In the shocked aftermath of the election, two groups of women immediately began planning to march on Washington, DC. Unfortunately, one group’s plans fell through, while another’s have been put on hold, pending a scheduling snafu.
A secret Facebook group called “Nasty Women” was begun earlier this month, with the stated objective of organizing a march in early April. It was begun by two women with a post which said, in part “we need a march on Washington just to remind our Pres-elect, and House & Senate, that feminism is alive and well, and that women are watching and are ready to work for progressive candidates in the mid-terms. Women’s rights are human rights.”
Within days, the group ballooned to tens of thousands of members, so quickly that the organizers had to try to regroup. Without a specific plan and organization, and without full-time monitoring, the group collapsed into recriminations and back-biting against one another. The sheer logistics overwhelmed this effort, and the April march is not happening.
Because they involved professionals who had organized marches before, logistics seemed better for the second effort, the “Women’s March on Washington,” originally known as the “Million Women March” until people pointed out that there had already been one of those by women of color. Also organized immediately after the election with a post by a woman in Maui, this group, too, exploded in numbers, and then exploded in the same sorts of fights that beset Nasty Women, notably over how white all the organizers seemed. (They have since addressed the leadership diversity issue.)
In both cases, members of the largest voting bloc in the country united in angry despair over the election, and in the shared belief that “women’s rights are human rights.” But both were divided among themselves over Hillary as President, as well as a number of other issues. Nevertheless, the Women’s March seemed better organized from the start, and the planned march from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House seemed to be a go for January 21, the day after inauguration of Dat Guy as Resident.
Except, we now learn, for one little detail: there were seven other permits previously requested for the same places at the same time. The better integrated but still somewhat less than a million women will now have to march elsewhere. The leaders are currently trying to figure out when, where and how, and are working with Homeland Security, National Parks, Capitol Police and DC Police. They urge people who have already made plans to hold onto them, that this WILL happen, on the day planned. (Fingers crossed, people.)
It probably will still happen, but these two outcomes, one unsuccessful, one still in doubt, underline the professional challenges all amateur grass-roots efforts face. More importantly, however, they also illustrate the challenges we on the left face just trying to overcome our own differences, much less uniting to meet the challenges posed by the country being taken over by right wing nut jobs and spray-tan Nazis.
If we don’t get our heads out of the clouds and our feet firmly on the ground, if we don’t figure out how to prioritize action over squabbling, if we don’t learn to get the hell out of our own way, how are we ever going to save ourselves, much less this country?