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September 15 Anti-War March

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Cheer Sheet

Part 3

One thing about ANSWER’s marches, though, compared to marches organized by other groups, is that ANSWER tends to be very stop-and-go. ANSWER’s marches are slow-moving as a result, and when covering a long distance (as this march to the Capitol was), it becomes a little bothersome after a while, with the constant stopping and going. It’s not a continuous push to the target. It’s very much a slow maneuver. Why does ANSWER do this? I don’t know…


Waiting...

Waiting…


Moving...

Moving…


And waiting again...

And waiting again…


“No war, no way, no fascist USA!”


Meanwhile, counter-protesters lined the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue for some distance. This group consisted of your garden-variety counter-protesters, like Free Republic and other right-wing groups. They shouted their own slogans at those marching, taunted those in the march, held their own signs, and filmed.


Going past the wackadoodles, er, I mean, counter-protesters...

Going past the wackadoodles, er, I mean, counter-protesters…

Going past the wackadoodles, er, I mean, counter-protesters...

Going past the wackadoodles, er, I mean, counter-protesters...

Going past the wackadoodles, er, I mean, counter-protesters...


Counter-protesters use an air horn in an unsuccessful attempt to drown out the anti-war crowd.


“No war! No way! You racist fascists go away!” The radical cheerleaders later take over with “Get psyched! Get pissed! Shake your booty and raise your fist!”


The bloc organized by SDS, meanwhile, became somewhat dispersed. It started out as a large mass, but once the march got going, it spread itself out amongst the mainstream march to an extent, occupying much of the first half or so of the march. There wasn’t much we could do to remedy the problem at this point, due to the sheer size of the crowd in this anti-war march, but we would regroup at the Capitol.


The Ants Go Marching, jokingly referred to as SDS’s unofficial theme song, is sung again. This soon changed to, “Off the sidewalks and into the streets!”


As we got closer and closer to the Capitol, I was struck by the similarity of this march to the one on January 27. In January, we marched to the Capitol from the southwest. This time the push came from the northwest, but I still got the very distinct feeling that we were back.


The masses return to the Capitol...  The masses return to the Capitol...

The masses return to the Capitol…

The masses return to the Capitol...  The masses return to the Capitol...


Finally, we approached the Capitol, and marched up the west lawn, per the plan. The march itself went up onto the Capitol grounds this time, unlike in January, where the official plan was to congregate nearby, and SDS brought much of the march to the Capitol itself through its own separate maneuvering.


“Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”


We have arrived!  We have arrived!

We have arrived!

We have arrived!  We have arrived!


“We want a tour! We want a tour!”


“Arrest George Bush! Arrest George Bush!”


Meanwhile, upon our arrival, Olga took a moment to make a phone call.

Meanwhile, upon our arrival, Olga took a moment to make a phone call.


At the Capitol, there was a rally and die-in. The rally included speakers such as Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader. The die-in involved those willing to risk arrest laying down on the sidewalk in front of the Capitol.


“U-G-L-Y, corporate hos, you cheat, you lie, you ugly! Yeah, yeah, you ugly!”


Meanwhile, SDS, having completed the march, gathered on the lawn to determine just what everyone was going to do next. Basically, the primary objective had been completed, and now we were determining what the next wave would be while still at the protest. Everyone sat in a big circle, and we discussed our options. As it was a bit of a rest period, I pulled out my glasses and put them back on, so I could see what was going on really well. I can get along well enough without my glasses, but it’s still better to use them.

After we got some order in the circle, appointing a moderator and speaking one at a time, we discussed various ideas. One was to storm the Capitol. Another was to simply stand back and lend support to those participating in the die-in. Yet another was to stand nearby and a representative from the group would read from a copy of the Constitution. A final solution was to call it a day, and let the SDS bloc “fizzle out”. While discussions went on, however, things were already starting to fizzle out. One SDS chapter decided to leave the march in search of food. Another chapter also left on a similar pursuit. This placed some pressure on the remaining group to figure out what it was going to do, and fast, as they were already “fizzling out”. Various points were made about all the various issues. Finally, a vote was taken, and it was determined that the group would storm the Capitol, forming a line between those in the die-in, and the Capitol Police. And the group was off, but not before I went back into protest mode – glasses off, and bandanna up.

