Meanwhile, at the Revolution March….


How was Saturday's "Revolution March" different than any of the Ron Paul rallies I've covered? When I walked out the door of my Washington, D.C. home—past a plastic "Revolution" banner that some hardy soul had put up overnight—I was heading to my fifth monster-sized libertarian be-in in less than a year. Last August it was the Iowa Straw Poll, where more than a thousand Paul supporters bused into Ames to wreak havoc and knock Tommy Thompson (remember him?) out of the presidential race. Last November it was the Philadelphia Veteran's Day rally, when I saw men in V masks take over Independence Mall and grown women cry as Paul signed copies of the Constitution. In January I saw Paul draw Mick Jagger crowds at the Free State Project's Liberty Forum; I saw Paul volunteers line the streets of Manchester and reduce Sean Hannity to a quivering tub of rancid yogurt. (Metaphorically speaking.)

You can understand, then, why my overall impression of the "Revolution March" was one of deja vu. Not only did this look like those older rallies; it recycled some of the participants. I recognized rEVOLutionaries from Pennsylvania (80-odd of them showed up), Texas, California, New Hampshire and Iowa. "It feels like a college reunion!" said one marcher who declined to give me his name (probably because he asked "if, you know, Kerry Howley, is gonna be here" and felt an appropriate level of shame about this). Indeed, it did feel like that, as people who hadn't seen each other since January or February caught up with one another, swapped stories, compared T-shirts.

What could it be if not a reunion? The Ron Paul campaign for president was over. Yes, a few people passed out palm cards planning out a strategy to get their man nominated at this year's GOP convention. On the front of the cards were pictures of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Harrison and Warren Harding and the question, "What do these men have in common?" On the back was the answer: They had arrived at their conventions as dark horses and won their party's presidential nominations anyway. "Abraham Lincoln had NO delegates," the card pointed out—I decided against saying that, under those rules the GOP might as well nominate Rudy Giuliani.

But this was a minority sentiment. Most of the marchers were there to write the final chapter of a weird year's diary. "I didn't even know about the convention plans until today," said Sonja Regish, a Michigan marcher who worried that Barack Obama might be part of "the blood line." (An explanation of that is here.) The marchers gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument around 9:30, clustered and starting chants as more people rolled up, hooting at a van painted with Paul slogans that kept circling the Mall. At 10:30 they slowly started walking from the monument to the Capitol on Constitution Ave.

"Make love, not war!"

"Listen to our grievances!"

"Shut down the IRS!"

The utility of marching down this road in this city—despite the blistering July height—became clear when the march actually passed the IRS building. Wave after wave of marchers booed as they passed it, shaking their fists, flipping the bird. I overheard two marchers making new plans.

"Where's the CIA building?"

"It's in Virginia."

"Too bad."

The march passed one of the highway interchanges temporarily blocked off by police. One of the marchers had a little fun with the motorists peering out of their windows: "This wouldn't be happening if you'd voted for Ron Paul!"

It took a while for the marchers to trickle in to the west lawn of the Capitol. Those of us who arrived early were treated to an infinite loop of Aimee Allen's rah-rah Paul anthem "Revolution." Unlistenable or not, the song had the right effect, cheering up marchers as they staked out shaded space, unwrapped lunches, or rushed up to the stage where the first of umpteen speakers would soon start talking. A number of Paul-inspired congressional campaigns, like Maryland's Collins Bailey and Texas's John Culberson had supporters walking the field, spreading the gospel. The Free State Project set up a booth that quickly started rolling up signatures to its newsletter, and ten new pledges to move to New Hampshire.

Then the speeches began. The basic truth of all D.C. marches is that the speeches don't matter. Anti-war rallies in the run-up to Iraq were famously organized by International ANSWER, a Maoist group of malcontents who, in being Maoist and malcontent, had become very good event planners. They would pull tens of thousands of peace-minded people to the center of town and give them a speaker's agenda that was light on war talk, heavy on the nonsense that they could never get people to pay attention to; show up with a "Rums-failed" sign, listen to a Symbionese Liberation Army burnout rant about Mumia.

