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PPRC Rally this Friday -- photos and text

photos and text from the 8/2/02 PPRC rally and march in downtown Portland

Over 50 people gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square for the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition peace rally this Friday. This event attracts a fairly diverse crowd, with people of all ages. Skin tones also vary from white, though the Caucasian percentage is still disproportionately high compared to the population of the city.

The highlight of the rally was a talk from a woman recently returned from a trip to Iran and Afghanistan. She gave us first-hand accounts of life there, including the suffering and the joys of those trapped in war-torn places. The U.S. government is dropping bombs on people everywhere, and they are normal people, like you and me, just wanting to work, fall in love, raise families, and live in peace. The speaker made these people very real through her stories. It was inspiring and I hope she has other opportunities to to share her experiences with people publicly. More people need to hear what she has to say.

The crowd marched out of the Square and down Broadway. They had flyers that they passed out to pedestrians, which was a great addition to the event. Onlookers who appeared curious had something to take and read. Outreach. Right on.

This was the first time in a few weeks when the crowd was big enough that "Walk" signals didn't last long enough. This was somewhat of an issue. Most of the time the light would switch, people would wait, and the march would get split. Then the front half had to wait for the back half, and it messed with the rhythm. I corked a couple intersections long enough to help keep the thing together, but not all the participants appreciated this. So different opinions about tactics were present within the group.

Some people don't like to block traffic ever, even for short amounts of time. One reason is that it might "alienate" people. From riding Critical Mass, I've come to consider this an inadequate reason. Yeah, some drivers will be upset if you make them stop, but its partly the high number of drivers that fuels this country's voracious appetite for oil, and it is for oil that the government starts wars and kills people. Let 'em get upset. They're complicit in murder by driving their death machines.

Other people might not like to block traffic because it is illegal. I could be wrong, but it seems like some subscribers to non-violent resistance embrace not breaking the law as an essential part of their philosophy. As an avowed non-violent resister myself, I find this concept absurd. "Illegal" does not equal "violent". Many effective acts of active non-violent resistance are illegal. Plus which, what's illegal is expanding at an alarming rate right now. "If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists" could easily translate into stricter laws against public demonstration in the next couple years. Will we quit then? I hope not.

Nope, we gotta push the envelope now, and not let the powers-that-be or the tyranny of the majority decide our actions. Resisting the increasingly fascist state here at home and the government-sponsored killing of people abroad is an effort we cannot be timid about.

All that being said, it's marvelous that people come out every Friday to demonstrate against the war. Just showing up is a brave act and I admire it. We must remind the world that the approval for this war is not universal. "Who will tell the people?" We will. We must.


Tyranny of the Majority?! 03.Aug.2002 09:32

android9 android9@hotmail.com (subject:agitprop)

What is this "tyranny of the majority" bullshit? Perhaps you prefer the genuine tyranny of elite rule?

By your dogmatic rhetorical anti-democratic logic you imply that 50,000 people in Seattle, after discussing it for months and deciding democratically against provocative "violence", sought to impose a tyrannical "oppression" of your "right" to run amok like a fool.

Does this make them "the same" as the police? When your own comrades become "the enemy", for not submitting to your subjective whims, then who is becomming the oppressor?

In fact, when it is obvious that the police want and and try to provoke a confrontation to justify violence on their part, even to the point of distributing outrageously provocative literature and dressing in black and smashing windows, to get the ball rolling so they can arrest people, doesn't it give you some pause for thought?

Your attitude toward motorists, "let them get upset...they're complicit in murder" has insidious overtones. Your contempt for democracy and the public in general betrays an elitist and counter-revolutionary perspective that we are trying to move beyond. It's the same attitude that leads to the very problems you claim to deplore, injustice and oppression, which arise from elites dictating to the majority, not from democracy, which takes a lot more work than running amok.

What gives you the right to try to dictate the terms of struggle, based on your "disagreement" with the carefully considered, debated and voted upon decisions of an overwhelming majority of participants?

