NORTON META TAG

10 March 2017

Someone plastered posters of Donald Trump's sexual assault monologue all over the East Village in NYC & Women in More Than 50 Countries Set to Strike Today on International Women's Day & Hurray for the Riff Raff on Feminism, Gentrification, Gender Violence & Art in Era of Trump 8MAR17

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IWD / INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY / in the U.S. A DAY WITHOUT WOMEN was Wednesday, 8 MAR 17. This was one of the most robust IWDs in recent history, at least in the U.S., in recent memory. The misogynous drumpf/trump-pence administration has women fired up and organizing. After all, this is the (NOT MY) president who, we found out during the 2016 presidential campaign, likes to grab women by the pussy (with the vice (stressing VICE)-president's approval) and has shown how much respect drumpf/trump has for his own wife by publishing pictures of her like that at the top of this post. Women in America have been the sleeping giant in American politics, but they are awake now. It will be interesting to see if the level of outrage and activism can hold till and thru the state and local elections next year. I hope so, and I think we can be sure this White House will keep pouring fuel on the fire. From +Daily Kos and +Democracy Now! 

Someone plastered posters of Donald Trump's sexual assault monologue all over the East Village in NY
Who can forget where they were when the “very religious” Mike Pence said that the then Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn't go tiptoeing around all those thousands of rules of political correctness?" No one could expect a 70-year-old bigoted misogynist to change his ways, but we could expect something resembling morality from the rest of the Republican field. Those were the days. Today, women across the world are taking to the streets to let their voices be known, and like a magical protest elf, someone has papered New York City’s East Village with posters reminding everyone why so many women, young and old, of all races and religions, are protesting our unpopular president.
Over at Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Jeremiah took some photos of this wondrous piece of street art.
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The posters read:
“I did try and fuck her. She was married.
I moved on her like a bitch,
But I couldn’t get there.
And she was married.
You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful.
I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss.
I don’t even wait.
You can do anything…
Grab them by the pussy.
You can do anything.”
The President of the United States of America
That’s a fact.
Today is International Women’s Day, and thousands of women are staging a one-day strike in what’s been dubbed a Day Without a Woman. The impact of the strike is already being felt in the United States. In Virginia, the entire public school system of Alexandria is closed today after 300 women requested the day off. Some schools are also closing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and in New York City. The U.S. Women’s Strike was called by organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, the largest nationwide day of protest after an inauguration in U.S. history. And women in the United States are not alone. Women in more than 50 countries are expected to take part in their own strikes. The International Women’s Strike effort was launched in October 2016 after women in Poland, South Korea, Argentina and Sweden organized strikes to fight issues from the criminalization of abortion to femicide. For more, we speak with Tithi Bhattacharya, associate professor of South Asian history at Purdue University. She is one of the national organizers of today’s Women’s Strike.

Women in More Than 50 Countries Set to Strike Today on International Women's Day
TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
GUESTS
Tithi Bhattacharya
associate professor of South Asian history at Purdue University. She is one of the national organizers of today’s Women’s Strike.
AMY GOODMAN: Today is International Women’s Day. Thousands of women are staging a one-day strike in what’s been dubbed a Day Without a Woman. The impact of the strike is already being felt in the United States. In Virginia, the entire public school system of Alexandria is closed today after 300 women requested the day off. Some schools are also closing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and here in New York City. The U.S. Women’s Strike was called by organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, the largest nationwide day of protest after an inauguration in U.S. history. And women in the United States are not alone. Women in more than 50 countries are expected to take part in their own strikes. The International Women’s Strike effort was launched in October 2016 after women in Poland, South Korea, Argentina and Sweden organized strikes to fight issues from the criminalization of abortion to femicide. In this video released by organizers, people share why they’re participating in today’s Women’s Strike.
