Have Fun and Bowl for Access to Abortion

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The Providence DSA "General Strike!" posing for a team photo at the Rhode Island Abortion Access Bowl-a-thon.

By Willie Thompson

The 2016 Abortion bowl-a-thon Campaign to raise funds for women who cannot afford abortions is coming up soon! This event is a great way for DSA chapters to get together, have some fun, network with community groups in your area and raise needed funds to support reproductive justice.

For the last two years, our local DSA chapter in Providence, RI, has put out the call to members and formed a team: Providence DSA General Strike! (pun intended). Spending three hours bowling together on a Saturday afternoon gave members and friends the opportunity to get to know one another a little better and also helped to integrate new members into the chapter. The bowl-a-thon is a great mix of social time and solidarity.

As we were bowling, one of the event organizers made a point to visit our lane to ask us how we heard about the event. She seemed at first to be a bit surprised that a socialist organization would be participating, but we explained that the DSA Feminist Working Group encouraged us to attend. “Intersectionality: love it!” she said, and told us how happy she was that we were there.

Providence DSA member Sean Monahan points to two reasons why it's been good for our chapter:

First, it raises money to help poor women access the same reproductive rights that better off women enjoy, and so it fits our class-conscious socialist feminist politics perfectly. And second, it helps our DSA local get some street cred in the local women's liberation scene (one of our members won the bowling tournament last year!) and, more importantly, focusing on reproductive justice helps bring in women to the local who might feel alienated by gender-blind class politics.

As a fairly new chapter in a small state, it is important that we show activists across the spectrum that DSA is present, active and supporting their struggles.  

Many of you may be familiar with similar "thons" to raise money for NGOs or other causes. You may think to yourself: socialists do not generally raise money for “charity” and instead work on structural reforms or changes so that voluntary measures such as fundraising would not be necessary. The reality is that for decades there have been many laws that prohibit state and federal funds from subsidizing the cost of abortions. These laws force women and their families to choose between paying for health services and putting food on the table.

The National Network of Abortion Funds works to get financial assistance to women and families right now, when the laws and politics are stacked against them and when solidarity is needed most. It is this intersection of class, feminism and health care that makes the abortion bowl-a-thon so novel in its approach and so worthy of DSA chapters’ support.

Take action now: click here to see if there is an abortion access bowl-a-thon near you. If there is, organize your chapter, come up with a team name and start raising those funds. If there’s not an event near you, no problem! You can still participate.

In joining, you will find that your chapter will be stronger and your connections to your community will be tighter. If your chapter hasn't yet had the opportunity to have a discussion about socialist feminism and reproductive justice, your participation in the bowl-a-thon is the perfect opportunity to start one up.

So, this spring, lace up your bowling shoes and hit the lanes to fund abortion now!

A member of Providence DSA, Willie Thompson is on DSA’s Social Media Committee.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 79 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 39 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.