Saturday, January 28, 2017

I Said, “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore”: I Lied - And Putting Marches in Context

Hell, we survived Thanksgiving and our family of mixed Trump and Hillary supporters are going on a cruise next month and expect to have a fun time. I’m just staying away from the railing.
The march was exciting but let's not jump to conclusions. Before we think a revolt is at hand, check out this NY Times piece from Friday - Does a Protest’s Size Matter?
Two enormous protests, two disappointing results. Similar sequences of events have played out in other parts of the world. This doesn’t mean that protests no longer matter — they do. Nowadays, however, protests should be seen not as the culmination of an organizing effort, but as a first, potential step.
...But if those protesters are not exchanging contact information and setting up local strategy meetings, their large numbers are unlikely to translate into the kind of effectiveness the Tea Party supporters had after their protests in 2009.
Also see this week's Bill Maher on HBO where he does a riff on Democrats and identity Politics.

Bill Maher Hilariously Picks Apart Trump’s Chaotic First Week In Power

In the meantime, I had a good time at the march but it won't change what I do with myself ---

I Said, “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore”: I Lied
By Norm Scott

I was walking across Lexington Avenue on Tuesday and two African-American woman walking next to me were telling a friend about the last Saturday’s Woman’s March. “It was so diverse and people were so excited and friendly and everyone we met bonded,” one of them said. I, who rarely speak to strangers, turned to them and said, “I was there too.” They smiled and one of them said to her friends, “See, that was what it was like.” “See you at the next one,” I said as we waved and went our separate ways.

Exhilarating, energizing, unifying, a life-changing experience, among other accolades for an event millions of people all over the world participated in. An era of good feeling and organizing that might translate into local levels of activism, maybe even here in Rockaway, where a map of the Red/Blue divide was stark as 75% of the west end voted for Trump and a similar percentage voted for Hillary on the east end. Talk about a tale of two communities. Apparently, a group of Rockaway women did march but they are keeping their identities under wraps for now. (If any of them read this, email me. My wife and some friends are interested.)

I haven’t been very big on the usefulness of marches for political action for a long time. They don’t seem to draw enough people to really make a difference and what do the people who show up, other than the usual regular activists, do the day after? Maybe feel good about having “done” something. So basically, when I do go to a march, it is to hang out with my leftist buddies, who will march for every cause, and to find a post-march bar to – er – talk things over.

But the marches last Saturday seemed different. They had a buzz about them that I hadn’t seen in other marches. Well, showing up with 399,000 others here in New York, certainly did create a buzz. People who rarely, if ever, march were getting on buses at 4 AM to go to Washington, where a reported half a million showed up – but actually only a dozen according to alternative facts. I had taken an early morning bus for an education march in Washington back in July and we were so speechified for so many hours, by the time we got to actually march, it started to rain and our bus was ready to leave. Giving every celebrity and politician who wants their time in the limelight time to speak while people are waiting to march makes one wish for any kind of march to start – even the Bataan Death March.

So I decided to stay local this time. Meet up with my buddies from the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE/UFT) and join up with other UFTers at the advertised meeting spot on 47th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave at 10AM, head over to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza between 1st and 2nd Ave for some speechifying – they said about a half hour – then start marching at 11 down 2nd Ave, 42nd St to 5th Ave and then up to Trump Tower – should take about an hour – find a bar to hoist a few.

And then I would be off to meet my wife and her friends and march again with her crew at 2 PM (so many people registered they were given start times based on their last name), get done around 4PM and maybe find someplace for us all to eat.

My wife, after almost 50 years of not showing enormous interest in political activism, has been on the war path since the election – and this was the first march she dragged me to instead of vice versa. I wasn’t going to miss this making of a radical activist for anything.
But after standing on 47th and 2nd Avenue not able to move, with people crushed together up and down 2nd Ave for 10 blocks with the crush growing as more and more people arrived, I began to realize it would take a very long time to reach Trump Tower. I had lost track of my friends once we began to move slowly down 2nd Ave. I decided to meet up with my wife and friends and march with them but instead of going to the starting point where things were moving very slowly, we decided to join at 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue where we moved about a block an hour across town. It finally loosened up after Park Ave and some people made it as far as Trump Tower or just a few blocks short. The question always is what happens next? The next batch marches are set for April 15.

Trumpies on facebook and twitter were calling the marchers “Sore losers, whiners, babies, libtards,” and whatever else they could throw at them. They will be proven right if all these millions of people do is march and take no action in between.

Will the group that is meeting in Rockaway that seems concerned about possible harassment from Trump supporters eventually emerge and engage in some civic action on a local level? If that happens all over the nation the marches will lead to positive outcomes. Hell, we survived Thanksgiving and our family of mixed Trump and Hillary supporters are going on a cruise next month and expect to have a fun time. I’m just staying away from the railing.

Norm blogs at His email is

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