However, while we were seated in the circle, fatigue finally caught up with me. I was tired. I had lost my momentum. So considering the crowd that we had to wade through, I got a hold of Maddy and Olga as we were starting the charge, and told them that I was heading out, because I had other commitments that evening. And I did. So I headed out, with the intention of heading towards Union Station to rest before meeting up with some friends from my discussion forums.


As I headed out, the protest was still quite well-attended.

As I headed out, the protest was still quite well-attended.


And it turned out to be a good thing. According to an article in The Washington Post, the Capitol Police ultimately used a “chemical spray” (probably pepper spray) to disperse demonstrators, and according to Maddy, the SDS bloc was unsuccessful in its mission, mostly due to the crowds, though SDS thankfully didn’t end up on the receiving end of the spray.

So I walked up towards Union Station from the Capitol grounds. I actually got to talk with a member of the “peace police”, as we called them, on the way up from the Capitol. This particular individual was from Chicago (where my sister lives!), while I, meanwhile, was local.

Arriving at Union Station, I found a men’s room where I changed my shirt from the black one I was wearing to a blue one (i.e. I fully de-blocked), and then went in pursuit of refreshment. I ended up at a Häagen-Dazs on the bottom level, where I got a small cup of ice cream. That hit the spot as something cool and refreshing, while not being something that would spoil dinner.  It was also expensive.  That’s what happens when one gets fast food at a train station, I presume.

Afterwards, I made my way up to the main level, and sat down and texted with a different friend from my discussion forums, waiting for the friends that I was meeting to call me. They were coming down the Red Line from Forest Glen station, and were going to call me when they got to Union Station. At last, I got the phone call I was waiting for. They were in the station. I said okay, we’ll meet in the mezzanine. However, one important detail that I had forgotten about – which mezzanine? I went into the station via the mezzanine at the center of the platform, while they were in the mezzanine at the end of the platform. Oops. Since I had the day pass, though, I just went through the station for free. No harm done.

And there in the other mezzanine were Mike Bode, Ataan Kurgun, and their friend Andy. We made it! First order of business? Andy needed a smoke. Quickest way outside was through this little side door, and we were out on the sidewalk on First Street NE. While Andy had his cigarette, I told everyone about how the protest went. I also showed them some pictures of the protest right off of Big Mavica, saying, “Remember, you saw it here first!” Very few people have ever gotten their first views of one of my photo sets from directly off of Big Mavica…

After Andy finished smoking, we went back into the station, and went to Pentagon City via Gallery Pl-Chinatown. My all-Breda day continued, as we got Breda 4098 to Gallery Pl-Chinatown, and then Breda 3030 (rehab) to Pentagon City. At Pentagon City, we crossed through to Pentagon Row, which has shown up on Schumin Web a number of times. There, we figured out where we were going to go have dinner. At Pentagon Row, there was Champps, which was nice, but really crowded, then Sine, Lebanese Taverna, Thaiphoon, Asia Bistro, Murali…

Eventually, Ataan decided he wanted to go to a theme restaurant – do we have a Planet Hollywood? Well, there’s no Planet Hollywood in DC, but there is a Hard Rock Cafe. It’s somewhat near Metro Center. So we got back on the train, and rode back in on the Blue Line, and Breda 3082 (also a rehab). Leaving Metro Center, we noticed a junction box on the wall near the street elevator marked “F/A”, and discussed it, since a marking like that indicates “Fire Alarm”.