It seems you would prefer to make sure the crowd gets clubbed and gassed, perhaps some people injured or killed, just to make the point that the pigs are...pigs. As if most people didn't already know that. As if the pigs are not already plenty vicious and violent enough all on their own, even without your deliberate and gratuitous provocations, as "justification" for their crimes against the people.

The vast majority of people are opposed to racism, sexism and eco-rape. Should that compell you to advocate those things, in defiance of the the "oppressive majority"?

The whole basis of revolutionary struggle is democracy. You should drop this ridiculous and bogus "anarchist" bullshit about the "oppression of the majority".

Anarchy is a communist tendency that calls for genuine democracy, and the elimination of all elites, by coercion. It is a social theory, not a bourgeois ultra-individualist tendency for self-indulgent thrills and personal gratification.

It certainly is not the "anything goes, let's all run amok" philosophy posed by elitist hypocrits who deplore coercion out of one side of their mouth, and then seek to impose their own will on the majority, out of the other side, and in their actions.

And it most certainly is not about destroying all civilization, social organization and technology, for a return to the stone age, through some idealized romantic notion that catastrophic apocolypse would be a "good thing", to restore "balance" to "Gaia".

The concept that "if you're not with us, you're against us" seems just as applicable to your own perspective as it is to the "war on terrorism". It's all about "my way, or no way", and it's bogus.

The purpose of the demonstrations is not merely to prove that there is some opposition, in some futile gesture of protest and defiance. The purpose is not to provoke the complete police crackdown on all civil liberties, which you threaten us with, yet seem to crave, as if it will be some transcendental catharsis that we need, to "wake us up".

We are awake to the threats, and are taking the appropriate steps to address those threats, in a principled and democratic manner, which as you point out, is dangerous, but necessary. We don't need you to remind us of how bad it is, or to "prove" it to us, by provoking the police.

The purpose is to win over and inspire and encourage others to resist, in all the various arenas of their lives, especially including calling off the boycott of elections, and seizing power in this country, specifically to suppress the anti-democratic tendencies that lead to war, injustice and oppression. Get a clue!

It's the reactionary conservatives who are screaming bloody murder about the "oppression of the majority", which has deemed their counter-revolutionary anti-democratic racist, sexist eco-raping tendencies "politically incorrect". This is America, and they are the ones who should "love it or leave it", instead of trying to brand all the rest of us as traitors.

If you are not with the popular revolutionary democratic movement, then you're against us, and should be treated accordingly. Your subtle, but no less blatant call for provocateurs to infiltrate the weekly marches, to liven things up a bit and get a few heads busted, is disengenuous, and only serves the interests of the pigs, whether that is your intention, desire or percieved reality or not.

The vast majority of the people on this planet want justice and peace, to save the planet. That is "oppressive" only to elitist pigs who would prefer to run amok, under the chaos that is capitalism.

Just whose props are you trying to bust, pdx dude?

i agree 03.Aug.2002 13:12

...

thanks android9.

Constructive Protest 03.Aug.2002 13:50

Sophia

While I am glad that people are showing up for demonstrations and expressing their opinions, I would any day rather see the pictures taken by the woman who visited Iran and Afghanistan because when decent people see that bombs are not falling exclusively on "legitimate" military targets, our hearts may open by the millions. We may also intensify our effort to replace fossil fuels with more conscious technologies . . . and not wait for Japan or Germany to beat us to the drafting board on this.

As we have seen in the last few months, part of the weakness of multinational corporations is their top heavy distribution of wealth. As profits trickle down, we will either find that things cost much less or that the funds required for research and development actually exist. Either way, insistence on reform will shift some misuse of power.

We also need the information to flow freely. Does everyone know now that the war in Afghanistan was planned before 9/11 and that it was about oil? Does everyone know that the reserves are much less than was first thought? It may not be worth fighting over? Does everyone know that "Thou shalt not covet" applies to everyone, not just the masses? Does everyone know that there are peaceful solutions to all issues but that they require a willingness to search for such?

