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Jul 1, 22

“They Cannot Control Our Bodies”: A Report From DC On the Night of the Dobbs Decision

A report from Washington DC on the recent black bloc mobilization on June 24th, in response to attacks by the Supreme Court on reproductive freedom and autonomy.

On the night of June 24th, we met up in Folger park, a few blocks south of the “Supreme” Court, for a circuit march against the Dobbs decision that would hit SCOTUS twice, once at the start and once at the end. We departed with a contingent of roughly sixty folks, nearly all experienced and dressed in bloc, formed a tight frontal umbrella line around a banner that read “they cannot control our bodies,” and headed north. Approaching the huge crowd of mostly liberal protesters packed in front of SCOTUS, we weren’t sure what to expect.

We were greeted by cheers; the crowd parted for us and joined in our chants, some jumped into the march, ready to contribute to our energy wherever we’d take them. We knew we picked up some protesters in our passing in front of the “Supreme” Court but we didn’t expect the amount of people tightly packed in the street behind us, all seemingly onboard with our radical messaging. It didn’t stop there.

We watched in awe as hundreds of normally dressed, sign-waving protesters enthusiastically chanted “Fuck the State,” “All Cops are Bastards,” and “If Abortions Aren’t Safe, then Neither are You.” They cheered with us while American flags burned, broke through a police line with us, witty signs in hand, coordinated to keep the crowd in a tight formation behind our umbrellas, and brought a level of anger and energy even we had trouble keeping up with. They kept up this energy until we returned the march to SCOTUS, and maintained it even there. The message couldn’t be more clear: so many of these people, like us, are angry and fed up with the traditional avenues of voting and empty promises from the people in power, all they need is an avenue to release it. Really, they are us, and this writer is proud to call them comrades.

For the future we learned a few things. Most important, is to not doubt the “regular” people outside our usual networks. Though the 24th was certainly unusual, we resolved to bring spare balaclavas and goggles in the future and welcome new friends with open arms. They are out there, in numbers, and in a lot of cases eager to join the fight. Second, radio and text communication is something that needs to be practiced and coordinated beforehand. Even without the strain that a suddenly gigantic crowd can cause, our communication procedures were flimsy and information had trouble getting to who it needed to. Third, in line with communication, it’s important to coordinate with other groups who may be on the ground. In passing through SCOTUS, our chanting interrupted a speech by the fantastic folks of Harriet’s Dreams, something we wish we had the foresight to avoid. Fourth, ending a march between the “Supreme” Court and the Capitol calls for an airtight dispersal plan, and we nearly got comrades picked off trying to leave. In the future we need to discuss dispersal in depth beforehand, and have a backup in case we need to lose cops trying to de-bloc.

Overall, we’d say the march was a huge success; though of course most liberals want nothing more than to stop us (there were a comical amount online calling us Proud Boys and right wing agitators), enough can’t be said about the potential of empowering the people at these events to do more. This march wasn’t especially spicy, but it shows that with a little nudge and the reassurance we have their backs, even the most unsuspecting “liberals” can bite back at an oppressive state.

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