Thursday, December 22, 2011

Occupy LA's "Bikini Drill Squad" (video)

Lucky and Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly (REPORTING); Occupy LA;
FEMEN is a provocative protest group, founded in 2008, internationally-known for topless protests against sexism, sex tourism, student issues, modern erotic art, and other topics.

Last night's Occupy LA General Assembly [12/21/11] was one of the best attended. This was thanks to "Occupy the Light" at Pershing Square, which ended in a candlelight walk through downtown to the west steps of City Hall. (The sole proposal, which passed, was officially backing today's California Nurses' Union strike; the main topic of discussion was a nationwide strike on May 1st). Server Lauren, supported by Australian Sophia, pitched a daring idea: Let's strip down to bikinis, use choreographed routines, sing protest songs, and flaunt it along the police line at peaceful protests. This is the birth of the Bikini Drill Squad. Wisdom Quarterly talked to a pair of its leaders.

PHOTOS: Nude protests by FEMEN activists

Bearing a resemblance to Occupy LA's Lauren and Sophia, Inna Shevchenko (left) and Oksana Shachko are activists in the Women's Movement "FEMEN" in Kiev, Ukraine, Dec. 21, 2011. The Ukrainian organization of topless women activists says three of its members were abducted by security officers during a protest against Belarus' authoritarian president, beaten, humiliated, and left naked in a forest (AP/Sergei Chuzavkov). See story below.

  • How much have you thought this through?
  • It's still in the planning stages.
  • Sophia, what is the plan?
  • Dancing, demonstrating, and singing protest songs on the front line during actions.
  • For the police?
  • For everybody.
  • Given the way police mix sex and violence, using it as a tactic of repression (groping, fondling, searching, violating, forcing detainees to strip and shimmy, raping), is that really a good idea?
  • Lots of the women here might be really uptight about us wearing bikinis.
  • We could play volleyball. Or we could all wear blue bras in protest.
  • Yeah, I saw that. But our boots and bikinis would be made out of American flags.
  • And that way they wouldn't dare rip them?
  • It's still...
  • --in the planning stages. That part will probably need a little more planning.
  • Americans are WAY too uptight about sex.
  • Violence every day of the week, but you can't even mention "breasts" or "sex." Until you go out of the country, like to England, you don't realize how Puritanical we are. But it becomes obvious that we are that way. They have Page 3 Girls...
  • We have...
  • Hypocrisy, denial. Not everyone, but everyone here is affected by Judeo-Christian mores. Our minds have been colonized. It comes with high morals.
  • Free your minds!
  • And your bikini will follow? Is it like this in Australia?
  • We need to do something to get attention. Australia is the opposite. There no one cares if you sunbathe topless, but here it's impossible -- even at camp.
  • Yeah, where's the "free love" in this movement? You hear about it: "Make love not war."
  • Oh, some of it was definitely going on.
  • But nowhere near the levels they said. And it should have been. We're so uptight.
  • I don't think these women will want to participate.
  • You think they'll even let it be an officially-sanctioned OLA committee?
  • Affinity group. Lauren [who had just proposed the idea to the GA] is very passionate about this.
Meanwhile, Lauren had found five women to join the squad. And we recommended the squad perform like cheerleaders at GA. Do it for the occupiers not police. Use it to call attention to things, not taunt. The squad agreed. It's still in the planning stages. General Assemblies are now held every other day, same time, same place. Have a bikini, have a flag, want to make a difference?

*Topless protesters return after Belarus ordeal
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Three women with a Ukrainian topless-protest group have returned from Belarus, where they claim they were abducted and beaten.

The members of the group FEMEN, whose members bare their breasts to draw attention to various political and social issues, accuse Belarusian security officers of seizing them in retaliation for a protest Monday against authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Activist Oksana Shechko told The Associated Press in Kiev on Wednesday that she and the other two young women were kidnapped, made to undress in a freezing forest, threatened with death and rape, smeared with paint, and had their hair cut.

Belarusian authorities have denied involvement in the activists' alleged ordeal. Source

There's something very sexual about the way riotous police handle female demonstrators. Here a police officer uses pepper spray on an Occupy Portland protester at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, OR, Nov. 17, 2011 (AP/The Oregonian/Randy L. Rasmussen). Police clashes mar Occupy Wall Street protests

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