Taking the Revolution to One Billion Rising:

Dancing, Screaming, Marching with
Women of the World

February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. One Billion Women. On February 14, people across the U.S. and around the world responded to a call from the V-Day movement for “ONE BILLION women and those who love them ... to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence.” Revolution had called on readers to join these events and get out A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity; palm cards of quote 3:22 from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian; and promotional material about the film premiering in March, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Revolution received the following report from a reader in Chicago:


Hundreds of women of all nationalities and some men swarmed into downtown to participate in One Billion Rising. The energy and excitement was palpable. As the crowd continued to build, a group of us revolutionaries marched into the middle of the plaza before the dance began, chanting “Break the chains, unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution.” Smiles came across people’s faces. We focused on taking out the March film premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

The fact that the One Billion Rising events were going on all over the world really inspired people. Many young women took up our stickers “Create a World without Rape” and “Fight for the Emancipation of Women all over the World.”

As the MC called for the One Billion Rising dance, the plaza was packed. Mainly young women, but also some older women joined in. It was 20 minutes of nonstop joy—women showing their strength, dancing, screaming, and yelling all together. At the end many hugged each other in a show of solidarity.

We asked women, “Why are you here rising?” One of the young women, who said she had been raped herself, said she came out “so that my sister, my mother, no woman anywhere would ever have to suffer this!” Another woman said, “I was raped when I was 12. I didn’t even know what rape was.” Many of the women who we spoke to had been assaulted at one point in their lives. One woman told me, “He hit me once and that was it. I walked, but many others don’t.” We met a number of women who had struggled to break with abusive relationships. One woman said, “I don’t think that people realize it is the people themselves being active that has the only possibility of bringing change,” adding, “I’m sick of the tag team of the Democrats versus the Republicans.” As it turns out, she hasn’t given up altogether on the elections but is grappling with it.

A different woman told of seeing footage on the morning news of women in India and Afghanistan—all part of One Billion Rising. She was elated to be part of a global movement! The elation was there too when a woman spoke about standing up today—she kept smiling the biggest smile, even as she spoke about being a victim of rape.

But the big question many wrestled with was what it would take to stop this violence against women and others. We found that many of the women didn’t look at what was going on as a single issue; many linked it to the whole direction the world is going in, from torture, drones, police brutality, what was happening to the youth, to the oppression of women.

We got into it with people. We went right into the mix with revolution and the premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! One woman responded, “Well, if that’s what it would take to end these crimes, then yes, revolution! Whatever it takes!” At the same time, this was a real point of controversy. One woman said, “Well, we have to just keep at it and little by little things will get better.” When asked how so, she insisted, “What I mean is that social inequality is being reduced over time.” A gray-haired woman jumped into it, saying, “Well, I’ve been doing this for many years and the issues are all the same! No change in over 30 years and actually it’s even worse! I am not saying to give up, not at all—but these things are systemic!” Several said they’d like to come to the film, and to the bookstore. One woman said, “Isn’t it funny that the same people who want you to go along with all this just stay quiet and not speak out; they are the same people who lie to you about things like communism!”

We showed them Revolution newspaper and A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanityand gave them the flier for the film, asking them what they thought was the root cause for the culture of rape, patriarchy, and the oppression of women. Several stopped for a minute and searched for an answer. The vast majority said they didn’t know or they hadn’t thought about it. We pointed out that without knowing the problem, you can’t come up with a solution that will get rid of not just this but all the other horrors in the world—and not just in this society. They need to see this film and engage with BA. Many also took the Stop Patriarchy and Pornography flier that we got out in the crowd.

One younger white woman started talking about U.S. drones. Another woman said how disappointed she was with Obama and felt like she’d been fooled. One woman said in response, “This [One Billion Rising] is the revolution” and we got into how more resistance is needed against the oppression of women but in and of itself that won’t end the oppression of women or all the many crimes of this system; how women have been resisting for decades and it’s worse and will be until we have a communist revolution that gets rid of capitalism. Many young women agreed that the situation for women is getting worse, that the talk of equality isn’t true. Several brought up examples of how it’s gotten worse since they were coming up, and these were women in their early 20s.

One thing that came up was that many had not heard of BA. We said, “That’s why we’re out here” and we talked about what he stood for and the approach to problem and solution. Another woman had already gotten a small stack of cards and said she was coming with others to the movie. She didn’t have the CD of the Cornel West interview with BA so we got her one. She was excited about it. We asked her for a donation and she pulled out $5. One of the things that resonated strongly with her was that we were posing that people had to step up and take up responsibility for being part of the revolution.

The march took off for the performance center to dance again and to keep going into the night.

The determination and vibrant spirit of the crowd filled the air and many thanked us for being there. This rising brought together some very new and fresh forces, people who don’t go to demonstrations and protest. This was a very favorable development and one we need to seize on and take higher, as part of building strength and a deeper understanding of why BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is a must see if you are serious about ending all oppression and emancipating humanity.


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