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How the Democrats Are Culpable in the Erosion of Abortion Rights

By: Dylan Parsons, Mountain Party Vice Chair & Candidate for House of Delegates

With the Supreme Court due to overturn Roe v. Wade within the coming months, the left has been berated by liberals with the familiar talking point that in order to protect abortion rights we must “vote blue.” Predictably, liberals took to social media soon after the leaked draft opinion was reported, blaming Susan Sarandon and other third party voters for the upcoming Supreme Court decision, while completely ignoring the Democratic Party’s culpability in this travesty. 

While the Republican Party is the most vocal anti-choice party, the Democrats are not blameless for this miscarriage of justice.

While the popular sentiment may be to “vote blue” to protect abortion rights, this runs afoul of history. In 1974, then-Senator Joe Biden stated in regards to Roe v. Wade, “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far.” He went on to say, “I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.” A few years later in 1982, Biden was one of only two Democratic lawmakers who supported a constitutional amendment that allowed states to overturn Roe v. Wade and pass their own laws on abortion. Just nine years later, Joe Biden would then be largely to blame for the confirmation of anti-abortion Justice Clarence Thomas.

Fast forward to 2015, when eventual Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton told MSNBC that her position on abortion was flexible and that she was willing to “compromise” with Republicans: “[If] there’s a way to structure some kind of constitutional restriction [on abortion] that takes into account the life of the mother and her health, then I’m open to that.” One year later, Clinton would select anti-abortion Tim Kaine to be her vice presidential nominee. 

Following Clinton’s defeat, top Democrats were still not convinced of the necessity to promote bodily autonomy. In 2017, Nancy Pelosi asserted that Democrats fighting for abortion rights were “hurting the party” and that the party should be open to anti-choice candidates. Senator Bernie Sanders and DNC head Tom Perez echoed these sentiments, saying that the party should not “demand fealty” to the party’s ostensibly pro-choice positions. This flexibility on abortion policy is currently being put into practice, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, and South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn are all endorsing anti-choice Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar in his primary against pro-choice progressive Jessica Cisneros.

 With this split between liberal and conservative Democrats being tolerated within the party, it is commonplace for the liberal Democrats to blame the more conservative Democrats such as Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for the party’s failure to pass progressive legislation, including the codification of abortion rights — never mind the fact that even before the 50-50 Senate split, the Democrats still failed to codify abortion rights into federal law when they had an overwhelming majority during the first two years of the Obama presidency. President Obama, it should be noted, promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act on day one of his presidency. Once in office, he reneged on his promise and stated that the bill was “not [his] highest legislative priority.”

For nearly half a century the Democrat establishment has continually utilized fear in an attempt to get people to the polls, telling us that a Republican government will almost certainly seek the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Weaponizing this fear has been prioritized over the actual codification of abortion rights, and now the reversal of Roe is occurring under a Democrat government.

The liberals of the Democratic Party have done nothing to stop the conservative elements in their party. “Progressive” lawmakers stayed silent during the 2018 primary election when Joe Manchin was challenged by progressive activist Paula Jean Swearengin, and Senator Elizabeth Warren even endorsed Manchin’s bid for re-election. Manchin went on to vote for two out of the three anti-abortion Supreme Court justices nominated by President Trump, and did so without any consequences from the Democratic Party. Since winning both chambers of Congress and the Presidency in 2020, the Democrats have done next to nothing to crack down on conservative Democrats and secure abortion rights at the federal level.

Democrats have had the option to expand the Supreme Court, end the filibuster, and to put hard pressure on Manchin and Sinema and other conservative elements in their party, but instead have chosen to sit back, throw up their hands, and declare that all is lost. Even in the immediate aftermath of the recent Supreme Court leak, President Biden stated that he is unwilling to end the filibuster in order to codify abortion rights. The weakness of the Democratic Party is just as much to blame for the gutting of reproductive rights as is the determination of the Republicans. 

