Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Italian Women Protest Sexism, Berlusconi

Italian women are getting fed up with their poor treatment and are starting to take a stand, showing disapproval of their prime minister Berlusconi.

Berlusconi’s approval rating among women has dropped from 48 percent a year ago to 27 percent—an all-time low. True to form, Berlusconi has his own statistics. “Did you hear about the latest poll?” he recently joked. “They asked women between 20 and 30 years old if they want to make love to Berlusconi. Thirty-three percent said yes, and 67 percent said, ‘Again?’”

Arcidonna, a woman’s group, filed a lawsuit against Berlusconi last month for 25 years of abuse against Italian women. “The conduct of the prime minister—now charged with child prostitution—is the final straw,” says Valeria Ajovalasit, the group’s president.

Berlusconi is only part of the problem. According to recent data, Italy is even more sexist than comparable nations.

According to the 2010 Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, Italy ranks 74th in terms of women’s rights, behind Colombia, Peru, and Romania. Indicators include wage parity, labor-force participation, and domestic violence. Other statistics reveal 95 percent of Italian men have never used a washing machine, and that Italian women spend 21 hours a week on housework while Italian men spend only four.

Luckily, women have started wide-reaching protests across Italy against Berlusconi's sexist speech. Let's hope that this is the start of a larger movement towards equality.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gunn Is Love - Westboro Baptist Church counter-protest

Over at Shakesville I found this really touching video of Bay Area Gunn High School students who counter-protested a group of Westboro Baptist Church picketers.

It made me smile. I wish my high school had been so awesome.

Check out the Shakesville link for the transcript.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Planning in Central Wisconsin

I just wanted to pass along this video about a family planning clinic in Wausau, Wisconsin. Wausau is a 20-30 minute drive from both my parent's hometowns and I'm pretty familiar with the town and area. For my parents growing up, Wausau was a big city. It's not totally surprising to see this type of atmosphere around a family planning clinic in this area - a clinic which doesn't provide abortions, by the way.

h/t Miriam at Feministing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marital rape law to be changed in Afghanistan

On Wednesday I wrote about women in Afghanistan protesting a new law that would severely limit their rights by legalizing marital rape, and making it illegal for women to work or go to school outside of their homes without the permission of their husbands.

Apparently, President Hamid Karzai has decided to change that law.

What do you think?

h/t Shakesville.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Women in Afghanistan protest law that legalizes marital rape among other things

Around 300 women in Kabul, Afghanistan took to the streets today to protest a law that severely limits women's rights. The women wanted to protest several parts of the law especially. These include a provision that makes it illegal for women to resist the sexual advances of their husbands, effectively legalizing marital rape, and another that makes it illegal for women to work or go to school outside of the home without the permission of their husband. The law was approved by both houses of Parliament and was signed by President Hamid Karzai, and it applies only to the Shiite minority.
The women who protested Wednesday began their demonstration with what appeared to be a deliberately provocative act. They gathered in front of the School of the Last Prophet, a madrasa run by Ayatollah Asif Mohsini, the country’s most powerful Shiite cleric. He and the scholars around him played an important role in the drafting of the new law.
As the women walked the streets of the capital, they endured shouts of "Whore!" and other insults from a large, angry group consisting mostly of men, who came to counterprotest.

“We are here to campaign for our rights,” one woman said into a loudspeaker. Then the women held their banners aloft and began to chant.

The reaction was immediate. Hundreds of students from the madrasa, most but not all of them men, poured into the streets to confront the demonstrators.

“Death to the enemies of Islam!” the counterdemonstrators cried, encircling the women. “We want Islamic law!”

The women stared ahead and kept walking.

Thanks to Ashley for the link. See Shakesville for pictures from the protest.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pro-life protest raises 14k for family planning

Here's some funny news out of Minneapolis/St. Paul - every year on Good Friday, a pro-life group protests at a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul. This year, Planned Parenthood did "sponsor a protester" as a fundraising technique. For every protester that showed up, someone donated x dollars.

Weeeeellll, the Archbishop of the archdiocese of St Paul/Minneapolis showed up this year, meaning that there was an even larger crowd of protesters, which means that Planned Parenthood raised way more money than anticipated. Apparently they raised $14,000 and carloads of donated food for food banks.
The money raised at the expense of anti-abortion protesters will go toward family planning services at the clinic. PPMNS said it provided more than 300,000 units of contraception and 20,000 breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings to women in Minnesota and the Dakotas within the past year.

