21 January 2005

Twenty two hours of dissent

730pm: after working all day, rushing home to shower and eat and change, i am on the chinatown bus to dc. emily and i squish into the bus, "lucky" to get seats. the seats are smaller than a greyhound's, with narrower seats, less leg room and way more smells. our bus makes random stops in the middle of nowhere, and i feel as if i will never get there. its only benefit is its cheapness.
other activists are on the bus. sitting in front of us are two from queer fist, and one australian guy. the queer fist people give us their flyer. this is my fave line "we refuse to congratulate corporations that engage in abusive labor policies simply because they have a non discriminatory policy towards LGBT workers." i hate disney for their sweatshop labor practices, even though they give benefits to same sex partners. one right cannot erase all of the wrongs.

1am: finally get in dc, an hour late. take the metro 3 stops to jinxy's. sleep on the floor. with emily. people are talking, about politics and clothes, and writing cheers. i fall asleep around 2ish. there are probably around 15 people sleeping in jinxy's one bedroom apartment.

830am: i wake up after jinxy begins playing michael jackson. my neck hurts from sleeping in this awkward position. i can't even brush my hair. we eat breakfast and head to dupont circle, two blocks away. just before we go to dupont circle, after i tell a cheerleader i'm part of radical reference, she wants to know how much public $$$ the inauguration cost. i call lia, who is doing home support, who finds some information. i give her a flyer, and tell her to contact us for a more in-depth answer.

10am: a ton of people in dupont circle. the raging grannies are singing folky-type songs with political topics. running for change is running with their run against bush tshirts and running clothes. code pink is running all over the place. we cheer share and chill with squads from richmond, dc, harrisonburg, buffalo, fla.

we learn we can't go to the inauguration parade site: bags must be under a specific size, and emily's backpack will not fit that criteria.

noonish: the march begins. we are towards the back, cheering and meeting people. i hand out flyers for radical reference.

at some point, we leave the march and head for the anarchist bloc. my neck is hurting so much i can't look up. i see jenna from rad reference. we cheer and then the march leaves.

after a bit, we are not moving. what i am told is that police blockaded the road; sugar, who was arrested during the rnc after the cops blockaded people in, wanted to leave. after discussion, we walked around the block, and went into cvs. "i feel like something bad is going to happen," everyone kept saying. i think we should leave cvs, and when tonks and i start to leave, there are suddenly HUNDREDS of people running up the block. it's madness. i'm lucky to get into cvs, lest i be trampled or whatever. the manager wouldn't let activists in, but republicans were being let in. my friends were harassed to buy something.

i was about to buy ibuprofin when a medic cleaning her face off with a bandana gave me some. she said a fight broke out between the cops and the demonstrators. later, i heard the cops were randomly hitting and beating people with their sticks. the cops peppersprayed the crowd.

later, tonks finds out the friend she drove up with from fla has been arrested. he didn't do anything, but was at the front of the crowd, with those fighting the cops.

we end up having out on E st. people don't want to get involved in the march, they're too paranoid. we cheer for the activists, all our antibush and antirepublican cheers, and the republicans that are lining up to watch the parade. i've never seen so many fur coats in my life. disgusting. we cheer:

fur! don't buy it!
it's gross, don't deny it!
it's ugly! it stinks! i think your coat just blinked! ewww!


i love fur! i'm gonna wear my kitty!
what's that? does that sound shitty?
well there's a dead animal on your back,
and that's a gross environmental attack!

we get in fights with republicans. during "masturbate don't detonate" and "my bush is better" i am told "how classy" i am. i'm not trying to be classy when i'm grabbing myself. during "riot don't diet" (a song about loving yourself for what you look like and not dieting) someone tells us "stop whining, he's IN for another four years." cowboy hats and fur coats, my friends and i feel sick. i beg to leave, go elsewhere. a new cheer bloc forms and activists and cheerleaders march spontaneously. we march with them to chinatown. my friends want to leave the march, so we go to the queer fist gathering at dupont circle.

245pm: at dupont circle, there's a lot of activists hanging out and a queer fashion show is about to begin. there's chanting going on, especially when a republican passes.

315pm: we are famished, so we eat lunch. when we come out nothing is going on, so we go back to chinatown. we chant, feel disgusted at how many fur coats there are. i think about we never even joined the answer protests, all the other organized groups, how we are just a bunch of anarchists wreacking havoc. and does it really solve anything? no but we're getting out there, showing how we disapprove. i don't agree with violence--but then our president is causing violence. i think i understand both sides of the argument.

530pm: back on the bus, thinking of the day. my bag weighs the same--flyers given away, flyers received. the bus is bigger, and it takes longer to get back, even with the bus driver from hell who prohibits "eating, drinking, smoking, and going number two." most of the people on the bus demonstrated at the inauguration today against bus, and everyone seems to be talking on their phones, telling everyone they didn't get arrested. i think of the pepper spray, the arrests, the batons, and the people running up the hill--the chaos. so scary. yet i know even with all these risk, i'll be at the next protest.

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