Chicago: Slutwalk Connects with Fighters in Ferguson

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received the following from a reader:

On Saturday August 23, in Chicago close to 1,000 people came out to Slutwalk 2014. Slutwalk has become an international movement (with marches in India, Brazil and other countries) that was sparked by events in Toronto in 2011, when a Toronto cop told a group of college women demanding answers to campus rapes that women could end rape by not "dressing like sluts." The march was a powerful rebuttal to that male supremacist mind-set with repeated, powerful chants denouncing violence against women and upholding a women's right to control their own bodies. It was mainly young women, but they were joined by women of all ages as well as men.

After a rally at the Daley Center in the heart of Chicago's Loop, the crowd immediately took to the streets in an angry and defiant march. The police tried to force the marchers back onto the sidewalks, but the marchers were having none of that. As the march approached Michigan Avenue—Chicago's premier shopping and tourist area—police tried to use their Segways and bicycles to barricade the street and force the marchers back on the sidewalk. The marchers responded with raised hands (in a gesture learned from those protesting Michael Brown's murder in Ferguson) and started chanting "Hands up. Don't Shoot!" As throngs of passing shoppers and tourists were drawn to the march, the cops turned on the sirens in their police cars to try to drown the protesters out. While the marchers were eventually forced back onto the sidewalks, they remained undaunted despite some of them now displaying bruises from being "nudged" by Segways and cop cars.

We had a crew of four who went out to unite with the marchers and help people draw the connections between fighting the war being waged on women and making the revolution that is needed to end it. One person focused on getting out Stop Patriarchy stickers and calls to come to Texas for the Week of Resistance to attacks on abortion. Two others focused on getting out Revolution newspaper. And the final person took a big poster for people to sign. "We Stand With the heroic resisters in Ferguson and the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders in Texas. It is right to rebel against oppression!"

There was widespread openness to what we brought to Slutwalk. The Stop Patriarchy stickers—mainly "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" and "Create a World without Rape"—ended up all over people's bodies. Just looking at the crowd, you could see them everywhere. On the spot, other protesters were enlisted in getting these stickers out.

And the banner really connected with people. Ferguson was on people's minds and "It's right to rebel against oppression" was in the air. About 275 people signed the banner. At first some would just read the first line about Ferguson and sign. So the person holding it would tell people to read the whole thing first to make sure they agreed with it before they signed it. And almost everyone who read it signed it. And many people with a lot of enthusiasm. Everyone was told to go to right there on their phones to learn more about the revolution. As the number of people signing grew and the banner was covered with signatures, some people started taking pictures of it. They were encouraged to tweet it to their friends right away and many said that they would. A picture of this banner was tweeted to Sunsara Taylor, Carl Dix and as soon as the march ended. And within an hour ST had re-tweeted it to her followers. The banner is being sent to Texas.

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