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Million Worker March

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3

At the hotel, a few short speeches were given, and there was lots of activity, as people were playing their makeshift drums, and dancing in the street.  Most encouraging were three hotel workers standing in a third-story window, leaning out of it, supporting our march.


Three Hotel Washington employees lean out of a third-story window, lending support to our efforts to support them.  Based on the expressions on their faces, you could tell that these workers were glad to see us coming.  Three Hotel Washington employees lean out of a third-story window, lending support to our efforts to support them.  Based on the expressions on their faces, you could tell that these workers were glad to see us coming.

Three Hotel Washington employees lean out of a third-story window, lending support to our efforts to support them.  Based on the expressions on their faces, you could tell that these workers were glad to see us coming.

Three Hotel Washington employees lean out of a third-story window, lending support to our efforts to support them.  Based on the expressions on their faces, you could tell that these workers were glad to see us coming.  Three Hotel Washington employees lean out of a third-story window, lending support to our efforts to support them.  Based on the expressions on their faces, you could tell that these workers were glad to see us coming.


The hotel knew we were coming, and prepared accordingly.  They had guards at the door, and the doors had caution tape across them in a number of places.  We had no intention of going in.  Still, they prepared, just in case.


All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.  All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.

All sorts of people – young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags – participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.

All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.  All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.

All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.  All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.

All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.  All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.

All sorts of people - young, old, male, female, masked, unmasked, some carrying signs, some carrying flags - participated in the march to the hotel, and then at the rally in front of the hotel.


A number of people gave short speeches in front of the Hotel Washington, including Larry Holmes.

A number of people gave short speeches in front of the Hotel Washington, including Larry Holmes.

A number of people gave short speeches in front of the Hotel Washington, including Larry Holmes.  A number of people gave short speeches in front of the Hotel Washington, including Larry Holmes.


I also got a chance to record movies of some of these speeches…


“…come together to educate those of us who may have forgotten how important it is that we have the simple right to lift up our voice…”


“…and people will see what they’re doing, and will get inspired by what we do, like the grocery workers’ strike…”


“…what did the hotel managers do, the hotel bosses, do?  They locked out all the hotel workers.  All of them.  I think they’re still locked out.  You see, that’s not right.  That’s not justice.  And they’re trying to send a message: ‘You try to fight, and we will hit you with a nuclear bomb.'”


That last video of Larry Holmes was also interesting to me for a different reason.  If you watch the movie closely, about fifteen seconds into the movie, a man appears in the right of the frame in a blue jacket.  He takes a picture, and then goes back out of frame.  Two weeks after the march, searching online for individuals’ accounts of the march and others’ photos, I found the Web site of the photographer, Jon Flanders, where he posted his pictures.  And I found the photo, entitled “Larry Holmes Speaks”:

Larry Holmes speaks at the Hotel Washington
(Photo: Jon Flanders’ “Million Worker March, October 17, 2004” page)

Indeed, there I am, near the center of the image, holding Big Mavica, taking that movie.  I am in a couple of other photos on that site as well.


Aside from the main activity at the hotel, some took part in other activities.  One woman takes a moment to interview a man carrying a sign comparing George W. Bush, John Kerry, and Ralph Nader on bringing the troops home, health care for all, and a living wage.

Aside from the main activity at the hotel, some took part in other activities.  One woman takes a moment to interview a man carrying a sign comparing George W. Bush, John Kerry, and Ralph Nader on bringing the troops home, health care for all, and a living wage.


Meanwhile, Jess and others make sound on their makeshift drums.  Meanwhile, Jess and others make sound on their makeshift drums.

Meanwhile, Jess and others make sound on their makeshift drums.


And after a strong show of solidarity, we were done!  After all was finished, a few people beat on their drums and danced right in the street.  I didn’t dance, as I have no rhythm whatsoever.


The marchers were slow to disperse, as it had been a long day for all.  Trust me.

The marchers were slow to disperse, as it had been a long day for all.  Trust me.


So what do you do for a moment?  Crash, of course, as Jess demonstrates for us.

So what do you do for a moment?  Crash, of course, as Jess demonstrates for us.


