Mark interviews Sam Goldman about the new project aiming to mobilize and actually defeat the assault on abortion rights, riseup4abortionrights.org. Read and sign the new statement to Rise Up for Abortion Rights here. Share it on social media. Join us at noon on Jan 22, at the Supreme Court in DC, and going forward nationwide — fighting to WIN!
Refuse Fascism is more than just a podcast! You can get involved at RefuseFascism.org.
Music for this episode: Penny the Snitch by Ikebe Shakedown.
Sun, 1/16 5:02PM • 38:22
Sam Goldman 00:00
Fascism, once consolidated, eviscerates the rule of law and democratic civil rights. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobia, white supremacy, and the reassertion of the most vicious and violent misogyny. Everyone and anyone who refuses to let this US Supreme Court deny women’s humanity and decimate their rights needs to be part of really fighting for abortion on demand and without apology.
Sam Goldman 00:47
Welcome to Episode 94 of the Refuse Fascism podcast. This podcast is brought to you by volunteers with Refuse Fascism. I’m Sam Goldman, one of those volunteers and host of this show. Refuse Fascism exposes, analyzes, and stands against the very real danger and threat of fascism coming to power in this country.
Thanks to all who have been sharing the show and sending us their thoughts. I just have to share with you these two messages and give a shout out to these listeners. Jeff from New York emailed us. “Thank you. I love your podcast. Full disclosure, I voted Republican from 1984 to 2016. Besides for Ross Perot in 1992. After Trump got elected, I saw him and the Republican Party for what they were. Now the party transformed into a cult that was magnified 1000 times after COVID started. Keep doing what you’re doing. We need to destroy fascism.” Roberta in Maine wrote me on Twitter with this: “I am a devoted listener and rarely miss an episode. Thank you, Sam, for giving voice to and making space for what needs to be said.” Thanks, Jeff and Roberta and all who wrote us last week. Look forward to hearing and sharing more from you all. Help get the show to more listeners by sharing it with your friends and fam, posting it on social and reviewing us on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.
Today’s show is a bit different and shorter, since I have been busy helping launch Rise Up for Abortion Rights. In this episode, you’ll learn about this effort. Chantelle, one of the co-initiators of Rise Up for Abortion Rights, will read the statement that’s launching this movement. There’ll be an interview with me on this project.
But before that, let’s take a minute to talk about recent developments in the fascist threat. First, let’s talk about elections. I’ll be honest. I think that elections in this society are never going to lead to liberation. But the current two-party system of partisan elections has been a cornerstone of the governing consensus of the United States for the last 150 years. The ruling class has come to the understanding that they agree on enough among themselves that they can compete and work together and can relatively peacefully hand power back and forth among themselves. This week, we have seen evidence of how far the fascist GOP has diverged from that consensus and the kind of clampdown on all of society they intend to implement for permanent and unchallenged rule. We saw the GOP announce that they will boycott future Presidential debates. Trump said out loud that who counts the ballots matters more than who casts them, and to that end a new campaign was announced “Coalition of America First Secretary of State” candidates. Because even Republican election officials like Raffensperger in Georgia and Al Schmidt in Pennsylvania would not bend to the Big Lie. They want to ensure enthusiastic compliance the next time around. We saw speakers at Trump’s fascist rally promising the arrest of their political opponents once they regain power.
Of course, the biggest news was the death of voting rights reform in the Senate, the key plank in the Republi-fascist platform. Seizing and maintaining power with the support of a rabid minority is not a bug but a feature of the GOP plan. With the support of Manchin and Sinema, they are exercising that power and gaining ground towards seizing back Congress and the White House, regardless of who the people vote for, or try to vote for. Biden, in his speech in Atlanta this week said, “Jim Crow 2.0 is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election suppression. It’s no longer about who gets to vote. It’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote, and whether your vote counts at all. It’s not hyperbole. This is fact. Look, this matters to all of us. The goal of the former President and his allies is to disenfranchise anyone who votes against them. Simple as that. The facts won’t matter. Your vote won’t matter. They’ll just decide what they want and then do it. That’s the kind of power you see in totalitarian states, not in democracies. We must be vigilant, and the world is watching.”
