December 31, 2016

The threat to abortion and reproductive rights

The Guttmacher Institute documented 334 new state-level restrictions to abortion from 2011 to July 2016, accounting for 30% of all restrictions enacted since Roe v Wade in 1973.

Under Obama, fewer counties than ever have abortion providers (fewer than 13% in 2012, ~10% in 2014).

He tried, against the findings of the FDA, to block teens from access to the morning-after pill.

He issued such a perfunctory statement after the murder of George Tiller, one of the only physicians in the country who performed 2nd-trimester abortions, that, along with his continued inaction, it could only be interpreted as another kiss-off.

He appears to have issued a statement after three people were killed and several injured at a Planned Parenthood clinic only because a police officer was among those killed.

Although he rescinded application of the Helms Amendment (which prevents "promotion" of abortion by US-funded family planning programs around the world) to USAID funds, he was pressed to clarify that the Helms Amendment (which still applied to all other funds) allows an exception for rape, and he refused.

December 28, 2016

On "building the resistance to Trump"

Here is an exchange from Facebook:

Vote Sawant: Fight Trump & the billionaire class through solidarity. ‘Socialist Students: Local Flint news interviews Socialist Students about why we visited Flint and how we see the crisis there as being connected to an overall crisis in the capitalist system. Check it out!’

Olaf Errwigge: What does this have to do with Trump?

Vote Sawant: Part of this trip was Socialist Students making a connection with the grassroots organization Water You Fighting For?. Building networks that fight on all fronts is a crucial task in the era of attacks we are likely to see under a Trump administration. A great way to build that network is through actions of solidarity like this one.

Olaf Errwigge: I mean the water crisis/crime in Flint (and elsewhere) started long before Trump (who isn't even President yet). I don't remember reading "Fight Obama etc" (who is still President).

Vote Sawant: We certainly organized under Obama's administration that failed to meet the needs of working people as well. ‘’

Olaf Errwigge: That example does not name Obama.

Vote Sawant: As Socialists, we support neither Democrats nor Republicans. However, we also work hard to be in touch with the struggles working people are taking on. It is true that there is a lot more consciousness about the need to "fight Trump" than ever existed in a mass way to "fight Obama".

Olaf Errwigge: But you run the danger of alienating the many workers who voted for Trump by making it about him instead of actual issues. And you run the danger of undercutting your own sincerity by making it seem to be more about Trump than the actual issues. The excuses for making it personal with Trump but not with Obama are lame and opportunistic.

Vote Sawant: They're not excuses, they are the reasoned and tactical decisions that yielded the result you are criticizing. Our analysis is different, and that's fine. Opportunistic is a common epithet, but we hope rather than leveraging insults within the left, we can help build a culture of United Front solidarity.

Olaf Errwigge: United except for those who responded to Trump as a reasoned and tactical alternative to stopping the neolib/neocon juggernaut represented by Clinton and Obama. Cloaking the socialist struggle in "Resistance Against Trump" is demeaning and short-sighted.

One might also ask, had the Presidential election turned out differently, if the "socialist alternative" would have rallied under the banner of "Build the Resistance to Clinton" (Clinton being well to the right of Trump, after all)? Instead, Trump has already, even before becoming President, killed the TPP and TTIP, brought the war in Syria toward an end, and forced Obama to allow a historic vote against Israeli settlements in the UN Security Council. Since, "as socialists, we support neither Democrats nor Republicans", why this obvious partisanship or worse, prejudice? Trump is reviled by establishment Republicans as much as by establishment Democrats, that is, by the establishment. He represents change. And only in change can change happen. "Resistance to Trump" is counterproductive reaction. Not to mention, he will pass but the struggle will remain, that is, as Meneer Errwigge first implied, it has nothing to do with Trump, nor has it anything to do with the liberal demonization of Trump. As he also suggested, to cloak the struggle in the terms of the neolib/neocon reaction is to kill it.