This is not just an issue at the federal level either. The West Virginia Democrats controlled the state for eight decades and did virtually nothing to protect abortion rights. The WVDP has even helped to strip away abortion rights; during a vote on the anti-abortion HB 4007 in January 2020, only five of 41 Democrats voted against the bill. In 2021, almost one-third of the Democrats in the House of Delegates voted for the anti-abortion HB 2982. In 2022, six House Democrats voted in favor of SB 468, which banned abortion based on a person’s “reason” for receiving the procedure — a bill that even three House Republicans voted against. Almost half of the Democrats present in the State Senate voted for HB 2982 and over half of them voted for SB 468 — but of course no Senate Democrats will ever face consequences for their anti-abortion votes since Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin is virulently anti-choice, having even co-sponsored an anti-abortion resolution in the State Senate just this year.

When even the top leaders of the WVDP are anti-choice, and the leaders of the national Democrats openly express their approval of anti-abortion candidates, how can anyone seriously expect to win abortion rights legislation by “voting blue”?

Make no mistake: this is a small part of the larger class war. Abortion will always be legal for the rich and powerful capitalists; and so long as their system and their two parties are in charge, abortion rights will never be safe for the working class. In order to secure any fundamental human rights, it is imperative that the working class completely break from the Democratic and Republican parties. 


Donate to Dylan Parsons’ campaign for House of Delegates here.

.Read “The Case for an Independent Left Party in West Virginia” here.

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Mountain Party Celebrates International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day (March 8, 2022), the Mountain Party celebrates the great achievements of women across the globe. International Women’s Day has its roots in the socialist movement, having first been celebrated by the Socialist Party of America in 1909 and adopted globally by the socialist movement following the revolution in Russia, which gave women the right to vote. 

It is just as important now as it has ever been to fight for the rights of women. As the Supreme Court is weighing a case which could drastically limit abortion rights, West Virginia Democratic Party leader Senator Joe Manchin joined with Republicans to block a bill codifying the right to an abortion. WV Democratic Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin in January introduced an anti-abortion resolution in the State Senate; later, the State Senate voted to rescind West Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Across the country, state legislatures are passing bills to restrict or ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports. Powerful men accused of sexual assault and misconduct continue to hold power and influence in our society, including President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump

Not all is hopeless, however. Across the globe, women are winning their fights for reproductive justice. This past January, dozens of activists from multiple organizations gathered at the state Capitol to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and to protest bills in the state legislature which aimed to severely restrict reproductive rights. The Mountain Party, as the progressive voice in West Virginia for two decades now, is continuing the fight for women’s liberation which it has supported from its inception. The Mountain Party advocates for a universal healthcare system in which reproductive care, including abortion, is guaranteed and free at the point of service with no questions asked. We call for the expansion and protection of each woman’s right to fully participate in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination, and wage discrimination. Much more must be done to ensure equality in wages and employment, to end the feminization of poverty, and to redress the reality that much of the work that society assigns primarily to women is presently unpaid. 

The fight for women’s rights is far from over, but on this International Women’s Day we celebrate the working class women who have fought and continue to fight for an equal and just society.

“I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.” – Malala Yousafzai

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” – Rosa Luxemburg

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Common Sense Needed On Major Parties’ Take On Nuclear Says Mountain Party

(CHARLESTON, WV) A majority within each of the Democrat and Republican caucuses in the State House and Senate passed SB 4, a bill to repeal the ban on the construction of nuclear power plants. In truth, the existing law is not an explicit ban on nuclear power, but rather requires common sense conditions such as the safe storage of radioactive waste. Already, West Virginia is dealing with another radioactive waste problem from oil and gas drilling.

The major parties’ quick removal of these safeguards, that would otherwise prevent the reckless and risky operation of a rudimentary nuclear power plant, is an act of bad faith. The Republican led legislature is not concerned about harnessing nuclear fission technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but rather to facilitate power generation by all means necessary, regardless of the consequences.

The Mountain Party supports the immediate and rapid implementation of clean renewable energy using current available technology, especially geothermal energy in West Virginia. Only recently has the legislature begun to take geothermal seriously, with the House passing HB 4098, aiming to explore its development in the state. The timeline of such development can realistically be obtained in the very near future, unlike the unfortunate reality of clean nuclear fusion which is far from being developed for any practical use- too late to prevent the damage of climate change.

