The Protest as I saw it, Part 1 the Greens at Front & Ash
I discuss the speeches, the candidate, music, and protesters at the Green's event.
I arrived a little before 1pm. The event began with about 50 people and grew to somewhere around 1000, though there could have been more. I had to leave at 2:15 to go to the north park blocks, so I can't tell you what happened after then. It began with a trio consisting of a steel guitar, stand up bass, and mandolin. The group, whose name I am at a loss for, sang a few songs and was done. People mostly laid on the grass and relaxed. KEX Hate radio was there, as seen in one of my earlier picture posts, and recorded for a little while and then left shortly.
At approximately 1:23 the numbers grew to the peak of around 70. Police cars circled the streets. "Bublebee" bike cops also circled, as well as 10 black wearing bike police all riding up and down front street. At 1:24 about 5 black suited bike cops arrived. They seemed calm, even talkative. 5 minutes later they leave quietly. Then the speeches start
First is a woman working on water district issues, I am again at a loss for her name. She expressed her disapproval of the Bush administration for the following points: a corrupt election, black voter disenfranchisement, a corrupt activist supreme court, a "shadowy national government", intrusive privacy violations, TIPS, McCarthyism-cum-anti-terrorism, business interests are taken over the people's interests, and a crazy policy of preemptive strikes.
She declared that the Greens are against the coming Iraq war and all preemptive strikes, a dictatorship in America, and the patriot act.
Then Christoph Gunther [I hope I have his name right], who is the Green candidate for city commissioner, spoke. He emphasized some issues he felt the Bush administration facilitates, ignores, and fails to address. He cited global warming, and the increasing international sentiment that the US is a rouge state going at it alone. He condemned the "petty vengence after 9/11". The war with Iraq, racist and discriminatory killings of innocents by the US government, and the use of cluster bombs [bombs that indiscriminantly explode about 200 other bombs] in afghanistan were equally cited as reasons to vote for a Green candidate.
At around 1:40 100 people were there. Gunther then spoke of local politics. He opposes the attempts to bring biotech industries to portland. The industries being courted, he said, are those that specialize in genetically engineering food and animals. The Greens desire more organic foods, he urged. He is against the city's sit-lie ordinance, pushed on us under little publicity. The ordinance forbids people from sitting or lying on city sidewalks, which violates our constitutional and human rights Gunther claimed [and he's right]. He condemned the "Orwellean fbi-police integration" , the irony was thick for events to come. He then gave his 6 planks for portland which I am sure I will butcher:
1. A green city, with green industry, and legislation
2. To make portland a national arts and culture center and stress tourism to allows the cities green industry to grow.
3. Smart urban growth and development, and to clean the Willamette.
I get hazy here [note police helicopters fly above]
4. Green socially responsible businesses.
5. Supporting a people's utility district.
6. Supporting and restoring public schools and education.
He also called for more high density mixed use buildings, such as those in use in Vancouver and Portland currently. He is a supporter of bike advocacy, human rights, and zero tolerance for discrimination. He desires more financial responsibility from his running mates and politicians. Consequently he refuses to raise money, though he easily could, and challenged his running mates to follow suit stating that the money should be used for schools, the environment, and social services.
Outside of the content, Mr. Gunther was a good public speaker. He was charged with a powerful energy, a high moral demeanor, and the energy of a real person not a business stooge. As far as electoral politics go, and thats not very far, he seemed to me like the right person for the job.
Anyway so that was the most calm moment of the day. It was a nice hour in the park with peaceful protesters. I enjoyed the educational aspect of it as well, I really think MUCH more attention needs to be payed to informing people why we were out there [check the posts they have no clue who we are or why we are], on this note the greens and people with fliers to a lesser extent did a good job of this. I think we should commend them for their effort, and strive ourselves to make more front line speeches to the public. I would be more than happy to step forward on this if anyone is interested. I should also say I think that PPRC does a decent job of this with their open mic speech sessions on fridays at 5 in pioneer square.
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