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Angela Davis, we honor you.

It comes as no surprise that Dr. Angela Davis was speaking out at the Women’s March on January 21, joining her voice with the millions that are in opposition to a white supremacist administra…

Source: Angela Davis, we honor you.

Voices & hands of women, men, kids and animals of all walks of american life on 1.21.17

One day after the Trump inauguration a whole gender of Americans marched in solidarity against potus [Aziz Ansari  SNL]. Across the country and across the world.
This message of solidarity flew in the sky ave New York as women, men, children and animals covered the ground.
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These are some of the messages that touched my ex-immigrantly and writerly soul:

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Russians are coming [not for trump!] 

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Butlerian woman who braved the cold: 

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Kids & animals protesting their dim future; sadly the climate couldn’t walk to protest: 

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And some images I saw in a flash & couldn’t shoot because of the hordes of crowds, but which remember:

Unpresident  him                   diversely we stand 

 Hands too small. can’t build wall                 Not mein fuhrer

A photo a friend & colleague shot and gave me as we are both at a public univ:

IMG_4453.jpg     Fred Baitinger in the flesh @ Washington March 1.21.17

And some I saw from other marches that I absolutely appreciate & love:

wall.jpg tad walch http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865671559/Hundreds-of-Utah-women-walking-now-in-Womens-March-on-Washington.html

trump 2.jpg dave mosher http://www.businessinsider.com/womens-march-washington-signs-2017-1

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http://www.concordmonitor.com/Over-1-million-join-anti-Trump-women-s-marches-worldwide-7623626

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/in-photos-womens-march-on-washington-goes-global/article33696430/

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I cannot find sources for these two amazing images.

Image: Demonstrators gather in Los Angeles for a sister-march to the Women's March in Washington, DC, Jan. 21, 2017.phil mccausland http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/inauguration-2017/women-s-march-marked-brash-funny-signage-raised-high-n710321

Image result for make america gay again washington women's marchchristina aldehuela http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/slideshow/Women-s-Marches-around-the-world-140222.php

The marches and images around the country and world prove clearly that Trump’s transition wasn’t final when Obama classily handed him over to the American people on 1.20.17. because the next day – and even before – women descended on his regime in loud protests. This transition is going to be a long one.
And since the first lady fill-in has no feminist agenda for us women except as a glammed-up “post feminist huckster selling us male power” [Jill Filipovic’s expression], and since it IS a march for women, and by women that includes men – because it is NOT divisive! –  I’ll end with my own image and words, hoping that they don’t fall on deaf ears:

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wall of resistance – union square

Today New Yorkers put down their devices and took to the walls to resist on post its! 

Wall of resistance 1 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.

The wall of resistance 2 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.

The wall of resistance 3 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.

Millenials unhinged in the face of a new president

What I saw today blew my mind out of its darkest corners: droves of millenials descending upon 5 avenue and 34th out of nowhere walking in-between cars and buses, almost on top of cars, causing them to come to an abrupt halt, tourists on tourist buses standing in support yet shock, police lagging behind and not interfering one bit. Millenials, for the first time with no devices stuck to their faces, looking up, heads held high chanting “fuck donald trump”, “don’t grab my pussy”, “love trumps hate”, “women’s rights are human rights”, “not my président” as they marched up to trump towers with these brazen words of freedom as their weapons. Marching up the avenue of the state to which trump belongs, trump’s home where he is most scorned and disliked. It was moment of reckoning for my somber mood since this morning’s bad news.  A sense of pride swelling up inside as I joined them. 

But the opposite occurred in my daughter’s school. Young voices silenced, tears speaking where voices should’ve been singing. Kids spilling tears all day today instead of preparing for their future for fear their parents get deported. The principal had to send letters to parents urging them to get counseling and at the same time apologizing “Hollande style” for not being able to chose who the president is. 

What a world we live in! What’s become of this great free nation we call ‘America’? Barely one day old and so many tears, discontentment and demonstrations across the country – NY, Oregon, LA etc – from the young and old alike on the streets and classrooms of our nation.

Which president, in the history of this country that leads the world in freedom, and by example, has ever been so disliked that hate has preceded even before his rule begins? 

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Silence & regress commence their race 

Alas! Words fail!