WOMEN’S STRIKE PARTICIPANTS: I’m striking on March 8th because I believe women should be free to make the decisions regarding their own bodies. I’m striking on March 8th for equal pay and equal opportunity, because women’s work makes all other work possible and because it’s about time we start valuing women’s labor. I’m striking on March 8th because when I go out, I want to feel free, not brave, because women matter. I’m striking on March 8th because reproductive services are a human right and childbirth is a public service.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined by Tithi Bhattacharya. She’s associate professor of South Asian history at Purdue University. She’s one of the national organizers of today’s Women’s Strike.
Welcome to Democracy Now! Tithi, thanks so much for being with us. Can you talk about the scope of this protest and why a strike?
TITHI BHATTACHARYA: Thank you for having me, Amy.
I think the first thing to say about the strike is that it is an international strike. And it was put together by women in, at that time, 30 different countries, in October of 2016, actually, who were inspired by mainly the mass actions of the Polish women and the Argentinian women against the abortion ban and against femicide. So, 30 feminist organizations got together and called a strike for March 8th of 2017. I think in the U.S. we were really inspired by the January 21st Women’s March, but also by the fantastic mass actions of the airport solidarity protests when the first Muslim ban went in. You know, airports, the most soulless spaces of capitalism, were flooded by ordinary people in solidarity against borders and in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers. Both of those said to us that the moment was right to basically put together this mass energy to talk about women’s labor, women’s rights in the U.S. context. So that’s the sort of genesis, I would say, of calling March 8th an International Women’s Strike.
The word "strike," I think, has raised some questions. And I hope I get a chance to answer fully, because I think the word "strike" has traditionally meant work stoppage. And it should. But I think the word "strike" in other countries has had a wider connotation than simply a work stoppage. It has been sort of practically applied in the streets in the way Rosa Luxemburg meant it, as a mass strike, so which is not just work stoppage. And I think, for us, it was important to emphasize that women do not just work in the paid labor market, in the employment sector, in the formal sectors of the economy. Women also do the unpaid labor, the care work, the picking up of the children from the school, and the countless hours that women put in. So when we say "Women’s Strike," it has that expansive understanding of labor and stoppage of labor. So, stoppage of labor just does not mean a collective workplace strike. Stoppage of labor also means, "I will not cook today, and I will stand in solidarity with women in 50 countries as I walk out."
AMY GOODMAN: So, can you talk about the scope of these actions, from New York to Europe to Africa? What is happening?
TITHI BHATTACHARYA: Well, I think, first of all, the majority of countries that are taking part in the strike are going to have massive mass demonstrations on the street, so places like Port-au-Prince in Haiti, in places like New Delhi, India, in Ireland, where it is very significant because they’re striking against—for abortion rights and against banning of abortion. So, I think women are taking all kinds of mass actions, not just marching on the street, but there have been boycotts of major businesses. There has been demonstrations and walkouts in schools and campuses, of college campuses. There has been household strikes, like women have basically refused to do any household chores, for instance, in Poland. So, all of this is sort of a festival of the oppressed, a kind of diversity of tactics that has been employed.
In the United States, as well, we now have International Women’s Strike organizing all the way from Alaska to Hawaii. And here, too, the range of actions is wonderfully varied. So, as you said, that people in North Carolina and Virginia and New York are striking in the sense schools are closing down, but people also are demonstrating. There are conventions in most of the major universities across. There are—there is—in San Francisco, in the Bay Area, they’re organizing a gender strike. Sex workers are going to be prominent in that organizing in the Bay Area, and in New York. And I think, on our website, you will see women in Indiana, West Lafayette, Indiana, put together a letter that women can give to their husbands and domestic partners. You can download that letter from our website. Women can give that letter to their partners as they walk out of household duties and go join a demonstration or a mobilization in their own city. And, you know, it is a long, detailed letter, but the essential message of the letter is: "Honey, you have the dishes. I’m going on strike."
