We hijacked the march!

4 minute read

March 20, 2010, 10:02 PM

And another demonstration in the bag. Today, I attended ANSWER Coalition’s anti-war march in DC, and it was very much typical of ANSWER’s marches. ANSWER’s demonstrations usually consist of an initial rally (at the White House in this case), hours of speeches, and then a stop-and-go march, usually following one of two patterns. One pattern takes a circuitous route around DC, ending back at the origin site. The other pattern takes marchers from Point A to Point B, usually going from one key location to another key location in a fairly direct manner. Of course, there are variations in each, with some circuitous marches ending in a different location, and some Point-A-to-Point-B marches taking a somewhat circuitous route. The September 24, 2005 march followed this former pattern, and then the March on Crystal City followed the latter pattern. Note, however, in both of these cases, I participated in a radical feeder march before joining the mainstream march, and so in observing ANSWER’s patterns in those demonstrations, I want you to disregard the initial black bloc activity. This march followed the first pattern, where the march left from Lafayette Park, took a circuitous route around DC and then returned to its origin point.

Also realize that many in the anti-war community hold ANSWER in somewhat low regard, yet they still come out to their marches. I think I put it best today when I described ANSWER as “the Wal-Mart of protest movements”. And it makes sense. ANSWER, like Wal-Mart with their stores, has this amazing way of getting people to come to their events. But at the same time, both are held in somewhat low regard, even by those who attend. ANSWER demonstrations usually draw groups that have a heavy socialist lean to them, and there are too many people handing out literature. One may remember that I used to collect the various literature that was handed to me and scan it all in as part of the photo set. I stopped doing that in 2006 because it gave unbalanced coverage to various groups, not all of which I supported and believed deserved coverage in my photo sets (I am considering dropping these literature pages in the ongoing redesign, but haven’t decided yet). Additionally, ANSWER itself is closely aligned with the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which I’m not too keen about.

But nonetheless, there was an SDS contingent, and that was awesome. After a lot of discussion about what we should do, we joined the march for about half of its length, and then split off on our own, and went directly back to Lafayette Park.

And so we marched…

And then we split…

And arrived in Lafayette Park…

After spending time in Lafayette Park, we spotted the ANSWER march approaching via Vermont Avenue NW. We got out in front of the ANSWER march, and, whether we meant to or not (I’m not sure), hijacked their march, and led the marchers directly into Lafayette Park, essentially ending the march, and bringing people to a surround-the-White-House action that Cindy Sheehan was putting on. Whose march? Our march!

Needless to say, ANSWER “security” was not pleased, as one woman, while telling us not to go past the “security” people, “For [our] own safety,” eventually gave up, and shouted, “F— YOU!” at our group. This same woman later really lost her temper after the march had been successfully hijacked:

Yeah, next time ANSWER should dispense with their thugs (who think that fluorescent yellow fabric gives them super powers) and let the police handle the security. The police are trained to handle these kinds of events. I doubt that these “security” people had any training at all.

Then afterwards, a bunch of us walked up to Dupont Circle (why is it that we always seem to end up in Dupont?) and had a late lunch at Baja Fresh. That really hit the spot, let me tell you. It’s always good to be able to sit down, get something to drink, use the restroom, and wash your hands. From there, we sat and talked for a while (at least an hour or so), and then finally split off to go home. I then took the Metro from Dupont Circle to Glenmont (you’d think I was coming home from work or something!).

And then I now have a serious “hat tan”. Imagine if you will: My face has some more color on it now from two days of demonstrating. Both times, I was wearing the brown gatsby cap that I wear to work. Thus I have a line on my forehead where the color ends, and the area that my hat covered is bright, shocking white (please do not stare directly at the bald spot). This begs the question of which is better: A hat tan or a black bloc tan? The “black bloc tan” basically makes you look like a raccoon, since some sort of hat covers everything from the forehead up, and a bandanna mask covers everything below the eyes. Thus the only exposed skin is around the eyes, which gets the color. I will admit that I’ve come into work on a Monday with the “raccoon eyes” look at least once, but I consider it one of the inherent hazards of these kinds of movements, and thus it’s one of the risks you take when participating in a black bloc.

Now, though, I need to hit the sack, because there is yet another march on Sunday, this one a pro-immigration march. This one is specifically calling for a “Funk Borders Bloc”, and so who knows – I still might just end up with raccoon eyes in the end. We’ll see, I suppose.

Web site: WSQT reportback from the ANSWER march, on DC Indymedia

Song: By the way, here's the full list of my videos from the ANSWER march. It's worth noting that YouTube has been kind of slow lately in updating all the descriptions and such for my videos. Hopefully they'll fix that soon...

Quote: Meanwhile, once again, I've not yet looked at the still photos when I wrote up this entry. I think they came out fairly well, but of course I have to give them a look. I glanced at the ones from Funk the War, and they came out well enough, I'd say.

Categories: Anti-war