demonstrations-protests

8

The Native Nations March is currently taking place through D.C. and at the White House, capping off a four-day protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. As indigenous groups from all over the country continue to call for a meeting with Donald Trump, news outlets need make sure the voices of water protectors and environmental activists are heard.

10

Powerful images show the #NativeNationsRise protests happening in Washington, DC

  • President Donald Trump and his allies may have ordered the removal of Native American demonstrators from their protest camp at Standing Rock in February, but it was far from a knockout blow.
  • On Friday, hundreds of indigenous protesters and their supporters rallied in cities across the United States to oppose Trump’s policies on Native lands, and to demand he stop prioritizing corporate interests over their own. Read more (3/10/17 3:14 PM)

follow @the-movemnt

2

Russian police detain protesters decrying Chechnya’s torture, killing of gay, bisexual men

  • Russian police detained about 20 gay rights protesters demonstrating alongside a May Day protest in St. Petersburg on Monday. (NY Times)
  • The gay rights activists were demonstrating against the human rights abuses men perceived to be gay or bisexual face in the Russian republic of Chechnya, including reports of torture and killing.
  • The May Day demonstration was the first significant public protest against the abuses inside Russian borders. Protesters laid down on the ground and draped themselves in rainbow flags and Chechen flags. 
  • Among those arrested, according to the Times, was Igor Kochetkov, director of the Russian LGBT Network, which has been helping gay men escape from Chechnya. Read more (5/2/17 8 AM)

 all right, folks—as promised, here are my thoughts on russian homophobia and what factors have shaped it to be how it appears today. please keep in mind that while i did put in hours of research into this and speak partially from experience as someone who grew up in a homophobic russian household, i am by no means an expert and for brevity had to simplify some issues/concepts. 

to begin with, russia wasn’t always so violently homophobic. the russian empire was generally more or less tolerant as far as persecution goes until peter the great began to westernize and discovered that the west was generally opposed to same-sex relations. even then, the crackdowns were fairly mild, and the government generally stayed out of such matters. even towards the end of the 1800s, the tolerant attitude prevailed, and alexander ii’s reforms actually spurred the development of a lgbt+ by promoting freedom of press and abolishing serfdom, which created an influx of peasants to the cities, where they lived in close quarters and without many women around. as you can imagine, this resulted in a rise in same-gender relations and even marked the beginning of the first urban lgbt+ communities. while homosexuality was still illegal, cities teemed with discourse on the matter, which was potential enough. (this period can also be noted for the emergence of lgb+ writers and artists, such as mihkail kuzmin, marina tsvatayeva, and numerous others [but that’s for another post])

at this point, most of the opposition to same-sex relations stemmed from orthodox christian values, which marked homosexuality as sin (along with many other carnal sexual acts) and biological arguments that used early endocrinology and psychology to argue that homosexuality was unnatural and must be treated. however, it is vital to note that at the same time, some scientific circles also promoted tolerance on the basis of same-sex attraction being a natural variation of human biology, which was incredibly progressive for its time. while not all views were positive (in fact, some actively pathologized homosexuality, much like western science), it is important to note that there was discussion.

the first shift came with the 1917 revolution and lenin’s regime. while lenin decriminalized homosexuality (as well as many other things, such as abortion and prostitution), the regime also limited freedom of the press and speech, which stunted conversation about same-sex desire. 

what truly demolished the russian/soviet lgbt+ community was stalin’s regime, which coincided with wwii and rise of fascism. in response to wwii, a wave of hypermasculinity and patriotism shook the nation through propaganda to encourage men to be strong, hard working, and loyal to the country—male homosexuality, which was seen as effeminate and weak, had no place in such a society. what officially led to the recriminalization, however, is the alleged nazi infiltration of moscow’s gay circles, which led stalin to pass a law banning male homosexuality. by this time, homosexuality came to be associated with bourgeois decadence and aristocracy, which clashed with soviet proletarian values. weimar germany’s infamous tolerance of same-sex relations also influenced the association of fascism with homosexuality (nevermind that hitler’s regime was violently homophobic, as well). a popular slogan was: “destroy the homosexuals–and fascism will disappear”

stalin’s strict repression had the most profound influence on the lgbt+ community—it erased its history by silencing literature and arts and prevented lgbt+ people from being able to find each other and create opposition. this lasted for decades after stalin’s death, which, to the average public, made same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity apprear nonexistent within the soviet union.

