Don’t let Trump derail gender equality talks, experts caution G7 leaders

Gender council members insist leaders must honour plans to discuss equality despite tensions over US tariffs

Members of the G7′ s first gender advisory board have vowed that talks about US tariffs will not overshadow deliberations about women’s empowerment as they prepare to meet world leaders this weekend.

Justin Trudeau made the advisory council to provide leaders with expert guidance on gender equality and to ensure the issue takes centre stage at the G7 summit , which begins in Quebec on Friday.

The Canadian “ministers “, whose country holds the G7 presidency this year, has established gender parity and female empowerment among five core topics to be tackled at the meeting.

On Saturday morning, the heads of state and government will meet with members of the gender equality advisory council, co-led by Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The council includes figures such as Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Members want G7 leaders to officially institute the advisory council to ensure commitments to gender equality made by the heads of state and government are tracked.

Trudeau said earlier this week that gender equality would remain a top priority at the summit, despite concerns Canada’s agenda could be derailed by debate over US tariffs.

Katja Iversen, a member of the 21 -strong council and chairman of Women Deliver, a global advocacy group for women’s rights, said:” These are world leaders who can walk and chew gum at the same time. They can talk trade and also gender equality .”

In a report published ahead of the summit, which referenced #MeToo and other grassroots feminist movement, the council called for a” fundamental transformation of unequal power in gender relations “.

Iversen said the emphasis on gender equality at the summit was unprecedented.

” We’ve been privy to some of the documents and we have never seen such a focus on gender equality ,” she said.” We will be briefing the heads of government, including Theresa May, on Saturday morning for a full hour. Afterwards, they will have 45 minutes between themselves to talk about gender inequality. So, out of two days, we will, for the first time, have almost two hours dedicated to gender equality .”

She added:” To those who believe gender equality is a soft issue, we would say it is a steel hard issue. There is likely to be discussions on tariff and trade, but data from McKinskey has shown that we would insure a growth of 26% in GDP if we had gender equality. That’s a lot of money and a significant driver of the economy, which is untapped at the moment. It is a security and economic and social issue .”

Iversen welcomed calls from May for a united front to tackle cyberbullying, and agreed that it was vital that any action is followed up with a legal framework to tackle online persecution.

Iversen said:” I commend her for doing this. We see it in a broader context. What is online can become offline and real. Online bullying is a democratic issue as well. I don’t know any women who has participated in debates and policy who has not been attacked online- from humiliating commentaries to death and rape threats .”

The council’s recommendations include is also committed to “mandate” gender parity on boards and leadership positions by 2030, to follow Britain’s example in providing 0.7% of gross national income to foreign aid, and to fighting gender-based violence and sexual harassment. It also exhorts leaders to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, and to supporting developing and conflict-affected nations in offering a minimum of 12 years of free, safe and gender-responsive education.

Michael Kaufman, novelist and co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, which seeks to engage humen in the fight to end violence against women, said:” It’s important to push our political leaders beyond stimulating nice statements, but to put in place policies and construct these thing happen .”

Kaufman, who is the only male member of the gender inequality advisory board, said:” We’re not naive. We don’t think this is the road to Damascus for certain leaders, but we hope to have an impact.

” People presume G7 is an annual photo op, but it is a year-long process of ministerial meetings. It’s an opportunity not just to fulfill a handful of leaders but a broader range of people who have an impact .”

Another council member, Farrah Khan, administrator of Consent Comes First, at Ryerson University, Toronto, said she was buoyed by the decision in Ireland last night to overturn the country’s forbidding on abortion.” I hope the G7 see this as something to fight for .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Honest Truth About Finding Your Forever Person Too Early

Finding your forever person is hard enough, but finding them five or ten years too early is heartbreaking to say the least.

Finding your forever person is like finding your soulmate. Seemingly impossible, but when you find it, you grab onto it with all the strength that you have. And when you find that kind of love, you never ever want to let go of it. But sometimes, it’s just the wrong timing. And sometimes, that bond breaks and bends and there is nothing you can do about it. It just happens.

When you find your forever person too early, the thoughts of ‘forever’ and ‘ever after’ can go out the window. So often, we find our fairytale when we aren’t even grown yet. We find our happily ever after in high school or college, and we watch that slowly fade into black as time moves on. We find our ‘person’ at an age where we don’t even know who we are yet.

And how can we grow old with someone when we are barely old enough to know ourselves?

I found him when I was 17. He was ‘it’. The ‘one’. The boy of my dreams, the man of my destiny. But at 17, I didn’t know who I wanted to be. He didn’t know who he wanted to be. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, and neither did he. We were just two people, floating through life aimlessly, not knowing what the future had in store.

Three years passed, and I still thought he was the one. No one could have told me otherwise. No one could have convinced me that I was too young, or too naive for it to last. I it was going to last. I knew it in every cell in my soul and every bone in my body. It was a fact written on myexistence.

But at 21, when our college careers were taking flight and when plane rides and time change took it’s toll, we were through. It happened so slowly, that neither of us knew it was coming.

And all of a sudden, just in a matter of minutes, my forever was gone. My one and only, lost. My sanctuary and home for the last 3 years was now – empty.

I had my big love too early. It happened too quickly and ended too slowly. We were moving in fast motion right up until the end. My world went from a vivid redto grey and black clouds that blurred my vision.

When you find your forever person too early, there will be a permanent crack on your heart. When you find your forever person too early, a part of you will break and you will never get that piece back. When you find your forever person too early, it will take years for your heart to come back toits former self.

When you find your forever person too early, you will never be the same.

It’s a bittersweet symphony. Finding great love. Falling in love. Giving your heart to someone. Seeing a future with them, and having kids to call your own. You see a picture of how your life could be. And you see it with them.

But when it ends too soon, it’s hard to get back up again. It’s hard to pick up all of your shattered pieces that have been planted on the ground beneath you. When it ends too soon, it’s hard to get back to the person who you used to be, without them.

Read more:

No pain relief , no working water: the perils of childbirth in Tanzania | Leah McLaren

Natural birth is the only option for many females here, and though dedicated midwives do their best, the risk of infection and sepsis is high

At the Nyarugusu medical dispensary in north-west Tanzania, Eva Paulo, 23, is in her 36 th hour of labour. She paces barefoot in circles around the dusty yard behind the delivery room, her narrow back hunched in pain. Apart from her belly she is a slim female with an angular face, her hair rubbed back into rows of tidy plaits. When a contraction grips her, Paulo leans hard into the nearest tree, shuts her eyes and breathes mutely as the sweat beads off her forehead.

“This is too much,” she says, as another contraction racks her.” I don’t know why it’s taking so long. And the midwives, they don’t tell me anything .”

It is, of course, the universal complaint of women in labour the world over. But for many women in Tanzania,” natural birth” isn’t a preference or an accomplishment- it’s the only viable option.

Paulo is about to give birth for the fourth time in the most basic hospital conditions imaginable. The dispensary is composed of two unassuming cinder-block builds in a jacaranda thicket halfway up a mound. While the staff members will do their best, Paulo will receive no pain relief , no foetal monitoring and no medical interventions. The absence of physicians entails caesarean sections are not performed here.

Another problem- from which so many others stem- is a lack of water. There is no operating water for hand-washing, sterilisation or laundry. Toilets are filthy, squat outhouses a short stroll from the building.

Each morning, staff at the clinic buy 20 jerry cans of water from a local vendor for 500 shillings( about 16 p) each, for basic clean. The money comes out of their own pockets, which is significant for nurses who earn less than PS200 a month. Because of this, pregnant women are required to arrive with their own water.

Paulo’s water sits in the birthing room- three big vats of murky liquid purchased from a shallow well near her house an hour’s walk away.

The water in these buckets will sterilise any implements being implemented in her birth and induce the sweet tea she will drink in the late stages of labour. Finally, it will be used to hand-wash the bloodied linens and rubber sheet on which she devoted birth. A new mom cannot be discharged until she or her relative has done so.

Paulo’s experience is very much the norm. In Tanzania, merely 44% of healthcare facilities that deliver newborns have access to water, decent toilets and handwashing with soap. Of these, merely 24% have these facilities in the delivery room. The situation is similar across the region, with 42% of healthcare centres in sub-Saharan Africa having no water source within 500 metres.

By 8am each day, the dispensary’s open-air waiting area is packed with moms, pregnant women and newborns, most of whom have walked miles to get here. This is an area known for foreign-owned gold mine. What little job there is here is back-breaking and poorly paid. Although healthcare is free in Tanzania, patients have to buy their own drugs.

The medical staff at the dispensary- three registered nurse/ midwives, two trainee nurses, an office director and a lab technician- are clearly overworked. Clad in white smocks, they rush about with clipboards, weighing and immunising dozens of newborns, testing sick patients for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, often working 24 -hour switchings for no overtime, trying to get ahead of the river of patients, which can number 500 a day.

Buckets
Buckets of water from a privately owned shallow well on the edge of Nyarugusu- the closest water source to Nyarugusu Dispensary, a 15 -minute drive away. Photograph: Sameer Satchu/ WaterAid

Asked if she had a wish list for the clinic, midwife Jackeline Gideon Mwiguta says:” That’s easy. Running water, better equipment, more beds and more faculty .”

The NGO WaterAid is working with local government here to provide a clean, dependable water source for centres like the Nyarugusu dispensary. But this is a remote area in a poor country and progress is slow. A borehole has been excavated near the hospital but the pump has yet to be delivered. With luck, the dispensary will have water by Christmas.

In the birthing room, Pendo, 27, has just dedicated birth to a healthy son called Amos. She lives in a village 10 miles away and went into labour in the middle of the night. She set off for the dispensary with her “aunty”( her mother-in-law’s youngest sister) on a motorbike taxi at first light. After 20 minutes, she felt the need to push and told the driver to stop. Pendo then lay down by the side of the road and dedicated birth to her son. Her aunt cut the cord with a razor blade from her suitcase. Pendo and her aunty, with Amos in a bundle, then got back on the bike and drove the rest of the way to the dispensary. When they arrived, the midwife put a clip on the umbilical stump. That was about an hour ago. Now Pendo is resting under a white sheet while her aunt, who wears a Chelsea FC T-shirt and a traditional kitenge wrap skirt, cradles the baby.

Asked if Amos has been bathed, Pendo shakes her head. They will do it at home subsequently.” We didn’t have time to get water ,” she says.

