A march on March 4th

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The following is what I felt; what I saw. I lay no claim to objectivity: this is going to be heavy-handed. I am a student at CSULA. Been so for almost a decade. I have seen first hand the corrosion of the quality of resources, services, and education. I took no part in the organization of anything for March 4th. I was merely a participant at the march, as well as doing some acts of solidarity with the NO-CUTS COALITION at CSULA previous to the march. My lack of engagement was probably due to my tendency to not want to be an activist and also my perpetual business. As a student/worker, one is in a place that is extremely vulnerable: when one is not working, one is studying; and when one is not doing either of those, one is busy trying to get-by. This is a perfect place for the State and Global Capitalism to have us in: a place in limbo. The report continues after the jump…

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My foray into March 4th’s event starts here in Lincoln Heights, right outside of Lincoln HS. I left work @ 12:30 and made my way to downtown LA on the 45. Before the start of lunch at Lincoln HS some students staged a sit-in of about 40 students at the flag pole.

2

I arrived at Olvera Street. Via Facebook an organizer of the CSULA contigency let me know that the meet-up point for various universities/campuses was to be the park in front of La Placita. Upon arrival, I was told we were waiting for others to arrive. The police presence at this point was not but a single squad car with a cop leaning against it just watching.

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At this point people from PCC and a few other campuses had arrived. Also what seemed to be like some high school students arrived. It was awesome to see young people in the mix! One of them had one of the best signs!

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A message worth taking to heart! The anti-capitalists were out in full-force at this march, but much too my own chagrin they were of the reformists/Statist sort: more on that later.

Having reached a critical mass, and all campuses arrived the air of the gathering turned festive with drums of all sorts and the chanting in full swing! Cheers met the newly arrived as they descended from buses or came out of Union Station. The part that bummed out was when someone was passing out “chants” on paper for us to do. Can’t we, us muddled-masses, be allowed to be creative and make our own? I know I am!

In awesome form, one of the organizers I knew, announced some of the things that we should all know when we are participating in a march so that we will have minimal hassle & intimidation from the pigs. For instance: state that you are exercising your first amendment right, you DO NOT consent to a search, and that you are engaging in political activity. I am not one for following pure legality, but the fact that many students are not “documented” immigrants necessitates this sort of dissemination of knowledge.

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We marched our way up Alameda, turning on 1st street making our way through Little Tokyo. Here the police made sure that we stayed on the sidewalks (as did some of the organizers). A few on bicycles urged us to take to the streets but as soon as we did the cops made sure to block us and corral us onto the sidewalks once again. It was then I really wish my bicycle was in riding order so that I could help bring the march ONTO the streets. I know we had support from drivers because they greeted us with fists in the air and car horns blasting!

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Here we are at the corner of 1st and Los Angeles St. As you can see the cops  became more plentiful. The bicyclists helped the march taunt the police by re-inviting us into the streets. Fantastic!

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Some marchers atop the sign for City Hall South. If only sledgehammers were brought along! The march continued, with lots of the usual chanting & drums heading into Downtown proper and finally ended up in Pershing Square.

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Here we are on the corner of 5th & Hill. This is where my spirits went downhill. I like protest as celebration and revelry not just “letting people know what’s going on.” It should inspire us to do take to the streets every day! Making protest streamlined by handing pre-made signs makes protesting feel like work, not joyous action. I did not have a sign when I showed up. I was given a piece of cardboard by someone, borrowed a marker and made my own sign! I wish I had documented it but it read: “BUDGET CUTS =  CLASS WAR / FIGHT BACK!” And I believe it. Making it more and more difficult for working people to enter into the universities is class war by the hands of the state. As I recently overheard at a discussion group: it is both the retreating and arming of the state because the money not used in public institutions are shifted to fund wars, prisons, and the militarization of the police.

