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Million Worker March

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 2

After that, I headed down and kind of wandered a bit.  This is the only time where I really felt “lost”, as I’d temporarily become separated from the group I was with previously.  During that time, I kind of did photo set photography like I was accustomed to doing, while looking for the group again.  I got some interesting photos, too…


A group sits on the grass north of the reflecting pool, playing real drums, as well as tambourines.

A group sits on the grass north of the reflecting pool, playing real drums, as well as tambourines.


See and hear this group of people playing drums and tambourines in action, as speeches continue in the background.


These two were part of a group of creatively attired and made-up people.  Some played instruments, and others didn't.  All in all, though, pretty neat.  These two were part of a group of creatively attired and made-up people.  Some played instruments, and others didn't.  All in all, though, pretty neat.

These two were part of a group of creatively attired and made-up people.  Some played instruments, and others didn’t.  All in all, though, pretty neat.


Some people sat on the grass and chatted it up.  I would do this for some time a little later on in the day.

Some people sat on the grass and chatted it up.  I would do this for some time a little later on in the day.


The area around the Lincoln Memorial was quite a busy place, with people walking all around, and others manning booths giving out literature and also offering items for sale.

The area around the Lincoln Memorial was quite a busy place, with people walking all around, and others manning booths giving out literature and also offering items for sale.


Even with all the events going on, some people just pulled their bandanna up over their eyes and took a nap.

Even with all the events going on, some people just pulled their bandanna up over their eyes and took a nap.


Two examples of people offering articles for sale.  I'm sure that the items being offered up by the gentleman at right were hot items at the time, with the election being just over two weeks (16 days) away.  Two examples of people offering articles for sale.  I'm sure that the items being offered up by the gentleman at right were hot items at the time, with the election being just over two weeks (16 days) away.

Two examples of people offering articles for sale.  I’m sure that the items being offered up by the gentleman at right were hot items at the time, with the election being just over two weeks (16 days) away.


This woman simply holds up a stop sign, reading "STOP BUSH".

This woman simply holds up a stop sign, reading “STOP BUSH”.


This protester provides criticism of the war on terror in a different way, using the popular slogan of "Bring the troops home NOW!"

This protester provides criticism of the war on terror in a different way, using the popular slogan of “Bring the troops home NOW!”


The Lincoln Memorial and the area around it were full of people.  While not a million workers by any means (it was estimated that about 10,000 people attended), it was still a good amount there.  However, it was definitely not like the stock photo that the organizers used showing the National Mall full all the way up to the Capitol.

The Lincoln Memorial and the area around it were full of people.  While not a million workers by any means (it was estimated that about 10,000 people attended), it was still a good amount there.  However, it was definitely not like the stock photo that the organizers used showing the National Mall full all the way up to the Capitol.

The Lincoln Memorial and the area around it were full of people.  While not a million workers by any means (it was estimated that about 10,000 people attended), it was still a good amount there.  However, it was definitely not like the stock photo that the organizers used showing the National Mall full all the way up to the Capitol.


DROOL: Determined to Remember the Opportunities, the Obstacles, and the Lessons is the title of the speech we are hearing.  Meanwhile, I pan a full 360º to show what’s going on.


Near the reflecting pool, a woman conducts an interview.

Near the reflecting pool, a woman conducts an interview.


People walked all along the edge of the reflecting pool as well, which at times, seemed like the only clear space to be found.

People walked all along the edge of the reflecting pool as well, which at times, seemed like the only clear space to be found.


You have to admit, though - the reflecting pool, and the Washington Monument beyond it are some beautiful sights, even with the ground around the Washington Monument still torn up due to construction.

You have to admit, though – the reflecting pool, and the Washington Monument beyond it are some beautiful sights, even with the ground around the Washington Monument still torn up due to construction.


This lady was traveling, and was having her photograph taken at various places with her paper cutout, most likely a Flat Stanley cutout.  It reminded me of The Great Metro Adventure, where the people rode the Metro to all 83 stations in one day, and photographed their robot "Galactron" at all the stations.

This lady was traveling, and was having her photograph taken at various places with her paper cutout, most likely a Flat Stanley cutout.  It reminded me of The Great Metro Adventure, where the people rode the Metro to all 83 stations in one day, and photographed their robot “Galactron” at all the stations.


