How about a Million Worker March?
The January march in Washington, D.C., excludes the working class
Bernie Sanders recently answered a question from a woman who wondered how she could become the “second Latina woman” in the U.S. Senate. Sanders said his answer would “not make everyone happy.” That “it’s not enough” to be female and a member of any particular race. That while empowerment of a cross-section of humanity is essential, what we need, regardless of race or gender, are people willing to fight for the working class, people willing to “move beyond identity politics.”
I’ve been waiting three decades to hear this message, as the Democratic Party has drifted further from the working class—especially the rural working class, the people FDR went looking for as he traveled the back roads of America. So, what the hell happened to the Democratic Party?
One way to understand how identity politics has failed is to look at how gender has superseded class. Affluent white women have driven an agenda serving affluent white women. We have the Hillary Clinton phenomenon: While her net worth is $200 million, claims of gender-based oppression remain integral to her narrative. For obvious reasons, this narrative sounds fraudulent and self-serving to both male and female, poor and powerless white voters—the only demographic in the industrialized world with worsening mortality rates.
It’s through this lens that I see the Million Woman March—the Jan. 21 middle finger to the Trumpocalypse. Will the poor white, black or Latina woman be dropping $1,000 on a weekend in D.C.? No. Consequently, this event will rightly be perceived as tone-deaf liberal elitism—exactly what Trump turned against Clinton.
This event should be renamed the Million Worker March. Maybe feminists like Gloria Steinem or Jane Fonda (with her $120 million), could fund the attendance of a Walmart worker or a fast-food worker or an unemployed 20-year-old woman or man. And, instead of a speech by Oprah ($2.9 billion), let’s hear from Chris Hedges, Cornel West, Elizabeth Warren and young women and men, as they share experiences from Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky.