Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Women's March in New York January 21, 2017

Looking west on 42nd Street.

I went to the New York version of the Women's March taking place nationwide (and it turns out world wide).  The March was YUGE.  Forty Second Street was so packed with people -- and more coming in -- that the march could hardly march.  We walked very slowly from First Avenue to Grand Central.  The march continued up Fifth Avenue to the the Joker's Lair high over Gotham City, but I never got that far.  After about 3 hours down 42nd Street, my back was killing me and my dogs were barking, and so I bailed at Grand Central Terminal.  I salute all who made it all the way uptown.
The trains and buses coming and going were packed with protesters, many carrying signs and wearing pink (dudes too).  Even in my neighborhood as I was walking home, I saw lots of people with signs going to and fro on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn (Williamsburg).

I had a great time.  I went with 5 friends.  We met for lunch in the East Village and then traveled by a bus packed with protestors (and I mean packed) to 42nd Street and First Avenue where we caught up with the march.  The official rallying point of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was so full of people that no more people could get in.

These are my pictures from the March.  They are freely available.

First Avenue looking north

Low clouds moved in our sunny day, and the temperatures dropped rapidly.

As you can see, the march in New York was vast.  Looking west toward Grand Central on 42nd Street.

The top of the Chrysler Building.

Looking west toward Grand Central.

And of course, what is a protest march without signs?

A lot of kids at this parade.

A lot of daughters riding parents' shoulders in the march.

I saw a lot of these hats at the march, and beyond.

This Queen of Diamonds refers to a famous movie, The Manchurian Candidate.

The crowd behind us stretching all the way back to First Avenue in the east.

The Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt in bronze, scornfully disdains the rabble.

Fellow rabble rousers:  Weiben Wang, Paul Lane in back, Cindy Brome, Julia Alberino, and Suzanne Pyrch

Julia Alberino, Paul Lane, and Weiben Wang

Weiben's photo of Julia, Yours Truly, and Paul

Weiben's photo of me photographing the march.


Norman Rockwell's painting of Rosie the Riveter for the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.
He had a 19 year old girl named Mary Doyle pose based on Michelangelo's Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Rosie rests her penny-loafered foot triumphantly on a battered copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf. The reflection in her visor resembles a halo; a female Saint Michael with Satan beat down under her feet.

If men don't have the heart to resist and fight back this venture into fascism, the women clearly do. As far as I'm concerned, Trump did not become President of the USA so much as king of all the white people who voted for him. His inaugural address (mostly written by Steve Bannon) was full of fascist appeals: the nation is under threat from within and without; only a strong leader can save the nation; solidarity with the tribe, the race, the sect counts for more than the rights of a few puny individuals.  Trump used the term "America First" in his speech.  That was the slogan of Charles Lindbergh's movement to stay out of WWII, a movement with barely concealed fascist sympathies and more than a little antisemitism. Already in the first press briefings, some Goebbels wannabes are trying to threaten the press into parroting the official story of events.
Women -- half the population of the USA -- were singled out by Trump for scorn and humiliation. Fascist and theocratic ideologues for years wanted to return women to a servile and subordinate status. Women have a lot to lose from this new regime, and so they've stepped up to fight it.
 Who knows if this gigantic protest will make any difference in the end. Maybe the energies released here will go the way of too many left wing grass-roots movements; dissipated in factionalism or impotent anarchism. But then, it might also mean the beginning of the end of this new dictatorship. Women might save liberal democracy if for no other reason than they stand to lose so much if it is destroyed.
Dictators thrive when their opponents feel isolated and hopeless.
Sure rallies like those today are mostly symbolic, but symbols matter and they have their power. A big power that they have is a vision of movement and community to battle the isolation and division imposed by oppressors. Marches, rallies, and "zaps" -- public political disruptions of official business -- played a vital role in early gay liberation showing people who felt isolated and alone that there was a community waiting for them and that they didn't have to accept the hardships and humiliations imposed upon them.
So too I feel much better and more hopeful today.

The March of the Women (Shoulder to Shoulder) from Wild Love Music on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Mary Clara said...

Doug, thank you so much for your pictures and reflections and the stirring song! I too feel a little better today after taking part in the big march in Washington. The crowd was so massive, clearly more than expected, so we found it hard to move about and see and hear the events on the "main stage", but everyone kept calm and kind and gracious. The women and girls (and old ladies in wheelchairs!) walked with joy and confidence and commitment. The men were beautiful in their support, some of them proudly wearing pink pussyhats as they marched alongside their wives and sisters or carried their little girls on their shoulders. It was so heartening to feel the unity of purpose among the marchers who saw the connections among all the many different concerns and life histories that had brought us there. It was a day of love. And still more heartening to come home and read about the protests all around the world. All the very best to you from Baltimore!