Those were Biden’s words earlier this week in Atlanta. Biden’s new tone is as yet unaccompanied by any program to meaningfully oppose the rapid and widespread fascist moves to lock down political power. Even if he does adopt a more forceful stance against the fascists, as Bob Avakian pointed out, Biden “will fail miserably in his attempt of getting these fascists to come back to the old rules and norms. The Republi-fascists are determined to obtain a permanent lock on power, either through rigging the electoral processes, violent repression, and more vicious mob action, or some combination of both of those, and to impose an even more horrific forms of white supremacy, patriarchy and fanatical America First chauvinism, accompanied by even more repression and brutality. Importantly, the loyalty of the Democrats, the Democratic Party, just to be clear, not those who consider themselves Democrats, is the stability of the system of capitalism-imperialism, that spread this fascism, and to US domination of that worldwide system. They will likely do everything they can to avoid risking that.”
That’s just my perspective. Not everyone in Refuse Fascism has to have that idea. In Stephen Marsh’s recent piece for The Guardian — I think I referenced last week as well, go check it out — The next US Civil War is already here, we just refuse to see it, he details all the ways the conflict with the fascists is leading to actual Civil War, then argues for action: “Stack the Supreme Court, end the filibuster, make Washington DC a state, and let the dogs howl. And now, before it is too late. The moment the right takes control of institutions, they will use them to overthrow democracy in its most basic forms. They are already rushing to dissolve whatever norms stand in the way of their full empowerment.”
The fact that the most the Dems can do at this point is sternly wag their fingers at Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema should tell you, this simply won’t happen. So what do we, the people do if “our supposed leaders” won’t act to stop this fascist takeover? If you say get in the streets, your answer is right. In other news, the anti-science fascist Supreme Court just shut down the vaccine mandate for employers, while signaling a deeper shift towards stripping OSHA of its ability to enforce any workplace safety regulations. As if this act of mass murder wasn’t enough, they’re using this opportunity to go after the very notion of workplace safety regulations. It’s just a glimpse of the cruel and brutal future these fascists aim for. Trump spelled out the real reasoning behind this and his comments at his fascist rally in Arizona, saying that the government is giving Black people and people of color preferential treatment — literally saying that white people are being forced to “the back of the line” for COVID treatment, because in the United States, as Wajahat Ali said on this podcast, “If given a choice between renting a room to a person of color, or burning down the house, they will choose to burn down the village.” Elie Mystal exposed the lie that either vaccine mandates or abortion rights hinge on the issue of personal autonomy, saying on Twitter this week, “I want everybody to remember that the Supreme Court has said the government doesn’t have the authority to make people wear masks, when it later says it does have the authority to force women to give birth against their will.”
Now here is Rise Up for Abortion Rights launching statement (Read aloud by Chantelle)
Sam Goldman 16:09
That was Chantelle with the Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights statement, which you can sign at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org. Now, here’s Mark.
Mark Tinkleman 16:19
Hi. So I’m Mark, I’m one of the producers of the show, excited to be part of the Rise Up for Abortion Rights watch. I’m going to be interviewing Sam for this segment. I’m also Sam’s husband. Our cat George is also here.
Sam Goldman 16:34
You might hear him he’s a loud purrer.
Mark Tinkleman 16:37
But on that note, let’s go. Let’s start off, as you like to say, with an easy one. How does the fight over abortion rights connect with the rise of American fascism?
Sam Goldman 16:47
I’m so glad you asked. If you are someone who listens to the show regularly, first off, thank you. You have heard me talk a lot about abortion. You’ve heard not just me, but people from very diverse perspectives, from those who consider themselves religious or womanist, to those who are historians, to those who are feminist activists, to those who are revolutionaries, to just writers in general who’ve been examining this, and lawyers as well. We’ve had Dalia Lithwick on, or former lawyers, I should say, legal analysts…
Mark Tinkleman 17:27
Once a lawyer…
Sam Goldman 17:28
Yeah, always a lawyer, right? Ankush talks about that as well. So, basically what I’m saying here is go back and listen to episodes. We had a really great interview way back with Jessica Mason Pieklo from Rewire, and an activist on the ground in Texas, Carolyn Duble from Avow. If you listened to any of those episodes, you’ve heard me talk about it, but if you’re new, welcome, thanks for listening. Here we go. Fascism, once consolidated, eviscerates the rule of law and democratic civil rights. That’s abortion, y’all, that’s abortion. So, this same movement, fascism, foments and relies on xenophobia, white supremacy, and the reassertion of the most vicious and violent misogyny. Oppression of women, y’all, and anti-anybody who doesn’t conform to their traditional, Christian fascist binaries, etc. This is really at the heart of fascism. When people do not have the right to abortion, they lose their humanity. Fascism is a dehumanizing form of rule through brute force. Bans on abortion are one of the most violent acts against women. When you think about fascism today, people think about Qanon, people think about January 6th. When people think about the fascist movement, they might even think about Charlottesville and all that, but before all of that, before they stormed the capital, this was a movement that was bombing abortion clinics. This was a movement that was terrorizing and killing abortion providers and others in clinics, including Dr. George Tiller in 2009. This is a movement that was showing up at abortion providers’ kids’ schools, just a movement of terror. The face of fascism is the anti-abortion rights movement. These people are the most organized aspects of this fascist movement. They are the most organized and loyal. They helped Trump come to power, maintain power, and were part of January 6th, and other efforts in the rolling coup to subvert the election.
