The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 5 #10


November 15, 1989

[Front page: Detroit NOW demands all-out support for police]

In this issue

Statement from Detroit NOW........................................... 6
"Traditional values" of witch-hunting vs. AIDS.............. 2
Status of Nicaraguan women............................................ 3
Solidarity vs. Polish workers............................................ 4
West Germany erects wall vs. gypsies.............................. 8

Detroit NOW demands all-out support for police

Referendum in Concord, California

Religious fanatics for "traditional values" of witch-hunting against AIDS-afflicted and gays

From the Nicaraguan Workers' Press:

Threats to the status of Nicaraguan women

'Solidarity' government makes Polish workers poorer

Another statement by NOW against the militants

Gypsies deported

"Humanitarian" West Germany checks skin color

Detroit NOW demands all-out support for police

The question of what path for the women's movement has been getting sharp on tire issue of the pro-choice movement. The National Organization for Women's (NOW) leadership has vehemently opposed militancy and mass confrontations with the religious fanatics of Operation Rescue. Instead the NOW leaders have been diehards for the establishment tactics of applauding the police, hand-holding with officials, and assuring the powers-that-be of NOW's loyalty.

On Jan. 21 this year the Michigan Conference of NOW issued a statement denouncing violence at abortion clinics. This wasn't a statement denouncing OR, but the pro-choice militants. What shameful scabbing on the struggle and sacrifices of the dedicated activists who fight the anti-abortion fanatics! Michigan NOW red-baited them and tried to define them out of the movement It also assured the bourgeoisie that, unlike the local Committee to Defend Abortion Rights, it would have nothing to do with groups which had words like "revolutionary" or "socialist" in their name. (The statement is reproduced in the February 15 issue of the Supplement.)

Michigan NOW is still following this policy. And so the Detroit NOW president has compiled a statement distributed during a conference at Wayne State University on October 21. We reproduce it elsewhere in this issue of the Supplement. This time the NOW leaders present themselves as heroes of pluralism. Whereas before they "denounced the actions" of the militants, now they talk of "differing experiences". But this is all a pose. The new statement endorses the past statement of January 21, while diplomatically failing to mention that the earlier statement tried to push the militants out of the movement. And the Detroit NOW president defends the practice of trying to suppress all slogans, picket signs, chants and non-NOW approved statements or literature at demonstrations and clinic defenses by saying that it is "not censorship of slogans or political statements...but simply a matter of pragmatism". Why, it supposedly isn't even a matter of NOW's dictation but just about restricting things to a "single issue".

NOW's stand on confronting OR

The statement's main emphasis is defense of the police.

It wants to make the entire movement into a cheering squad for the police. It demands that the people leave OR alone to do its dirty work without opposition. It opposes chants against OR, slogans against OR, why, "not even eye contact" with OR is to be allowed. Everything is to be left to the police. At most, one can escort patients into clinics. How one is supposed to do this while OR is allowed to shut down the clinics unopposed is the NOW leadership's little secret.

NOW and the police

Lying outrageously about the experience of the clinic defense, the Detroit NOW President holds that: "Working with the police has been found to be the single most important factor in successful clinic defense; where they have not been contacted, OR has won out, whereas where the police have been extensively consulted ahead of time, we have been successful in overcoming OR."

The actual experience is just the opposite. Even when the police do act against OR, they usually first let OR blockade the clinics for hours on end.

But NOW apologizes for the police. According to NOW, it is not that the police don't want to act--they just have logistic problems. According to NOW "....we should work with and support law enforcement agencies...and recognize that the police may have problems of logistics which may inhibit their ability to respond as fast as we would like.... small municipalities especially may have a limited number of officers available at any given time and may have difficulty contacting those who are off duty or from neighboring municipalities in time." Why, those police who protect OR's blockades of clinics, they just couldn't walk the extra five or ten steps needed to drag OR from the clinics without first taking all day to plan it. One just needs more "extensive consultation ahead of time" on logistics.

