Communist-Led Anti-Patriarchy Protesters Don't Give a Crap if Texas Feminists Are Offended By Its Abortion Rights Freedom Ride

Categories: Healthcare

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This man in Seattle supports the Texas Abortion Freedom ride, but Texas feminists aren't so sure.
In 2011, there were 44 abortion clinics in Texas. By September, providers expect that number to drop to somewhere around six. While big-name health organizations like Planned Parenthood are trying to open new clinics that comply with strict state laws or challenge lawmakers in court, a scrappy protest group Stop Patriarchy has simpler strategy: getting the people who support abortion to be as loud, and perhaps as obnoxious, as they feel the anti-abortion crowd has been acting.

"The people who support abortion are very timid about saying so," says Sunsara Taylor, head of Stop Patriarchy. She's referring to the people she meets on the street, when her group travels the country and approaches strangers to talk to them one-on-one about the dwindling number of abortion clinics nationwide. "People who are against abortion are very unafraid. They really feel that they have the moral high ground right now."

So while abortion opponents might hold photographs of dead fetuses in front of clinics, Stop Patriarchy organizes demonstrations like the Bloody Coat Hanger Street Actions. They'll go on tours across the country and stand, hangers in hand, in front of institutions that lobby against abortion access.

The protests are silent and always peaceful, Stop Patriarchy insists, but meant to be visually dramatic. On April 12, volunteers held a giant sign that said "Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement," for a few hours in front of New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral, usually a popular venue for pro-life masses.

Unlike Planned Parenthood, Stop Patriarchy doesn't have much to lose, as they don't run their own clinics or have any say in national politics, and they don't have to worry about offending people. A favorite slogan is "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" Taylor proudly identifies as a communist and has long been involved with various left-wing causes. She spoke out against the Iraq war as a guest on Bill O'Reilly's show in 2007; he called her a "lunatic." She also takes an unexpected stance against the porn industry. Her group's Call to Action published online explains: "In recent years, pornography has become increasingly violent, cruel, degrading towards women; women are referred to as 'cumdumpsters' and 'fuckbuckets'; the 'money shot; (ejaculation in a woman's face) is standard."

But those facts are all beside the point. Right now Taylor just wants talk about all of the clinics that are closing in the United States. She lives in New York City, but to the chagrin of local feminists, she's coming to Texas. Starting July 30, Taylor and her volunteers will bring their dramatic street demonstrations to four cities in a tour cheekily named the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride.

Texas feminists don't want the tour. Local Brooklyn-based writer/activist/clinic escort Katie Klabusich even made a #fuckstoppatriarchy hashtag out of it.

Most recently, a big group of people calling themselves Texans for Reproductive Justice signed an "Open Letter of Concern" about Stop Patriarchy and the July 30 Freedom Ride. "We oppose Texas' abortion restrictions," they write. "We also oppose Stop Patriarchy's messaging, tactics, dishonesty, and racism."

The Texans' letter points out many things about Stop Patriarchy that could rub people the wrong way. Last year, for instance, police escorted Stop Patriarchy volunteers off the Hampshire College campus after they "repeatedly disrupted programming" at a reproductive rights conference, according to a statement the conference organizers posted online afterward.

(Taylor says people got offended about the anti-porn literature her group had and claims that the cops were called on the volunteers without any warning).

The Texans also accuse Stop Patriarchy of being Islamaphobic; as proof, they hyperlink to a post the group had re-tweeted criticizing the Hobby Lobby that asks, "Should I order my burka?"

The Texas authors further argue that Stop Pornography minimizes the horrors of slavery and the civil rights movement by using phrases such as "freedom ride" and "female enslavement;" that Stop Patriarchy's stance against pornography "endangers and disempowers sex workers;" and that the group is just a promotional tool for Bob Avikian, chairman of the U.S. Communist Party. The authors ask you to donate your money to one of many other women's rights groups instead.

"It's McCarthy-era anti-communism," Taylor describes the letter as.

(Taylor and others also posted a lengthy response to the criticisms).

Stop Patriarchy isn't an official nonprofit. They raise money to fund their Freedom Ride through an IndieGogo page. If you donate as little as $10, you get a sticker, or for $1,000 you get assurance that you funded an abortion for a woman in Texas. They've raised nearly $20,000 for the upcoming Texas trip.

