Building Coalition for Change is Hard but Crucial

This article will discuss US politics. Content Warning for discussion of transphobia, racism, genocidal ideology, and sexism.

Concerning the Series of Terrible Supreme Court Decisions

All four of these decisions cause tremendous harm to our society, and they all build off each other.

The ‘fund private religious schools’ is a way for conservatives to eliminate public education, which has been one of their goals for awhile now. This blurs the separation of church and state, and the opinion itself seems to favor Christian institutions. This is a common theme with the rogue Supreme Court, it favors evangelical Christian religion. (For example, with the Roe vs Wade decision, it denies Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist religions right to abortion (which is allowed per their religion for specific cases) but uplifts the evangelical belief to deny abortion.)

Sotomayor, dissenting: “This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build. … The consequences of the Court’s rapid transformation of the Religion Clauses must not be understated.

Pulled from PDF linked in this tweet:
From dissenting opinion:

Thus that ruling regarding education harms the State’s ability to support its own citizens. This takes away a state’s right to be anti-establishment and secular; it makes precedence for a state-based religion. That ought to violate the First Amendment, but the majority opinion of the Rogue Court tripped over backward to find a way to force states to abandon separation of church and state.

The next harmful opinion is related to police and their qualified immunity:

The police can’t be sued for not reading our rights furthers the immunity of police from any accountability. It will heavily impact our ability to protest, as police often assault protesters, especially those of us fighting for justice for people of color and LGBTQIA people and disabled folks.

This doesn’t mean that our Miranda rights are gone – only that we’ve lost yet another way to hold police accountable if they violate them. This is yet another reason why one should never, ever talk to the police; always state that you must see a lawyer first.

The third one listed is a ruling which makes it harder to exonerate people based on healthcare findings.

Basically, the defendant wanted medical tests done to assist with findings to aid the prisoner, and Supreme Court denied that avenue. (There’s another case that was decided this past week related to prisoners and healthcare, and in that case, the Court decided that it was okay for states to give prisoners slow and agonizing deaths by denying them dialysis for late-stage renal disease. Which is horrifyingly unethical).

The fourth one is heinous as it makes it very, very hard to issue any gun control laws in any state.

It takes away the states’ rights to regulate guns, which is ironic as the next case Roe vs Wade gives states more rights to regulate bodies. The Rogue Court’s opinion is stating that it is unconstitutional for New York to mandate gun permits for concealed weapons carried outside one’s home.

Of the four listed above, there is a wide inconsistency with how the Rogue Court applies State’s rights.

We see that they view as fundamental the State Right to control people’s bodies (destruction of bodily autonomy laws) and the State’s right to fund religion (thus eliminating separation of church and state and paving the way toward a state religion). But then it limits States’ ability to provide secular support to their people regarding public education; denies the right to provide healthcare or pursue medical tests for prisoners that would improve their lives; and denies the right to regulate guns in State borders.

EDIT as of 6/28/2022: There has been another ruling related to the first one I covered: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. The Rogue Court’s opinion stated that it is okay for teachers and coaches at school to have a prayer session with students. What is alarming about this case is how much the Rogue Court lied about the case itself – Gorsuch claims that Kennedy engaged in quiet prayer, but how is true when the Coach does active public prayer in front of spectators, coercing his players, and then doing tours about this blatant violation of First Amendment rights? So although this does overturn some precedents, some lawyers speculate on if the case was actually decided — will this decision open the door to coerced prayer sessions in public schools? It is likely, though whether school districts can hold their staff accountable is uncertain now.

Another case that the Rogue Court will see in the upcoming weeks is the most frightening of all – It involves the EPA – West Virginia vs EPA, and if the Rogue Court (as many legal analysts have predicted) rule against the EPA, it will gut that agency and make it near impossible for Congress and the EPA to enforce the clean water and air acts, implement Climate Change policies, and hold polluters accountable. I will update this post with the ruling once it is released. Let us hope they do not rule against the EPA.

Roe vs Wade

What many people miss about the Roe vs Wade Case is that it’s not necessarily about abortion only — it’s about privacy. The case argued that patient privacy mattered and needs to be honored, which is why sharing with the state information about abortions violated that and why abortion became legal. It’s a case concerned with bodily autonomy and privacy.

All people ought to have the right to keep their healthcare needs and situations private, where the state and/or public cannot access. Privacy allows for patients to feel safe enough to attempt sharing their situation and symptoms with medical professionals. Without that layer of privacy protections, people lose their sense of safety, and legally lose their right to not disclose their healthcare needs with the state.

This loss of privacy will not just affect reproductive care, but – based on how the rogue Supreme Court wrote their opinion – it opens up a can of worms regarding legality of healthcare privacy in general. It also creates an ad-hoc situation of each state having different laws. This decision makes it near impossible (under our current government systems) to implement a just and comprehensive approach to healthcare privacy and what data governments and private firms can keep regarding healthcare. This decision guts privacy protections.

