[Marxism] March 20 protest accounts

Julio Huato juliohuato at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 20 22:07:49 MST 2004

Louis Proyect wrote:

>The organizers said 100,000 so if you split the difference, you end up with 
>65,000 people--an impressive number.

I could settle for that, but my impression is that it was much closer to 
100,000.  I have to say that, at a point, I heard people make pretty 
reasonable calculations leading them to guess 120,000 demonstrators.  But 
who can tell?

>The other thing to keep in mind is that this is in the context of enormous 
>pressure to demobilize. The left-wing of the Democratic Party is telling 
>all its friends in the radical movement that getting rid of Bush is job 
>number one for the movement. I remember how demobilized the antiwar 
>movement got in 1968 under similar circumstances. At one point I was 
>convinced that the movement was finished. The success of today's protests 
>worldwide will provide impetus for larger actions in the summer and fall. 
>We have to keep the heat on these imperialist murderers.

Frankly, it was mostly and visibly an ABB (to use the dismissive acronym) 
type of event.  Whether the "left-wing" of the DP is trying to demobilize 
people or not, the crowds don't care.  I try to talk with different people 
in the crowds, kind of randomly, and ask them questions.  It's an absolutely 
informal and unreliable "survey," but what I observe is that people have no 
problem combining street mobilization with a decision to agitate and use 
their money, time, and votes against Bush.  I often find that the arguments 
of so-called "regular people" are more sophisticated and informed than our 
arguments on this list.  Most people seem pretty eclectic in their 
approaches: they applaud MoveOn.org kind of efforts focused on the media and 
Washington politicking, respond to UFPJ and International ANSWER 
mobilization calls, love the books by Moore and Franken and the articles by 
Herbert and Krugman in the NYT, and are ready to take part in the electoral 
process with money and votes.  Also most people I talked to have given or 
are planning to give money to Kerry's campaign.  So it's the more 
ideologically-driven groups who may view these approaches as incompatible.  
And I couldn't see many Nader followers, neither did I people hostile to 
Nader.  It was a overall a pretty good event.  And, as far as I know, the 
police were okay.

I hope Louis Proyect gets well soon.


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