Behind-the-scenes with the establishment

Thus for NOW extensive consultations with the police is the critical task of the moment. And NOW boasts of having "been working behind the scenes for many months contacting police, city officials, clinic providers and others." But it seems that the NOW leaders want to have their cake and eat it too; the statement th6n complains that the mass media doesn't publicize this behind-the-scenes work.

Along with NOW's reliance on the police is its use of lawsuits. This is the strategy that has resulted in various lawsuits pioneering in the use of the reactionary RICO law against demonstrations in the name of fighting OR. This is not just using the existing law against OR, but doing the government's work for it in forging new weapons against demonstrations and protests.

Whose good opinion is NOW concerned about?

NOW is dead-set against the idea of building a militant movement. It advocates that work with the mass media is vital, ignoring the fact that this is the diehard capitalist media owned by the rich and operated on their behalf. But according to NOW "The other major determinant of longterm success in opposing Operation Rescue is working with the press." What NOW means by this, it turns out from the statement, is that it will be horrible to have militancy appear on TV or be reported in the press. It is horrified at the thought of scenes of people trouncing OR. But a little thought shows that such scenes will inspire the masses. It is the bourgeoisie who will be upset, but the ordinary people want to see a progressive mass movement that is willing to stand up for its beliefs.

Or look at it another way. OR is fraudulently preening itself as the "civil rights movement of today". And the NOW leadership is willing to grant them the moral authority of being the militants of today and is horrified at the thought that the real movement will rise up. Why, the statement says, to fight against evil is "putting ourselves in a position of being equal to" the evil-doers, "i.e., if they break the law, we'll break the law".

NOW's elitism vs. rallying the masses

Indeed, it is notable that, except for a few words here or there about "educating the population" (not even a full sentence), NOW's statement says nothing about rallying the masses, about winning over new sections of the workers and poor, about inspiring mass actions of women, working people, and activists. This is totally foreign to their conception. So it's no surprise that all their prohibitions against militancy, confrontation, slogans, chants, and the raising of different social issues result in stripping away anything of interest to wide masses of the people.

Instead in practice NOW puts forward elitist arguments against the masses. At the beginning of its statement NOW mentions the "ill-fated Peoples Campaign for Choice" in Michigan, It doesn't explain why it failed. It doesn't explain how it was carried out by bourgeois politicking that made the masses into simple voting cattle. And it doesn't mention the TV ads for this campaign that argued that abortions saved money that would otherwise be spent on welfare recipients and the poor. They appealed to the resentment of the bourgeoisie for every penny spent on the poor, thus flaunting their disdain for the masses. And NOW nationally wants to go further along this road. At its last convention it stressed reaching out to such groups as Zero Population Growth and other anti-people forces who resent the masses and argue that abortion holds down their number.

NOW is not interested in building a mass movement. It doesn't even believe that Roe vs. Wade was won by mass action. For NOW, this is a matter of opinion, a matter of "a different reading of history due to differing past experience in achieving change." NOW's reading of history is that the important part of the upsurge of the 60's and early 70's was "years and years of lawsuits, court action, and public education and awareness." The fact that these were years of mass upsurge on one issue after another, from the war in Vietnam to the black liberation struggle to the women's liberation movement, this is all irrelevant to NOW. By its own admission, NOW's leaders had little to do with this aspect of life. Their preoccupation was law books, lawyers, and judges.

NOW and the bourgeoisie

So it's no wonder that NOW's statement looks towards the police, government officials, and bourgeois media. It shows that NOW's whole orientation is bourgeois elitism. Its leaders want to channel all activities towards convincing the ruling class of the respectability of bourgeois women, of their servility to law and order, of the valuable services they can render to the police and the government, and of their ability to strip signs and chants and militancy from any mass actions. They hope that such activities will convince the ruling class to grant more authority and upper class positions to bourgeois women and those aspiring to join the bourgeoisie.