So that was it.  Jess and the other guy were headed for the Infoshop, an all-volunteer-run radical bookstore, where a benefit concert would be held, which is at the corner of 9th and P Streets NW.  We were at 15th and H, and so we had some serious walking ahead of us.  But first, a little refreshment.  I said, “Where should we go to get a drink?” and the other guy said, “Support small business,” as we headed to a street vendor near the hotel.  We all bought Gatorade.  I’m sure we must have been quite a sight, coming up to the vendor and buying our drinks while we were still wearing our masks.  After walking a little ways away, making sure we were basically clear of filming, we unmasked for good, and enjoyed our drinks.  Let me tell you, that hit the spot.  I also put my glasses back on, which I had placed in a rigid case deep in my backpack for the protest as a precaution.  I can see well enough to get by without them if I need to, and with an element of uncertainty at protests sometimes, where things have the possibility of quickly turning ugly, I packed them.

We walked 16 blocks from the Hotel Washington to the Infoshop.  In downtown, we walked east on G Street just south of McPherson Square station, past Metro Center’s G Street entrances, and then turned north on 9th Street at the 9th and G Street entrance to Gallery Pl-Chinatown station.  It was a part of Washington DC that I’d never seen before, and it was really neat.  The three of us also took the time to talk about what we do outside of protests, and shared stories about work.  We really got to know each other during that walk.  We also found out that I was the oldest in the group by about four years.  And we commented that it was interesting that it was called the “Million Worker March”, yet the only ones who actually marched were the anarchists.


We ran into this ad for Bacardi Silver on the way up to the Infoshop, plastered on the side of a bus shelter.  We mused about what the ad was really trying to tell us.

We ran into this ad for Bacardi Silver on the way up to the Infoshop, plastered on the side of a bus shelter.  We mused about what the ad was really trying to tell us.


Still walking up 9th Street, we passed the Washington Convention Center, and finally reached the Infoshop, in the basement of the Arthur Flemming Center.  There, Jess and the other guy and I parted company after we all checked out some of what the Infoshop had for sale.  We had our goodbyes, and Jess and I shared a big hug before I headed out.  Jess and I exchanged contact information, including the address to Schumin Web (of course!) and so who knows?  Maybe we’ll march together again one day!

From there, I got directions to the nearest Metro station, which ended up being Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center.  But before hitting the Metro, I dipped into a Giant Food store to change clothes in their restroom.  The clothes I’d worn to the protest were a bit sweaty and a little dirty, and so I changed into the second shirt that I’d brought.


Near Giant, I ran into a campaign sign which I found interesting.  This sign was for Adam Eidinger's campaign for the US "Shadow" Representative for DC under the banner of the DC Statehood Green Party.

Near Giant, I ran into a campaign sign which I found interesting.  This sign was for Adam Eidinger’s campaign for the US “Shadow” Representative for DC under the banner of the DC Statehood Green Party.


And here we are!  Welcome to the Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center station.  For me at least, entering the Metro again after a protest has a certain feeling of finality to it.  For me, it seems, once I go into a Metro station, that's it - the protest is over, and there's no going back.

And here we are!  Welcome to the Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center station.  For me at least, entering the Metro again after a protest has a certain feeling of finality to it.  For me, it seems, once I go into a Metro station, that’s it – the protest is over, and there’s no going back.


Inside the Mt. Vernon Square station, I ran into some of the radical cheerleaders, still dressed for protest (note the pink leggings).

Inside the Mt. Vernon Square station, I ran into some of the radical cheerleaders, still dressed for protest (note the pink leggings).


One of the radical cheerleaders needed help finding her bus in Chinatown to head home.  Since I was transferring to the Red Line at Chinatown anyway, and thus getting off the Green Line train we were riding anyway, I pointed her in the right direction all the way up to the surface, wished her good luck, and then we parted ways.

While I was in Chinatown, I went to a nearby CVS to buy a soda, enjoyed it, and then descended into the world of Metro once again.  And that was the end of the Million Worker March!  And what a day it was, too.  By the end of the day, not only had I had a chance to participate in another large-scale protest, but also discovered the Infoshop, which I have since visited again on occasion, and also made several new friends.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3