The restroom situation was adequate.  They had ample port-a-potty space, in two clusters on either side of the reflecting pool.  And they were clean.  The Lincoln Memorial also has its own facilities, but by themselves, the Lincoln Memorial's own facilities would have been woefully inadequate.

The restroom situation was adequate.  They had ample port-a-potty space, in two clusters on either side of the reflecting pool.  And they were clean.  The Lincoln Memorial also has its own facilities, but by themselves, the Lincoln Memorial’s own facilities would have been woefully inadequate.


I actually encountered what ended up evolving into my core group for this protest at the port-a-potties.  The person who I struck up conversation with was a girl wearing a black-and-white horizontal striped shirt, wearing glasses, and went by the name “Teapot”.  Wonderful person.  It was also at this time that her group and I got to discussing stuff.  Turns out that they were from Chicago, and had been arrested at the Republican National Convention in New York City earlier this year, and actually were detained at Pier 57.  More on its use during the RNC here.  Normally it is used as a bus garage.  Interesting stories nonetheless.  And I was never alone for the rest of the march.

After this, we walk over to where the rest of Teapot’s group is.  Now, a word of warning for you: This is where it gets a little bizarre for a while.  Teapot gets a call from someone else that she knows, reporting that someone was dressed up in a hot dog suit.  And we’re told that they were at the corner of 17th and Constitution.  So we walked the six or so blocks (we were roughly at 23rd and Constitution) to the alleged spot of the hot dog, asking some people coming away from that location, “Have you seen someone dressed as a hot dog?”  This is how we found out about the hot dog’s friends, someone dressed as the Hamburglar (yes, the one of McDonald’s fame), and a chicken.  At 17th and Constitution, we found no one dressed as a hot dog.  Drat.  Teapot calls her friend back.  We end up RUNNING down the sidewalk back to the Lincoln Memorial near the reflecting pool, where we could get a good look over the whole general area for the hot dog guy.  No hot dog guy.  So we headed back to where we were, in the shade north of the Lincoln Memorial, wondering if such costumed characters actually did exist, or whether or not it was a collection of rumors mashed up together to create an alleged man in a hot dog suit.

I posted a comment on DC Indymedia regarding the hot dog, under the Demonstrators Gather at Lincoln Memorial article.  Turns out we weren’t imagining it, based on a reply to my inquiry, but their appearance was short lived.


Two weeks after the march, while hunting around online, I found an article entitled "Meet Our Man In Washington" that included the above photo, on sootoday.com.
(Photo: sootoday.com)

Two weeks after the march, while hunting around online, I found an article entitled “Meet Our Man In Washington” that included the above photo, on sootoday.com.  Turns out that these people were interns working for the conservative Leadership Institute in Washington DC.  Yes, these people were counter-protesters.  Too bad I didn’t get to see them in person.  One of the people in our group wanted to see the hot dog guy to ask, if nothing else, if he could borrow the suit.


So we returned to the spot under the shade of the trees.  A few of us “masked up” (i.e. pulled up our bandannas) because of people taking pictures in the vicinity.  I’m sure I looked like hell, as I was still quite charged up from that sprint back down to the Lincoln Memorial to find the mysterious hot dog suit guy.  So the bandanna helped spare people from seeing what “looking like hell” looked like for me.  Besides, I didn’t particularly want to be seen on the news.

This is when I truly found my core group for this protest.  Interestingly enough, it started out as a photo opportunity with Big Mavica.  I was masked up, and doing some photos nearby.  I asked a girl whom I remembered from the feeder march if I could take her picture.  She first asked if she could see my face.  So I pulled the bandanna down.  Then she said that she would pull hers up for the photo.  Fine by me.


So this is what I got:


Excellent photo.  I loved the “INDEPENDENT” sweatshirt, which is what caught my attention in the first place.  We got to talking, and it turns out that she went by the name Jess.  We ended up masking up due to people filming, and talked about DC, what we did in the world outside of the protest, and kind of got to know each other.  We also mentioned that we both enjoy going to political rallies, marches, and such.  We also talked about Metro, and how I want to move to Washington DC.

