'Freedom Riders' and Evolving Pro-Choice Protests
These combative conversations are part of larger, essential discussions about why we keep losing ground on abortion rights when the majority of Americans support us—and should be part of honest discussions about the need for innovative organizing in the face of relentless, creative opposition. And these intra-movement slugfests are bound to recur because internal debates—even ugly ones—can fuel movement change; because the continued assault on abortion rights will continue to outrage and mobilize; and because some of the mobilized believe that extreme times require extreme measures or, at the very least, a re-examination of the tried-and-true protest playbook.
Mon Jun 29 15:36:22 2015 - permalink -
Until now, that playbook has largely stayed away from clinic countaer-
“He’s Single,” said one sign complete with an arrow aimed at a young white man toting a “Pregnant Mothers Need Support Not Abortion” sign. Some are even more pointed, “Women’s Rights Expert,” also referring to a male protester.protests.
For some abortion rights advocates, the Currins’ protest is an irreverent pro-choice revenge fantasy gone live. And it’s much-needed levity because it’s not hyperbole to say that those very abortion rights are under siege. Herein lies part of the Currins’ appeal. They are just regular, albeit quirky, folk who literally took up the cause in the blink of an eye. And they’re part of that vast, murky middle of Americans who don’t want abortion banned but don’t think that much about it, really.
Seeing them only as cranks means that it’s difficult to understand how to best engage and counter their arguments.
When we escort, we have on hot pink vests that say “Clinic Escort.” Yet daily we have patients run from us, thinking we are protesters trying to accost them.
women who seek abortions “are not making a statement; they’re not an activist. They’re just seeking health care. They just see a hundred people standing at the door. …
It’s clear that Stop Patriarchy failed to observe some rules of Effective Organizing and Movement Building 101—rules like building strong relationships with established groups to see the lay of the land, especially when you’re fundraising in the name of women who come from a different place from you. I’ll also add some corollaries that have to do with race and place: New Yorkers rushing in to save Southerners are likely to be looked upon with suspicion, and the movements that can most successfully harness civil rights imagery are the ones that have proven “skin” in the historical or contemporary civil rights struggles.
History is open source.The civil rights movement remains instructive for organizers There was never one strategy, and when organizers tried to fit all strategies into a single box, it didn’t work. But contemporaries knew that pacifists and militants co-existed in the same movement; students who supported sit-ins existed in the same movement with gradualists who hoped for quiet political solutions to end segregation; and that rural farmers existed in the same movement with middle class, urban Blacks.