Bodily autonomy is also gutted. This is where the reproductive movement intersects with the disability rights and trans rights movements. Disability activists have fought hard for over a century for bodily autonomy, as often the state would steal our autonomy and institutionalize us. This ruling threatens to bring us back to that horror. Another horror that we still face today is many states still have laws saying sterilization of disabled folks is legal. Back in 1927, the Supreme Court ruled in Buck v Bell that sterilizing disabled people was good and okay; this ruling was never overturned. Now that Roe v Wade is overturned by this Rogue Court, it will be even harder to get the Bell ruling overturned.

Also, the bodily autonomy of trans people were gutted by this decision. Laws to ban gender-confirming healthcare for trans people have already passed in some states, and this Supreme Court decision sets a precedent that makes suing states for lack of healthcare access very, very difficult.

Many trans people need reproductive care, and yet often the push to fight for bodily autonomy focus on cisgender women, thus erasing trans people’s needs entirely. By working together, we are more powerful and can achieve our goals quicker and more comprehensively.

Where do we go from here

The swiftness with which our rights have disappeared this year can feel daunting and terrifying. How we feel and grieve this is valid. But we must not give in to despair. Here are some ideas on where we can go from here, so that we can keep on fighting for a more just, sustainable, loving, and equitable society and future.

1. Rally in our communities and engage in mutual aid. Don’t know how to do that? I got you — Read Mutual Aid by Dean Spade. It’s a really short book and packed full of how to do it well and how to avoid being co-opted by ‘charity’ and/or state. We must work in solidarity. (This is why unions right now are crucial as well as working across racial and gender lines).

2. Engage in strikes and protests. Join unions to build worker power. If we all worked in solidarity to strike at key moments, we can bring the economic engine driving this dystopia to its knees. REMEMBER TO MASK UP: It protects us all from the still ongoing deadly pandemic and protects you from surveillance. Also crucial is to ALWAYS make strikes, protests, rallies, and organizations ACCESSIBLE. (I write about accessibility here.)

3. Vote for progressive/Leftists at a local level. We can definitely shore up our cities and towns and maybe even our state to immunize us against the fascist onslaught. *note: voting won’t save us, but we can at least do our best to fix our communities even if the federal government is currently full of political theater and genocidal fascists.

4. Be creative in your communities and draw up ideas for a new 21st century constitution. Pretend the old one that we currently have was thrown out. Talk about different ways we can rebuild our communities to be more equitable and just. Have these conversations. we need this imagination in order to fight the fascists and rebuild once we win.

5. Prepare for a (hopefully peaceful) revolution. America is dying. We need to face that fact. We don’t live in a democracy. I know no one wants to hear this, but it’s true. Our democracy died awhile ago. We are not ‘number one’ in the world. We are a failed state. We are mired in debt we cannot pay back. Other countries and lenders – many of which we borrowed money from to fund our unethical and deadly Forever War — will come calling for their money, which will devalue the dollar and further depress our economy. The capitalist endless growth model is also strangling us, and we need a better economy system – one built on a sustainability and steady-state/doughnut economics (see the book by Kate Raeworth).

6. Support local initiatives such as local abortion funds that already exist. Don’t try to be a hero and white savior this. That’s harmful. Fund local community groups and mutual aid that are already doing the work. Get trained on how to be a doula (abortion doulas, birth doulas, gender-affirming care doulas, etc) if a person wants more direct action. Abortion funds and mutual aids are more than willing to train on how to do this safely.

7. Practice safety and security within our communities. Learn about different ways to communicate to avoid corporate and state surveillance. This can involve using VPNs, Tor Browsers or specific add-ons for security in Firefox, creating community internet hubs that do not use corporate IPs, requesting data on various apps be deleted (especially period trackers), and using email/messenger programs like Signal and Protonmail (that encrypts your data, does not keep copies of your data, and doesn’t sell your data). Learn and share this knowledge.

8. Wear masks always — this helps prevent facial recognition and other surveillance from identifying you, plus it protects oneself from the ongoing pandemic (and recent outbreaks of other deadly diseases). The best masks are N95 or better.

I hope this helps inoculate folks against despair. Thanks for reading.

Further reading:

By Aibird

Open the door, step inside. Here you find a forest, teeming with animals and birds, which sweeps up the sides of snow-capped mountains. Here in the small pocket of beauty, one finds the essence of my soul. A writer at heart, I delve deep into the finer details of humanity's spirit, and seek to share with others what gems I uncover. I find life exciting and full of interesting surprises, and despite the great pain that often confronts me, I persevere with the joy in my heart still bubbling, and the light of my soul still aflame. There is a time and a place to introspect one's self, but often enough it is best to not look back in regret, but leap forward in the present toward the achievement of one's deepest dreams. I am a wanderer. An explorer. One place cannot contain me for long, but to my friends and family, I remain loyal, for love is not bound by time nor place. Once cultivated and nourished continuously, it binds people together on a journey through the unknown reaches of life.

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