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Million Worker March

On October 17, 2004, I traveled to Washington DC once again, this time for the Million Worker March.  The Million Worker March was a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, sponsored by labor unions and attended by approximately 10,000 people.  The topics were workers’ rights, an end to job outsourcing, and universal health care, among others.  There was also a strong anti-war flavor to the whole effort, as many of our nation’s young men and women are still out fighting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That message came packaged as the familiar call of “Bring the troops home now”.  Additionally, there were two marches to and from the main event.  One was an anarchist feeder march, where approximately 100 people marched from the headquarters of the AFL-CIO (which neither sponsored nor endorsed the Million Worker March) to the Lincoln Memorial, by way of the World Bank.  Another was a breakaway march, where “a few hundred” people (per The Washington Post) marched to the Hotel Washington to show support for the hotel’s workers, who were on the verge of going on strike due to a contract dispute.  All in all, it was a great event, and a whole lot of fun.

I present this event to you in a “hybrid” format like I did for my Virginia Beach vacation photo set, meaning I’m going to jump back and forth between text narrative and photo set.  The narrative text is an adaptation of a Journal entry about the Million Worker March, originally written on October 19, 2004.  So check it out, and see the events of my day at the Million Worker March as I saw it in words, pictures, and video footage.


All I have to say was that I had fun at the Million Worker March, an event to bring the plight of workers into the spotlight.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I’d been planning on attending the Million Worker March in Washington DC for some time – since about July or August, I want to say.  Now I research these events way ahead of time to find out what is planned in and around these events and keep a tab in any new developments.  Then I set my agenda based on what I find out as the date approaches.  In this case, I found out a few things ahead of time.  Number one was that there would be no actual official march like on June 5 or previous events that I’d been to.  I also learned that there would be an anarchist feeder march meeting up at 16th and Eye Streets NW, a block away from McPherson Square station, in front of the AFL-CIO headquarters (an organization that did not sponsor the Million Worker March).  I also learned that it would also be embraced by anti-war groups.  As you know, I am very much anti-war.  So anti-war lent a familiar touch to an otherwise new topic to me.

So my plan was to basically join up with the anarchists for the day.  I’d start out with the anarchist feeder march and join the main rally that way.  Then in the main rally, stay with them.  Basically, the idea was to follow my June 5 strategy, where I joined a small black bloc for the duration of the event.  The people in that group were my soul mates for the day, and it worked out really well.

This time, it was mostly successful once again.  I also made sure not to repeat the biggest mistake I made during the June 5 march.  That was in packing Big Mavica, my real digital camera, in my backpack, and instead using my cell phone as the main camera.  My rationale for packing Big Mavica was that it would be too much for actually participating in a march, vs. staying on the sidelines like I did on April 13, 2003 (A Protest Against the War).  So for the Million Worker March, I kept a supply of CDs on a spindle in my pocket, and kept Big Mavica loaded and around my neck, where it belongs.  The phone was packed in the backpack, and considering how much hunting I did in my bag to find it again later, I packed it pretty deeply in there.

Now let me tell you this up front.  At the time, I did not really consider myself an anarchist.  I considered myself a left-wing moderate and a major pacifist.  However, when it cames to marches, I would go with the anarchists.  It just seems to be a good match for me.  Everyone’s on equal footing there, based on the theoretical underpinnings of anarchism.  And they’re a pretty welcoming bunch.  So I went with them.  And I really enjoy their company.

At the meet-up site for the feeder march, people were making noise through drums, both real and makeshift.  The makeshift drums were primarily large buckets that had rope or string tied around them to make them suitable for beating with some kind of drum-stick (also usually makeshift).

I also encountered Radical Cheerleaders for the first time in person.  Radical cheerleading is best described as cheerleading with a far-left political twist.  Plus the participants’ outfits are designed to be loud, and look a bit rough by design.  I will tell you this, they definitely make an impression on you, which means that their mission is quite successful.


The radical cheerleaders in action:

The radical cheerleaders in action.  The radical cheerleaders in action.

The radical cheerleaders in action.  The radical cheerleaders in action.

The radical cheerleaders in action.  The radical cheerleaders in action.

The radical cheerleaders in action.