The "Revolution March" wasn't as bad as all that, but the structure was similiar. It was organized not by the Paul campaign or by the new Campaign for Liberty, but by hard-core libertarian activists like Ernie Hancock, the man who designed the rEVOLution logo (he writes it r3VOLution). They were interested in certain parts of the Paul message more than others. "They say that we cannot handle the truth!" yelled co-MC Gary Franchi. "But we know the truth! They can't handle us knowing the truth!"

The "truth," vis-a-vis Hancock's speakers, was that Americans were under attack from rapacious interests in and beyond their own government. Of the 16 people (not including Paul) who took the podium, half could be described as members of the political fringe. Several of them referred to the late Aaron Russo's film From Freedom to Fascism; one, home-school activist Marcy Brooks, spoke repeatedly of her role in the movie as she instructed marchers on how to use jury duty as an opportunity to teach people about the law. (The 9/11 Truth types were present, but not on stage, and vastly outnumbered by normal people who were combining this rally with a family sightseeing trip. The truthers didn't much care about the families; the families I talked to wish they had the power to wish the truthers always angling to get into some reporter's camera or notebook, into the cornfield.)

The eight speakers whom I'd heard of before the march stayed away from the fever swamps, but sounded more radical than I'd expected. G. Edward Griffin, author of the anti-Fed treatise The Creature from Jeckyl Island, condensed his book to seven minutes of wry commentary on "the greatest scam in history." After the speech, he was mobbed by photo-seekers like John De Lancie at a Trek convention. "This book is the red pill!' said historian Thomas E. Woods, Jr. waving a copy of Paul's bestselling The Revolution. (Woods and I disagreed mightily during the primary campaign, but patched up a bit after the rally.) As for the big departure of the day, the speech by wannabe left-libertarian coalition builder Naomi Wolf, well…

The message of the march, according to the official literature, was to be "Ron Paul's message of peace, prosperity and freedom through adherence to the Constitution." But the accepted version of that message implied that all three of those things were only possible with rigid national sovereignty, controlled borders, and a narrow vision of trade. The final speech before Paul's came from Chuck Baldwin, the Pensacola, Florida pastor and Constitution Party candidate, who used the little time he had (graciously having given some of his minutes to Paul) to make a concise national sovereignty pitch. "You're either a globalist or you're an American," Baldwin said. "And I… am an American!" Some of the Baldwin boosters in the crowd (many from Florida) started chanting "USA! USA!"

Some of the people I talked to at the march wondered why Bob Barr had no presence there, ceding all the ground to Chuck Baldwin. I can't speak for Barr, but I don't think he lost anything that by going to Freedom Fest instead of the Revolution March. Both events were aimed at different segments of the Paul movement choir. I've seen enough go-nowhere groups (Palestinian solidarity types, white pride morons) fill the West Lawn with rallies to cure me of the thinking that "big rally" = "movement on the rise." Yes, it's awfully fun to see people walking in view of Washington monuments with signs like "READ ATLAS SHRUGGED" and "MISES SAVES." What it achieved, I have no idea.

My photos from the march are here.

NEXT: Schwarzenegger for Cabinet (and President?)

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  1. HIPPIES!!!!!!!!

  2. Nice pics, was the mouse part of the march too?

    We, tomorrow’s pioneers, will restore to this nation its glory.

  3. She’s got the speaking style of Miss Othmar, but Naomi Wolf is still a babe.


  4. Zombies? :-/

  5. Read Atlas Shrugged, ah yes.

  6. “What it achieved, I have no idea.”
    Exactly why I didn’t pile into the old car or bus and blow hundreds of $$ to attend. Same comment for the rally to be in Minneapolis.
    Use the money to build some grassroots groups that can actually influence local issues instead of inane marches and rallies that feature kooky costumes and wave ridiculous signs at empty buildings.
    Sure, some solidarity was built but 90% of the attendees go back home and do nothing (like 90% of the people who attended the Phila. rally but never got off their butts to circulate nominating petitions or attend a local meeting.)

  7. Warren,

    need an alibi?

  8. i like the flag even though it never tells you why.