Nation under siege of Otherization and Gender

While past presidential elections have focused on issues like economy, LGBT, community, national security, Health, lowering the deficit, or position on wars, this one has been about insults and ugly revelations. It has been one after another horrific revelation of racism, sexual assault, immigration, elitism, anti Semitism, authoritarianism and “promiscuous xenophobia” to use a Cornel West term. All of these backward notions we so willingly heap on “Third Worlds’ are found right here in USA in 2016, coming from a potential president. Trump is fast Otherizing, unhinging and unfiltering culture.  He is talking about belonging quite a lot: who should be included in our nation, and who shouldn’t. The birther effect is now jumping on Muslims, Mexicans etc.

The more this ‘not belonging” comes up in Trump talks the more it becomes clear that it is a conversation overdue – he’s been campaigning and spewing such hate for almost a year now. Perhaps we should give it a platform, like we’ve had to do with black lives matter.  We must take stock of divisive ideologies that exclude some more in the lines of like some of Trump’s supporters who are wisely jumping over the fence in the direction of progress to the Hillary camp. Yet some remain tone deaf and aren’t budging form Trump’s exclusionary ideology.  Joel Stein quips that there’s got to be a reason for this  and cites non-college-educated White men as the reason; they are losing power, have no faith in government, corporations or media and view others  as dismantling white European culture [Time October 31, 3016]. This election has mobilized and empowered not only these white supremacists, but misogynists, too.

Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes were sat on for 11 years while he had thousands of employees for decades but none thought it needful to protect half his workforce. It was more important to ensure the success of Apprentice than to protect women. And voting Trump condones the way some men [even women] talk to and about women: the message is that it’s okay to touch women the way he does.  But Trump isn’t the first to think of women demeaningly or see them only as sexual objects for his grabbing. This talk and behavior are as old as time, and women have been coming forward for years, but haven’t been believed.  Despite Anita Hill’s watershed moment in 1991 for sexual harassment awareness which increased reports of sexual harassment from 3,349 to 5,607 one year after [Time October 31, 2016: 34]. Despite other noteworthy women including Paula Jones against Bill Clinton in 1994 which was dropped; Beth Ann Faragher in 1998 which went to the supreme court that held employers liable if they create a hostile environment for women in the workplace; Anucha Browne Sanders against Isaiah Thomas / NY Knicks in 2007; Gretchen Carlson against Roger Ailes / Fox News in 2016, and Nancy O’Dell against Trump in 2016.

And despite America’s amazing inroads into equality for women, America is not ready for a woman. The timely FBI ‘male’ leaks about Hillary and other poisonous rhetoric against a woman running for president proves it.  In this era of intense profiling and racism, we’ve had a black president for two terms, and despite the ‘non-belonging’ birther controversy started by Trump, and Otherizing Obama that still didn’t stop him from winning favor with the Americans. But Hillary hasn’t even won the presidency yet, but the threat of disrespectful, women-fearing, women-hating men looms so large that she has already been threatened with being killed off, called vulgar names by Texan agric commissioner and all sorts of violence via Trump’s preferred means of communication: social media.

America is not okay with having a woman president in 2016!  In an age where sexual harassment has gone from a whisper to a roar – campuses, military, social media platforms – America isn’t ready to seat a woman in the Whitehouse. An India our USA is not! A Pakistan our USA is not! A Liberia or Bangladesh or Brazil our USA is not! And it’s not just about groping! There’s absolutely no room for behavior that disrespects and tries to silence women, and we cannot let Trump continue to believe that he can price his way out of xenophobia, racism or sexism!

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Women are their own allies against trump-hate

The recent American loss with the Trump win has become a personal loss for women. It has become difficult for women – Muslim women, black women, white women etc – to feel safe walking down the same streets where their neighbors and family have supported a man who tells the world that sexual assault, hating the Other, and misogyny are okay. His win has made my female students and I feel unsafe, uncomfortable and un-belonging suddenly, even in a progressive city like New York.

Women and men have been writing letters to, and calling on, their politicians to act, they have been speaking up, signing petitions, supporting and even funding planned parenthoods, posting post-its on walls of resistance, holding vigils, marching and protesting – day and night – and putting their bodies on the line since the elections on Fifth Avenue where the Trump tower is located, in LA, Chicago, Seattle [where there’s a sanctuary for women, immigrants etc], and in other countries like France and elsewhere for American democracy and rights for everyone.

