Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A First-Woman View Of The March in D.C.

Many of us are still riding a euphoric wave after the demonstrations held last Saturday. We're still excited about the numbers of people who came out, the multigenerational crowds, the large numbers of people who turned out for their first demonstrations, the evolving calendar of events for the next six weeks which will tell us if we have a movement or not and what kind of movement that will be, the ability of people to show up prepared with their own signs and demands and take to the streets for them. There were some great national speeches, which we have noted elsewhere on this blog, and the Republicans have been forced to react and go on the defense. A line can be drawn from Occupy to the Sanders campaign and from there to the efforts to win a progressive Democratic platform to solidarity with Standing Rock to today. A line can also be drawn from Black Lives Matter to the Movement For Black Lives Platform to the heightened efforts to defend immigrants, people of color and Muslims to today, a harder line to follow but perhaps, in the long run, the more important line. The Platform, after all, should be our model, and organizing workers and protecting them and people-of-color communities from a context of intersectionality are our on-going tasks.

Not everyone shares our joy, of course. We are hearing from trans and gender-variant people that they were excluded, or felt excluded, from the rallies and that using the uterus and the vagina to represent women is a false, oppressive and binary way of seeing gender, gender oppression and the world. We are hearing from "ultraleftists" who criticize the most prominent speakers and who suspect that this has all been engineered by the Democrats. We get a great deal of mansplaining. We hear from Sanders supporters who insist that a Sanders win would have practically eliminated the need to struggle and from Clinton supporters who hold that Sanders and his supporters cost their candidate the election. We hear from many people---and particularly people of color----who say that it was necessary and difficult to push back against rally organizers who wanted a non-political, all-inclusive, love-one-another themed movement. We hear the painful truth that masses of white people have not yet turned out to defend people of color. We hear from union members who ask where their unions were while they were protesting.

Some of these criticisms have substance, some don't. It sometimes feels like 1963 and the beginning of the antiwar movement, at other times like the worst of the1970s and the destructive factionalism of those years. Our group can't resolve these contradictions, and we will be posting more about these contradictions and how they affect us locally later this week. I'm most interested in staying positive and focused on movement-building right now and at looking at how we can build a radical and socialist movement with and within the larger movement and do so using united-front tactics. I'm most interested in what the people who live at the intersections of race, class, gender non-conformity and developing political consciousness have to say.

A dear friend----an especially talented organizer, a lesbian, a working-class woman full of heart and soul from Oregon---attended the rally in D.C. and wrote up her observations. Here is some of what she wrote:

It was truly exciting to see so many Millennials and other youths - as well as some dinosaurs like myself -almost all on the same page, with the rage and outrageousness only to be admired.
I never actually saw the stage area because I could not get close enough due to the incredible density of participants. My favorite speakers or performers that I saw and heard at this event were on a big screen at Independence and 12th. I never saw such sustained density ever before.
I really enjoyed Michael Moore but as usual he was too windy but he did have a plan this time... Ashley Judd kind of bumped him out and was very funny while being dead serious and did that with great energy and enthusiasm.
Another favorite for me was Sophie Cruz a sub pre-teen who presented her just the right length speech in English then in Spanish. Her parents stood behind her and I have no idea if they were bi-lingual or not, but seeing their eyes well-up with what I assume was pride brought welling-up from many participants and chants of Sophie..Sophie..SOPHIE!.
And it was about time I saw Gloria Steinem almost in person. “This is the upside to the downside.”
It was good to see The Indigo Girls since I hadn’t seen them since the No on Nine Campaign, which I think, was in 91 or 92.
I was never a big fan of Madonna and her performance didn’t change my mind except to the extent that she offered herself up at this important event. Many other people seemed to really enjoy her.
But to me, 5 hours of speakers and performers while standing in place on hard surfaces before the March actually started (without permission of the plan) did me in. And I was not alone in this opinion. By 1:30 many in the crowd were chanting MARCH, MARCH, MARCH!
I can’t remember being in that much physical pain in public before. I grossly over estimated my physical or planning ability to participate in this event. The physical stuff I already mentioned, but silly me did not carry any cash. All the food vendors I saw were cash only, and I could find no restaurants. So there I was, a type 2 diabetic who went the entire day without liquid (after my early morning coffee) or food. Sometimes I’m an absolute fool. I got lost trying to find my bus among the 1800 or so in the RFK stadium parking lot. So between low blood sugar and my usual anxiety I lost it and burst into tears. The bus captains found me pretty darn close the right bus row, were nice enough and got me some food and water they had stashed. At the very same time they were kind of dismissive and did not consider they might be dealing with a handicapped participant.
To be fair though I believe the turnout way exceeded the expectations of its organizers and accounts for most of the snafus.
I can’t remember the name of the Islamic women but I remember she is an attorney and said among other things “If he starts forcing Muslims to register all of us will register as Muslims. That drew a roar of approval, I remember thinking I will want to do that I wonder how to do it. I love this kind of thinking and creative straight -forward fucking with Trump ideas. Although there allegedly was violence and arrests in the demos on inauguration day, not one incidence of violence was witnessed by me or reported in the news. I haven’t heard of anything anywhere about violence in any of the US Woman’s ‘Marches. I tried to investigate that especially in Portland and Seattle. You folks know of any? Did the anarchists leave the NW Women’s Marches actually butt out or behave in the NW for a change? I’ve never been a fan of the anarchists, who in my opinion bring public shame to our efforts. I know who a couple of the PDX one are and it was shocking to me.
I also really love the fact that there were “Sister” Marches all over the world, even the Arctic. Lets see Mexico, London, Cape Town, Sydney Australia, Berlin, Frankfort, Munich, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nairobi, New Zealand, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Rome, London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Kosovo, the Czech Republic, and Georgia. I love this not just because of the sense of support, but because I’m less embarrassed by Trump. Lots of people, all over the world, understand the majority of us do not support this lunatic. Makes him a little less of embarrassment anyway.
I don’t use the word lunatic lightly because as many of you already know I have mental illness- severe reoccurring depression...and anxiety/panic disorder. I know and have experienced discrimination based on mental illness. And of course I’m opposed to that and am sensitive about calling people crazy. However I believe this man suffers from some kind of personality disorder with grandiosity, pathological lying, and distorted thinking. impulsivity, and on and on. Narcissistic Personality Disorder?, Antisocial/Psychopathic Personality Disorder? Schizoaffective Disorder? Who knows? It’s clear he should not be in his current job. And that he is potentially very very dangerous. I think this orange man is going to go down in history as the worst and most dangerous President. I never thought I’d have this thought- He’s worse than George W Bush.

Girl Power vs Trump Tower
Dump Trump
The future is female
My Pussy has TEETH
Rise Love Resist
Keep Your filthy Laws Off my Silky Drawers
Fight Like a Girl
Woman’s Rights are Civil Right (sound familiar?)
We the People Protect Each Other

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