Nurse-midwife
Nurse-midwife Jackeline Gideon Mwiguta carries the placenta out to the clinic’s disposal pit- an unlined pit in the ground where medical trash is afterward burned. Photo: Sameer Satchu/ WaterAid

A couple of hours later, Pendo and Amos are nowhere to be found. Not waiting to be discharged, they slipped out of the birthing room without the midwives noticing. Mwiguta says this is common. Perhaps they just wanted to go home or, more likely, they couldn’t afforded the 1,500 shillings for water.

Childbirth without water is unpleasant for all the obvious reasons but it’s also dangerous. If a labouring female comes in without her jerry cans and needs an episiotomy, for instance, the midwives must simply wipe down the instruments with bleach, instead of sterilising before cutting. The same runs for the scissors used to cut the umbilical cord.

Without water, the delivery room cannot be properly cleaned between deliveries, of which there are several each day. During the three days I spend there, it smells strongly of afterbirth and the floor is flecked with blood and dirt. Tanzania has induced great strides in lowering infant mortality in recent years, but its rate is still comparatively high. While just 3.6 in 1,000 British newborns will die before their first birthday, in Tanzania that number is 51. One major reason is the prevalence of bacterial infection and its deadly sibling, sepsis. During my day at the dispensary I speak to three bereaved mothers who had lost babies to sepsis in the past month alone.

In the delivery room, here i am suddenly great exhilaration. Paulo is ultimately in transition and ready to push. Lying on the hospital bed draped in only a traditional kitenge, she drinks profoundly from a pink plastic nursery cup of tea and then grips the side of the bed, back arched.

Kushinikiza , kushinikiza ,” says Mwiguta, the Swahili word for “push”. She strokes Paulo’s arm, then unhurriedly snaps on a new pair of latex gloves. Instead of tossing out the packaging, she spreads the white plastic out under Paulo’s bottom- an act that seems both tender and frugal.

As the baby’s worried purple forehead emerges, Mwiguta pushes her fingers sharply under the chin and takes hold of something thick and blue and twisted.” The cord is around the neck- this is why newborn took so long ,” she says, as if remarking on the climate. She tugs the cord, pulling it up and over the baby’s head. Then she instructs Paulo to push once more and a perfect, slippery baby girl shoots out with force, a mess of other stuff coming with her- blood and amniotic fluid. The primordial soup of life.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Women seek islands of refuge in Papua New Guinea’s sea of violence | Helen Davidson

For women in Papua New Guinea, violence at home is horribly normal. Local charities are trying to provide shelters in the absence of government support

In a room in Lae, Paula sits on the floor, Julie on a lounge. Caseworkers and support staff are on seats, and barefoot children peer at the newcomers. The children cant play outside in case their fathers show up at the gate and see them.

Paula, Julie and their children are sheltering at this Salvation Army refuge, having fled their violent spouses. They have little more than their clothes but they are among the luck ones in Papua New Guinea, where epidemic diseases of family violence builds it one of the most dangerous places in the world to be female.

About 50-70 % of women in Papua New Guinea have experienced family or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. A similar number of PNGs men are believed to be perpetrators.

For the 15 % of the population who lives on urban centres( pdf) like Lae and the capital, Port Moresby, survivors have access to a small but increasing number of support services offered by NGOs.

In Lae, local NGO Femili PNG has for 18 months supported more than 370 abuse survivors. Femili is principally funded by the Australian government and many of its staff were trained by Mdecins Sans Frontires( MSF) when it ran a family support centre at a local hospital. Femili works with the courts, a local police department of three, and a welfare officer, emergency care and procuring interim protection orders.

Julie left her husband after he threatened to sexually abuse their six-year-old daughter. He had long been abusive to Julie, accused her friend of being most children father, and her of being a sorcerer. When he began making advances on his daughter, Julie and her children fled to a relative who set her in touch with Femili. They brought her to the refuge.

Paula gratified her husband in 2010 and they had three children, one who was killed. Her spouse was controlling, she says, limiting her conversations with male relatives and accusing her of talking to humen behind his back. He was violent and verbally abusive.

In September, the basketball team Paula played for stimulated the final, but when she came back from the game her husband accused her of only going to meet humen. He threw her belongings outside. The next morning, he hurled her out too.

I said, If you dont want me to stay with you then buy my ticket and Ill go home to my relatives, she recounts. I said I[ would] take my two children. He said, No, you leave my children and you go.

A A bush knife covered in juice from a fruit, in Tari, Papua New Guinea. The knife is commonly used during disputes and outbreaks of violence. Photograph: Jodi Bieber/ MSF

The next night he got the bush knife and was trying to cut me. So I got these two small ones[ children] and we walked away. I was trying to leave the house, but he pulled my shirt and pulled me down. He punched me here and I fell on top of that small boy.

Women lack safe places to go to when they are assaulted. Many have no choice but to return to an abusive home. Paula says the police dedicated her husband a warning, and he assaulted her again once they were home.

Finally Paula escaped and contacted a family support centre and the police. Her husband was arrested and Paula grabbed her children from the house. She is waiting for him to face court and for her relatives to create enough money to fly her and the children to Port Moresby.

Asked if shes fretted he will track her down, she says: He might, so Im afraid. He said if Im going back hes going to kill me.

Despite violence against women being permeating available data is old, flawed and specific to the small locations where people have been surveyed resources to tackle the problem are minuscule. Shelters are so few that facilities like the Lae refuge are nationally renowned.

While the government has passed new laws against family and working sexual violence it has largely failed to legislate or enforce any of them, and services are provided by NGOs, churches and grassroots organisations. Family, and the traditional welfare network of wantok, also play their parts.

Ume Wainetti, national coordinator of the family and sexual violence action committee, says the government is failing to follow through on commitments. Its either through ignorance or people are not prepared to use the law. Rape charges are very minimal, she says.

Family and sexual violence units attached to 14 police station are proving effective but are resource-starved. The Lae unit has two officers and a commandant, who on any dedicated day face 30 to 40 girls lodging a complaint or seeking interim protection orders against violent partners.

Sebastian Roberts, family and sexual violence coordinator at the department of health, says collaboration between government, authorities and organisations is improving but gaps remain.

The commitment is there in terms of paper, but when it comes to funding we have a problem, he says.

In Port Moresby, concealed behind trees next to a hotel, two dozen women and children shelter in a guesthouse called Haus Ruth. It was opened by the City Mission charity 13 years ago.

We ensure a want “thats really not” being addressed, or was but in a very, very limited fashion, says Ronald Brown, the pastor who runs the mission.

Brown wants to convert the guesthouse into apartments and use the money to accommodate more survivors at a protected community on farmland owned by the mission out of township. Perpetrators frequently show up at the gates of Haus Ruth go looking for their partners.

Its not like in America or Australia where you have a womens refuge tucked in a place where nobody knows, he says.

Here were right on Ela beach, next to a hotel. Everybody knows where we are. Were hoping to eventually, someday, move Haus Ruth, procure it better, and get a bit of distance between them and perpetrators here.

Because[ the number of residents] can change dramatically at any point in time we have to have the capacity to be able to absorb whatever happens. Theyre all brought to us referred by police or other NGOs. Were the only game in town.

I have four young girls there right now who came in alone. Theyre aged 12 to 14. Three of them were sexually trafficked. The fourth has been badly sexually abused.

Its an alarming aspect of the violence, particularly in cities. Girls are trafficked from other provinces and forced into sexual slavery. Some local girls are trafficked by family and forced into sex work.

We do get referrals from outside the community and we do repatriate outside the community, depending upon situations. So if its not safe for the women to be in this community, well pay to get them sent back to a village or an island or wherever they have to go to get away from the perpetrator, says Brown.

The City Mission also operates a halfway house for boys who have lived on the street or been in prison. Brown aims to teach them about respect for women while they are young.

He estimates up to 500 young men are in the programme, and the majority of them grew up surrounded by abuse.

Theyre so used to seeing it, theyre so conditioned to see it, that even after spending a year and a half at City Mission, they are continuing may leave supposing the same way, he says, but adds that the programmes are having a positive impact.

To stop gender-based violence, working with the women and children who have been victims and survivors is patently a necessity, but we need to[ also get] a hold of the young men.

The health departments Roberts concurs. Men are coming on board. Before when the issue of gender was coming in, they ensure it as a womens issue. But after much advocacy and awareness we began to see humen coming in to support women and look at prevention of GBV and promotion of human rights.

Paula and Julie wait at Femili, reliant on wantok to cobble together funds to help them move on with their lives.

I was happy when I came here, says Paula. I felt there are friends here who will help me. I will get a restraining order and go to welfare about these two children. Im not going back to him.

Names have been changed to protect identities. The Guardian travelled in Papua New Guinea with MSF

Trump: 100 days that shook the world- and the activists opposing back

Three months in, the future is totally unpredictable. But a dramatic fightback is under way. Four activists tell us how they are adapting to the new normal

Naomi Wolf, author, political journalist and cofounder of DailyClout: Trump didnt do this. You did this. Your own inactivity brought us precisely here

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasnt even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle lines now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers constructing off with all of the plunder and disembowelling the middle class. So when I find the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance.

No I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. All of January, people on the left would tackle me with dazed, grief-stricken expressions, as if they had just emerged from a multi-car pileup on a foggy freeway. How could this have happened? What the fuck is we do ? I couldnt even bear to participate in those conversations. Eventually I started explaining my rage to my closest friends.

I had been screaming about the possibility of setting up this very moment for eight years, since I publish a piece in the Guardian titled Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps and wrote a book based on it, called The Objective of America ( 2007 ). Under George Bush Jr, the left had been very receptive to the books message about how democracies are undermined by the classic tactics of would-be authoritarians.

But once Obama was elected one of ours I had to expend the next eight years screaming like a haunted Cassandra, to a room the left had abandoned. I had hollered myself hoarse for eight years under Obama about what it would mean for us to sit still while Obama sent dronings in to take out US citizens in extrajudicial killings; what it would mean for us to sit still while he passed the 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act that let any chairman hold citizens for ever without charge or trial; what it would mean for us to sit still while he allowed NSA surveillance, allowed Guantnamo to stay open, and allowed hyped terrorism tales to hijack the constitution and turn the US into what ultimately even Robert F Kennedy Jr was calling a national security surveillance state.

Naomi
Naomi Wolf, photographed last week at Stony Brook University, NY: I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. Photo: Christopher Lane for the Observer

For eight years, under Obama, my audiences were libertarian cowboys and red-state truckers; members of the military and police forces, who were appalled by what they were witnessing; and even conservatives, worried about our legacy of liberty. My usual audience, the shoppers at Whole Foods and drivers of hybrid autoes, the educated left, my people, sat smugly at home while the very pillars of American democracy were being systematically chipped away. They were watching Downton Abbey and tending their heirloom tomato patches on weekends in the Hudson Valley, because everything was OK; yeah, he may OK drone strikes, but they cant be that bad, since he was one of ours a handsome, eloquent African American, a former community organiser in the Oval Office. Seduced by the image of a charming black human on Us air force One who talked about change a white female in a pantsuit( though highly paid by Goldman Sachs) talking about that highest, hardest glass ceiling the left slumbered while US democracy was undone brick by brick by brick.

