Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Coalition of Leftists, Activists, and Unions Bring 20,000 Out for Abortion Rights in NYC

Organized by a coalition of socialist organizations, unions, and reproductive rights and housing groups, tens of thousands of people took their rage to the streets against the overturning of the constitutional right to an abortion.

Madeleine Freeman

June 25, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Image: Luigi Morris

The day that nine unelected Supreme Court Justices — a gang of misogynists, religious fanatics, ultra right-wing racists, and the staunchest defenders of capital — decided to overturn the right to an abortion, tens of thousands in New York City flooded the streets to voice their rage.

Over 20,000 people gathered in Washington Square Park and marched to Times Square and Bryant Park, past Democratic Party officials’ offices, GOP offices, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, chanting “not the Church, not the state, people must decide our fate.” Block after block of protesters brought traffic to a halt on both sides of the street on a busy Friday night in Manhattan. Truck drivers making their nightly deliveries honked horns in support and people leaned out of cars to raise a fist in solidarity as protesters marched through the lines of traffic. 

The march, which took the streets without the “permission” of NYPD and the city, was marshaled by activists forged in the Black Lives Matter movement and other struggles. “We keep us safe!” the crowd chanted, knowing that the police do not. The march was dotted with green, an echo of the marea verde that won the right to an abortion in Argentina and decriminalized it in Colombia and Mexico and across Latin America. At least a dozen protesters were arrested by the NYPD as the march ended in Bryant Park, after staging a sit-in at one of New York City’s busiest intersections. 

The protest was convened by Left Voice and other organizations as part of a coalition of socialist groups, activists, and unions — including several of the new Starbucks unions shaking up the labor movement across the country. The strong participation of workers’ organizations in this fight was a clear statement that we have a critical part to play in any movement for abortion rights; that the fight for reproductive justice and against all attacks by the state requires the organized response of labor — the workers who can grind the economy to a halt. In the wake of the leaked decision, this coalition decided that whatever day the decision dropped, we would take to the streets to defy the abortion ban now taking effect in many states the country and defend the universal right to an abortion.

The coalition organized around two principles: the need for safe, free, and legal abortion on demand, and the need to build an independent mass movement in the streets and in our workplaces to fight for that right — one that has no faith in the empty promises offered by the Democratic Party or any capitalist party to protect abortion rights. Unlike so many other abortion rights protests, no Democratic Party politicians spoke and no one pointed to elections as the solution. 

The march began with a rally in Washington Square Park, where socialist groups, activists, and rank-and-file union members gave speeches to a packed crowd.

The resounding theme was a rallying cry to all those looking for next steps, who are not content to just wait until November like the Democrats tell us. People who know that this fight and the futures of hundreds of millions of people across the United States are in our hands. How do we build the movement we need to finally win the right to free, safe, and legal abortion on demand? Jimena Vergara, a UPS worker and member of Left Voice spoke on the need to organize in our workplaces and communities and unite the struggles of a new generation of union activists and all those who fight against exploitation and oppression:

The Democrats are not our friends in this fight. Our friends are the workers at Starbucks, at Apple, at Amazon, at Chipotle, at Traders Joe’s, who are fighting Jeff Bezos and other billionaires to unionize. Our friends in this fight are the Black, Latino, Palestinian, and immigrant communities all over New York and this country who are organizing in their neighbhorhoods for affordable housing, against police brutality, and so much more. We want a mass movement, independent of the Democratic Party made up of unions, workers, community organizations, students, feminists, and everyone who feels a sense of rage at this attack on our bodily autonomy. Just Imagine if we could strike for reproductive rights? Wouldn’t it be beautiful? Shouldn’t we make the slogan that we always chant real: if we don’t get it, shut it down! 

As the march ended in Bryant Park, rank-and-file union members and activists returned to this theme, giving speeches about what comes next and how we can harness the power clearly demonstrated in this march to continue the struggle. Over a thousand people sitting in the park chanted: “Strike, Strike, for abortion rights.” This rallying call must be taken up across New York City and the United States by all workers organizations — from the largest unions to the combative new unions cropping up each day — and by all activist groups and community organizations to make it a reality. With that power, we can build a movement that can enshrine in law the right to free, legal, and safe abortion on demand. 

The fact that the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade came out despite the overwhelming support for abortion access across the country showed us that we can’t wait for the Democrats or the big non-profits to save us from the attacks of the Right. The tens of thousands of people who marched in New York City on Friday show that we don’t need to. We can fight for abortion rights and reproductive justice and so much more. Now it’s time to build that fight.

Join Bread and Roses, a new socialist feminist organization fighting to put an end to the exploitation and oppression of this sexist, racist, imperialist capitalist system.

Facebook Twitter Share

Madeleine Freeman

Madeleine is a writer and video collaborator for Left Voice. She lives in New York.

United States

Biden, Congress, and the Squad Just Voted to Block a Rail Strike. Workers Should be the Ones Who Decide

The Biden administration called on Congress to undemocratically impose a contract on rail workers across the country and avert a nationwide rail strike. The deal has already passed the House with unanimous support from Democrats. This latest maneuver by a “proud pro-labor President” shows that there is no such thing: the state acts in favor of the bosses to protect their profits.

Madeleine Freeman

November 30, 2022
The U.S. Congress building

Senate Votes to Overturn Covid-19 National Emergency

Just over a week after the “election to save democracy,” Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to end the Covid-19 Emergency Declaration three years after it was invoked. Both parties show us time and time again that the working class needs its own party.

Mike Pappas

November 29, 2022
President Biden greets John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, after arriving Thursday at Pittsburgh International Airport

Jacobin Is Wrong: The Midterms Were Not a Socialist Wave

The 2022 midterms were not a “red wave” of socialism — we don’t win by shoehorning capitalist politicians into a leftist mold.

Otto Fors

November 20, 2022

A Weakened Trump Poses as an Alternative for the Working Class in Third Bid for President

Speaking at Mar-a-Lago a week after the failed “red wave” of the midterms, Trump made an appeal to all those spurned by neoliberalism and feeling the effects of inflation to rally behind his xenophobic, transphobic, and pro-capitalist agenda.

Madeleine Freeman

November 16, 2022

MOST RECENT

As Grade Deadlines Approach, Academic Workers Must Hold the Line and Expand Strikes

The end of the semester is a critical time for academic workers on strike. Part time faculty at The New School and student workers and postdocs at the University of California are fighting hard to hold the line against increasing attacks from their employers.

Olivia Wood

December 8, 2022

The First Overdose Prevention Centers in US History Vote to Unionize

Workers at the nation’s first overdose prevention centers submitted their demand for voluntary union recognition. The workers are demanding better benefits and healthcare, along with greater control over workplace decisions. The harm reduction sector is joining the labor movement.

Left Voice

December 8, 2022

The Roots of the Rebellion at Foxconn

Jenny Chan is a researcher and professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. She is co-author of the book Dying for an iPhone. She spoke with La Izquerda Diario about the causes of the rebellion by workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Josefina L. Martínez

December 7, 2022
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa in a suit

“Farmgate” Threatens the Very Foundations of Capitalist Stability in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces an impeachment vote Tuesday. More than a simple case of corruption, it’s a political crisis of the ruling party and of capitalist stability in the country.

Sam Carliner

December 5, 2022