NOW claims to have many diverse sections of opinion in it. But strangely enough, when NOW lists the various "persuasions" it contains, the only parties it wants to explicitly name are the Democrats and Republicans--it can be recalled that NOW wasn't so shy in its Jan. 21 statement when it came to denouncing various groups, and it made sure to attack by name "revolutionary" and "socialist" groups. And, in fact, while there is surely diversity among the NOW rank-and-file, the NOW leadership represents one definite bourgeois viewpoint, and it seeks to impose this not only on all of NOW, but on the movement as a whole. Michigan's NOW statement of January 21 didn't just say that NOW wouldn't be militant, but its whole point was to denounce anyone in the movement who was militant. It did not talk of coexistence between those with differing tactics, but instead sought to force establishment tactics on everyone. And its present statement defends the attempts of NOW to suppress all dissenting literature and slogans at demonstrations.

If NOW's path is followed, the movement will die. The militancy at clinic defenses is absolutely necessary. The ability of the masses rising in struggle to put forward their own slogans and not be restricted to what serves the interests of some NOW lawyer or politician is essential. It is crucial to build a mass movement that not only isn't afraid of "turning off the powers-that-be, but that targets the ruling class. A movement restricted to NOW's confines is a movement that will trample on the interests of the vast mass of working women in favor of currying favor with police, lawyers, and government officials.

Step up the work in defense of women's rights!

Oppose the right-wing movement attacking women's rights by building up a militant movement of the working masses in their own interests!

No behind-the-scenes hand-holding with police and government bureaucrats!

Link up the women's movement with the fight against the whole capitalist offensive against the masses!

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Referendum in Concord, California

Religious fanatics for "traditional values" of witch-hunting against AIDS-afflicted and gays

The following article is based on a report from a comrade in the San Francisco Bay Area:

This November 7th in Concord, California a simple ordinance to ban discrimination in housing and employment against people with AIDS or who test positive for it was repealed in a referendum. Earlier this year, in April, the ordinance had been passed unanimously by the Concord City Council, and it was similar to ordinances in 10 other cities and counties in California. One of its purposes was to stop fear of discrimination from deterring people from being tested for AIDS. The referendum against the ordinance was supposedly the first in the U.S. against such measures.

The referendum was spearheaded by right-wing fundamentalists including a group calling itself the Traditional Values Coalition". The fundamentalists rave against the ordinance as, in Rev. Mashore's words, "a vehicle which promotes the homosexual agenda camouflaged in palatable anti-discrimination language".

What is behind the "Traditional Values Coalition" (TVC)? What Values do they consider "traditional"? It turns out that they promote ignorance, fear, and bigotry, and use the "traditional" fascist method of scapegoating sections of the population as the way of building up a right-wing movement.

The TVC, along with other virulent reactionaries such as Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum and Beverley LaHaye's Washington D.C.-based Concerned Woman of America funnel their money into groups such as Christian Alert in Southern California, Stop Homosexual Advocacy in Public Education (SHAPE), and the Fremont Family Alliance (FFA) in the East Bay area.

In California TVC is foremost among anti-abortion, anti-sex education crusaders. TVC recently lobbied the state education board on school textbooks to prevent evolution from being taught as the origin of the human being. (On November 9 the California Board of Education voted unanimously to continue presenting evolution as just a "theory", but not a fact. This vote is supposed to effect textbooks in California by 1991, and probably textbooks throughout the whole country.) Creationism, prayer, and "just say no" are their solutions to any social problems. Meanwhile they savagely scapegoat people with AIDS and gays, and, this is why they oppose even such a unoffensive measures as anti-discrimination bills to ease the plight of those with AIDS. Previously right-wing groups in California campaigned to "quarantine" people with AIDS into concentrate camps.

The TVC is spearheading the repeal of AIDS, anti-discrimination ordinances in California as a stepping-stone for the overturn of such measures everywhere. To do this, they spread ignorance and lies about AIDS, how it is contracted, and who gets it. TVC uses the fact that many people with AIDS are gay or lesbian in order to spread hysteria and scapegoat the homosexuals.

