Raging Grannies

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The Raging Grannies
The Raging Grannies logo.png
TypeActivist organization
A Raging Granny in Toronto

The Raging Grannies (or just "Raging Grannies") are activist organizations in many cities and towns in Canada, the United States, and in other countries.[1] They are social justice activists, all women old enough to be grandmothers, who dress up in clothes that mock stereotypes of older women, and sing songs at protests. They typically write the lyrics themselves, putting their political messages to the tunes of well-known songs. Their activism includes peace and environmental causes.[2]


The first group started in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, over the winter of 1986–87. They originally called themselves "NERT—Nuclear Emergency Response Team".[3] The members believed the presence of US Navy nuclear-powered ships' presence in Victoria Harbour posed potential health and environmental risks to the city.[4]

Notable events[edit]

The Calgary Raging Grannies performing in 2002

In May 2005, a California chapter of the Raging Grannies was allegedly spied upon by a unit of the California National Guard after it organized a Mother's Day anti-war rally. California State Senator Joe Dunn launched an investigation and the intelligence unit was subsequently shut down.[5]

In July 2005, five members of the group were charged with trespassing after they attempted to enlist at a US Army recruiting center in Tucson, Arizona. A spokesperson for the group said they wanted to enlist and be sent to Iraq so that their children and grandchildren could come home. A group also went to New York City, where they were arrested for allegedly blocking access to a recruitment center in Times Square; on April 28, 2006, they were acquitted of all charges.[6]

The Action League of the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula, as the group is known in the Bay Area, was the subject of the 2009 video documentary Raging Grannies.[7]

The Raging Grannies were also part of the "March against Monsanto" protest on May 25, 2013, to protest against genetically modified foods.[8]

The original Grannies were honoured on their 30th anniversary with a display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, MB.

In June 2020, the Raging Grannies protested to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in Portland, Oregon and in San Bruno and Palo Alto, California.[9][10][11]

Works about the Raging Grannies[edit]

At least two films, Granny Power[12][13] and Two Raging Grannies,[14] and multiple academic articles talk about the Raging Grannies.[15][16][17] They state and show how they challenge stereotypical conceptions about activism and aging (the grannies did not grow more conservative as they aged, for example).[18] There are two books about them: Off Our Rockers, by Alison Acker and Betty Brightwell, and The Raging Grannies: Wild Hats, Cheeky Songs and Witty Actions for a Better World.[19]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Anemona Hartocollis: New York Judge Tells 'Grannies' To Go in Peace. In: The New York Times - Abstract, April 28, 2006
  • Marc Pitzke: Omas gegen den Krieg. Die Rache der alten Damen. In: Spiegel online June 11, 2006. (German Newspaper, German)
  • Armin Ulm: Omas müssen nicht nur nett sein. Erboste amerik. Grossmütter demonstrieren vor dem Nato-Hauptquartier für den Frieden und gegen die Politik George W. Bushs. RNZ-Heidelberg July 17, 2006, P. 3 - 20 Demonstrants of the Granny Peace Brigade before G W B coming to Germany (with big Image, (a German Newspaper, germ. lang.).
  • Acker, Alison, and Betty Brightwell. Off Our Rockers and into Trouble: The Raging Grannies, Horsdal & Schubart Publishers, (September 30, 2004). ISBN 1-894898-10-9; ISBN 978-1-894898-10-2.


  1. ^ http://www.vcn.bc.ca/ragigran/
  2. ^ Jennifer Pederson. The Raging Grannies Activist Grandmothering for Peace. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative 1(1): 64-74.
  3. ^ http://raginggrannies.org/herstory/
  4. ^ http://raginggrannies.org/herstory/
  5. ^ The Pentagon's New Spies : Rolling Stone[dead link]
  6. ^ Meet Bush's latest enemy in the war on Iraq: the Raging Grannies of Tucson, Arizona | World news | The Guardian
  7. ^ IMDB
  8. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/05/25/monsanto-worldwide-demonstrations-montreal.html
  9. ^ KATU Staff (2020-06-14). "'Raging Grannies' protest police brutality in downtown Portland". KATU. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  10. ^ Lee, Lloyd. "Two Juneteenth protests take place in downtown Palo Alto". paloaltoonline.com. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  11. ^ "Bay Area political events: Anti-racism rallies, Bakari Sellers". SFChronicle.com. 2020-06-07. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  12. ^ Granny Power: https://vimeo.com/89467996
  13. ^ Michael D. Read. A reverential tribute to the Raging Grannies. Times Colonist, Feb 15, 2015: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/film-festival/a-reverential-tribute-to-the-raging-grannies-1.1763611
  14. ^ Peter D'Auria. This “Raging Granny” Crashed a Wall Street Dinner to Demand Answers. Yes Magazine, Mar 27, 2015: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/this-raging-granny-crashed-wall-street-dinner
  15. ^ Narushima, M. (2004). A gaggle of raging grannies: The empowerment of older Canadian women through social activism. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 23(1), 23–42.
  16. ^ Dumond, R. (2017). Speaking up: Communicating with authorities through positive disruptions. unpublished Masters of Design thesis, University of Washington.
  17. ^ Guillemot, J. R., & Price, D. J. (2017). Politicisation in later life: experience and motivations of older people participating in a protest for the first time. Contemporary Social Science, 1-16.
  18. ^ Aging Horizons Bulletin. Interview with Dana Sawchuk: The Raging Grannies’ Cheeky Protests for a Better World: http://aginghorizons.com/2009/12/interview-the-raging-grannies-cheeky-protests-for-a-better-world.
  19. ^ Carole Roy. The Raging Grannies, Blazing a Trail of Humorous Protests. Canadian Dimension, 2004: https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-raging-grannies-blazing-a-trail-of-humorous-protests

External links[edit]