Tag Archives: democracy

RUSSIA: Guarantee Free Speech, Release Pussy Riot!

23 Apr

Pussy Riot member arrested outside cathedral.
RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev.

Members of grrrl-led punk band Pussy Riot were arrested in Moscow this spring for an incendiary performance in a Russian Orthodox church.

The band, part of a large collective of feminist punk musicians, were protesting the patriarchal Russian political system and its connected cousin, the Orthodox Church.  According to this Al Jazeera report, the church has come under fire in recent years for its close ties to President Putin and the wealth of the church leaders.  See badass video below.

Pussy Riot perform their song “Holy Shit” at a Moscow cathedral in February.

For their brief overtaking of the cathedral, the band were arrested immediately.  Now Pussy Riot members face prison sentences of up to seven years for ‘hooliganism.’

Perhaps the group should face some repercussions for their scuffle with the Moscow police, but seven years seems absurdly harsh.  Feminist groups throughout Europe are calling for the group’s immediate release.  FreePussyRiot.org has begun to organize benefit concerts for the Pussy Riot legal defense fund.

The Russian Federation has been playing at increasing democracy and transparency since the fall of the USSR, but clearly, it still has a long way to go.  Where diplomacy rarely works, perhaps protest punk songs can.

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I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to No Good

27 Oct

“I solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties imposed upon me by appointment as an Election Officer of the City of Boston, according to the Laws of this Commonwealth, so help me God.”

Yep.  That’s right, folks, I’m going to be a poll worker.  No, not that kind of poll worker – though I do have a lot of respect for sex workers.

Oh, you’re without an address and have no ID?  Right this way, m’am….

This is going to be interesting.

Occupy Boston Marches Into Its Second Week

10 Oct

Spent most of the day at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square.

The weather was warm and the skies were clear.  Moods were positive.  Crowds were growing by the hour.

Some of the demonstrators’ signs used humor to make their points, as with the woman below.  Some were more serious, referring to the U.S.’s engagement in two hugely expensive wars without majority public support.  Many of the signs displayed for people passing by on Atlantic Avenue drew enthusiastic honks and cheers from passers by.

You can see more of my photos from today here.

"Ewok Puppies for Economic Justice." Photo by Samantha Herndon. 2011. All Rights Reserved.

This movement is powerful, diverse, beautiful and growing.  I urge you to check it out for yourself.

And if there’s not an occupation going on near you– why not start one?