On May 3rd of this year it was leaked that the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe vs Wade, a decision that will result in the ban and lead to the criminalization of abortion in at least thirteen U.S. states. This potential ban, in threatening to undo the gains of the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, is doubly cruel in that it promises no exception for victims of rape or incest, nor for doomed pregnancies, such as ectopic pregnancies, in which the fetus has no hope of survival and carrying it to term could result only in the death of the pregnant person.
The movement against abortion rights has been ongoing in the United States since 1973, when the Roe vs Wade ruling was first settled. The first organized anti-abortion effort was spearheaded by American Catholic Bishops that same year, and this effort has continued and expanded over the years, making incremental progress in the form of trigger bills and the creation of additional bureaucratic measures that those seeking an abortion must contend with. And then, quite recently, in the past decade, some significant gains were made in turning back the clock on Roe–first came the heartbeat movement, then the heartbeat bill, and now we face the overturn. Suffice to say, it has been a long time coming.
This overturn is only one of many political crusades that have culminated in the past few years. In the wake of the uprisings of 2020 over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department came outcries against so called “Critical Race Theory” alongside the Capitol Hill riot and wildly expanded police budgets–in April of this year the Ohio Legislature proposed house bill 616, which promises to ban the teaching of “inherently racist concepts” to American school children. The term “inherently racist concepts” refers to the aforementioned “critical race theory”, as well as “inherited racial guilt” (this is an allusion, of course, to the history of slavery in the United States) and more broadly “diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes.” This racist bill also, taking inspiration from Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, explicitly seeks to eradicate any mention of so-called “intersectional theory” from school curriculums–what is meant by the term “intersectional theory” is any educational materials that mention the very concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation. Alongside 616 is house bill 454, introduced last October, otherwise known as the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation” act, which seeks to forcibly medically detransition all transgender minors. These are all examples of the current conservative-reactionary wave, which seeks to destroy the political gains of oppressed peoples; driving queer folks back into the shadows of society, crushing people of color beneath the weight of poverty, and chaining women back to the cradle.
The Democratic party has long since claimed to be the progressive half of the two-sided coin that is the American political system. Since the inception of Roe vs Wade the Democratic party has, come election season, paid relentless lip-service to the protection of abortion rights; and yet, despite having possesed the Congressional and House majority during various periods of time (such as now), they have failed to even make an attempt to entrench Roe within the constitution. They have done the same when it comes to outcries against police violence inflicted upon people of color; in their campaigns they promised “police budget reforms,” already a far cry from the police abolition being demanded by the people, and then quietly expanded the police budget by millions of dollars once in power. This is because, to the Democrats, maintaining the uncertainty of these political struggles is a useful campaigning strategy. A political battle will be fought, there will be a reactionary outcry; the Republican party will embrace the reactionary outcry, promising to restore the natural order of things via cracking down on whichever oppressed group had fought loudly enough towards their liberation. The Democratic party then establishes itself in opposition to the Republicans, promising to protect or further the relevant political gains, should everyone get together and vote them into power. Once in power, exclusively superficial, if any, measures are taken in protection of said political gains; this failure, if addressed at all, is blamed on the Republican party, alongside a plea to vote blue the next election cycle to ensure the Republicans don’t succeed in their conservative task. This is the nature of the American political machine. Nothing within this machine necessitates that societal progress be made or that it remain permanent. In fact the opposite is true; social and political gains will always be tenuous so long as the American machine exists.
It is inaccurate to describe this phenomenon as a flaw of the American political machine. In fact, this machine operates relatively smoothly–the social wellbeing of society is simply irrelevant, if not actively opposed, to its purpose. This purpose is, of course, the maintenance of the capitalist order. Both existing parties, Democrat and Republican, as well as the American state in its entirety, are, in fact, apparatuses of the bourgeois, or the capitalist class, and the American political machine exists to secure their interests. And what are the interests of the capitalist class? The maintenance of an exponentially growing pool of exploitable labor, for one. So, I ask you: what interest would the capitalist class have in opposing the reactionary current against abortion rights? If anything, the interests of the bourgeois sway in the opposite direction; the demographics which will suffer most from the abortion ban are already vulnerable, hyperexploited members of the working class–people of color, trans people, indiginous people, immigrants, the impoverished. People who have no choice but work the worst jobs, in the worst conditions–the most profitable demographics to exploit. Limiting access to abortion in these demographics could potentially grow the labor pool–something especially useful in the time of the pandemic, which has demolished these same hyperexploited populations. So why should the bourgeois enshrine Roe? Why should the capitalist class respond to cries of racial injustice, of homophobia and transphobia, of misogyny? What good would the liberation of women, of people of color, of LGBTQ folks, of the workers, do the capitalist class? The capitalist class thrives off the exploitation of these demographics. Its existence is contingent on the hyper-exploitation of their labor. And so long as the American state, the political machine, exists, it will continue to maintain this capitalist order of things. There can be no liberation under this capitalist order, and until it is utterly obliterated, the American state will do everything in its power to protect it. Our liberation is contingent on the destruction of the American political machine and the capitalist class whose interests it secures. Our only option is to unite, organize its overthrow, and to build a new society on its ashes.