portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

imperialism & war

Reinventing Portland's Anti-war movement part 2

Now that we have vented, where do we go from here? I have a few ideas. Let me know yours...
Part 2 of this post will be only about mending our ways and creating a viable anti-war, anti-capitalist movement. Who says? I say. Why should I say? Because I am courageous enough to put myself forward and I am a person of peace.

How do we create a viable anti-war movement? Ideas only on moving forward. Here are a few of my ideas.

1. We must learn to build coalitions - we build coalitions because we want this thing to work. We listen to one another.

2. We use more than the internet to organize because lots of people do not have access to the internet. We start meeting face-to-face and get used to communicating in a positive way. No in-your-face yelling stomping tactics.

Please comment on where the best bulletin boards in town are located for posting notices. I know two places are "The People's Coop" and "The Daily Grind". Do you know others. We will list them on this website.

3. If you have had your ego bruised by putting yourself forward in the past two years...pull back...ground yourself and remember everything you did was the best any of us could do. It worked for awhile and now we need to do something else. Nothing was wasted. We need to do more in a different way now.

4. Start helping and stop complaining!

5. Give me a list of the best places in town to hold meetings? Some place that does not cost money.

6. List in this post what you think we should do next...one foot in front of the other...forward.

If we do not begin to cooperate with each other...the consequences will be dark and sad and I for one will wonder why we did not try to get along.
Absolutely 07.Jul.2002 11:33

Portlander

Great ideas,

There are a few places that would be good. The Natural Building Convergence has led to the creation of several information kiosks. As for places to meet, how about the Intersection Repairs, like the Sunnyside Plaza off of Belmont and Share-it Square on 9th and Sherrit? There are also our parks.

It's also important, even though we feel like we are being marginalized, not to act like we are marginal. This means, be inclusive of Men as well as Women... and Apolitical folks as well as Progressives. It's also important to assess where there is already the beginings of community, where we have tiny bits of power, and begin to bring together the small spaces of freedom that we still have.

We need to develop a new food base. This means that everyone who is involved in the change, should atempt to grow some of their own food. The more intensive you get, the less dependent you are but this doesn't mean that you have to be work intensive. Some foods, like perrenials and tubors just take the engery of planting them, and they will grow for years. There are perrenial kales that start out like a normal kale but continue to grow into a kind of "kale tree", just pull of some of the leaves when you need them!

Grow potatoes and oca (a delicious Incan tubor related to wood soral that grows easily here,) growing food such as beens and corn in the parking strip is a great way to:
a) make a statement
b)inspire some neighbors
c)engage some other neighbors in dialog about issues
d)begin to get off of the oil economy and back onto the solar one

Remember, we can abstractly organize for a long time and have minor successes. But, when we organize around the actual elements that make up and support our lives and the life of our community, we can be increadibly effective.

Let's continue this conversation... any more ideas?

Feed the activists! 07.Jul.2002 12:09

Bridget

I like the idea of growing your own food. However, not everyone can. But in the coming meetings let us always provide food for activists. If people show up they get fed. We can do this by telling everyone who is attending to bring something to share. If people are going to have the time to work on this movement they need to downsize thier lifestyle and live lightly. Good food is very expensive. I meet activists all the time who have very little money. In Portland they are spending most of what they have on rent.

That brings up another point. One collective that could form would be to organize bulletin boards all over the city. It may as simple as asking a organization or storefront to make the bulletin board available and let them organize it. OR it may mean that this collective makes sure the necessities of life: housing, food, jobs, cloting, furniture and most important: ACTIONS (So people can figure out what is going on. We can begin a movement to tithe to the movement. Those of us who have these things to offer can make them available to those who are willing to do the organizing. This might be another collective: One that organizes the tithing. Connect those who are organizers with those who have extra to share.

We need a infrastructure that supports activism.

... 07.Jul.2002 16:27

...