that is exactly why the 80s and 90s, when gorbachev’s reforms allowed lgbt+ individuals some freedom to gather and converse (thus gaining visibility) came as such a shock to the straight russian public. it seemed that “the gays” appeared out of nowhere—and since the period is also marked by the fall of the soviet union and introduction of western capitalism—seemed a product of western infiltration. since the west, especially america, had a visible lgbt+ community by then, it only seemed logical that lgbt+ russians are brainwashed by the west. another wave of hypermasculinity spread through the country once the soviet union collapsed, leaving the nation in crisis. all these reasons, in addition to the old religious and biological arguments, played a role in cultivating the very specific strain of homophobia in russia today.

because of this association with the west, it is incredibly difficult for activists to achieve anything, and in some circles even prompts discussion of whether it is truly worthwhile and beneficial. a quote by a russian lesbian haunts me in particular: “the problems for lesbians only start when they fight for their rights. because now the russian public knows the word. they know that lesbians exist.”  

violence, financial insecurity, and psychological damage awaits anyone who is outwardly gay or associates with lgbt+ organizations, which makes it hard to gather collective action. funding for organizations is also low; if you lose your job because you’re lgbt+, it’s unlikely that you’ll have money to contribute to organizations. for many people, the costs of associating with an lgbt+ organizations outweigh the benefits.

that is why financial support rather than demonstration and protest is potentially more important to russian activist efforts. western demonstrations, such as those following the sochi olympics, only further solidified the connection of homosexuality and the west and made russia retaliate further against lgbt+ people. if you want to help, i think the best thing to do is stay informed, spread awareness, and contribute financially if you are able to. local efforts, such as those by the russian lgbt network, are in many cases better able to provide the specific aid that is required (for example, by evacuating gay men at risk in chechnya, or by assisting with legal issues). 

only by understanding russia’s complex history and unique political and social climate can we cater our activism to be effective at helping lgbt+ russians.

sources/additional reading

my inbox/IM is open to anyone who wants any further insight, discussion, or clarification! (please do be mindful, however, since this is a highly sensitive topic for me)

5

Planned Parenthood protests in New York draw massive crowds in support of women’s rights

Across the country on Saturday, Planned Parenthood health centers saw coordinated protests staged by abortion opponents. 

But in New York City, the counter-protesters got up earlier, beating the anti-abortion faction at their own game.

By 9 a.m., an hour before the “Protest PP” rally was scheduled to begin, substantial crowds of Planned Parenthood advocates had assembled directly across from the Margaret Sanger Center in downtown Manhattan, staking out the prime real estate usually occupied by anti-abortion factions. 

They dwarfed the handful of the Protest PP demonstrators, who, by 11 a.m., numbered perhaps two dozen. Read more. (2/11/17, 6:13 PM)

4

BECAUSE DEMOCRACY IS ILLEGAL IN SPAIN

This is what’s happening in my country, Catalonia, right now.

Catalonia has been occupied by Spain for 300 years. Our language has been banned, our traditions too, even our traditional dances. Imagine how it is to be beaten up if you’re heard at school speaking a word of your mother tongue.

Since the ending of the fascist dictatorship of Spain (~1975) our traditions and our language are legal again, Catalan is even co-official in our land. But the feeling of catalanophobia still stands strong in Spain, and Catalonia is economically discriminated (pays more taxes to Spain and receives way less than the other communities, etc).

This and many other reasons are why we want to be independent. We want to be free.

The Catalan government proposed to do a referendum to see if the Catalan people want to be independent (that year, and the 2 years before it, we had done peaceful protests with between 1.5 million and 2 million people asking for independence). But Spanish government, knowing “yes to independence” was going to win, said it was illegal. Then the Catalan government said it wan’t going to be a referendum, just an enquiry (the legal difference is that in a referendum, the winning resut must be followed, and an enquiry is just to have an idea of what people want). Spain still said no.