So my impression, the first inaugural month of 2017, as the left sat shiva, was: now you are worried? Now you want action? Now that the separation of powers is a joke and the constitution has collapsed around your ears, you point a finger at Trump and say, Sudden Catastrophe?

He didnt do this. You did this.

Your own inaction and willingness to be seduced by two-bit identity politics labels, without actually doing the hard work of being patriots and defending the actual constitution brought us precisely, exactly here.

I had sought for eight years to explain to my own people, to no avail, this: it is not that important who sits in the White House if the structures of republic are strong. If the structures of democracy are strong you can have a madman or madwoman for four years or even eight, and then he or she is gone, and the nations freedoms live.

But if you take an eight-year nap snoozing through a systematic dismantling of the structures of republic freedoms of speech; independence of the press; separation of powers; fourth amendment rights to privacy; and allow the suspension of due process for the purposes of the guise of fighting the war on terror hell yeah, some day you will wake up and there will be a crazy man or a strongman in the White House and then nothing you do or say will make a difference any more.

So yeah, Month One: I had nightly glass of red wine to dull my fury at my own feeble delusional kind, and avoided the collective liberal mourning conversation.

Month Two: February was the month of OMG! Or else, WTF! I was part of it too, as Pres Trumps new-to-us-all methods of exploding Twitter bombs, engaging in scary political theater, perpetrating daily acts of apparent, um, economic treason, and doing it all at a bewilderingly fast pace, demanded a learning curve from us all. It was a sense of chaos, destabilisation. OMG! He issued a traveling banning. OMG! People are held en masse at Newark New York City taxi drivers are boycotting the airport because of the prohibition! OMG, Uber is profiting on picking up those rides! OMG , now we have to boycott Uber! WTF! He is rounding up immigrants! OMG he is separating families at the border! WTF did Kellyanne Conway merely promote Ivanka Trumps clothing line? Isnt that illegal? WTF! Are Chinese influence-mongers actually lining up at Mar-a-Lago to ingratiate themselves with the presidents son-in-law? WTF stripping the EPA of any budget to keep the air and water clean? OMG did he just say he doesnt believe in global warming? There was a stream of statelier edits from Congress, as the nations WTF? reaction evolved into: can he truly do that? Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator for Maryland, proposed a Senate resolution that Pres Trump obey the emoluments clause of the constitution, which outlaws bribery( Trump had refused to put his constrains in a blind trust ). States began to pass statutes, such as those protection sanctuary cities, to fight back against measures that Trump was taking federally. My day-to-day life was expended at our tech company, DailyClout, developing a group of young people to write about legislation, Congress and statehouses, and putting out news tales, blogs and opinion pieces following these developments. DailyClout is incubated in a cool space in Manhattan called Civic Hall, which is funded by Microsoft, Google and Omidyar Networks, where we are surrounded by others largely idealistic millennials who are also constructing exciting new tools for new kinds of civic engagement.

Month Three: in March, we all began to see a massive grassroots resistance. I personally dont like that word, because you use that word to fight a completed fascist takeover; it dedicates democracys foes too much power; right now we have a battered democracy on life subsistence that needs defending from those who wish to pull the plug.

March was the month that dozens of new entities devoted to mobilising citizen action emerged from the collective shock. There were so many forms of new organising and funding: online candidate training seminars to Knight Foundation awards for new tools to get public and municipal records to people. Existing civic tech sites such as PopVox and Countable were joined in March by a slew of new tools and sites put together by this powerful wave of activism. Our collective missions got boosted with jet fuel by the huge burst in ordinary citizens wanting and required to be taken any steps. New platforms ranged from 5 Calls which came out of the experience of volunteers in the Clinton campaign and which sends you political action steps to take in five phone calls to DailyAction, a similar service, which emerged out of Creative Majority, a Pac that supports Democratic nominees, and USAFacts, put in by Steve Ballmer, formerly of Microsoft, which compiles and crunches federal, nation and local data from government sources. My own life mission didnt reorient, since I had cofounded DailyClouts platform in 2010. But use of our civic participation tools skyrocketed. Our first product, called BillCam, lets you search a database of live country and federal bills, then pop a live bill into your blog or news articles; it lets you interact with the bills in real period and share them socially. We also made RSS feeds to stream live country and federal legislation right into the websites of local, regional and national news sites, and the websites of elected official. In March we boosted our blog stream and videos encompassing new nation and federal legislation, and started to report on what people could do locally to push forward their issues. Our sites on social media grew by triple and quadruple digits.

Protesters
Protesters against Trumps travel ban order outside JFK Airport, 30 January. Photo: Xinhua/ Barcroft Images

I presented these tools in March to news outlets and candidates and campaigns around the country from Maine to Ohio to Oregon. I felt as if I was rediscovering my own nation, as the person or persons in it were rediscovering belatedly how precious and fragile democracy was, and how much it depends on an informed citizenship. We were invited to demo it in a senate office; we visited Congress too, for our first exclusive interview, with Representative French Hill of Arkansas; I had never before been inside the Senate office building, or the Congresss Longworth House Office Building. It was uplifting and moving to me. I also insured that elected official worried about democracy, and wanting to empower real citizens, existed on both sides of the aisle.

We got our widget embedding live bills into news outlets totalling 160 million readers. In Q1 of 2017, 113,000 people searched BillCam to look at bills that would affect them that they could now affect in turn. There are still shocking days missiles to Syria, gunboats to North Korea but we stay focused.

An amazing thing happened in March. The distinguished technologist George Polisner who discontinued his senior-level role at Oracle in a public letter, covered widely in the US press, in which he demurred from Oracles CEOs intention of working with President Trump had started Civ.Works, a social platform, privacy protected so citizens can organise without fear of a corporate-buyout Big brother. Polisner and DailyClout joined forces-out in March. Were working to combine Civ.Works power of organising with the power of DailyClouts streaming digital updates via RSS feeds, blogs and video, about local and federal legislation. No wonder I feel excited about the future.

Am I happy about the present working? I feel incredibly energised, hopeful and certain that if enough citizens, in our democracy and worldwide, wake up( as they are) and are able to get hold of real tools to use democracy and those best-case tools are now digital and link to social and digital media we can indeed be in the midst of what another chairman called a new birth of freedom. Where I live, every day, on the frontlines of this digital revolution, there is every reason to feel in spired. That doesnt mean I am happy about where the nation is I am extremely scared, just as I am frightened about the future of Europe in a parallel assault on its democracies.

But the biggest threat in the US or the UK isnt one registered political party or nominee. It is peoples ignorance about their own republics and their till-now absence of real-life tools protecting children. DailyClout UK and DailyClout EU are next on our list of planned launchings: the UK legislative database is totally unsearchable, and the UK Parliaments own website ends in dead connections when you try to find actual legislation. The EU website tells you with difficulty what bills have passed but doesnt depict you what is coming up, when you might possibly take action it offers a feed of pointless press releases instead. This lack of legislative transparency and usability had a lot to do, I believe, with the Brexit vote.

Months Four, Five and Six will see more and more of these tools from dozens of T-shirt-clad bespectacled tech revolutionaries, coming online. Geeks are the new patriots, and code is the new shot heard round the world.

Naomi Wolf recently finished a PhD at the University of Oxford and is CEO of DailyClout.io

May Boeve, environmental campaigner and director of 350. org: We will take power back. And when that happens, we need a very bold agenda

May
May Boeve photographed in Dumbo Brooklyn: Were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Photograph: Christopher Lane for the Observer

As soon as we sang the first chorus of the hymn, the tears started. Here I go again, I supposed, weeping in church. This was three weeks ago. And the week before, and the week before that, all the way back to last Novembers election.

Sudden emotional outbursts are how Im able to understand what Donald Trumps presidency means to me. I wasnt disconnected to these emotions before, but its the unexpected and potent nature that has changed.

Im in no immediate hazard from the Trump presidency. Im not fearing expulsion, the loss of my healthcare, a racially motivated arrest. I havent been personally attacked online or in the real world. So when I get scared and start crying, I wonder what it would feel like to be in that more vulnerable position, and Im more distressed by the damage being done.

My lens on Trump stems from work in the climate motion. My vantage point is as executive director of 350. org, a global effort to build a social movement that can coping with the power of the fossil-fuel industry and accelerate our transition to 100% renewable energy.

Trump stands in direct opposition to those goals. As chairperson, he has wholeheartedly taken the side of the petroleum, coal, and gas industry and is already seeing to it that their agenda is legislated. Previous US presidents and candidates also did business with this industry, but at the same time they denounced the hazards of climate destabilisation, been actively engaged to secure international diplomatic alliances leading to an agreement, and achieved some progress from the executive branch.

Before Trumps election, the climate movement had made some serious advance. Thanks to the good work of motions around the world, the social licence of this industry is on the deterioration. Investors are pulling their dollars, banks are cancelling loans, and public support for fossil-fuel companies is low.

Ditto for the politicians who back them up. Take congressman Lamar Smith of Texas : 45% of his constituents , not unacquainted with his ties to the oil industry, were less inclined to vote for Smith when as chair of the house science committee he failed to investigate ExxonMobils alleged climate cover-up.( 350. org is under subpoena from Smiths office for our efforts to get the truth out about Exxon .) From the political arena to our energy markets, it felt like the tide was finally beginning to turn in our direction.

But then along came Donald Trump to proclaim climate change a hoax( the only head of state in the world to do so ), promising to revive the coal industry( declining in the US, thanks to terrific organising ), and appointing known climate-change deniers to head the very offices responsible for regulating the problem.

When Trump won, a new kind of hopelessnes settled over climate activists. Were pretty accustomed to despair already climate grief circles have started up in Australia, home to devastating heatwaves, fires, drought, and a basically decimated Great Barrier Reef but this felt like something new.

One week after the election, I was at a collect with motion leaders across the faith, labour, LGBTQ and reproductive justice movements. We were each asked to write down one hard truth about the election that we hadnt yet said out loud. One person wrote: The small window of hour we had to dramatically reduce emissions may have just closed.

At the very period when we need to be taking great leaps forward, Trump and his allies are dragging us backwards with an ideology that sets corporate power above all else and youd be hard pressed to find a situate of firms more desperate to hold on to power than the likes of Exxon, Chevron and numerous coal and gas companies with less brand recognition.