  9. “MISES SAVES” …and Friedman scores on the rebound.

  10. My friend and I fled the gathering during the Aimee Mann song loop to grab some ice cream over by the American Indian museum. Man that was annoying.

    Some of the speakers were real fuckfaces. Others were quite good. Naomi Wolf gave a good speech that riled people up, but the winner of the fist-pumping award definitely went to Adam Kokesh of Iraq veterans against the war.

  11. half could be described as members of the political fringe

    I hate to break it to you, David, but all libertarians—minarchists and anarchists alike—are members of the political fringe. That’s precisely why we are in this situation to begin with.

  12. I was a bit put off by some of the secularism hate that I was hearing from some of the speakers. The sentiment expressed in David’s “Serpent” photo was pretty well represented.

    Also, some douchebag from FIRE was there.

    Also also, I’m surprised that David didn’t mention that the lady ranting about the Texas superhighway actually said “The so-called Reason Foundation” in her speech. I would have yelled “Drink!” but I was pretty sure that noone would know what I was doing.

  13. ~~~~ Special Note to Paultards ~~~~

    Dear Paultards: you people are incredibly stupid. Everyone is making fun of you. And, you’ve brought it on yourselves by failing to understand that the game is stacked against you and doing nothing about it.

    If you want to do something that actually works, go to a McCain appearance and press him on this issue. Try to make him look bad (without making yourself look bad in the process), then upload his response to Youtube.

    I realize that the vast majority of Paultards don’t have the brains or the “guts” to press candidates on things like that, so they should just stick to blimps and costumes. Perhaps this might be the better outlet for them.

  14. he asked “if, you know, Kerry Howley, is gonna be here” and felt an appropriate level of shame about this

    My god. How did you not laugh?

  15. LoneWacko, you calling anyone “-tard” is serious case of projection. You all want cake.

  16. I was at the rally, and while I do not support a lot of the author’s positions, I do agree with some of the author’s sentiment.

    The idea that a big rally=movement on the rise is, indeed, not true. He made that point that he saw a lot of familiar faces. Yes. This is what I have encountered ever since I left the establishment’s political paradigm. I have been active with both the Liberterian Party and the Constitution Party at times for the last few years, and I would see a lot of the same faces at events for BOTH of the parties.

    That said, no doubt there is a growing level of discontent with the status quo that can be tapped into.

    There was one speaker who lurched into 911 truth: Jack McLamb. He also discussed some plan where the government is supposedly putting blue and red stickers on the mailboxes of dissidents in order to help identify the people it wants to kill and detain. This was the former career police officer. He sounded like a total nutjob on that one.

    Concerning Chuck Baldwin: my respect for him dropped after hearing his speech. Why? He said, “When I raise my hand to take that oath of office, their New World Order comes crashing down.” Gee. I seem to recollect that SAME exact line used by Pat Buchanan. Chuck Baldwin pirated Pat Buchanan’s rhetoric verbatim.

    Why Bob Barr didn’t speak: I don’t think he was invited. The event planners aren’t so much libertarians as they are populists, as evidenced by the presence of Naomi Wolf. Obviously these people haven’t read too much Murray Rothbard. Some of what Naomi Wolf says is all nice and good, but we have to remember that until we get the means down, we will never achieve that ends. Achieving liberty through statism won’t work.

  17. Yeah, I kind of had a feeling this is how it would work. John Culberson is not exactly a pro-Paul guy, however. He’s been in office forever.

  18. Chuck Baldwin pirated Pat Buchanan’s rhetoric verbatim.

    I’m sure that is true, but I imagine Pat has no problem with this and may even have given him permission.

  19. DW: Perhaps I missed it in the main article, but how many people would you say attended this “monster-sized libertarian be-in”? The photos supplied didn’t really help me understand the scope of the event (too bad you couldn’t have acquired a satellite shot from the spooks who were surely monitoring the proceedings — if only out of habit).

  20. @OrangeLine

    I think you should move to NH and join people who are actually DOING something about it.

