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Vol. 81/No. 12      March 27, 2017

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Socialist Workers Party: ‘Defend right to abortion’

SWP in Seattle takes campaign to workers’ doorsteps

Above, Seattle Clinic Defense, inset, Militant/Edwin Fruit

Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Seattle, joined defense of Planned Parenthood Clinic March 11 in Everett, Washington, above. Inset, Martin visited Jewish Synagogue in Seattle to offer solidarity after outside wall was defaced with anti-Jewish graffiti.

SEATTLE — Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor here, joined 70 people on a picket line defending Planned Parenthood in Everett, March 11. Sponsored by the Seattle Clinic Defense, the protesters rallied in the face of a cold, steady rain and a handful of opponents of women’s rights.

Deborah, a school counselor, told Martin at the action, that women need to be able to decide for themselves whether or when to have children. She is one of a group of local supporters of abortion rights who come to Planned Parenthood every Saturday to defend it.

“These protests are an important part of defending women’s rights,” Martin said. “We need to mount a systematic fight state-by-state against the restrictions that states are imposing on our right to abortion, including waiting periods, parental consent, mandatory sonograms and so forth.

“The Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, creates problems for women because it makes our rights dependent on medical developments and doctors, not our basic rights as human beings,” Martin said. “We need to fight for our right to abortion to be based on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says we deserve equal protection under the law, the same as men.”

After the picket, Martin joined another campaign supporter to knock on workers’ doors in Seattle’s Central District. They met Alec McGinnis, a laid off information technology worker, who said he recently went to Oaxaca and Chiapas in Mexico to learn about the struggles of indigenous people there. “How’s the campaign going?” he asked Martin.

“We find people want to talk about what is happening to the working class today and what we can do about it. People like you,” she said. “I don’t think of myself as an activist,” he said, “but I want to learn about the social struggles that are taking place.”

He picked up a subscription to the Militant and a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People, a book by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. He said he was interested in that one because he didn’t agree with people he knew who say everything coming down on workers is because of Donald Trump and the Republicans.

“There are three parties and two classes in this country,” Martin said. “The capitalist families have their Democrats and Republicans and the Socialist Workers Party is the workers’ party.”

Martin and other party members joined a street corner picket in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle near the SWP headquarters the next day. It was sponsored by people in the area to show their opposition to racism and anti-immigrant prejudice. Signs included “Everyone is welcome here” and “Jews Against Islamophobia.” Participants included Jews, Muslims from Somalia and Gambia, and African-Americans. Martin carried a sign calling for “Amnesty for All Immigrants Living in the U.S.” A group of Somali women took several copies of SWP campaign literature to give to friends.

On March 11, Martin took a message of solidarity to the Temple De Hirsch Sinai synagogue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle after anti-Semitic graffiti was found on the wall saying, “HOLOCAU$T I$ FAKE HI$TORY.”

Over the last couple weeks, Martin has joined actions opposing a bomb threat against the Stroum Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, vandalism against a Muslim mosque in Redmond and against attacks on South Asians in Bellevue and Kent.

Martin and other party members have met a number of workers interested in learning more about the SWP and joining in political activity.

Martin is taking part in a class with Pat Scott, a Walmart worker, on the Pathfinder book It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US ‘Justice’ System, where revolutionaries known as the Cuban Five describe their experiences locked up well over a decade in U.S. prisons for actions they took to defend the Cuban Revolution.

Scott kicked off this week’s class, saying, “I can sum this up — under capitalism there is no justice for working people.”
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