An example of the TVC style can be seen in its denunciation of a local school board president as a "perverted,, wicked, distorted, corrupt and debased human being." (Coming Up!, Dec. 88) And what was his sin? He freely admitted to being gay in a press conference. The only other evidence for this claim was the fact that the school board included an AIDS hotline phone number in school sex education materials. TVC called this the promotion of homosexual pornography. This is absurd, but that doesn't matter to TVC. Not logic, but religious fanaticism and right-wing demagogy is what TVC is about.

The referendum in Concord was about a simple policy statement that there should be no discrimination in housing or employment against those with AIDS. The TVC however shouts about "special privileges" allegedly being provided for them. It hopes in this way to camouflage its cold-blooded brutality as simple justice instead of a step towards the concentration camp solution.

But the ordinance in question, far from providing special privileges, simply tries to deal with only one of the many problems facing those with AIDS. It doesn't provide for health benefits or medical treatments, nor for jobs, nor for housing arrangements. It does not solve the problem of public low-cost housing, yet many people with AIDS need such housing, as they are poor, either originally or from attempting to pay for AIDS treatments, or from being thrown off their job. The anti-discrimination ordinance simply eases some of these problems.

Ordinance or not, there is already a problem with discrimination against people with AIDS. Repealing the ordinance opens the door wider to persecution.

The TVC, of course, has a much wider viewpoint. They have their own final solution, reminiscent of the Third Reich. As TVC's Rev. Sheldon explains it: "If two adults...can't resist their erotic sexual appetites enough to know that one of them is going to...end up killing the other one with anal intercourse then actually they ought to pay the penalty of death." (emphasis added)

This has nothing to do with solving the problem of AIDS. Science, knowledge, and the anger of the masses against the obstruction of the bourgeois authorities (to say nothing of the profiteering of the drug companies) is needed for that. Struggle against the rotten social conditions fostered by Reaganite capitalism, such as the growth of poverty and the cutbacks in the already minimal social problem, is needed for that. For such conditions and cutbacks help foster disease.

Witch-hunting, on the other hand, is needed to prop up the rule of wealthy who feel that nothing but savagery, ignorance, and religious obscurantism can preserve their system. Whether in extreme TVC form, or in the more refined obscurantism of the bourgeois "moderates", the ruling class relies on such methods-while boasting of its alleged enlightenment. Their resort to such methods tells more about their inner weakness than their boasts about the alleged strength of capitalism.

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From the Nicaraguan Workers' Press:

Threats to the status of Nicaraguan women

The cultural page of the Sept 9 issue of El Pueblo carried an article by Carlos Lucas Arauz of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML) denouncing the attempt to demobilize Nicaraguan women. Excerpts follow:

Until we experienced the huge power of the mobilization of the people in the great social event of the insurrection against Somozism, we could only estimate the immense potential of women when it comes to making the history of the people. All the patriarchal schemes, prejudices, machismo, the cult of the inferiority of women were put in question by the revolutionary action of Nicaraguan women in all spheres. Women occupied a place of their own, in accord with the conditions and possibilities that they were able to create and take advantage of.

After the victory, with the literacy campaign, the war (against the contras), the agrarian reform, the factories, plantations, there was nothing that didn't manifest the new presence of women.

But the violence of the wage relation between the capitalist and the worker has in general persisted, unharmed even after the fall of Somozism. And this is the basis of the patriarchal class, machismo, the subordination of women to men.

In particular, since capitalist reconstruction is the goal of the right-wing forces, their candidate can do no less than raise as their platform the return of the Nicaraguan woman to the kitchen and other domestic chores. This might seem contradictory coming from a woman who is the presidential candidate [Violeta Chamorro], who literally had to stop washing dishes and knitting in order to exercise a function for the social class that she represents.

