It was a state of the art liberal protest. There were no planned arrests at this action, to make it as accessible and low risk as possible. Celebrates had been arrested the week before. There were 34 people who got arrested after this big march of 45K participants. What made it state of the art were the websites for the planning and the giant TV screens at the base of the Washington Monument.
What made it liberal is the appeal regularly of the speakers to patriotism and American ingenuity. There is nothing particularly American about climate change, this is a global problem, and while leadership from the US would be great, we could be working on this from a non-nationalistic angle. But we are not – or at least Sierra Club and 350.org are not. They are using all the tools of a classical domestic political campaign, senators spoke at the event. The big call was for Obama to keep his promises.
I spoke with lots of people on the march. I spoke to folks from Denton Texas who are getting fracking banned locally and planning to the state supreme court to defend it. I spoke to people from Wisconsin, who came 2 days in buses with 160 people, despite them having neither fracking nor Keystone issues at play. I talked to students from Unity College which was the first to divest from dirty fossil fuels.
The bigger issues of climate change being a perhaps inescapable side effect of industrial capitalism, was not a topic for discussion.