US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
Commentary :: Gender : Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare : Technology
Hands off Amber Abreu! Class Struggle Defense Bulletin #1
18 Feb 2007
Hands off Amber Abreu!
Drop all the charges now!
Free abortions on demand!
Women's liberation through socialist revolution!

Organizing update

Working Class Emancipation's first trip to Lawrence and Boston, MA to organize defense for Amber Abreu was a limited success, with about twenty-five volunteers signing up to help with the defense campaign. Fliers for this Friday's protest are being distributed by our volunteers at Lawrence High School and among the members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union (UNAP) in Rhode Island. But there is much more work to be done, and the defense campaign requires a much higher level of organization and activity to have any chance of success. It's time to step up distribution of the protest flier and of this, and forthcoming, defense bulletins, time to call organizing meetings - even if they are just a handful of people initially - to discuss the next steps and coordinate work. It's time for all the organizations that claim to be for socialism or for abortion rights, to join us in a united front to mobilize for the picket on February 23. Everyone who defends Amber Abreu against these racist frame-up charges is welcome, as long as there are no restrictions on the participating groups' slogans and speech. All out for the picket line, Friday, February 23, starting at 8:30 AM: Lawrence District Court, 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA!
Class Struggle Defense Bulletin #1
published by Working Class Emancipation
February 18, 2007

Hands off Amber Abreu!
Drop all the charges now!
Free abortions on demand!
Women's liberation through socialist revolution!

In this bulletin:
1. Who is Amber Abreu?
2. Women's oppression is built into capitalism: for women's liberation through socialist revolution!
3. Organizing update
4. Appeal for funds

Who is Amber Abreu?

Amber Abreu is an eighteen year old Dominican woman from Lawrence, Massachusetts. She lived with her family in Lawrence, was studying English, and worked at Macy's. The state of Massachusetts has charged her with "illegally procuring a miscarriage" and is threatening to charge her with murder, for an act that should not be a crime at all: having an abortion. She is facing seven or more years in prison if convicted. Her next court date is on Friday, February 23 at the Lawrence District Court. Working Class Emancipation is organizing a picket line at the courthouse on that day, starting at 8:30 AM, to denounce these frame-up charges.

She got pregnant by a boyfriend who left for the Dominican Republic. The last time she had an abortion, it had cost two hundred dollars, and she was afraid to ask her parents for the money again. Instead, she took an anti-ulcer pill, Cytotec, which is commonly used in the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries where abortion is illegal. This method is not as safe as other procedures that are available to women when poverty, the shame caused by anti-abortion propaganda, and anti-women laws are not a barrier. On January 6, 2007, Amber suffered a miscarriage caused by the Cytotec at Lawrence General Hospital, and gave birth to a 1.25 pound, non-viable fetus that died four days later. She was somewhere between twenty-three and twenty-five weeks pregnant at the time.

Even before the prosecutors and police stepped in to make a sorry situation even worse, we should note how Amber Abreu's case was the outcome of the cruel and deadly inequalities that the capitalist system imposes on poor and working class women like Amber Abreu every day. This is not, as both the anti-women bigots calling for Amber's head and the bourgeois feminists halfheartedly defending her would have it, a case of bad "choices" by Amber or the prosecutors and police. What choice did Amber have? To be condemned to a future of almost certain extreme poverty, for herself and her child, for eighteen years or more, as an immigrant single mother with a high school equivalency diploma? To be chained to a husband or partner in order to avoid destitution? To face the shame of family and society for having an expensive abortion procedure that, if it is technically legal, is looked upon as a crime against patriarchal morality?

These were the choices that Amber faced, choices that are familiar to millions of working class and poor women worldwide. The five top executives of Federated Department Stores (Macy's corporate owner), paid themselves over nine million dollars in 2005 out of the sweat of workers like Amber Abreu, enough to greatly improve the life and health choices available to her and tens of thousands more working class women, were it not for the police, courts, and jails that defend the "rights" of fetuses against real people as zealously as they defend the "right" of idle parasites like Federated CEO Terry Lundgren, to live large off the suffering of minimum wage clerks and sweatshop seamstresses.

