CPUSA and YCL march for abortion rights and LGBTQ equality

BY: Cameron Orr| June 29, 2022
CPUSA and YCL march for abortion rights and LGBTQ equality


Responding to the decision of the extreme-right–dominated Supreme Court to overturn Roe, many tens of thousands — some estimated as many as 100,000 — gathered for a rally and speak-out in NYC’s Washington Square Park, and then marched up to Union Square, before continuing in a few different directions. Among them was a contingent of about a dozen members of the CPUSA and NY YCL.

“It was definitely one of the largest actions I’ve seen since the summer of 2020, during the George Floyd uprising,” NY YCL member Bonnie C. says.

“Fight, fight, fight! Abortion is a human right!” the NY YCL shouted into their megaphone, leading a group of protesters around them in the chants. Among these were Justine Medina, one of the NY YCL co-chairs and Khadija Haynes, a member of the NY YCL and the CPUSA Brooklyn club. “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”

“Many of the speakers talked about how Black and brown women are going to be disproportionately affected by the gutting of Roe v. Wade,” Haynes noted. “Particularly in ‘red’ states, people are not going to have access at all.”

Speakers also touched on the issue of voter suppression. Racist voter suppression has been key to extreme-right takeovers — not only nationally and in the case of the Trump-appointed Justices — but also in states where they have put in place “trigger laws” that automatically banned abortions as soon as the right-wing justices undemocratically imposed their views of abortion on the country. “The protest wasn’t just about abortion, but all of its intersections with different issues, including labor rights,” Haynes added.

In addition to the mass anger and growing alarm regarding the Republican Party–led fascist danger, Bonnie C. pointed out the frustration people have with some Democratic Party politicians who use the fascist danger to garner votes, without using their office to push back forcefully. “That’s why primary elections are so important, to bring new people into office that are actually going to fight, and be radical for the sake of saving lives.”

Marching for LGBTQ rights

Not insignificantly, the SCOTUS attack occurred in the middle of Pride Month. Two days after protesting the court, CPUSA and YCL members in New York once again put on their marching shoes, this time to join several thousand people for the Queer Liberation March, which gathered in Foley Square and marched up to Washington Square Park.

There they distributed a couple hundred copies of the CPUSA pamphlet Queer Liberation’s Communist Party Roots — which points out the close historical link between the oppression of women and of LGBTQ people — and the Party’s statement All out to Defend Abortion Rights! CP and YCL members described a very strong political presence there, with people drawing the connections between LGBTQ equality, abortion rights, racial justice, and other issues.

“They were pretty receptive to the literature we were passing out,” Bonnie C. reported. “I’m glad that we’re showing up to everything and being a visible presence.”

“A lot of people were drawn by our red flags, wanting to know how to join the Party, and we recruited a few people,” Haynes says.

Medina described the atmosphere of the protests as “militantly democratic,” recalling chants of “the Supreme Court has got to go!” “Masses of workers are grappling with the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the Court,” she said. “‘Christian’ fascism on the rise is incredibly scary, but there is potential for a broad popular front. I think the Party and YCL have a unique opportunity and responsibility to help connect the different progressive, grassroots, professional, nonprofit, and union organizations coming together to take practical action to keep women, LGBTQ, immigrant, Black and brown, and all people safe.”

“This mass movement of millions of people around the country fighting against oppression, and against fascism is the center of where the CPUSA and YCL need to be,” says the NY YCL’s other co-chair K. Gandakin. “Our task is to participate and develop it as much as possible.”

Images: NYC CPUSA & YCL.


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