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.

 

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

May 25, 2017
· 33 rsvps

Join DSA's Queer Socialists Working Group to discuss possible activities for the group and its proposed structure. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 40 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 92 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 26 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.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 5 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.