Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle This newspaper exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people. en Minnesota groups join global anti-NATO protests during the June NATO Summit <p>Minneapolis, MN - On June 28, over 60 people gathered alongside Washington Avenue outside of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office in solidarity with international protests against the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, where world leaders discussed the expansion of NATO, among other things. Rush-hour traffic honked in support as protesters chanted, “No war with Russia! Disband NATO now!”</p> <p>“Yesterday the Spanish government prohibited protest against NATO in Madrid,” announced Michael Livingston of Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC). “Being the free people that they are, the anti-NATO activists immediately gathered at the Atocha Madrid train station, marched past the Prado Museum, down La Gran Via, the principal commercial road and gathered in the Plaza de España.” </p> <p>Livingston, who had just returned from a trip to Spain himself, said, “Everyone I spoke with in my three weeks there said the same thing: the United States is throwing gasoline on a fire. NATO is playing a dangerous game.”</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the Anti-War Committee spoke about NATO’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021, which left some 180,000 Afghans killed, and half of the children under age five years old experiencing malnutrition. </p> <p>Aby-Keirstead stated, “Nobody is safer in Afghanistan because of U.S. troops, because of NATO occupation. Nobody. We are told repeatedly that NATO is the solution, and there’s this mythology that NATO is a defensive organization. It is not a defensive organization. It is a tool of domination. It is used to force the enemies of the 1% into submission no matter what the consequences are. And from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Libya to now Ukraine, we have seen that all NATO leaves is death and destruction in its wake.”</p> <p>Dr. Christine Harb from the Party for Socialism and Liberation summarized the disastrous history of the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, where an estimated 25,000 civilians were killed by some 10,000 bombings of non-military infrastructure as part of a no-fly zone campaign. Before this, Libyans had universal healthcare, the lowest poverty rates in all of Africa, and generally high living standards.</p> <p>Harb stated that after NATO intervention, “Chattel slavery was reintroduced to the country, anti-Black lynching sprees became a common occurrence. Migrants, particularly Black Libyans, tried to escape the country and faced a perilous journey to reach Italy where they were refused entry and forced to die at sea. None of this mattered to the U.S. and NATO as long as they maintained access to Libya’s oil wells. The United States and NATO allies have either waged, profited or funded from almost every single war across the world over the past century.”</p> <p>Others spoke to the renewed threat of a nuclear winter, long thought to have been avoided after the end of the Cold War. Alan Dale from MPAC warned the crowd the U.S. and NATO, “are trying to fight a war to the last Ukrainian, but they are playing a game that could easily get out of control, and could lead to a war for the last living human being or the last vestiges of society - a nuclear war.”</p> <p>The final speaker, Coleen Rowley from Women Against Military Madness, echoed this dire warning. She pointed the finger directly at Senator Klobuchar and current U.S. National Security Advisor to the President, Jake Sullivan, a former Klobuchar staffer, as potential architects of WWIII, stating, “If Klobuchar thinks that she is gonna hide in a bunker and she is gonna be saved, she’s wrong. If nothing changes, ten, fifteen minutes is all we’re gonna get.”</p> <p>The Minneapolis protest was initiated by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and endorsed by Antiwar Advocates of Minnesota Congressional District 2, Anti-War Committee, Climate Justice Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, Minnesota War Tax Resistance, Movement 4 People's Democracy, Party for Socialism and Liberation - Minneapolis, St. Joan of Arc WAMM/Peacemakers, Socialist Action, Socialist Party-USA Twin Cities Local, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace and others.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Anti-War Committee NATO Fri, 01 Jul 2022 02:40:16 +0000 Fight Back 9783 at Over 1000 march in Jacksonville in defense of reproductive rights <p>Jacksonville, FL - Over 1000 people gathered in emergency response at the Duval County Courthouse, downtown Jacksonville, just hours after the Supreme Court announced their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24.</p> <p>The mass protest and march were coordinated by the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC), Women’s March North Florida, Florida Access Network. Florida House Representatives Angie Nixon and Tracie Davis attended and spoke against the Supreme Court decision.