Yesterday it was confirmed that the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade, instantly erasing the federally-recognized right to an abortion.
The anemic response of the bourgeois “left” has been completely ineffective. In the face of a firmly entrenched conservative bloc of six justices, Biden was content to form a “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court” to investigate the “public debate” around the Court, respecting the “wide spectrum” of views on potential reforms. Every practical step which might have been pursued, from expanding the Court to pursuing its abolition, remained as mere rhetorical points. The legislative attempts to codify abortion rights have been a failure thanks to the Democrats’ lack of a simple majority in the Senate. Their one success: raising millions in political donations in the wake of May’s leaked draft decision. The new ruling on Roe, which could also lead to the restriction of marriage equality and other basic freedoms, should not be understood merely as an act by the conservative wing of the state. The Democrats’ abject failure to prevent it amounts to collaboration. This was really an attack on the people by the entire bourgeoisie.
Within this decision, we can view in microcosm the entire future course of intra-bourgeois politics: backward step after backward step. The electoral conflicts to come will regard issues that have already been addressed, determining whether already-established “rights” will continue to apply. The masses have no future under capitalism; we will be forced to watch as our rights are stripped away, and the basic conditions of our existence erode at the whim of the exploiting class.
The right to an abortion was first secured in the US in 1973 after decades of struggle, at the tail end of a Civil Rights movement which had in theory established formal, legal equality among all citizens. During the preceding two centuries, the bourgeoisie failed to consistently apply the basic stated principles of their own “democratic” ideology. After slavery was formally abolished, the Civil War’s victorious Northern bourgeoisie was content to abandon the Southern Black masses to the mercy of their oppressors. Women were denied the right to vote in the US until 1921, after the October revolution in Russia had already established this right on the basis of real social equality, alongside the public provision for free and accessible abortions.
The oppressed and exploited masses have always had to take it upon ourselves to secure our democratic rights through unrelenting struggle. But this Supreme Court ruling demonstrates that today, struggling within the realm of bourgeois democracy alone is insufficient. The democracy of the bourgeoisie is a hypocritical farce; every victory won by the people under capitalism can be ripped away at a moment’s notice. Only the victory of the revolutionary proletariat, and the construction of a socialist society in which the state is subject to the interests of the working masses, can guarantee the defense of our rights. It is the task of revolutionaries to raise the banner of struggle not only against explicit conservative and Republican reaction, but also against their Democrat collaborators; against the entire capitalist class, and the decaying society they continue to uphold.