April 29, 2017

60 Days of resistance: Shameless Promotion’s roster reflects on the Women’s Marches

Artists reflect on their protest experiences

Womens March on Washington 2017
Image by Mobilus in Mobili/Creative Commons via flickr

This Friday will mark the ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency, and as the media breathlessly covers the “First 100 [traumatic and chaotic] Days” of 45, it’s worth noting that it’s been 60 days since the historic protests in opposition to his inauguration. An idea started by a few unassuming women in Facebook groups quickly snowballed into a massive resistance movement still terrorizing a Republican party that has been shameless in its abandoning of any semblance of principles as it lines up behind a proud authoritarian president who has boasted of sexually assaulting women.

And the resistance movement–spearheaded by the Women’s March organizers, now allied with groups like Indivisible, Swing Left, and more establishment progressive organizations like the ACLU–is showing results. The Trump transition is in shambles, his Muslim ban(s) shut down by the courts, his cabinet picked apart in hearings, his legislative agenda crumbling. The odds of a Donald Trump presidency lasting four years are looking slimmer by the day.

Our good friends at Shameless Promotion PR represent a roster of some of the most creative, progressive-minded artists out there. And while we’ve been slacking on the reviews this year as we’re deeply involved in the resistance movement ourselves, we thought we’d share some of their experiences at the protests held two months ago that still reverberate today. Check out their stories, then listen to some of the music they’re putting out.

Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50FOOTWAVE) — LOS ANGELES (100,000+)

Image by Peter Mellekas

A little boy riding on his father’s shoulders handed me an empty juice box and wiped purple off of his mouth. Looking at me sadly, he said his pussy hat fell off and he’d dropped his sign.

“I think riding up high so everyone can see you here gets the job done, don’t you?” I asked him.

“Dad said being always nice even when you’re mad is why we’re here,” he answered.

“You don’t need a hat or a sign for that, huh?”

He shrugged. “I don’t even need to ride up high.

“Hopefully, when the time to be seen has passed, we’ll still be nice, even when we’re mad.”

Rose Berlin (SPC ECO) — LONDON (100,000+)

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like the march on Saturday. As soon as my mum and I joined the crowds on Brooke street we were both overwhelmed by this fantastic feeling of unity. It was so awesome to be alongside so many people all gathered together to fight for the same cause. There were people of all ages and nationalities: Men, women, and children all together as one. Hundreds of thousands of us stopped traffic on some of the busiest roads in London, and even the police seemed to be on our side. I mean, how on earth could you not be?

I can remember the first time I saw Trump. I was convinced he was was a joke…it couldn’t possibly be that this ridiculous, bigoted, racist, sexist, you-name-it-ist could become the next president!

My heart sank on election day.

I was under the impression that we were actually getting somewhere. I was brought up to believe that sexism is unacceptable as is every other ism…but I am pained to say that this is obviously not the case for everyone just yet.

Saturday was about standing up and saying no to Trump and I was proud to be there shouting it as loud as I possibly could.

 

Emanuel Ruffler (A Tree Grows) – NEW YORK CITY (400,000+)

Image by Hisao Oka

I knew I HAD to go to the protest. The inauguration the day before had pushed New York’s mood way down. People couldn’t believe that this was really happening, and the “carnage” Trump invoked in his speech was felt deep in our bones. Many people I spoke to had actually watched or were somehow exposed to video of the inauguration.

It felt like looking into another reality.

I ended up going out that night and observed some heavy drinking in and around Bushwick.

So when Saturday came around, EVERYONE was on their feet and ready to do their civic duty. The subway was packed at 8:30 in the morning with people carrying signs. Lots of noisy and animated conversation on the train since people were going in groups. When we came out from the subway we saw a girl with a sign that read: “Electile dysfunction is American carnage” and I was like: Yes. Exactly.

