By Robin Lehman
The Women's March on Washington, Montpelier edition, was a fine thing to see. I went with three friends to be part of this massive show of solidarity with women and feminism. While there was a huge majority of women, there were many men and children there too ... lots and lots of children.
While protest against Trump and the Republican party's desire to kill everything that benefits the American people was a large part of the gathering, love and solidarity were the main sentiments of the people and the signs they had made. The feeling was of a festival with political purpose. There was an edge though as if we all knew that this new United States is backward and this festival would be the last positive action to be taken for a while; all the next actions would be in protest to try to protect the institutions and people that need saving. We all knew the oligarchs were now firmly in control and that women's bodies were once again in danger of becoming owned by the state. We knew that government “by the people” would be something that has to be actively fought for again.
The speakers understood and spoke to this knowledge, that we are going to have to actively fight for the Earth, for people of color, for immigrants, for Muslims and Mexicans and for our gay, trans and queer brothers and sisters. The speakers spoke to the fact that feminism is more than women's rights: It's about democracy in all areas of our lives. It's about loving one another and this love is about standing with each other when any of us is attacked. But the speakers also spoke about the positive feminist action of dismantling paternalistic capitalism and replacing it with democracy, so that all citizens can reap the rewards of their labor.
As an anarcho/libertarian/communist I found the total lack of mention, by speakers or signs, of either the Democratic or Republican parties fascinating. To me it was an admission that the two parties are both arms of the paternal/capitalist machine that rules our pseudo-democracy: totally useless to the task of reestablishing democracy. I found it wonderful but strange that the biggest response from the largely white crowd came when “Black lives matter” was shouted. And this was the main piece of this exquisite happening: Solidarity and love will make us strong enough to fight the forces that will take us backward into a sort of neo-fascist reality.
Lehman lives in Warren.