For the left, controversy in the organization and lead-up to rallies and marches isn’t new.
There were arguments and heated discussions on how best to protest the Democratic Convention in Chicago back in 1968. There was outcry from the far left when the mainstream anti-war movement decided to take a break from protesting the Kerry campaign back in 2004. Even the original Women’s March was filled to the brim with controversy.
But The Peoples March on Washington, aka The Impeachment March, this past weekend is in it’s own world. NationofChange was on the ground in D.C. and I’ll do my best to explain what went wrong with this promising demonstration.
The Daily Kos has written quite an extensive investigation into the “organizations” and people behind the lead up to the march that I recommend reading. Nearly everything I’ve read there has been confirmed independently by myself by an activist on the ground in D.C.
Basically, the questionable legitimacy and incompetence of the organizations in charge of the event, and their dubious leader, Lawrence Deshawn Silva Nathaniel, led to an un-focused, ineffective demonstration.
Whether the organizations behind the organization of the D.C. event are a front group for Russians (heh, kidding) or a couple of guys trying to promote themselves and some businesses that they own or simply the manifestations of a delusional individual, it’s hard to tell.
The interconnected websites behind The People’s March On Washington – “People Demand Action” (I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that it’s acronym is PDA, like the quite competent Progressive Democrats of America) and “We Are One Foundation” – lead back to Lawrence Deshawn Silva Nathaniel, Founding President of the United States Presidential House, a non-profit based out of South Carolina.
It’s hard to know where to start with Nathaniel. As the Daily Kos says of him, “It’s difficult to tell for sure whether he’s setting up a shadow government or is simply delusional.”
With all that said, roughly 1,000-1,500 people showed up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to call out the President for varying issues from voting rights to sexual harassment.
But many of the speeches were similar to what you might have heard at open mic nights at small lefty coffee houses back during the Bush Administration: odd, meandering, and not really on point.
The M.C., Janrose Kasmir, who is a 60’s peace icon made famous by Marc Riboud’s photo of her, spent several minutes going on about a psychiatrist that ruined a friend of hers’ life.
There was no connection to the Impeachment of Trump, but she had the mic and no one was wrestling it away from her.
NationofChange did talk to two of the more on point speakers, Meeko Willaims of the Voter Education Network and Jessica Prozinski of Stop Trump Ann Arbor.
DeMeeko spoke to me about how the Trump victory meant that getting out the vote and counting the vote correctly just become all the more important.
“Look at all the people here, every vote counts… every vote matters and no matter what happened in the past we have the power to now know that our vote means everything – or we would have someone like Trump in the White House – that does not deserve to be in the White House.”
Jessica has worked with other activists in Ann Arbor to set up a rapid response team that confronts ICE and attempts to physically block people from being grabbed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
We are a direct action organization that is defending our community against Trump’s deportation policies. So we have a rapid response team… we have a hotline people can call if they see ICE enforcement because we are trying to make Ann Arbor a real sanctuary city.
If you’re interested in joining this cause, you can sign up at the facebook group Equal America Resistance Network. It’s a closed group for understandable security reasons, so you’ll need to answer a couple of questions.
The disorganization of the D.C. event continued as the actual march began.
It was supposed to head to the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial, but ended up joining the larger and better organized Muslim Ban anniversary rally going on in front of the White House.
But that’s for the next story in NationofChange.