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(en) US, Boston, Anarchist journal BAAM #12 - part III. (3/3)

Date Mon, 25 Aug 2008 09:02:25 +0300

Abortion in Ireland By Clara Hendricks ----- Last month Irish anarchist Aileen
O’Carroll spoke at LPC about her experience in the struggle for abortion rights.
Ireland, mostly due to the role of the Catholic church in society, has been very
resistant to any sort of family planning. For example, contraception was
completely illegal (including condoms!) until 1979, when it became legal for
married people to obtain it through their general practitioner. The book “Our
Bodies, Ourselves” was not permitted in public libraries. And abortion? Not only
is it still completely illegal in the country, but restrictions were passed in
the 1980s making it illegal to travel to get the procedure and to provide
information about the procedure itself or about traveling.

In resistance, student unions at universities, of which O’Carroll was a part,
sold condoms illegally, also serving as a fundraiser for their groups. The
Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM), an Irish anarchist organization, was
instrumental in the struggle, calling for free abortion on demand, and nothing
less. They held pickets, and continued to organize throughout the pro-life
backlash of the 1980s.
Yet the attacks on the reproductive rights of women continued. Eileen Flynn, a
secondary school teacher, was fired in 1982 for being pregnant out of wedlock.
In 1984, the Garda (Irish Police) found a baby stabbed to death in the town
where Joanne Hayes was pregnant and unmarried. After being held in custody and
assaulted, Hayes and her family admitted to the murder. Later, they withdrew
their confessions and said that she had indeed given birth, but the baby was
dead and they buried it on the family farm, which was confirmed by finding the
body. However, the Garda insisted that these two babies must have been twins,
and even when they found out that they had different blood types, insisted that
she must have gotten pregnant by two men simultaneously. Although the murder
charges were eventually dropped, a tribunal the following year cleared the Garda
of obtaining the confessions by intimidation and branded Hayes and her family as
Then in 1992 came a turning point: the X Case. This case involved a 14-year old
girl who had been raped and was traveling to England with her family to get an
abortion. When an injunction was served against them, the 14 year old girl
stated that she would commit suicide if she wasn’t allowed to get an abortion,
which led to a Supreme Court deciding that a woman had the “right” to an
abortion when her life was in danger, expanding the definition of life to
include the possibility of suicide.
The X Case was a turning point, according to O’Carroll, because people decided
they had had enough. Between ten and fifteen thousand people marched on the
streets of Dublin. The attitude had changed; what were once sparsely-attended
pickets became large protests every day. Then the nation held a referendum on
three questions. The WSM urged voters to vote YES on the right for a woman to
travel to another country, YES on the right for a woman to obtain information
about abortion and how to travel to another country, and NO to allowing abortion
“where there is a real and substantial risk to the life as to opposed to the
health of the mother, excluding self termination.” On this point, the anarchists
found themselves on the same side as the militant pro-lifers, but clearly for
different reasons. This new wording would eliminate the chance for a woman like
X to have an abortion. All three of these referendum questions were decided in
the favor of the WSM and their pro-choice allies.
The X case was a starting point for several other major decisions. Since 1992,
contraception, divorce, and homosexuality have been legalized. However, the
struggle for abortion still continues. While the government will help women like
X get to other countries for their procedures, and travel within Europe is
relatively inexpensive, abortion is still not truly accessible in Ireland.
Anarchists in the struggle for abortion rights have refused to settle for
“abortion for suicidal 14-year old rape victims only,” as O’Carroll describes
other groups as pushing. As the main actors in the pro-choice movement, unlike
in the US where anarchists often see the reproductive justice movement as a
“middle-class liberal” cause, they continue to demand full access for all women.
As I listened to and was inspired by O’Carroll’s talk, I wondered, why aren’t
anarchists in the United States doing this? I could think of several reasons.
Assumption One: There is full access to abortion in the United States. The
struggle for abortion ended in 1973 with Roe v. Wade.
In reality, there are many barriers preventing women from getting abortions.
Along with the diminishing number of providers and the lack of education that
many women receive, money is a huge issue. Currently the unmet need (amount of
money that would be needed in order for all women who want an abortion in the
United States to get one) is about 20 million dollars. Procedures can cost
thousands of dollars, and many women end up having children they do not want,
because of their inability to come up with this money in such a short period of
Assumption Two: Any work that involves working with legislation or “reform” is
ineffective and un-anarchist. Anarchists should never vote and should not
encourage others to do so.
Yes, anarchists definitely need to look beyond the legal and political systems.
We all know this. But we all do things that don’t fall in line with our belief
system, including driving cars, paying rent, etc., none of which are supporting
anything but Capitalism. So if there is legislation pending that will actually
help women get access to procedures that they want, why would we not support it?
Additionally, coalition-building with ally groups that are not explicitly
anarchist is an essential part of building popular movements for change. We
cannot change anything by just interacting with people who think exactly like
us. As O’Carroll said, we must take advantage of these turning points, and use
them to make the kind of change we want to see. This is our struggle, too, so
let’s start acting like it.
To help women access abortion in the here and now or to find out more
information about abortion access in the US please visit:
www.nnaf.org www.guttmacher.org
For more on the Irish Anarchist Struggle for Abortion:

Prov. IWW Rallies on Anniversary
of Police Attack
By John Cleary
ough she was Armed with nothing more than a pair of drum sticks and a drum, the
cop arresting Alex Svoboda kicked out her left leg, then knelt down on her after
she collapsed. Alex suffered a broken tibia, severely torn ACL and PCL, torn
muscles, and nerve damage. This is the sort of injury that would occur from the
impact of your knee hitting the dashboard of a car during a collision. Though
the officer required no medical attention and filed no injury report, she was
charged with assulting an officer, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest.
It’s been one year since Alex Svoboda was brutally maimed by the North
Providence police during a protest against the inhumane labor practices of
HWH/Dragonland. In that time, Alex has endured surgeries, spent hours in
physical therapy, and appeared in court several times to defend herself against
the unsubstantiated charges the cops leveled at her. However, these experiences
have done nothing to sour her personality or weaken her resolve to fight when
her rights or the rights of others are threatened. And the August 10, 2008 rally
in Providence, RI proved that support for Alex has not abated in the least.
More than 70 people came out to Donigian Park in Providence to rally against
police brutality and promote fair labor practices. Speakers talked about the
gravity of police brutality, and gave updates on victories in organizing. John
Holland and Jake and the Infernal Machine further bolstered spirits with folk
music performances. The Providence branch of Food Not Bombs provided free
catering. Representatives from the Providence and Boston IWW, Western Ma Cop
Watch, Anarchist Black Cross, and BAAM all came with literature and an eagerness
to discuss their ideas. The marching band What Cheer? Brigade closed out the
rally with a rousing performance. After the rally, most of the crowd reconvened
for a benefit show on the other side of the city.
The force that officer used against Alex was, without a doubt, excessive, and
that officer has not suffered so much as an admonishment. The injustice of that
violent action cannot be fully rectified, but similar actions should not be
unchecked by our legal system, or otherwise. Organizations such as Cop Watch
were started to help hold police accountable for disregarding citizens’ rights.
Educate yourself, because it’s important to know what rights you still have and
can assert when dealing with law enforcement.
In the past year, there have been numerous benefits around the country to give
Alex financial support and raise police brutality awareness, but Alex’s injury
left her with large medical bills and unfortunately, tenacity isn’t legal
tender. Both Alex and Jason Friedmutter also still have legal expenses to pay,
and Alex has a pre-trial on August 28th. On September 13th, there will be a
benefit show to help raise money for Alex’s medical and legal expenses at 45 Mt.
Auburn St. in Cambridge. Or if you can’t make it and would like to support Alex,
please visit http://supportalexsvoboda.blogspot.com/. Also, the Providence
branch of IWW is organizing a letter writing campaign to put pressure on the
city of North Providence to drop the charges against her and Jason Friedmutter.
Both of them have trials this fall. A form letter and addresses to the mayor,
chief of police, and attorney general of Rhode Island can be found on the
support Alex webpage. Address each letter to the appropriate office, but please
send the letters to Providence GMB, PO box 5795 Providence, RI 02903.