</p> <p>Powerful speakers shared their struggles with reproductive healthcare in the U.S. Nixon and Davis rightfully exposed the lack of resources that already exist in the U.S that burden and oppress our society, such as the lack of affordable housing, adequate healthcare, education, baby food and other necessity shortages happening across this country. These burdens disproportionately affect Black, brown, LGBTQ+ and immigrant peoples.</p> <p>Tionna Jefferson, with Students for Democratic Society (SDS) said, “We are at a pivotal time in history, rent is at an all-time high, wages have stagnated, healthcare is a luxury, and now we don’t even get to make decisions about our own bodies, with all of these attacks on us, the poor and working class.”</p> <p>Monique Sampson, representing the JCAC also expressed how at this time it is still relevant to hold the police accountable. Sampson said, “We in the police crimes movement must continue to take the streets and speak out against these unjust rulings. The cops that brutalize us will be the cops that enforce this ruling.”</p> <p>After the speeches, the crowd marched through downtown Jacksonville roaring and echoing the streets with chants, “Abortion is a right! Fight! Fight! Fight!” and “They say no choice! We say pro-choice!” The march ended with a few more speakers and the next steps on how to get involved. Other protests were planned in the city throughout the weekend in response to the Supreme Court decision.</p> People's Struggles abortion Women's Movement Thu, 30 Jun 2022 03:28:53 +0000 Fight Back 9780 at Minnesota: Remembering Marie Braun’s commitment to peace and justice <p>Minneapolis, MN - Marie Braun, 87, a longtime activist and beloved and respected leader in the peace and justice movement in the Twin Cities, died on June 27 after a very brief illness.&nbsp;</p> <p>The response of Dave Logsdon, President of Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, reflects the reaction of so many, “Such a shock. She is so strong it's hard to believe this news. What a giant in our peace and justice movement.”</p> <p>Marie Braun was a member of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) nearly from its inception 40 years ago. After her retirement in 1997 from the psychology practice that she ran with her husband John, she turned her full attention, incomparable work ethic, legendary organizational skills, boundless energy and warmth and humor to anti-war work.&nbsp;</p> <p>She traveled to Iraq with Ramsey Clark, Jess Sundin and others on an International Action Center delegation in 1998 at the height of the brutal U.S. sanctions against that country. Sundin gave this remembrance to <em>Fight Back!</em>:&nbsp;</p> <p>“I was just 25 years old when I traveled with Marie to Iraq for a solidarity delegation to challenge the U.S. and UN sanctions that caused so much death and hardship. It was a life-changing journey for me, one made possible in many ways by Marie.</p> <p>“Marie helped organize the fundraisers that paid my way, and she and her husband John made a substantial contribution themselves. The 1998 delegation was the first of its kind to Iraq, and I'm not sure I would've had the confidence to make that trip with 100 strangers from across the country, if I wasn't traveling with a veteran of the Minneapolis peace movement.</p> <p>“Marie took myself and another younger traveler under her wing, and her mentorship didn't stop at the airport. Visits to a pediatric hospital and Al Amiriyah bomb shelter, dinner with the Iraqi family of friends from Minnesota or dancing with students at an art school. We would stay up late at night talking about our days, and Marie was the rock that I leaned on to process the horrors of war carried out against the loving and generous Iraqi people. She got me through.</p> <p>“Back home, Marie set the standard for what international solidarity looks like. At the same time, she never forgot her family, she never stopped finding joy and cause to laugh, and she always encouraged young people like me to make a home for ourselves in the movement,” Sundin said.</p> <p>Marie began the weekly vigil at the Lake Street bridge which has not missed a single Wednesday in its 23 years of anti-war presence, from the U.S./NATO bombing of Yugoslavia until today with the U.S./NATO provoked conflict in Ukraine. For many years she and John were the ones to bring the signs, often newly made that week, reflecting whatever country the U.S. was bombing, sanctioning or occupying.</p> <p>In the runup to Desert Storm, she and John organized a campaign for WAMM members to distribute thousands of lawn signs which said “Call your congressperson. Say no to war on Iraq.” These signs were not only pervasive across the lawns in our city but were also requested by other communities across the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>For many years Marie organized a service at their church, Saint Joan of Arc, on the feast of the Holy Innocents. She transformed this remembrance of the slaughter of the children in Palestine by Herod, to a memorial for the children of Iraq killed by U.S. bombing and sanctions.