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actions & protests | bikes/transportation | police / legal a22: bush protest

Mayor Katz takes on Critical Mass and loses

story and photos from the 30 August Critical Mass. pepperspray and arrests. call for Vera Katz to resign.
The police riot at last week's A22 Bush Protest outraged many people in Portland and around the U.S. Mayor Vera Katz delivered her response on Friday by subjecting Critical Mass riders to pepperspray and police violence. With this choice, she has made it clear that she stands with tyranny and against freedom. Katz's track record of affronts against civil liberties includes the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Sit-Lie-Stand Ordinance, and the humiliation of Dignity Village. Her committed opposition to basic human decency has never been more obvious. She is a disgrace to the caring, progressive, justice-seeking people of this city and if she had a shred of honor, she would step down. In my book, Katz is more dangerous than Dubya; her brand of petty fascism is endorsed by the clueless liberals of the Democratic Party, whose only difference with the Republicans is that they kiss you before they fuck you over. It's time for you to resign, Vera, and take that thug Police Chief Kroeker with you.

800+ riders showed up for this Friday's Critical Mass, the biggest of the year so far. Just before arriving, we heard over the police scanner that the cops were bringing vans and pepperspray. We figured that the city was somehow planning "revenge" for the victory that the people of Portland enjoyed on A22, which sent positive ripples out across the nation. And while the city certainly tried to use the cops against us -- and certain cops were brutally dedicated to the cause -- the Critical Mass was not deterred.



At the Burnside Bridge, police officers were on the scene handing out flyers:

ATTENTION PLEASE

  • This flyer is intended to let participants in the montly Critical Mass ride of August 30, 2002 know that the Portland Police Bureau will again be taking enforcement action for violations of the Oregon Criminal, City and Vehicle Codes.

  • This action has been necessitated by a steady deterioration in the conduct of the ride that has negatively impacted not only traffic but also the physical safety of both bicycle riders and motorists. This deterioration has been documented in 911 calss for service and police reports.

  • Enforcement action will be taking place throughout the City of Portland.
  • We will be particularly concerned with major moving violations that include, but are not limited to: disobeying a traffic control device (corking) and illegal lane use (riding down the wrong side of the street).

It is important that riders respect the safety buffer around officers conducting a traffic stop. Oregon Revised Statute allows officers to order people back 10 feet if they are interfering with a police action. If so ordered, move back immediately.

I'd never been flyered by a cop before. It was a little amusing. I asked the officers -- Ragona, Jones and Elias -- where the order had come from. "The upper echelons," one of them said, and claimed not to know any more. (He probably didn't.)

The Mass took off later than usual -- more people seems to make for a slower start -- and was attacked by cops about four blocks later. I lost track of all the stops and arrests and citations that occured over the evening, but a few of them were quite intense.

This young woman was shoved down onto the ground very hard by this officer, whose nametag said "Larson". He pushed her damn hard, and her bike helmet probably saved her from serious injury. In the picture above, he has just gotten done telling her, "if you don't move back, I'll knock you on your keester again." Someone from the crowd said, "Is that a threat? Are you threatening her?" Larson looked right at him and said, "Yes, I am." Larson is a threat to public safety and should be removed from the force. Will Kroeker or Katz act in favor of the people of Portland and do so? It's doubtful, considering how corrupt and immoral they both are.

The police cuffed at least two people here, on Madison between 6th and Broadway, up around the corner from City Hall. Look kids, it's Kermit the Frog. Nobody's safe from Vera and her boys in blue. This was also the stop where the cops drove a cruiser and a motorcycle right into the crowd of bikes with wanton recklessness, just like they did on A22. If a civilian did that it would be assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder. With the cops, it's "keeping order". The number of double-standards seems to grow every day. Thanks, Vera.



One of the other people arrested in the same place.



Pepperspray at the ready.



More pepperspray at the ready.

This young man was peppersprayed in the face at Second and Oak. He was in quite a bit of pain here, and couldn't open his eyes yet. What was he doing? Just standing there, doing nothing, while the cops wrote up tickets. One of the cops went nuts and started spraying people. His nametag said, "Barnum". He's another person who needs a different job. Police work isn't for people who have anger management issues. Neither is the mayor's office. Get out, Vera.