Mark Tinkleman 19:58
One of the recent guests said that January 6th was a religious event.
Sam Goldman 20:01
It was a religious event. Samuel Perry said that in the interview, as did Sarah Posner, who we’ve had on to talk about it, and Anthea Butler. This is something that people really need to confront. In this fight for abortion rights, and against this fascist onslaught, it’s not just one attack happening in a world where things are going all cool, back to normal. This is a point in time where how many “think” pieces are done a day on a civil war as a possibility? A situation where you have a hardened, battle tested, if you will, fascist movement of millions, a Supreme Court stacked with fascists, and courts across the country stacked with fascist judges, a GOP, or as we call it on this show, a Republi-fascist party that’s completely gutted of anyone who doesn’t go along with the Big Lie, where those who are the biggest proponents of it are elevated and seen as champions, and they are on the offensive. Not only are they the thugs that you see at the school board meetings, or attacking elected officials, or attacking health care workers, they’re in power in many state houses across this country.
This party is committed to win, whatever it takes, totally subverting the will of the people. If they can’t do it through legal means, through changing the laws that make it harder for people to vote, then they’re prepared to call out their mob, and do it violently. Although, they would much prefer to do it legally, and they’ve made strides in their ability to do that. I’m saying all this to say: If they get this victory, if they are able to take away the humanity of women, if they are able to enslave women by banning legal abortion in this country, that is giving them a victory that they will use to build their movement, and will advance this whole program forward. It won’t just be in Mississippi. I went on long, and I’m sorry, but those are just some of my thoughts. People should go back to these episodes where we really delve into this deeply. We’ll put some of those episodes in the show notes.
Mark Tinkleman 22:27
Yes. Right now there is this really big time crunch around this, where there’s a case right in front of the Supreme Court, and SB 8 is still there. Can you speak to this time frame, and the time frame of this movement that we’re launching?
Sam Goldman 22:44
Right now, just so that people are aware, in this country, in case you weren’t aware — we said it in the statement that you heard — the US Supreme Court is poised to severely gut, or overturn outright, Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that gave women the right to abortion. That’s happening through Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case which again, folks that listen to the show regularly have heard some about. This case is a pending US Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of the 2018 Mississippi State law that banned abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. They heard oral arguments December 1, and we can expect a decision late spring, likely June of this year. We are months away from the right to abortion being stolen from millions.
Mark Tinkleman 23:44
So RiseUp4AbortionRights is launching on January 22. This action is then calling for people to take action nationwide on March 8. Can you give us a little bit of a vision of what this is all about?
Sam Goldman 23:56
Yeah. So this past week, the statement that you heard Chantelle read was shared with the world. Initial signers include: Sunsara Taylor, who you’ve heard on this show; Ruchira Gupta, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and filmmaker; Merle Hoffman, the founder and CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center, author of Intimate Wars, The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom; Lori Sokol, the Executive Director of Women’s e-News, author of She Is Me, How Women Will Save the World; and others like Rosanna Arquette; Chelsea Ebin; Melissa Febos. If you haven’t read Girlhood, go read it. It’s so good. Frances Fisher, who you’ve heard on the show before; Lila Hathaway, Grammy Award-winning singer; Morgan Hurd, five-time world medalist for gymnastics and 2017 world all-around champion; Kathy Najimy; Robin D.G. Kelley, professor and author; Gloria Steinem — I know I’m saying a lot of names — Katha Pollit; Paul Street, who is a member of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board who you’ve heard of if you’re a frequent listener of the show; “V” formerly known as Eve Ensler; Amie Vanderpool; Lilly Wachowski, film director, writer, producer, [Mark: The Matrix], Sense8; Cornel West, you may have heard of him. Alex Winter, filmmaker and actor Rafia Zakaria, [Mark: Who we had on the show], author of Against White Feminism Notes on Disruption. So those are just some of the people that have signed on to this.
Mark Tinkleman 25:36
I saw you talking to Cher on Twitter.