</p> <p>Marie organized days-long occupations at U.S. Senators’ Wellstone, Dayton and Coleman’s offices. She brought to town national leaders like Cindy Sheehan, Kathy Kelly and Denis Halliday, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, and made sure they spoke to standing-room-only crowds. She developed a statewide network of anti-war activists to host speaking tours and to pressure elected officials. She left no stone unturned in her work against U.S. imperialism in Iraq, a tenacity she applied to whatever she undertook.</p> <p>Alan Dale, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition founder tells the story, “Marie was the most consistent activist, working with a wide range of people from many backgrounds, always keeping true to her own principles. Marie often took on the role of peacekeeper coordinator or lead marshal for protests. At one of the Iraq war anniversary protests starting at Loring Park, hundreds of people had gathered to march. Then the police arrived. The lead cop seemed beside himself that all these people planned to march without their permission. The lead cop demanded someone's drivers' license so he knew where to send a summons to, Marie said, ‘You can have my drivers license, but we are still going to march.’ By then, there were 1000 to 2000 people gathered. The cops just gave up and left.”</p> <p>In 2010, anti-war activists in Minneapolis and around the Midwest were targeted by the FBI for their peace and international solidarity activism. Both these writers were included in those subpoenaed to a grand jury and targeted by the FBI. Marie helped us organize our resistance through the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Joe Iosbaker, an activist from Chicago who was also subpoenaed, remembered her solidarity, “I remember her best from her efforts with congresspersons and senators on behalf of the Antiwar 23. Getting those elected officials to speak out in our defense seemed unimaginable to me, but not to Marie and the veteran peace activists in the Twin Cities! And they were right.”</p> <p>For the past several years Marie chaired the WAMM End War Committee. Mary Slobig said, “I can't imagine the End War Committee without her sending out the agenda, holding us to task, and taking notes. She's our rock!”</p> <p>Kristin Dooley, the director of WAMM told <em>Fight Back!</em>, "Marie has been my friend, my mentor, and my partner in activism for decades. She was an incredibly capable activist. She could handle finances, personnel, membership renewals, fundraising, press and writing. She willingly interacted with religious, political, civil and police authorities. Marie let me know she had my back and I became a better activist because she believed in me."</p> <p>Marie inspired us by her commitment and wasn’t afraid to ask for involvement or money. Most of us have said, “You can’t say no to Marie.” She was a pillar of the peace movement and a key motivator for actions and effective change. She also was a skilled mentor and teacher and leaves behind strong organizations and individuals to carry on the struggle. She brought out the best in us, and we and the peace movement will miss her beyond words.</p> <p>¡Marie Braun Presente!</p> <p><em>Memorials can be sent to Women Against Military Madness at 4200 Cedar Avenue South, Suite 1, Minneapolis, MN 55407.&nbsp;</em></p> Antiwar Movement obituary Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) Remembrances Thu, 30 Jun 2022 01:30:46 +0000 Fight Back 9779 at Louisiana: Rally in solidarity with youth incarcerated at Bridge City Center <p>New Orleans, LA - On the afternoon of June 18, New Orleans for Community Oversight of the Police (NOCOP) and about 15 community members from Orleans and Jefferson Parish held a rally in solidarity with the youth imprisoned at Bridge City Center. For over an hour, the group held signs and banners and led chants in a loud show of support for the youth.</p> <p>Cars passing by honked in support as cops and prison guards watched from the front door of the detention center. This action took place less than two days after the incarcerated youth staged an uprising and several successful escape attempts.</p> <p>At 10 p.m. the night of Thursday, June 16, around 20 incarcerated youth exited their cells and managed to take over and hold parts of Bridge City Center for nearly three hours. The prison responded with state police, Jefferson Parish police, a SWAT team, and K-9 units. This rebellion happened only hours after five youth successfully escaped the facility and remained outside for hours.</p> <p>Since then, parish and state politicians increased the number of police at Bridge City Center for Youth and called for the facility’s closing. Louisiana state officials are now developing plans to convert the defunct Jetson Center - closed due to horrible conditions - into a high-security prison for the youth.