  21. FreeState – you must be new around here. “OrangeLineSpecial” aka LoneWacko, is no libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. He’s a Tancredoist anti-immigration DipshitTool who hates IllegalMexicans, ProperCapitalization, and the SpaceBar. He’s also in the pay of BigUnion and LouDobbs.

    Actually, both those groups are probably too intelligent to give him the time of day, but since he loves to make UnsubstatiatedAllegations about others, I thought it only fair to return the favor.

  22. mk, your post at 4:04 needs some clarification.
    I was also put off by the speaker from the “FIRE coalition” and, while the meaning of their acronym escapes my memory (May it, and they, remain forgotten.), it was definitely not
    FIRE: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

    The name similarity is deceiving, and I don’t believe that was your intent.

  23. Will this be the end of the Americanist/Conspiroid wing of the Ron Paul movement? I sure hope so! The fact that these guys are anti-trade demonstrates that they don’t know the first thing about Dr. Paul’s principles.

    I’m still trying to mend fences with the local Republican Party. Our county has a new director, and we shared a booth at a local fair yesterday. When she discovered that two other people and myself were Ron Paul supporters, she got a look of what-did-i-get-myself-into fear in her eyes. Turns out her only exposure to Paulites was the Nevada state convention and the Santa Cruz Troofer meetup. Hopefully she went away with a better understanding of libertarians.

    Our first local Republican Liberty Caucus meeting is tonight. Hopefully that can mark the end of having to apologize for the paranoid wing. No AFTF allowed!

  24. Mark Anderson – Barr was indeed, invited. He had already committed to FreedomFest.

  25. Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement

  26. Thanks pgt and Boston.
    Now that I think of it, he was with “The FIRE coalition”. Awfully close moniker to what you were talking about pgt, but certainly not the same thing.

  27. JAM,

    They were saying 5 – 7k in attendance. I think that was wishful thinking. I would put the number between 3 and 4 thousand.

  28. WTF is this “Bloodline” stuff? Obama is related to the singer for Evanescence?

    Huh, what does this mean?

    And what kind of person discriminates against someone based on their “bloodline”?

    Oh, I get it. Ron Paul racists.

    These people are complete nutjobs. They don’t have to be “smeared” because they smear themselves by their on the record nut beliefs.

  29. How come no other traitors came out to see the rally? A “libertarian-esque” rally of thousands, and the Orangeline Mafia can’t rearrange their gym schedule to attend?

    TReason, consistently useless to libertarianism.

  30. Rawn Pawl, /b/!

  31. He also discussed some plan where the government is supposedly putting blue and red stickers on the mailboxes of dissidents in order to help identify the people it wants to kill and detain.

    Just as a point of information, those stickers (usually round) are used by newspaper companies to identify daily (red) customers and weekend-only (blue) customers. They’re also reflective since most big papers come at like, 3 AM.

  32. How come no other traitors came out to see the rally? A “libertarian-esque” rally of thousands, and the Orangeline Mafia can’t rearrange their gym schedule to attend?

    Maybe they have real friends and lives? And, of course, gym memberships. Sorry they don’t all live in mommy’s basement with a “The TRUTH is OUT THERE” T-Shirt on and oodles of disposable income from selling WoW gold on eBay.

  33. And what kind of person discriminates against someone based on their “bloodline”?

    Note that that link was to a David Ickes forum. David Ickes believes that space aliens are running this planet. Seriously! He believes that Prince Charles, George Bush and Dick Cheney are honest-to-gawd reptilian aliens from another planet.

    That’s what’s meant by “bloodline”. The conspiracy movement is sort of like freemasonry. The deeper you get into it the wilder it gets. Those just starting out on the road to cerebral meltdown think it’s just the Joos in charge. Later they learn it’s some secret Aquitaine bloodline. It’s not until they’re so far in that they can’t escape that they’re told it’s all being run by space aliens.

  34. Ahh, Ickes. That explains it.

  35. I think NAFTA is a ‘narrow vision of trade’ but it has compromised the word FREE, when it really means MANAGED.

    I guess ‘Reason’ ain’t the libertarian blog it used to be…

  36. to Orange Line Special

    For naive morons like you to get a clue here’s a fact — there is no hope for McCain to challenge him when he will just answer ‘you little jerk’ and make a mockery of it.