Sam Goldman 25:39
It was really a special moment for me — not that this is the Me show, but — I do have to tell you guys, it meant so much. So I’ve been trying to spread the word, which I hope you will too. Basically, I’ve been going and just being like, “can we count on you to rise up with us? Abortion on demand without apology. Read, sign and join this fight and share this statement and the @RiseUp4Abortion handle on Twitter, and the hashtag #RiseUp4AbortionRights. Cher responded, ”MUST YOU ASK?” all caps, with an emoji. My point of saying that is everyone and anyone who refuses to let the US Supreme Court deny women’s humanity and decimate their rights needs to be part of really fighting for abortion on demand and without apology. We are kicking off this movement, as you said, really rising up, as we say, with courage and conviction to defeat this assault while bringing closer a future where women and all people are free. So, on January 22 — why January 22?
Mark Tinkleman 26:49
The anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Sam Goldman 26:51
You got it. The day after hordes of triumphalist patriarchal fuckers, through the March for Life [Mark: All the Catholic High Schools turn out], they’ll be descending the day before on Friday January 21st and be like: “You’re all here, the year that we get rid of Roe.” So they’re celebrating the enslavement of women, okay. So the day after, on that anniversary, we’re going to be announcing to the world that there is a force gathering to defeat this through massive, relentless, non-violent action of people of all genders. If you are listening, and you are in driving distance to DC, come. I’m going to be there, I want to see you.
Mark Tinkleman 27:31
I’ll be there.
Mark Tinkleman 27:33
We will be there, but more importantly, you got to be there. You can find out more and get tools to be part of organizing and all that good stuff by going to RiseUp4AbortionRights.org, and be part of sending what needs to be like serious shockwaves, where people are like: Okay, this is starting. It’s not like a one-off protest. I want to be sure in case you know, the statement is long, so I want bring people back to: We’re starting on January 22. We are going from there nationwide; fighting to win. So, on Tuesday March 8, International Women’s Day, we’re going to be coming back with creativity and growing numbers in small towns, big cities, filling the streets with our serious determination or rebellious joy.
We really need everyone to be part of puncturing this stifling atmosphere of capitulation to a profound injustice and compel all people to take notice, inspiring more people to join us. We need you to be organizing with us now going forward. Again, sign the statement, RiseUp4AbortionRights.org. Spread it on social media, #RiseUp4AbortionRghts. Donate generously so that next Saturday can be as powerful as possible, and we can reach as many people as possible and get your network going. Again, if you’re in driving distance, get that respirator mask on, and come and join us.
Mark Tinkleman 29:07
Awesome. So you have to change gears a little bit. Hope people are inspired right now to take action. But also, we’ve laid out this whole situation, the horror that we face, what we’re doing about it. Over the last few decades, there’s been this huge, relatively well-financed women’s movement of nonprofits, that has come up. A lot of Democratic Party-led organizations that have raised tens of millions of dollars and done all of this with the promise that they would [Sam: be there when the time comes] be there in a moment like this, in this moment. And where the f___ are they? I have some things to say, but I’m not the one being interviewed.
Sam Goldman 29:46
You should say what you think and then I’ll talk. What do you think? I know that you are frustrated, as are many, and why wasn’t there on December 1, when the oral arguments were heard, where were they?
Mark Tinkleman 30:00
They called for something like two days before, for a one-day thing, and so many are explicitly saying: “Well, it’s the end of Roe, let’s prepare for a post Roe future.” It reminds me of 15 years ago or something like that. I remember we were organizing for the Planned Parenthood March for Women’s Lives. Sam was actually one of the lead organizers in Philly for that, to get people down there. One of the actual representatives from Planned Parenthood was in this meeting, and they literally said: “Well, we can’t have people putting the word abortion on signs.” I was very new to all this. Sam was like: “Yes, we can. Yes, yes, please.” It makes me think of that.
Sam Goldman 30:41
Now those same groups say that “A” word, abortion [Mark: but they can’t fight for it]. So what is that? I want to quote the statement to frame it: “Yet, all too many pro-choice leaders and Democratic politicians preach a ‘realism’, of accepting of the court’s gutting of abortion rights. They tell us to dig in for the ‘long haul’ of the electoral process, or to focus on helping women to induce their own abortions. Whatever their intent, this amounts to capitulating in advance to the enslavement of women, and the overall nightmare for humanity. The violent subjugation of half of society must not be accommodated, excused, downplayed, or surrendered to. It must be stopped.”
