Democracy In Crisis: May Day in D.C.—a photo essay

City Paper

There's been a lot of marches in Washington D.C. in the last few weeks. There was the Tax Day March on April 15, the March for Science on April 22, and the People's Climate March on April 29. Then on May 1, the traditional workers' holiday, there was another—or several. I'm not complaining. But here are images of moments that were especially moving and, despite the number of recent protests, brought tears to my eyes.

The march, billed as the Immigrants and Workers March, was largely led by immigrant families. Here they sing the old spiritual "I Shall Not Be Moved" in Spanish.

"No, no, no, no nos moveran! /No, no, no nos moveran!/ Como un arbol firme junto al rio/ No nos moveran/ Unidos en la lucha, no nos moveran/Unidos en la lucha, no nos moveran/ Como un arbol firme junto al rio/ No nos moveran"

The march moved from Dupont Circle toward Lafayette Square, facing the White House. There were other marches moving throughout the city, all heading to converge at the same place. 

Thronging crowds moving forward toward a kind of ecstasy in the midst of our national tragedy. The science and climate marches made it clear that Trump is an existential threat. But this moment reminded me that it is more existential to some than to others. 

When the march reached Lafayette Square, it felt like the constraints of marching down Constitution Avenue were lifted a little, and as people spread out, so did their spirits. 

I ended up walking to the D.C. courthouse with a colleague and some of the people who were arrested on Inauguration Day. There was another rally to support the Disrupt J20 arrestees. On the way, we met the Industrial Workers of the World and Antifa march, which had begun up at Malcolm X Park. 

At the courthouse, where punks were quietly gathering, this group came marching in to join them. 

Some of the pundits (ahem, Andrew Sullivan) are saying that, you know, because Trump hasn't destroyed our democracy in the first hundred days, it may be a good thing that we elected him. But bringing identical charges against hundreds of people because of the clothes they were wearing or because of their chants—on the first day of the regime—is exactly the kind of thing we keep saying we are waiting for. In the statements of charges, a bit of evidence used against the suspects is chanting "Whose streets? Our streets." If they are convicted, we all could be charged for similar crimes.

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