Amber was arrested and arraigned on January 24 on charges of "illegally procuring a miscarriage," a nineteenth century Massachusetts law that carries a maximum of seven years in prison. But prosecutors are threatening to charge Abreu with manslaughter or murder, if they can prove that the abortion occurred after the twenty-fourth week, which would make it illegal in Massachusetts. Their decision will likely be revealed at the February 23rd court date in Lawrence. Either way, the state is fixing to ruin Amber's life for doing something that should not be a crime at all. She already spent three days in jail in Framingham, MA, while her family and friends struggled to raise an exorbitant ten-thousand dollars bail. Like so many other working class and oppressed people, she has to fight back with the meager resources of the public defender's office against a state machinery of injustice that specializes in locking up blacks and latin@s and throwing away the keys. The simple fact that her desperate choice is considered a crime at all should tell us that Amber Abreu cannot expect justice in the capitalist courts, and that those who want to defend her and defend women's rights cannot rely on the racist criminal in-justice system.

Women's oppression is built into capitalism: for women's liberation through socialist revolution

The "traditional" family of husband and wife/wives came into being relatively recently on the scale of human existence, as the increasing productivity of agriculture and animal husbandry first caused human societies to be divided along class lines: the owners of farmland, livestock, and slaves against the slaves and other impoverished classes. Increasing agricultural productivity and the beginning of the use of livestock as a primitive form of money transformed men's traditional role in tending to livestock (husbandry) from a historical accident into a crucial advantage that led to the historic defeat of women, their demotion from their role as social leaders and the heads of matrilineal clans to that of house-slaves for the production and care of the patriarch's sons. The etymological root of our word "family," the Latin familia, records this world-historic defeat. Familia is literally the plural of famulus, meaning domestic slave: the family is the sum of the property-owning man's house-slaves, including wives.

Under capitalism, where the productivity of labor has been vastly increased through industrial science and technology, the social oppression of women has mutated but remains in force. Today, working class and poor women bear a double workload for the same (or, more often, less) pay than men who otherwise have a similar social status. The capitalists are immensely enriched, not only by the minimum-wage labor of oppressed women like Amber Abreu, but by the unpaid, isolated labor they do in the home, without which the intense workplace exploitation of women and their companions and children would be impossible, or at least highly impractical. Under capitalism, the birth of a child to a working class woman condemns her to twenty or more years of intense exploitation, whether she works for a wage or not, producing and preparing the next generation of wage slaves. As a cruel side effect, the demands of parenthood and the reactionary moralistic crusades by church and state chain the mother to unwanted or even abusive husbands and families as effectively as any of the laws of ancient or medieval society. It is for this highly profitable reason that the capitalist state gangs up with the church to zealously defend the "rights" of the fetus, to use it as a club to beat poor and working class women like Amber Abreu into submission.

It is no accident that abortion is illegal in the Dominican Republic. US imperialism, which uses the Dominican Republic and the rest of the Caribbean (except for Cuba) as its private plantation for sweatshop labor and sunny vacations, provided the military might to prop up the right-wing dictators Rafael "the goat" Trujillo and Joaqu� Balaguer in the Dominican Republic. Democrat president Lyndon Johnson sent over 42,000 US troops to impose Balaguer on the Dominican people in 1965. Both dictators were tied to the reactionary clergy, with Balaguer heading the deceptively named "Social Christian Reformist Party." Their reign of terror, directed against whatever sectors that sought any degree of independence from US imperialism, set back the cause of women's equality. This alliance with clerical reaction is typical of US imperialism, which used the Catholic church in Poland and Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan to roll back the Russian revolution, turns to obscurantist Buddhist monarchists in Tibet to attack the Chinese deformed workers' state, and backs the Zionist apartheid regime in Israel to enforce Wall Street's monopoly on the riches of the Middle East. In every case, working class and poor women like Amber Abreu bear the heaviest consequences of these imperialist power plays. This isn't to say that Johnson invaded the DR to attack women's rights - it was just a predictable fringe benefit for US imperialism. And it shows us that the fight for women's liberation worldwide is inextricably bound with the struggle against all social inequality, that is, the fight for socialist revolution and a workers' government. The reformists who want to separate these slogans and goals from one another in order to make the women's movement "safe" for capitalist politicians and their parties are giving up on the only road to victory so they can make nice to Democrats, Greens, and non-profit bigwigs, and trying to drag workers and oppressed women with them into this unprincipled, dead-end lash-up.

