melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-01-23 09:03 am
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I marched*!

I ended up catching a ride to DC with the friends coming from the Barony of Cynnabar. I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I didn't go by myself; it wasn't scary or anything but having other specific people to keep an eye on helped with scale.

(Also, wow is Michigan angry. Most people didn't bother IDing themselves by home state, but I think nearly every Michigander there had Michigan on their sign somewhere.)

Also, nobody told me I was supposed to make a pink hat, why did nobody tell me (the website specifically said there were no matching clothes or colors proposed!) I was really heartened by the number of My First Knitting Project hats people were wearing, though - someday I really do need to finally write that essay on knitting and social resistance.

My sister marched in Reykjavik; I haven't seen that one in any of the round-up photoposts so here's the best set of Reykjavik photos I've seen.

*You may have heard contradictory things about whether we ever actually marched. But basically, after three and a half hours (the scheduled march start time) of standing in cramped quarters where you usually couldn't even stretch, much less like, pee, or move, listening to speakers who were mostly repeating themselves by then, we were ready to march, and after four hours people started chanting "let. us. march." over the speakers.

Unfortunately they had saved a lot of the most important speakers for the very end, and it's to our shame that the crowd wanted to march over some people they really, really shouldn't have. :/ Note to all program planners: if you have way too many speakers, put the really important ones *before* you go hit overtime. We can restlessly chant over Gloria Steinem and Michael Moore and Scarlett Johansson no problem; the Black Lives Matter moms and Standing Rock people needed to be up there while the crowd still had an attention span.

It's possible the chanting to march started when the people who could actually get cell reception started hearing that the march part was cancelled, but nobody near where I was standing (between the A&S museum and the NMAI on 4th street) seemed to know about that, we were just ready to MOVE and instead they kept putting on one speaker after another with no sign of an end or any evidence they even realized they were overtime, and more and more people leaving early because they had buses to catch; we wanted to go before there were so few people left that they could claim nobody came (and we had no real conception of how many people were there.)

By nearly five hours of us standing crammed in there, either the organizers or the police seemed to realize that letting us "march" was preferable to turning us free in the streets with no direction whatsoever, so they announced we would be marching along Independence Avenue to the Ellipse. There would have been thousands and thousands of people streaming down that road chanting and waving signs regardless, though - it was the only way we were getting out of there (chants included.)

I suspect the original plan was something more structured but yeah it was clear by the time we got off the Metro in the morning that there were too many people for that to happen. And it's not like it was disorderly - everybody did as directed and worked with the crowd, and we were chanting for them to announce it was time to march, we weren't being stopped from going by anything other than natural law-abidingness (and sheer mass of people).

I understand some people marched right up to the front of the White House but by the time we got halfway around the ellipse we were being crowded into smaller and smaller spaces with less and less idea of whether we were where we were supposed to be, so we headed for the metro and then gave up on the metro and headed for pizza instead. (I left a big tip at Fuel Pizza, they have dealing with crowds of tired protestors down to a science. The Metro employees did an amazingly cheerful job too, I would have tipped if I could.)

(also can I just say, thank Science for menstrual cups, there were definitely not enough portapotties there for ~80000 people to change pads/tampons.)

I didn't really get a good sense of scale - though I could tell just from the metro that it was going to outdo the Daily Show rally by a LOT and probably rival the Obama inauguration - until after people started to disperse - we never got within sight of the Mall during the rally part. But everybody was leaving their protest signs along the White House fencing like some kind of memorial wall, and there were so. many. signs. The last couple marches I'd been to, while there were a few good signs, the vast majority were clearly mass-produced and boring. This march, probably over half the crowd had home-made signs, and they were all works of art. And there were thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of them.

So yeah, I'm glad I had that experience. I always feel like you should take part in political action like that not because you think you being there will achieve the goal, but just because you want to be there, and it was worth being there Saturday.

But in terms of working toward goals, here's what I came away with:

1. Make his life hell.

Our Only President does not have a coherent ideology or political goal other than self-promotion. If we can create a world where he dreads seeing his name in the news as much as we do, he will shrivel up and go away whether he is technically still in office or not. Saturday gave me hope that was possible.

