Girl or boy, shouty or dancey, Eco-activist or couch revolutionary, let your political pom-poms FLY… With Radical cheerleading. It’s a fun, fun way to get your voice heard.
What is radical cheerleading?
Oh, it’s exactly like your standard cheerleading… but it subverts the stereotype of the bouncy vapid blonde because the chants, though indeed bouncy, focus on spreading a message of left-wing politics. Entwined with anti-authority and anti-capitalist views, the spirit of radical cheerleading was born in the sunny state of Florida in 1997. Started by two sisters, radical cheerleading has now gone global, spreading to other parts of the US, Canada, Europe and beyond.
See fantastic radical chants in action:
Where to find it
Radical cheerleading groups mainly perform at protest demos, but they also strut their stuff at feminist and radical festivals/events like Ladyfest. Radical cheerleading is such a nice, friendly and quite frankly bouncy way of promoting your message of social change. Some radical cheerleading groups also raise political awareness by performing at music venues. Not only do radical cheerleaders chant at protests but they also make zines and cheerleader handbooks.
Radical cheerleading chants
Chants are usually made up from scratch or by rewriting words from songs – a nice method of going about it since a familiar tune is something the crowd will warmly respond to.
Most radical chants focus on specific political issues (we’re thinking of sexuality, feminism, police brutality, animal rights…). On Tripod, someone described radical cheerleading as “protest and performance. It’s activism with pom poms and middle fingers extended. It’s screaming F*CK CAPITALISM while doing the splits”.
Radical cheerleading uniforms
Radical cheerleaders are mainly seen dressed in black, pink and red but also add their own diverse aesthetics to their uniform.
Some radical cheerleading groups decided to make their pom poms by using garbage bags by folding them in half, tying off one side with a rubber band and then cutting strips from the other end.
The most famous radical cheerleading demo to date has to be at the March for Womens’ Lives in Washington DC (25th April 2005). The radical cheerleaders’ main idea was to raise the awareness of women who receive low-income and have less access to abortion clinics.
Radical cheerleading has opened new doors on how voices can be heard. Plus, radical cheerleading is for everyone… Even males and transgendered are part of the radical cheerleading revolution.
Join this immense revolution now. Get those pom poms ready and chant your heart out!
Further links on radical cheerleading:
The Resistin Radicatz, a radical cheerleading group, do a cheer in front of AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington before joining the Million Worker March at the Lincoln Memorial.
This guy is being a totally excellent cheerleader. He too is a Resistin Radicat.
Photo by Thivierr