Against the reformists, we appeal to the workers and youth of Lawrence and the world, men and women, to organize and unleash their power as the working class to smash these anti-women frame-up charges. No reliance on the courts or the "good will" of the state's attorneys and government officials, instead, we call for stop-work meetings in the workplaces and school-boycotting assemblies of students to discuss Amber Abreu's case and plan for strikes and massive picket lines to shut down the frame-up trial. To the cynics who say this is impractical, utopian, or impossible, we say that despite the formidable difficulties that this struggle faces, it is utopian to believe that the capitalist government and its courts will grant Amber Abreu, or any other working class defendant, a fair trial: Amber's trial can never be fair because she should not be on trial at all!

A revolutionary workers' government, the product of a socialist revolution that expropriates the parasitic capitalists and places industry under the democratic control of workers' assemblies, smashing the repressive forces that guard the capitalist order, would start by enforcing the absolute and unconditional right to free abortion on demand, the right to equal pay for equal or comparable work, the right to divorce, the banishment of the religious institutions from any role in legal marriage and divorce, and the payment of wages for formerly unpaid "women's work" in the home. But it would not stop at these basic democratic rights, rather, the revolution would proceed to struggle to uproot every basis for women's oppression by organizing conferences and assemblies to plan how to mobilize the power of modern industry and cooperative labor techniques, to end women's isolation as solitary petty producers in the home by organizing voluntary laundry, cooking, cleaning, and childcare collectives, freeing working women from the chains of domestic labor and allowing them to take their rightful place as equals and leaders in the new society.

What is needed above all is a revolutionary workers' party that fights for this perspective in the unions and workplaces and throughout the working class, linking the elementary struggle against anti-women frame-ups like the charges against Amber Abreu to the fight for socialist revolution and a workers' government.

Organizing update

Working Class Emancipation's first trip to Lawrence and Boston, MA to organize defense for Amber Abreu was a limited success, with about twenty-five volunteers signing up to help with the defense campaign. Fliers for this Friday's protest are being distributed by our volunteers at Lawrence High School and among the members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union (UNAP) in Rhode Island. But there is much more work to be done, and the defense campaign requires a much higher level of organization and activity to have any chance of success. It's time to step up distribution of the protest flier and of this, and forthcoming, defense bulletins, time to call organizing meetings - even if they are just a handful of people initially - to discuss the next steps and coordinate work. It's time for all the organizations that claim to be for socialism or for abortion rights, to join us in a united front to mobilize for the picket on February 23. Everyone who defends Amber Abreu against these racist frame-up charges is welcome, as long as there are no restrictions on the participating groups' slogans and speech. All out for the picket line, Friday, February 23, starting at 8:30 AM: Lawrence District Court, 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA!

Appeal for funds

Working Class Emancipation has spared no expense in our campaign to defeat the frame-up charges against Amber Abreu: travel for our organizers and printing and postage of materials all carry substantial costs. We ask our readers who support our work to contribute what they can, to help us defend the rights of workers and oppressed people worldwide. Contributions of $10 or more will get you a year's subscription to our monthly newsletter, Working Class Emancipation.
Please send checks or money orders made out to:

WCE Publishers
PO Box 425378
Cambridge, MA 02142
See also:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/labor_action/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/emancipation_news/

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Title
Your name Your email

Comment

Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.