by LouAnn Villani and Stanley Heller
Millions of women in the US and worldwide filled the streets in major and small cities to rebuke President Donald J. Trump for his contempt for women and threats to women’s basic rights over their bodies. It wasn’t just DC and NYC and LA. Numbers in smaller areas were astounding. 10,000 marched in Montpelier, VT, 12,000 in Oklahoma City, and thousands gathered in Columbia, SC. Rallies were held worldwide on seven continents, including Antarctica.
We were in NYC to march with Jewish Voice for Peace (CT). The JVP banner said “Resistance is the New Normal.” That was one of the key words of the day. People were not making appeals to Trump. Instead, there was a lot of anger and derision, much of it personal and some of it very vulgar. References to women’s private parts were on many signs and some referred to alleged Trump activities in Moscow like the sign that said “Urine Trouble.” Other signs read “A Woman’s Place Is in the Resistance,” “I Fight Like a Girl,” “Hands Off Our Bodies” and “United States of Nasty Mujeres.” Of course we just saw the signs in our area, a very small part of the sea of femininity.
Signs and chants weren’t limited to strictly women’s issues. Many chants talked about refugees, Black Lives Matter, the climate and the need to protect Muslim women. JVP and the Palestinian support group Adalah-NY chanted about Palestine. You can see a two-minute video of the signs with audio of a women singing a song from Adalah-NY at TheStruggle.org in its video section.
The question is what comes next. Some want to channel this back into the same old politics. That would be a disaster. If the warnings about Trump’s “fascist” ideas are true we don’t know if there even will be fair elections in our future. We also don’t want this to be seen as people disgruntled because Hillary and the Democrats lost. Truth be told that was much of the story of the last 8 years. Obama was at war every day of his presidency. His support for the Saudi and Israeli war-fare was disgusting, but so many gave him a pass because he was supposedly a progressive or someone who would listen sympathetically. During Obama’s presidency, rallies were small and very rarely was he mocked personally.
We need to discuss the ways people can resist without the politicians. We also need to talk about a far different future. For all the talk about the Obama “recovery” the election showed there are a lot of people in this super-rich country hurting badly, grasping at racist and women-hating solutions to their problems. The numbers people should have looked at were not the opinion polls, but the numbers on opioids, the numbers working three jobs to stay above water, and the number of “food insecure” children. If we call to go back to the warfare-welfare state we lose. We need to struggle for something far better.