Refuse Fascism, International Women’s Day in New Orleans
Fighting for Women, Fighting to Oust This Fascist Regime
March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime National Tour was in New Orleans for International Women’s Day, March 8. The following report appeared at RefuseFascism.org:
The National Tour to Drive Out Trump/Pence recognized International Women’s Day in New Orleans today with a beautiful rally and march, bringing NO! into the streets all across the city!
We woke up early and spent our morning with a fun and productive brainstorming session, discussing all of our creative ideas for organizing at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, and at the U.S./Mexico border. We have some wonderful ideas in store, and we’re working with several organizations and individuals who are excited to spread the message of NO! broadly and in new, interesting ways. Learn about how you can get involved with the Tour at South by Southwest.
Following our great discussion, we headed out to Jackson Square to begin our rally, which we organized with assistance from the Louisiana Socialist Network. Around 50 people joined us, including women who had taken off from work for the day in protest for A Day Without a Woman, Planned Parenthood workers, a high school teacher, a traveling writer, and families. We gathered in the square with a massive “NO! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime” banner, stacks of NO! posters, stickers, Calls to Action, and some homemade signs supporting gender equality and demanding an end to misogyny in the White House.
We set the rally in motion with a megaphone, explaining who Refuse Fascism is, why Trump and Pence are misogynistic fascists, why we are on a national tour, and why we must drive them out before it’s too late. We led chants, such as “No! No! NO, NO, NO! In the name of humanity, we refuse a fascist America!” As more and more people gathered, some wearing red in solidarity for a Day Without a Woman, others in gorgeous glitter and creative outfits, we invited everyone to come to the megaphone and share their stories—why they took the day off work, why they came to the rally, why they reject Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and why they want to continue this fight for equal human rights for all genders.
Many of those who came out to the rally, as well as all of the Tour Volunteers, were eager to speak about their own experiences and the harsh realities women face around the world from the moment they’re born until the moment they die. This goes even beyond the shameful fact that white women in the U.S. make 79 cents for every dollar a white man is paid, and women of color make only 56 cents to the dollar. This is about the tens of thousands of women globally who will die because of the global gag rule. This is about a man being elected President of the United States after having been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women. This is about having abominable, misogynistic barbarians in the White House. At first glance, Trump and Pence seem like polar opposites; while the sexual-predator-in-chief brags about being able to “grab them by the pussy” because of his status as a reality star, his second in command practices right-wing Christian fascism with the primary goal of keeping women barefoot and pregnant, controlled by their husbands and denied any autonomy whatsoever.
We centered the rally on refusal of woman-hating in the U.S. administration and internationally, also explicitly including our rejection of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, hatred and violence toward immigrants, shouting “HELL NO!” Then, an incredibly inspiring, courageous woman shared her story on the megaphone. Two years ago, she was forcibly raped at knifepoint by 2 men who broke into her home. When she went to the emergency room, she was not provided Plan B in the rape kit, and she had to fight for the right not to become pregnant with her rapist’s child. “My uterus is my most private part of me. That is mine. And nobody—especially not a white fascist asshole, just because he sits behind a desk at the White House—has any say on what happens to my body.” We thank her so sincerely for sharing her experience and for standing up for women across the globe who are denied these basic rights.
We also heard from a very young woman who told us she had been raised to stand up for herself in a society that tells her not to; she chooses every day to use her voice to speak up for all oppressed women. Another woman, who had taken off from work in protest, emphasized the millions upon millions of women who are silenced around the world, who are not treated as full human beings. It was beautiful to hear so many different perspectives, personal stories, and words of encouragement; several of these speakers, who were not previously part of Refuse Fascism, explicitly described Trump and Pence as fascists—a true fact that must be understood across the nation.
After these great speeches, we began marching through the streets of the French Quarter of New Orleans. One woman held a large banner she made that read, “A woman’s place is in the Revolution.” We were strengthened by our resolve to never accept a leader who accused a woman of “bleeding out of her wherever” because she asked the questions he didn’t want to answer. We united under the unshakable belief that a woman must never be denied ownership of her own body, as we chanted, “Without this basic right, women can’t be free. Abortion on demand and without apology!”
Our march had a tremendous impact on bystanders and tourists in the city. Many raised their fists in solidarity, applauded us, or chanted with us. They eagerly reached for Calls to Action and NO! stickers as we passed them out on the sidewalks adjacent to the march through the streets. Others, however, said “Well I’m a Trump supporter,” and some even went as far as to call us “bitches” or shout, “Show us your tits.” These disgusting, ignorant, vulgar brutes are representative of growing sentiments within Trump and Pence’s social base; this regime is fomenting open, unashamed misogyny among supporters, and the increasing normalization of sexist slurs was clear to us in certain moments. These repulsive and aggressive reactions showed us exactly why marches like this are so essential. As we gather together to stand up for all women, we outwardly reject the fascist administration which relies so heavily on misogynistic speech and policy. The vast majority of people we encountered, though, were highly supportive. The success and beauty of our march showed us the tremendous potential for widespread growth in our movement to drive out Trump/Pence.
Following the march, we heard a powerful speech from a Tour Volunteer addressing the fact that what makes someone a woman is not whether she can “pass” as one by society’s standard by buying enough of whatever makes her beautiful. We fight for equality for anyone who identifies as a woman, and we will drive out the fascist administration that denies transgender people the simple human right of using the bathroom corresponding to their gender. She also shared her thoughts on the severe economic equality she saw in New Orleans, particularly the stark class division between tourists and impoverished locals. It’s essential for us all to recognize the breadth of issues we must address when pushing back against this fascist regime. Striving without pause for equality for all women throughout the world is one part of our movement to oust fascism in the name of humanity.
All of us who marched were loudly rejecting the physical and verbal abuse of women that is being normalized and applauded by this fascist administration. We shouted, “No pussy grabbing, no patriarchy, no fascist USA!” Thank you to our amazing supporters in New Orleans! As we plan to move forward on Tour, traveling soon to Houston, Austin, and the U.S./Mexico border, we will organize and mobilize the millions who are ready to fight for women and for all of humanity.
Women’s rights are human rights!
When women are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!
Trump and Pence are fascist, Trump and Pence are illegitimate!
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