AMY GOODMAN: President Trump tweeted this morning, "I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy." Yesterday, the travel ban on refugees from six countries was imposed. Within that time yesterday, apparently, lights on the Statue of Liberty went out yesterday—not clear if it was, as some said, the Statue of Liberty protesting in advance today or whether—what actually was happening. And Hawaii, you mention, may be the first place where a lawsuit against that ban will be coming from. Your comments on President Trump, Tithi?
TITHI BHATTACHARYA: Well, I think many people—many women, in particular—have called him the misogynist-in-chief. And I think not just his comments, which he has made in public before the elections and during, justify that, but I also think his policies, that he is going to put in place, is going to be an instantiation of that title that he has well earned. About the Muslim ban, I think, well, the International Women’s Strike has issued a public statement absolutely opposing the Muslim ban and standing in solidarity with all our sisters in the countries, but also elsewhere. But I want to say that the idea of the Women’s Strike is precisely against the ban: It is against borders, and it is about opening the borders in solidarity with the global movement right now.
AMY GOODMAN: Your website?
TITHI BHATTACHARYA: It’s international—it’s WomenStrikeUS.org.
AMY GOODMAN: And finally—we have 10 seconds—what’s happening today in New York?
TITHI BHATTACHARYA: In New York, we are going to be gathering at Washington Square Park at 4:00 p.m. There is going to be live music. There is going to be people at the rally. And then we’re going to be marching all the way to Zuccotti Park. And it’s not going to be famous people on the stage. It’s going to be ordinary women, who make our lives possible on this planet.
AMY GOODMAN: Tithi Bhattacharya, we want to thank you so much for being with us, associate professor of South Asian history at Purdue University in Indiana, one of the national organizers of today’s Women’s Strike. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, Eve Ensler joins us. Stay with us.
[break]
AMY GOODMAN: "Rican Beach" by Alynda Segarra. And you’ll be hearing more from her later in the broadcast. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
Hurray for the Riff Raff on Feminism, Gentrification, Gender Violence & Art in Era of Trump

GUESTS
Alynda Segarra
leader of the critically acclaimed band Hurray for the Riff Raff.

When she was just 17, Alynda Segarra, the leader of the critically acclaimed band Hurray for the Riff Raff, left her home in the Bronx and began hopping freight trains. She eventually landed in New Orleans, where she learned to play banjo. Over the past decade, her band Hurray for the Riff Raff has become one of the most celebrated bands in modern folk music. In 2014, the publication American Songwriter named her tune "The Body Electric" the song of the year. NPR declared the same tune to be the political folk song of 2014. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s new record, "The Navigator," is out this week. For more, we speak with Alynda Segarra.

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We end our International Women’s Day special with the musician and activist Alynda Segarra, leader of the critically acclaimed band Hurray for the Riff Raff. When she was just 17, Alynda left her home in the Bronx and began hopping freight trains. She eventually landed in New Orleans, where she learned to play banjo.
Over the past decade, her band, Hurray for the Riff Raff, has become one of the most celebrated bands in modern folk music. In 2014, the publication American Songwriter named her tune "The Body Electric" the song of the year. NPR declared the same tune to be the political folk song of 2014.
Hurray for the Riff Raff’s new record, The Navigator, is out this week. Part of it celebrates Alynda’s Puerto Rican heritage. One tune, "Pa’lante," is named after a newspaper published by the Young Lords. Another tune, "Rican Beach," has been described as an anti-gentrication anthem.
Well, Alynda Segarra recently came into our Democracy Now! studios to perform and talk about her music. I began by asking her to talk about her life journey.
ALYNDA SEGARRA: I left home when I was 17, as you said. I was just kind of like a rebellious kid that felt like there was this big world out there for me. And I grew up in the Bronx. I, for some reason, just really felt like—like I didn’t belong here, or anywhere, for that matter. And I really wanted to just kind of escape and see the country and get to know this America that was very like mythical to me. I was listening to some Woody Guthrie. I think he definitely influenced me. And I was like doing bad in school. I just decided to risk it and to go out on the road.
