By James Thompson

WASHINGTON, DC – I attended the ‘One Nation’ rally in Washington, DC on 10/02/2010. I was gratified to see an ocean of progressive people standing together against the negative assault by the ultra-right wing Tea Partiers and their partners, Fox News and Glenn Beck.

Organizers estimated the crowd at 175,000, but it was really impossible to say. Many people were coming and going all day long, so getting an accurate crowd estimate was not feasible. In any case, the crowd was definitely awe inspiring.

DC has an admirable public transportation system and I took it to get to the rally Saturday morning. Although I started fairly early at 9am, the subway was jam packed with enthusiastic union members who were loud and visible. I happened to be with a large group of UAW members as I made my way to the rally site. Being a UAW member, this really made me happy. Some people said later in the day there were so many people in the subway they had to stop the escalators abruptly since there were too many people on them. There were reports that some people fell as a result and were hurt.

I was disappointed to find out that some subway lines were delayed because of maintenance. One would think that with such a big event, the transportation planners would have cooperated fully and kept all lines moving to accommodate the massive crowd.

Union members and NAACP members were everywhere. They really dominated the scene. Also, a lot of people were there to express their opposition to the wars in the Middle East. Many people were pushing for universal health care, universal education and jobs. A lot of people held signs demanding an end to the senseless wars, as well as bailouts for banks and the ultra wealthy. The anger at the ultra-wealthy and ultra right-wing’s drive for increased profits for corporations was palpable.

I spoke with one young African American man from Baltimore who was incensed that the ultra wealthy in this country are not taxed at a level comparable to working people. He thought the country’s problems could be solved if everyone paid their fair share of taxes. He was a big supporter of Obama and felt our President is not getting the support from progressive forces that he deserves.

People were openly talking about the ugly face of racism and how it has served to divide our country and make working people easy prey for corporations and capitalists.

The most striking thing about the rally was its diversity and focus on unity. I watched an Asian dance troupe and a number of young African Americans joined right in with them in a show of solidarity.

Peace groups such as the U.S. Peace Council stood shoulder to shoulder with union members and civil rights activists.

The CPUSA was present and visible. Two banners, one for the CPUSA and one for the YCL were very prominent. People distributing a copy of a People’s World article by Jarvis Tyner welcoming people to the rally and declaring “Hope is stronger than hate!” were everywhere. There was a table for the CPUSA located near the table for the national office of NAACP. The CPUSA table was well received and distributed a lot of party literature. There was a great demand for YCL tee shirts, clappers as well as other items.

The rally was a great example of what is needed from progressives to move the nation forward. One man at the top cannot do much. We have to make him do what is right for working people. He is undoubtedly under extraordinary pressure from the wealthy to do the wrong thing. Massive shows of solidarity are needed to demand real solutions to the economic crisis facing this country and the world.
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