Tuesday May 3rd, one thousand working-class Atlantans took to the streets in defense of abortion rights. Below is a transcript of a speech from an Atlanta DSA organizer outside the Georgia State Capitol building. To stay up-to-date on DSA’s protest mobilization efforts, follow us on social media at @atldemsoc and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Become a member and organize with us at atldsa.org/join.
Banning abortion is class warfare. The rich and elite of this country will always have access to medical and reproductive care—and to remove access from the millions of working people who need it is an assault on the entirety of the working class, in particular on the women and people of color who already struggle to receive adequate or affordable health care in this country.
Health care is a human right, but the political and corporate elites who run the U.S government and economy don’t agree. Healthcare should not be tied to our employment status, it should not be conditional—it should be universal and free! We need a healthcare system that prioritizes the health of people over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives. We need a single, universal system with comprehensive coverage that is free at the point of service.
A ban on abortions is a denial of that right! It’s an assault on our bodily autonomy, our right to freedom. And the rights of millions of people should not be in the hands of a tiny, undemocratic jury of elites.
The Supreme Court of the United States intends to overturn Roe v. Wade—a historic ruling which guaranteed the right to abortion in this country.
We know that republicans worked tirelessly during the Trump administration to pack the courts, and GOP-led state legislatures all around the country (including ours here in Georgia) have strategically pushed heartbeat bills and other anti-choice legislation session after session in anticipation of this moment.
Meanwhile, Democrats, who have the Presidency, the House, the Senate. Sit twiddling their thumbs, claiming this decision is out of their hands. Election season after election season, democrats use abortion rights has a wedge issue, repeating over and over again that “this is the most important election of our lifetimes.”
But it is NOW, not under Trump—but under a democratic presidency, after an election in which Georgia “flipped blue,” that I and millions of other actually risk losing our right to abortion.
Joe Biden and the Democrats have done zero to protect our right to abortion—to pass a single piece of legislation which could codify this right into law, or even abolish the filibuster which stands in the way of this.
The court’s unilateral overturning of Roe v. Wade is the result of a corrupt and undemocratic political system. It is clear that neither Republicans nor Democrats have any interest in fighting for the rights of the working Americans, who overwhelmingly support both the right to abortion and single-payer health coverage. Instead, both sides would rather fearmonger, keeping us on the election cycle hamster wheel, all the while bending over backwards to appease the corporate donors who fund their campaigns.
Given this, we can’t just vote away our problems, we must fight and organize from the bottom up. We cannot rely on a handful of wealthy elites or the nonprofit industrial complex to solve our problems.
And while abortion opponents fight us under the guise of being pro-life, and pro-family, there is nothing pro-life or pro-family about the denial of basic life-affirming healthcare procedures like abortion.
Supporting pro-life policy would mean taxing the rich to fund universal public programs like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, Housing for all, and paying all people a living wage.
Pro-family policy would mean fully funded public schools, free college tuition, universal childcare, and parental leave.
Promoting reproductive health means not just funding abortion care, but free and unconditional access to birth control, contraceptives, adequate sex education, and gender affirming surgery.
It is time we as the working-class demand the rights we deserve, and a government run by and for working people. It’s up to us to organize, mobilize, and fight for these rights. It’s up to us to fight for universal healthcare and free and unconditional abortion on demand without apology!
Despite the fact the vast majority of working-class Americans agree– we are unorganized. Under capitalism, we are siloed off from one another. When we act alone we have no leverage to fight for what we deserve. In the words of Mariame Kaba, let this radicalize you rather than leading you to despair.
The answer lies in mass movements, in democratic organizing. Politics from the bottom up. If we want to win this fight, we must organize, intentionally and sustainably. So don’t panic. Don’t allow yourselves to feel helpless. Do more than shout into the void. Join an organization, organize your workplace, talk to your neighbors—because together, we are stronger. Together we can fight for the liberation of all people to have control over their own bodies and lives.
Photo credit: Brandon Mishawn