murdering Black people all the time.

Our action unleashed a chaotic scene, but as we stood firm over the next hour and refused to back down, people on the sidelines seemed to get more clear on what the terms were and chose sides. There was a mix of individuals and pockets of people who were cheering and eventually joined in the chanting. There was woman-hating hostility. And there was a lot of confusion and “calm down, women” sentiment from those who didn’t see why they should care as long as abortion is legal for them in their state. Everyone seemed jolted by the unfamiliar sight of a relatively small group of women boldly and graphically protesting for women’s liberation in the middle of the street, blocking hundreds of cars and buses with horns blaring.

We intended to wake people up to the abortion rights emergency, and it was clear from the polarized responses of drivers and bystanders that MOST people have NO IDEA how much this right has already been stripped away. There was anger from some, some people even getting out of their cars to confront us in a direct way and tell us to move, some saying that they were pro-choice, but thought we were wrong to take the street the way we did. One man droned on saying “Abortion is murder. You’re all a bunch of whores.” Another wove through the crowd, yelling at us: “Abortion is legal, abortion is legal,” attempting to downplay the emergency and to therefore argue that we were acting in too extreme of a fashion. Some raised the idea that Seattle is just fine about abortion rights and access, that because this city is more progressive or enlightened, we have nothing to worry about.

These notions are wrong and harmful, and further underscore the necessity to forge ahead with this kind of resistance! First of all, Seattle and all other areas that people consider to be more progressive actually are under assault. At abortion clinics in Seattle, the anti’s come to harass women going into abortion clinics—calling them murderers and making them feel ashamed and isolated—and terrorize clinic staff. Then there are fake clinics posing sham “alternatives” to abortion, which is to say they will try to convince women that they shouldn’t get an abortion. The anti-abortion movement has also made big strides in switching the terms of this battle to be about “babies” and the “murder of babies” to the point where even those that call themselves pro-choice think of abortion as tragic or as if it is “justifiable homicide.” This logic is deadly wrong! The battle around abortion has never been about “babies” it has always been about patriarchal control over women, and abortion is NOT murder! Fetuses are NOT babies, abortion is NOT murder, and women are NOT incubators! It really is the case that tens of thousands of women around the world DIE every year without access to abortion care. Abortion is positive and liberating; and preserves the lives and dreams of actual human beings—women! While the anti-abortion movement hasn’t yet been able to gain as much legal ground here, they have gained plenty of ground in shaping the ideas that people have about abortion. They've also gained ground in underhanded and quiet attacks on access to abortion care. Swedish Hospital in Seattle is now owned by Providence, which means it is now Catholic-owned and operated, and doctors there are NOT allowed to provide abortion. In fact, there has been a whole religious-based takeover of secular hospitals, and more than 50 percent of Washington’s health care facilities have been merged into Catholic-based health care.

Besides all this, why should anyone, after you have heard the stories of what has happened to women without abortion access, want to see any woman anywhere forced into motherhood or take their lives into their own hands to terminate a pregnancy, possibly to die? NO ONE should sit by while this horrific future is further codified into law, and while people’s ideas of abortion become more skewed by the antis continuing to hold the moral high ground on this question. NO, we are the ones with right on our side, we will fight to reclaim the moral high ground, and we are taking on the responsibility to fight to change all of this! So...YES, WE WILL RAISE HELL HERE IN SEATTLE TOO! Because it MATTERS.

Then there were other very positive responses from people. A woman we met at the Pride event here came out and held a sign the entire time. A Black lawyer who was stuck in traffic got out of her car and came up to us to thank us, and to offer legal support. Another woman walked down the line, touched all of us on the shoulder and thanked us for what we were doing. A man who had just gotten off work videotaped almost the entire action, and while he expressed confusion at first as to why we were out there, after interviewing one of us, you could tell he understood more and was supportive.

We were continually calling on people to join us. One woman, who we now know much better because she ended up going to jail with us, was on her way to exchange a pair of pants at J. Crew. When she saw what we were doing, she thought to herself, I donate money, but I’m really not doing enough. She looked up the Stop Patriarchy website on her phone, and after getting a general sense of what we were about, stepped into the street to join us. She was on the end and the first to get arrested. Another woman who has been active around the struggle to stop police brutality and murder, and has engaged the question and possibility of revolution and building a movement for revolution, joined us in the street. She wasn’t sure she wanted to get arrested, but when it came down to it, she continued to stand with us. A few women from the Black Student Union at one of the high schools chanted with us from the sidewalk, and raised their fists.

One woman came late with a friend, but was completely jazzed to see this defiant action, and at one point she even tried to get past the cops that were surrounding us to get a close-up photo of us to post on social media. She had come to see the film of the talk Sunsara Taylor gave recently, and felt tremendously inspired by it. She definitely was not the only one who felt very inspired after watching the talk, and because we know what an impact that can have on people, we planned another showing of the film for Monday, July 6, 7 pm, at Revolution Books Seattle. We also are planning to take out the war on women display on Wednesday July 8.

On July 1 in Seattle, hundreds of people stood watching, many people took flyers with information about why we were there and upcoming events we have planned; some people signed up with us. And the challenge of what people will do in this moment was raised. It’s not enough that the laws set to go into effect were granted temporary stays: We need to defeat those laws, and create a situation where the whole abortion rights emergency direction of things is reversed, and where women can get abortion on demand and without apology! The courts, including the Supreme Court, need to know that there is a force that will NOT be silent in the face of unprecedented legal assaults on abortion rights. In fact, we will be defiant, in the streets, loudly and unapologetically calling out patriarchy. They need to know that we will fight to change the culture and the ideas people have about the social role of women, and that we will call on people to join this fight, and spread this movement with us!

We’ll be in the streets this summer in Seattle, Taking Patriarchy by Storm! Join us!



To learn more about the fight to break the chains and unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution:

Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity


To get involved in the summer effort to Take Patriarchy By Storm:

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women section of this website



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