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Archive for the tag “chants”

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: Cheer for Choice

Each year, from late September through early November, is the 40 Days for Life.  40 Days for Life is an international pro-life campaign which involves fasting, prayer, and 24 hour vigils outside of Planned Parenthood or abortion providers.  The event has mobilized up to 10,000 participants from 3,500 churches.  It began in 2004 and I have been involved with protesting these events since 2010.  In fact, the Twin Ports Women’s Rights coalition came out of ad hoc pickets against the 40 Days for Life in 2014.  Over the years, the vibe of the vigil has changed.  Sometimes there are a few members of the vigil who are a little pushier about their beliefs and directly engage us, the counter protestors.  This year, those at the vigil have generally kept to themselves and kept their distance from us.  For the most part, the participants tend to be peaceful, elderly men and women.  Their signs are not as graphic or offensive as those that might typically be seen in an anti-abortion protest.

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Nevertheless, despite their peaceful nature there are plenty of reasons to protest them.  For one, it is important to mobilize pro-choicers.  We have seen decades of defeats in terms of waiting periods, mandatory counseling, parental consent, funding, access, abortion bans after 22 weeks, admitting rights for doctors, and a plethora of other laws meant to restrict abortion access.   It is demoralizing to think of the parade of defeats that have occurred over the decades.  This is why it is absolutely imperative that the pro-choice movement mobilize to defend the few clinics that we have left.   Secondly, peaceful pro-life protestors are a very visible part of a culture which shames women for having abortions.  Three in 10 women have had abortions, yet this is taboo to talk about.  Abortion is always framed as something secret, tragic, and shameful.  By protesting the pro-life picketers we are asserting in an very visible way that being pro-choice is something to be proud of and that we support all the choices that women make.  Finally, it is important because it shows the workers at the clinic that we are in solidarity with their work.  They may not have the same freedom to voice their opinions, especially while they are working.  They are underpaid (due to funding challenges for abortion services) and underappreciated.  Of course, there are many other reasons to protest and every activist is different, but these are just a few of the reasons that motivate myself.


With that said, each Friday we have been hosting two counter protests as the Building for Women.  These sometimes attract the attention of pedestrians and drivers.  From time to time, some stop to challenge us.  For the most part, we get many honks and thanks in support.  These pickets are called the 40 days for Choice.   To make these pickets a little bit more fun and to attract new participants some of them have themes.  For instance, last year we did a costume theme around Halloween.  We will do this again this year.  One of our themes this year was “Cheer for Choice.”  The theme involved dressing up as cheerleaders.  It was a way to roll out our Rah Rah Revolutionary radical cheerleading project.  I think that having theme days and costumes is a way to boost morale for our own participants.  Reproductive rights is a serious matter, but if we don’t have fun, we can become burned out as activist.


This was our most successful event as the re-launched Rah Rah Revolutionaries.  Five of us dressed up as cheerleaders including myself, Lucas, Alexa, Jenny, Angie, and Juniper.  We had one pedestrian who wanted to cheer with us, but she ended up taking her pompoms and leaving.  So, alas, I have lost a set of pompoms.  In addition to the cheerleaders, there were six participants who did not dress up.  In all, this has one of our most successful years as we have regularly had over ten people at our Friday evening pickets.  Of course, the pro-life vigil members have a 40 day vigil with participants each day.  However, they can draw from a larger number of retirees and have institutional support from churches.  As such, they have a greater capacity to mobilize people for their protest than we do.  Still, I am proud of our efforts and glad that anyone shows up at all!  I am also proud that we kept our cool when a pedestrian became aggressive and spit on one of our participants.  Disgusting!  In the end, the pedestrian apologized and said that he actually agreed with us.

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Anyway, that’s just a brief report about what we’ve been up to.  Here are the cheers we did during the event.     Some of these are a little offensive- which I found amusing when writing them and cheering them.  For instance, rhyming John Locke with offensive cock or stating that the “fetus will not defeat us.”  With that said, they might not be appropriate in all contexts- but we democratically discussed our willingness to do the more racy ones.  I also edited one of the chants as it was not inclusive to all women.


Pro-Choice Chants

We’re here,

To cheer,

For the choices we hold dear!

C,H,O,I,C,E (fast spelling)

That spells

autonomy!

Clap your hands!

Raise your voice!

It’s our body

It’s our choice!

No more shaming

And victim blaming!

No more shaming

And victim blaming!

Defend our clinics

Defend our rights

Come together,

Let’s fight, fight, fight!

Keep your rosaries

Off our ovaries

Your god and cross

Are not my boss!

Hey all you feminists,

Stand up and raise your fists!

