About 100 to 150 folks from the DC area, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere demonstrated at the Marriott Hotel at 22nd and M Street NW today, because of a convention of the pro-voucher, anti-union, anti-public-education group “American Federation for Children” paid for and sponsored by the billionaire DeVos family. (also Govrnors Walker and Corbett were there – neither of them nice guys, as well as Michelle Rhee — not a nice woman.)
Our crowd included parents, teachers, and others. There were way more folks than I expected, since this demonstration was only announced last week!
However, we need to do an even better job at organizing and getting folks out on the street, so that we can begin to turn around the political momentum in this country. Right now, there is a dangerous right-wing trend of abolishing public schools, worker pensions, and basic civil rights. These Educational Deformers also are the folks who are currently well on their way towards making all public schools, especially those that educate the poor and our minorities, into nothing but test prep factories. If they are successful, school will be nothing but a mindless, rote-infested, data-drivel place where kids hate to go because it’s so mindless and stupid and all of the interesting and fun things about education have been left out. (The words “rote” and “drivel” in the last sentence were NOT typos.) What’s more, under our defacto right-wing regime, while workers are losing their pensions and their life savings and their jobs and their health care plans, and have to pay more and more money for pretty much EVERYTHING they buy, at the same time, the billionaires who run this country are making MORE money than they ever have; the incompetent, greedy plutocrats who empty out American factories and send the work to be done overseas by workers who have no choice but to work for much lower wages, and under much worse conditions – why, these corporate thieves are making out like bandits. If they are caught red-handed looting the entire company or the nation, they get not a golden parachute, but a platinum one, plus many tens of millions in severance pay, plus perhaps billions in stock options, and then get invited back into the government as a regulator.
So, while this was a good step, it should only redouble our resolve to act further.
I watched Rachel Maddow on TV for the first time a few weeks ago at my daughter’s place, and RM was claiming (and it appeared, proving) in that show that the anti-Tea-Party, pro-democracy, pro-public-school, pro-union, progressive demonstrators all over the US **right now** – just like us -are actually more numerous than the Tea Party crowds were AT THEIR PEAK — but get no press coverage. I seem to remember RM showing clips of a tiny gathering of half a dozen Tea Party types that was attended by so many media folks that the TPers were outnumbered, while nearly simultaneous, large demonstrations against folks like Rhee, Fenty, and so on get ignored.
I think I counted six to ten pro-voucher folks demonstrating against us pro-public school types. At first I was a bit upset that we had any opposition at all. After all, aren’t we the good guys?
But then again, this was THEIR anti-voucher meeting at the Marriott that we were opposing. We were sort of going into THEIR lair. Kinda sad (for them) that they could only muster six to ten voucher supporters from this ‘enormous’ convention. I think you will have a hard time finding these pro-voucher types in my photos, except for the fact that they were all white and fat and had identical red signs.
I didn’t think to go in to ask some of the employees at the hotel how many of these DeVossers showed up. Since I don’t watch TV news at all, some of you will need to tell me what you see — if anything.
I didn’t make any actual attempt at a crowd size estimate, because I had my hands full with a sign around my neck, a bag at my side, taking a few photos, giving out leaflets, and attempting to talk to passersby and explain briefly what we were doing and see what they thought. Responses were mostly favorable, but not all. Our crowd was strung out so far along the sidewalk, and on both sides of the street, and across alleys, that no single photo that I took could get them all. I need to figure out what I did wrong with the focus on some of these.