AMY GOODMAN: Were you already playing music?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: No, not really. I was writing a lot of poetry. That’s what I was doing, writing a lot of poetry, going to see a lot of music. I was really involved in the Lower East Side punk scene. And I was a young feminist, you know. So, it was when I got to New Orleans when I started playing music, because I started playing music on the street there, busking and just trying to make some money.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you pick up the banjo?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Well, I first played the washboard, actually. And, you know, the group that I met there was a lot of other young street kids. And somebody actually gifted me a banjo. And I learned in a very communal atmosphere, like playing around the campfire and learning a lot of American folk songs, a lot of like Appalachian songs and blues songs. So I learned in that way.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you really hop trains across the country?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: I did, yeah, a lot of hitchhiking and train riding to get around. I was always with a group of kids. We were really just wanting to live on the outskirts of society, basically. We wanted to get in touch with an America that, we felt like, was hidden. You know, we wanted to like be in touch with the land, you know, just live this very radical, like romantic life, I guess.
AMY GOODMAN: Political songs and music—are you satisfied with politics being expressed in music, or do you think it’s not happening enough?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: I think it’s just beginning. You know, I felt like for the last couple of years, as the Black Lives Matter movement was growing, I was looking around at at least folk singers around me and wondering where our voices were. And now I feel like there is definitely more of a push for us to wake up and to sing what’s going on around us. You know, one of my heroes is Nina Simone, and I feel like it’s definitely the artist’s duty to talk about the times and to—in scary times, to bring these fears that we deal with alone into the public sphere. And that’s how we can feel stronger and feel like we can change something, you know?
AMY GOODMAN: So, can you set the scene for us for "Rican Beach"?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Well, Rican Beach is a place in my mind, because in the album there is a storyline. There is a character and a kind of a play-like story that’s going on, and it’s following this character Navita, which is based off of me. And she goes into the future in her own city, and she realizes that she does not recognize anything. Everything has been so gentrified, rapidly. And she’s looking for her people, her neighborhood, and she ends up at Rican Beach, which is where they all are. And so, Rican Beach was used as this—you know, it is a place in my imagination, but it represents what happens when people are pushed out of the city that they, you know, helped create, this city that they’re responsible for the culture, and they’re responsible for the soul of the city. And it’s what happens when you’re told, "We don’t want to see you anymore." You become the other, and you are pushed out. And I thought it was an important theme for right now, because I think it’s really easy for people to feel safe and to say, "Oh, these certain people are being attacked, but I’m safe." But "Rican Beach" kind of makes it—it brings it into this personal place, saying, "No, they’re building a wall around you and all of your neighbors." You know, so that’s what it’s about.
AMY GOODMAN: And tell us some of the models of protest and protecting home that inspired you for "Rican Beach."
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Well, definitely, the water protectors at Standing Rock were very inspirational to me. You know, I was just watching it, and reading about it, unfold, and felt like it was so—it lined up so much with the lyrics of the song to say that these—these folks were saying, "I will put my body on the line. I will be in danger, because that is how much I care about this land." And also it’s about protecting the land for future generations. And I think that is a theme in the album and a theme in "Rican Beach," saying that I’m going to protect this place because I want my children to have this space, and I want them to be able to thrive in this space.
AMY GOODMAN: So, this is an album. It’s not a Broadway show.
ALYNDA SEGARRA: No.
AMY GOODMAN: But some have been talking about the way you tell this story with this figure, oh, some comparisons to Hamilton. Do you mind that?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Oh, I don’t mind it at all. I mean, Lin-Manuel is such an inspiration to me, for sure. I’ve been a fan of him since In the Heights, because I felt like he was bringing the stories of Latinx people into this very prestigious arena, you know? And I felt like when I—I never got to see In the Heights, but when I’d hear the songs and watch snippets of it, I felt like, "Wow! Those are my people and my stories that I—you know, and my neighbors, and we deserve to be represented like that, too." So, I hope to put it on as a play someday.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to go to you singing, here in our studio, "Rican Beach."