On the foundation of the restoration of the domination of the boss over the worker, comes the predominance of the man over the woman. No Nicaraguan working woman at this time can get a. job in a factory without giving a urine sample to show she is not pregnant. No woman has the right to a minimum wage that can acquire at least the basic foodstuffs. No woman has guarantees of job stability, nor of child care for her children while she's at work, nor of the medical care to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. In this last case she is forced to throw her child into the world of expensive medicines, of the one glass of milk promised in the schools, of the 12,000 children in the street, etc.

The measures for the reconstruction of the past also take the form of the auctioneering of women presented as "culture and beauty contests". This is in a country where a lipstick costs two months of wages of a man or woman worker, where the overall academic achievement is low, and where the cultural crisis is such that beauty contests take place in the Ruben Dario National Theatre.

Girls of 16 and 17 are thrown into exhibiting themselves in various garb, to conducting themselves in ways they have never done and never hope to repeat. They're supposed to smile even though they know that the workers at Corona Oil can't afford cooking oil on their wages.

The drive of capital and its culture is beginning its offensive on the weakest part of the social and political forces. Monsignor Obando [a right-wing cleric] falls in with this offensive because he knows that behind it is the force which attempts to throw women back to the show windows and to the laundry. Those are the places where women cannot be a threat to the capitalist order that is being restored. The beauty contests are bit by bit taming the impetus that women let loose in the revolutionary struggle, demagogical constitutional guarantees (for women's rights) notwithstanding. So the woman is finding herself paraded, confined, absent from herself, serving "a social function" in exhibiting herself, being an object of use and exchange, satisfying a demand not only of men, but of commerce. These are exercises in the domestication of women, where the classic question is: Do you have a boyfriend? Are you going to get married, have kids, and be loyal to your husband?

The right-wing doesn't object to the sending of women to the spiritual slaughterhouse in these ways, but it constantly rails against the "indoctrinators" [of women, meaning revolutionaries who organize women] and Marxism.

[For them, the issue is] not to emancipate but to "create consciousness" for the subjugation of women. In all kinds of forms, these types of programs are already in progress, and they are bearing fruit for the reaction.

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'Solidarity' government makes Polish workers poorer

Poland's economic crisis is deepening. And those who have the reins of government in their hands are determined to make the workers and poor bear the brunt of the crisis.

The false communists of Jaruzelski's United Workers' Party have ruled for decades over the state-capitalist economy, which began going backward years ago as it entered the inevitable capitalist crisis. The revisionist bureaucrats still hold important positions of power. But today a new political force heads up the government, namely, the Solidarity trade union leaders. Workers voted them hoping to better their lives, but the Solidarity ministers are determined to follow a Western-style capitalist program, and like all capitalist programs this means dealing with the crisis by squeezing the workers further.

Statistics just released for the third quarter of this year show that inflation is shooting through the roof. Prices rose 107% in this period, with the price of kitchen staple items-- bread, flour, meat, sugar-going up even faster. Things have reached the point where news reports tell of pensioners trying to feed themselves by hawking their personal belongings on the streets.

The parliament recently debated a-bill to provide cost-of-living wage adjustments to workers. The original bill proposed 100% cost-of-living raises; that is, that workers would automatically receive raises to make up for 100% of the rising cost of living. But this was rejected by the Solidarity government ministers, including Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Labor Minister Jacek Kuron, as too expensive. The final bill as approved by parliament allows for cost-of-living raises of only 80% of increased prices. And the raises received by workers who waged wildcat strikes in the last year and a half will not be taken into account in calculating the cost-of-living raises.

While driving down wages, the Solidarity government plans to drive workers out of the plants in droves. Mazowiecki is working on a plan of wide scale privatization of state-capitalist industry. Selling off and closing plants will bring with it large-scale unemployment for the first time in decades, but the Solidarity leaders insist that the workers must sacrifice.

But not everyone is sacrificing. In fact the transition to private capitalism is creating a boom atmosphere for fast-buck artists who can make a killing off of selling goods in short supply. To accommodate them, Warsaw recently opened a casino where the new bourgeoisie can play roulette and blackjack in Western currencies only.

