MWM: A First Gathering of Militants for Labor and Peace
As a first gathering of the Million Worker March in DC, numbers fell short, but enthusiasm on earth crackled with determination
The sun shined brightly amidst trees with leaves of red at the Lincoln Center in Washington DC for the Million Worker March, Sunday Oct. 17. I first heard it was forthcoming during the Boston DNC protests. It was conceived earlier this year by co-chair Trent Willis of the ILW whose local endorsed it unanimously. They said it couldn’t be done! But it happened!
Tabling was rampant featuring bumperstickers, flyers, buttons, and handmade jewelry. Groups for labor and anti-war were numerous and I was in a feverish pitch to be with my people! The MWM was an all-day rally. Some speakers were Dick Gregory, Danny Glover and a real dynamo, Brenda Stokely, who spoke of “blood, sweat, and tears” to pull together. We must not take the plans and trash them when we return. We must work in the communities to take back our voice because neither of the 2 parties will do it for us.
The AFL-CIO contributed nothing for the event. They give all labor’s money to the Democrat Party.
Some buses were stopped by the DC police and were not allowed in. It was unclear how many, although some were let through, but not all of them. Court orders were obtained to release them. Therefore, there were people coming to the MWM who did not make it. Also, one woman got arrested for carrying a sign through the Vietnam Wall Memorial. The Nat’l Lawyers’ Guild assisted her, and she intends to fight it for first ammendment rights.
Dick Gregory said, “Fear and God don’t occupy the same space.” A Workers’ Party spokeman said alternatives to the war are “prison, military or McDonald’s.” Last year 5,000 people died on the job. Glover said “True democrats believe in democracy. We have older bodies, but our minds are young. We stand here in a movement to insure justice. They say the economy is growing, but paychecks are stuck in mid’evil’ times.”
A Haitian woman, prominent for her work, risked her life to travel to DC. She spoke against the puppet president the U.S. installed and said the U.S. Army is killing their people every day since the takeover, February 29, ’04. Other voices were from Mumia Abu Jamal on death row (a tape), labor organizers from Japan, and representatives of the Int’l Writers’ Movement who talked on the myth of the free press. Journalists are “muzzled.” More journalists have been killed in the Iraq War than all the U.S. wars combined. They are “dying to tell the story.”
Working people descended upon the capital and spirits soared for a day. There is much work to do, fighting privitization, shipping of our jobs overseas, and receiving p-nuts for pay. We must not sit on our “duffs” until the next MWM.