I think part of why we don’t see them sounding the alarm the way that it needs to be, talking about what the stakes are, is because you can’t play by the rules and win this one. We actually can’t be leaving this to Congress. We can’t be waiting on the courts. We can’t leave it up to state legislatures that are filled with fascists. The same with courts, filled with fascists. We’re going to leave this to a Supreme Court that’s six-three. There is virtually no hope of stopping this, if we rely on those means. Those are only channels that the “pro-choice movement” has resigned themselves to. Does that make sense?
Sam Goldman 32:15
I think that there’s a chance, there’s a possibility, I’m not saying that if you take to the streets, the next day you get abortion rights. But if we can create, really all of society, clearly visibly seeing a movement that’s not going to back down, that’s not going to accept this assault, creating a situation where every force in society, every institution is forced to respond, we actually have a chance. I think that with so much at stake for people’s lives, their futures, for even society. What does it mean in a society where half of humanity is reduced to incubators? Everyone who feels in their heart that they don’t want to see women’s rights, you can’t sit this out. You know you need to do something. And that something’s gotta be more than helping a couple people. I just wanted to go back to the stakes, because I think that this is part of the issue, is that the emergency is downplayed.
Mark Tinkleman 32:15
Mark Tinkleman 33:16
At the Women’s March, they said, don’t bring coat hangers.
Sam Goldman 33:18
But I don’t even want to want to keep talking about these — I mean, we do need to talk about them. But I think we also have to look at what we’re fighting against. What we are up against is the reality that the Supreme Court is poised to take away women’s right to abortion, and other people who can become pregnant’s right to abortion in a matter of months. Let me go back a second. On top of the already severe restrictions in so many places, where it’s very hard, if not impossible, already, there’s so many places where it’s difficult. The Hyde Amendment makes it super difficult if you’re poor, especially if you’re a person of color, to get an abortion. If we lose Roe, in about 26 places, 26 states, you lose outright or severely are restricted in your access to abortion.
We need to be real about what the devastating consequences are that we face. We don’t need to accept or tolerate or get used to women being denied their humanity. We don’t need to find a workaround to accept our fate being decided by the state. This is more than just individual’s right to choose. This is about making half of humanity subordinate and we can’t accept that. Everyone who feels that, who knows that, who believes that we’re full human beings, not incubators, got to act together to prevent this great horror.
I want to call on everybody needs to go read the statement that Rise Up for Abortion Rights put out. Share it on social media. Most importantly, if you are in driving distance to Washington, DC, if you can get there, get your butt to DC Saturday January 22, the anniversary of Roe v Wade. We’re not going to be celebrating that it’s the last year of Roe. We are going to be saying we are going to fight with everything we have to protect this right and to go further to fight for abortion on demand and without apology. We need you with us outside the Supreme Court on January 22 at noon.
Go to RiseUp4AbortionRights.org to get more info, to sign up, to donate. If you’re on the West Coast and you listen, thank you. You are not sitting this out. You’ve got to go. You’ve got to sign up, sign on to the statement. You’ve got to donate for people that can be in DC. You’ve got to follow @RiseUp4Abortion on Twitter and at @RiseUp4Abortion on Instagram. Follow us. Spread the shit out of everything we post and create your own posts. We’re going forward. It’s not just January 22. So West Coast, Midwest folks, make sure that you get connected so that you can be part of March 8th, and going forward from there. Tell all your crew, peeps — what do people say these days? — that are on East Coast that they need to be outside the Supreme Court. What are you going to tell your children?
Sam Goldman 36:19
Thanks for listening to Refuse Fascism. I want to shout out all those who are taking the streets tomorrow on MLK Jr’s birthday, for voting rights and to stand up against white supremacy. I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts, questions, ideas for topics or guests or lend a skill. Tweet me @SamBGoldman, or you can drop me a line at [email protected] Leave a voicemail by calling 917-426-7582. You can also record a voice message by going to anchor.fm/Refuse-Fascism and clicking the button there.
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You can donate by visiting RefuseFascism.org and hitting the DONATE button, Venmo @Refuse-Fascism, CashApp $RefuseFascism. For Abortion on Demand and Without Apology stickers, beanies for your whole fam, and cute pins with important messages, head over to the Refuse Fascism store. Thanks to Richie Marini, Lina Thorne and Mark Tinkleman for helping produce this episode. Thanks to incredible volunteers, we have transcripts available for each episode, so be sure to visit RefuseFascism.org and sign up to get them in your inbox each week. We’ll be back next Sunday and I hope to see everyone in driving distance in DC on Saturday, January 22, 12:00 pm outside the US Supreme Court. Until then, in the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America.