"The little money that Stop Patriarchy raises, if that's a concern they need to be questioning the big guys," says Diane Derzis, a woman who is famous for owning the last abortion clinic in Mississippi.

Derzis has tried to keep her clinic open through more official channels, lobbying legislators and fighting restrictive state laws in the courts. But she feels that lately the strategy is failing. She's currently waiting on a verdict from a federal appeals court that could close her clinic, too.

Derzis says she was was impressed by the group's activism in Jackson last year during a fight over her state's "personhood" bill. Now she serves as an advisor to Stop Patriarchy, though she's not sure yet if she'll make it to Texas next week. Other advisors are Merle Hoffman, a 60's-era activist who founded a well-known center that provided abortions two years before Roe v. Wade, and Carol Downer, who also founded centers before abortion was legal.

"We became far too reliant upon courts to maintain the status quo, while our enemy is in the trenches with these churches raising money, raising time, electing people," Derzis says. "Am I a communist? Absolutely not. Do I care whether someone else is? No."

She adds: "I think it's time starting thinking outside the box, because what we've been doing has not been working."


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48 comments
primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Was a little excited to see an article featuring communists, even though I hadn't seen a good one since Woody Guthrie died. Disappointed to find no interesting communists and just some more Occupy Wall St confusion. I should have known. All the communists have become serfs or oligarchs.

dingo
dingo

Sounds like a battle between those paying the consultants big $$$ to color the issue in the least offensive manner according to private poll results and those willing to paint the issue in the most precise terms according to their point of view.


I would have to give the second group points for their frankness as it more honestly lays out the reality for the public to digest as part of the multitude of complex issues involved in the abortion debate.


The first group reeks of the same inside the beltway 'nuance', from which their chorus was composed, that has ensnared the current administration in many of its ongoing controversies.

Anon100
Anon100

This blog is in a category called "Healthcare." Pardon me if I expected to read an actual post about healthcare.

comradestrong
comradestrong


From the Austin Chronicle...http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-07-25/all-but-illegal/


If you don't think this is a national abortion rights emergency, then you really are not confronting reality, and maybe you don't know what society is like and how women are treated when abortion is illegal. This is urgent, women are already self-inducing abortions in Texas and other parts of the country. If you care about women, the last thing you should be doing is attacking an organization that is fighting to really change what the situation is, what people think about abortion, how this really has nothing to do with fetuses, and everything to do with women's lives. And it is life and death for women, and it is no exaggeration to say Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement.


If you do care, you should read the Response from the Advisory Board of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, linked in the article...and here again: 


http://stoppatriarchy.tumblr.com/post/91327433821/a-response-to-recent-attacks-and-invitation-to-all-from


AND you should step into this fight against this emergency, you are urgently needed! We need to change this situation!

srodyah
srodyah

In the midst of a true emergency facing women - this kind of article with it's McCarthyism/fear-mongering only serves the interests of those who want to see women subjugated, and keeps people paralyzed in the face of continued assaults on women's rights to birth control and abortion.  


While some loud voices (who do NOT speak for all Texans!, c'mon now) throw out ridiculous claims of racism, communist-boogeyman, etc. - underneath is a real difference of strategy. Unfortunately most are hard pressed to engage with the fact that relying on politicians and courts has proven to be a disaster for abortion rights...and what is needed is a mass independent movement that unites ALL who are furious at the direction things are going for women. It was a powerful, bold, and determined movement that laid the groundwork for Roe, and it is going to take nothing less to change things again today. 


The argument against "outsiders" is also absurd. There are no outsiders in the fight against oppression. These arguments have historically been used to contain people's righteous resistance within terms 'acceptable' to the established left. The original freedom rides faced this same controversy from people within the Civil Rights movement nervous that the rides would ruin local efforts for gradual change. 


Check out http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/testify.html to see growing support/testimony for this initiative from providers, activists, intellectuals, and many others nationwide. 