</p> <p>The NOCOP members and supporters gathered on the levee of the Mississippi River across the street from the prison with the hope that the youth inside could see the show of support. Chants of “No more retaliation! End mass incarceration!” “What’s outrageous? Kids in cages!” and “Bridge City Youth is right to rebel! State troopers go to hell!” rang across the levee and surrounding neighborhoods.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The Louisiana State Police are racist. They murder Black people without consequence and are accountable to no one,” Toni Duplechain-Jones, an organizer with NOCOP, said. “These goons are being sent to repress youth for rebelling against the abuse they experience inside of Bridge City jail.”</p> <p>“Immigrants are also criminalized just as these youth are criminalized. They are right to resist. They are right to rebel. We are watching and we support you and we are here for you!” Mohamed Khan, an organizer with New Orleans Immigrants’ Rights Action (NOIRA) said.</p> <p>Parents of the incarcerated youth have raised attention to the mistreatment and abuse at Bridge City Center for years. The facility has held the youth captive throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, refusing to allow them to see or call family.</p> <p>Bridge City Center for Youth has a track record of unaddressed abuse. Adult staff members are poorly trained; bring in contraband; and groom the youth, forming inappropriate relationships. The Center has refused to feed the youth imprisoned at the prison for days at a time.</p> <p>Media outlets, which originally called the youth’s action for what it was - an uprising - have shifted their narrative and are now calling their resistance a “fight.” This narrative shift obscures the power of the youth’s decisive, political act of resistance.</p> <p>In quick response to these forces, NOCOP staged this rally to demand that the prison staff not retaliate against the youth incarcerated at the facility and to show support for their struggle against their horrible conditions.</p> New Orleans for Community Oversight of the Police (NOCOP) In-Justice System Thu, 30 Jun 2022 01:20:46 +0000 Fight Back 9778 at Canada: Sodexo workers at Mount Milligan Mine join Steelworkers union <p>Prince George, BC, Canada - Sodexo workers who provide catering and facilities management services at Centerra Gold’s Mount Milligan Mine, north of Prince George, British Columbia, have voted 92.9% in favor to join the United Steelworkers union (USW). The union-certification application for approximately 70 workers was filed on June 13 and ballots were counted on June 23.</p> <p>“We are proud to welcome the Sodexo workers at the Mount Milligan Mine to our union family and we look forward to working together to achieve a first collective agreement,” said USW Western Canada Director Scott Lunny. “It takes courage for workers to step forward to join a union and we are pleased these workers chose the USW to represent them. These workers join other camp services workers at mines and camps across western Canada.”</p> <p>“We have been struggling with many issues, including a lack of benefits, coverage for personal protective equipment, footwear and uncompetitive wages, and we have had enough,” said a Sodexo worker.&nbsp;</p> Mining Labor Thu, 30 Jun 2022 01:14:33 +0000 Fight Back 9777 at Milwaukee begins to Take Back Pride <p>Milwaukee, WI – Despite the sporadic rainfall throughout the day on June 25, 100 people showed up to say no to cops and corporations in Pride. The rally and march honored the radical character of the LGBTQ struggle. In Milwaukee, the legacy of Black and brown trans working-class people - like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson - has unfortunately been whitewashed by people who welcome cops and corporations with open arms to Pride.&nbsp;</p> <p>After departing from Walker’s Point, a neighborhood with many LGBTQ-friendly establishments, the march descended upon the Wisconsin Center, where a summit of conservative figures like Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson was underway.&nbsp;</p> <p>Speakers of the host organizations - Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (MAARPR), Students for Democratic Society (SDS), and Democratic Socialists of Milwaukee (DSA) along with a representative of Mothers Against Gun Violence - delivered powerful speeches at the entrance of the Wisconsin Center.&nbsp;</p> <p>Lauryn Cross, a member of the Milwaukee Alliance, noted, “It is important to apply the messages from Stonewall to the same struggle for LGBTQ rights going on today.” The Milwaukee Alliance recognizes the murder of Antonio Gonzalez as another murder and attack on LGBTQ communities by police. Similarly, the recent murder of Brazil Johnson, a Black trans woman in Milwaukee, is the result of police inadequacy in taking up issues that affect LGBTQ safety in the city.