Nice work, Archbishop Neinstedt and your posse of pro-life protesters. I'm glad you could do your part in preventing unplanned pregnancies and working for women's health issues.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transgendered hate on talk radio

Chris Baker, a conservative talk radio host on KTLK 100.3 out of Minneapolis, has repeatedly said hateful things including, but not limited to:
Regarding the recent murder of Latiesha Green, a trans woman, on his November 18 show, Baker said:

Second of all, I believe that the fault, and I know, 'cause already I'm seeing quotes and comments and, "Oh, it's hate. It's a hate crime. It's a horrible hate crime." Doesn't some of the blame lie with the American media who enables this fraud? Doesn't some of the blame -- I would say a majority of the blame does not lie with the nitwit that shot him, other than the fact that he's a nitwit and a guy who should have been in prison in my opinion, who shot him. But to me, this is the -- this is an example of how, by enabling people and trying to push this false reality, leads to horrible crimes like this, by -- by telling people, "Oh, well, you know, he -- did he [Thomas Beattie] get pregnant?"


So annoying for me, but there's a story today, it's a very -- it's a horrible story from Syracuse, New York. A guy's been charged with murder after he shot two people last week. One of them was a transgender person. So, now, they're talking about hate crime charges, things like that. Look, this guy is a murderer and should go to jail. This guy should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But I personally believe that by the media and all these other people out there enabling these people that they put people like this at risk, because they give them the boldness, the confidence, the -- to decide, "Well, you know what? I'm a girl. Even though I'm not a girl, I'm a girl. And the media will call me a girl, so, therefore, I can walk into any party I want. I can go anywhere I want. I can demand whatever I want and no one can stop me because the media is going to call me a girl."

Well, guess what? In my opinion, other than the fact that the guy that allegedly murdered this guy -- and this guy I'm talking about would be the transgender guy. I promise I'm just getting this off my chest. This is just driving me nuts.

I believe the media and the rest of the enablers out there, they have this guy's blood on their hands because they create this false sense of reality and they enable people who need serious psychological counseling. I mean, what guy in his right mind would have his stuff cut off? Now, there's a lot of women in their right mind that would like to do that to a guy, but what guy in his right mind wants to have his stuff cut off? What woman in her right mind wants to have her breasts removed? I mean, do they notice the millions of dollars women spend every year in this country to get bigger ones?

This whole thing is -- it's just infuriating to me. You know why? Because I gotta explain this to my kids.

You know what's infuriating to me? I'm going to have to explain people like you to my kids one day. I'm going to have to explain why some people are so hateful to people they don't even know just because of who they are.

Because people like Thomas Beattie and Lateisha Green were trying to find some happiness in their lives.

Because Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi had the audacity to be women in political office.

Because WNBA players want the same respect as male professional baseketball players.

Because citizens of this country wanted to show their dissent for an ideology of fear and restricting rights.

I'm going to have to tell my kids that it doesn't matter what they do in life, people are going to judge them simply on who they love or if they play basketball or if they have the ambition to serve our country in political office or if they just show up to voice their dissent.

And that's infuriating to me.

If you'd like to share some of your thoughts with Chris Baker or any of the other people at 100.3 KTLK, feel free here or at

h/t to Minnesota Independent and Media Matters for links

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My feminist awakening and the Global Gag Rule

Word has it that President-Elect Obama plans to rescind the Global Gag Rule as soon as he takes office, which is awesome. I'm particularly glad to hear this, and hope it happens immediately. Women all over the world are hurting because of the Gag Rule, and they don't need one more day of conservative politics on their bodies.

I have a special affinity for the issue of the Gag Rule, one that's wrapped up in my feminist-coming-of-age story.

Growing up, my parents weren't particularly outspoken regarding politics; I knew my parents voted Republican but I never really knew why and didn't really care. In my high school civics class, I took a survey on various political positions and was a little surprised to see my viewpoints were decidedly liberal and I was closely aligned with the Democratic party - although now I think I was just surprised because I assumed I'd have Republican leanings as opposed to being surprised based on policies.

When I went off to college, I became more politically aware, but not active. Aware, but on a distant level where it was all theoretical. One day, my friend invited me to an informational meeting about the March for Women's Lives in 2004. I went and signed up, but it was all so ... abstract. I didn't quite realize exactly what was at stake and how large of a march it was until we got there and literally, my world changed.