All in all, they were a very spirited group.  The group seen here is known as the Resistin’ Radicatz.  Another good Web site about radical cheerleading, with a bunch of cheers listed, one simply called Radical Cheerleaders.

Many people there, including myself, were dressed in all black.  Many were also ready to use the black bloc tactic if the situation arose.  Lots of black and red-and-black flags were waving in the air, carried by protesters.  According to The Washington Post, there were about 100 people in attendance at the feeder march.


Participants in the feeder march wait to cross the street at the opposite corner of 16th and Eye Streets, and then held up their "Our dreams will never fit in their ballot boxes" banner for all to see while crossing.

Participants in the feeder march wait to cross the street at the opposite corner of 16th and Eye Streets, and then held up their “Our dreams will never fit in their ballot boxes” banner for all to see while crossing.

Participants in the feeder march wait to cross the street at the opposite corner of 16th and Eye Streets, and then held up their "Our dreams will never fit in their ballot boxes" banner for all to see while crossing.


A person waves while wearing a George W. Bush mask, and t-shirt featuring an image of George W. Bush and the words "International Terrorist". The Bush mask had some of the teeth modified to look like fangs, and had fake blood below the mouth. Additionally, the person's hands were covered with fake blood. Reminds me of the "Bloody Hands" sign shown at the anti-war procession on October 2.

A person waves while wearing a George W. Bush mask, and t-shirt featuring an image of George W. Bush and the words “International Terrorist”.  The Bush mask had some of the teeth modified to look like fangs, and had fake blood below the mouth.  Additionally, the person’s hands were covered with fake blood.  Reminds me of the “Bloody Hands” sign shown at the anti-war procession on October 2.


Participants in the feeder march beat on makeshift drums and shout at the meet-up location outside AFL-CIO headquarters.

Participants in the feeder march beat on makeshift drums and shout at the meet-up location outside AFL-CIO headquarters.


Now the feeder march that the anarchist group participated in was unpermitted, as in that no permit was obtained to have the march.  That made it quite interesting.  You have a good-sized large group of people, around 100 according to The Washington Post, marching in the streets.  DC Metropolitan Police knew that a feeder march would be occurring, but not exactly where it was going, so they couldn’t prepare ahead like for marches where a permit had been obtained.  It was fitting, too, as we marched right into traffic on our way to the Lincoln Memorial, where the main rally was being held.  Cars were literally stopped in their tracks, as a bunch of black-clad protesters passed by them.  Some drivers expressed support for the movement, while others were noticeably upset over a group deliberately blocking traffic.  As with any political protest event, there were people distributing literature, and I definitely got my fair share of literature passed to me, which I saved.  People were also passing out literature to the drivers of the cars we’d blocked, which I thought was neat.  Police attempts to shift the marchers from the street to the sidewalk failed, both by vehicular movements where cars and bikes tried to corral the marchers to where they wanted them, and by direct announcements where they said, “If you do not have a march permit, you must be on the sidewalk.”  So to ensure the safety of both the marchers (i.e. us) and drivers, police blocked off streets so that we could safely pass through, all the while with people in the group yelling the always-popular “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!” chant, along with a number of others.

The route took us to the Lincoln Memorial, by way of the World Bank, George Washington University, Constitution Avenue, and the Vietnam Memorial.  A few people in the march pointed out the location of the World Bank, with one shouting, “There’s the World Bank!” which, two weeks ago, had become the target of protesters once again over third world debt cancellation during their meetings.  The Photography set Day of Activism covers the events at the World Bank, as well as an anti-war march that occurred on the same day.  But that’s besides the point here.  We passed by George Washington University really only out of necessity – the campus is right next to the World Bank.


Walking down the streets of Northwest DC at the anarchist feeder march.  I’m not sure of where this location is specifically, but I do know that it is beyond the World Bank on our route.


Then we hit Constitution Avenue, meeting it at 17th Street.  We crossed behind the Vietnam Memorial from a distance (the wall itself was not visible to us because of our location), and then there we were, at the Lincoln Memorial, site of the Million Worker March.


Participants in the anarchist feeder march after arriving at the main Million Worker March event.  As you can see, some danced, some beat makeshift drums, and all in all had a merry time.


