Marseille, France: Reportback from the non-mixed night march of March 7th

The following communiqué was written collectively by a small group of participants in a non-mixed night demo that took place in Marseille on 7/3/2015.

No State, No Patriarchy, No Compromise – Feminist Bash Back: Total Liberation

Your hands on my hips = My fist in your face

We are tired of having to deal with this hetero-patriarchal world. Tired of being scared to go out at night; tired of not being listened to, of being crushed, made invisible, and of being discredited.

We vomit on the state, its parity and its tragically comical jokes aimed to make us believe in any small advances. We don’t want that. We long for something that can be born only from the ashes of it all. Our feminism is insurrectional and full of anger, it’s sick of being comprehensive and pacifist, it longs to be effective and it longs to see our aggressors in tears.

The night of the 7th of March, following a callout [“between women, feminists, dykes, meufs*, trans and lesbians”], we therefore decided to make it clear to those who have once more ignored that the streets belong to us.

Listen dude, I’m explaining to you: Shut your mouth!

It was already night time when we met up in front of Longchamp Palace. We were around 400 women, dykes and transpeople. The atmosphere was euphoric; everyone seemed to be pretty pleased at the idea to march into the city without cis males explaining how to do it all. Quite a few different things were organised: banners and placards very creative with clever wording, lists of chants, leaflets explaining why the march was non-mixed and legal information were passed around; a large part of all this was explained in sign language. Unfortunately, some cissexist people had the bad idea to bring a placard in the shape of a cunt, excluding transpeople present.

The demonstration left with lots of motivation towards Réformés under the light of several DIY flaming torches, amidst many slogans and chants, including “The street pleases us; we want to walk in peace” & “Women, join us” (but sadly not people who don’t fit within the gender binary, or transmen…) to motivate people from outside of the demo to join in.

At this moment, our small group, masked up and dressed in black began to tag the walls and spray-paint a passing tram with feminist and trans slogans and symbols. At the beginning, people around us weren’t so happy with this, but in time a few people came and showed their support. Nearby to La Plaine, two BACs [Anti-Crime Brigade plainclothes cops] tried to join the demonstration and stared down at those who were tagging away from the rest of the demo, but they were ejected by demonstrators who reminded them vigorously that the march was non-mixed. Sometime later, with tags continuing to spread out along the route, a branch of Postal Bank received several cans of pink paint.

A lot of men were present on the terraces of bars this Saturday night, trying to yell sexist remarks to piss off demonstrators. Vehement reactions of solidarity from others around us forced these individuals to leave us alone. For example, there was one man on a scooter who tried to pass by forcing through the middle of the crowd and received many hits from placards and a spray of teargas from one participant, or another guy who didn’t want the demo to pass in front of his bar and so received a new paint job. There were, however, some not so nice incidents inside the procession, notably some transpeople who were misgendered or received remarks questioning their presence. And so several rubbish bins were set on fire; other people inside the march decided to play cop/firefighter and extinguished them as they passed. If these people are reading this text, special dedication: we do not need pacifiers. Despite all of this, after nearly three hours of marching we descended to the Vieux Port, where the demonstration ended calmly without any trouble with the cops or arrests (as far as we know).

What came out of this march was notably an alliance against the cops and irritating guys, and a respect for the method of action of everybody much more than elsewhere; even with several reformists who were visibly somewhat lost and who tried to make an issue with other people because they were masked up and tagging. Within our small group, as well as more generally, the organisation and communication between demonstrators worked well. Several precautions were put in place in case of problems with the cops and the justice system, which was reassuring even if luckily we didn’t need to use them. This was a very positive experience for us, which empowered us a lot and, apparently, the majority of participants. We hope that another march like this will happen soon, despite the disappointment of not having had any other stealthy comrades. Let’s spread a burst of collective destruction for the next occasions to come.

We have spent too much time defending ourselves, time to be on the offensive!

We would like to take this moment to communicate our support for Fran Thomson, long-term prisoner and victim of repression from the sexist state.

Solidarity with all victims of hetero-patriarchy!

*The term ‘meufs’ is non-derogatory ‘backwards slang’ for women