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Mountain Party Condemns Bipartisan Anti-Abortion Resolution

(CHARLESTON, WV) The West Virginia Mountain Party condemns the anti-abortion resolution introduced in the State Senate by Democratic Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin and Republican Senators Patricia Rucker and Randy Smith. 

Senate Resolution 12 is a resolution being pushed by the Virginia-based anti-choice organization Day of Tears. It aims to designate January 22 as a day of mourning; on this day in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion is a constitutional right. Day of Tears resolutions have been passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and similar resolutions will be introduced in a half-dozen more states this year. This resolution proposes that flags be flown at half-staff to honor what it falsely claims to be the “over 62 million unborn children [who] have perished” due to abortion. 

This resolution is a slap in the face to the women, transgender men, and others whose reproductive freedoms were guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. While anti-abortion legislation is to be expected from religious extremists in the Republican Party, the West Virginia Democratic Party is no stranger to the crusade against reproductive freedom, even among its so-called progressive wing; it is therefore unsurprising that Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin is a co-sponsor of this resolution. 

The Mountain Party, by contrast, has always been on the side of reproductive freedom. The Mountain Party calls for reproductive health care to be guaranteed under a universal healthcare system and for the expansion of the number of clinics in West Virginia who offer abortion care, and stands in solidarity with all those whose reproductive rights are threatened at the state and national level.

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Mountain Party Condemns Gov. Justice’s Dubious Praise of Nucor

CHARLESTON, WV — In a coordinated dump of press releases by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice on the day of his State of the State message, it was announced that non-union steel manufacturer Nucor would be making a large “investment” into the state’s economy. The Governor’s statement is (at best) misleading.

The state will be giving Nucor over $1.3 billion for relocation to West Virginia, an outrageous expense to supposedly create several hundred well-paying jobs. The actual number of jobs and the pay tossed around by Justice and Nucor representatives are palpably exaggerated. Such obvious doubt is reinforced by Nucor’s mischievous past.

Nucor has a long history of blatant pollution. In 2000, the largest environmental settlement with a steel manufacturer involved Nucor agreeing with the DOJ and EPA to pay $98 million for its polluting of air, water, and soil. In 2016, Nucor had the audacity to try and stop the EPA from controlling visible pollution from its steel mills in Arkansas.

Along with Nucor’s cavalier mishandling of the environment, the company continues to have serious issues both internally and externally with racism. The following is an excerpt published by Reuters

“The nonprofit, As You Sow, collected and analyzed data from S&P 500 companies showing what it says is the environmental impact of operations on communities of color… Nucor was among the worst offenders… In 2018 the company paid $22.5 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit that claimed Nucor subjected Black workers to a hostile work environment, and it has also faced air and water quality violations.”

Not only is Nucor bad for humanity and the environment, but the manufacturer is a contributing catalyst in the race to the bottom by state economies to pay a fortune for a trickling of jobs, even if it means local communities are destroyed. These subsidized jobs are completely void from workers having any collective ownership, financial profit, or a real say in working conditions, let alone having a union. 

The best Nucor has to offer is its practice of recycling steel. While recycling metals is always a benefit for the environment, it needs to be done using the most sustainable practices and the cleanest technology. Even recycled steel is detrimental to the environment if it’s produced using dirty power sources and there remains pollution.

West Virginia has untapped potential in fields such as commercial hemp, in addition to industries in clean energy, green manufacturing, and regenerative agriculture.

Public dollars would be better invested in democratized enterprises in which workers have direct control over their workplaces, as outlined in the Mountain Party’s eco-socialist platform.

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MOUNTAIN PARTY RESPONDS TO GOV. JUSTICE’S STATE OF THE STATE MESSAGE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
contact@mountainpartywv.net

(CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA — January 12, 2022) The West Virginia Mountain Party rejects Governor Jim Justice’s false claim “that the State of our State has never been stronger.” The contradictory message was delivered in writing to the State Legislature due to the Governor testing positive for COVID-19.

