I attended the weekly PPRC (Portland Peaceful Response Coalition) rally in Pioneer Square tonight. In the back of my mind was the newswire post published yesterday called "Time to Reinvent Portland's Anti-War Movement". I have to say I agree. |
Two or three dozen dedicated regulars were there tonight, bless 'em. After a few short words in the Square, we marched around downtown a bit, down Broadway, through the bus mall and back, and then broke up. Some people went to a bar up in NW for beers.
I got the same feeling I did last week, that we weren't really connecting with anyone. We moved too fast to speak with anyone or for most people to discern our chants or read the signs. We didn't have flyers to hand out to explain the issues or suggest a course of action. We were really just a noisy (and not too noisy at that) jumble of bodies temporarily clogging the sidewalks as we passed through. I didn't feel like there was any more meaning to it than that.
I believe public demonstrations are one tool to use to protest and educate, but they have to be better than this. More people, better ways of conveying information, and more creative tactics would all help. I know there's been some great creativity at past PPRC rallies, like the folks who did the Israeli checkpoint. That kind of thing gets people to look, so it's great. I don't think we got many people to look today, and those who did probably didn't get much out of it.
So I'll second (or third or fourth or fifth) the idea that it's "Time to Reinvent Portland's Anti-War Movement". Yes, it definitely is. Perhaps this isn't the moment for bigger demonstrations; perhaps a host of other creative tactics, of a smaller scale, would be more attention-getting. I think what the Peace Elves were doing with their signs on Hawthorne was probably more effective than a rally like today's was. Let's have some more of that. Autonomous, flexible, unexpected actions. And discussions of some of those might best be discussed off-line....