The dishonesty and misrepresentation is heavy here. Taking Bill O'Reilly's comment that Sunsara a "lunatic" as legit? That should tip people off.  

do_youthink
do_youthink

A big 3 or 4 way Clash of the Stupids

Anon100
Anon100

Let me get this straight. This article is about how one group of "pro-choice" people don't like a different group?? Is that news? What about the real issues? Women deserve the right to safe, legal birth care and abortion. Why is anyone publishing this article and calling it news? Meanwhile women die. People who don't have the luxury of sitting around all day typing on a keyboard because they are working two jobs and trying to feed a family - who is telling their story? Where do I have to go for the real important discussions?

JustSaying
JustSaying

This sounds like a fight between two factions that nobody listens to. Twitter is not a legitimate soundboard. It's youtube comments smothered in hubris.

stoppatriarchy
stoppatriarchy

There are people coming on this freedom ride from all across the country. As should be the case, because this abortion rights emergency is throughout the entire US, NOT just Texas. What happens in Texas has implications for the whole country, and whether women will be shoved back into the role of traditional patriarchal relations. The role of women should NOT be as incubators for the next generation, women are full human beings, capable of participating in all spheres of society

wcvemail
wcvemail

I was being pretty productive this afternoon until I see there's a chance that the drop-in screamer, Comrade Whatshername from NotAroundHere, will put in another appearance. That will give great opportunity for time wasting in responding to her jeremiads.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

It sounds as if #OccupyWhatever has rebranded itself.  From the article, with the exception of Derzis, it sounds as if all the group wants to do is to demonstrate.  Any real change would occur through lobbying efforts to overturn recent restrictions on abortion or through court challenges to the newly enacted laws.



1/5 Vaginas

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

This might end badly if the biking commies encounter the long-gun brigade on the Grassy Knoll.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@primi_timpano You can still find Communists in N. Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, China, some in Russia, and in the White House.


Obama was reared and mentored by Communists (fact, not conspiracy theoroism).  And, he largely conducts himself as a Communist when not hogging the spotlight.  He is also a Muslim, as are a number of his advisers and the head of the CIA who converted while stationed in the Middle East.


But, you can also find card-carrying Socialists all over the Obama Administration, and a large number in the House of Representatives, almost all of which are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. 


Why any fool would embrace Communism in America is an utter mystery; it betrays a level of broad and profound ignorance that should be legendary.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@dingo

for us slower folks on the back row, could you identify your first and second groups, please?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Anon100

That's the trouble with dropping in virtually whenever and wherever your RSS feed or your comrades alert you to the need for copy-n-paste your screeds, without considering the actual source or publication. In other words, you made a wrong turn, and the sun's going down.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@comradestrong

"Urgently" is exactly the word the Nigerian prince used to describe the need for me to act immediately to claim that money. Once I do so, I will donate almost all of it to your group. Except for the amount needed to make a sandwich, which I expect you to make for me.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@srodyah If you don't want to have a baby, get your tubes tied or don't do the things that you surely know "causes babies".  It's that simple.


There is no emergency in all of this; it's been going on since the 70s.  That's not exactly a sudden crisis, although I agree there is a moral and ethical crisis surrounding this topic. 


Legalizing an abortion was sold on the basis of 'hardly ever happening but providing couples an alternative to failed birth control methods if that crisis arises'.  It was never intended as a means of birth control, and shouldn't be.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@srodyah You've gone way off the reservation if you think the DO is opposed to your....uh.... movement, front, group, whatever it is.  Both sides of politics need their fringies: The Right has the Open carry buffoons and Fox News; The left has various news orgs and, apparently, Stop Patriarchy.

andypandy
andypandy

@srodyah  I read the article, I actually followed the links, and I googled Texans for Reproductive Justice (they have no web page) and while I could be wrong I came away from this article with a favorable view of Stop Patriarchy.  The article has a sensationalist title to entice people to read it but seems pretty positive about the movement and left me feeling as though Texans for Reproductive Justice just might be a shell organization supporting anit-choice especially since they have no web presence touting their cause. 

wcvemail
wcvemail

@srodyah

tl;dr


Isn't there a shorter graffiti version you people use?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Anon100

Would you say you're in high dudgeon?

Would you also say you're in the wrong place?

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@stoppatriarchy "Stop patriarch" might as well say "Stop male domination or leadership of anything". 