The Hard Rock Cafe was a lot of fun. We discussed everything! We discussed the protest, the forums, Schumin Web, their trip down, as well as all the things to do in DC while they were down there. However, the music was a touch too loud at the Hard Rock Cafe. Every so often, you’d hear one of us saying, “WHAT?” I ordered the chicken fajitas. Mike, Ataan, and Andy ordered various sandwiches, and Mike and Andy also ordered drinks. The chicken fajitas were a bit of a surprise – no one told me that it was a BYOF deal – Build Your Own Fajita. I got a plate with a bag of tortillas, and all the fixings to go on them. I had to work at this! Put the fajita together, and then hope it doesn’t fall apart. But I somehow managed.

After we finished at the restaurant, we headed over towards the White House. Everyone figured that if they’re going to be in DC, they might as well see the White House, so what the heck. So from the Hard Rock Cafe, we walked west on E Street NW. I correctly figured that much of what they knew about actually being in Washington came from Schumin Web, so I pointed out a few places where I’d photographed or done photo sets along the way. At 13th Street, E Street becomes Pennsylvania Avenue, and we continued as we walked past Freedom Plaza. I told them about how the protest went around the south and west sides of Freedom Plaza. I also reminded them of Freedom Plaza’s first appearance – in A Protest Against the War, way back in 2003. Going past Freedom Plaza on the opposite side of the street, I also pointed out the former location of the Sightseeing-DC Style panda from the Pandamania DC photo set. Then turning the corner, there was the awning over the entrance to the Hotel Washington, site of a solidarity rally at the end of the Million Worker March. They didn’t recognize it, though, until they were right on top of it, since the view I presented back then was a straight-on view, and not a side view.

And at last, we reached the White House. I jokingly commented, “I feel like I was just here!”

Arriving in the “picture postcard” area directly in front of the North Portico, we stopped for photos. First we photographed Ataan in front of the White House. Then Mike joined the scene. Then finally I joined the scene, and Andy photographed the three of us.


First, Ataan posed alone in front of the White House.

First, Ataan posed alone in front of the White House.


Then Mike joined Ataan in the "picture postcard" area for the photo.

Then Mike joined Ataan in the “picture postcard” area for the photo.


Finally, I joined the group, and Andy used Big Mavica to take a shot of the three of us. Note the big sunburn that I'd gotten at the protest earlier, and the backpack (as compared to Big Mavica's regular bag).

Finally, I joined the group, and Andy used Big Mavica to take a shot of the three of us. Note the big sunburn that I’d gotten at the protest earlier, and the backpack (as compared to Big Mavica’s regular bag).


Following the visit at the White House, we decided to call it an evening. They were going back to their Silver Spring hotel, and I was going back to my house. Considering our location, I found it worthwhile to go the extra few blocks and skip the transfer at Metro Center. McPherson Square was the closest station, but Farragut North was a Red Line station. Being so close to a Red Line station made the transfer seem counterproductive. We eventually got Breda 3171 for the ride back to Montgomery County.


Ataan poses next to a column at Farragut North station.

Ataan poses next to a column at Farragut North station.


Andy, Mike, and Ataan strike a pose on Breda 3171.

Andy, Mike, and Ataan strike a pose on Breda 3171.


Ataan, Mike, and Andy rode as far as Forest Glen, and we all got our goodbyes on the train as we arrived at Forest Glen. Then I rode further down the line to Wheaton, where I met back up with the Sable to go home. Also noticed another “F/A” box at Wheaton, with two obvious clues that it was fire alarm wiring.


Yeah, two Edwards horns connected to the F/A junction box is an obvious clue...

Yeah, two Edwards horns connected to the F/A junction box is an obvious clue…


Arriving home, I was completely exhausted, and pretty much went right to sleep. But what a day it was! I joined up with the radical cheerleading squad, spent time with SDS, got to hang out with my local DC activist buddies, and meet some friends from out of town, so all in all, it was an awesome day.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Cheer Sheet

Part 3