At least now theres no mystery about what were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Two instances register highly on that score. The first is the appointment of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. The second is the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The
A successful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline slated to drill beneath the Missouri River and through sacred Sioux grounds has been reversed by Trump Photograph: DDP USA/ Rex/ Shutterstock

The Tillerson appointment stands out because even the most cynical and pessimistic among us didnt predict that a person at the spire of big petroleum would be in charge of diplomacy in the Trump regime. As my colleague Bill McKibben has said, you might as well ask Ronald McDonald to head up the Department of Agriculture. And Exxon isnt merely any oil company: it has concealed what it knew about climate change, as early as the late 1970 s, in order to continue making money on a product it knew was wrecking countries around the world. It funded climate-denying thinktanks and retained the same firms that helped tobacco companies claim that nicotine isnt addictive. It should be bad enough to have the entire cabinet made up of the 1 %, but the state post offer Tillerson and Exxon with far too much temptation to officially use the US foreign policy apparatus to keep extracting more oil.

The night I saw that Trump indicated Tillerson for the post, I burst into tears and crawled into bed. It was a feeling closely connected to panic, in recognition of what might happen and how powerless I felt. Thank goodness Im part of a big team, some of whom love battle and were quick to start writing and making statements denouncing his appointment. Reports came out last week that of all the cabinet members, Tillerson is doing the best job maintaining a close relationship to the president. Because this man is used to operating in privacy, well have to stay vigilant to understand the moves hell be making.

Then there is the remarkable story about the Dakota Access pipeline and the historic resistance at Standing Rock. At no other period has there been this much widespread opposition to a gas pipeline, for the many reasons pipelines merit our opposition. This represented an alliance of tribes whose rights, subsistences and lives have been systematically desecrated by the US government and corporations. The camp at Standing Rock itself was a symbol of everything Trumpism cannot be: spiritually grounded, connected to history and land, basically respectful of the rights of nature and peoples, infused with art and music and heart. It moved people to act in solidarity all over the world. Many moved fund out of the banks invested in the project.

And the resistance worked. The forces-out at Standing Rock peacefully constructed assured that the Obama administration put a stop to the construction and allowed further review of the pipelines viability.

So it was with cruelty the same cruelty seen in the enactment of the Muslim travel ban and the gamble with the healthcare of 24 million people that Trump signed an executive order to begin construction instantly. At the end of March, oil began to flow through the pipeline. This is why Im still weeping in church. The minute I start to feel numb, I believe Ill lose some hope and resolve.

And there is another animating objective. Progressives share so much, but so often our human nature and lopsided structures get in the way. Can we use this moment to be honest with each other in a new and different style, and clear up longstanding disagreements and inequalities that enable us to be aligned behind a common vision? Because I believe we will take power back. And when that happens, we need to enact a very bold agenda that propels political prospects far, far away from where Trump has dragged them.

This work is already under way: its the work of dialogues between unions and environmentalists; big, well-funded organisations and smaller grassroots ones; centrist and more radical activists; and those who believe change comes from disrupting unjust laws and those whose work is to pass only ones.

Its the work of the Peoples Climate March, which will take place on Saturday, 29 April in Washington DC and throughout the rest of the country. Its message aspires to the future were trying to build, and its being organised by a diverse cross-section of the entire movement.

That tearful day in church objective on a high note. Afterwards, some friends and I went to New Yorks MoMA PS1 museum to see the Rev Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou perform. Rev Sekou is a Pentecostal minister, an writer and a gospel and blues musician, who has been active in the Movement for Black Lives. Yes, I went to church twice that day, and no, that isnt the norm for me! And when he sing What a time to be alive, the revolution has come, I didnt feel like exclaiming I felt like getting back to work.

Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter: We are in for a long oppose and not all of us will make it

Alicia
Alicia Garza: The resistance is real. Photo: Kristin Little

20 January 2017 marked a turning point for the entire world. Since the election results were announced on 8 November 2016 Id been feeling largely numb, unable to process what the effects would be for me, my family and the person or persons I care about. I felt the need to be quiet, to be somewhere quiet. To have space to think.

Every step I took felt like walking on eggshells. The first weeks following the elections everyone around me seemed to be unsure, fearful and riddled with nervousnes. I was too. Quick to lash out, slacken to listen. I had nothing to start from except what Id heard during the campaign.

And yet, at the same time, I did know what was coming. Perhaps somewhere my cells were reorganising to protect my heart from what was inevitable. More suffering, more uncertainty. More people dying for trying to live. During the campaign, the surrogates for our current president unabashedly assaulted Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists and policeman killers. In the aftermath of the election, there were many different responses. Some decided to continue their work as before and felt that not much had changed. Others decided to demonstrate their resistance by doing a direct action at the inauguration. Others shared information about the leading player in the incoming administration, attempting to support others in the network to understand more clearly the new political agenda. All of us remain committed to the work of black liberation.

During the holidays, my family and I talked over dinner about personal security. I described to them a new set of protocols we would need to begin using in order to ensure our safety, insofar as that was even possible. My parents described their fear of what was to come. A lawsuit filed by a rabid conservative former district attorney hung over our heads as someone charged us and other activists with starting a race war. Indeed, the election of Donald Trump was like a nuclear plume slowly rising over the United States.

What Ive learned in the first 100 days of this administration is that you can never stop dreaming about liberty. Ive spent the past few months being relatively quiet. Listening. Brushing up on my reading about the right wing in the United States and the movement it has been diligently constructing for the past 30 years. Ive taken to business practices of listening more and also listening less. Listening more to whats not being said, watching as the various factions on the right joust for power and influence. Ive taken stock of the damage, as the right wing now controls the presidency, the supreme court, Congress and the majority of state legislatures. Listening less to voices that refuse to deal with our political reality as it actually is, as opposed to how they want it to be.

The low points over the past few months have been many. Executive order after executive order that sought to punish the communities that induce America great Muslims, undocumented immigrants, black people, females, fag communities, transgender people. A law and order agenda that seeks to criminalise anyone who disagrees with the administrations aims. An us attorney general who refuses to protect each person equally. A secretary of education who seeks to privatise public education. A secretary of housing and urban planning who seeks to slash an already paper-thin budget for housing set aside for those living in poverty. A chief strategist with white supremacist tiltswho is responsible not just for advising the president, but who, to all intents and purposes, is the one pushing the many decisions that this so-called chairman espouses on television. And of course, the most recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan. Certainly, we are in for a long battle and not all of us will make it.

A
A Protest against proposed Republican legislation that would change Medicaid funding, New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/ EPA

I comfort my mothers who care about the state of their healthcare. Theyre both in their 60 s and have recently retired. And so, while the Affordable Care Act isnt perfect, it is what they have and it is what they depend on. And it is what they deserve, what every human being on this Earth deserves to be cared for.

And yet I am hopeful. The disorganisation of our political landscape offers abundant opportunities for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for each other. I welcome the opportunity to be closer to my neighbours, to fight for myself, my family and my loved ones with every fiber of my being. Inside of the quiet, the cynicism dissipates. We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be.

I remember that the resistance is real and it lives. The day before the president is inaugurated, I join more than a million women in the streets of Washington, DC ; for many, this was their first time on a demo. When the president followed orders from his chief strategist to institute a travelling forbid on Muslims, airports were shut down by those fighting for democracy and those caught in the crosshairs of such a ridiculous endeavour were given legal support and reunited with their families. I work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a prominent voice and political vehicle for the millions of domestic workers in the United States who are still excluded from most federal labour protections and so when the president initially nominated a human for secretary of labour who was known for his opposition to workers rights, we participated in the resistance to stop him from being confirmed. Representatives returned to their home districts and were forced to face their constituents in ways that they havent had to in decades.

And so, while there are many challenges to overcome, it is good to know that we are not alone in attempting to find the solutions necessary to save our lives and the lives of millions who are vulnerable not just in the United States, but around the world. Wherever there is persecution, there is resistance. Im happy to know which side Im on.

Linda Tirado, novelist on poverty: My instinct is to set off around the country asking impertinent questions

Linda
Linda Tirado photographed in Washington, DC: At least I have fertile land and a defensible perimeter. Photo: Scott Suchman for the Observer

I live in the heart of Trump country, in Meigs County, Ohio, a rural county struggling with poverty and craving. My neighbours are precisely the people the right wing have been preying on and propagandising while the left abandoned them for decades. I wasnt awfully surprised to see Clinton had lost. Id only published a column in the Guardian about why so many people would be voting for Trump. But I weep on election night and then got well and truly drunk, because I didnt want to think about what was coming next.

My household is bracing of natural disasters. I wrote a book, Hand to Mouth , about what a precarious life feels like, but this is the first time Ive felt precarity coming in my bones and also had enough income to assuage my dreads of: not enough food , not enough warmth , not enough anything on hand to deal with an emergency. I have a garden, as anyone in the country does, but we got serious about it after the election. This is the first year Ive thought that food costs will spike enough to make it worth focusing on the garden as a food source , not just a hobby. Increased immigration raids is very likely leave food rotting in the areas and shipping expenses will probably go up as they do in a period of uncertainty; imported food will be more expensive.

And the more the country talked about Russia, the more sense it made to expand the plans we had for a few tomatoes and beans to include asparagus and maybe some root veggies because theyll keep just fine. The logic: petroleum and power costs tend to spike when Russias doing a thing and were bombing the Middle East. Then we supposed: perhaps berry bushes. A few fruit trees. And a herb patch. And maybe we should borrow a tiller at this phase or buy one? Only now, Im mapping out 2 week of my schedule around harvest time so I can be home to do the food preservation. Were not about freeze-dried food storage yet; right now people are still only joking about nukes.

Besides, this part of the countrys be transformed into a rainforest. A decade ago this part of Ohio didnt reach such high temperatures. Now summers are lush and humid, while wintertimes are becoming harsher. So its not such a bad notion, if you happen to have the land and the time to get the work done, to be working on sustainability. Partially thats environmentalism, but its an economic consideration too. Its a thing we talk about over dinner at home or with friends. We also talk about power. Electricity is expensive, so is heating oil, and gas aint free either. Power will only get more expensive as regulations are rolled back and the market is left to its own devices. Water is already a scarce commodity. Might as well put in some solar panel if you can afford it.

I expended the weeks between the election and the inauguration mostly glued to Twitter. I tried to help people reason through what had just happened. I impatiently explained the philosophical and historical definition of fascism versus the hyperbolic version. I demanded we all grow up and focus on the important stuff: not what had happened, but what was coming. My audience grew and split into groups people who liked my satirical round-ups of the incoming administrations peccadilloes, people who liked that I discussed the reasons we were vulnerable to a demagogue, people who just wanted someone to explain what the fuck is had happened.