Now that we’re feeling proud,

Let’s shout it really loud:

Rah rah, rah rah rah

Rah rah, rah rah rah rah

Now that we’ve got the beat

Sound off, what we’ll defeat:

Patriarchy!

Capitalism!

War!

Hunger!

Racism!

Sexism!

…etc…

For all the women, who live in fear

We come together,

It’s why we’re here.

For all the women, who live in shame,

We fight for you,

We’re all the same!

When women’s rights are under attack,

What do we do?

Stand up,

Fight back!

We’re the feminists,

And we couldn’t be prouder

If you can’t hear us,

We’ll shout a little louder!

Hey hey, ho ho,

Patriarchy has got to go!

Defence, (clap, clap)

Clinic Defence, (clap, clap)

Defence, (clap, clap)

Clinic Defence, (clap, clap)

Tell me why,

In this day and age,

Are women raped and underpaid

The fetus, the fetus

The fetus won’t defeat us.

Rise up!

Rise up!

Rise up, up, up, up

Right to life,

Your names a lie

You don’t care if women die

Back alleys

No more

Abortions for the rich and poor!

It’s my choice

Leave it me,

I can choose a family!

Abortion without apology

No more bogus counseling!

I won’t wait an extra day!

I want my rights without delay

Sixteen years old or forty one!

Abortion rights for everyone!

Get your religion

Out of my decision!

Church and state

Should separate

If you don’t like John Locke

Cover up your offensive cock!

There’s no choice without access!

Without choice there’s no progress!

More clinics!

More funds!

Abortion rights for everyone!

Seven clinics, that’s BS

Driving so far causes distress!

No more waiting,

No more drives,

No more begging for dollar signs!

Three in Ten by 45

Some are single,

Some are wives!

Many drove from far away!

Many waited for a day!
Three in Ten by 45

Let’s keep abortion rights alive!

Safe, legal, everywhere

I don’t want abortion to be rare

I want access

I want funds

Not laws based on your legends!

Hey, hey, feminist friends!

Let’s sound off choices we defend:

Abortion

IUD

Nuvaring

Vasectomy

Condoms

Patch or shot

That list is what we’ve got!

Wait, wait, there’s others too

Child birth

Abstinence

Spermicide

You can even choose to cum outside!

Really, we just don’t care

As long as, choice is there!

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: 15th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan

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Lately,  I’ve been feeling old.   Well, nothing makes me feel old like the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.  Seriously…15 years?!  That began 15 years ago?!  I remember sitting in a foreign policy class with that sexist professor from CSS.  I remember being cynical when we dropped food and messages on the population, followed by bombs.  I remember celebrating the 11th anniversary with a small picket in Mankato.  A student snickered a few weeks later when it was announced that the troops were being drawn down.  Our small picket ended the war, he laughed.  Yeah, yeah, we aren’t changing the world.  Rub it in.  Really it seems that we have been “drawing down” for five years.  The Northland Anti-War Coalition disbanded in 2014 under the pretense that we would draw down the troops to half in 2015.  Here we are, 2016, and there are still 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.  And, no one knows and no one cares.  I didn’t even know.  I was shocked when I read a report that cited the Department of Defense…that indeed, we still have almost 10,000 soldiers there.


Anti-war work has a special place in my heart.  My very first activism was anti-war activism.  War is one of those big things.  At least to me it seems pretty easy and obvious to be against war.  Abortion rights can be complicated to explain.  But, war is expensive and it kills adult people…children….pregnant…women…fetuses….animals…environments.   It seems that anyone who generally does not like the idea of things dying or becoming permanently injured, would be wary about war.  This gets confounded by patriotism, fear, and hate, of course.  But, if not death…the enormous price tag should deter some.   The Afghanistan war could cost up to 6 trillion dollars.  Currently, the war has cost about 680 billion dollars.  I read that per American, the Afghanistan war has cost $33,000. Of course, there are different websites with different numbers.  I imagine that it is hard to calculate or anticipate the full price tag of the war.   On the low end, we have killed 30,000 Afghan civilians or on the high end, over 200,000.  We have created six million Afghan refugees.  At the same time, there is little improvement in the country.  The Taliban has been steadily gaining territory and ISIS has been gaining a foothold in the south.  Opium production is actually 35 times greater today than in 2001.  Really, this is a black hole sucking up American resources with little benefit to the population there.  The worst thing is that it is entirely invisible in the public discourse.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans are talking about it.  Yet, both are responsible for this prolonged and pointless war that benefits no one- spare some defense contractors and warlords who siphon off aid.