First addressing the matter of the ongoing pandemic, Justice has painted the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in West Virginia as a complete success. This is despite his Do It For Babydog sweepstakes being a costly failure unable to effectively incentivize vaccination. To date, West Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is in the bottom third of all states, despite having the third oldest population (by percent) in the union. As of yesterday, only 55.5% of our fellow West Virginians are fully vaccinated. In comparison this falls below the national rate of 62.6% and the rates of our international neighbors, such as Canada at 77.8% and Cuba at 85.9%.

Justice’s Republican Party and the Democratic Party (which recruited, nominated, and elected him to office in 2016) both remain loyal to the pharmaceutical and for-profit insurance industries. The Mountain Party calls for Single-Payer national health care (Improved Medicare For All), the only solution that will make medical care universal, drastically reduce costs, and save West Virginians and all Americans from financial ruin over a medical emergency. Health care must be recognized as a human right, not a commodity.

Despite the Governor’s claim of a third year of increased pay for state employees, it may actually fail to keep up with the real cost of living. He made no mention of a living wage for workers. The West Virginia GOP pathetically refuses to make even a modest adjustment for inflation for our state’s measly minimum wage of $8.75. No one can adequately provide for oneself on the minimum wage, without relying heavily on others for support. 

Conveniently left out of Justice’s State of the State message was the environment. Not a single mention of any issues ranging from the climate, to the state’s increased flooding, to reclamation, and the untapped clean energy potential of geothermal in West Virginia.

Despite praise for a new agreement with GreenPower Motor Company to manufacture electric school buses in West Virginia, Justice has made no commitment to electrify public school buses or any of our transportation systems. Rather he is committed to assuring that West Virginia maintains its punitive fee for electric and hybrid vehicles, which places West Virginia in last place for EV tax incentives. Without much contrast, the Democrat’s own Senator Joe Manchin recently doubled down on his opposition to EV tax breaks, especially in the context of his eager defense of a non-union transnational corporation.

Justice offered no plan to maintain the state’s population from declining in the future. A modest attempt to retain our college educated residents in the state (beyond high-wage union jobs) would be to make student loan interest payments eligible for use as a state tax deduction. While President Joe Biden could easily eliminate all student debt with the strike of his pen, there are many avenues for the state to alleviate some pressure from the student debt crisis.

Nearly a century of Democratic rule in West Virginia culminated in failure. The Republicans have not done better, but rather have continued to sell out the people of West Virginia to corporate exploitation. This is why West Virginia needs a Mountain government to truly represent the working class of the state. 

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2022 Call For Candidates

The Mountain Party is recruiting qualified candidates to run for elected office across West Virginia. Many seats are up for election in 2022. While much of the conversation is largely placed on the State Legislature, we are paying special attention to local races such as Board of Education and Conservation District Supervisor. Winning local level races is the foundation for the Mountain Party to achieve bigger wins in the future.

We are seeking candidates with the desire to run a successful campaign and engage voters. Experience in public speaking, administration and planning, along with a comprehensive understanding of financial reports and budgets, is very highly recommended. Potential candidates must share the values outlined in the Mountain Party platform of Democracy, Social Justice, Environmental Justice, and Economic Justice.

We are especially interested in candidates who are members of under-represented groups, as there is strength in diversity. It takes everyone of us to advocate for better public policy and a brighter future.

Candidates who start early on their campaigns have a better chance of success, making it essential that you get started right away. Filing deadlines are fast approaching; candidates to be placed on the primary ballot must file by January 29th.

Across the state, candidates will challenge establishment incumbents and corporate opposition. The Mountain Party candidates we seek will stand with the people in opposition to the expansion of corporate power and control. They will reach out to voters of different backgrounds and forge together coalitions aiming to improve the quality of life for everyone in their community.

Mountain Party officeholders are actively working to protect our environment, in opposition to toxic fracking and pipelines.

The Mountain Party has a powerful vision for a better West Virginia, but we cannot realize that vision without you.

We urge you to join us in this important effort and become a Mountain Party candidate for office today. We need your skills, energy and passion for making the world a cleaner, kinder and more sustainable place for all of us to work, live and thrive.

All candidates are expected to understand the terms of official recognition, which includes agreeing to and signing the Mountain Party’s candidate pledge.

Interested potential candidates can contact the Mountain Party at contact@mountainpartywv.net and (304) 669-0247.