'complicit in murder'? 03.Aug.2002 13:54

not complicit!

your remark: "They're complicit in murder by driving their death machines", is absurd and elitist! this attitude is dangerous and does nothing to promote peace. what is it that you really want?!

about the phrase, 'tyranny of the majority' 03.Aug.2002 15:00

The PDX Prop Busta

I borrowed the phrase "tyranny of the majority" from Alexis de Toqueville, who coined it in his book, "Democracy in America". de Toqueville was a Frenchman who visited the United States in 1831 to study the penal system, which at the time was considered progressive by some because of its reputation for emphasizing rehabilitation. (How times change!) The book has remained popular because many of the observations that he made about Americans are still true.

With the phrase "tyrrany of the majority", de Toqueville was referring to the fact that Americans don't need a king or a despot to keep them down; they keep themselves down by isolating those who disagree with the majority's opinion.

In de Toqueville's own words:

The authority of a king is physical and controls the actions of men without subduing their will. But the majority possesses a power that is physical and moral at the same time, which acts upon the will as much as upon the actions and represses not only all contest, but all controversy.

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. In any constitutional state in Europe every sort of religious and political theory may be freely preached and disseminated; for there is no country in Europe so subdued by any single authority as not to protect the man who raises his voice in the cause of truth from the consequences of his hardihood. If he is unfortunate enough to live under an absolute government, the people are often on his side; if he inhabits a free country, he can, if necessary, find a shelter behind the throne. The aristocratic part of society supports him in some countries, and the democracy in others. But in a nation where democratic institutions exist, organized like those of the United States, there is but one authority, one element of strength and success, with nothing beyond it.

In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.

I don't agree with all of de Toqueville's conclusions, but his observations are spot-on. I highly recommend reading/skimming his book sometime. The entire thing is available online at: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/toc_indx.html. The sections about the Press are also still relevant today.

I hope the allusion I made makes more sense now.


Tyranny of the Majority 03.Aug.2002 15:14

Scrambler

There is a tyranny of the majority, at times.

I see it in small ways. For example, in a room of people, someone may crack a joke at someones expense, and everyone laughs. One person may laugh just because everyone else did, even though inside, the barb made them uncomfortable. They have just been manipulated by the tyranny of the majority.

To be an individual, is to stand on your own, to adhere to your own perception, and ethics.

There are many ways the majority, en masse, will subtly or overtly coerce one into regimented, socially acceptable behavior, even when it is not right. This can include the majority in an activist circle.

The lone voice is at times, the sane voice.

Bottom line - One cannot codify life. Each situation needs to be viewed with fresh eyes. Otherwise one is falling into the trap of the tyranny of the intellect.

damn right! 03.Aug.2002 15:30

lung ache

Damn right that driving a car is supporting the global death machine. Too many people want to blame CEO's and/or corporations. Nobody is forced to go buy shit all the time. People over consume, including lots o activists. If the majority of the people stopped being gross decadent consumers, corporations would stop producing so much crap and abusing the earth.

Most everyone has the choice to cancel the cable subscription, toss out their TV, sell the car, live simply, buy little, eat whole foods, use less water, paper, electricity. Doing so costs much less money, which means less need to work for the corporations. Everyone has the inherent freedom to break themselves out of the mould.

So what's it going to be?

a good rally 03.Aug.2002 16:47

I oppose the war

It was a good rally. And it would have been missed had it not happened. Nice reporting, too, Prop Busta. The issues raised are the issues/problems/growing pains of movement building. 65 people participated on Friday. Some of the issues of corking intersections and racial/national representation will be begin to drop away as we grow from 65 to 650. This will (has always) required real work: the unglamourous, sometimes uncomfortable work of talking to folks,listening, engaging, and pushing folks into struggle. Let's get to work. Let's turn down the volume of internecine sniping (save it for your book). Let's jump feet first into the chaotic, occasionally uncomfortable pool of movement building -- our message can be as simple as this: if you oppose the war, then oppose the war.

riding in cars with activists 03.Aug.2002 18:05

throwback

many activists bitch about cars, but ride in them when they need to get somewhere, often to go to actions. if you are true blue to your principles all you activists who oppose cars, don't use gasoline powered vehicles at all, for anything. period.

hummm 03.Aug.2002 19:35

fleet

True blue to your principles?