</p> <p>“We need to know who our friends are,” declared Nadezhda Young Binter of FRSO. “The pigs who beat my friends during the George Floyd uprisings, who picked them off the street in unmarked vans, who funneled the crowds towards Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha. Those are not our friends. We need to draw our lessons from our real friends, the movements of the oppressed against the ruling class.”</p> <p>The Cops and Corps Out of Pride event also comes after Judge Clarence Thomas addressed his threats to Lawrence v. Texas, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Griswold v. Connecticut, landmark decisions that helped eradicate laws against LGBTQ sexual activity, legalize gay marriage, and increase access to contraception.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now more than ever is the time to organize for LGBTQ communities. It’s evident that the reactionary movement is coming after LGBTQ people. The fight for LGBTQ rights will only be won with an organized and persistent grassroots movement, not cops and corporations. Saturday was the first step in taking back Pride in Milwaukee and strengthening our LGBTQ communities.</p> LGBTQ Pride Taking Back Pride Wed, 29 Jun 2022 18:44:35 +0000 Fight Back 9776 at Thousands march in Milwaukee for reproductive rights <p>Milwaukee, WI – On June 24, nearly 3000 people rallied in Dontre Hamilton (officially known as Red Arrow) Park to take back the right to abortion. Earlier that day, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to women’s and reproductive rights by overturning Roe v. Wade. This meant the ability to get a safe and legal abortion would now be determined by individual state governments.</p> <p>The Court’s decision unearthed Wisconsin State Statute 940.04, an infamous anti-abortion law from 1849 which states, “Any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony.” Healthcare providers such as Planned Parenthood Wisconsin had to immediately stop providing this necessary procedure.</p> <p>“Hey hey, ho ho, abortion bans have got to go!” chanted the massive crowd as they marched from the park to the Milwaukee Courthouse. They were joined by another group of marchers from a Planned Parenthood rally out of Humboldt Park.</p> <p>Lindsay Hamann, representing Freedom Road Socialist Organization, took to the steps of the courthouse. “The right to abortion, like all other rights, was won as a result of the blood, sweat and tears of the working-class and oppressed nationality masses fighting like hell,” said Hamann. “Don’t seek to quell the things you’re feeling right now. Harness them. Use them as our forebears in the struggle have, to guide you into the action to fight for the world we need. It is only through organized struggle together that we will overcome and advance from this setback.”</p> <p>The rally was hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Party for Socialism and Liberation, with informational tables provided by Planned Parenthood Wisconsin.</p> reproductive rights Roe V. Wade Women's Movement Wed, 29 Jun 2022 18:20:02 +0000 Fight Back 9775 at Philippines: Fight the Marcos Firewall! <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).</em></p> <p>The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the National Security Council and various agencies of the reactionary government for the push to erect a Marcos Anti-Democracy (MAD) Internet Firewall in a desperate bid to censor online criticism and dissent against the incoming illegitimate Marcos II regime, as well as suppress progressive, patriotic and revolutionary journalism and literature that exposes the ills of the ruling system.</p> <p>In a June 6 letter, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, NSC director general and officer of the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, told the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to order internet service providers to block access of Filipino subscribers to 25 websites including those of the Communist Party of the Philippines (PRWC or Philippine Revolution Web Central), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and several of its allied organizations. In a June 8 memorandum to all internet service providers with the subject “For Blocking Illegal Online Cockfighting Websites,” the NTC ordered “the immediate blocking of the reported websites found to be affiliated to and are supporting terrorists and terrorist organizations.” We have received recent reports that subscribers of Smart and PLDT could no longer access the PRWC (<a href="" title=""></a>).</p> <p>Of the list of websites which the NSC wants banned, only seven are actually affiliated with the CPP and NDFP. The rest are websites of local cause oriented groups (6), alternative news websites (3), progressive journalists and academics (3), international organizations (2), international alternative news (2), a news blog and a blog of Indian activists. At least six websites in the haphazardly drawn list are inactive with some last updated ten years ago. Surprisingly, the list also includes the Monthly Review and the Counterpunch, both highly regarded US-based organizations that promote progressive views.