We took a 30 hour bus ride from St. Paul, MN to Washington D.C. My friend and I couldn't afford a hotel room, so we contacted students at Georgetown and we ended up staying at another student's house on their floor with other marchers. They were radical lesbians and really fun, given that we were awkward college freshman from the midwest... Also my first introduction to The L Word was a poster in their bathroom, but my love for The L Word is another story.

The March was amazing and life changing and still to this day, when I found out my current roommate was also at the March, we hugged. Never before had I been surrounded by so many people passionate about what they believed in, and fighting for sovereignty of their own bodies. I was afraid to tell my parents that I was going to the March, believing that their politics and religion would disapprove and they'd be disappointed in me. I waited until I was on the bus to tell them I was going (not that I thought they'd stop me... just that I put it off as long as possible), but my expectations and fears were unfounded. Instead of disappointment, my mom was proud of what I was doing (although she thought staying with strangers in DC was a little sketchy) and the experience opened up discussions on my family's history between my mom, sister and I. Looking back, I only wish they could have been there with me, but I'm sure there will be many opportunities in the future.

After a virus attacked my computer junior year of college, I lost a bunch of my photos. They might be on discs somewhere, but I'm not holding out hope for those. This blurry picture-of-a-pictures might be the only picture I have of my roommates and I at the March for Women's Lives. I didn't have a sweatshirt and I was kinda cold.

After returning from the trip, I ditched my paper topic for my Model United Nations class and instead opted to write on the Global Gag Rule and its impact in Africa. Here's my closing paragraphs from my paper (be kind... I was 18 when I wrote this):

The most obvious solution is to revoke the Global Gag Rule immediately, restoring funding to cut programs like the International Planned Parenthood Foundation and allowing other NGOs to speak freely on reproductive health choices. The Global Gag Rule doesn’t affect the level of abortions because it doesn’t affect the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies. It only forces clinics that offer education on family planning and reproductive health to discontinue services, and in drastic cases but not uncommon, to close. The Gag Rule “causes more unwanted pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and arguably, more deaths” (The Global Gag Rule: Putting Politics Before Public Health, 2004). The Global Gag Rule is one flounced by pro-life politicians, but in all reality is as anti-life as possible. This rule demeans women and puts the personal choice of reproductive health into the hands of male politicians on a different continent, thousands of miles away.

While many NGOs are cutting back on reproductive health services in order to keep US funding, several have denied US backing in order to continue informing women, men and couples on contraceptives, family planning and safe abortions.
Supporting these programs is the best way to directly help and influence the reproductive freedom of people in other countries.

The likelihood of the Gag Rule being revoked before November 2004 is incredibly slim, considering the current state of affairs.
Hopefully in January 2005 the new president will attend to this matter, but until then there’s still things that can be done. Contacting your state representatives and voicing your opinion is an option that applies to all issues concerning citizens, and works well in this situation as well. Raising public awareness of Bush’s war against women not only increases your commitment to seeing change, but also impassions other individuals who feel strongly about it as well. The influence of the Internet is a major force in politics these days, as seen in the rise and fall of Howard Dean. There are groups that you can get in contact with, and if none suit your specific needs, create a group. Most importantly, all citizens need to go out and vote in the presidential election. If you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to complain about the state of affairs. Being a concerned citizen involves taking an active part in shaping and molding how the future of the United States looks.

In President Bush’s State of the Union address, he singled out Africa as a primary place for receiving HIV/AIDS education and drugs.
Sadly, Africa is also the place where the global gag rule devastatingly impacts the hardest, causing hundreds of people to die from being denied the basic human right of family planning and access to education and information. The level of unintended pregnancy is lowest in countries with greatest access to effective methods of contraception and where women play a major role in family decision-making (Family Planning: A Human Right). In an effort to influence the entire world and push one faction’s ideals, the United States has managed to alienate itself and anger many people, domestic and foreign alike. The current status quo is unacceptable, and the statistics are overwhelmingly tragic. The Mexico City Policy needs to be revoked as soon as possible, in order to free the world from this gag rule implemented by conservatives whose idea of sex education is no education. Women and children are dying from the effects of this “pro-life” policy, and that must be stopped immediately.
It's a little odd to read something I wrote five years ago, but the opinions I expressed there haven't changed. I might cringe at some of the phrases and bright-eyed optimism, but since I wrote that, things have gotten worse. The Bush administration has cast a eight-year shadow over the world, slashing funding for groups that even discuss women's health, all in the name of religious and moral absolutes.

