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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )

i’m with kevin

marching mama – foto by Smith

Last Friday I followed Lady downtown for the 5th Annual Poor People’s March in honor of Martin Luther King. The marchers and speakers were a conglomeration of people for poor people’s rights, prisoner’s rights, stop the war rights, education rights, tax the rich rights, etc. We met at the State Building for speeches and singing, then marched to the County Building for more speeches, then on to the Federal Building for even more speeches. By this time we’d spent 3 hours so bailed when they went on to City Hall to speechify again.

Before we began marching, they passed out the following list of chants:

I need a J. O. B. so I can E. A. T.
Stop the war against the Poor
1 2 3 4 Money for Jobs, not for War
Money for the Poor, not for War
They say Cut Back, we say Fight Back
Bail out the People, not the Banks
Housing (Jobs, Income, Health Care, etc) is a Right, Fight Fight Fight
We don’t want Just Crumbs, We want a Basic Income
Welfare is the new Plantation, Justice calls for Reparations
No time limits on Public Assistance, We will build the Peoples resistance
We’re not here to blow off steam, We’re just fighting for the dream
Poor People (Worker’s Rights, Health Care, Education, etc) are under attack
What do you Do? Stand up, Fight Back
Hey, hey, Whaddaya Say, Single Payer All the Way
A Job is a right, We’re gonna Fight, Fight, Fight
Not one Dollar, not one Dime, Cutting Wages is a Crime

As we marched down the middle of the city streets flanked by flashing police lights, a marcher with a bullhorn would chant the first half of one of these chants and we would shout out the second part.

It was all rather predictable and mundane until we got to the Federal Building where a young man named Kevin said just because Martin Luther King advocated non-violence doesn’t mean we have to abide by non-violence. He went on to explain that slavery required violence to end it, as did the Viet Nam War. He said (quite logically in my book) that if the powers that be resort to violence against us, we have a moral right to meet violence with violence.

The folks from the other coalition groups were openly upset at his talk of actual rebellion, and as soon as Kevin finished speaking, they rushed to the microphone to say they DID NOT advocate violence under any conditions in any form whatsoever.

My law is DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE. And the corollary of this law implies that if the power structures open the door by lying stealing cheating and resorting to violence, whatever they did to us may be done in return unto them. It’s called Instant Karma. What goes around comes around. What’s fair for the goose is fair for the panther.

I’m ambivalent about protesting in the city streets. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was part of thousands in Baltimore protesting the Viet Nam War, and it pretty much had no affect whatsoever on the Nixon regime. On the other hand, Lady and I were part of the protest last month to prevent the state Library budget from being cut by 50%, and after a large turnout and good press and TV coverage, the projected Library budget cuts were reduced from $237 million to $80 million. Perhaps local protests are effective against city and state governments while pretty much nothing affects the federal Government’s outlook.

poor people’s 5th annual march – foto by Smith

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