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(en) Britain, AFED: THE HATED EIGHTH AMENDMENT REPEALED. THE RIGHT DOESN'T ALWAYS GET TO WIN!
Sun, 3 Jun 2018 10:50:20 +0300
On May 25th 2018 a ballot held in the Republic of Ireland repealed the ‘Eighth Amendment',
which had been added to the Irish constitution in 1983. This held that a foetus has the
same right to life as a woman, effectively making it more difficult than ever for women to
get abortions. ---- A woman should have the power to make decisions over what happens to
her own body. This Right to Choose is at the heart of Anarchist Communism. The Workers'
Solidarity Movement (WSM), the main Anarchist organisation in Ireland, and the
Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group (RAG), campaigned tirelessly for legalisation since
they were founded, in 1984 and 2005 respectively. Detailed information about the
legislation and the campaign from an anarchist perspective can be found
here:[url]https://www.wsm.ie/pro-choice[/url]. We applaud Irish anarchists for what they
have achieved in the fight against patriarchy in Ireland, and the difference this makes
for all of us.
The Eighth and campaigning against it raises important and interesting points for
anarchists beyond a woman's right to choose being a ‘given' for us.
This is a class issue as well as a feminist one. Although she shouldn't have to, a woman
with money can at least travel to England to procure an abortion. A woman without enough
money faces the prospect of giving birth to a child she did not chose to conceive, or a
dangerous illegal abortion. This is well known.
But the misogynist ideology that would deny her this is not just that of the Catholic
Church. In the Six Counties of Northern Ireland, it is also the position of the Democratic
Unionist Party (DUP), with abortion remaining illegal there through the combined efforts
of Catholics and Protestants alike. As such, it poses problems also for the British State.
Any attempt to overturn this out-dated and backward anomaly will be opposed by the DUP.
They alone give the Conservative Party its majority in Westminster. An attempt by women in
the North to make abortion freely and easily available, will probably not be supported by
the British state because of this. Ironically, the government will probably say that it
does not want to meddle in Ulster affairs, especially while the Stormont parliament is
Another interesting point is that the WSM and many other anarchists voted in the
referendum on the 25th. But anarchists don't vote, do they? Some purists never do; there
is such a thing as dictatorship by the majority, and most anarchists would rather reach a
consensus wherever possible in our own organisations. But it is important to make a
distinction here between voting for political leaders, which means giving up our
individual and class power to a virtually unrecallable and unaccountable representative,
and voting for or against a specific piece of legislation. It is a no-brainer to support a
‘Yes' position to repealing the Eighth Amendment. Here, our vote does have the power to
change things for ourselves and for our class.
But it is not quite as straightforward as that. Anarchists are very aware of the
implications of winning the vote. We are giving still up some of our power. The Right to
Choose in Ireland will now be implemented by politicians and bureaucrats, who will not be
working in the interests of working class women, but will be influenced by a condescending
type of feminism which works fastest and most efficiently in the interests of feminists
with a political voice.
In other words, anarcha- feminists everywhere are pleased that the Eighth Amendment has
fallen, but we'll be keeping a close eye on how effectively abortion services are rolled
out in practice in Ireland, and we must be ready to support Irish anarcha-feminists again
in future struggles. Furthermore, it is not exactly straightforward to get an abortion
even in England, Scotland and Wales, so the battle is far from won here either.
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