I started taking more note of political conversation I hear around me, too, here in rural Ohio, where they ran for Trump hard. Consensus seemed to be building that voting Trump hadnt worked but as it was a last-ditch endeavor anyway, it was worth waiting to see. Nobody quite agreed on what he was supposed to have done or, instead, there were a lot of things. Largely, he was supposed to have interrupted everything but not exactly like this. He needed to get down that stupid Twitter, anyway, everyone agreed on that. I maintain wondering what these people didnt learn from the Tea Party.

Once the inauguration was over, I largely quit trying to explain anything to anyone online; emotion was riding too high and we were back to breaking news instead of analysis and I was planning a garden, so I started joking that no matter what happened, at the least I had fertile land and a defensible perimeter. When the kids werent listening, we talked about what guns to buy.

Republican push ahead with plans to hinder insurance coverage for abortions

A proposed bill would enforce a far-reaching prohibit on private insurance coverage for abortions under Obamacare, and could see tens of thousands lose out

Republicans in Congress are advancing a bill that imposes a far-reaching prohibition on private insurance coverage for abortion services for as long as the Affordable Care Act remains in effect and would induce permanent a longtime forbidding on the use of Medicaid to cover abortions.

The bill, H R7, would allow Donald Trump to fulfill a promise that helped his volatile presidential campaign procure the support of major anti-abortion rights activists. In an open letter published in September, he vowed to sign the Hyde amendment, a perennial budget rider that Congress has approved every year for 40 years, into permanent law. Since 1976, the Hyde amendment has prevented millions of women who rely on Medicaid, the government-funded insurance for low-income individuals, from utilizing it to cover their abortions.

But if the bill passes, the most immediate changes will be feel on insurance policies exchanges where millions of women buy healthcare coverage.

HR7 prohibits insurance carriers from offering policies that contain abortion coverage on the exchanges set up under Obamacare to sell insurance coverage to people. It proscribes low-income women who qualify for a healthcare subsidy from receiving it if they purchase a healthcare plan that covers abortion. And it would withhold the small business taxation credit from employers who offer policies with abortion coverage.

Critics of HR7 fear it could enforce a widespread forbid on private insurance coverage of abortion by banning abortion coverage in the small subset of private insurance policies that are sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Because many insurance carriers offer policies to individuals on the exchanges that are similar to the group policies they sell to companies, encompassing abortion in one case but not the other requires an extra layer of administration.

Health experts said they could not be certain that would be the outcome.

What that would do to other schemes, we dont actually know, said Laurie Sobel, the associate director for womens health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, a healthcare think tank. But she noted that after Obamacare began involving health care policies to offer contraceptive coverage, insurance carriers enforced the coverage in the same way across the market for group and individual policies alike.

With very limited exceptions, health insurance companies essentially did the same thing with everybody, Sobel said. That is worrisome in terms of, if abortion coverage was restricted in the marketplace, insurance companies might just adopt that policy across the board.

The ban on using subsidies or taxation credits toward policies with abortion coverage could also consequence significant changes, because carriers could be reluctant to design plans that so many women or small business owners would be ineligible to purchase. In 2016, there were 871,000 uninsured women eligible to buy policies containing abortion coverage use subsidies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Under the bill, tens of thousands more who have already utilized their subsidies to purchase insurance would lose abortion coverage.

The bills restrictions on the health insurance exchanges would cease to apply if and when legislation passed by Republican in Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. But the bill is almost certainly a preview of the lengths to which Republican will go to restrict abortion when they come to replace Obamacare.

Its a pretty sweeping bill, said Destiny Lopez, a director of All Above All, a alliance of abortion rights groups that opposes the Hyde amendment. Its an attempt to withhold abortion from nearly all women in the US through burdensome regulation intended to stop insurers from covering abortions. It could restrict abortion for nearly every woman in this country in some manner, and do significant damage in particular to low-income women.

Insurance coverage for abortion is already limited in a way that forces thousands of women to pay for abortions out of pocket. Twenty-five nations limit the sale of insurance policies encompassing abortion on their country exchanges. And exchanges in six other states dont offer any plans that encompass abortions, perhaps because Congress imposed extra administrative hurdles under the ACA for abortion coverage.

A 2013 study found that only about a quarter of abortion patients who had insurance used it to cover their procedure. Those who didnt use their insurance overwhelmingly said their insurance did not cover abortion or they werent sure.

The bill would also convert a slew of existing, provisional bans on abortion coverage into permanent law. These include bannings on abortion coverage for women on federal insurance, such as many Native American girls, women in the Peace Corps, in federal prisons, or those enrolled in Medicare or the Youngster Health Insurance Program, and prohibit the towns of Washington DC fromusing its own local funds to subsidize abortion services.

The House of Representatives approved a version of the bill on Tuesday, and the Senate will consider similar legislation next week. But Republicans in that chamber will need to peel off eight Democratic or independent votes for the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Unless Republican leaders change the Senates regulations to eliminate the filibuster, the fate of the bill may lie with Democrats facing re-election in 2018 in states that voted for Trump.

Were confident that the Senate will continue to be a firewall on this matter, said Lopez.

Also on Tuesday, Republicans introduced a federal heartbeat bill that they say would effectively eliminate abortion, but is less likely to pass even the House.

Despite Hydes longevity, progressive lawmakers in recent years have adopted efforts to see it overturned. Even Hillary Clinton, in her 2016 bid for the presidency, promised to attempt to remove Hyde from future budget bills. HR7, although it does not change the fact that women on Medicaid have long been forced to pay for any abortion services out of pocket, would make it harder for a future Democratic Congress or president to do so.

HR7 is titled the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. Republican congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the bill in early January, as he has for several years running.

At an event to announce the bill, Smith said he supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, but that it is necessary to restrict the ways in which the law facilitates abortion coverage until that time.

No one knows how quickly the replace proportion will actually occur, Smith said. In the meantime, the unborn child is about to be killed with public funding. We need to enact a ordinance that takes abortion out of[ Obamacare ].

Such articles has been amended on 25 January, 2017, to correct an assertion that the contraception mandate did not apply, initially, to all insurance schemes.

Trump: 100 days that shook the world- and the activists opposing back

Three months in, the future is totally unpredictable. But a dramatic fightback is under way. Four activists tell us how they are adapting to the new normal

Naomi Wolf, writer, political journalist and cofounder of DailyClout: Trump didnt do this. You did this. Your own inaction brought us exactly here

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasnt even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle lines now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers inducing off with all of the pillage and disembowelling the middle class. So when I ensure the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance.

No I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. All of January, people on the left would tackle me with dazed, grief-stricken express, as if they had just emerged from a multi-car pileup on a foggy road. How could this have happened? What will we do ? I couldnt even bear to participate in those dialogues. Ultimately I started explaining my rage to my closest friends.

I had been screaming about the possibility of setting up this very moment for eight years, since I published a piece in the Guardian titled Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps and wrote a volume based on it, called The Aim of America ( 2007 ). Under George Bush Jr, the left had been very receptive to the books message about how democracies are undermined by the classic tactics of would-be authoritarians.

But once Obama was elected one of ours I had to spend the next eight years hollering like a haunted Cassandra, to a room the left had abandoned. I had yelled myself hoarse for eight years under Obama about what it would mean for us to sit still while Obama sent dronings in to take out US citizens in extrajudicial killings; what it would mean for us to sit still while he passed the 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act that let any chairperson hold citizens for ever without charge or trial; what it would mean for us to sit still while he allowed NSA surveillance, let Guantnamo to stay open, and allowed hyped terrorism narratives to hijack the constitution and turn the US into what eventually even Robert F Kennedy Jr was calling a national security surveillance nation.

Naomi
Naomi Wolf, photographed last week at Stony Brook University, NY: I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. Photo: Christopher Lane for the Observer

For eight years, under Obama, my audiences were libertarian cowboys and red-state truckers; members of the military and police forces, who were appalled by what they were witnessing; and even conservatives, worried about our legacy of liberty. My usual audience, the shoppers at Whole Foods and drivers of hybrid automobiles, the trained left, my people, sat smugly at home while the very pillars of American democracy were being systematically chipped away. They were watching Downton Abbey and tending their heirloom tomato patches on weekends in the Hudson Valley, because everything was OK; yeah, he may OK drone ten-strikes, but they cant be that bad, since he was one of ours a handsome, eloquent African American, a former community organiser in the Oval Office. Seduced by the image of a charming black man on Air force One who talked about change a white female in a pantsuit( though highly paid by Goldman Sachs) talking about that highest, hardest glass ceiling the left slumbered while US democracy was undone brick by brick by brick.

So my feeling, the first inaugural month of 2017, as the left sat shiva, was: now you are worried? Now you want action? Now that the separation of powers is a joke and the constitution has collapsed around your ears, you point a thumb at Trump and say, Sudden Catastrophe?

He didnt do this. You did this.

Your own inactivity and willingness to be seduced by two-bit identity politics labels, without actually doing the hard work of being patriots and defending the actual constitution brought us exactly, exactly here.

I had sought for eight years to explain to my own people, to no avail, this: it is not that important who sits in the White House if the structures of republic are strong. If the structures of democracy are strong you are able to have a madman or madwoman for four years or even eight, and then he or she is gone, and the nations freedoms live.

But if you take an eight-year nap snoozing through a systematic dismantling of the structures of democracy freedoms of speech; independence of the press; separation of powers; fourth amendment rights to privacy; and allow the suspension of due process for the purposes of the guise of fighting the war on terror hell yeah, some day you will wake up and there will be a crazy human or a strongman in the White House and then nothing you do or say will make a difference any more.

So yeah, Month One: I had nightly glass of red wine to dull my rage at my own feeble delusional kind, and avoided the collective liberal mourning conversation.