We need an infestructure that ensures survival, promotes thrival, and embodies the world that we want to see.

yes, yes 07.Jul.2002 17:10

jbyrd

What about the new kiosk at the red & black cafe on division? I think that would be a great place to post notices. Organize! Organize! Organize! So many people are becoming so disillusioned, we need new tactics like I can't even believe. I think that optimism and creativity are the keys to this movement. People living today have so little sense of community, and we are divided along such flimsy differences. We get so caught up in our own opinions and our stupid "power struggles" that we forget why we broke away from the mainstream in the first place, we forget that we are all fighting for the same things. Here's my direct action. I propose a think tank- (gasp) for new ideas. I want to know what you have to say. I have tha perfect place for it, in SE Portland. If I get responses to this post, and people are interested, I'll post my email address, and we can work out the details, and then I'll put up a notice here and at the red & black. 'aight?

I'll be there... 07.Jul.2002 18:51

Anna

Weekends are good for me at the Red & Black. I would like very much to be part of the solution and the movement, and the revolution!

Has Portland improved since '99? 07.Jul.2002 23:11

Clancy

I don't know how constructive this is, but here goes:

I was quite active in Antiwar activities during the war in Kosovo in 1999. Things started out well. I think at the first demo in Pioneer Square we had over a thousand people. You would expect numbers of attendees to climb from there, as friends tell friends, etc. But instead, numbers started to drop off dramatically. The rallys alienated more people than they attracted. Here are some reasons why I think this is the case:

1.) Inability to focus. An antiwar movement needs to be able to focus on the issue, which is the war. There are too many groups in Portland (which I will not name, you probably have met them) who join any and all political demonstrations in order to push their own agenda, and sell their crummy newspapers and buttons.
Mumia, rights of women, gays, lesbians, etc. are all noble goals, but I would rank the lives of thousands of civilians higher.
At the second demo, one particularly obnoxious woman got behind the mike and demanded a coalition government of labor unions, women's groups, gays, and transgendered people for Serbia. People started dropping their signs and walking away...

Priorities, people.

2. ) Refusal to cooperate -- with people of different political stripes. On the day of the second or third demo in Portland, there were two demonstrations simultaneously. One on Hawthorne bridge (lefties), and one on PSU campus (libertarians Greeks and Serbs, mostly).
I and some other friends tried desperately to get these two groups to cooperate to no avail. Most of the opposition to cooperation came from the Left. The Europeans and the PSU demo wanted to fly their national flags, and there was at least one grotesque anti-abortion poster (Klinton Kills Kids, Klinton Kills Kosovars), so the Left-leaning group wanted nothing to do with them.


There might be other factors, but I think these are the reasons the 1999 demos never went anywhere.
It was sad, really. I think there is a pent-up desire to take action in Portland. Protesters were well-recieved almost anywhere we went. I remember on the day of the third demo, about 6 of us left the Hawthorne bridge demo and carried our banner to the PSU demo. Walking through town we were greeted with waves and cheers. One woman called out "We've been waiting for you, where have you people been???"

It's time for a meeting of coalitions 08.Jul.2002 10:38

Anna

It is time that we have a coalition building event that is focused on NO-WAR, anti-war, anti-capitalism (the search for natural resources and greed of the corporate world in feeding the war frenzy).

I say we invite all groups. Anti-capitalism, Anti-war, Greens, anarchists, socialists, feminists, etc. and we begin to build a coalition that will learn how to plan together, work together, and communicate with each other.

If we don't do this...Bush and his cronies will conquer the world on the backs of people everywhere. The suffering will be like nothing we have seen before..as it is now.

Everyone needs to get down from there soapboxes, egos, etc. and come together. Who will work with me on this?

OK SO LET'S DO THIS 08.Jul.2002 20:41

jbyrd jbyrdpunk@hotmail.com

Ok. Next Sunday. 7/14. 4 pm. We can meet at my house, in SE Portland. A think tank. Coffee. Muffins. Everyone with something to say is invited. The meeting will go on FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. Brainstorm people- prioritize. The effort should be about anti- war and anti-capitalism. E-mail me for directions.