I spent Saturday down on the National Mall at the One Nation Working Together rally. It was a beautiful Fall day, and it was refreshing to see a whole host of progressive organizations marching together for jobs, justice, and education. I spent most of my time walking around observing the crowd, reading signs, and carrying my own sign.
1. I am always pleasantly surprised at how progressive marches, rallies, and protests have the feeling of celebrations. Every big march I've been to has felt like a street festival. There are virtually always drums and dancing. This was the case even back in March when we were protesting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where the health insurance industry's biggest lobbyist group was meeting to plot strategy to block reform. Activism and joy mixed together. What does this say about the Left? Of course I have not been to many right-wing rallies, but I don't think they have this kind of thing going on. Is there dancing in the Tea Party, at an anti-immigrant rally, or a gun rights rally? I don't think I've ever seen this difference between Left and Right discussed.
2. The crowd at the One Nation rally was as ethnically diverse as America itself. Latino, Asian-American, White, African-American, Buddhist, secular, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. Not just individuals, but organizations were there representing each of these groups. This is what you get when your movement is based on the common good instead of on the wishes of only the most powerful ethnic group or of only the wealthy. It stands in stark contrast to the snow white Glenn Beck rally back in August and the right wing in general.
Proposing A Theme For The Progressive Movement
Here's me holding my homemade sign the day of the rally. (Face hidden so I won't be fired from my job.)
"Democracy vs. Corporations: Which side are YOU on?"
I chose this sign because I believe all the various progressive constituencies (labor, environmental groups, peace groups, civil rights organizations, etc.) need a unifying theme. Well, how about this? On virtually every pressing social issue we face, corporate power stands in the way of progress.
Big corporations keep wages low and working conditions poor.
Big corporations fund fake science to create public doubt about climate change.
Big corporations lobby for ever-increasing defense budgets and new imperial adventures.
Big corporations stoke racist feeling to keep the public divided and powerless.
In short, big corporations thwart true democracy by empowering the few over the many. Therefore, all progressive individuals and organizations should act as one anti-corporate power, pro-democracy force. That should be the underlying struggle that unites all of the Left's various causes.
More Cell Phone Pictures I Took
From the World War II memorial looking west toward the Lincoln Memorial: