Reflections on the talk "Stop the Assault on Abortion Rights! Break ALL the Chains that Enslave Women!" by Sunsara Taylor


July 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Stop the Assault on Abortion Rights! Break ALL the Chains that Enslave Women! A talk by Sunsara Taylor

I thought that the section on why you can't liberate women within the constraints of capitalism was a leap. You don't have to agree with it on every level, but there is a level on which it makes something unavoidable. The evidence points to the fact that capitalism has not figured out any alternate ways of breeding and raising children other than the family unit... something as simple as childcare that could free women up in one respect, would require paid labor in today's world, and adding costs that will affect the profit margin and competitive ability of any company. Or adding taxes if the government pays. Even just look at what happened with the Affordable Care Act! It is so crazy that the government shut down and declared crisis just from THAT (not even anything that impressive when it comes to meeting people's needs) because who will pay for it? And the howling ensues. This was taking a tip from Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolutionwhich poses questions about how capitalism could ever provide a pathway to an END to the systematic subjugation of women and culture of woman-hating. A person may argue that the whole setup is the best that humanity is capable of, or that women naturally all want to be mothers and raise children, or something like that, and they would be wrong (it was a good illustration to include that story of the Frenchman & Iroquois). As for what is being laid out—that role for women as property of men within the family unit, and how it is woven into how things get done in a society that is crazy for profit—you can see evidence for that everywhere.

I also very much appreciated the question & answer about "bringing up the liberation of women in an organic way" while doing revolutionary work, and while you do not have to feel guilty or something about talking about other particular crimes of this system against the people and the planet, the problem is not how "organically" this question fits in—it does so in reality. "We just say it." But the real question is whether or not you are going to risk disrupting some unity you have around another front, such as the fight to stop police murder. The question of the role of women in society is crazy controversial in all the circles that may be open to this or that radical idea or aspect of communist revolution. Everybody doing revolutionary work, and most people who have been involved in real activism, know that on some level. But when we are throwing down around how half of humanity is routinely degraded, should not ever be, and do not have to be, we are drawing forward a different crowd. That's important. Because you actually can't break all the chains except one.

This part about how we have to roll and organize people on the spot made me realize we had the wrong plan for July 1 locally, and had been going out with the wrong orientation. After some discussion it is all very clear now. It's an outlook that proceeds from where people are at on the surface that leads to this more kind of passive work we had been doing, and adhering to the form of going to a concentration of the attacks on women regardless of any opportunity to involve others on the spot. This initiative has to be carried by more hands, if it is going to affect society in big ways. 

But even more, if it is going to affect society in big ways, it has to tap into the suppressed outrage that is UNDER the surface (that is kind of the point). When we were going out we were kind of letting the materials do the work. The sign of Women Are NOT... gets certain reactions, the War on Women display provokes certain conversations and stories and even outrage, but we were more like, if you want to talk about this stuff, we're here. What we should all be doing is projecting urgency, and the reality is that there are a lot of ways to contribute to the fight against the attacks on abortion, against porn and the trafficking of women and girls, and patriarchy—and it needs to be done now, by many thousands of people. It can't just be on them to "find ways in" though many ideas and skill sets and so on are only an advantage... the need for people to overcome fear and passivity is great. The need for people to see some of that outrage and moral clarity is great. It's not "where people are at" but in another sense it's permeating everywhere that people are and have to live. 

In New York on July 1, Stop Patriarchy led a powerful protest in bloody pants and wielding coat hangers, to illustrate that when abortion is illegal, women die, and to stand up for abortion on demand and without apology. Their plan reflected that better orientation of consistently acting to move people by setting an uncompromising pole for women's liberation, and connecting them to the fight in that moment where they are moved. When I heard they were bringing 100 pairs of bloody pants out into Union Square, which was a lot more than the number of people who they were expecting to show up for their demonstration—it clicked. They had an orientation – and a plan! – to organize people on the spot into what they were doing. Make a scene with people who are moved in the moment by a smaller group of people that are uncompromising, in this case about abortion rights and women's liberation. The work we did after July 1 was very different. We had to break from a static model of "doing work" without expecting to ever see the people we are talking to again. We need to yank out people's inner conflict, pain or disgust that results from how women are treated in this world. It's actually also a question of what it means to lead in the way that is needed right now, though that's a whole thing in itself.


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From Bob Avakian:

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

Break ALL the Chains!

Bob Avakian on the
Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

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"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13