In the aftermath of the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision—threatening the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the end of abortion rights, and the deepning of an all-out assault on bodily autnomy more broadly—protest actions were called across the country. Paul Fleckenstein provides one report from the protest in Burlington, Vermont.
Some 150 people rallied in Burlington, Vermont on the evening of May 3, 2002, at the Federal Building. The event was called by Planned Parenthood. The first speakers were Vermont Democratic Party Congressman, Peter Welch, and Lt. Governor, Molly Gray, both remarking on the breathtaking and shocking nature of the Supreme Court’s draft decision, and praising the Democratic opposition. Planned Parenthood’s action plan is campaigning to pass the popular Vermont Reproductive Liberty Act constitutional amendment.
What was different at this rally was the open-mic—where multiple speakers (largely young women and gender nonconforming folks, mirroring the crowd) took a left turn—anger at the Democrats for failing on abortion rights, frustration at the backwards trajectory of rights, making links to the broad scope of the crisis—attacks on trans people, global heating, gay marriage, etc. This expressed a general sense of past failed strategies—and a need for something more militant, more angry—bringing our army to the fight to stop the Supreme Court and demand our rights. One of the speakers spoke to this while wearing a shirt with a guillotine saying “bring it back.” The anger, frustration, and rejection of failed strategies drew a lot of cheers and applause, and so did Vermont’s Congressman.
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Paul Fleckenstein is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America in Burlington, Vermont and the Tempest Collective. He is a labor and environmental justice activist.