For the past eight years the Global Gag Rule has stood as a reminder of my feminist awakening and my ever present awareness that as a privileged nation, the United States isn't doing enough for our sisters suffering in this world. To finally see it written out of law will be a good day indeed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Protest Prop 8 on November 15

People all across the country will be protesting California's passage of Proposition 8 banning marriage equality this Saturday, November 15. Congregate at your town hall at 10:30 PST/1:30 EST and show the United States that we won't stand for institutionalized hate and inequality.

Join the Impact is the main site for organizing and disseminating information regarding Saturday's protests. You can find information there about how to locate your nearest protest or organize your own. Queers United has a collection of other protests, lots in California and for you Minnesotans, at the Capital in St. Paul on Tuesday, November 11 at 3:30.

If the events of the past week have shown us anything, we can make a change, so let's work towards marriage equality and striking down the hate inherent in Prop 8.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Code Pink Protestor at the RNC

My sister, a student at the University of Minnesota, participated in some of the Code Pink protests this weekend at the RNC. She's kindly written up her impressions and thoughts from the day, so I'll just let her speak for herself:

Ever since the Republicans picked St. Paul as their convention site I knew that I wanted to join the protests. I chose to march with CodePink, an anti-war movement organized by women advocating for a peaceful world.

The day arrived and as I sat on the city bus riding toward the capitol I realized just how out of place I looked. Bright pink spandex leggings, jean shorts, and a bright pink shirt--not normal attire for the Twin Cities. Nonetheless, I felt great. I was on my way to stand up for what I believe in.

CodePink organizers were already picking out banners and readying the massive figurines when I arrived. As more and more women and men trickled in we divided ourselves into various groups. There were about 100 of us in all, including a giant Heart of the Beast statue, doves that flew around the statue, a dragon, pink police, crazy pink cheerleaders, banner holders, Heart of the Beast backpack figurines, pink bicyclists, and many more. We were decked out from head to toe in pink. For those in need, CodePink had boxes full of pink paraphernalia that brought back memories of rummaging through the kindergarten costume box.

Before we left for the rally we joined together to stretch and get ourselves pumped up with a few cheers. I spent most of the pre-march rally at our meeting site working on a large banner that said, “$$ For Gulf Coast Not Gulf War.” We finished the banner just in time to join up with our comrades at the start of the parade. Code Pink was second to last in line (I like to think we were the finale) so we were able to see thousands upon thousands of marchers ahead of us streaming down the hill toward the Excel Center.

The march itself was surprisingly fun. We sang songs to familiar tunes and chanted catchy phrases. Throughout the route we saw many other groups representing everyone from students to anarchists to soldiers to pro-war protestors. The police were out in force during the parade. Their presence was immediately noticed (it’s hard to miss black clad officers in riot gear carrying thick wooden sticks). Although the show of police force was incredibly excessive and intimidating, our group had no problems with the police. We marched peacefully and respected of the pro-war activists and the police.

CodePink was a great group to march with. They were positive, welcoming, and respectful of everyone’s abilities during the march. Although more than 280 marchers were arrested during the parade, we remained peaceful and conveyed our message without breaking windows or harassing delegates.


Ed. note: This is just one person's account of the march. It is in no way representative of other people's experiences.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

RNC Protest Info

Here's the info from my sister:

Here is what I've found thus far. These are not all feminist organizations, but they seem interesting possibilities.

The Liberty Parade. Not a protest but apparently a "big rolling art explosion" on Nicollet mall in downtown Mlps.
Sunday, August 31st. 1:00-3:00 pm

March on the RNC. Anti-war protest.
Assembly at 11:00 am at the capital. March to Xcel
Monday, September 1st.

14 Women. Move screening. Explores advantages and disadvantages of being a female politician in today's political climate.
Tuesday, September 2nd. 12:30-3:30pm.

My favorite, although not during the RNC.
Planned Parenthood fundraiser with Garrison Keillor, Mayor R.T. Rybak, and Mayor Chris Coleman.
$75 donation gets you a ticket.
September 12th. 5:30-7:00 pm.

A ton of things going on for Code Pink. Here is their calendar.
Wish I could be there... with you in spirit, friends.

Monday, August 25, 2008

RNC Protesting

Minneapolis/St. Paul has been preparing to welcome the RNC to town next week, however, not surprisingly some people are a little unhappy about it. There's going to be massive demonstrations and protests from all different organizations, some peaceful, some aimed at civil disobedience.

My sister sent me this email today (I just flew back from Mpls yesterday so I'm unpacking at school now):
Since I'm sure you're not doing much today (moving all your belongings is a cinch), can
you make me a list of groups I should march with during the RNC?

