by Michelle Xai
On March 11, 2023 about 65 people came together on Venice Beach for an International Women’s Day march and rally that was joyous, fierce and revolutionary. We kicked off the day with a powerful rally at the Venice Boardwalk. We chanted together, heard speakers from Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights (RU4AR), from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC), and from the Revcoms. We also had song and poetry, with members of the Revolution Club performing “Cancion Sin Miedo” and a poem written by a Revcom “Because…”.
The RU4AR speaker gave people a sense of the urgency of taking on the attacks on abortion rights, and what RU4AR is working on and bringing to people, challenging the idea that we are safe being in states like California, while others tell women to stay calm. The speakers from the IEC brought to life the courageous struggle of the women in Iran, the demand that all the political prisoners be freed. They told us of the horrible repression women and girls are facing, but also shined a light to the possibility of a different world. They led us in a chant: “Women, Life, Freedom! Zan, Zendegi, Azadi!”
Annie Day with the Revcoms brought to people what they don’t know and have not felt – that we don’t have to live this way. What a new society would look and feel like, the possibility to make a revolution, and what we have to shake off to make that revolution a reality. People from the stage to the crowd were in tears, inspired and unleashed. The rally was powerful and moving, people who came feeling alone especially right now, were welded together as a force, beginning with the rally and through the course of the day, moving together to impact with these slogans.
One big part of the day was the dance and song written by the Revcoms, “Battle cry to Break the Chains.” We began to learn the impact of this when we performed it before IWD with flash mobs. We learned what a simple yet powerful way this was for people to connect to the sentiments the dance expresses – going from watching it, being moved by it, to being able to easily learn the steps and to step into a collective expression on the spot. The dance expresses the slogan “Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution.” It gives people a way to unleash it and call forth this in others. People were pulling out their phones filming, with the biggest smiles on their faces. Every time we performed people joined it on the spot. People donated and some people came up wanting to sign up and get involved. We are continuing to learn the potential of this song and dance in impacting, and we definitely saw this at the march. People who came to the rally were unleashed with this, learning it, moving together, impacting together and really coming out of their shells.
We marched through Venice boardwalk where you see booty shorts with things like “Mike’s Bitch” & “Carlos’ Ass” and agitated “Women are NOT Bitches, Hoes, punching bags, Women are FULL Human beings!” This inspired someone to come up and lead us in this chant: “I’m not your bitch! I’m not your hoe! You better know, you better know!” This person and others brought so much strength, rage and determination. Young women, trans youth, and men brought a lot of fury through dance and marching. We chanted “Patriarchy. Capitalism, gotta get rid of the whole damn system” and had cheers coming from the large outdoor cafes, women high fiving each other, men grinning cheek to cheek at each other, couples where the women made them stop and listen, men expressing how strong it was.
The different people who all came together were very important. People we had met over the course of the last 2 weeks, who had seen this message at the beach, in their school, at the farmers’ markets, women who had taken part in the green wave in Mexico and Chile. All who came wanting to check it out and were very inspired by the whole thing. Nuri an Iranian women who had been imprisoned at the infamous Evin prison during the time of the Shah said “Yesterday was wonderful, it was really great. I forgot every bad thing and just recalled the good things when I was there. There was so much excitement and happiness in the faces of the many people who got the flyers, watched the dancing and music and heard the speeches, the different languages.”
At the celebration it continued, with a program with Bob Avakian (BA) at the heart of it, we showed a clip from the BA Interviews where he talks about the BAsics 3:22 quote. People who had never encountered this had a chance to meet BA and the response was audible. The kinds of discussions were very rich, with the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America opened up on a table, with discussions of what would a world without patriarchy look like? Why not revenge against rapists? Getting into the situation we are confronting, what is our strategy to change a situation where it all seems impossible to transform into something positive? Getting into questions of identity politics and how to deal with the ridiculous but dangerous charges of “cult” you will hear when you take this out. It truly came through how revolutionary the whole day was, what kinds of questions people were provoked to ask and learn more. One person who we met this past week was in tears when we told them we have a strategy to make revolution and BA has written a constitution for that society after a revolution, they came because they were inspired by this, and was part of really rich discussions of that constitution and a future society.
It was a very beautiful day, full of joy, determination and yes fury towards what is being done to half of humanity, and a lot of hope for what is possible through an actual revolution, people began to step into that future, with a different way to treat each other, being part of bringing this message to others, while themselves deepening their understanding.