It would be wonderful if the 15th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan was a catalyst to renew the anti-war movement.  Alas, it is an invisible anniversary for a forgotten war.  Locally, we planned a picket in Superior with the Veterans for Peace and Grandmothers for Peace.  The Rah Rah Revolutionaries decided to make an appearance, even though the event was modest.  Three radical cheerleaders showed up.  It was bitterly cold for October.  Our cheerleading costumes were not enough for the unexpected cold.  However, our chanting and cheering kept us warm.  The pompoms also kept our hands from freezing.  Like Take Back the Night, it was myself, Lucas, and Alexa.  In total, there were eleven people at the picket.  It is sad that there were fewer people at the protest than there were years of war!!  But, this is the sorry state of the anti-war movement and I am glad that there are some die-hard activists.  Eleven is better than zero.

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Although we froze our butts off, there were a few things that made it worth it.  For one, I think that the older activists, especially those who were in the Grandmothers for Peace, were glad that the cheerleaders were there.  Even though we are in our 30s, they were happy to see “young” people there.  Someday I will be an old lady who has done decades of activism-looking to the future.  We are the future.  We are young in the sense we have many decades left to fight.  So, while the 15th anniversary sure makes me feel old, it can also make me feel young when I see the Grandmothers for Peace.  Another plus was that we had a great response from cars that passed by.  We were a bunch of frozen weirdoes with peace signs.  Yet, we had many honks and waves.  People don’t like war.  Maybe they forget that it is still going on, but it is encouraging that they support our efforts.  Finally, it was nice to do cheers as the cheerleaders.  It made the time go quickly.  It kept us warm. And, I now have cheers to re-use for the 16th…and I predict, the 20th anniversary of this war.  Here are the cheers in case any other radical cheerleader group wants to use them:

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Anti-war Chants

I can’t stand,

Another year in Afghanistan,

Fifteen years is way too long,

For a costly war that’s clearly wrong!

15…15

So much war is just obscene!

10,000 troops are still too much!

In country we shouldn’t touch!

15…15

We armed the mujahedeen!

How many years until we see!

War is our policy!

Bush, Obama…Hillary next?

War goes on no matter who we elect!

That’s why we’re here, doing this cheer!

This is a chant all parties must hear!

Hey hey, understand!

We’re still in Afghanistan

We never beat the Taliban,

Even now they’re gaining land!

Hey, hey, understand!

This forgotten war is a sham!

600 billion since 2002,

What on earth should America do?!

31 thousand civilians dead,

Spend that money on peace instead!

No matter how many troops we send

This war goes on without end!

No matter how much money we spend,

This war goes on without end!

We’re anti-war and we couldn’t be prouder

If you can’t hear us, we’ll shout a little louder!

One, we’re anti-war (point to self)

Two, you should be too! (point out)

Three, troops home now!

No more war, war, war, war!

Troops home now! (Clap, clap, clap, clap)

we’ll show you how! (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Take to the streets (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Unite for peace! (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Salam, Pace, Mir

We’re for peace

It’s why we’re here

Paz, peace, amani

No more war,

Just harmony!

1,2,3,4

We cheer for anti-war

5,6,7,8

No more fear, no more hate!

9,10,11,12

Put our weapons on the shelf!

Who was the one who started the assault,

Bush, Bush,

without a doubt!

Who had the urge, to do a troop surge?

Obama, Obama!

Continued the drama

Who is next in November?

Will this war go on forever?

Stop stop

TROOPS OUT NOW! (raise fist)

Six million refugees

Stop this war

Stop it please!

Rah rah rah,

Peace is patriotic

No duh, duh, duh (thumbs down)

War is idiotic

Alexander the Great

Genghis Khan

The Mughal Empire

The list goes on

The Sikhs and

The British too!

All defeated by you know who!

The Soviet Union,

And Now the US

Why we’re there is anyone’s guess!

It could be contracts

Or the war machine!

This endless war is so obscene!

Tell me, tell me

What would you do?

If I gave 30 grand to you?

Would you save for a home, go to college, get a car?

If you didn’t pay for the Afghanistan war

Tell me, tell me,

How would it be?

If we pooled all that money?

Who would be poor or going hungry?

With a new priority!

We want justice

We want peace

U.S. out of the Middle East!

No more wars for corporations,

No more drones and occupations!

Not a penny, not a dollar

We won’t pay for endless slaughter!

Money for jobs and education

Not for war and occupation!

 

Black sites

Drones

Opium Farms

These are the ways our

War does harm!

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: Take Back the Night

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: Take Back the Night

 

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This fall was the re-launch of the Rah Rah Revolutionaries, a radical cheerleading group that I started in 2010.  To be sure, it has been a very modest beginning.  However, I am happy that a few people are interested.  Really, it is remarkable that I can find any other human being in the world who wants to dress up like a cheerleader and protest things with me.  This is a brief chronicle of what we have been up to.