Then we were asked by a gentleman if we would be willing to participate in a breakaway march to a hotel where there was a labor dispute between the unionized hotel workers and the hotel management, and that would possibly soon go on strike.  We said sure, after finding out where the meetup location would be.  Then Jess, another guy from the group whose name I can’t recall, and I got up and walked around for a while.  We went around the Vietnam Memorial’s north side (behind it), in order to find a vendor selling food and drink.  We ended up finding a vendor selling sandwiches, which we bought.  Jess and the guy shared a tofu-and-cheese sandwich, and I had just cheese.  The cheese, according to Jess, was muenster cheese (Jess’s favorite).  Good stuff.  The sandwich was a challenge to get down, however, since my mouth was bone dry.


One of the things we found while we were walking around was a white squirrel!  That was SO neat to see, and it thankfully stood still long enough for me to photograph it.

One of the things we found while we were walking around was a white squirrel!  That was SO neat to see, and it thankfully stood still long enough for me to photograph it.


After that, we went around to the Lincoln Memorial, up the stairs behind the stage, near where I was sitting early on.  We went down the same side we came up on, and then went over to the meetup location, as the rally was starting to wind down by this time.

We found the group that would march on the hotel, which at that point was described as a hotel in Northwest DC right near the White House, whose workers might soon go on strike.  So Jess, the other guy, and I all masked up, and off we went!  Before leaving, though, Jess managed to score a “donations” bucket, attached some twine to it, and broke a wooden protest sign stick into drumsticks.  Thus we had a makeshift drum.


Jess beats her makeshift drum with the makeshift drumsticks, as the march group leaves the Lincoln Memorial area on the way to the hotel.


I believe this breakaway march, consisting of “a few hundred” people according to an article in The Washington Post, was unpermitted as well, just like the earlier feeder march, but police nonetheless cleared the way as we marched east on Constitution Avenue, past the Ellipse, to our still-unknown destination.  Some masked up black bloc were there, and there were lots of black and red-and-black flags flying.  So this group marched down Constitution Avenue, with various things being chanted such as the perennial favorite of “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!” and “The workers, united, will never be defeated!” and others.


A large banner carried by some marchers, with the theme FIST: Fight Imperialism, Stand Together.

A large banner carried by some marchers, with the theme FIST: Fight Imperialism, Stand Together.


Jess takes a moment to adjust the twine on her makeshift drum, which she was unable to tie securely.

Jess takes a moment to adjust the twine on her makeshift drum, which she was unable to tie securely.


Marchers ahead of me and behind me, on the way to the hotel.

Marchers ahead of me and behind me, on the way to the hotel.

Marchers ahead of me and behind me, on the way to the hotel.


A marcher to the right of the camera beats another makeshift drum, as another marcher attempts to get a chant of “Whose streets?  Our streets!” going.


“THE WORKERS, UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!” and other things were shouted from the crowd on the way to the hotel.


As we turned up 15th Street, to reach the Hotel Washington, our destination, Larry Holmes of the International Action Center, led the march.  He led the group in a call-and-response: “WHY ARE WE HERE? TO SUPPORT THE HOTEL WORKERS!”  And then as we arrived, the chant changed to “WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE FOR THE HOTEL WORKERS!”


Larry Holmes stands in front at the microphone, leading the group.

Larry Holmes stands in front at the microphone, leading the group.


Larry Holmes tries with only moderate success to lead the group through the chant of “WHY ARE WE HERE? TO SUPPORT THE HOTEL WORKERS!”  Realizing that he was not having much success with his original chant, he changed to “WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE FOR THE HOTEL WORKERS!” as this seemed more logical.  This second chant also caught on quickly and the marchers ran with it.


The tall building in the background is the Hotel Washington, our destination.  Here we come, ready or not!

The tall building in the background is the Hotel Washington, our destination.  Here we come, ready or not!


The march group to the Hotel Washington makes its arrival, going right to the hotel’s front doors shouting, “WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE FOR THE HOTEL WORKERS!”  At this point, our chant carried significant weight – we really were right there, several hundred strong, and we really were lending support to the hotel workers.


We truly are here, in front of the Hotel Washington's large awning.

We truly are here, in front of the Hotel Washington’s large awning.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 2