A Really, Really Free Market
By Danielle
A Really Really Free Market took place at Ringer Park on Saturday June 28th from
10AM to 4PM. The Really Really Free Market [henceforth RRFM] was a collaborative
effort between the Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Assembly, The Parents and
Community Build Group, Inc., and the Ringer Park Partnership Group. I agreed to
volunteer, but alas a sudden family visit kept me from participating as fully as
I had intended. In between bouts of cleaning my apartment, I took two breaks to
check out the RRFM. An hour in, I showed up and talked with friends and
acquaintances while eyeing the items on the table and the ground that had been
brought by participants. There was clothing of all sizes and colors, books of
all types, kids' toys and games, knick-knacks and free food! I observed
passersby milling around the RRFM and watched kids pick up games and toys as the
adults picked up clothes, books, knick-knacks and free food to munch on. My
brother took my advice and took my daughter to Ringer Park whilst I was
vacuuming the carpets.
When I was done I decided to swing by Ringer Park to see Josh and Esperanza.
Though I missed them by a few minutes, Josh was clearly amazed that he got a few
shirts and a sweater all free and in good condition. He described how Esperanza
picked out her large, white teddy bear at the RRFM.
There was a selection of clean stuffed animals lying on a blanket, but Esperanza
made a beeline for the large, white teddy bear, possibly because it was the
biggest stuffed animal there. Josh told me that Esperanza hugged the bear,
remarked on its softness and called it her baby. All in all it seemed like a
good day was had for the community, the RRFM, and the people who got some neat
and nifty stuff. Let's hope to see some more RRFMs, not only to get some free
stuff in a time of economic recession, but as a way of fostering and
strengthening a sense of community and neighborhood.

US/Russia Proxy War in Georgia

hile the world’s eyes were set on the 2008 Summer Olympic games, a conflict
eerily reminiscent of the Cold War broke out in the State of Georgia, home to a
large number of US military bases. Many have said the Georgian army is made up
mostly of US soldiers and weapons. Within Georgia is South Ossetia, an
autonomous province recognized only by Russia, who vowed military aid in case of
an attack by the State of Georgia. Finally, according to the Russian section of
the Anarcho-Syndicalist International of Workers’ Associations (IWA), Georgia
“borders Iran as well as Russia, and vast oil pipelines cross it.” Georgia is of
high strategic importance to a US war on Iran, and Russian dominance of the region.
On August 8th, Georgia began bombing the South Ossetian capital. Russia made
good on their promises, occupied South Ossetia then pushed into Georgia. A
cease-fire was reached on August 13th, but according to the UK Independent, the
next day violence continued with “killings, burning and looting by irregular
militias coming in behind Russian military columns thrusting from...South
Ossetia deep into the country.” Thousands have died, many more have been
displaced, and both sides have been accused of massacres, rapes and other human
rights violations in this war for strategic poise over the region. We again
quote the Russian anarchists and adopt their stance: “We refuse to take sides in
wars between states and extend support and solidarity only to the ordinary
people who suffer.”

Calendar: Get Involved

Every Monday:
Open Mic Night at TJ’s Vegan Pizza, 7pm, 487 Cambridge St, Allston/ More info:

Papercut Zine Library meeting, 7:30pm, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge

First Tuesday of Every Month:
BAAM meeting, 7pm, Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston

Second Tuesday of Every Month:
Anarchist Black Cross meeting (defense and prison abolition group), 8pm, 45 Mt.
Auburn St., Cambridge

Second Sunday of Every Month:
Industrial Workers of the World meeting. 2pm, Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus
Ave, Boston

Every Friday:
Food Not Bombs free community meal, 4-6pm, Boston Common, Park St T-Stop

Last Friday of Every Month:
Critical Mass Bike Ride. meet in Copley Square, on Boylston between Clarendon
and Dartmouth, 5pm.

August 23rd
Third Annual Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March. Rally at Copley Square at 1pm,
march to the North End at 3pm.
At 7pm: Benefit for the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society’s quest to get
a Sacco and Vanzetti monument installed in the North End. Music by Jake and the
Infernal Machine and Sergio Reyes, dramatic readings by David Rothauser. At the
Lucy Pasons Center, 549 Columbus Ave. www.SaccoandVanzetti.org.

August 24th – 28th
Disrupt the DNC! Help disrupt the Democratic National Convention in Denver,
Colorado More info: dncdisruption08.org.
Not in Denver? Protest the electoral process at home! 2-week campaign against
the Two Party System. Week 1: target the democrats.

