25 Sep

Labor Day in Urbana, IL

I had an awesome experience on Labor Day, here at the Urbana, IL Labor Day Parade. There were the usual floats – unions, candidates, fire trucks, etc. And then a woman of about 60, dressed head-to-toe as a thrift-store Mother Jones came by on foot, waving a flag and talking to people. The family of folks next to us were clearly conservative – they applauded the republican candidates and stood cross-armed at the union floats. And then Mother Jones came by, and stopped in front of them and said “Hi! I’m Mother Jones! I travel around the world speaking on behalf of the poor and the working people! I am here to tell you all about equal rights and justice!” She went on like this for a couple minutes, the whole time her wig was sliding down, she was sweaty, her shawl kept coming off, and I thought, ‘fuck, that is so much ballsier than almost anything that calls itself political art right now.’ In a way the protesters remind me of that moment, right at the end of Mother Jones’ speech, when the family next to us unfolded their arms and smiled.