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Postmodern Parody as Political Intervention
by Kavita Kulkarni

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The U.S. Voting Machine Debacle and the Machinery of Democracy
by Nina Mankin

Venezuelan Elections
by Fernando Calzadilla

Radical Cheerleading and Feminist Performance
by Jeanne Vaccaro

Multimedia Presentation: Billionaires for Bush

Multimedia Presentation: Superbarrio for President

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[Page 3: Give Me An F: Radical Cheerleading and Feminist Performance]

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Mary: Wow, there are so many times I wish I had had a camera. My photographs are really incomplete.

Jeanne: What's missing?

Mary: The Taco Bell protest in Auburn, Alabama in the Summer of 2001. It was totally amazing. There was a Radical Cheerleading workshop at the Southern Girls Convention on a college campus in Auburn. There were fifty Radical Cheerleaders. Afterwards somebody called attention to the crowd and said she was going to stage an action at the Taco Bell down the street. It was about the tomato farmers that Taco Bell subcontracts not being paid livable wages. Despite inflation their wages haven't changed significantly since the 1970s. It was the first time I was at an action that didn't just have Radical Cheerleaders, but was organized entirely by Radical Cheerleaders. There were folks from the community of Auburn, college-aged people, younger women, working on an incredible labor action. That was maybe the most fun thing in my life. The whole action was done in a Radical Cheerleading style: we stormed through the Taco Bell and climbed on the registers, the table tops, the counter, and we were stopping and clapping just making rhythms and shouting chants. Fifty cheerleaders took over the Taco Bell and handed out literature. It really took people by surprise. I always want to see people shocked by so-called sweet young ladies, all-American teenage girls having something really intelligent to say, something that is going to change things. It was in this racist, conservative environment and we were getting weird looks for just walking down the street in Auburn, Alabama, because half of us are trans or just don't look normative gender-wise. I felt so proud of to be a part of "this side"—the lefties and anarchists. I live for that moment. It's one of those moments you don't care if you live the rest of your life because in that moment you are satisfied.

Jeanne: I reminded right now of why oral history is so important.

Mary: Especially for Radical Cheerleaders. A lot of time you can't photograph what you're doing, it's illegal.

Jeanne: Radical Cheerleading is unique as a demonstration of politics and performance. Radical Cheerleading engages political action through the cooptation of cheerleading as a feminist performance strategy, and still I'm struggling with how to define Radical Cheerleading. Is Radical Cheerleading performance art? Protest?

Mary: It needs a word like…conglomeration.

Jeanne: Hybrid!

Mary: Yes, it's a hybrid medium. It's a form of media. It's not just a way to do something. It's a community. It's a place in the world you can fit into and feel like you're mirrored on all sides. It's a safe space to feel feminine and badass. To explore gender, and to not have to feel feminine to be a part of a crew of women.
Jeanne: It's hard to describe something that references our affective lives. It's actually been difficult for me to describe Radical Cheerleading to my classmates, and to explain why I feel so passionately about archiving.

Mary: That makes total sense to me. Like recently I got a ride from a friend of a friend, this guy who knew about my doing Radical Cheerleading, and he asked me about it. But I could tell from his tone of voice that he was disdainful. I couldn't really talk about it, and I didn't want to try to describe Radical Cheerleading to him or do a cheer to show him because really it's a community thing. If I want to describe it, well I really want someone to see it in the context of the community and a squad of cheerleaders. Only then will someone see that it's a grouping of different feminists with different gender expressions and that it can be so freeing to be together. It's about the support we give each other more than the actions we're doing. It's about feminist backup. When someone sees it, they understand immediately. It's so effective visually.

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