The right-wing Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that grants a woman the constitutional right to an abortion, gives lie to the myth that America is a democracy — much less a shinning beacon thereof. It is no such thing. America is, at best, a plutocracy. And, contrary to popular belief, capitalism and democracy are not compatible.
Bourgeois democracy is best summed up by Vladimir Lenin as, “Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich. That is the democracy of capitalist society.”
The Authoritarian Supreme Court is Anti-Democratic
The Court’s ruling represents a defiant disregard for the will of the people. A majority of Americans support a woman’s right to an abortion. If a popular vote were held on abortion rights, it would pass overwhelmingly. (The same, incidentally, is true of same-sex marriage, comprehensive climate change legislation, paid maternity leave, and a host of other liberal views.)
Yet six unelected bourgeois justices — who serve for life and cannot be recalled by voters — have arbitrarily imposed their fringe, reactionary, “Christian” fundamentalist beliefs on the nation. Now, an entire generation of girls and women will have fewer rights than their mothers enjoyed.
It is worth noting that abortion is legal in Cuba, North Korea, China, and Vietnam, among other nations. Abortion was, likewise, legal in the Soviet Union. Notice a pattern, here…? Working-class women enjoy more freedom in these past and current “enemies” of the U.S., than they do here. Perhaps it is not abortion that is the problem, but anti-communism.
The Supreme Court’s ruling automatically set in effect a series of “trigger laws” throughout a dozen or so states, criminalizing, or severely restricting abortion access.
The Republican Party is now openly calling for a national ban on abortion. And we can bet that Republican leaders will pursue such a law should they reclaim Congress in the November midterm elections. Unlike the pathetically anemic Democratic Party, the (increasingly fascistic) Republican Party actually delivers its promises to its base. Nor does the Right intend to stop at dismantling abortion rights. Justice Clarence Thomas has openly indicated that marriage equality for gay couples could be next on the chopping block.
There is nothing remotely democratic about the Supreme Court. It is, along with the police, the military, the courts, and the Senate, an arm of the capitalist state.
The Right Exploits Bourgeois Democracy’s “Deficiencies” — And Liberals Refuse to Fight Back
President Donald Trump was able to appoint three right-wing justices to the Supreme Court: The rapist, Brett Kavanaugh, the Christian fundamentalist, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch. (Gorsuch’s seat, it is worth recalling, was blatantly stolen from Barack Obama by the Republican Party leadership.) Trump, thanks to the antiquated, wholly anti-democratic system of the Electoral College, won the presidency in 2016 despite losing the popular vote. Thus, one cannot even argue that Trump had any sort of an electoral “mandate” for re-shaping the Court in such a reactionary manner.
Then again, the fact that the aged, bourgeois women’s-rights icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg refused multiple appeals to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency, did not help matters. Bourgeois liberals frantically casting about for a scapegoat for Roe’s repeal would do well to keep this in mind. Instead, the “Vote-Blue-No-Matter-Who” crowd has predictably lashed out at its reliable list of usual suspects: Jill Stein, Susan Sarandon, Bernie Sanders, and Briahna Joy Gray.
The Justices on the Supreme Court are charged with “interpreting” the wealthy, slave-owning “founding fathers’” bourgeois Constitution. This is a document that, mind you, has been amended a mere 27 times since it was ratified nearly 240 years ago. The U.S. Constitution, far from providing a framework for genuine democracy and popular rule, does more to prevent such things. This is the same document, keep in mind, that explicitly declares African American slaves to be only “three-fifths human.” Women, likewise, are little more than second-class citizens who, originally, could not vote under the Constitution. The same holds for propertyless white men.
The Supreme Court is an inherently reactionary body. And this is true regardless of its particular composition at any given time. The only time the Supreme Court has voted to expand civil liberties to those who were originally denied them (African Americans, women, gay couples, the working class in general) is when mass protests and popular movements have forced the justices’ hands. Roe v. Wade was not granted from above by sympathetic, progressive-minded justices. The decision was made in response to the widespread women’s rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
As the late, “radical” historian, Howard Zinn, wrote of the Supreme Court during the Senate hearings for George W. Bush-appointee, John Roberts, in 2005:
It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, and dissenters of all kinds. Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.
The Court should not be expanded and enlarged, as many Democratic politicians have recently argued. It, along with the entire sexist, racist capitalist system, should be abolished.
The Democrats are Beyond Useless
As should be painfully obvious to everyone by now, we cannot rely on the Democrats to save us. The Democratic Party’s response to the repeal of Roe v. Wade has been … nothing. President Joe Biden urged Americans to vote for “pro-choice Democrats” in the midterm elections. That is it. That’s the party’s response to this catastrophic — and, it is worth acknowledging, insidiously violent — ruling.
Let’s put aside the fact that a draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe was leaked about two months in advance of the formal ruling — giving the Biden administration ample time to prepare. The Democratic Party has had multiple opportunities throughout the last five decades to pass a bill codifying abortion rights into federal law. Yet it has never done so. The Democrats have, instead, cynically used the issue of abortion and “protecting Roe” to rally voters to the polls once every two to four years.
Furthermore, Biden has, for years, been staunchly anti-choice. He even went so far as to claim, in 1974, that Roe v. Wade “went too far.”
“I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body,” the then-Senator said.
It was only during Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign that he suddenly (and conveniently) had a “change of heart” on the issue.
The reality is that the Democratic Party (“history’s second-most enthusiastic capitalist party,”) put considerably more effort into denying the (nominally) socialist, Bernie Sanders the 2020 presidential nomination than it ever has put into protecting — let alone, expanding — abortion rights. Stop and think about that for a minute.
The Democrats’ complete inability to mount any sort of response to the Supreme Court’s decision should be a rude wake up call for all leftists. The Democrats are not on the side of working-class people. It is long past time to finally and decisively break with the bourgeois Democratic Party once and for all.
The people of Sri Lanka just overthrew their bourgeois government. Perhaps it is time the American working class did the same.