Each time the cops arrested and cuffed someone I watched carefully and never saw anything that justified the brutal treatment that people were getting. There's definitely some malice involved. The cops just don't like certain kinds of people and enjoy beating them up, spraying them, and shoving their faces into the concrete. That's fucking sick, that they feel that way, and that taxes pay for them to do it.

What was this person cited for? Doesn't really matter what the ticket says -- he was hassled for Not Driving A Car. The addiction that is car culture runs so deep in the collective psyche that treatment like this is not considered the travesty that it is outside a small group of people. Of course it doesn't help that the corporate media rarely reports this sort of abuse, and when they do they take a pro-cop/anti-activist stance and call it objective. Auto-addiction is a serious disease. Like any addiction, it fosters selfishness and a serious lack of perspective in the people who have it. On this site I saw a driver threaten a cyclist's life because the cyclist was saying he liked to slow down car traffic. I myself was almost hit by cars twice in the last 24 hours. Would cops have peppersprayed either of the drivers if they'd seen it happen? Not that I would want them to -- no one should have to deal with that shit -- but you know they never would. Blocking car traffic once a month is no big deal. It's a pathetically small rebellion, really, when you consider how destructive cars are to our ecological and social environments, and yet this Friday it was an action that Mayor Katz saw fit to attack brutally.



This is Officer McGrath. He was videotaping at one (and maybe more) of the citation stops.

Here's an officer who really ought to know better than to join the oppressors, considering the racial disparities in profiling, ticketing, sentencing, incarceration, and the death penalty. Sad to see.

I spoke with two officers about the Mass and its events. I asked one if he thought the flyer they handed out was going to work and he said, no, and called it "bullshit". I asked him what he thought about pepperspray and he described it as "very effective". But it wasn't effective, I said -- it didn't stop the Mass. He replied that it wasn't supposed to stop the Mass, but that it was very effective for when the level of force reaches that level, i.e., if someone was resisting arrest. Though not a witness, he claimed that the person peppersprayed must have been doing so. That's not true at all, of course, but it was interesting to find out that he didn't have the facts down but had made up a narrative that justified the use of force. I suppose that's probably part of cop training.

The second officer approached me and asked me: "Have you told Vera how disgusted you are by this?" Not yet, I told him, but I'll be doing do tonight. He nodded. "I'd much rather be doing something else," he said. I shared with him that I had been wondering along the ride if there were any calls for domestic violence or other important matters that were going unanswered because of all the cops assigned to the ride. "That's a good question," this cop said. He was clearly not in favor of the decision to put so many cops on the Mass. Perhaps he noticed that a lot more traffic was tied up by cop cars and motorcycles than would've been had the bikes been left on their own. It was cool to talk to a cop and find that skepticism there, and also the blame being put on Vera. I'll not print his name here as I appreciated his candor and don't want to see him take any flak for it. We need for more cops to speak out like that. Of course, he could've been pulling my leg. I'll probably never know.

That many drivers would think nothing of the tactics used against Critical Mass shows the disgusting sickness of our society. The priority given cars over other forms of transportation -- and over life itself -- makes me think in my more cynical moments that our whole culture is irredeemable. Every day I am almost hit by a car at least once, and not while doing anything unusual. In fact, I am probably more cautious than most people; I know drivers can't be trusted by and large. The whole set-up makes me very angry. I love Critical Mass. And Vera's not going to take it away from me, or from the Portland community. Friday's hard-handed and unnecessary tactics did not stop the Mass this month, and they won't next month.

RIDE WILD AND FREE!!


Wow Dude 31.Aug.2002 03:48

Big Daddy

Its about time that this happened...critical mass has turned into a circus freak show in the past months and the wild ones needed to get spanked.
Just wait until one of the loud mouth spindly legged idealists gets decorated all ove the front end of a brand new gas guzzling SUV....That'll make for a great laugh.
Keep up the freak show, its good for a laugh.

Police Database Needed 31.Aug.2002 05:41

DE Anarchist abortedmess@hotmail.com

It's high time that some of us get in gear and start up a comprhensive worldwide police database to keep track of all these fucking pigs.

It wouldn't take a whole lot of work. We could probably use existing code to do it. But it would sure be nice to be able to search for cops in your area and start profiling their asses for a change, don't you think?

