Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014 Picnic—Ground Zero Texas!

September 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


A letter from an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider and fighter for revolution

September 1, 2014

Austin, Texas—Monday, in Edward Rendon, Sr. Park at Festival Beach in Austin, Texas, a picnic was held—in celebration of the temporary reprieve* won in the Federal Court decision to block the closure of all but 6 clinics throughout the second-largest U.S. state (Texas); in celebration of all the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders had endured—from arrests for civil disobedience to long stretches of time living "on the road " away from jobs, daily lives, and loved ones—in order to be on the frontline of Ground Zero Texas fighting for Abortion on a Demand and Without Apology for all women; and to forge alliances with those who, in encountering the Freedom Riders' bold righteousness, expressed the need to join forces with Stop Patriarchy against the War on Women.

It was an Austin-hot day: the sun beaming down strong, and in a shady clearing along the riverfront, blankets were laid down. Joining the Freedom Riders who had been part of ARFR2014 traveling through Houston, San Antonio, the Rio Grande, and Austin were riders who had gone home for a short spell and returned, riders who were just joining in anticipation of the pending closure of clinics, and University of Texas students who had met the Freedom Riders during their bold traffic-stopping action outside UT a few days prior. A meal was shared and the picnic was effervescent with engaging conversation and debate: amidst talk about the topic at hand—the need for unrestricted access to abortion and what it means for women to have autonomy in order to be able to fully participate in society—political line, and religion, there were conversations about quantum physics and how the recent discovery of the Higgs particle accurately explains existence from the origin of the first particle by way of the structure of an atom; about art and its accessibility to the masses, both as artists and spectators, and how racism and class divide are at play in "higher" levels of access, such as hoity art galleries.

One of the young women from UT brought up her agnosticism and attributed it to the fact that we, as humans/society, do not possess all knowledge or proof of everything, even with all advancements in scientific research, and concluded therefore the hint of her doubt in whether or not a "god," or some kind of ultra-human power existence, is justified by this. Some comrades struggled with her over this and explained that the two are actually separate: that it is true humans do not know everything—and that is okay—but that lack of scientific evidence in disproving the existence of a supernatural power does not mean "god" exists.

One young woman described how her neighborhood in Ohio is cleanly divided by class, a virtual line drawn right down the middle of a particular street, how some artists had formed initiatives to involve marginalized, less privileged neighbors in creating street art, met with outright racism from more upper-class neighbors, and her desire to open an art space in an urban neighborhood inhabited by poorer people, in order to give youth a forum for artistic expression and a place to talk about communist revolution.

A comrade performed two spoken word poems she composed, delivering her sharp, on-point lyrics of oppression under the current system with truth and a rhythm that had picnickers rocking to the beat and chanting to the refrain: "[we need] a revolution, revolution, a revolution!"

Sunsara Taylor, revolutionary communist and leader of the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy, the Enslavement and Degradation of Women (aka Stop Patriarchy), announced the exciting, upcoming November 15 dialogue between Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, and Dr. Cornel West, upstanding and outspoken thinker and leader in the struggle for liberation. The announcement was met with great enthusiasm and comrades delighted in the prospect of being reunited in New York on the occasion of such an historic, landmark event.

A ten minute clip of “BA Over the Years” was shown, which displayed Bob Avakian's undying decades of dedication to the masses, including his involvement with the Black Panther Party and how he called out (and calls out) white people to stand up and join the struggle for the emancipation of all people.

One comrade brought her massage table to the park and treated Freedom Riders to massages for their weary bones (physically weary though energized in the joy of fighting for women and hastening for revolution)!

And the afternoon ended in each taking their turn at wielding a colorful baton decorated in Mexican streamers, to smash an effigy piñata in the shape of Captain America—with the face of arch-misogynist and enemy of the people, Texas Gov. Rick Perry! Jokes were told and many laughs had as each, blindfolded, exhibited her or his piñata-busting skills and fury at the injustices willed and caused by Perry and his ilk, upholders of this repressive, violent system—till the final blows exploded the papier mâché and out burst a rainbow of confetti, candies, "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" stickers ... and an assortment of condoms!

As the sun went down and the picnic was packed up, a group walked along the shore to visit a colony of the famous Austin bats, then cooled off the Texas heat, plunging, fully clothed, into the Colorado River!

Updates on www.StopPatriarchy.org.


*Temporary because Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately announced his intention to appeal this righteous decision in the Fifth Circuit Court (court date set for September 12 in New Orleans), so the battle is not over.

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