Glasgow The one-hundred so-called world leaders had their say at COP26 in Scotland, and now it was the time for voices from the rest of the world to have theirs, not in the sessions, but on the streets. Organizers were predicting that 100,000 would march under a unified banner demanding more effective and immediate action on climate change. This was to be our show of force.
The weather prediction was beastly, and in many ways, it didn’t do justice to how terrible it really felt. There was no way to describe the conditions as anything other than miserable. The wags among the comrades in the lineup welcomed people to something they called “typical Scottish weather.” Perhaps they were right, because without a doubt some of the troops were much better prepared than others. Standing endlessly for hours waiting to finally march allowed any of us going with what we had available a study in what real weather gear offered. There were heavy neoprene constructed back packs and coveralls. These outfits were more similar to fishermen’s slicks and storm gear than what passes for raincoats. Many of the weather veterans had rain pants as well as jackets, also duly noted. This was no fashion show, but a survival course. If the readiest were envied, some of the least were pitied. What were they thinking?
I was with the team tasked with establishing the rally point for our ACORN affiliates from England and the Living Rent Union in Scotland. We wandered around the giant park a bit until a march official was found who sent us to station behind a fire truck manned with a roof platform and speaker set up by the local firefighters’ union. We huddled under a tree hoping to keep drier and therefore warmer. The giant balloons advertising some unions and other causes led us to wonder if we would see people floating off in a wind gust.
The rally finally started about when the march had been expected to begin. Speakers exhorted the huddled little masses until the sound stopped for the few that could hear. Thousands of people were visible moving everywhere, so this rally was likely only a small bit of the activity. Our groups were slated to lead the housing block. We later found that we were block #7 once we were finally able to move. We waited and watched as delegation after delegation passed by. Extinction Rebellion had a huge delegation, although surprisingly, given their reputation as part of the youth wing of the global movement, the XR folks under the flags were surprisingly old.
One after another passed our way from grannies to militants. The proposed plan had expected that we would get to St. George’s Square in downtown Glasgow by 130 PM. It was after 330 when we got close. The New York Times reported that it took an hour for the march to pass by.
Our block might not have been the largest, but we were feisty with ACORN flags flying high. The most popular chat was “The Rent is Bananas, B-A-N-ANAS!” The members loved that one. There were many others that lifted spirits in the miserable weather. We were there to represent, and represent we did.
Tomorrow, Kettling on the March