This situation is creating a smoldering atmosphere among Polish workers. Some wildcat strikes have broken out-for example, health clinic workers in southern Warsaw recently struck for a day. For now, however, workers in the large plants are staying in and giving the Solidarity leaders some time to see if they can do better than the discredited former regime of the state-capitalist bureaucrats.

But the growth of private capitalism will inevitably bring a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. The Polish workers need a revolutionary alternative that defends the working class, opposed to both the pro-Western Solidarity leaders and the revisionist bureaucrats of Jaruzelski's party.

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Another statement by NOW against the militants

The following statement was distributed by NOW at the Oct 21 teach-in on reproductive rights at Wayne State University in Detroit Similar views were also given-at the teach-in by speakers from NOW and allied organizations. Boldfacing has been added, but underlining is as in the original.

Countering Operation Rescue in Michigan

Compiled by Karen E. Sundberg, Detroit NOW President

There has been some controversy among pro-choicers as to how best to deal with Operation Rescue. Several factions have arisen, each with their own ideas, and each with their own strategies and tactics. What follows is an outline of what those on the side of the National Organization for Women (NOW), along with Planned Parenthood, MARAL [Michigan NARAL-ed.], RCAR, and other groups who participated in the ill-fated Peoples Campaign for Choice, espouse, and why.

The purpose of NOW at its inception in 1966 was, and still is, 23 years later, "to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society, now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men." NOW as an organization does not necessarily care what political or economic system is in power, only that it be equitable to women (although individual NOW members themselves may care a great deal about this). Contrary to popular opinion, NOW is not monolithic; rather, it includes a broad spectrum of people of all different persuasions: women and men, gay and straight, black and white (and other colors), young and old, poor and not-so-poor, Democrats and Republicans (as well as numerous other party and non-party affiliations). From the beginning reproductive choice and abortion rights have always been a top priority. While it is recognized that they may be a top priority of other groups as well, because other groups may have a different purpose, strategies and tactics may well differ. Thus differences in purpose may be responsible for the first major disagreement in strategies and tactics by the various pro-choice groups.

Historically, NOW has used, and will continue to use, in its fight for reproductive choice as well as for the ERA, lesbian/gay rights, and its other issues, a variety of strategies in the last 23 years, including the following: marches, boycotts, rallies, celebrations, press releases and press conferences, letters to the editor, TV, radio and shows, workshops, speakers, working in coalitions with other pro- choice groups, participating in the electoral process by turning out voters (we don't always do as well as we should here), electing pro-choice legislators (we gained six additional ones in the Michigan House in the November 1988 election), lobbying (NOW has two lobbyists, one in Lansing and one in Washington, D.C.), letter writing campaigns, lawsuits, electing and appointing our people to office, and PACs (we have PACs on three levels-Detroit NOW PAC, Michigan NOW PAC, and two on the National NOW level), direct action (NOW wrote the book on direct action) and civil disobedience when appropriate, fasts, and demonstrations; among other things. We believe in using whatever means necessary, that's legal, peaceful, and appropriate to the occasion, to achieve our purpose.

Strategies right now in the State of Michigan in the fight for choice include the ACLU lawsuit filed in February on behalf pf a 15-year-old rape victim, formation of a grass roots pro-choice network all around the state, and formation of two committees out of the now defunct PCC currently called the Futures Committee and the Blue Ribbon Task Force (the latter consisting of prominent people with access to money and power), among other things. On the national level, NOW has filed a number of lawsuits which look promising in the fight for choice. The NOW-sponsored March for Women's Equality, Women's Lives in Washington, D.C., on April 9, 1989, was a major show of support for the choice issue as well as for other issues of importance to women.