But we did it. Yes to independence got 81% of votes. So now Spain is forcing our political dirigents, elected democratically by the Catalan people, to go to trials just for letting us vote.

Today was the first trial, and more than 50,000 people showed up to show their support to President Mas, and the other political charges elected, Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau. And this was during laboral hours, imagine if it had happenned when we weren’t at work/school!

Here’s the BBC’s article on it.

So to sum up: Spain is not a real democracy, and Catalonia is still fighting for its freedom.

Visca la terra lliure! / Long live the free land!

「全民动員粉碎军管 保卫北京」 

June 5, 1989, Beijing, China.

photo: Vincent Yu

Throughout the world individuals face harassment and imprisonment as a result of peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

People have the right to organize peaceful protests and demonstrate free from intimidation, unnecessary or excessive force, and the threat of prosecution and detention.

Amnesty International visited us at Tumblr HQ recently to share some tips on how to keep yourself safe while you exercise those rights. Check it out!  

Flyer created and distributed by Lesbians Against Police Violence and The Stonewall Coalition in summer 1979 in the aftermath of the White Night Riots; Graphic by Emily Siegel.

Jews turned out in LARGE numbers at the protest. I saw a LOT of signs showing Jewish solidarity. I think in general we tend to turn out in large numbers, but we tend to not display our Jewishness so openly. It was so moving to see Jews really openly being Jewish at this progressive protest and showing solidarity. One old woman walked up to me and squeezed my arm and thanked me for being there. Her parents were immigrants who escaped the Holocaust. I had tears in my eyes due to our encounter.

One Jewish man wearing a Star of David asked to take a picture of my sign that expressed Jewish solidarity with Muslims and shook my hand, saying shalom. Another man who was supposed to watch my sign when I went to the bathroom had picked it up and starting holding it, and explained that his grandparents were Jewish and had also escaped the Holocaust. 

Anyway, it was really amazing to see all the Jews turning out for this. I hope that we’ll be more openly Jewish in the future at these demonstrations.

Things I Associate With the Hogwarts Houses:

Gryffindor: the colours red, gold, orange and brown, bandaged hands, coffee, bruised Knuckles, red lipstick, leather boots, volcanoes, fist fights, being sent to the principal, golden chandeliers, fall, mahogany wood, demonstrations and protests, retro vintage, travel, ‘Oh shit’, loud laughter, drinking games, stopping a bully, forests, eyes glowing from excitement, yellowed paper, bonfires, ginger hair, golden jewelry, cozy sweaters, heated arguments, road trips, bold changes, bluntness, detentions, adventures, whiskey, spontaneous actions, beer pong, frat parties, lions, bears, wolves, dragons, swearing, angry tears, fireplaces, dares, christmas, partners in crime, pranks, wide grins, ‘I have an idea’, fast food, chimney smoke, martyrs, roller coasters, fireworks, young delinquents, soldiers, chaos, flares, speaking up, war, rebels, taking risks, adrenaline, stubbornness, breaking rules, band-aids, drunk laughter, truth or dare, alarms, hangovers, energy, leadership, fighting sports, running, snowball fights, neon lights, cinnamon, riots, razzias, messy hair, swords, explosions, bluelight, anonymous masks, arm wrestling