I've thought of Code Pink, but I'm kinda stuck otherwise. Everyone else seems to be an
anarchist. I want some feminist action.
What do you think of Code Pink?

Anybody have any suggestions? Has anyone demonstrated with Code Pink before and can offer some advice?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Traitor who Wrote the Patriot Act

Earlier tonight, Amelia and I attended a speech at our school, Knox College, by John Ashcroft, former Attorney General of the United States and the man responsible for the Patriot Act. He also has the honor of being the only man to lose a Senate seat to an opponent who died prior to the election, the governor of Missouri who oversaw a 72% increase in incarceration rates in only seven years, the instigator of legislation that would have banned abortion, even in cases or rape and incest, and a leading perpetrator of waterboarding as an acceptable torture practice.

Ashcroft gave a fairly unremarkable speech, citing new technology as both an asset and a disservice to leadership, leaving many of his controversies unspoken. He did address the Patriot Act, attempting to explain its conception in the terrifying days following September 11th. Ashcroft is not a dumb man, he spoke about the Act in this context to play on the patriotism in the audience, and he recieved his most rousing applause during this portion of the speech. Unshockingly, he didn't mention how the Patriot Act weakens civil liberties in innumerable ways. Maybe he couldn't count the ways?

During his speech, many Knox students protested, covering their hands in red paint to symbolize the blood on Ashcroft and the Bush adminstration's hands, standing with their heads covered in black bags while wearing orange shirts, obvisously in refrence to torture victims, and even laying outside the speech in a way that directly reflected how waterboarding is used.

Many of the questions posed during the Q and A portion of the evening had to do with Ashcroft's involvement with the approval and use of waterboarding. What is waterboarding? It is a torture technique used by US officals that consists of strapping the victim down, wrapping plastic over the victims' face, tiltling his or her head back to simulate a gag reflex, and pouring water into the victim's mouth and lungs. It is drowning and causes all the damage drowning does: lung damage, brain damage, and extreme psychological damage.

Ashcroft skillfully avoided directly answering questions about the legality of waterboarding, but he was obvisously uncomfortable throughout, coming close to yelling at students and making jokes. I think it was these jokes which angered me most. When confronted about his own definition of torture, Ashcroft said his list of what consitituted cruel would be different than most; he would include attending a high school dance. Hardy Har Har. I love when powerful men compare drowning suspects to high school memories. Fucking hilarious, Johnny.

So what does this have to do with feminism? Maybe nothing, espically because his extreme stance abortion was not mentioned during his speech. But, because the mainstream newsmedia has ignored US torture techniques, it is the responsibility of the alternative press, such as blogs like this, to present the information. So we are.


Kate did a pretty good job covering the speech. I did find it rather unsettling how much he focused on new technology and its relation to weaponry, especially considering this was supposed to be a speech about leadership. He also did a pretty good job hyping up the United States, discussing about its multiple superiorities, be they political or religious (yes, he did throw that in there, indirectly).

But what upset me the most was his performance during the question and answer section. I realize that he must have been aware of the rather hostile environment he had stepped into - many people in the audience were visually protesting him during his speech - but he did not do very much to change my opinion of him or his policies by outright refusing to answer several questions and skirting the rest. He also responded to some of them in ways that I found very inappropriate. He challenged the validity of questions, for example, by calling out one asker who could not cite the exact date of an interaction the Ashcroft had recently had in Washington (I think it may have been this one, but I'm not sure because Ashcroft didn't really let the person ask their question without interruption). He also managed to dodge questions by twisting the background information provided by one student so that she contradicted herself.

I admit that some of the audience members were disrespectful at times (but only a handful of times), but I believe that Ashcroft, an experienced politician, should have known better than to react equally as disrespectfully. He made himself look bad by refusing to answer questions posed by college students who only wanted their voices to be heard.

And with regard to how this is related to feminism, check out this neat little list of Ashcroft's views on abortion. He also seems very heteronormative in his views, as he completely disregarded a question about the effects of his actions on the LGBTQ community.

Also, if you want to see some pictures I took of the people who protested his speech, you can view them here.


A local paper carried this article today; I felt that it was very anti-protesters, and it did not accurately portray Ashcroft's reaction (and dismissal) of many of the questions that students asked, even the ones that were not directly accusatory. And as for the article's last line, “The difference between you (the audience) and them is they don’t want to see. There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see," (about some protesting students with blood on their hands and hoods over their heads), someone else yelled out after that, "But they can still hear!"