</p> <p>The MAD Firewall is an authoritarian measure meant to suppress the people’s freedom to express criticism or grievance against the ruling government and ruling system and promote progressive, patriotic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary ideas. This is the latest measure promoted by the militarists in the NSC and NTF-Elcac after the push to purge public libraries of books and literature related to peace talks and the NDFP, the funding of incessant distributed denial-of-service attacks against the PRWC and several other websites, the terrorist-tagging against patriotic and progressive bookstores, and the repeal of the UP-DND accord banning military personnel in UP campuses.</p> <p>We believe that the MAD Firewall is just the opening scene for a general crackdown against Philippine media under the incoming Marcos II regime. On the pretext of “anti-terrorism,” Filipino reporters and journalists will soon be under intense pressure to suppress information, news reports and views expressed by the CPP, as well as progressive and patriotic, and eventually of any views and reports that are critical of the incoming Marcos regime on the likely rationale that such news writing “destabilizes government” and “undermines unity.”</p> <p>The NSC/NTF-Elcac’s internet ban exposes the intolerance of militarist zealots in power and how they use “national security” and “anti-terrorism” as pretext to clamp down on basic people’s freedoms. The push for the MAD Firewall is a direct outcome of the so-called Anti-Terrorism Law and exposes its real authoritarian and draconian intent. In fact, the MAD Firewall has nothing to do with “anti-terrorism” as it is nothing but barefaced censorship. It shows how “anti-terrorism” is being used as an arbitrary category to suppress all forms of opposition and people’s resistance.</p> <p>On behalf of all the oppressed and exploited classes and sectors, the CPP asserts the intrinsic right of people of whatever affiliation–social, political, ideological, national, cultural or gender-based–to express their ideas and views, and promote patriotic, progressive, anti-imperialist and revolutionary programs as alternative to the ruling pro-imperialist, reactionary, fascist and militarist agenda of the ruling system.</p> <p>We urge all democratic, progressive and patriotic organizations and individuals, journalists and academics who value press freedom and freedom of expression to resist the MAD Internet Firewall. Fight authoritarian censorship against the promotion of progressive, anti-imperialist and revolutionary ideas!</p> <p>We urge Filipino internet readers to use alternative means of accessing information, including the use of the Tor Browser, proxies and virtual private network services (VPNs) in order to circumvent the Marcos Firewall.</p> <p>More importantly, we call on the broad masses of the people to take action, organize against online censorship and protest and manifest their indignation against the burgeoning authoritarian regime.</p> People's Struggles Communist Party of the Philippines Philippines Wed, 29 Jun 2022 16:35:19 +0000 Fight Back 9774 at Appleton, WI: 150-plus take the streets to defend abortion rights <p>Appleton, WI – On June 24, over 150 people answered an emergency call to action in regard to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which provided women federal protection for having an abortion. The event kicked off in Houdini Plaza, in the heart of Appleton's downtown district.</p> <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) members read statements to the large crowd, in solidarity with protests being held across the country and the need for working-class people to organize and demand the right to safe, legal abortion for all women in the country.</p> <p>After that, members from Appleton Students for a Democratic Society, Fox Valley Food Not Bombs, and women from the crowd spoke to the masses gathered in the June heat.</p> <p>When asked by some media members about whether the people gathered would be welcoming to people holding an anti-abortion stance, FRSO member Aodhan Bowman said, "The right to choose if and when someone becomes pregnant, and whether to continue or terminate that pregnancy, is a human right. We are not out here today to have a debate with those that took this right away. We are out here to demand that the right to get an abortion be reinstated."</p> <p>After the speakers had given their message to the crowd, the crowd went from the Plaza onto College Avenue, the main street of downtown Appleton. Marching several blocks to nearby Lawrence University, the people could be heard chanting "Keep abortion legal!" Customers of downtown businesses came out of the local shops as the march continued, many with supportive shouts and hands raised to the passing crowd.