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Rest In Peace: Frank Young

Environmental Justice activist and Vice Chair of the Mountain Party Frank Young passed away yesterday on December 2, 2021.

“Frank was a friend and mentor. His commitment to the environment and progressive politics will not be forgotten. He will be sorely missed,” said Denise Binion, Mountain Party Chair.

Frank Young was born at Tuppers Creek in Kanawha County and was a graduate of West Virginia State University in the 1960s. For 23 years, he owned the Red Barn Tire and Wrecker Service near Ripley, West Virginia where he resided for the remainder of his life. 

Frank dedicated many decades of his life to environmental causes and initiatives. He was instrumental in establishing recycling in Jackson County, where he was a Recycling Program Manager of the solid waste authority for 27 years. 

Frank has been an integral part of the Mountain Party since its founding two decades ago. He served as chair from 2008-2012, in addition to serving on the party’s Environmental Justice Committee, Finance Committee and Platform Committee. His most recent role was Vice Chairman. Frank represented the Mountain Party as a delegate to the Green National Committee (GNC) and had previously served on the Green Party of the United States’ Finance Committee.

Frank provided a wealth of knowledge about and historical perspective on West Virginia politics, election law, finance and environmental issues. Alongside his work with the Mountain Party, Frank was a board member of both the WV Highlands Conservancy and the WV Environmental Council.

Frank was a member of the Unitarian/Universalist community in the Charleston area. He is survived by his wife Rebecca of over 54 years and their three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. He is also survived by five siblings.

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Mountain Party Statement on OVEC Dissolution

The Mountain Party of West Virginia is devastated to learn of the dissolution of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) by its Board, which occurred as a response to OVEC staff’s successful attempt to unionize with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). “This decision is extremely disappointing, both in view of the ongoing environmental degradation of West Virginia’s air and water as well as the blatant disregard for workers’ rights,” said Mountain Party chair Denise Binion. 

From its inception, the Mountain Party has supported environmental rights as well as the right of all workers to organize their workplaces. Environmental and labor rights are integral to the party’s vision for an Eco-Socialist Green New Deal and the OVEC Union’s fight for improved working conditions within the environmental movement is beyond commendable. “All members of the OVEC Union are already working tirelessly to find avenues to continue the work and rebuild in the void left by this institution and the selfish people who decided to kill it instead of allowing it to change,” the OVEC Union said in a statement released on their social media. 

In contrast to OVEC, the Board of Directors for Coal River Mountain Watch — another environmental organization based in West Virginia — voluntarily and proudly recognized their staff’s union in September, also organized with the IWW. The staff of the Green Party of the United States, the national affiliate of the Mountain Party, is also organized with the IWW. The Mountain Party believes all workers have the right to organize and unionize as a pathway towards democratic control of their workplaces, and recognizes that labor rights are inextricably linked to the achievement of environmental justice. We look forward to the future projects of the members of the OVEC Union and stand in unequivocal solidarity with all efforts of workers to unionize, especially within supposed progressive organizations.

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Mountain Party Supports Mobilization To Defend Reproductive Rights

CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Mountain Party joins the progressive coalition of organizations for the defense of reproductive rights. In coordination with the Women’s March, rallies will be held this Saturday across the United States to protest the abortion ban in Texas and to stand in solidarity with women in their struggle for liberation.

Rallies Throughout West Virginia for this Saturday October 2nd:

  • Charleston – Back of the State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E, at 3:30 pm
  • Elkins – Randolph County Courthouse at Noon
  • Lewisburg – Virtual, Zoom Link, Meeting ID: 863 8985 2439 Passcode: 732690
  • Martinsburg – Sidewalk of 301 N Queen Street at 10:00 am
  • Morgantown – Monongalia County Courthouse, 243 High Street, at 10:00 am
  • Wheeling – Heritage Port & Veterans Memorial Amphitheater, 1201 Water Street, at Noon

To See Events In Neighboring States Visit: map.womensmarch.com

We will continue to stand on the side of personal privacy and a woman’s right to control her own reproductive functions without interference from private citizens and government.

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See Also: West Virginia Mountain Party Opposes Threats Against Women’s Liberty, Privacy, and Reproductive Rights