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As I said, I enjoy when protest becomes creative & joyous (why should it be anything else?). Here we have some performance art type stuff going on with tongue-in-cheek signs like “It must suck to be BROWN” & “Dear Governator, I <3 Debt!” Now some activists would frown at this kind of thing but most of the protest at this march existed in the realm of the symbolic and so why not at least make it interesting? Are we not just struggling against “Budget Cuts” but as well as struggling to regain the joy and freedom of our very lives?

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Another great sign! And this time mocking how some punks probably only show up to protests for punk points! Although there weren’t that many punks here; the punks I did see somehow got tricked into carrying RED flags;  just by reading their patches I know they listen to anarcho-punk.  When I asked them where they got the flags they said someone just gave them to them. Don’t get swindled into giving someone else’s message! This is why I refused those pre-made signs that had websites to their respective socialist/communist organizations at the bottom. I am autonomous!

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Here we are. Corralled in by the police. I could feel that the protesters just wanted to keep marching! They had a taste of running wild on the streets and wanted more! A few friends I met had the same sentiment. One said, “this all feels so controlled.” EXACTLY!

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Here’s a truck. They had speakers on it. They were meant to rile up the crowd but I thought it was a bore. Some talked about taxing the rich to solve things. Why do State-Socialists think that that can solve everything? When they sleep do they dream only of taxing the rich? …so I turned my attention elsewhere!

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Theses guys were doing some weird-ass dance moves. I’m into it. Subvert normality!

Eventually the people here joined the professors at their own march (?) a few blocks down. Here the mass of people seemed to be at least a thousand people. You could see the diversity of people out here: university workers, students, professors, etc.

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I thankfully found the rowdy part of the march to hang out with. So rowdy they started to PROTEST the ORGANIZERS! See that truck in the background? It was blocking our way and blasting Rage Against the Machine (snore!). They started to chant: “START THE MARCH! START THE MARCH!” And this chant started to catch on.

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Here, a bare-footed protester climbed up the wall and then proceeded to let down the fire escape ladder. His actions were greeted with cheers. I knew some here wanted more than just chanting and marching! He was inviting more to join him and I was hoping something more was going to happen but it stopped there. He came down and those Downtown security folks in purple shirts just seemed to give him a lecture as he walked away.

This is where I stopped taking photos.

Eventually we were allowed to head down to the Ronald Reagan building. Here a band played. And once again I could tell people just wanting to keep rolling through city but here we were, in front of a building.

CONCLUSION: Yes, most of this write-up was critical but what I realized is that I need to “ORGANIZE, NOT MOURN.” One cannot expect one’s desires to be realized by solely thinking of them. Soon, some of the organizers at CSULA will be meeting and I will be there to put in my two cents and see where this can go. My personal inspiration around this growing student movement comes from the wave of occupations and other direct-actions taken by students.

For more on that go here:

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/

& here:

http://occupyeverything.com/

For local stuff go here:

http://la.indymedia.org/crows/

Also do not let anyone, no matter where they are coming from, control what you want to do to express what you want. No one is the gatekeeper to your life. Just because someone has “organized” dozens of marches, demonstrations does not mean that what you feel, think is of any less value. Our dreams can never fit on a bill, in a ballot box, or on a protest sign. Keep dreaming, keep revolting! I was inspired to see anything go down to counteract what is going on.

NOTE: Feel free to disseminate, critique, and comment. I am but one voice amongst many!

23 thoughts on “A march on March 4th

  1. Great post Julio, to protest and to be involved is to be alive, and I’m glad you guys didn’t allow anyone to “control” your enthusiasm. Always some fuck heads like the Socialist Workers Party or the Communist Party who think they have all the answers, are somehow privy to the real lowdown, and think they should be the vanguard of the proletariat, calling the shots. In my experience 3/4’s of the motherfuckers are on the payroll of the FBI or the LAPD Red Squad as agents provocateurs.

  2. Red the promise, Black the threat.

    I have no problem with both flags flying side by side. I know, I know, there was a lack of black flags in these photos. But still . . .

  3. Thanks for documenting this march! Great photos and take on these actions, it really does need to get pushed a bit beyond the controlled symbolism.

