Why I Marched

So on the weekend I marched in Melbourne at one of the many “Solidarity” events happening across the world in support of those marching against Trump in the US.

There were at least 6,000 of us and possibly as much as 10,000.  Men, women (and presumably other genders), children and dogs walked from the State Library to Parliament, avoiding Bourke St. It was a good event, with several speakers. I made a few new friends along the way.

One of the speakers was Van Badham, a writer, columnist and feminist. I enjoyed her speech the best, because she made global events local and talked about intersectionality – the real sort. Like how we have to try and understand where people who vote differently are coming from. Times are changing rapidly and progress isn’t equal – so we need to be out and talking with people about concerns. Memorable quotes from her included, “If your feminism doesn’t involve being part of a union, then you’re doing it wrong”. While I’m wary sometimes of doing the whole “feminists are/not this or that”, I think Van Badham makes a good point. How can we change things if we’re not involved? How can we show that we share the same concerns if we’re not a part of those sorts of groups – if we’re not active? I’ll return to the union thing in a minute.

We need to come together. As Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep shows here, there are plenty of things that need change within Australia as well as outside. The activist group March in March Australia (via Trish Corry) has another list of Australian disgraces:

march-in-march-1

I was thinking about these things today when my friend pointed me in the direction of a movie, released a couple of years ago, that she’d just viewed. Anyone remember Pride? It was released in 2014 – it was one of the few movies I watched that year (I’m not a big movie-watcher….). It’s a film about true events that occurred in 1984-85, in Britain. “It’s the summer of 1984 Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.” Of course, when they try to donate the money there’s a bit of a culture clash at first. But the hand of friendship is extended between the group (Lesbians and Gays Supporting the Miners) and a small mining town, Onllwyn, in Wales. Despite hiccups, both ‘sides’ come to accept each other. It’s a brilliant story of allyship and intersectionality “done right”. The best part is that it is very close to the true story of what happened. Go watch it if you haven’t already. =)

It’s got a cracking script, paired with some great songs. Two in particular fit my mood today – the end song is “Power In A Union”, the version by Billy Bragg. The original song/manifesto is older than that. Unionism plays a big part in the film – please look Pride up and read the history behind it if you can’t watch the actual film. It’s so very relevant given the message of the Women’s March and of the film itself of being “stronger together”. Organise!

Hopefully in a non-violent fashion. I don’t want to sound preachy but I think the best way of doing things is to use words and constructive not destructive action. That doesn’t mean switching off, in the hope of “denying them oxygen”. As Jennifer Wilson said in a different article, speaking of another matter, “I disagree, not least because this is completely unrealistic: of course they will be given oxygen, and in view of that, to remain silent is to enable.” Well said! So let’s resolve to give up all forms of exclusion and in doing so, actively listen to each other, so we can better speak up for and support one another.

Another memorable quote from Badham spoke of us going away and talking, “in your schools, your offices, your mothers’ groups, your church groups” – I’m paraphrasing, because it’s been a few days so I can’t remember the exact words. But it’s still a good reminder that all of us have our own communities, plural, in which we can build change.
Or as Darth Timon put it, “So today, look to your pets. Look to your friends. Look to your significant other, your children, and your family. Look to all that is good, and kind, and unite in that spirit. Unite against the new occupant of the White House and his ilk. You are many, and you will make a difference.” (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll leave you with another song used in Pride that my friend pointed me towards again. I rediscovered my love of this song. I’ve used a clip from Pride because it is such a beautiful, powerful rendering of the song.

I give you, “Bread and Roses”. Song history here. It’s good. Quote from the song: “Hearts starve as well as bodies/ Give us bread, but give us roses”.

 

 

 

 

 

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