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On February 21, 2012, five members of a Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot staged a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Dressed in brightly colored tights and balaclavas, they performed their “Punk Prayer” asking the Virgin Mary to drive out Russian president Vladimir Putin from the church. After just forty seconds, they were chased out by security. Once a retooled video of the events circulated on YouTube (edited to seem much longer than the actual performance), the state was riled into action. Three members of the collective, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, known as Masha, Nadya, and Katya, were arrested and charged with felony hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, an offense carrying a sentence of up to seven years. As their trial unfolded, these young women became global feminist icons, garnering the attention and support of activists and artists around the world, including Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Sting, as well as contributors to this book: Yoko Ono, Johanna Fateman, Karen Finley, Justin Vivian Bond, Eileen Myles, and JD Samson. The Internet exploded with petitions, music videos, and calls to action, and as the guilty verdict was anticipated, Pussy Riot responded with articulate, unwavering courtroom statements, calling for freedom of expression, an end to economic and gender oppression, and a separation of church and state. They were sentenced to two years in prison, and inspired a global movement. Collected here are the words that roused the world.
As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms in novel, unauthorized, and often shocking ways. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia's 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events. Essays include discussions of the blogs written by young women in Egypt, the Women2Drive campaign in Saudi Arabia, the reintegration of women into the public sphere in Yemen, the sexualization of female protesters encamped at Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout, and the embodied, performative, and artistic spaces of Morocco's 20 February Movement. Conceiving of revolution as affective, embodied, spatialized, and aesthetic forms of upheaval and transgression, the contributors show how women activists imagined, inhabited, and deployed new spatial arrangements that undermined the public-private divisions of spaces, bodies, and social relations, continuously transforming them through symbolic and embodied transgressions. Contributors. Lamia Benyoussef, Susanne Dahlgren, Karina Eileraas, Susana Galan, Banu Gökariksel, Frances S. Hasso, Sonali Pahwa, Zakia Salime
This collection examines the nexus between the emancipation of women, and their role(s) in civil service organisations. It covers the role of social media in organising, the significance of religion in many cultural contexts, activism in Eastern Europe and the impact of environmental degradation on women’s lives.
From activist, Pussy Riot member and freedom fighter Maria Alyokhina, a raw, hallucinatory, passionate account of her arrest, trial and imprisonment in a penal colony in the Urals for standing up for what she believed in. 'One of the most brilliant and inspiring things I've read in years. Couldn't put it down. This book is freedom' Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick 'Reading: RIOT DAYS, by PussyRiot member MariaAlyokhina. A women's prison memoir like no other! One tough cookie!' @MargaretAtwood 'In oppressive political systems, some of the most effective weapons are sarcasm and dark humour. It is exactly these weapons that are employed by Masha Alyokhina in the brilliantly written Riot Days. Once you begin reading, you are completely disarmed, unable to put it down until the last page' Marina Abramovic People who believe in freedom and democracy think it will exist forever. That is a mistake. What happened in Russia - what happened to me - could happen anywhere. When I was jailed for political protest, I learned that prison doesn't just teach you to follow the rules. It teaches you to think that you can never break them. It's inevitable that the prison gates will open at some point. But this doesn't mean that you leave the 'prisoner' category and go straight into the category of 'the free'. Freedom does not exist unless you fight for it every day. This is the story about how I made a choice. We are all Pussy Riot. And actions break fear. 'To Back Down an Inch is to Give Up a Mile'.
A high-octane account of the politics and subterfuge of modern-day Russia As 2011 came to a close, in what was a watershed moment, 100,000 took to Moscow's freezing streets to protest the election victory of United Russia – Vladimir Putin's party – amid widespread allegations of corruption and vote-rigging. A few months later, Pussy Riot hit headlines around the world when they were arrested following their anti-Putin demonstration in a Russian Orthodox cathedral. The vicious battle for Russia's soul continues to this day. In the first book to take the reader straight to the beating heart of the opposition movement, journalist and long-time Moscow resident Marc Bennetts introduces a new generation of Russian dissidents, united by their hatred of Putin and his bid to silence all political adversaries. We meet a bustling cast of urban youth working to expose the injustices of the regime and a disjointed bunch of dissenters – from 'It Girl' hipsters to 21st-century socialists. Featuring rare interviews with everyone from Pussy Riot and top protest leaders to Kremlin insiders, Bennetts' compelling narrative is an astonishing journey through Russia's new protest movements.
The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth. Masha Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.
How can "Speaking Rights to Power" construct political will to respond to human rights abuse worldwide? Examining dozens of cases of human rights campaigns and using an innovative analysis of the politics of persuasion, this book shows how communication politics build recognition, solidarity, and social change. Building on twenty years of research on five continents, this comprehensive study ranges from Aung San Suu Kyi to Anna Hazare, from Congo to Colombia, and from the Arab Spring to Pussy Riot. Speaking Rights to Power addresses cutting edge debates on human rights and the ethic of care, cosmopolitanism, charismatic leadership, communicative action and political theater, and the role of social media. It draws on constructivist literature from social movement and international relations theory, and analyzes human rights as a form of global social imagination. Combining a normative contribution with judicious critique, this book shows how human rights rhetoric matters-and how to make it matter more.

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