Month Two: February was the month of OMG! Or else, WTF! I was part of it too, as Pres Trumps new-to-us-all methods of exploding Twitter bombs, engaging in scary political theater, perpetrating daily acts of apparent, um, economic treason, and doing everything there is at a bewilderingly fast pace, demanded a learning curve from us all. It was a sense of chaos, destabilisation. OMG! He issued a travel banning. OMG! People are held en masse at Newark New York City taxi drivers are boycotting the airport because of the ban! OMG, Uber is profiting on picking up those rides! OMG , now we have to boycott Uber! WTF! He is rounding up immigrants! OMG he is dividing families at the border! WTF did Kellyanne Conway merely promote Ivanka Trumps garment line? Isnt that illegal? WTF! Are Chinese influence-mongers really lining up at Mar-a-Lago to ingratiate themselves with the presidents son-in-law? WTF stripping the EPA of any budget to keep the air and water clean? OMG did he just say he doesnt believe in global warming? There was a stream of statelier edits from Congress, as the nations WTF? reaction evolved into: can he genuinely do that? Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator for Maryland, proposed a Senate resolution that Pres Trump obey the emoluments clause of the constitution, which forbids bribery( Trump had refused to put his holds in a blind trust ). States began to pass statutes, such as those protection sanctuary cities, to fight back against measures that Trump was taking federally. My day-to-day life was spent at our tech company, DailyClout, developing a group of young people to write about legislation, Congress and statehouses, and putting out news narratives, blogs and opinion pieces following these developments. DailyClout is incubated in a cool space in Manhattan called Civic Hall, which is funded by Microsoft, Google and Omidyar Networks, where we are surrounded by others largely idealistic millennials who are also building arousing new tools for new kinds of civic engagement.

Month Three: in March, we all began to see a massive grassroots resistance. I personally dont like that term, because you use that word to fight a completed fascist takeover; it gives democracys foes too much power; right now we have a battered democracy on life support that needs defending from those who wish to pull the plug.

March was the month that dozens of new entities devoted to mobilising citizen action emerged from the collective shock. There were so many forms of new organising and funding: online candidate training seminars to Knight Foundation awards for new tools to get public and municipal records to people. Existing civic tech sites such as PopVox and Countable were joined in March by a slew of new tools and sites put together by this powerful wave of activism. Our collective missions got boosted with jet fuel by the huge burst in ordinary citizens wanting and required to be taken any steps. New platforms ranged from 5 Calls which came out of the experience of volunteers in the Clinton campaign and which sends you political action steps to take in five phone calls to DailyAction, a similar service, which emerged out of Creative Majority, a Pac that supports Democratic nominees, and USAFacts, put up by Steve Ballmer, formerly of Microsoft, which compiles and crunches federal, state and local data from government sources. My working life mission didnt reorient, since I had cofounded DailyClouts platform in 2010. But use of our civic engagement tools skyrocketed. Our first product, called BillCam, lets you search a database of live state and federal bills, then pop a live bill into your blog or news articles; it lets you interact with the bills in real time and share them socially. We also made RSS feeds to stream live state and federal legislation right into the websites of local, regional and national news sites, and the websites of elected official. In March we boosted our blog stream and videos covering new state and federal legislation, and started to report on what people could do locally to push forward their issues. Our sites on social media grew by triple and quadruple digits.

Protesters
Protesters against Trumps travel ban order outside JFK Airport, 30 January. Photograph: Xinhua/ Barcroft Images

I presented these tools in March to news outlets and candidates and campaigns around the country from Maine to Ohio to Oregon. I felt as if I was rediscovering my own nation, as the people in it were rediscovering belatedly how precious and fragile democracy was, and how much it depends on an informed citizenship. We were invited to demo it in a senate office; we visited Congress too, for our first exclusive interview, with Representative French Hill of Arkansas; I had never before been inside the Senate office building, or the Congresss Longworth House Office Building. It was uplifting and moving to me. I also saw that elected officials worried about democracy, and wanting to empower real citizens, existed on both sides of the aisle.

We got our widget embedding live bills into news outlets totalling 160 million readers. In Q1 of 2017, 113,000 people searched BillCam to look at bills that would affect them that they could now affect in turn. There are still shocking days missiles to Syria, gunboats to North Korea but we stay focused.

An amazing thing happened in March. The distinguished technologist George Polisner who ceased his senior-level role at Oracle in a public letter, covered widely in the US press, in which he demurred from Oracles CEOs intention of working with President Trump had started Civ.Works, a social platform, privacy protected so citizens can organise without dread of a corporate-buyout Big Brother. Polisner and DailyClout joined forces in March. Were working to combine Civ.Works power of organising with the power of DailyClouts streaming digital updates via RSS feeds, blogs and video, about local and federal legislation. No wonder I feel aroused about the future.

Am I happy about the present? I feel unbelievably energised, hopeful and certain that if enough citizens, in our democracy and worldwide, wake up( as they are) and are able to get hold of real tools to use republic and those best-case tools are now digital and link to social and digital media we can indeed be in the midst of what another chairman called a new birth of liberty. Where I live, every day, on the frontlines of this digital revolution, there is every reason to feel in spired. That doesnt mean I am happy about where the nation is I am highly scared, just as I am scared about the future of Europe in a parallel assault on its democracies.

But the biggest threat in the US or the UK isnt one registered political party or nominee. It is peoples ignorance about their own democracies and their till-now lack of real-life tools protecting children. DailyClout UK and DailyClout EU are next on our list of planned launchings: the UK legislative database is entirely unsearchable, and the UK Parliaments own website ends in dead links when you try to find actual legislation. The EU website tells you with difficulty what bills have passed but doesnt indicate you what is coming up, when you might possibly take action it offers a feed of pointless press releases instead. This lack of legislative transparency and usability got a lot to do, I believe, with the Brexit vote.

Months Four, Five and Six will see more and more of these tools from dozens of T-shirt-clad bespectacled tech revolutionaries, coming online. Geeks are the new patriots, and code is the new shot heard round the world.

Naomi Wolf recently finished a PhD at the University of Oxford and is CEO of DailyClout.io

May Boeve, environmental campaigner and director of 350. org: We will take power back. And when that happens, we need a very bold agenda

May
May Boeve photographed in Dumbo Brooklyn: Were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Photo: Christopher Lane for the Observer

As soon as we sang the first chorus of the hymn, the tears started. Here I go again, I thought, weeping in church. This was three weeks ago. And the week before, and the week before that, all the way back to last Novembers election.

Sudden emotional outbursts are how Im able to understand what Donald Trumps presidency means to me. I wasnt disconnected to these emotions before, but its the unexpected and potent nature that has changed.

Im in no immediate hazard from the Trump presidency. Im not dreading expulsion, the loss of my healthcare, a racially motivated arrest. I havent been personally attacked online or in the real world. So when I get scared and start crying, I wonder what it would feel like to be in that more vulnerable position, and Im more distressed by the damage being done.

My lens on Trump stems from work in the climate motion. My vantage point is as executive director of 350. org, a global effort to build a social movement that can confront the power of the fossil-fuel industry and accelerate our transition to 100% renewable energy.

Trump stands in direct opposition to those goals. As chairman, he has wholeheartedly taken the side of the oil, coal, and gas industry and is already considering to it that their agenda is enacted. Previous US presidents and nominees also did business with this industry, but at the same time they decried the threat of climate destabilisation, been actively engaged to secure international diplomatic confederations leading to an agreement, and achieved some progress from the executive branch.

Before Trumps election, the climate movement had made some serious progression. Thanks to the good work of motions around the world, the social licence of this industry is on the decline. Investors are pulling their dollars, banks are cancelling loans, and public support for fossil-fuel companies is low.

Ditto for the politicians who back them up. Take congressman Lamar Smith of Texas : 45% of his constituents , not unacquainted with his ties to the oil industry, were less inclined to vote for Smith when as chair of the house science committee he failed to investigate ExxonMobils alleged climate cover-up.( 350. org is under subpoena from Smiths office for their endeavour to get the truth out about Exxon .) From the political arena to our energy markets, it felt like the tide was eventually beginning to turn in our direction.

But then along came Donald Trump to proclaim climate change a hoax( the only head of state in the world to do so ), promising to revive the coal industry( declining in the US, thanks to terrific organising ), and appointing known climate-change deniers to head the very offices responsible for regulating the problem.

When Trump won, a new kind of desperation resolved over climate activists. Were pretty accustomed to despair already climate sorrow circles have started up in Australia, home to devastating heatwaves, flames, drought, and a basically decimated Great Barrier Reef but this felt like something new.

One week after the election, I was at a gathering with motion leaders across the faith, labour, LGBTQ and reproductive justice movements. We were each asked to write down one hard truth about the election that we hadnt yet said out loud. One person wrote: The small window of hour we had to dramatically reduce emissions may have just closed.

At the very day when we need to be taking great leaps forward, Trump and his allies are dragging us backwards with an ideology that sets corporate power above all else and youd be hard pressed to find a set of corporations more desperate to hold on to power than the likes of Exxon, Chevron and numerous coal and gas companies with less brand recognition.

At least now theres no mystery about what were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Two instances register highly on that rating. The first is the appointment of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. The second is the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The
A successful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline slated to drill beneath the Missouri River and through sacred Sioux grounds has been reversed by Trump Photograph: DDP USA/ Rex/ Shutterstock

The Tillerson appointment stands out because even the most cynical and pessimistic among us didnt predict that a person at the pinnacle of big petroleum would be in charge of diplomacy in the Trump regime. As my colleague Bill McKibben has said, you might as well ask Ronald McDonald to head up the Department of Agriculture. And Exxon isnt only any oil company: it has hidden what it knew about climate change, as early as the late 1970 s, in order to continue making money on a product it knew was wrecking the planet. It money climate-denying thinktanks and retained the same firms that helped tobacco companies claim that nicotine isnt addictive. It should be bad enough to have the entire cabinet made up of the 1 %, but the state post provides Tillerson and Exxon with far too much temptation to officially use the US foreign policy apparatus to keep extracting more oil.

The night I watched that Trump suggested Tillerson for the post, I burst into tears and crawled into bed. It was a feeling closely connected to panic, in recognition of what might happen and how powerless I felt. Thank goodness Im part of a big team, some of whom love combat and were quick to start writing and producing statements denouncing his appointment. Reports “re coming out” last week that of all the cabinet members, Tillerson is doing the best chore maintaining a close relationship to the president. Because this man is used to operating in privacy, well have to stay vigilant to understand the moves hell be making.

Then there is the remarkable story about the Dakota Access pipeline and the historic resistance at Standing Rock. At no other time has there been this much widespread opposition to a gas pipeline, for the many reasons pipelines merit our opposition. This represented an alliance of tribes whose rights, subsistences and lives have been systematically desecrated by the US government and corporations. The camp at Standing Rock itself was a symbol of everything Trumpism cannot be: spiritually grounded, connected to history and land, basically respectful of the rights of nature and people, infused with art and music and heart. It moved people to act in solidarity all over the world. Many moved fund out of the banks invested in the project.

And the resistance worked. The forces-out at Standing Rock peacefully built assured that the Obama administration put a stop to the construction and allowed further review of the pipelines viability.