This is not about rigid principles. This is about conserving resources wherever possible because it is necessary.

To get in a car once in a while, is not a betrayal of principles. Using them all the time for lazy convenience is a lifestyle that the world cannot support.

It is high time to get serious about weaning from the bottle of decadent consumption. Americans give little thought to how wasteful they are. This includes many activists of all sorts. Americans are gluttonous and don't want to hear about this. Many activists do not want to change their wasteful habits, clinging to their own personal habits while criticizing the greedy corporations that prey on them.

The vast amount of material wealth leads to lack of appreciation of where it came from, the creatures, human or otherwise, who suffered or lost their lives to produce it, the beautiful ecosystems which have been damaged or destroyed.

The modern lifestyle disconnects one from the source making the person unaware of how frivolously we use up that which is precious. Taking it for granted.

Human rights follow after human responsibility.

to fleet 03.Aug.2002 23:23

throwback

"it is for oil that the government starts wars and kills people" - if this is what you are preaching, then there are NO compromises - NONE! practice what you preach or stop throwing the fucking rocks!

throwback 04.Aug.2002 02:05

fleet

Bossy sort of person aren'tcha

You can try to deny the truth of the words by attacking me, but it is just your denial. You don't want to look at and address your own consumption (btw, just because I am allowing for some occassional use, does not mean I myself am doing so)

It is not sane nor sustainable for people to continue to consume as they do. Period. You just look the fool for defending the right to be a gross consumer.

Again, this is not about rigid dogma, but practical application of determined good sense. We can reduce the amount of car traffic by 80%, and convert the remaining 20% to vegetable oil.

All it takes is the will.

follow me fleet 04.Aug.2002 09:19

throwin a frickin bone here

oh fleet, you are a difficult student.

so, let me outline this in simpler terms for you, o.k. follow me closely now...

using oil equals being "complicit in murder", right?

driving and RIDING - let me repeat and RIDING - in vehicles fueled with oil equals a complicity of murder in those individuals who are in the vehicle using the oil.

still following me? hang in there.

one who consumes a lot of oil is then probably complicit in the "murder" of more, while the one occassionally RIDING in the car has a little less blood on their hands, but blood nonetheless. can you see it under your nails? look closely fleet, it's there.

using oil is using oil is using oil. so that means that using oil is using oil, kay?

if using oil equals "complicity in murder" because "it is for oil that the government starts wars and kills people", then those who RIDE in gasoline powered vehicles are ALSO "complicit in murder". Understand? hello?! duh!

so fleet let us stop shaking our bloodied finger at others and look at our own denail. m'kay?

oh, by "fleet" did you mean the "fleet enema, cuz methinks your full of shit.

sarcasm doesn't mean anything 04.Aug.2002 11:32

fleet

Your sarcasm does not make for a serious and intelligent conversation. And your association of the word fleet (swift) with a brand name shows how brainwashed into consumerist society you are. Trained to think of brand names first. Think about that.

First, I did not make any such statement about murder, so stop trying to steer the conversation that way. It is not honest.

Second, I never said I do not use oil in any manner. To type on the computer, one is using oil. Get real dude.

Third, I most certainly am working hard and with dedication to consume very little. I use less of everything, and still get much done. It can be done, and yes, many activists use far too much.

You don't like it if someone says that the habits of American consumption are gross and decadent, that is just too bad for you. They are. And many many activists are wasteful as well.

It is high time to face this, and be willing to make deep changes in the habitual patterns. U.S. habitual consumption is an addiction. I understand that people get testy when their addiction gets challenged, however, I'll be continuing to do so.

cheers,
fleet

cuttin' you loose 04.Aug.2002 11:48

done

no more cat and mouse games fleet - go find yourself a nice patch of catnip to curl up in...