August 26th
Anarchist Black Cross’s Prisoner Support Night. Help send
literature and letters to prisoners. 7pm @ Papercut Zine Library, 45 Mt. Auburn
st. in Harvard Square.

August 27th
Showing of a Sacco and Vanzetti documentary at 7pm in Malden at the Unitarian
Universalist church at 2 Elm Street.

August 28th
The August Critical Mass. Bike riders will meet around 5pm at Copley Place, on
Boylston between Clarendon and Dartmouth and take the streets of Boston together.

August 30th
Anti-Two Party System Day. *Street Theater*. Mock wedding between an Elephant
and a Donkey, as performed by the Boston Radical Arts Troupe at 12 noon at
Copley Square.
2pm: “Beyond Elections: Democracy Without Politicians” panel, featuring Ashanti
Alston, ex Black Panther and BLA prisoner, and anarchist author/speaker; Cindy
Milstein, an anarchist activist and educator, organizer of the Renewing the
Anarchist Tradition conference and board member of the Institute for Anarchist
Studies; James Herod, long-time anarchist, and author of Getting Free: Creating
an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods and Bill from NEFAC NYC.
2pm at the Community Church of Boston, Copley Square, Boston, MA.

August 30th
Black August with Jericho Boston, featuring Askia Toure, and Riders Against the
Storm. 5-9pm, location TBA. JerichoBoston.org

Sept. 1st – 4th
Shut Down the RNC! Crash the Republican National Convention in St. Paul,
Minnesota. More info: nornc.org..
Not in the Twin Cities? ot in the Twin Cities? Protest the electoral system at
home. Week 2: Target the Republicans.

September 2nd
Pub Crawl against the Two Party System. Come to the bars of Boston with the
Radical Arts Troupe, an elephant and a donkey. Bring your best politician
costumes. We will dance, drink, and agitate! Meet after the BAAM meeting, 9pm,
Lucy Parsons Center.

September 4th
Pub Crawl against the Two Party System. This time meet at 8pm in Fanueil Hall.

September 6th
Anarchist Black Cross’s Prisoner Support Night. Help send literature and letters
to prisoners. 2pm at the Papercut Zine Library, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Square.

September 7th
Planning meeting for the October 11 anti-war march. Meeting at 3pm, at Encuentro
5, 33 Harrison Ave. Chinatown. stopthewars.org.

September 13th
Benefit show for IWW Alex Svoboda’s defense fund. Music includes Neck Tie Party,
Yoni Gordon, Ben Weiser, Space Train, and headliner TBA. 7pm @ Papercut Zine
Library, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Square.

September 14th
Running Down the Walls, 5K run for political prisoners, hosted by Boston
Jericho. 9am, Jamaica Pond.

September 20th-21st
oston Zinefair, exhibition of over 40 independent publications plus workshops,
including: Zines and Resistance, Anarchist Publishing, Binding Techniques and
Zines as an Educational Tool for Kids. At the Art Institute of Boston, 10am-6pm
both days.

October 10th
Jericho 1010, NYC- march to free all political prisoners!!!

October 11th - Rally against the war on Boston Common, followed by a march.
Starting time and march route TBA.

October 17th-18th
Northeast Anarchist Network General Assembly! Syracuse, NY. Details TBA:

October 31st
ABC Halloween bash - the halloween party to be at! location and time tba!!!

Contributors to this month’s issue:
-Alysha S.
-Danielle Pagan
-Jake Carman
-Maryann Colella
-Clara H.
-Jonathan McIntosh
-Jeff Reinhardt

What is Anarchism?

Anarchism is the theory and practice of a human society organizing without
hierarchy, authority and oppression. This means that all people have equal
access to the decision-making process and to the products of their collective
labor. Anarchy can be described as true, direct democracy. It is horizontal:
i.e. workers working together without bosses, neighbors organizing housing and
neighborhoods without landlords, and people making decisions without
politicians. There are many different ideas on how to get there and what exactly
it will look like. We can talk all we want, but only a truly free and
revolutionary people will be able to decide what their revolution will look
like. So comrades, let’s get to work!

See also:
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