If you chose to oppose social roles for males and females, then that's your business and that of the Communists.  I have found most actual feminists to be disgusting, ignorant, self-absorbed, jealous females unhappy with life and having to work to achieve what they want. 


Welcome to Earth. 


P.S.  I'm 100% in favor of your not fostering anyone in the next generation, and invite you to render yourself unable to produce offspring.  :)

do_youthink
do_youthink

Communism murdered over 100 million people. You are part of The Clash of the Stupids.

Signed, pro-choice person

andypandy
andypandy

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaulHow do you get people to lobby or support lobbying efforts by others if they're unaware that the issue exists?  Someone has to do the dirty work of demonstrating to elucidate the problem or energize the electorate to take some action whether that be for or against.  Few people watch the news, fewer read it, and fewer still ever get involved.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  Lobbying takes the kind of cash that pro-choicers don't have in Texas. So its pretty much just bide your time until the baby boomers and whats left of their parents die off. Then the political climate in Texas is going to change like a motherfucker. At least that is what I tell myself about legalized weed when I listen to Sam Cooke while smoking tall bowls.

JFPO
JFPO

"End badly" or Ruddski wet dream?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@TheRuddSki

If we could get Comrade Redflag to out herself as a lesbian, then maybe the Westboro Baptist Church would send a delegation. That's not the kind of three-way that's advertised in porn, but the PPV would pull in millions.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@RTGolden1 @srodyah Stanford University, not necessarily a hot bed of conservatism, says Fox News is the most fair, balanced, and political middle of all the network and cable national networks. 


That has been confirmed by a number of non-partisan media evaluation organizations.  Fox is hardly on the "fringe" of anything.

amy.cavender
amy.cavender

We don't have much web-presence because it's pretty new. However, if you search the names of the people who signed so far, you'll see that we aren't anti-choice at all. We just don't think that this will be helpful-- and may even make things worse.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@wcvemail

That was the short version.

imagine.iskandariah
imagine.iskandariah

@wcvemail @Anon100 Just thought you were genuinely asking the question "People who don't have the luxury of sitting around all day typing on a keyboard because they are working two jobs and trying to feed a family - who is telling their story?"

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@wcvemail

The communists took it.

andypandy
andypandy

@do_youthink  Stalinism and Maoism murdered over 100 million people, communism has never been enacted on a large scale.   

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@andypandy @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

All it takes to lobby is an envelope, a piece of paper, a pen and a stamp.  Total cost, excluding pen, maybe $1.50, with pen $2.50.

I believe that legislators pay more attention to a written letter from a constituent than anything else, especially if they receive hundreds of them.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JFPO

Carnage of the Vanities, ma'am

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@wcvemail

As long as everyone remains fully clothed, the riots should be sparsely attended, so keep Erykah Badu out of this.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@noblefurrtexas @RTGolden1 @srodyah I follow Fox news, along with CNN, MSNBC and other national outlets and several independent outlets.  The only way to be able to come to one's own conclusion on the 'real' news is to ingest an aggregate of many different sources, eliminate the spin and agenda and arrive at a set of facts, consistent across all sources.  From there, one can arrive at their own conclusions as to the meaning of the facts.  This is where Fox is like all the others: shaping what the news means.  People have gotten too lazy to form their own opinions; they rely on their news outlet of choice to inform them of their opinions instead.  I choose a different route.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@andypandy @do_youthink Communism has also never been voted into replace other forms of government. 


The fact is, Communism is a ponzi scheme that must constantly take over more land, more businesses, more servants, and more money in order to survive. 


It has never worked as a form of government, and by its own definition, CANNOT work as anything but a form of slavery.

do_youthink
do_youthink

No True Scotsman and all that, amirite?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TPFKAP

...I believe that legislators pay more attention to a written letter from a constituent than anything else, especially if they receive hundreds of them.

Hundreds of thousands, all eerily identical. Trickle-down grassroots from an organized community. It helps if you include a check (cash accepted).

wcvemail
wcvemail

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

"I believe that legislators pay more attention to a written letter from a constituent than anything else..."

Bless your heart, that's so optimistic. At least Mrs. Winterbottom, your jr high gov't teacher, is smiling somewhere.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

The People's sandwich.

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