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WITCH Is Back To Hex Logan Square Gentrifiers, But Real Pagans Are Confused

By Paul Biasco | January 28, 2016 1:36pm
 WITCH, a performance collective that focuses on injustice in Chicago, plans to perform a hex and protective spell on Logan Square this weekend.
WITCH, a performance collective that focuses on injustice in Chicago, plans to perform a hex and protective spell on Logan Square this weekend.
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LOGAN SQUARE — A group of "witches" plans to put a hex on Logan Square this weekend to ward off politicians and developers they say are making money at the expense of working-class Chicagoans.

WITCH, an activist group, also will perform a protective charge on the neighborhood, acknowledging the people and organizations that have been fighting gentrification for decades.

"This action is not as much about witchcraft as it is about bringing attention to the housing dynamics in Chicago, namely housing insecurity, a lack of affordable housing and speculative development," said Chiara Galimberti, a member of Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell.

The feminist activist group WITCH was founded in the late '60s, and the women involved at the time fought for abortion access, protested CTA rate hikes and slammed the firing of a feminist University of Chicago professor. The women would wear capes and pointy hats hoping to garner more media attention for their cause. 

Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell was founded as a feminist group in the 1960s. Photo: YouTube/She's Beautiful When She's Angry

The modern group, which was inspired by the Chicago chapter of WITCH in the '60s, plans to use guerilla theater to protest disparities caused by inequality.

Saturday's action will be near the Logan Square "L" stop, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave., at noon.

"We think of witches as historically being women [and some men] that were at the forefront of resistance against oppressive systems," Galimberti said.

The "witches" protesting gentrification Saturday all have been affected by housing issues.

Two of them are immigrants and single mothers who have had to move with their children several times because they couldn't afford rent. Others have lived in apartments without working heat.

"The voices of the people that are most impacted by predatory housing should be the ones at the forefront of this discussion, people who have grown up and lived in Logan Square all their lives and whose stories are not being reported on," Galimberti said.

WITCH created a Facebook event for the ritual performance, which has drawn the ire of actual witches.

One post suggested the group should have contacted the Chicago Pagan Society planning the hex and spell action and said he was insulted. But Galimberti said actual witchcraft wasn't the point.

"We are interested in looking at the connection between social justice, feminism, and the figure of the witch," she said, pointing to the WITCH manifesto of the 1960s. 

Read it here: 

Witch is in all women, everything,

It’s theatre, revolution,

Magic, terror and joy.

It’s an awareness that witches and gypsies

Where the first guerrilla and resistance fighters

Against oppression – the oppression of women,

Down through the ages.

Witches have always been women who dared

To be groovy, courageous, aggressive,

Intelligent, non-conformist, explorative,

Independent, sexually liberated and revolutionary,

(This may explain why nine million women Have been burned as witches)

Witches were the first friendly heads and dealers,

The first birth-control practitioners, and abortionists,

The first alchemists.

They bowed to no man,

Being the last living remnants

Of the oldest culture of all –

One in which men and women were equal

Sharers in a truly cooperative society,

Before the death dealing sexual,

Economic, and spiritual repression

Of the ‘imperialist Phallic Society’

Took over and began to shit all over nature,

And human life

A witch lives and laughs in every women,

She is the free part of each of us.