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What's up Downtown? UPDATE PLEASE

j20 is today
What's up Downtown?  UPDATE PLEASE
What's up Downtown? UPDATE PLEASE
can anyone inform us what has been going on? we ALL know the oregonian won't tell the truth
n 20.Jan.2001 15:46

n n

thier where about 300 to 500 or more hard to count probably still thier at pionear square. cops behaving themselves.

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Protest Report 20.Jan.2001 18:18

anonymous

The protest consisted of a rally and a march. Maybe a thousand people tops congregated in PCS (Pioneer Courthouse Square). A local labor union donated a bull horn to some organizers and everyone was invited to come to the center of the crowd and use it to make whatever comments they felt like sharing. Most of the speakers were impromptu, but their messages were pretty much the same: all the anti-government groups, human rights groups, labor unions, etc. need to focus during this administration not on their differences but on their common dislike for and mistrust of Pres. Bush and his cabinet and platform.

The crowd did have to suffer being called anti-God and a pack of ruthless sinners for the first few minutes of the protest by some raving lunatic with a small blue book he claimed was a Bible. But he was silenced a baby boomer. He was last seen talking to a fifty-something woman in a blue coat, ... and then he was gone. Kinda creepy, actually. Makes you wonder what kind of connections she has.

Then Lloyd from the Green Party made a speech in which he referenced Joseph Stalin, and made several good points about the people's collective need to stay alert during this administration and remember the circumstances of Shrub's "election" and keep track of the evils to come.

Some grrrl in a blue wig led the group in a sort of prayer/affirmation of our collective and individual allegiance to the Cause. It was really nice of her to be so bold, ... and even inspirational to some. Another baby boomer later came up and thanked her publicly.

Then five black-clad grrls came forward and led the crowd in a few anti-corporate anti-state cheers.

And then we milled around while about a hundred or so people marched in circles around the square and anarchists and homeless types agitated one another and grooved to some drumming.

And then it was time to march.

We marched to Niketown to deliver a petition asking Nike to reinstate some fired workers at a Mexico factory and give those same workers and their colleagues better working conditions. But Niketown was closed. So we chanted and agitated one another in front of it's locked doors for awhile. Until someone decided to take charge and lead the group to the offices of the Oregonian. Which was also closed. So we agitated one another there for awhile.

We closed the street at the Oregonian. And when it was time to leave we marched through the streets, impeding traffic and feeling a great deal of solidarity with one another. We marched past Niketown on our way back to PCS so that anyone who wanted to protest there any further would have that option. And then back at PCS, we dispersed.

As for the Police pressence, ... aside from initially trying to be a bunch of tough guys while we were chanting and agitating at Niketown ... they were polite and didn't interfere with the demonstration other than to direct traffic around us at times. When we closed the street at the Oregonian they were right on the ball and immediately blocked off the end of the block and rerouted the cars. When we made our march back to the Square, ... they let us do what we liked pretty much. No one was throwing rocks, and as much as the anarchists wanted to burn down Niketown ... no one did.

comments on J20 march 20.Jan.2001 20:15

free cascadia

well-told story, sister/brother. a few comments, though:

>But Niketown was closed. So we chanted and agitated one
>another in front of it's locked doors for awhile. Until
>someone decided to take charge and lead the group to the
>offices of the Oregonian. Which was also closed. So we
>agitated one another there for awhile.

Someone didn't just "decide to take charge" -- it was a group decision facilitated (albiet rather quickly) by Bill (the guy singing the union songs) and Trillium. Small point, but it's an EXTREMELY important component of our movement that more and more, decisions are being made this way, and not by whatever alpha types happen to be around.


>and feeling a great deal of solidarity with one another.
>We marched past Niketown on our way back to PCS so that
>anyone who wanted to protest there any further would have
>that option. And then back at PCS, we dispersed.

just want to point out that that, too, was a group decision -- to swing by Niketown on the way back.

>As for the Police pressence, ... aside from initially
>trying to be a bunch of tough guys while we were chanting
>and agitating at Niketown ... they were polite and didn't
>interfere with the demonstration other than to direct
>traffic around us at times. When we closed the street at

I noticed that the police were unusually polite, too, but I think there are some reasons for this that would be helpful for us all to be aware of. (that is to say, they probably DON'T have a new 'politeness to demonstrators' policy just yet). I think they were polite because of two main reasons:

1) Many individuals communicated one-on-one with the cops before and during the march. I saw someone deal with a bike cop that was getting a bit agro about us taking the street; he calmed the cop down just by reasoning with him, calmly, that it was just for a short time, we weren't going that far, it's just one lane, so relax, man...

2) The situation didn't look out of control. Because of the megaphone, the drumming, the chanting, the speakers, and many many other things, we conveyed an image that, to them, meant we weren't 30 seconds from smashing windows. So they didn't have a billion cop cars there like they might have.

Good things to remember for the next demo. We need to stand together and be aware of each others' emotional states. I think we're stronger when WE'RE in control, not the cops.

>and as much as the anarchists wanted to burn down
>Niketown ... no one did.

next time!