In addressing Operation Rescue (or Rescue Life, as it is also known), we have learned a few things from NOW chapters and people in other parts of the country who have had to deal with it. The purpose, above all, of our efforts is, or should be, to provide support to clinic owners and patients. Forming alliances with other pro-choice organizations and women's groups is a must. Working closely with clinics and health care providers, including private doctors, is essential. Training volunteers to be patient escort/protectors is the next step in the process. Working with the police has been found to be the single most important factor in successful clinic defense; where they have not been contacted, OR has won out, whereas where the police have been extensively consulted ahead of time, we have been successful in overcoming OR. In addition, involving the police in a court injunction prohibiting the blocking and closing of clinics, and getting the city to join the injunction has been helpful in the areas that have done this.

The other major determinant of long-term success tin opposing Operation Rescue is working with the press; what's at stake here is the image of Operation Rescue, as we don't want them to come off looking like martyrs and good guys with their hymn singing and prayers. Instead, we want to come off looking good and be seen as, the rational ones in opposition to the irrational right-wing zealots that they are. Shouting obscenities at them and banging on cars with signs, much less pushing and shoving or dragging them away, do not put our side in a good light, to say the least.

As for the patient escort/protector program, the purpose of this is to provide emotional support and protection to the patient who may otherwise be frightened away by the anti-choice demonstrators. Individuals participating in this program are required to participate in a one-time, two-hour training session and to sign a statement promising to adhere to a policy of non-engagement. The escort/protector program is not a counter demonstration; we do not carry signs and chant slogans. We are there to make an upsetting scene (protesters blocking the door) as calm and untraumatic as possible for patients until they enter the clinic. For this reason, there is no physical contact, no shouting, not even eye contact with the protesters. What we do is ask the patients if they want help, escort them to the: door if possible, and provide a shield with our bodies if needed.

The second major difference between NOW and its allied pro-choice groups and those who advocate other tactics and strategies than those outlined above may be attributed to a different reading of history due to differing past experience in achieving change. We have worked long and hard to make sure abortion is legal. Roe v. Wade was won through decades of buildup of legal precedents-years and years of lawsuits, court action, and public education and awareness. At the time that decision was handed down public acceptance of abortion was up to 75 percent. Those of us who actively participated in this legal buildup and court action over the years are more inclined to go that route again, whereas people who engaged in other activities believe their way is what won that decision. Whatever the real reason for Roe v. Wade, now that abortion is legal, many of us believe that we should not take the law into our own hands.

Because abortion is legal, and we ostensibly have the law on our side, we should work with and support law enforcement agencies--meet with them, monitor them, ensure that they are enforcing the law fairly, and recognize that the police may have problems of logistics which may inhibit their ability to respond as fast as we would like. In regard to the latter, since we don't usually know ahead of time where Operation Rescue will hit, small municipalities especially may have a limited number of officers available at any given time and may have difficulty contacting those who are off duty or from neighboring municipalities in time.

In addition, we also want to work with clinic providers and lend our support. From meeting with both police and providers we have learned that it is imperative that the providers be the ones to initiate complaints against the OR and to follow through. They need to know that they have our support for such actions.

Some have said that it's because NOW abdicated its role here in countering Operation Rescue and didn't offer people any adequate way to counter OR that other groups arose to demonstrate, and protest these people's actions. What has not been adequately communicated is that NOW and other pro-choice groups have been working behind the scenes for many months-contacting police, city officials, clinic providers, and others. None of this work, however, is readily apparent except over the long term and does not make the papers or the TV news show. In fact, the media' seem to consider this sort of action boxing and not of interest to the general public, and they may be right. However, from past experience, that is what has worked in these instances over the long term. Where the police have been consulted extensively ahead of time, we have been successful in overcoming OR. Where they have not been contacted, OR has won out.

A third major difference lies in the area of public image/tactics. Again, we have to look at the public image of the anti-choicers. If we attempt to attack them in any way or physically remove them ourselves, we are putting ourselves in a position of being equal to them (i.e., if they break the law, we'll break the law). The real danger is that if we engage in those tactics, we increase sympathy for them. We want to clearly show them as the right-wing-zealots that they are. Above all, we do not want the media to see us beating them up or give any appearance of beating them up. It is truly unfortunate that NOW had to go public on our stand on non-violence in January of this year [this refers to Michigan NOW's Statement of Jan. 21"denouncing the actions" not of OR but of the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights as allegedly responsible for violence-Supplement]; NOW was concerned that the entire pro-choice movement would be seen in that light. It cannot be overemphasized enough that this fight may well be won in the media; therefore we don't want Operation Rescue to appear as the martyrs or good guys.

