This past Sunday’s women’s march appeared to be a watershed mark in American activist history. Millions of people all over the world, but especially in the US, marched against the Trump Administration and for women’s equal rights and the rights of all others disenfranchised by the capitalist system: immigrants (documented or not), Palestinians, working poor, etc.
The list of speakers was impressive and widely divergent. With Linda Sarsour, who on the surface and to those unaware of her history, openly spoke of her Palestinian identity to Scarlett Johannson, spokesperson for Israeli oppression of Palestine; capitalist anti-public education leaders like Randi Winegarten, and a whole slew of the most despicable of Democratic leaders: Corey Booker, who opposes importing cheaper drugs from Canada; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who perhaps single handedly gave us Donald Trump; Tammy Duckworth and so many others who blame Russia for Clinton’s miserable campaign; etc.
There were a lot of unknown faces on the podium representing a huge array of issues that need to be out front representing the rights of prisoners, domestic workers, sexual assault survivors, Jewish an Muslim activists, etc. Lots of main-stream and NGO people up there on the podium. Didn’t see any Greens, open socialists, or other anti-capitalists. Do we need to wonder why? The planning of the march in DC started out with a layer of militancy, but as more establishment figures got on board, it became co-opted. However, the tone and militancy of marches in other areas were mixed.
The crowds were old and young. I couldn’t get to DC because the lines at Pennsylvania Station in Baltimore were the largest it ever has been. Our ‘socialist’ rail system hit pay dirt! Like many though, I decided to stay in town and take part in the local demo. It looked like DC, except for the numbers, of course. Same crowd, same demographics, same signs, same pussy hats.
To all the young people who attended, many with their grandparents or parents (veterans of previous demos) this will be your first day in hopefully a long life of dissenting. I was at the April 24, 1971 anti-war demo in DC and haven’t stopped. They are the lifeblood of a movement and the vanguard of a revolution.
Listen to your elders in their stories of past glorious fights with the establishment. Listen to how they may have taken over universities for free speech, or stood with the Black Panthers at soup kitchens and day care centers, or broke into military establishments and poured blood on the weapons of mass destruction. Their stories are inspiring. The stories give you hope. The stories tell of a new world that is possible. But don’t take their advice! So many of them are bought into the 2-party system that saw the answer to Trump being Clinton. I was there to register Greens, having people thank the Democrats for giving us Trump by DemExiting. I was hardly successful. Baltimore is a tough, religiously sycophantic Democratic Party town. Breaking through this blue barrier is tough and takes a lot of work. So many of the older people at the demo were strong Clintonoids. Some even reverted to their past idiotic arguments that the Greens gave us Bush and Trump. Can’t argue with stupid, so better to just move along.
The glimmer of hope is with the young. Keep fighting. Reject the 2-party system that gave us Trump and Hillary. Go Green or start other parties and make them viable. Be loud. Be action oriented. Don’t take patronizing tones from those saying it’s not your turn or not time for you yet. The same said to Greens whenever they want to run people for office that may or may not hurt the chosen party was said to blacks who were too ‘uppity’ and fought for basic human rights, dignity, and the ability to take part in a system designed to keep them down and out.
To many of the old veterans who attended the march this past Sunday I ask, “Where the hell were you for 8 years?” And, “You better get the hell out of the way for this next generation of fighters.”