Two women, Nadja Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, have decided to launch a magazine called RESIST!  whose first appearance will coincide with the inauguration on January 20th 2017 in Washington http://www.comicsbeat.com/francoise-mouly-nadja-spiegelman-seek-submissions-for-resist/ . Mouly and Spiegelman have asked women to make their voices heard by publishing their art and articles, which will appear in the first edition of this magazine on January 21, 2017. The turnout has been stupendous, which proves that there is a need for a medium for these voices.

But, another woman, Italian Francesca Comencini[1], mother, political organizer, screenwriter and filmmaker has another idea on how we could resist. According to Ariel Levy in “When in Rome, the Women” The New Yorker November 28, 2016 Comencini points out Trump’s and Berlusconi’s commonalities, which others have done in the past, but she does it for a different reason: to show that it is possible for change to occur in American government. This is quite an interesting parallel to consider that she is making, especially for those who feel hopeless and/or naysayers since both Trump and Berlusconi are so very similar. According to Comencini, both Trump and Berlusconi have amassed fortunes in real estate through questionable business practices; both share a taste for marble, extreme tans and strongmen: Trump is impressed with Putin and Berlusconi with Muammar Qaddafi; both have a murky grasp on ‘consent’; and both are skilled manipulators of social media.

But what differentiates Comencini’s from others in comparing Trump and Berlusconi is her optimism.  She compares both of these men in power to suggest that Berlusconi and Trump could have yet another thing in common: a downfall catalyzed by women. Berlusconi said in 2009 that they don’t have enough soldiers to stop rape in Italy, because their women are so beautiful and Trump said grabbing women by the pussy is cool, it is what men do. Trump says that Hillary would not be his ‘first choice’ because he wasn’t impressed by her behind, and Berlusconi said that Angela Merkel was “unfuckable’. They both share a very foucauldian and fallible view of politics, one where sexuality seems to be a very important aspect of their politics. But Trump however, may tip the scales since he has probably outdone Berlusconi in signing women’s chests [in Virginia], in addition to the many women who came out after Access Hollywood to tell the word Trump had sexually abused, groped them etc.

The other similarity I see in Comencini’s article is our million women march coming up on January 20th. Italy’s one million people march organized by Comencini – Se Non Ora, Quando [If Not Now, When] – held demonstrations in Italy causing Berlusconi to resign 9 months after. Women in the Piazza del Popolo held a ‘group scream’ so women could live in dignity, and they even enlisted an Italian actress – Angela Finochiaro – to make a video appeal to the nation’s men asking them to ‘tell the world you don’t want to live in a bad fifties movie” while framing sexism and misogyny not just as wrong, but ‘lame’.

Comencini advises women in America to NOT make something ‘against’ Trump, but to communicate the idea that ‘we are the nation’, and that its strength is in women. Berlusconi held power for 2 decades and made many kinds of things normal which are not, and considering that Trump hasn’t even occupied the white house yet,  there’s hope. Things that he’s been putting forth have not yet become normal as with Berlusconi.

We have to believe that same sex love, women’s safety and freedom should be a step up from the past 50 and more years. We have to believe we could live in a world where our girls could achieve anything without limit, and we have to see the world that does NOT recommend corrective rape for uppity women or women who have a voice.

The Trump win is not just the loss of a male sense of self, but a conflict between patriarchy and feminism and the divide has been increasing with the Trump pick of white male nationalists. And sadly there is no first lady with a voice to speak for her gender or the condition of women like Michelle Obama, who launched platforms for bringing back our girls – in Nigeria and elsewhere – or educating mothers in America. And the first daughter, who is headed to replace the first-lady does not have an agenda for women or for those on whom her father has stomped. Her “advocacy of women’ goes only so far as her clothing line.

We therefore are our only hope. We need allies in each other, not complicity from some women who voted trump as their savior. We have to stop taking it for granted that we have a voice as we have been doing in the last eight and more years, and value ourselves beyond that superficial beauty that some men heap on us. Now more than never we need to use our voices and make them as loud as possible before the country turns back to not just time or 2016, but turns back the hands of time to oppression, anti-semitism, anti- culturalism, and becomes anti women.

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