Rachel Mason – LOS ANGELES (100,000+)

Image by Chris Carlone

I went to the march in Los Angeles on Saturday and was immediately caught up in a massive throng on Broadway near Pershing Square. It would seem surprising, but I actually had some mixed feelings about the march because, as much as I wanted to just angrily throw my support into a crowd who was there to oppose Trump, I also felt very aware of the economic and racial issues bubbling to the surface.

There had been the expectation that this gathering would likely be overwhelmingly white and middle class, or upper-middle class. And there was fear that, because the site of the protest is downtown L.A. where there are so many homeless people, they would be forced to content with this enormous throng invading their neighborhood, presumably disrupting it and then leaving.

It felt quite troubling to me on that level because, indeed, there was a self-congratulatory quality to the event when some of the Hollywood celebrities got onstage. And also at the same time, I felt extremely emotional seeing so many women and people supporting women, that the thought just kept coming up–I can’t believe we still have this fight. And also, I can’t believe we got so close to having a female president and instead got the most racist, sexist, xenophobic, narcissistic president you could imagine. It was just an overwhelming experience.

I was glad I went, and especially after doing my little FutureClown internet performance parody of Trump’s speech, it all just felt really painful and simultaneously scary. I truly hope for the best, but I am in very real pain for my country.

Joel Gion (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) – SAN FRANCISCO (100,000+)

Image by Lilly

Here in San Francisco we had 100,000 participants, and the size of that crowd as I moved through it block after block just made my head spin. I’ve been to many many protests over the years but nothing like this. This SF installment of the worldwide celebration of women and women’s rights, like most, doubled up as a Trump protest.

Because of this, I at first was a little surprised at the overall jovial tone. After all, a James Bond villain just took over the country. But it was quite wonderful to see so many expressing so much empowerment. It rained and it rained–but not on this parade. The key guest was Joan Baez which really gave things a sense of old school protest in the grand tradition. This was a celebration of mother woman, and that righteous vibe was turned up to 11.

But now what? Abortion, health care, Standing Rock–we’re already 10 steps back in a mere few days. It feels like the people now in charge are just shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Yeah? You don’t like it? What are you going to do about?”

What indeed.

Jane Woodman – OAKLAND (100,000+)

Marches are not my thing. That’s not to say I’m not an activist (on social networks and choice petitions).

You know that sign: “It’s so bad, introverts are here!” That applied to me.

Don’t believe the alt-facts about the largest, most peaceful, and positive protest in history around the world. I was at the Oakland Women’s March, and there was nothing but that. Tons of women, men, and children of every color, background, and orientation, in solidarity over not just one main issue, but several; all of them important. My take on the feminist issue, is that non-feminists didn’t realize the severity of misogyny until it was in their face, all over the media, all the time. First with Bill Cosby and then Donald Trump.

President? I can’t even. Don’t forget Anita Hill, whose perp, Clarence Thomas, has been on the Supreme Court for a thousand years. Kudos to all of the women who have come out against that patriarchal wall (and often against their own well-being; talking to you, backlash trolls) that deems them less than human – which is practically all of us at one time or another.

The solidarity that day was astonishing, and made me a different person. I was glad to finally witness a world party dead set on hope, and moving forward.

Michael Durek (TheUse) – NEW YORK CITY (450,000+)

Image by Scott Burland

To me, the Women’s March was a display of just how many forward-thinking progressives could come together peacefully, and organize a large-scale endeavor. It’s like, “OK, the Trump thing actually happened, but we won’t accept this isolationist, fear-based drivel.”

A clown most folks never ever thought in a million years would actually win…actually won. It’s like if those people shouting about the Mayan apocalypse or the rapture were actually right – that’s what it felt like to us. No chance? Whoops, we were wrong. But the marchers made it clear that the people still have the power, and the people do not endorse many of the defining aspects of the worst of the Trump movement— a disdain for women’s rights, immigrant rights, minority rights, civil liberties, and more. Not to mention the conflicts of interest, the team of unqualified cronies filling up the cabinet. The man has zero credibility with anyone but his supporters. And if these groups of marchers stay organized and focused, the pressure on members of congress will become unprecedented to help create the change we want to see.

