Two veteran Tar Sands Action organizers, Joshua Kahn Russell and @lightthematch came up to talk with Margot and confessed they didn’t know whether the whole “encircling the White House” idea would work when they first proposed it weeks ago. But after the 8000th sign up the day before and the obviously huge (and orange) crowd now jostling around them, they were animated with confidence.
|Photo by Josh Lopez|
“I’m so sick of this nonsense about how we are the jobs killers, and the whole old outdated paradigm pitting the environmental movement against the labor movement,” Klein said during the rally. “We need to join with our allies in the labor movement to re-invent the economy from the ground up because this economic system is failing everyone on multiple levels.”(It's funny she mentioned this because it also occurred to me on the bus ride there that it might be time for the environmental movement to do more strident outreach to unions. One idea that came to mind would be to have leaders of the AFL-CIO, the BlueGreen Alliance, unions both in support of and against the pipeline--in this case--have a meeting to vent concerns, solutions, etc. Surely we could come up with something, some common ground, by hashing things out? Anyway...)
Bill McKibben organized everyone into three groups from the stage and we shuffled away to begin circling the White House (my group heading toward the Treasury Department). Students in front of me were dancing what I'll call "light-stick-rave-style" while the middle aged folks laughed. One young woman threw little packages of Oreos to whoever wanted them. Millennials seem to attend demonstrations like this with such good-spirited, bright-eyed matter-of-factness. I get little sense of a “counterculture” with this generation – within their cohort, it’s actually widely self-evident to care about this stuff.
|Photo by Amy Dewan|
|Photo by Kzyin|
We slowly wandered back to the park for the final rally. I stood under a Gingko tree listening to the last few speakers and spotting many familiar faces walking among the clumps of people relaxing on the lawn. The ever-vigilant cornfingers were back at their posts, dancing above the crowd. Walking back to the Metro, all the pedestrians seemed to be wearing orange vests. This movement had clearly gained momentum since August.
|Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood|