It’s hard to make a really big protest march about just one thing. Back in the days of giant rallies against the Iraq war, all sorts of groups wanted in on the action. There were communists. Anarchists. Protesters mad about the Florida recount. Katrina justice groups. Civil rights organizations. And more. The crazy quilt of aggrieved demonstrators made it hard to keep the focus on protesting the war.
A similar dilemma faced organizers of the giant People’s Climate March, which clogged a big part of Manhattan on Sunday afternoon. At times it seemed as if the whole Lefty world, pushing every Lefty cause, had showed up to march down 6th Avenue. Who was that guy with the “FREE LEONARD PELTIER NOW!” sign? Okay, that was just one person. But what about the people waving the “INDIGENOUS RIGHTS PROTECT US ALL” banners? The “Resistencia Indigena”? What about all the unions — Teamsters, UAW, SEIU, Amalgamated Transit Union, and more? What about the VOCAL-New York marchers, who say their mission is to “build power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration”? What about the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice? And the “TAKE BACK THE CITY — HOMES FOR ALL” people? What about the Fresh Direct protesters, angry at the company that wants to build a facility on a Native American burial ground in the Bronx? What about the “WE ARE ALL MIGRANTS” people? And the ones who seemed to step out of a time warp to chant “the people, united, will never be defeated”? And of course, what about all those jugglers and guys banging drums?