Martin Luther King advocated a process to achieve change that has worked nicely when applied in appropriate situations, It is a process of education, negotiation, demonstration, and reconciliation. First you educate your people and the public on the issue of concern. Then you enter into negotiations with the powers that be, and hopefully because you've gathered up the facts and educated the population, that makes negotiations go smoothly. Since you want a win-win situation where everyone comes out ahead, demonstration is used as a last resort, if negotiations fail. After the demonstrations, and you continue negotiations during the demonstrations, then you look for reconciliation. If you achieve your goal, you don't gloat; why criticize people who have come over to your way of thinking. In the instant situation with OR, the negotiations process is essential. It is doubtful that we could get the Operation Rescue people to come over to our side, but we can certainly work on the police and city officials and others who have the power.

Another major difference we have with other pro-choice groups is that of bringing in other issues, NOW believes an event or happening should preferably be confined to one issue or subject matter at a time, for very pragmatic reasons. If only the pro-choice issue is evident on signs, banners, buttons, etc., then we can assemble a much larger group of people who come together on this one issue but who may differ on other issues. Most of us do support peace in Central America, gay/lesbian rights, ERA, minority civil rights, etc.; in fact, many of us came out of the black, civil rights and anti-war movement. Confining ourselves to one issue is not censorship of slogans or political statements, contrary to some detractors; it is simply a matter of pragmatism, again.

This is just a summary of some of the ideas and strategies that NOW in Michigan along with other allied pro- choice groups such as Planned Parenthood, RCAR and MARAL, espouse, and the reasoning behind them. It is hoped that through dialogue we can listen and weigh arguments on all sides, and come to an understanding of some kind, at least agree to disagree if necessary, and come together and work together when we can (and work separately when we can't). In any case, at least keeping the lines of communication open should be of value in the long run, in overcoming our real adversary, which is the right- to-life fanatics and their ilk.

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Gypsies deported

"Humanitarian" West Germany checks skin color

The two Germanies have been in the news a lot lately. The media tells us that one Germany, the so-called "communist" East, is unfree, while the other, the capitalist West, is the paragon of freedom. All this is based on West Germany's welcoming of East German refugees. New arrivals form East Germany are immediately granted West German citizenship. They' are provided with food and temporary shelter while the government sets about finding them jobs.

The truth about freedom and tyranny is a bit more complex. True enough, East Germany is a repressive place; but it also not communist. Although it has extensive welfare-state measures, it has only a different kind of capitalism (bureaucratic state-capitalism) from West Germany. And, on the other hand, in West Germany as well, freedom has its limits. Workers' strikes, anti-war demonstrators, and immigrants have all felt the "freedom-loving" batons of the West German police.

There's also a new example.

East Germans who're coming west had better check their" skin color, eye color, and last names carefully before deciding to move. For while welcoming "good Germans" with open arms, West Germany at the same time is expelling thousands of people of gypsy extraction. This includes adults who have lived and worked in West Germany for decades, and children who were born and lived their entire lives in West Germany.

To protest the deportations, hundreds of gypsies in September set up a tent city inside the old Nazi concentration camp of Neuengamme, near Hamburg. This was intended to dramatize that the West German government, with its persecution of the gypsies, is following in the steps of the Nazi regime. Under Hitler the German government murdered 600,000 gypsies in the death camps.

Not at all abashed, the government used the old "black shirt" methods to deal with the protesters. On October 2, Hamburg police, truncheons flying, attacked the tent settlement. They drove the protesters out of the camp, beating and injuring many.

This event received little coverage in the bourgeois press. It would rather sing hosannas to the glory of West German capitalism than tell the truth.

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