  4. Cool report.

    Your sign, and a snarky comment, is here:
    http://la.indymedia.org/news/2010/03/235526_comment.php#235868

    We need to develop new justifications for fully funded education for adults (meaning anyone out of K-12).

    The emergent logic about public education is this:

    1. If education is restricted, it gains value in the labor market.

    2. Because education is exclusive, it is fair to make the people who benefit most, pay for it.

    3. Because young people have no money, unless their parents are wealthy, the way to fund education is via debt.

    4. Debt causes people to work harder, and complain less.

    This is a justification for more money for education, modeled on the Master Plan for Education:

    1. We must make higher education more fully available to all, because the labor market demands it.

    2. This justifies expanding taxation to fund education – because it benefits everyone.

    We need a new logic.

  5. (I meant that the second justification was the existing logic. It’s in retreat.)

  6. Nice write up. I was planning on going but I had too much homework to just take off and go spend a day yelling and marching. I did that last week when I walked 18 miles for the DREAM Act. Ditto on everything you said. I follow the beat of my own horn.

  7. ****yawn****somebody sounds tooooo cool for school. Julio = superior MAN!

  8. Yeh, I know where Manuel’s going with this. Cesar Chavez protected his union first and foremost, mostly made up of Chicanos, btw. Since undocumented Mexican immigrants posed a threat to the job security of his union members, he opposed them. Minutemen types love to claim Chavez as one of their own because of this. But the difference is Minutemen aren’t protecting a Chicano labor union, they’re protecting their own fucked up ideology that Mexicans just shouldn’t be in the country. They also want English only laws and other “assimilation” guidelines for Mexican immigrants (assimilation means acting white, btw). Minutemen types want to deport Chicanos, too. They refer to first generation Chicanos as “anchor babies” and some right wing congressmen are pushing to consider them illegal immigrants, as well. Chavez never adopted these anti Mexican ideals. He was just protecting his union, made up almost entirely of Mexican Americans. The UFW today supports rights for immigrants, documented or not, and amnesty. And, so did Chavez in his final days. But minutemen types refuse to let facts get in the way of their desperation to claim a Mexican American historical figure as their ally.

    http://www.ufw.org/_page.php?menu=creating&inc=legislation/agjobs/debunk.htm

  9. Everyone should fear this “Minutemen” movement because they’re attracting flies like shit. Look at Shawna Forde, active in their movement, who killed a family. She was in Minutemen American Defense and FAIR. Listen to her talk about “a nation of laws” and a dozen anti-immigrant talking points. This is a cold blooded murderer premeditating the reasons for her homicide.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErqCmLiWQj8

  10. I think everyone should fear the minutemen, Troll, or at least recognize their threat and do something about it within legal means. The minutemen are a budding terrorist organization, and nothing short of it.

  11. Troll, your defense of budding terrorist organizations like the Minutemen is that they are ok because they haven’t reached the murder rates of other criminal organizations yet?

  12. I agree. The Minutemen are like a violent gang. Lots of chest thumping, infighting, shit talking, and militarism.

  13. Che, I never said Chavez’s view on immigration was justified. Just pointing out the difference between his view on immigration and that of the minutemen and overall anti-immigration extremists running around today, like Glen Beck and, more locally, Walter Moore. Chavez did not share their views on Mexican immigrants, not even close.

  14. And your argument that the minutemen are not a terrorist organization, based on the lone fact that their murder rate hasn’t reached the levels of other criminal organizations yet, is absurd. It’s a pathetic defense of the minutemen, actually. They’ve already killed a 9 year old girl. Their goal is to intimidate, harass, and even kill people in this country based on nothing more than their ethnicity, with the sole intent of making them and others of their ethnicity want to leave. That is terrorism. I want them stopped as soon as possible, before their murder rates reach that of other criminal organizations.

  15. I’m sure the family of the 9 year old girl and her father killed by minutemen appreciate my tangent, Julio. And I can only hope that in some sense, you do to. Nonetheless, your warning is understood.

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