Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Day at the March

Getting up at 4:30 am to catch the bus was not a highlight...but after two cups of coffee, dressing and packing water, lunch and nibbles into a backpack we are almost ready. First...let the dogs out and "hope" they'll be able to maintain until my brother comes at 1:30 ( AND then until we return after 10pm...)

We catch up with folks we haven't seen in awhile as our two bus convoy heads to DC. We get off at Pentagon City and we fill up the subway station waiting for our train. The organizers remind us we want the yellow line. Jean and I jump on the blue line instead (b/c we're tired of waiting for the yellow line AND we know the blue line ends up at the same place) The car is empty except for three women from New York...who are also in town for the March. We share "activities" etc and one woman who has a strong interest in the Palestinian situation exchanges info with us b/c we know some folks she'll want to connect with.

We end up at the mall at 10:45 and we head for the Native American Museum to hook up with Valley from the Crawford Peace House. We enjoy lunch together by the water falls and then head out to connect with the Veterans for Peace bus folks and listen to the rally. We discussed what was working and not working in our communities. I obtained some wonderfully creative media reform information that I will be useful in Hampton Roads. I am definitely inspired by what the Dallas folks are doing.

I enjoy meeting the vets for peace folks...they are usually friendly, salt of the earth types.

The speeches you will be able to catch or read transcripts (I enjoyed Sean Penn for brevity...and though my fave is Susan Sarandon I enjoyed Tim Robbins speech more than Susan's. (Unlike Rick Howell's opinion that Susan was better than Tim.)

We decide to march for a little while and then head to "mingle" and watch the march. The folks attending the march were very laid was a pretty day and basically a relaxed march. (There was a "small" group of young anarchists who decided to challenge the park police at the capital building. I don't believe any arrests took place there. I did hear the young anarchists also challenged the police at the end of the march and refused to leave the street when asked to do so when the march ended. I have no idea if anyone went all the way to getting arrested or not.) My observations were that the police were laid back during most of the march...and maybe there more active members were "busy" with this small group of folks. I have never observed so much just "mingling" and waffling" around before. I can see how some pictures may give folks the impression that the march was smaller than it was.

I would "love" to say this march was incredibly huge....(actually since the organizers originally "planned" on really was huge) but there were definitely at "least" 100k there and I believe it was probably 150K....200K is "possible....anything "estimated" below 100k is definitely in error. I base this on "lots of attendence at marches" and the fact that one grid of the mall was very packed and a second grid was filled with a decent amount of folks along the sides of the mall and across the street in the grassy area on the Capital side of things.

So that's my march experience...lunch was great and if I owned a laptop I could have sent a post from the march but c'est la vie....we grabbed desert before heading back to the buses....and slept on the bus ride home...greeted and played with our dogs before "hitting the sack."

It was a pleasant day spent with interesting pleasant, progressive folks throughout the journey.

We have friends who will be "lobbying" on Monday and we plan to email and call all of our elected officials in DC to let them know we marched and we want to "lobby" them the best we can on this issue.


Ryvr said...

Excellent reporting on the march! Cheers from a co-marcher from Asheville, NC!

I take small issue however with your minimizing of the amazing civil disobedience actions that occurred. There were at least 60 people participating in the quite significant sit-it disobedience, which you characterized as (also) "the young anarchists," by which I presume you mean the great SDS folks who stormed the Capitol steps. The civil disobedience sit-in, chanting, dancing, and blocking the street was at least 60 people and very diverse. More prominently hippie than anarchist, actually. But all kinds, including the amazing new SDS. All good people doing a good thing.

Peace -Ryvr

Catzmaw said...

Oh please, disobedience only works when it's being used against some unfair law like segregated lunch counters and schools. When it comes to CD at lawfully sanctioned and properly permitted rallies it just shows you don't play well with others and believe that disruption is somehow going to get you a hearing which you aren't having any trouble getting without disrupting people.

And I'm sure you're all very sincere and all that, but when people my age hear the SDS mentioned it's usually a quick hop to recollections of the Weather Underground and bombings and bank robberies and such. It's really a very unfortunate name. And street blocking? All it does is piss people off and make them block out your message.

I spent the whole of the 70s listening to self-styled radicals claim that they could reach people by behaving disruptively. The only people they reached were other anarchists and hippies. Demonstrations didn't really start getting effective until the ordinary folks joined in and marched peacefully instead of acting nutty.

Mosquito said...

For some strange reason Star and I have been "confusing" our accounts and posts....Basically we've been using the same computer lately while I'm changing over my home network and running cables .(which I hope to have finished tomorrow...We haven't been very "watchful" to see which of us is signed in to the mosquito blog as of late...sigh.. Hopefully this "glitch" will clear up when my somputer is back up online.

But I can't take credit for this last post...Star wrote it....So I'll leave it to her to reply to some of your questions and comments here.

I guess I have a "different" opinion than Ryvr and catsmeow...I love the DIVERSITY of the progressive takes all kinds. Unfortunately the media system we live in reports so monolithically and shallowly that they want to put everyone into the same box with the same label...For example, the media still wants to label everyone against this war as progressive, liberal, "lefty", rather than report and acknowledge that the MAJORITY of Americans including MIDDEL America...the so called "mainstream" America is now against this IRaq War.

IMO, the "march" was made up of AMERICANS...of all stripes and the majority of Americans looked like average families living in surburbia, young, middle aged and elderly, with a good representation from eterans of all ages and then a small percentage of progressives (who were over represented on the stage...since the progressives "organized" the march they are often the that's not surprising.

So I don't want to minimize or be disrespectful of the anarchist contingent myself....they've been an ally of the progressive movement for some time....