    There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between him and Obama.

    Been in this game for 50 years so I know.

  37. Re: Aimee Allen
    If she played her cards right and got really lucky; I might let her have her way with me.

  38. HEY ORANGE LINE SPECIAL ! Now that you’ve figured out just how close to communism we are what is YOUR proposal and don’t tell me it’s watermelon head Barack Obama. He’s green on the outside, and red through and through.

    And orange line while I am at it I might as well tell you that I truly do not care that you think ALL people (even though you don’t know them all) make fun of me or anyone else.

    What I do care about is that I know our country is in serious trouble. This is includes you my fellow American. or – are you not American. No matter. The whole idea is to wake people to just what they are losing. That means your freedom if you don’t watch and hear what govt is doing.

    I am not talking just one party or the other either. They are all in the same bed together and they are after one thing. The way to control us. We are the true government here. not the politicians.

    One Great American we do have on our side is the former president of Shell Oil. He is starting a company called Citizens for Oil.
    The one great thing about out country is US ! The American people. We need to drill here, drill now and it WILL save us money. If people
    in the countries we import oil from, realize that we are serious, and I mean serious, about using our own resources for oil and other forms of alternative engery, what do you suppose that will do? They will be going HEY ! WE stand to lose a customer here. and BAM ! the price of oil drops – overnight – all we have to do is go at it. All they have is us right here in the good ol’ U S of A. We supply their bread and butter.

    How about supplying our own bread and butter? We truly don’t have a good candidate for president. AT least we know what McCain is About. He has after all been in Washington for 30 years.

    Obama? please. What are we gonna do people? We still have a lot of corruption on the hill dems and republicans. We need a true leader. That is gonna have to be us. You and Me and all the people of the united states. It is after all the constitution which unites us. Not some weasel in an empty suit.

  39. jesus. Someone dumber than lonewacko.

    Real Libertarians dont go to rallies

  40. Is Reason Magazine Libertarian, or do they just try to avoid kookery? Seems to me that covering all the Paultards might help us convince the skeptics out there that libertarianism is a better political view than foggy Centrism, Elitist Statism, Socialist Liberalism, or Anti-Science Conservatism. Covering the fact that Ron Paul’s revolution included a lot of kooks is not treason, it is the truth.

  41. I think this blog post is too long to qualify as a blog post.

  42. I think NAFTA is a ‘narrow vision of trade’ but it has compromised the word FREE, when it really means MANAGED.

    Ah, yes, and what was the state of trade prior to NAFTA?

    Paultards: making the perfect the enemy of the good since mid-2007!

  43. Q. How many Paultards does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. Just one, if he’s got a picture of Ayn Rand handy.

  44. I’m driven to wonder, exactly what would make an acceptable politician to Lonewacko?

    Must be Libertarian up until the issues involve UnwashedBrownPeople?

    Not too old, not too young?

    Tasty and sweet, like ColloidalSilverAndCake?

  45. Elemenope,

    The skeleton in Lonewacko’s closet is that he was a real eager Iraq war supporter….That used to be his big issue…

    And he calls us tards!

  46. One Great American we do have on our side is the former president of Shell Oil. He is starting a company called Citizens for Oil.

    Shell oil? As is Royal Dutch Shell? It’s about as american as a royale w/cheese with mayonaise covered french fries.

  47. Lonewacko,

    Don’tya even wanna renounce your support of the war and apologize to us for being a manic Iraq war backer?

  48. Understood that if you’ve been there, done that, there is no point in blowing time and cash to wither in the summer sun; BUT for those of us who are the next wave in this campaign for liberty, it was an excellent chance to see Ron Paul live, network, and figure out how to filter out the noise of whack jobs like Officer Friendly and his mailbox conspiracy so we can take the pure message of liberty mainstream. I was there up front and had a blast cheering everyone one, even though I knew some of the speakers are wing nuts and some have unsavory crypto-politics at heart instead of the Constitution and liberty. But they are like a speck of sand on the beach compared to the hundred million man army of patriotic Americans waiting to be woken up by this movement. Read the Constitution, read it again, and again, then put yourself in the mindset of the heros who wrote it and read it one more time — all will become clear. Let’s all do our best to pass on pocket copies to all Americans — hell, the whole world needs to read and understand the principles contained therein. We are very close to critical mass, don’t let the naysayers fool you!