Slytherin: emeralds, the colours green, black and grey, poison, foxes, snakes, silver, platinum blonde hair, hissed threats, vodka, blood drops, amulets, black leather jackets, money games, casinos, hired assassins, curses, motel rooms, grey skies, abandoned places, cheating on something, blue veins, frowns, vengeance, fake smiles, oppressiveness, strict parents, subways, quiet tears, dark lipstick, matches, tattoos, highways, smoke, tired eyes, ravens, short haircuts, snarls, coats, empty hallways, dyed hair, poker, roses, thunderstorms, ocean’s, black nail polish, soot, B/W, fancy cars, matt black, bones, smirks, wine, medusas, old mansions, haunted houses, perfectionism, winks, sexual tension, sweet torture, cemeteries, the moon, sleepless nights, the sound of a knife snapping open, latin, black eyeliner, secrets, traps, fog, pestilence, viruses, sass, extravagance, ‘devil’s advocate’, having status, ambition, persistence, character development, elegance, headphones, lockers, mints, cigarettes, hardwood floors, busses, chameleons, wild flowers, sins, cracked glass, broken mirrors, quiet nights, railroads, black tea, secrecy, dark humor, mystery, predators, hidden emotions, held grudges, dust, horror movies, ripped jeans, velvet, lipstick stain, magic sigils, icy anger, cold mornings, empty hallways, ear piercings, champagne, incense, skeletons in the closet, chills running down your spine, collarbones, solitude, baths, nettles, silver eyeshadow,  expensive evening dresses, ice, lightning, blurred pictures

Hufflepuff: vibrant colours, sunflowers, marketplaces, fruit, colorful candy, pastel, strawberry blonde hair, ponytails, blue skies, summer, kids laughter, ladybugs, random acts of kindness, voluntary work, freckles, hippies, hummed songs, meditations, flower patterns, brightly lit rooms, smiling at strangers, orange lipstick, laughter lines, hugs, pancakes, summer drinks, spring break, open air festivals, sprinkles, slush ice, walking barefoot through grass, frozen yoghurt, the 70′s, dresses, easter, cotton candy, world peace, glitter, candy wrappers, giggles, holding out a helping hand, happy dreams, daydreaming, umbrellas, floral wreaths, sharing a meal, dances, butterflies, second chances, bees, wide open fields, happy tears, gifts, beach cruisers, soft kisses, blushing, milkshakes, confectioneries, cupcakes, beaches, attack hugs, parades, dandelions, donations, clumsiness, rainbows, animated films, relaxation, comfort food, first love, imagination, playfulness, nostalgia, positive mantras, harmony, romance, picnics, one of a kind, holding hands, childhood memories, newborn babies, warm blankets, freshly baked cookies, braided hair, fairy tales, bubble baths, watercolour paints, fuzzy socks, homemade pie, fluffy things, crystals, light shining through trees, bells, big beds with lots of blankets and pillows, lace, popsicles, tooth gaps

Ravenclaw: asymmetry, the colours: blue, white, silver and beige, glass marbles, tidiness, neat handwriting, ballett, ‘best in class’, certificates, museums, photography, art, hair buns, glasses, bookstacks, journals, libraries and bookstores, perfectly done nails, clean mirrors, desks, foreign languages, cafés, poetry, white bedsheets, macbooks, water bottles, sketches, polaroid, coffee shops, hastiness, deadlines, white clouds, astronomy, snow covered trees, feminism, 50′s, patent leather shoes, typewriters, tidy rooms, science, history, ikea furniture, raised eyebrows, sarcasm, lists, modern offices, mac cosmetics, the smell of new books, ties, rolling eyes, sitting at your homework until past midnight, jeans, vogue magazines, feng shui, yoga, classical novels, calligraphy, greek, owls, newspapers, research, documentaries, winning a debate, competitions, solving problems, riddles, curiousity, multi-tasking, historical figures, hackers, classical music, the new york times, fancy pens, caffeine, salads, cold waves, smartasses, ink stained hands, live theatre, hot espresso, impatience, responsibility, dry humor, knowledge, early mornings, changing schools, dark chocolate, alone-time, numbers, fresh scents, deep thinking, concepts, quills, technology, finals, formulas, sealing wax, falling asleep on your desk, sculptures

{Insp}

One AIDS Death Every 8 Minutes
Grand Central Station, New York City, 23 January 1991

Day of Desperation
Early morning protests took place downtown Manhattan with AIDS activists protested the Government’s involvement in the Gulf War to the exclusion of vital interests at home. That afternoon — 5:00 RUSH HOUR — Grand Central Station was filled with demonstrators protesting under the banners: “Money For AIDS, Not For War” and “One AIDS Death Every 8 Minutes.”