</p> <p>Officers with the Appleton Police Department attempted to disrupt the march while it proceeded through the streets, going so far as to ticket leaders and people who spoke during the rally. Their efforts didn't stop the action, however, and they resorted to distributing flyers on how to have an police department-approved protest instead.&nbsp;</p> <p>The people then reconvened in Houdini Plaza, where FRSO members gave a closing statement, ending with a call to action to keep organizing together to demand change.</p> reproductive rights Roe V. Wade Women's Movement Wed, 29 Jun 2022 01:55:04 +0000 Fight Back 9773 at Four thousand march in New Orleans against abortion ban <p>New Orleans, LA - On June 24 New Orleanians learned with the rest of the country that the Republican-dominated Supreme Court released its decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. This put into effect Louisiana’s trigger law, which bans all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest. This trigger law was signed in 2006 by Democrat Governor Kathleen Blanco, and it was updated on June 21 by Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards.</p> <p>Louisianans woke that Friday with the federally protected right to control their reproductive health, but had that right taken from them later that day in one fell swoop. The public outrage was as immediate as the trigger laws themselves.&nbsp;</p> <p>A coalition of activists and community organizations united around a set of local demands after the leaked draft decision in May. In the weeks before the final decision was released, they worked tirelessly to prepare the city for an organized political response to the Supreme Court’s impending attack. They called for a united march from the Federal Fifth Circuit of Appeals Courthouse to New Orleans City Hall on the day of the decision.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are marching to connect our local struggle to democratically control our destiny, to the fight to defend the right to abortion across the country,” said Serena Borne, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and a march organizer.</p> <p>The demands of the coalition consist of public commitments from local politicians to establish sanctuary protections for patients who are seeking or who have received an abortion. This would include a policy of non-cooperation between local police and elected officials. There are 42 elected district attorneys who can decide to not cooperate with the Louisiana State Police. The Louisiana State Police already stated they will enforce the abortion law.</p> <p>After protest organizers asked politicians to sign a letter promising not to not enforce the abortion ban, New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams spoke, “My office will not criminalize women for making decisions about their bodies.”&nbsp;</p> <p>City councilors also reacted to public pressure with statements that they will not uphold the anti-abortion laws. Protest leaders will continue to ask politicians and elected officials to sign pledges and letters supporting abortion and reproductive rights.&nbsp;</p> <p>“This is a terrible day for Louisiana. All throughout our state people are already protesting this attack on their bodily autonomy,” said Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom activist Jessica Frankel.</p> <p>The crowd, which numbered around 4000 people, defiantly took the streets during rush hour. Their chants, such as “Abortion is healthcare” echoed throughout the downtown New Orleans.</p> <p>Speakers represented many communities including the immigrant rights organization Union Migrante. Organized service industry workers connected the exploitation that they face on the job to the conservative attempt to control working women’s bodies.&nbsp;</p> <p>“This will most heavily impact Black, brown and poor families who cannot afford to get around these laws the way that wealthy families can. When you take away people’s access to abortion, then they are more easily exploited and discriminated against by the rich people who run this state,” said a spokesperson for the Southern Workers Assembly.&nbsp;</p> <p>Toni Jones with New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police told the crowd, “This is another example of why we need community control of police in New Orleans. The people of New Orleans support the right to an abortion, and they should be able to deny the Louisiana State Police the ability come in and criminalize people for seeking healthcare. Louisiana State Police is the biggest criminal group in the state, with many cases of racist murders and assaults, so let’s keep them out!”</p> <p>After a fiery rally on the steps of New Orleans City Hall, protesters taped their demands to the doors of the building. They also left hundreds of signs on the doors, where city politicians could not ignore them. The coalition that united to hold the event promised to continue the campaign, to hold the people in power accountable to the pro-choice will of the overwhelming majority.</p> reproductive rights Roe V. Wade Women's Movement Tue, 28 Jun 2022 22:49:21 +0000 Fight Back 9771 at