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Striking signs of the times from women in revolt

Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope — Voices from the Women’s March

by Various (Artisan Books, £11.99)

WHY We March is a pictorial history of the Women’s March on January 21 this year which took place worldwide.

The book includes 500 photographs, mainly from cities in the US, which demonstrate how millions of women, men and children raised their voices and placards on issues such as reproductive rights, migrant rights, police violence, climate change and feminism.

All the profits from the book are going to Planned Parenthood, the US organisation that provides reproductive health services.

Many of the signs carried by the protesters feature Donald Trump — his ascent to the presidency provoked a groundswell, particularly among women, against the way he flaunted his misogyny and issued threats against women’s rights.

“Trump, illegitimate, ignorant, intolerant, instrument of international interests,” is written on one placard, while a shorter one reads: “Love Trumps Hate.” Another one screams: “I will not go back to the 1950s,” while the controversy about Russia’s alleged involvement in the US elections is referenced both in Paris and New York: “Tinkle, Tinkle Little Czar, Putin put you where you are.”

The homemade signs really stand out, with one child in London clutching a piece of cardboard with the message: “Babies against Bullshit.”

The authors comment that the marches brought a real mixture of ages, ethnicities, religion, sexual orientation, classes and gender identities on to the streets — though I’m not sure how they gauged the economic classes of the marchers — and it would have perhaps been better to tell us a bit more about who was demonstrating, rather than include comments from celebrities such as Helen Mirren and Barbra Streisand.

And missing from the photos are any trade union banners or political parties. Is that because they did not take part or were not chosen to be in the book? Great as it is seeing people expressing their anger at political events, the question remains: What happens next?

Women did march in January in my home city of Manchester but, apart from organising another march and even though austerity has hit women twice as hard as men, we have yet to see women leading an organised fightback.



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