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Women's Rights Day celebrated by timely and stirring Radical Women forum
Women's Rights Day celebrated by timely and stirring Radical Women forum
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Starting off with a marvelously varied dinner of summery salads (who knew Radical Women/Freedom Socialist Party alum had a tasty chicken salad recipe?), things were lively and exciting at New Freeway Hall, last Saturday, August 25th. The event, which brought out a capacity crowd of politically active people, was a panel discussing the recent Supreme Court decisions against abortion rights, unions and school integration. The panel discussion was in honor of Women's Rights Day, and featured panelists included a UW Professor and retired school board member Amy Hagopian; King County Labor Council Executive Board member Nancy Rising; and Radical Women leader Val Carlson.

Hagopian focused on how a recent, Washington state decision on school desegregation and bussing is affecting education, particularly among the poorer students of color in some school districts. She also gave her opinions to questions from the audience on how bridges could be built between differing communities and groups with opposing views, but similar aims for a better world and particularly a better educational system.

Rising spoke to how recent Supreme Court decisions making it impossible for leaders in unions to organize for change could affect the way benefits for workers, particularly women and poor minorities are doled out by large companies. She also started a lively debate between members and non-members of RW, when she said to give Democrats a chance and encouraged a possible taking over of the Democratic Party, instead of starting a third party might be the better way to affect change in the country. Many of those in the audience, who have lost faith in both the Republican and Democratic parties argued that hoping the Democrats could be pushed into changing their policy of working for large corporations instead of working class people, was not the best solution for change.

Carlson, a Radical Women organizer and veteran of many marches and a civil liberties attorney, who focuses on cases defending victims of domestic violence, gave her views on how she thought there was a need to build a large movement of working class people that would bring about change on all levels. She also spoke from her experience in various causes about what she'd seen work and what she felt needed to be done to make the government currently in office more accountable to the working class. This also brought about a lively discussion, where one RW member suggested using the tactic of a 'general strike', as some other countries have successfully done in the past, to force change for working class people's needs in this country.

Also mentioned, was the earlier anti-Minute Men protest at the Federal Building that had gotten several members of RW pepper sprayed in the face by Seattle Police, who responded to outside agitators throwing water balloons and other debris during the protest. This event happened on August 18th, and to date, has gotten little mainstream media press, and the three RW members who had to go to Swedish Hospital for treatment after being sprayed vowed to file complaints against SPD. For more information on upcoming events with RW, call 206-722-6057, or e-mail fspseattle@mindspring.com.

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