Communication 20.Jan.2001 21:24

key

Those who had a strong voice or a megaohone were so good about reminding folks to "sticxk together" or "watch our for each other".

This was a completely spontaneous day of events, after the J20 rally, and it was EXTREMELY organized because of that communcation.

As the front page says, yes indeed, the Revolution has Begun... and it won't be published in the Oregonian!

Terrific Demonstration in Portland 21.Jan.2001 10:13

Greg Bye gregbyetig@aol.com

Overall, the anti-inauguraldemonstration was terrific. A lot of spontaneous energy. A festive atmosphere, it reminded me of of Seattle N30, but on a much smaller scale.
Lots was happening simultaneously at Pioneer Square: Marchers making their way around the square; group chants ("We will not behave," Hail to the Thief," etc.),an open mike and many interesting signs and buttons. The participants, which police estimated to be 800--it may have been twice that--varied in age and political tendency. Marcia, a local union activist told me that there " is a mix of the (new) anarchist left and the (old) SDS left. It's cool." Others had similar things to say. Bill Bradley, a performance artist, and activist/organizer
said that he is pleased with the new alliance between environmentalists and labor--and others, such as tenant organizers and homeless activists. In the last few years, he has noticed that when unionists organize events, "they look for an environmental angle...". (When in Portland, visit Bill at Red and Black, a coffeehouse collective located on 22nd and Division SE.)

The anti-inaugural protestors in Portland sent a message to the new administration that they will be challenged. "We will Not Behave."

503-464-4029
2255 West Burnside#406 Portland, OR 97210

J20 in P-town 21.Jan.2001 12:39

Q

What a great F**king rally!


I have to say, what a great day. Didn't get Bush out of office or anything, but it was really awesome to see so many folks come out. Shutting down Niketown for a while was fun, and I was quite suprised by our well behaved officers of the "law". I hope that no one got injured or harassed on their way home - and let people know if that did happen. (Not that this means that the PPD has adopted a strategy of nonviolence or anything, but it was a good change of pace.)
I thought there were between 300-400 at the peak of the rally, and there was a lot of energy and excitement.

Back at you, Free Cascadia 21.Jan.2001 13:18

anonymous

I'm glad that you appreciated my recap of the events.

As far as this goes, though:

>Someone didn't just "decide to take charge" -- it was a >group decision facilitated (albiet rather quickly) by Bill >(the guy singing the union songs) and Trillium. Small >point, but it's an EXTREMELY important component of our >movement that more and more, decisions are being made this >way, and not by whatever alpha types happen to be around.

I disagree with you. The group was a hundred strong. The people standing rows and rows back from the megaphone were not contributing to the decision making process, they were waiting to be led. As was I.

It's important to be very particular with our wording, I agree with you on that. So we cannot confuse the ideas of a "group decision" (which carries with it mob dynamics and some of the most horrifying scenes from hirstory, I might add) and a situation in which there is a lack of voiced dissent.

People want to be led. It's very simple. On some level nearly everyone is willing and usually anxious to pass along the authority and responsibility for something (whatever that facet of their life is) to someone else. If you are completely independed and autonomous in every decision, and spend the time to fully articulate your every idea, then life becomes exhausting. So we delegate and relegate, and we use slang. The Assumption is the single greatest labor saving device ever invented.

So the important point I'm making back at you is that the group decision making process is not the ends of non-heirarchical structure to which any movement needs aspire. Some of us are in this not to see an end of leadership, but to see better leadership.

Even tribes have leaders. In our movies and in our storybooks those leaders are old and wise and kind and honest. Perhaps this is a manifestation of that same cultural fantasy that leads us to direct action and anarchism. We want wise leaders who are kind and honest, who we can trust with the role of leading our country. And we're willing to burn the country to the ground to find that.

Or so we say.

Whose leaders? Your leaders? 21.Jan.2001 15:02

fellow activist

Hey, anonymous: Not all of us want to have our decisions made for us. I don't know who the "we" inyour sentences refers to,when you say "we" want good leaders. I'll make my own decisions, together with peers when appropriate.

Speaking of "leaders," the cops are always looking for some. Therefore, it's not a great idea to mention the names (and,subsequently, workplaces, etc.) of those whoinitiated a decision-making process. It should be up to the person in q

We kicked some ass yesterday! I'm proud of us all for taking the streets, even briefly. And we renewed our Portland tradition: "Niketown -- Shut it DOWN!"

open mic 21.Jan.2001 19:53

PETOMANE

I merely wish to comment on how effective the open mic structure is. Back in November it was used at the much ignored "Death of Democracy" demo on election eve, and I was quite impressed. I do not care much for over scripted demonstrations--we all know why we are there and do not need to be preached to. Giving people are not directly linked with the organizers the opportunity to voice their concerns is important, and so far I have not seen it abused.
All we need is bigger speakers.

Speaking 22.Jan.2001 13:25

dan

I agree that Death of Democracy was an underreported event. I think it was a really important event exactly because it offered a voice to the people, many of whom have never felt empowered like that. i could see it in their faces, man, they were so excited to have a captured audience to air thoughts that had probably, this far, only been in their heads in and in the ears of friends.

Let's keep utilizing our Living Room for discussions!!