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Why progressives are doomed from the start

Inter-faction squabbling and undemocratic practices mean the powers-that-be don't even have to lift a finger.
Watching various conversations online about the Trust the People rallies (11/11 and 11/18) brings a rather sickening realization about the so-called progressive end of the political spectrum in Portland that hopefully is representative only of these few segments and not of Portland progressives as a whole.

If progressives individuals or groups are more interested in jockeying for position, angling for the camera, and passing judgements upon other individuals or groups out of a misplaced sense of moral superiorty than they are in communicating with each other with the aim of some kind of actual SUCCESS, then they are doomed to perpetual failure.

Intending to disrupt an "every vote counts" rally because someone decides that's not the real issue when it comes to the problems of American democracy is inherently undemocratic. The medium is the message, and anyone witnessing such a spectacle from the outside will only see a bunch of disruptive hooligans and not give a damn what they might have to say.

The powers-that-be LOVE this sort of nonsense. They don't have to expend ANY energy to disrupt progressive politics, because progressives themselves can't stop fighting with each other over who gets the attention.

Someone, somewhere, here in PDX, please give some examples of how the progressive community is overcoming this sort of adolescent activist preening.
Look Around Bix 17.Nov.2000 16:25


I would suggest Bix, that you look beyond the obvious. You want examples of good work being done? Read the 'Portland Alliance'. Read 'Street Roots'. For that matter, why don't you go watch a screeing of "This Is What Democracy Looks Like"? Or heck, if you are feeling the least interested in actually getting out and making a difference rather than sharing your "doomed to failure" pontifications, go up to Seattle during the N30 week. Portland, and the Northwest in general, have a long and worthy track record of progressive achievement. I have watched your posts and have begun to wonder, what have you done that makes you so expert in matters of a progressive nature? If you have advice, share it. Otherwise, let the people have their say. The nature of dissent is messy.

trust the people is a sham 17.Nov.2000 17:30

chris nothanks@nowhere.com

i really don't want to start a big fight here, but i must speak up about the "trust the people" rally on 11/11..while this event was promoted on the direct action pdx email list, and was supposedly about democracy, it seems that it was really a front for a democratic party/gore rally

there was an open mike thing goin on, and when i started speaking about the lack of democracy in a system where corporations rule and the final vote is not even determined by the people, but by the electoral college, i was shouted down...granted, i did condemn the two main parties as coroporate-controlled and undemocratic, but this is supposed to be about democracy...i wasn't shouting down the numerous pro-gore speakers

bix has been whining about people needing to call their own rallies for their own causes, claiming that any divergence from what he sees is the only message: re-vote or re-count florida...not even the "trust the people" website is this rigid...at least they talk about the electoral college...bix seems to think that anyone talking outside of his narrow definition of democracy is a fascist thug trying to take over his rally...

so i guess i would encourage people to skip out on this rally--which promises to be another partisan load of poop...or to go and speak about what democracy means to them...and if this is a "disruption", so be it

i didn't think i was disrupting anything when i tried to speak last week...shouting me and other speakers down seemed like the real disruption

whatever, bix 17.Nov.2000 17:52

Ken Spice revolt

For a little context here, bix is talking about recent discussions over the 11/11 and 11/18 protests advertised at the Countercoup website. The purpose of these rallies isn't as clear-cut as bix makes it sound when you go take a look at the site.

Some of the organizing for the 11/11 event in Portland took place on the DirectActionPDX mailing list, and someone sent out a press release (incorrectly) claiming that DIrectActionPDX was the event organizer.

As reported elsewhere on this site, the 11/11 event was perceived by many of the folks on DirectActionPDX as terrible. There was no Direct Action involved, except for Gorebots shouting down those who had something to say outside the 2-party system.

If anyone tried to take over anyone else's thing, it was the Gorebots inserting themselves into DirectActionPDX, and trying to re-define "pro-democracy" (the actual stated purpose of the countercoup site).

Bix, if you want to throw a pro-Gore rally just call it that. If it really is a pro-democracy rally, you're going to have to let folks out of the little boxes you have drawn for them.

And by the way, the progressive community seems to me to be doing better and better.

To see for yourself what Saturday's rally is supposedly about, point your browser to  http://www.geocities.com/countercoup

audio on indymedia 17.Nov.2000 18:23


audio of a speaker being shouted down, probably chris, is up on indymedia titled "we don't have a democracy"

oh look, MORE misrepresentation 18.Nov.2000 01:44

b!X bix@geekforce.org

More discouragement. People can't seem to discuss this without misrepresenting my positions or statements.

(1) These aren't MY rallies.

(2) I've said repeatedly that issues other than simply "every vote counts" are legitimate issues to raise. What I've condemned and cautioned against is TAKING OVER some other group's rally to get those other points across.

Missing in any of this is the sense that anyone has any sort of committment or allegiance to a rational and respectful in which to raise and discuss similarities and differences of belief. Yes, I understand that there was a contingent present on 11/11 who did their damnest to shout down people they didn't want to hear. So the answer to this is to do more of the same, but aligned towards your OWN beliefs instead of THEIRS?

That's madness.

b!X Background 19.Nov.2000 19:03

Rob cramp@unixpunx.org

just so you all know where b!X comes from, here are some excerpts from another piece of writing he did in 1999 entitled "Vote or Die"

by Christopher "b!X" Frankonis

in large bold text:
"American politics is battered and broken and useless. But it isn't just them who made it that way. It's you."

selective quotes:
"They don't want you to vote. It greatly simplifies things for them." [ambiguous as to who THEY is... politicans? the ruling class? -Rob.]

...invocation of the Constitution...

"Understand. If you choose to not vote, your opinion on the election and the candidates is not being recorded at all. Your opinion is up for grabs, and every conceivable individual or group who has something to gain by creating your opinion for you will do so. That is why not voting is a CIVIC COWARDICE. [emphasis mine -Rob] It's the reason why, ultimately, there truly is no valid political excuse for staying away from the polls."

"When it comes to American politics, if you're one of those 100,054,655 who didn't vote in 1996, I've got news for you: YOU DON'T EXIST. [emphasis mine.]"

this isn't especially relevant to the 11/11 event, but i did want to share this background on b!X.