More than 100 people rallied at an emergency protest Oct. 5 at Boise City Hall to stop the approval of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. A diverse crowd of young and old, mostly women, gathered on the front steps to speak out against the undemocratic appointment of an ultra-reactionary misogynist, after multiple women had come forward to denounce him for sexual assault. The palpable anger of the participants and energy carried the rally into the streets of downtown Boise on a busy Friday evening chanting: “No justice, no peace! No justice, no seat!”
‘All of our struggles are united’
Emcee Michelle Doty, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, spoke of the need to gather in defense of women’s rights, and for the need to stand up for women of all types: immigrant women, women of color, working-class and Muslim women. “We have to show that we are united, because all of our struggles are united.”
Doty then led chants of “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Kavanaugh has got to go!” Several women stepped forward from the crowd to share their experiences of sexual assault. The people cheered them and their bravery on, and chants punctuated the speakers’ stories of survival.
Many of the signs were homemade, and all signs expressed solidarity with women, defended abortion rights, and called for stopping the war on women: “We Believe Survivors,” “The system is sexist! Fight for socialism!” and “Safe, legal abortion, on demand, no apology!” A contingent of the National Organization of Women had planned their own march earlier in the day, and they joined the rally shortly after it started.
Boise resident Cal spoke about the outrageous nomination of Kavanaugh given the truth that was revealed about him, and how women are disbelieved when they come forward. We must believe each other, Cal said, “We need to fight back.”
‘Women’s rights are immigrants’ rights’
Despite aggression from two right-wingers who attempted to disrupt the program, the large crowd of people continued to rally and fight for the rights of women. Max Shue of the ANSWER Coalition spoke about the need to connect our struggles. Shue was part of a delegation that traveled to El Paso, Texas, to volunteer legal services to migrant families imprisoned at the border. “I spoke with the families, men, women and children who are being broken by this system. Right now more than 13,000 children are incarcerated in concentration camps throughout the country. We need to unite in our struggle for women’s rights and immigrants’ rights, because women’s rights are immigrants’ rights.”
The people then marched through downtown Boise, chanting “This is what democracy looks like,” “When women’s rights are under attack, we fight back,” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” When the crowd returned to the steps of City Hall, PSL member Austin Negaard-Walters spoke of the good news of the recent conviction of the Chicago cop who murdered 20-year-old Laquan MacDonald. Neegard-Walters also denounced the plans by the U.S. Air Force to use Boise and other Idaho cities as a place to practice bombing people in urban areas.
This action was one of many nationwide protests, as women across the country have expressed their outrage and taken to the streets. Just a couple weeks earlier, a panel of rich, white, male senators hired a prosecutor to grill Dr. Christine Ford during her testimony, and questioned Dr. Ford’s report on the basis that she did not report the sexual assault. One in three women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, and the vast majority of these cases are not reported. Nationwide, women shared their stories under the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.
Organized on short notice, the large turnout for an emergency protest in Boise spoke to the people’s rage and resentment at having such a repugnant figure as Kavanaugh rammed through the approval process. No small irony that the process is reminiscent of the acts Kavanaugh is accused of committing. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the undemocratic Supreme Court is an assault on all women, working and oppressed people in our society. Only the fight-back of the people will win our rights!
Patricia Gorky contributed to this report.