By Sachio Ko-yin
It’s often the case I see the news on the workplace television. And January 20, as I walked by with boxes, I could stop for a break and watch.
Seeing the inauguration, strangely normalized by reporters into discussions of traditions and small talk, we find ourselves now officially in the Trump presidency. He enters, eyes filled with tears, overcome with the grandeur of the honor. The gaudiness of the ceremonies only adds to the eeriness.What we later learned was a low attendance of the festivities only adds to the surrealist situation: the empty feeling of helplessness and political fear.
The following day, in DC: touching base with various organizations, making connections, but still—there is so much more to say. It was clear the Women’s March was overwhelmingly larger than Trump’s inauguration and that cities across the country were outpourings of refusal against this reign of misogyny and racism.
The Women’s March itself was remarkable, and even from the radical viewpoint there was no less a feeling of triumphant joy at the mass attendance across the country and world. While someone said ‘This IS the Revolution!,’ I would see it as instead a reinvention of liberal feminism in the face of disaster, the most inclusive elements of bourgeois democracy trying to save itself at the edge of a political cliff.
For our part, seeking to build democratic structures of a self-managed society, we need to be in this upsurge. True enough, the tone was nostalgia for Obama and Clinton, but also, with the organizers’ efforts at being intersectional, credit and disappointment are fair all around. The most powerful moment was the Mothers Of The Movement, mothers of Trayvon Marten, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, and Dantre Hamilton, in a call and response of their children’s names, as well as the name of Sandra Bland. But that moment seemed almost squeezed in at the end, as the masses of pink hats were fidgeting to march. The march felt overwhelmingly white and middle class, but there is gratitude that, the day after Trump’s oath of office, the outpouring of protest inspired awe. It gave much needed hope. As well as a promissory note of the work ahead.
On the way home, a fellow anarchist texted me why he didn’t bother going, the Women’s March being mostly a ‘liberal thing.’ I disagree strongly. While middle class liberalism may be surging up to fight, as organizers we need to be here in *every* upsurge of movements, doing our work. The Women’s March was incredibly packed; we could barely walk. It was for long parts more of a shuffle in a sardine can. While the ethos of the march was not radical, within the march itself there were many different organizations, from the New Sanctuary Movement, BLM, LGBT rights groups, Muslim civil rights groups, and myriad community-based organizations.
This is what it means to be an organizer: to be among movement upsurges, to connect our movements, build relationships, and strengthen communications and coordination. I left DC with a feeling of our work head, preparing for what is coming our way, fast.