ALYNDA SEGARRA: [singing] Man built the railroad
Man gotta move
Man made a record
Put a needle to groove
Man been up
Oh, and man been down
Now man don’t want
No one around
Well, first they stole our language
Then they stole our names
Then they stole the things
That brought us fame
And they stole our neighbors
And they stole our streets
And they left us to die
On Rican Beach
Well, you can take my life
But don’t take my home
Baby, it’s a solid price
Comes with my bones
AMY GOODMAN: That’s "Rican Beach," Alynda Segarra singing one of the songs on her latest album, The Navigator
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —which tells your story and your navigation through life.
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Yeah, the idea of The Navigator really sparked a lot of concepts for me. You know, it asks questions like: Who’s driving us as a country? It asks questions like: Who’s driving you as you go through your journey through life? Is it your ancestors or your intuition? And also just the concept of navigating identities and obstacles through society. I feel like my whole life I was trying to learn: How can I be as free as possible as a young Puerto Rican woman? How can I, you know, divert these obstacles that are in my way?
AMY GOODMAN: So, OK, one more treat here: "The Navigator."
ALYNDA SEGARRA: [singing] Today I feel weak
But tomorrow I’ll feel a queen
I was raised by the street
Do you know that really means?
All this hurt I’ve suffered
It just begins again
In a baby girl
Or a full-grown man
Tomorrow will come
Like the turning of the sun
Over tall buildings
And the beating of a drum
It lives in my heart
But buried in the past
Here comes the navigator
She knows you’re fading fast
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Alynda Segarra. She’s the lead singer of Hurray for the Riff Raff, performing in Democracy Now!’s studios "The Navigator." And this is the latest album. But talk about, back in 2014, what went into making, to writing, to singing "Body Electric"?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: Well, "The Body Electric," at first, I really wanted to kind of respond to the tradition of murder ballads in American folk music. I feel like folk music is a conversation through the ages, and I, as a feminist, wanted to put in my voice and say, "This is what it feels like to be a woman and to be in danger and to be—you know, to be used as a prop, kind of, for a story that ends with, you know, my death." And so, this was my response song. But it also—with time, it grew, and it turned into a song that was about being dehumanized and also having your own body be used as a weapon against you, being told that violence against you was because you were too, you know, sexy or because of your race or because of your—you know, your body type. And so I really wanted to just get into that idea of what that—what that’s like to be told that you are the reason for violence against you, you know, when your own body is turned against you.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to "The Body Electric."
ALYNDA SEGARRA: [singing] Said you’re gonna shoot me down, put my body in the river
Shoot me down, put my body in the river
And the whole world sings, sing it like a song
The whole world sings like there’s nothing going wrong
He shot her down, he put her body in the river
He covered her up, but I went to get her
And I said, "My girl, what happened to you now?"
I said, "My girl, we gotta stop it somehow"
AMY GOODMAN: That’s a song you may know, "The Body Electric." It is Alynda Segarra, lead singer of Hurray for the Riff Raff. You’ve always been fiercely political and also personal. Do you feel your music shifting now in the era of Trump?
ALYNDA SEGARRA: I feel it’s definitely a time to be brave. You know, I feel like I—when the election happened, I was very afraid, like many people. And I think it’s OK to say that I was afraid, you know, because I want—I want us to all share that together. But to be—you know, you have to be afraid at first in order to be brave. It’s really a time to put all these ideas that I always had into practice. And I look to my idols—you know, like I look to Nina Simone, I’ll look to bell hooks, I look to Sylvia Rivera and Julia de Burgos—to give me strength and to just continue the work that I’ve been trying to do.
AMY GOODMAN: Alynda Segarra, leader of the band Hurray for the Riff Raff. In 2014, American Songwriter named "The Body Electric" the song of the year. NPR declared it the political folk song of 2014. Alynda’s new album, The Navigator, is out this week.
Visit our website at democracynow.org to see our full interview, with Alynda Segarra’s full performance in our studio. And that does it for our show and this special on International Women’s Day.