Pro-choice actions and wearing in the activist groove

September 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

My life was full to the brim with activism for a few months, and for the last week or so I’ve been staking out some more time for academia, my day job, helped along by a self-enforced sabbatical in the ACT.

I have three new posts from the F Collective site that I’ve been meaning to share here, but I’ve left it a little long, so two in one hit today (don’t say I never treat you nice). The first post is about a protest I was heavily involved in planning and took a key part in, the second I helped organise but couldn’t attend. Lived vicariously through the photos, and you can too.

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#Occupied: The NSW Right to Life Conference

On Saturday, this Right to Life event took place. Except that it didn’t, because feminists occupied it. Or, if you like, #destroyedthejoint.

NSW Right to Life invited the lovely David Bereit (pronounced bee-rite) to speak at their conference dinner on Saturday night while he does a speaking ‘tour‘ of Australia.

If you’ve followed any of the links above, I don’t have to tell you that this man is proud to announce that he has closed 23 abortion centres. He was national director of Stop Planned Parenthood. He started 40 days for life. He is vile and he wants to take away women’s control of their bodies, and trans* folks bodies too.

*Some feminists* (no names) were motivated enough to want to interrupt this guy. We wanted to let him know that he is not welcome to fuck us over, to try to change the culture of reproductive rights in Australia. We wanted to take direct, non-violent action to make sure the people peddling this stuff know that they are not unopposed – in fact their opposition (that’s us) is strong, tough and amazing. We wanted to take our glittery, beautiful, feminist fight to those who want to take away our control of our bodies. So we did.

We went to North Ryde RSL and threw a glittery ballet flat at him, in homage to other inspiring activists who have used this symbol to make their voices heard. We yelled “this is for all the women who’ve died in backyard abortions.” The room went silent. They heard us.

Two feminists then occupied the floor in front of the lectern. Our comrades rushed in to join us at the front. One of us took over the lectern and spoke about women’s rights to control their bodies. We played Peaches (fuck the pain away). Some of us gave attendees at tables our ‘prayer for women everywhere,’ which you can see here (PDF): Prayer 1.

We stood proudly in a row in front of the audience. We ruined their meal.

We glitter bombed the audience. We used glitter and pink shoes and music to have fun and show that resistance against oppression is beautiful. We did it to contrast their conception of femininity as passive, a chalice for ‘new life,’ with our ideas of liberated femininity. Our femininity is empowered, and on Saturday night, it was about action, fierceness, non-violent resistance, solidarity and strength.

Mary Lee Sargent, a mother of feminist direct action, says of women (this web page is poorly formatted but worth reading!):

We have been socialized to fear physical danger, discouraged from taking risks and engaging in deeds of daring- do… Despite these obstacles, what leaps out at anyone who reads the newspapers is that women are resisting injustice. For those who look, it is also evident that women have always resisted injustice and will continue to resist it in the future.

We did it. More on this soon.

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Though shalt not mess with my reproductive rights

That protest we invited you to – did you make it?

If you didn’t, here’s what you missed!

If you did, here’s a selection of photos to remember it by. They’re beauties, all taken and provided by the excellent Kate Ausburn, of coal seam gas reporting fame. You can check out her full set here.

F member and attendee Emily said:

It was fun!

Turnout was good. Around 30 – 35 on my rough head count, which is amazing for 7:30 Monday and with such a short build up. There also seemed to be a lot of women who were not necessarily there from F directly. I think that is pretty exciting.

Interestingly Notre Dame had security guards at all of their entrances and you could only get through with Notre Dame ID. It has clearly stepped up since Saturday night 🙂

We were highly visible and George and Mac did a great job with signs, leaflets and posters. Oh and we also got pretty noisy with some chanting with the two giant mega phones and the accompaniment of horns as people drove past.

All in all I reckon it was a pretty successful action and a nice accompaniment to the Saturday night disruption.

Enjoy!

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