Views in brief
Being visible is crucial
IN RESPONSE to "Our answer to anti-choice intimidation": I think it's extremely important to show our support by demonstrating. I believe it is comforting to clients to see that support to counter the pro-lifers. I can't imagine being discouraged from "being out there" physically (mid-winter to boot) to show support for PP.
I feel being "visible" is so important. To "find another route" to support (not replace) our demonstrations is wonderful, but why are we only looking now for those other routes. This isn't a new threat or issue. And yes, have I donated, and I have written and called the politicians.
The Women's March on Washington proved that getting out there is powerful as it was for the civil rights movement and antiwar demonstrations. The Republicans/Tea Party are kicking our butts right now because we've been way too passive for years--and I'm not alluding to violence, but being more aggressive in taking action.
I totally disagree with the message from Planned Parenthood about February 11. I disagree that counterprotest is more detrimental to client. I know I'd sure feel better to see pro-choice support if I was a client. I disagree that counterprotest gives the opposition ammunition. They have that already just by Planned Parenthood existing.
I got crap for going out on February 11, but was proud to be out there with others, showing our support.
Catherine, West Haven, Connecticut
History and the Women's March
IN RESPONSE to "Don't shame the first steps of a resistance": Thanks for posting this. I agree with a lot of it.
SocialistWorker.org welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.
I also think that some of the angriest pieces about the Women's Marches have to do with wondering why such large numbers of older white women were here, but not at other protests. But as any generalization will, this has some truth. More people should have been in the streets for Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland. More people should be defending immigrant rights.
I also think a lot of the vitriol directed at white feminists was generated by Hillary Clinton's campaign and her white feminist supporters in the media, and that this explains some of the rage. I don't think it's that terrible for white women to have to prove themselves. Being doubted is not the worst thing in the world.
On the other hand, there's something to be said for not judging a book by its cover. Two older white women I was with at the demonstration were veteran protesters. My 82-year-old aunt fought for abortion in the 1970s, and has been at Central America demonstrations and marched for Amadou Diallo. My retired former co-worker is a longtime union activist and also a Maoist who still participates in an antiwar organization.
A group of older women with pro-choice signs looked at my aunt and said, "We remember"--which I took to mean that they remembered life before Roe v. Wade. That's not insignificant. They look like nice white ladies, but many of those there had a very long history of activism and resistance.
Rebecca Hill, from the Internet
A long shot is better than no shot
IN RESPONSE to "Socialist organization in the time of Trump": Enacting any real change will require either a successful violent revolution or getting the people who will enact it to win elections or be appointed by those who win elections.
Numerous people have pointed out the tremendous barriers that third parties face--not only in getting ballot access and candidates on ballot lines, but fair treatment by the media, access to official debates, convincing voters that they're not "spoilers" and so forth. And we can't overcome any of those barriers so long as the duopoly has control--meaning that third parties can't be the answer because they can't win!
The solution isn't easy, but it is conceptually simple: If only the duopoly can win, then we must invade and take over one of the duopoly parties (presumably the Democrats). This will happen not from the top, by convincing the party to reform itself, but from the bottom.
Attend party meetings en masse and use our greater numbers to make ourselves the chairs and delegates, much like what recently happened in California. Support the candidates we want instead of the ones they would otherwise foist on the public. Identify competent socialist or progressive leaders and run them in primaries against sitting officials.
Because this will not succeed all at once, we will need an outside movement as well, agitating and educating. Put pressure on sitting officials to support the candidates and legislation we prefer with letter-writing campaigns, petitions and bird-dogging. Call out those who don't walk their talk and defeat those who betray us with targeted protests and media campaigns detailing what they did wrong.
I realize that such strategies have been tried before without success. My belief and hope is that in the aftermath of Bernie Sanders' wildly popular primary campaign and subsequent illegitimate defeat and Donald Trump's election, the potential exists for a massive groundswell of support.
Besides, I see no other plan that can succeed, and a long shot is better than none.
Anonymous, from the Internet
Russia deserves more scrutiny
IN RESPONSE to "Cynical uses of the hacking allegations": The allegations against Trump correspond to what we already know about his personal degeneracy and political dishonesty. There is every reason to believe that Putin will have taken advantage of this.
Socialist Worker is too keen to downplay this and take the likes of Glenn Greenwald at face value. The hypocrisy of sections of the U.S. ruling class in crying "foul" at likely Russian interference in the U.S. election, given the U.S.'s own record of interference, doesn't change the seriousness and likely truth of these allegations.
Jim Denham, Birmingham, UK