2. Get the poison out of Congress and local politics.

There are plenty of other elected (and soon-to-be-appointed) politicians who do have coherent and evil ideologies, ideologies that the vast majority of the people oppose, and we should have been working harder to get rid of them for the past twenty years, but now that they have power it will be harder and harder for them to hide just how evil their views actually are, and now is our chance to make a clean sweep of them two years from now. (It is in some ways a blessing in disguise - if Hillary had won, they would have retrenched and been even more impossible to ever root out. But now? Now we have an opportunity.)

3. Obstruct, delay, deny

We've had a lesson in how to do this from the Republicans for the last eight years. We can do this now. On every level from the Senate to low-level civil servants to the person on the street. Just - don't cooperate. Make everything 100x harder for them than it needs to be, from confirming appointees and passing bills right down to stuff like ordering office supplies or getting the mail. Self-promotion is not an ideology that builds the kind of dedicated personal loyalty that can fight that.

4. Illegitimi non carborundum.

And if all else fails, outlive the bastards. And live well. They may run our country but they can't run our lives if we don't let them in.

On that note, this will probably go back to being a mostly non-specific-politics journal (until the next time I need to desperately beg for a ride, at least) because maintaining a free cultural space is also a very important means of resistance, especially over a long grind.
lilysea: Tree hugger (Tree hugger)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-01-23 03:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for marching! ^_^ <3
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

[personal profile] sasha_feather 2017-01-23 05:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you made it!
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-01-23 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm surprised nobody gave you a hat! Lots of people were making extras.

....also the cynical part of me wants to say you and the planners may have had different ideas of who the most important ones were. Possibly even innocently, since the others you name are Big Name Individuals rather than organizations (which always attract more non-thought-through attention). Buuuut.
recessional: a small grass plant pushes up between cracks of parched ground (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-01-23 07:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, I am always happy when my cynicism is wrong, tbh. I LIKE moments when I get to say "hey the world sucked less than I was expecting!" (Bitter-laughing posts with "SUFFICIENTLY LOW EXPECTATIONS ACHIEVED!" To the side.) So. :)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-01-23 06:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Hats were not required, just very popular. At the Houston march/rally, I'd say it was about 50/50 people wearing hats or not.

Cynical!me says that they put the white speakers on first and left the PoC to the end either because of what recessional said or because of unconscious racism.

Thank you for knowing the right word for people from Michigan! :-) And I'm not surprised at all that they're mad, between Flint and DeVos and all the other shit they've been having to deal with for the last few years.

My favorite sign photo so far is "Look at all the correctly spelled signs!" in a nice copperplate hand.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2017-01-23 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I saw one sign mentioning 'mysogyny,' but that was the only misspelling I saw all afternoon.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2017-01-23 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)

I did, for most of the afternoon! I think I'm glad I didn't try to meet up with anyone, though--I honestly don't know if I could have handled the crowds while still trying to interact with people I knew and needed to pay attention to as people.

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[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-01-24 02:36 am (UTC)(link)
I couldn't, and I was at a smaller march, though still wall-to-wall crowds. I said 'see you at home' to my partner partway through because the only way I was able to not lose her in the crowd was to physically hold on to her jacket or hand, which was taking too much of her energy.
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[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2017-01-24 12:21 am (UTC)(link)
Popping in to say this is a great post and also I would LOVE to read the one on knitting and resistance.
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[personal profile] puckling 2017-01-24 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-01-24 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you were able to make it. I second your list very much. :D
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[personal profile] skygiants 2017-01-24 12:43 am (UTC)(link)
From where we were, we kept seeing people walking around past us in early bits of what-might-hypothetically-have-been-marching all the way up through Janelle Monae -- so we kept being like 'is it march time? Are we missing it??' before the crowd did in fact start to move en masse.

I wish I'd been able to hear more of the actual speakers from where we were (we were all terrified that we were misgendering the call-and-responses in 'Say Her Name' because we couldn't properly hear whose name was being said) but, that said, given the scale of the thing, I am also sort of impressed that we could her anything at all!
lynnenne: (politics: big damn hero)

[personal profile] lynnenne 2017-01-24 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
Yay! I went to the march in my city. It was small but mighty.