Our very first event was Take back the Night, which was held in early October at UM-Duluth.  Take back the Night is an international event against sexual violence/violence, which began in the 1970s with protests against pornography and violence against women.  While I don’t have an official count of how many people attended last year, it seems that there were four times the people who attended this year.  The march went on for many blocks and included a large number of students from CSS.  It was the largest march that I have attended in Duluth for many years.  I can not be certain why there was such an increase of CSS students, but perhaps the high profile rape that occurred to a CSS student who was studying abroad in Ireland was a catalyst for the college to become involved.  Since I was not an organizer of the event, I can only speculate.

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I did not have much vision of what our participation in Take Back the Night would actually entail.  I figured I would bring my collection of pompoms, some signs, make up some chants, and some extra costumes.  With a garbage bag full of gear, I met up with Alexa and Lucas, the only two members of our group to show up.  Well, there was three of us.  That was a start.  Since we didn’t have a table,  I suggested that we could go out into the hallway and welcome people with some cheers.  I asked the volunteers at the registration table if they minded if we cheered across from them.  They seemed enthusiastic about our impromptu welcoming committee.  So, we stood there….together…holding signs and doing the cheers I had prepared.  Some of the cheers were found online.  Others I made myself.  I will post them so that other cheerleader groups may use them in the future.

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We generally had a good response to the cheers.  People seemed curious about what we were doing.  A news station wanted to interview us.  We even had a few people join us.  In all, three additional people joined us for some pre-march chanting.  Since it was in the hallway, it wasn’t particularly disruptive to the Take back the Night resource fair with was happening nearby.  Once the speakers began, we stopped the cheers and joined the event.  This was followed by a march.  We did not use any of our own cheers during the march, as the organizers had their own chant.  However, we did walk together and tried to add some energy to the front of the march by shaking our pompoms and shouting the chants.  The march was pretty amazing since it included hundreds of people.  There were community members as well as a large contingent of male athletes.

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Although it was a modest beginning for our radical cheerleader group, I am proud of our work.  I think we added a little color and energy to the event.  Take back the Night is a serious event.  There is a lot of painful testimonies and raw poetry.  At the same time, there is an atmosphere of power and celebration.  It is an event where those painful experiences are turned into unity and determination for social change.  I think that the cheerleaders added to the celebratory aspects of trying to overcome sexual/intimate violence in society.  As a whole, I draw a positive balance sheet.  I think that next year I would like to see more cheerleaders there.  I would also like to perhaps work with the organizers so that they can direct us to what kind of role they would like us to have (as I would not want to step on anyone’s toes by accident).  Finally, it would be useful to have our own table at the resource fair (though this would take away from our ability to stand outside the hall and cheer).   With that said, it is a start.  Every start is a little rough, but I am very thankful to the small core of cheerleaders who have helped make this project a reality.

Take back the Night Cheers:

 

Give me an N: N!

Give me an O: O!

When I say no

You’ve got to go!


Nei, Nein, Nyet, Tidak

When I say no

You step back

Ei, Nee, An-iyo,

When I say no

It’s time to go!


Feminists Unite

Take back the night!


2,4,6,8

Stop violence, stop rape

3,5,7,9

If there’s no consent, it’s a crime!


Say it once,

Say it again,

Stop violent women and men.


Consent, consent, you gotta have consent

If she’s been drinking

Don’t be thinking

You’ve got consent

Consent, you gotta have consent!

If she says no,

You gotta go,

Consent, consent, you gotta have consent!

If she says nothing,

Don’t try something!

Consent, consent, you gotta have consent!


We have the right

To go out at night!

That’s we are here,

We won’t live in fear!

We won’t stand silence

When there is violence

We won’t stand still

When some will kill

We won’t look away

Until abusers pay!


Hey, hey you

If she says rape

It must be true

Hey, hey you

If he says rape

Believe him too!


Whatever we wear

Wherever we go

Yes means yes

And No means No!


No means no,

It doesn’t mean maybe

Do not touch me

I’m not your baby


The night is for the moon and stars

Not tears, bruises, and unseen scars

The night is for women and girls

To stand together and change our world


Bases, home, campus, dorm,

Everywhere assault is the norm

Pastor, spouse, coach, dad

It makes me angry

It makes me mad

Protests, classes, shelters, strikes

That is how we’ll win this fight.


We’re going to fight

For our right

To walk the streets

And Take Back the Night!


Rise up!

Rise up!

Rise up, up, up, up


Tell me why,

In this day and age,

Are women raped and underpaid


For all the women, who live in fear

We come together,

It’s why we’re here.

For all the women, who live in shame,

We fight for you,

We’re all the same!


We’re the feminists,

And we couldn’t be prouder

If you can’t hear us,

We’ll shout a little louder!


Hey hey, ho ho,

Patriarchy has got to go!

 

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