aNewDomain — Last Saturday three times as many people attended a demonstration against Pres. Donald Trump as showed up the day before for his inauguration. Solidarity marches across the nation drew perhaps a million more.
The turnout was impressive. It vexed the new president. But what did the Women’s March mean?
But in many ways, despite what pundits said, the Women’s March wasn’t a movement or even the beginning of a movement.
It was a moment: a show of hands:
“I’m against Trump,” these women (and men) told the world.
What they left out was this: Who or what do they want to replace him?
A movement needs demands
As Occupy Wall Street instigator Micah White pointed out, Women’s Marchers didn’t issue any demands, much less posit a desire to achieve political power. “Without a clear path from march to power, the protest is destined to be an ineffective feel-good spectacle adorned with pink pussy hats,” he warned.
Like other protests of the last few decades, the Women’s March was a spasm, a spontaneous expression of disgust and outrage doomed to lead nowhere.
If you don’t demand anything, (or if you demand everything) how will you get it?
And if you don’t pose a threat to the establishment, why should its stakeholders be alarmed?
It’s not that the Women’s March on Jan. 21 didn’t matter. At the risk of both mansplaining and leftsplaining, a show of hands does matter. It always matters.
Events like the Women’s March are significant because American politics is centered (pun intended) around the fiction that leftist political movements taken for granted in other nations — like communism, socialism and left anarchism — aren’t relevant here.
American politics believes that no leftist presence at the ballot box or in the news media is because American voters aren’t interested.
Moments like Saturday prove that’s a lie.
The New Left
The New Left was the last organized left-wing mass movement in American history. Since the organized Left collapsed in the early 1970s, we’ve seen other moments like Saturday, indications that there are Americans — tens of millions of them, in fact — whose politics fall to the left of the fake-left Democratic party and the lockstep center-right corporate media apparatus that props up it and its “rival” Republican brand.
Signs that this Left-in-waiting really exists belie the party line that there’s no market for hammers-and-sickles in the good ol’ U.S.A.
Think about it. Even during the somnolent 1980s, hundreds of thousands showed up to protest Reagan at demonstrations like Solidarity Day.
As for this decade, it brought us Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly popular presidential primary challenge, as well as polls that found that 37 percent of Americans would get rid of capitalism if they could. They’d trash, in other words, the economic system we’re constantly being told is more sacred and popular than Jesus, mom and apple frappuccino.
Today, these political impulses — opposition to war and militarism, fighting job-exporting free-trade agreements and suspicion of unfettered capitalism — have no place in the Democratic or Republican parties.
And war, free trade and business run wild are going strong, nastily bipartisan as they are.
More than a third of Americans find nothing of interest to buy in the American marketplace of political ideas is. That’s stunning — and it comprises a vast untapped pool of potential “customers.
These people — I’d say voters, but many of them don’t bother to vote because they hate both parties — represent an inefficiency in the market. Moments like Occupy, Bernie and the Women’s March remind us of the existence of this Left-in-waiting.
Someday, obviously, someone or someones will build an organization that attracts America’s long-ignored leftists and channels their energies into something powerful enough to achieve power and smart enough to govern.
Until then, the real left will be co-opted by the fake left of Democrats.
That, you see, is what happened to the Women’s March.
To be sure, lots of Women’s Marchers were Hillary Clinton Democrats. Evidence of that could be found in the “Love Trumps Hate” signs, hand-lettered rather than printed by the DNC as they were during the fall campaign, and the Hillary buttons, too.
But many more of the demonstrators were Bernie Sanders progressives, socialists and communists who want to see radical change in society and the economy — and these good leftists — a third of the country, most of the left overall — allowed themselves to go unrepresented.
A good indication that the Women’s March got coopted into a Democratic boo-hoo Hillary/Cory Booker-in-2020 pep rally was that the speakers were limited to celebrity millionaire liberal Democrats like Michael Moore, Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem and defanged ex-radicals like Angela Davis.
Had this been a militant action (i.e., one that might frighten Trump and the GOP), or a coalition of liberals who welcomed and respected their leftist allies rather than merely wanting to vampirize their righteous anger and energy into midterm votes, the roster of speakers would have included people calling for revolutionary change and action outside of the existing system. There would also have been some radical activists you’d never of who do important work.
Celebrity liberalism and pleas to vote Democratic are where the Left goes to die.
The Women’s March was doomed from the start to join the list of fruitless liberal marches. That’s because they’re Democrats. Notice that none of the speakers suggested scrapping the whole sick system of systemized poverty, industrialized prisons, war and slave labor altogether.
Instead, marchers got a washed-up documentary filmmaker urging them to memorize a phone number they could use to call Congress because, yeah, that’s going to do so much good — especially these days with Republicans in charge of everything.
Still, despite the Democratic BS, those huge crowds were glorious. They showed up, they were heard and they do hint at the better country we could have.
May they soon get the radical, genuine political movement they and the world deserve.