The 10 Actions in 100 days is brilliant. I fully believe this whole thing may be a blessing in disguise, if we want it to be.

Brett Sullivan (American Anymen) — WASHINGTON, D.C. (1 Million)

I woke up at 2AM on the morning of Saturday, Jan 21st. By 3AM I was out the door and on the first of three trains that would take me to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. At 4:30AM I boarded a bus that was taking people to the women’s march in D.C. I was one of three men on a bus full of women. I have problems sleeping on buses, but I slept this entire ride effortlessly. I have virtually no visual memory of the trip down. I do, however, have a faint memory of KRS-One’s voice, as I had Spotify playing a mix of Boogie Down Productions, and this must have played for hours on end.

We ended up in a parking lot consisting of mud and puddles. I got the impression that no matter what season it was, this parking lot was always full of mud and puddles. The sky was grey but the rain did not fall. Rows of buses with signs from up and down the East Coast were parking in no discernible pattern or order. People with colorful signs were walking towards the dome of the capitol building. Some were good, some were bad. “Love Trumps Hate,” made little sense until it was explained to me that this was a play on the name “Trump,” and in this case was using the name in its verb form. We walked to “The Mall.” This is a long strip of grass with the Washington Monument on one end, and the Capitol building on the other end. The crowd was very loud and the lines to the portable bathrooms were hundreds deep. We got into a bathroom line and it took 45 minutes to use one.

As I got closer to the Mall, the masses of people become unmovable. The crowd came to a complete stop, and realized that I could not move in any direction on my own anymore. The feeling of being stuck came over everyone at the same time. It was funny at first, and it made you laugh. I looked at the people next to me and smiled, they smiled back at me. A few minutes later it wasn’t funny anymore. It become claustrophobic, but nobody panicked. I did not see any one get annoyed or frustrated.

I spent the next two hours stuck in a sea of people.

I had very little control over which direction I walked in. Waves of people would push in one direction and you would be forced to walk with them. It was hard to see more then 5 feet ahead of oneself. The crowd would walk directly into a road-block or fence, then collectively turn around and walk from the direction it had just come from. People you passed by would ask each other, “why are people walking back that way?”

I heard many times that we were standing at the beginning of the march. I heard many times we were standing at the end of the march. Another three hours passed and nobody knew where the march was. The crowd of 500,000 (editor’s note: later amended to  1 million) marchers could not find the march. Waves of people numbering in the tens of thousands shuffled towards other massive waves asking as they mixed together where the march was. At 4PM it became clear there was going to be no march. There were too many people to march. I began to hear music and was pulled in the direction of a stage. This small stage was set up off the main section of “The Mall,” and located between two collegiate looking building.

The stage had an R&B singer performing. He had a full band backing him and I could see a drummer, and a violinist. The drummer was wailing on the kit, but all I could hear was a hi-pitched piano. The singers voice which also was treble-y. This was either a very bad live mix or the the work of a sound man who loved treble more than most. Amy Schumer stepped up on stage and introduced Madonna. Madonna gave a speech about revolution and never ending hard work. It was unclear if this appearance by the celebrity was planned or just spontaneous. Her message was an equally unclear mix of vulgarity and vagueness. The energy of the day seemed to end when she sang karaoke version of her own song, Express Yourself, and then asked everyone to sing along to a utterly indiscernible tune that may or may not have been a Foo Fighters cover.

I got back on the bus at 6PM and we left. The bus arrived in Manhattan at almost 2AM. I had spent 24 hours in constant motion. The march in D.C. made me depressed. In order to create a crisis among the ruling elites severe enough to have them consider removing this psychopath Trump, women would have to march in this fashion for a month straight without going home. If they were to do this, we would have to remember that Trump now controls the police, the military and literally our nuclear weapons. The march in D.C. made me proud as even six months ago this type of mass movement would not have been possible. I had a long day of movement and confusion.

About Alibi Pierce 187 Articles
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