Labor should fight attack on women and abortion rights

The new laws against abortion rights are an attack on women, first and foremost, but on all working class people also. That’s because they represent the increased power of the far right, as organized through the Christian fanatics. They threaten to throw working class women back to the dark ages of coat hangers. We say “working class” women, because the rich will always find a way to obtain abortions safely. But these attacks will not stop here. This far right will use this to escalate their attacks on the rights of people of color, on immigrants, and on workers as a whole.

Nor is the strategy of fighting these attacks through the courts likely to succeed. True to his campaign promise, Trump is appointing judges committed to opposing abortion rights. Not only at the Supreme Court level, but where it’s possibly even more important, at the lower levels. As oaklandsocialist pointed out a year and a half ago, the Supreme Court only hears about 80 cases per year while the rest of the federal judiciary hears about 60,000. That’s where most of case law is really made.

Web sites of National Nurses United and of SEIU-UHW. You would think that at least these two unions, the two that deal with health care workers and are majority women workers, would have the issue mentioned prominently.

Yet a review of the different union web sites reveals that they are entirely ignoring the issue. Not only the AFL-CIO, but SEIU, Unite-HERE, UFCW, National Nurses United – none of them has a word on this attack on their sites!

Labor should have an educational campaign among its members. This should include work-place meetings to explain the importance of the issue and to discuss what role the unions can play in fighting for women’s right to abortions. It should include organizing noon-time rallies in the streets.

This should build up to a week day, day long national protest. It should link up the attack on women’s rights with the attacks on voting rights; the attacks on people of color, including the ongoing police murders of black people and others; the attacks on immigrants; and the attacks on workers in general.

The role of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), with their 50,000+ members should also be considered. They are calling for donations to the non-profits that run the abortion rights movement. This is simply a way of supporting the court challenge strategy. Instead, as this leaflet on the left calls for, DSA should be organizing protests as well as calling on the union leadership to do the same. That’s what the DSA Eugene Debs Caucus is calling for.

Millions of women (and some men also!) throughout the country are outraged at these new laws. These laws are a threat to all… but they are also an opportunity to build a movement in the streets, the work places, the working class schools and communities… and in the unions too! Elections are a tool to build a working class movement, but they are not the only tool. In fact, the main victories for workers and for the rights of specially oppressed people in the United States have been won by the movement in the streets. (Those interested in more on the labor movement, we recommend this article on May Day and this pamphlet as a start.)

It’s time to rebuild that movement.

Oaklandsocialist urges union members to organize inside their union to make it take action on the issue. If you need any ideas on how to go about doing this, contact us at Oaklandsocialist@gmail.com


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