So it was with cruelty the same cruelty seen in the enactment of the Muslim travel ban and the gamble with the healthcare of 24 million people that Trump signed an executive order to begin construction immediately. At the end of March, oil began to flow through the pipeline. This is why Im still exclaiming in church. The minute I start to feel numb, I believe Ill lose some hope and resolve.

And there is another animating objective. Progressives share so much, but so often our human nature and lopsided structures get in the way. Can we use this moment to be honest with each other in a new and different route, and clear up longstanding disagreements and inequalities that enable us to be aligned behind a common vision? Because I believe we will take power back. And when that happens, we need to enact a very bold agenda that propels political prospects far, far away from where Trump has dragged them.

This work is already under way: its the work of dialogues between unions and environmentalists; big, well-funded organisations and smaller grassroots ones; centrist and more radical activists; and those who believe change comes from interrupting unjust laws and those whose work is to pass only ones.

Its the work of the Peoples Climate March, which will take place on Saturday, 29 April in Washington DC and throughout the rest of the country. Its message aspires to the future were trying to build, and its being organised by a diverse cross-section of the entire movement.

That tearful day in church ended on a high note. Afterwards, some friends and I went to New Yorks MoMA PS1 museum to see the Rev Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou perform. Rev Sekou is a Pentecostal minister, an author and a gospel and blues musician, who has been active in the Movement for Black Lives. Yes, I went to church twice that day, and no, that isnt the norm for me! And when he sing What a time to be alive, the revolution comes in here, I didnt feel like weeping I felt like getting back to work.

Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter: We are in for a long fight and not all of us will make it

Alicia
Alicia Garza: The resistance is real. Photo: Kristin Little

20 January 2017 marked a turning point for the entire world. Since the election results were announced on 8 November 2016 Id been feeling mostly numb, unable to process what the impact would be for me, my family and the people I care about. I felt the need to be quiet, to be somewhere quiet. To have space to think.

Every step I took felt like walking on eggshells. The first weeks following the elections everyone around me seemed to be unsure, fearful and riddled with anxiety. I was too. Quick to lash out, slacken to listen. I had nothing to start from except what Id heard during the campaign.

And yet, at the same time, I did know what was coming. Perhaps somewhere my cells were reorganising to protect my heart from what was inevitable. More suffering, more uncertainty. More people dying for trying to live. During the campaign, the surrogates for our current president unabashedly attacked Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists and cop murderers. In the aftermath of the election, there were many different responses. Some decided to continue their work as before and felt that not much had changed. Others decided to demonstrate their resistance by doing a direct action at the inauguration. Others shared information about the key players in the incoming administration, attempting to support others in the network to understand more clearly the new political agenda. All of us remain committed to the work of black liberation.

During the holidays, my family and I talked over dinner about personal security. I described to them a new decide of protocols we would need to begin using in order to secure our safety, insofar as that was even possible. My mothers described their anxiety of what was to come. A suit filed by a rabid conservative former district attorney hung over our heads as someone charged us and other activists with starting a race war. Indeed, the election of Donald Trump was like a nuclear plume slowly rising over the United States.

What Ive learned in the first 100 days of this administration is that you can never stop dreaming about liberty. Ive expended the past few months being relatively quiet. Listening. Brushing up on my reading about the right wing in the United States and the movement it has been diligently constructing for the past 30 years. Ive carried out in order to a practice of listening more and also listening less. Listening more to whats not being said, watching as the various cliques on the right joust for power and influence. Ive taken stock of the damage, as the right wing now controls the presidency, the supreme court, Congress and the majority of state parliaments. Listening less to voices that refuse to deal with our political reality as it actually is, as opposed to how they want it to be.

The low phases over the past few months have been many. Executive order after executive order that sought to punish the communities that make America great Muslims, undocumented immigrants, black people, females, fag communities, transgender people. A law and order agenda that seeks to criminalise anyone who disagrees with the administrations aims. An us attorney general who refuses to protect each person equally. A secretary of education who seeks to privatise public education. A secretary of housing and urban planning who seeks to slash an already paper-thin budget for housing set aside for those living in poverty. A chief strategist with white supremacist tiltswho is responsible not just for advising the president, but who, to all intents and purposes, is the one pushing the many decisions that this so-called president espouses on television. And of course, the most recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan. Surely, we are in for a long fighting and not all of us will make it.

A
A Protest against proposed Republican legislation that would change Medicaid funding, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/ EPA

I comfort my mothers who are concerned about the state of their healthcare. Theyre both in their 60 s and have recently retired. And so, while the Affordable Care Act isnt perfect, it is what they have and it is what they depend on. And it is what they deserve, what every human being on this Earth deserves to be cared for.

And yet I am hopeful. The disorganisation of our political scenery offers abundant the possibility for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for each other. I welcome the opportunity to be closer to my neighbours, to fight for myself, my family and my loved ones with every fibre of my being. Inside of the quiet, the cynicism dissipates. We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be.

I remember that the resistance is real and it lives. The day before the president is inaugurated, I join more than a million women in the streets of Washington, DC ; for many, this was their first time on a demonstration. When the president followed orders from his chief strategist to institute a travelling forbid on Muslims, airports were shut down by those “re fighting” democracy and those caught in the crosshairs of such a ridiculous attempt were given legal subsistence and reunited with their families. I work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a prominent voice and political vehicle for the millions of domestic workers in the United States who are still excluded from most federal labor protections and so when the president initially nominated a man for secretary of labour who was known for his opposition to workers rights, we participated in the resistance to stop him from being confirmed. Representatives returned to their home districts and were forced to face their constituents in ways that they havent had to in decades.

And so, while there are many challenges to overcome, it is good to know that we are not alone in attempting to find the solutions necessary to save our lives and the lives of millions who are vulnerable not just in the United States, but around the world. Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Im happy to know which side Im on.

Linda Tirado, writer on poverty: My instinct is to set off around the country asking impertinent questions

Linda
Linda Tirado photographed in Washington, DC: At least I have fertile land and a defensible perimeter. Photo: Scott Suchman for the Observer

I live in the heart of Trump country, in Meigs County, Ohio, a rural district struggling with poverty and craving. My neighbours are precisely the people the right wing have been preying on and propagandising while the left abandoned them for decades. I wasnt awfully surprised to see Clinton had lost. Id simply published a column in the Guardian about why so many people would be voting for Trump. But I wept on election night and then get well and truly drunk, because I didnt want to think about what was coming next.

My household is bracing for disaster. I wrote a volume, Hand to Mouth , about what a precarious life may seem like, but this is the first time Ive felt precarity coming in my bones and also had enough income to assuage my fears of: not enough food , not enough warmth , not enough anything on hand to deal with situations of emergency. I have a garden, as anyone in the country does, but we got serious about it after the election. This is the first year Ive thought that food costs will spike enough to make it worth focusing on the garden as a food source , not just a hobby. Increased immigration raids is very likely leave food rotting in the areas and shipping expenses will probably go up as they do during periods of uncertainty; imported food will be more expensive.

And the more the country talked about Russia, the more sense it made to expand the plans we had for a few tomatoes and beans to include asparagus and maybe some root vegetables because theyll keep just fine. The logic: oil and power costs tend to spike when Russias doing a thing and were bombing the Countries of the middle east. Then we thought: perhaps berry shrubs. A few fruit trees. And a herb patch. And perhaps we should borrow a tiller at this phase or buy one? Only now, Im mapping out 2 week of my schedule around harvest time so I can be home to do the food preservation. Were not about freeze-dried food storage yet; right now people are still only joking about nukes.

Besides, this part of the countrys be transformed into a rainforest. A decade ago this part of Ohio didnt reach such high temperatures. Now summers are lush and humid, while wintertimes are becoming harsher. So its not such a bad idea, if you happen to have the land and the time to get the work done, to be working on sustainability. Partially thats environmentalism, but its an economic consideration too. Its a thing we talk about over dinner at home or with friends. We also talk about power. Electricity is expensive, so is heating oil, and gas aint free either. Power will merely get more expensive as regulations are rolled back and the market is left to its own devices. Water is already a scarce commodity. Might as well put in some solar panels if you can afford it.

I expended the weeks between the election and the inauguration largely glued to Twitter. I tried to help people reason through what had just happened. I impatiently explained the philosophical and historical definition of fascism versus the hyperbolic version. I demanded we all grow up and focus on the important stuff: not what had happened, but what was coming. My audience grew and split into groups people who liked my satirical round-ups of the incoming administrations peccadilloes, people who liked that I discussed the reasons we therefore vulnerable to a demagogue, people who just wanted someone to explain what the fuck is had happened.

I started taking more note of political dialogue I heard around me, too, here in rural Ohio, where they went for Trump hard. Consensus seemed to be constructing that voting Trump hadnt ran but as it was a last-ditch try anyway, it was worth waiting to see. Nobody quite agreed on what he was supposed to have done or, instead, there were a lot of things. Largely, he was supposed to have disrupted everything but not exactly like this. He needed to get by that stupid Twitter, anyway, everyone agreed on that. I maintain wondering what these people didnt learn from the Tea Party.

Once the inauguration was over, I largely quit trying to explain anything to anyone online; emotion was riding too high and we were back to transgressing news instead of analysis and I was scheming a garden, so I started joking that no matter what happened, at least I had fertile land and a defensible perimeter. When the kids werent listening, we talked about what guns to buy.

Abortion pill group’s Facebook page deleted over promoting ‘drug use’

Page for Women on Web, which connects doctors with women in places that restrict abortion access, deleted over promotion or encouragement of drug use

Facebook has censored the page of an organization that helps females procure abortion pill, citing its policy against the promotion or encouragement of drug use.

Women on Web, which is based in Amsterdam, helps connect women with physicians who can provide abortion pill if they live in countries where abortion access is restricted. It is a sister organization to Women on Waves, which provides abortions and other reproductive health services on a ship in international waters.

Women on Waves announced that the page had been unpublished on its own Facebook account, writing: Girls on Web offer life-saving information to thousands of women worldwide. Its Facebook page publishes news, scientific information and the protocols of the World Health Organization and Women on Web has answered over half a million emails with women who needed scientific, accurate information essential for their health and life.

We expect Facebook will[ undo] this action soon enough, as access to information is a human right.

This is the second censorship row between Facebook and Women on Web. In January 2012, Facebook deleted the specific characteristics photograph of different groups founder and director, Dr Rebecca Gomperts. The image contained instructions for inducing an abortion using Misoprostol. Gomperts was locked out of her account for two days after re-posting the image, but Facebook subsequently apologized and reinstated both the image and her account.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for commentary.