  49. If you know or the dude with the Read Atlas Shrugged CONTACT ME!

  50. I don’t know what Organji wants with the dude, but it sounds sinister.

  51. We smoked a blunt together on the hill 🙂

  52. I shoulda known. You damn hippies.

  53. We smoked a blunt together on the hill 🙂\

    Ayn Rand’s non-existent ghost does not approve. 😉

  54. Ayn Rand’s non-existent ghost does not approve. 😉

    Was Ayn Rand against Jedi apparitions?* 😉

    *I am not a hardcore Star Wars nerd. It’s just one of those cultural touchstones.

  55. Ayn Rand was clearly a Sith fan, so I think she’d be more along with exploding into an eruption of dark-side energy upon death.

    Yes, that indeed suits her better.

  56. Thanks for the article, Dave.

  57. I don’t think the guy with the “Read Atlas Shrugged” understood the book. Ayn Rand’s ideas and Ron Paul’s ideas do not mix well.

  58. so there’s a market out there for bongs with a ceramic ayn rand head as the base?

  59. I find it easier to accept David Ickes’ hypothesis with each passing day.

  60. 3 or 4 thousand??? i hope they had enough tin foil hats for everyone.

  61. Jimmy,

    Wake up you sheeple. Everyone knows that tin foil hats actually concentrate the messages being beamed into our heads from underground supercomputers!


  62. @ jimmy

    Aluminum foil works better than tin foil, and it’s cheaper. There was a fellow handing out custom-made aluminum foil hats around the entrance to the Capitol. I think he ran out after about 1200 or so, so not everyone was able to get one.

    But hey, at least those 1200 people were able to shield their brains from the electromagnetic waves.

  63. Everything Naomi Watts said was negated by the fact that she is a huge and vocal Obama supporter. Who the hell invited her???? Shaddup and go back to Obama-land, you blathering idiot.

  64. >> a few people passed out palm cards planning out a strategy to get their man nominated at this year’s GOP convention.

  65. I was not able to attend the March on Saturday. I sure do appreciate those who did – the travel, the expense, the discomfort, etc. I think it takes everyone doing his part to make anything work successfully. Some go to the battle front, and some stay by the stuff at home. This is the American way, and we still have the freedom to do it – so far.

    If everyone with a real love for our country will have the guts to stand up, speak up, and not be intimidated by the mockers who do nothing but point a finger, we will restore our liberties and build a better Union. And there will always be the ‘frivolous fringe’ few who take a free ride on someone else’s platform – in every organization. Deal with it.

    Anyone can sit at home and do nothing – just close your eyes and push a button in November. This is the kind of behavior that has given the few pinheads in Congress and in the Courts the free-wheeling hand that they play. “It’s business as usual, boys”.

    Thanks to all of you who attended the March, who are giving monetary support, and who are praying for the good of America. We need all of you, and you are appreciated.

  66. The good news is you have McCain and Obama running for President. There is always some sort of comfort in knowing that nothing is going to change. Losers are afraid of success as much as they are failing. So now that federal oversight of public education has effectivly nutralized the minds of America we can continue down the path as planned. If they could have just done it earlier we could have avoided the whole revolutionary war and such. I mean, did we really have to break from england? We have basically ended up in the same position. Our employees are now are masters, and we like it like that. I can eat Jack In The Box and watch good ol Bill Oreilly kick some butt every night. Yeah who needs all this revolution stuff? I just want to get my STUFF I got coming and maybe buy me boat. Hello,Im Mr.America, and I stand for nothing and fall for everything.

  67. James Anderson Merritt: The best indication I’ve seen of the number of people who showed up can be seen in this video:

    I was in the midst of that mob and I didn’t realize how many were there until I watch it.

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