Opinion

The opinion of a WSM member. This piece has not been reviewed by any WSM editing body

The Nazis were Pro-Choice? Think Again

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It's not uncommon for someone arguing in favour of criminalising abortion to draw a comparison between pro-choice advocates and the Nazis, often on the basis that supposedly the Nazis had the same liberal views on abortion, or that pro-choice campaigners are of a similarly genocidal bent.

Comparing the Nazis to the Irish feminist movement is bizarre. In summary, Nazi abortion policy was driven by sexism, ‘pronatalism’, and eugenics, while pro-choice campaigners in Ireland are driven by personal freedom.
 

Audio - Anti-fascism in the age of Trump: A panel of US anarchists speak in Dublin

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Nazis, white-supremacists, “Identitarians”, and other fascists are organising, becoming more emboldened to attack members of our communities and spread hate speech online, in the media and on our streets. In the US, the election of Donald Trump has been heralded as a victory by right-wing reactionaries and racists around the world. [Audio]

Democracy - The Art of Re-making Society

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David Graeber’s excellent insider account of the occupation of Wall Street [1] offers us an insight into what form the politics of resistance needs to take. It will be dual purpose, having to both build resistance and also build anew. It will be about renewal, hope and learning. Crucially, how you build resistance will inform and shape what is to follow. It will entail democracy being built from ground zero.
 
During Occupy wall street there was a electric hum that came from that community. People were actively engaged on a social level, face to face discussions everywhere attempting to make it an active space for direct democracy. In that electricity of building community, ideas flourished, principles were applied, democracy was direct and actions flowed from the place where decisions were reached, collectively. In short, politics has to became about the remaking of society.[2] What is society if it is not about people? It can only be rebuilt by people; people meeting, planning, discussing, deciding and acting together.

March for Choice 2017 - report & video

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Saturday the 30th of September 2017 will go down as a high point in the fight for abortion rights in the Republic, and that is a struggle that stretches back decades. Years of campaigning and maintaining a focus on the issue, saw a massive crowd of nearly 30,000 people take to the streets for the annual March for Choice as organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). The calls are for action, and the need for Repeal of the 8th Amendment.

Delete the 8th - no restrictive wordings

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The delaying is almost over and a date for a referendum to finally overturn the 8th amendment has almost been confirmed. But - as expected - the government are now publicly threatening to present a wording other than the one needed - a vote to remove the anti-choice Article 40.3.3.

The media are reporting that the government are instead trying to somehow present a referendum that would include the terms abortion could be accessed under. Essentially the overwhelmingly old, male and conservative government do not want to follow the recommendations given by the very body they set up to avoid such responsibility. The creation of the Citizens Assembly was clearly imagined by the government as a way a new, very restrictive, anti-choice regime could be created in the aftermath of the referendum and presented as ‘the people’s will’.

However it turned out when 100 random people heard weeks of expert testimony they decided the reasonable moderate position was the one where restrictions on pregnant people would be removed or at least minimised. To the anti-choice extremists in power this was unexpected, they were only willing to concede movement on the very edges of the extreme anti-choice laws under which pregnant people and doctors face a 14 year jail sentence.

Pro Life is a Lie - dismantling the anti-choice spin

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When pro-choice militants argue that their struggle is the continuation of a historical fight against the oppression of women, they are met with a pro-life movement which attempts to symmetrically paint itself as fighting for the rights of ‘‘the unborn child’’, a category which would otherwise remain defenseless and be sentenced to life or death by their bearers.

But both sides are far from holding symmetrical views. For one thing, while people who can get pregnant initiated the pro-choice movement, there is no doubt embryos didn’t start the pro-life movement. No pro-life advocate would deny this trivial statement, if anything they would use the voicelessness of “the unborn” as an argument to emphasise the unfair nature of abortion rights.

While it is easy to understand why one group would be motivated to fight for their own interests, explaining why a group would me motivated to fight on behalf of another group is not as straightforward. Pro-life advocates would have us believe that they are fighting for the “unborn child” first and foremost out of a strong sense of empathy and out of an unremitting commitment to defend the human right to life. The problem is that this is demonstrably untrue. Far from being satisfying explanations, empathy and adhesion to moral principles don’t even qualify as partial explanations for the commitment of pro-life advocates.

The pro-choice & feminist movement in Greece with relevance to Ireland

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The legal right for abortion in Greece was established in 1986. Trying to find more info about this time and by digging into Greek feminist history, I bumped into that article about feminists and their struggles. I came out of my research feeling positive and empowered. Sometimes, when people get involved in struggles to bring about change, they forget that things don’t really change that easily. The articles I found made clear that that abortion rights were achieved in law only after years of women’s struggles. The same holds true in Greece, not only for abortion rights but for contraception and divorce rights. It is difficult now to imagine that only 31 years ago people were fighting for these basic rights.

Image banner says: "Get the laws off our bodies"

Lessons for Ireland from the Pro-Choice movement in Italy

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I moved to Ireland from Italy shortly after the Strike4Repeal of the 8th of March, a mass mobilisation on the streets of Dublin in protest of Ireland’s archaic abortion laws, which I followed closely on social media. While still in Italy, I had been involved in organising a successful feminist demonstration in the city where I lived, on that same date (International Women’s Day), and I felt deep sympathy and admiration for the Irish pro-choice activists and the amazing work they were carrying out. At first glance it was unbelievable to me that in a western-European country people still had to take the streets to demand access to abortion. While the Irish situation initially felt like something I could not relate to, I soon remembered where I was from and I had to think twice: despite abortion being legal in my home country, safe and effective access to abortion service is currently utopia.

The Personal and Political within Catholic Ireland

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Sci-fi is a genre that I’ve never been able to get into and have never had the desire to change this. I find myself in the strange position now, however, of wishing I was some kind of sci-fi expert so that I could easily find a term for something that is half alive and half ghost. If there were such a term I’d use it to personify catholic Ireland, an institution that is still alive but dying with a ghost that wields most of its power.

Catholic Ireland was a violent, brutal regime that existed – among many other reasons - to dehumanise, torture and inflict as much pain as possible on women. The church sexualised us from no age through instilling notions of modesty and chastity in us. They then shamed us and hid us away when we did have sex and the evidence was there to prove it. While in hiding they tortured us in laundries and traumatised us in Mother and Baby Homes.

The 1803 rebellion Ireland and Robert Emmet

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The 1803 rebellion followed only five years after the rebellion of 1798.  1798 involved tens of thousands under arms, rising across the country over months and the liberation of parts of Wexford, Wicklow and Waterford for long enough for a republic to be declared.  It was smashed by the British empire with great brutality directed at those under arms but also the civilian populations.  As many as 30,000 may have died.

Despite this Robert Emmet who was the brother of one of the 1798 leaders reorganised and with Thomas Russell and others attempted another rebellion in 1803. 

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