With virtually 2bn users, the social media site plays a crucial role in circulating news and info around the world. But Facebook has struggled to meet competing demands to allow for the free flow of information while cracking down on graphic material( such as the livestreamed murder of a newborn in Thailand in April ).

In 2016, the company faced international censure over its decision to censor the iconic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl fleeing a Napalm attack. Facebook subsequently altered its policy to allow for editorial decisions about newsworthiness.

On 3 May, amid criticism over its handling of graphic videos, Facebook announced that it would hire 3, 000 more content reviewers. Such content reviewers are tasked with applying the companys community standards, often with uneven outcomes.

Facebooks has faced particular difficulty enforcing its rules for regulated goods prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms, and ammunition. The company bars attempts by private individuals to buy, sell, or trade such items, but has struggled to halt gun sales.

The company has cracked down aggressively on pages related to legal medical marijuana, however. In 2015, the site temporarily banned business publication Crains for promoting a cover story about medical marijuana.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Getting it off my chest: life with big breasts

It used to be fun to be a 32 GG. Oh, how the mighty have fallen

There are many styles you could describe me to a friend who isnt sure whether they talked to me at a party. You might say the one with the poorly behaved blond daughters or the one with the gremlin crop. Far easier, though, simply to make a large, curving gesture at the front of your body. Start at your neck, objective somewhere near your belly button and say the one with the tits.

Turns out they did meet me after all.

Last year, a friend told me that her husband fights to hold a dialogue with me because he cant get past my breasts. I checked that their sheer sizing wasnt blocking his style to the exit( this has been known to happen ). It wasnt that. It was those things on the front of my body, which secrete milk after childbirth. They were emotionally intimidating a grown man.

And he isnt alone. With depressing regularity, I meet people who cant get past my breasts. Some guy shouts, Look at the rack on that! from a occur auto. As I arrive at a party in an outfit Id felt comfy in only seconds before, a friend takes one look at my cleavage and sniggers, The girls are out. At university, a prof tells me Im distracting him during lecturings. I spend a few weeks wondering what, precisely, he wants me to do with them, then transfer to a different course. Ive been advised to Get em out, love! and Put em away, slag! on the same day, wearing the same clothes, strolling along the same street. Is it any wonder that my breasts and I have had a complicated, often confounding relationship?

Over time, my bra sizing has varied from a 32 C at my smallest to a 38 K at my greatest, while I was pregnant with my second daughter. Now, at the age of 34, I find myself the not-so-proud owner of a pair of 32 GGs that protrude from my size-1 0 frame like an obscene cake topper. This year, I lost 3st in weight, but went down only one cup sizing. Im constructed this style. Im not doing it on purpose.

Here are a few things that my enormous breasts make me feel: cumbersome, bulky, matronly, mumsy, lumbering, massive, unwieldy, hefty, laden, out of proportion, cartoonish, imbalanced, disconcerted. Here are some things they dont make me feel: abundant, bountiful, blessed, womanly, feminine, confident, sexy, attractive.

It hasnt always been this way. Back in the working day when my boob were perky, I took full advantage and why not? Pushing my elbows together while leaning over packed-out bars usually meant I get served very quickly; when I worked as a waitress, the contents of my tip jar seemed to swell in direct correlation with the tightness of my shirt.

However, staying in control of a huge pair of breasts is difficult. In the same way that people will touch a pregnant belly without attempting permission, big breasts are often treated as public property. Strangers in bars open conversations with, What size are they? or, Are those things real? Wags at parties wonder if Ive ever lost anything in my cleavage. Debases offer to help me look for mislaid items. Im pretty certain that Ive had my breasts honked( complete with hilarious sound effects ), groped, squeezed and accidentally brushed against more periods than a woman with average-sized assets( which, in the UK, is a 36 DD ).

Some people assume I must love having large breasts( Youre so lucky ), while others are convinced they attain me miserable( You must have was just thinking about having a reduction ). Nobody would ever ask an overweight female to disclose her clothes size or a beaky human if he was considering a nose job. But whatever their opinion on big breasts, people only cant seem to keep them, or their hands, to themselves.

When I was younger and more unsure of myself, “its easy to” to fall into the role of the one with the tits, because letting my breasts define me meant that I didnt have to worry too much about defining myself. But around the time I turned 30 and devoted birth to my first daughter, I observed myself wanting to be taken more seriously, and to fit in with the other mothers I met.

Im not sure its functioning. Ive developed a sinking feeling that my breasts might be spreading lies about me in the school playground, undermining me at work and, above all, betraying who I am now that I know for sure myself. They want me to be the person I was before my children came along. I know we had good times together, but Ive moved on and I often guiltily wonder what life might be like without them.

Photograph: Sophia Spring

Talking to other large-breasted women of my age, I realised Im not alone. Big boob arent a boon, theyre a curse, one says bleakly, before divulging an all-too-familiar listing of physical grievances: constant back, neck and shoulder ache, permanent marks and sores caused by bra straps and under-wiring, painful rashes under each breast, difficulty seeing a comfy sleeping position. Its a physical necessity to hold a breast in each hand when I run for a bus or up the stairs, another friend tells me. I do that, too, I interrupt, excitedly. It constructs me look like a weirdo from a Benny Hill sketch.

Like me, they also find exercising difficult even low-impact activities such as swimming( my breasts are essentially giant flotation assists) and yoga( I must forgo any poses that involve lying on my front, or side, or bending over ). Despite wearing as many sports bras as I have legs, I struggle to heft my breasts along with me on my regular jogs. As running holds the key to my sanity, however, Ill continue to do it, even if I have to employ somebody to skateboard alongside for supporting.( Thats a job description Id like to write .)

The biggest source of frustration and suffering, however, the one that eclipses all others, is the daily torment of getting garmented. Necklines are the biggest minefield: too high and you suffer from an effect I call the wall of boob: a classic look for matrons and maiden aunts, this effectively turns you into the prow of a ship. But go for anything lower than a polo neck, and youre deliberately flaunting your wares asking for it, as my daddy used to say when I tried to leave the house wearing two doilies and a mini-skirt as a teenager.

The list of no-go regions for garmenting the top-heavy body is endless. No to anything flowing or loose-fitting, unless you want to be a human pavilion. No to being your best friends bridesmaid, because shell undoubtedly want you to wear a strapless dress, which will certainly end up round your waist on the dancefloor. No to anything clinging or even remotely tight( see above re asking for it ). Animal publishes, gingham, pigtails, corsets or knee-high boots will make anyone bigger than a D beaker look like a porn star. Well-stacked females have the utterly useless talent of attaining even the most expensive, exquisitely cut garment look instantly obscene. And dont be fooled by those articles that purport to teach you how to garment a curvy shape. The most useful piece of advice Ive come away with is: Carry a really, genuinely huge pouch to detract attention.

My bras are so ugly, I hang them to dry in my wardrobe so that my partner doesnt insure them. They boast two-inch-wide straps and cups that come up to my collarbones. Despite these impressive credentials, they last approximately 12 weeks before Im kebabbed by errant under-wiring, or one of the beakers suddenly tears open, unable to hold back the tsunami disaster of my bosom. At APS6 0 a bra, Im campaigning for the government to pay me and my kind an annual underwear stipend.

Over the past five years, Ive breastfed two children into toddlerhood. Its been the only day that my feelings about my breasts have been truly uncomplicated. Thats where the true power lies: my eldest are applied to clap when I reached to unhook my nursing bra. When I weaned my youngest child recently, it felt a good time to take a proper look at my breasts. Circled with angry purple stretch marks, they now point due south. The skin that covers them is creped and saggy. They bear the scars of tiny teeth and fingernails. Theyre still utterly huge but, oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I conceal my breasts as best I can: from the world, from my partner, even from myself. When I do catch sight of them in the mirror hanging from my chest like sad, deflated balloons I cant feel that the partys well and truly over.

Covert research into breast-reduction surgery tells me that the procedure is painful, invasive and carries serious dangers. After giving birth, the idea of pain doesnt frighten me. I also think I could live with the not-insignificant scarring the scalpel would leave in its aftermath. What I find more difficult to stomach is the be thought that Id be butchering and betraying my breasts in order to conform to ideas and ideals that shouldnt exist.

So we inhabit a no mans land, my breasts and I. Theyre a part of who I am, they nourished my children; but I find it increasingly difficult to swallow the impressions of disgust and self-loathing they now invoke.

Is this normal? In the long term, coming to words with your body may be more helpful than permanently altering it, psychologist Honey Langcaster-James tells me. She points out that people can become over-focused on a body component theyre unhappy with, which can be symptomatic of difficulties theyre having in other areas of their lives, difficulties that surgery definitely wont fix.

My breasts are safe for now. Whatever I choose, it simmers down to one question: if I was secure in myself and in who I am, why would I care what assumptions are made about me based on my bra sizing? I hope one day I can truly believe that my big breasts are your problem , not mine.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Sizing up: women favor slightly larger penises, new study discloses

Women chose bigger penises for a one-time sexual encounter versus a long-term partner, showing that the ideal penis is larger than the global average

A new examine has revealed that girls prefer a slightly larger penis in a one-time sex partner compared to a long-term partner.

Researchers from the University of California and the University of New Mexico provided women with 33 different-sized 3D penis models made of rigid, odorless, blue plastic( they were blue to minimise racial skin-color cues) to choose from. In total, 75 girls, ages 18 to 65, took part in the study.

When asked to select the model which represented their preferred penis size in a long-term partner, the average reply was 6.3 inches( 16 cm) in duration and 4.8 inches( 12.2 cm) around. For a one-time sexual experience, the average plastic penis the women choice was slightly larger 6.4 inches( 16.3 cm) long and 5.0 inches( 12.7 cm) in circumference.

Previous surveys had presented women with 2D, flaccid penises, so this is the first research to provide hard evidence that womens ideal penises are slightly larger than average penis size.

The women in the study opted penis that were, on average, larger than those on supply. The median erect penis is 5.2 inches( 13.1 cm) long, and 4.6 inches( 11.7 cm) in circumference, according to a global analysis of 15, 000 phalluses published last year. The interactive below, created by Nick Evershed, allows you to explore those averages.

P-values
P-values

Sexual psychophysiologist Dr Nicole Prause and a squad of researchers also gave the women a questionnaire about their past sex experiences. Their reactions uncovered a variety of first-hand penis encounters, ranging from 2.5 inches in duration to 8 inches. Some females also said that they had ended a relationship partly because of their partners penis sizing 7 % of women told because their partners penis had been too large, and 20% said it had been too small.

In August, Dr Prause spoke to the Guardian about female pleasure as part of a video series Vagina Dispatches .

Read more: www.theguardian.com