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imperialism & war

PPRC rally in Portland tonight

PPRC rally 7/5/02 in Portland; questions about effectiveness.
PPRC rally in Portland tonight
PPRC rally in Portland tonight
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....

another picture 05.Jul.2002 21:25


another picture
another picture

a couple other thoughts 05.Jul.2002 21:49


I heard two other things at the rally I forgot to mention.

1) one person there suggested that we hold rallies and marches in other locations, too, either on another day of the week, or on alternate Fridays. Other locations could be 82nd Ave, NE, and North. Why these places? Because downtown is where the rich people are and they're not going to be convinced. Take this message to where the poor people are instead. That sounds like a great suggestion to me and I'd be up for that.

2) Apparently it was all white men at the last PPRC meeting. Taking up Emma Goldwoman's idea, I'd suggest that the current leadership step aside and let others step up. I was invited to the next PPRC meeting, but being a member of the over-represented white male demographic, I think it would be best for me to pass. Let me know what new projects get created, though, and how I can help, and I'll be there.

apoligists... sheesh 06.Jul.2002 11:19

the real pc

Look. It's great that you want a more diverse leadership of the PPRC, but you act like they are holding other people back who really want to lead. At the same time you say that only white males attended the last meeting. So who, then, is going to step up besides a white male? If you had taken away all the white males, that meeting would have had the excellent turnout of ZERO people. I suggest that the meeting is important to hold regardless of who attends, and that a lack of diversity should not be blamed on the leaders unless you can demonstrate just how they are discouraging others from leading. Keep on, PPRC! Ignore the non-productive vibes of The PDX Prop Busta and focus on his positive ones.

think for yourself 06.Jul.2002 23:01

ball player

since when do we feel the need to take direction from someone (emma goldwoman) who says that men should step down and let women rule? you either step up to the plate and play ball because you give a fuck, or get out of the field.

It's Not About Stepping Side... 08.Jul.2002 11:57

A Feminist

It's not about stepping aside, it's about assessing what the problem is and why it happens. Then taking action. If people do not think that this is a valid question (Why is the PPRC made up of mostly white men?), then that means to me that not only is the PPRC not diverse, but that it's happy to stay that way and is therefore sexist and racist. I'm hoping that is not the case, but the defensive nature of some of the responses (especially ball player's) to this criticism is pretty scary.

Any time a group starts out as fairly diverse, but then becomes less so, it's because people leave. People should look at the reasons for this, then try to address this.

Some questions: Do people (especially those in the PPRC) believe that the group is diverse? Or is it dominated by white men? And does that matter?
Should the group look at these questions, or should folks just see who "steps up to play ball"?

and judgemental people, too 09.Jul.2002 22:49

the real pc

"...a lack of diversity should not be blamed on the leaders unless you can demonstrate just how they are discouraging others from leading."

Sure it's a valid question. Why is the group white and male? Of course, I already begged that question (see my quote) and nobody answered it. In the mean time, the PPRC should continue to protest for as long as they think it's doing good. And to those white male apologists who won't attend because it's all white male, I hope you are at least active elsewhere. And to all others who won't attend just because of the makeup of PPRC, don't be so judgemental.

And no, ball player is not off-base. If you give a f*** then play ball. Your playing ball with the PPRC could get them to improve if they really do suffer from sexism and racism (they probably don't even know they're suffering--anti-war movements seem an odd place for sexists and racists to congregate, don't they?). And if you disagree with PPRC and still want to help the cause, then play ball somewhere else and make a difference. BUT AT LEAST PLAY BALL! That's what ball player seems to be saying.

I'll bet if you attended a PPRC meeting and figured out why it's all white male, the leadership would be glad to hear your analysis. They doubtless want increased membership. To just sit around and speculate is of questionable worth. Have you seen one comment listing any plausible reasons as to why the PPRC is white and male? How do you feel about racial and sexual profiling? My whiteness and maleness don't make me guilty, and neither does the fact that most of my friends are white.

Stop Wasting your Time on Trivial Issues 10.Jul.2002 03:52

Wake UP

I am not white but I think some of the damn liberals on here complaining about the fact that 'there is not enough diversity' are distracting from more fundamental issues: namely, STOP THE UPCOMING ATTACK ON IRAQ AND OPERATION DESERT SLAUGHTER, THE SEQUEL.

Maybe you people haven't been paying attention to the mainstream media reports about US plans for an upcoming Iraqi invasion or to Bush's recent speech at West Point calling for an American military policy of Preemptive strikes against any country which disobeys the US Evil Empire--but there is an IMMINENT BLOODBATH about to happen and you clueless liberals are wrining your hands because your anti-war groups are not Politically Correct enough.

Wake the fuck up. The anti-war movement in the USA is pathetically weak and disorganized to begin with--and all you have to offer are more distractions and bullshit PC issues?


scary? 10.Jul.2002 09:00

ball player

feminist writes: "the defensive nature of some of the responses (especially ball player's) to this criticism is pretty scary". - there is nothing "defensive" about my statement and "scary"?

What's scary is the amount of time being wasted on petty b.s. like who is going to stand up and defend what is going on. let's see, my skin is too white, my genitals are the wrong kind, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

yes, the real pc - that is precisely what i am saying - you either engage in activism because you care and want to make a difference or you don't! there is NO time for skirting around a useless agenda while the shit is going down all around us. geez!