From there, the group kind of split up.  I first went up to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with part of the march group, where I sat down for a bit to listen to the speeches, and talk with some of the other people in the group.  I also saw some familiar faces, interestingly enough.  Remember this girl, who I quickly interviewed with on-the-fly questions in April 2003?  She was there.  I recognized her voice, and we talked.  I gave her my Web site URL and encouraged her to visit my site to see the interview clip.


Perhaps the best views of the Million Worker March came from the Lincoln Memorial. There, you could see the cameras filming the event, and also crowds around the Lincoln Memorial, both near my vantage point near the top of the steps, but also far off below at the reflecting pool. Additionally, the Washington Monument was in the background, reminding people of exactly where we are.

Perhaps the best views of the Million Worker March came from the Lincoln Memorial.  There, you could see the cameras filming the event, and also crowds around the Lincoln Memorial, both near my vantage point near the top of the steps, but also far off below at the reflecting pool.  Additionally, the Washington Monument was in the background, reminding people of exactly where we are.


The steps of the Lincoln Memorial were no less than packed, with all sorts of people parked to hear the speakers just in front of them. From this location, however, it was difficult to actually see the speakers, due to the presence of a large banner in front of us.  The steps of the Lincoln Memorial were no less than packed, with all sorts of people parked to hear the speakers just in front of them. From this location, however, it was difficult to actually see the speakers, due to the presence of a large banner in front of us.

The steps of the Lincoln Memorial were no less than packed, with all sorts of people parked to hear the speakers just in front of them.  From this location, however, it was difficult to actually see the speakers, due to the presence of a large banner in front of us.


Behind the speaker's area, all sorts of people, with some wearing union-related apparel, others wearing more activist-style clothing (note the yellow "Free Mumia" shirt in the right-side photo), and some carrying flags, used the area as a sort of passageway from one side to the other. Park Police also kept an eye on the group on the steps from that location.  Behind the speaker's area, all sorts of people, with some wearing union-related apparel, others wearing more activist-style clothing (note the yellow "Free Mumia" shirt in the right-side photo), and some carrying flags, used the area as a sort of passageway from one side to the other. Park Police also kept an eye on the group on the steps from that location.

Behind the speaker’s area, all sorts of people, with some wearing union-related apparel, others wearing more activist-style clothing (note the yellow “Free Mumia” shirt in the right-side photo), and some carrying flags, used the area as a sort of passageway from one side to the other.  Park Police also kept an eye on the group on the steps from that location.


The large banner blocking the view of the speakers was the official Million Worker March banner, which had the movement's logo on it (four hands holding onto each other), and large text reading, "Repeal the Taft-Hartley [Act]".

The large banner blocking the view of the speakers was the official Million Worker March banner, which had the movement’s logo on it (four hands holding onto each other), and large text reading, “Repeal the Taft-Hartley [Act]“.


Cameras were strategically placed all around the speaker's area, mostly on platforms in order to get a clear view.

Cameras were strategically placed all around the speaker’s area, mostly on platforms in order to get a clear view.


As you can see, this was a well-attended event, with roughly 10,000 people in attendance. However, despite this large turnout, it missed the organizers' mark by a large margin. The organizers expected attendance to be closer to 100,000.  As you can see, this was a well-attended event, with roughly 10,000 people in attendance. However, despite this large turnout, it missed the organizers' mark by a large margin. The organizers expected attendance to be closer to 100,000.

As you can see, this was a well-attended event, with roughly 10,000 people in attendance.  However, despite this large turnout, it missed the organizers’ mark by a large margin.  The organizers expected attendance to be closer to 100,000.


This rather well-dressed woman appears to have been part of the Billionaires For Bush group, which is actually an anti-Bush group, despite the name.  This rather well-dressed woman appears to have been part of the Billionaires For Bush group, which is actually an anti-Bush group, despite the name.

This rather well-dressed woman appears to have been part of the Billionaires For Bush group, which is actually an anti-Bush group, despite the name.


Larry Holmes of the International Action Center speaks regarding the war in Iraq.


Another gentleman speaks regarding Africa and Iraq.


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.


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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