Support for Repeal the 8th from Rojava? The story behind the image


This image is fresh from Rojava, posted by @bobcrowbrigade to their twitter stream with the caption "International Freedom Battalion in solidarity with our sisters in Ireland fighting to #repealthe8th"

The International Freedom Battalion are international volunteers who have travelled to Rojava to help the fight against ISIS and to defend the Rojava revolution which aims for a general liberal, egalitarian and environmentalist society. That revolution is under attack by ISIS and the Turkish state. See for background details including solidarity events that have taken place in Ireland.

The cardboard sign reads "Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan / No Freedom till Freedom for Women" (in Irish) and then Repeal the 8th (in English). The 8th is a reference to then '8th amendment" to the Irish constitution, passed in 1983 after a campaign by catholic religious fundamentalists to write a ban on abortion into the Irish constitution.

After they got the referendum passed they successfully made it illegal to even provide the phone number of a clinic in Britain and banned the import of magazines that carried such numbers until a popular mobilisation in 1991 overturned those bans. That mobilisation followed the state forbidding a 14 year old who had been raped from travelling to England to obtain a termination. Thousands took to the streets and the state backed down with the courts ruling she could travel. The state refused to hold a referendum to repeal the 8th but was forced to hold ones that removed the ban on information and the attempted ban on travel. See for more information.

A major demonstration takes place in Dublin September 24th to demand a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment in a context where hundreds use internet ordered abortion pills each year to obtain abortions (illegally) in Ireland and thousands travel to the UK. In theory those using the pills could be jailed for up to 14 years for doing so. Women have been prosecuted under similar legislation in northern Ireland for obtaining and supplying pills.

We understand at least one of the volunteers with the Bob Crowe Brigade is Irish. Bob Crowe was a militant trade union leader in England who died last year. The Brigade who are now travelling to Manbij made a number of similar slogan picture posts in relation to issues in Britain last month.