We could include info about undercovers, FBI, patrol cars, unmarked cars, etc, with pictures and the whole works.

Geez 31.Aug.2002 05:49

Not wedded to the car

Is this for real? Just what exactly is critical mass? (What does it hope to achieve?) Why is the city of Portland coming down on it. From the photos its seems to be some sort of large bicycle club? What is wrong with that? Are the auto manufacturers or the oil industry paying the city to beat up you people? Tell me, as I wish to know.

Amendment 1 31.Aug.2002 06:26

Barry Lince

Hey Big Daddy,
Must you be reminded;......

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law resrecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or adbidging the freedom of speech, or of the press; OR THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACABLY TO ASSEMBLE, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Big Daddy don't you see what is happening, our Bill of Rights is slowly being taken away. Do you realize that our wonderful country was founded on the Bill of Rights. What about that don't you understand????? Let us know so that we can educate you on the rights of an American citizen based on the Constitution.

Thank you critical mass for your bravery under such oppresion.

ooh- what a big suv you have. 31.Aug.2002 08:43

mamansita

big huge daddy in the fatass suv- what you doin checkin out those cute guys legs???
imagine- you could have a bod like that if you gave up your autoaddiction. oh yeah- and your big mac lunches.

thanks for the great article and caring enough about everyone to watch the cops. that takes guts and i'm glad they didnt steal your pics. much love and respect

hey...not wedded to a car 31.Aug.2002 09:19

love my bike

geez...
although i've never been involved with critical mass, i've often thought of joining them for a ride through portland. yes, it is some sort of big bicycle club. my understanding is that once a month (last friday?) at around 5:00, people on bike take the streets to show people an alternative to their car culture.
a friend who lives at 23rd and west burnside called us when he saw some action on the street below his balcony. he said it looked like a riot. that cops on motorcycles were knocking people off of bikes and pepper spraying them. he said people were screaming. he said he's never seen something so fucked up in portland even after working on broadway for over two years.
nothing has made me want to join critical mass more. i'll be there next month.
i hope everyone is recovering
fuck you vera katz. i'm calling your office today to demand your removal from office.

Excellent Report 31.Aug.2002 09:48

Outsider

From way outside Portland, this was a very instructive and informative report. The pictures, interviews, observations give a clear picture of the event from the riders perspective (seldom if ever given adequately in corporate press). You are wise to report cops by name. Perhaps this will help earn them earn a refresher course in anger management (!!!) or perhaps help any rider who decides to file a civil lawsuit.

Thanks for keeping all us outsiders informed.

Godspeed.

Hell Yeah! 31.Aug.2002 09:59

Heck

Critical mass is at 6pm every last friday of the month. We meet under the Burnside brige, on the waterfront side in southwest pdx.
Hope to see you there!

NLG Lawyers at the Ready... 31.Aug.2002 10:03

Varro

I am a National Lawyers Guild member, and am ready to help in another lawsuit against the city on behalf of people arrested or pepper-sprayed by the police.

Alan Graf and myself will be at the meeting to discuss the August 22 police riot at NOON TOMORROW, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, at 527 SW Hall St., Suite 308. The legal evidence gathering team will be there, and we should be able to schedule gathering of people's statements.

Good thing some of those pictures clearly show individual officers. It would be nice if those pukes get a knock on the door at 6 am from a process server.

Where the blame falls 31.Aug.2002 10:27

t

I wasn't there but... tracking down the police is probably not the best solution. Not that it isn't a good idea, but rather we could better use our time pressuring the upper eschalon. As you may know, in war crimes tribunals that is where the majority of the blame and effort goes. It is not that the "executioners" aren't to blame, instead it is realized that the majority of the issues and abuses come from very precise and simple orders from a very small group of decision makers. Hence it would be wise of us to take on Katz, Kroeker, and attempt to get a citizens police review. I must stress that even acocuntability is not a total solution, as we need to put a stop to the bad policy being issued from the top.

this ain't about wusses vs. freaks 31.Aug.2002 10:45

jds

I understand there's a discussion taking place within Portland's bike community about Critical Mass tactics/methods, HOWEVER -- let's not lose sight of the pepperspray and police violence issue here. Running a red light might or might not be alienating to cardrivers, but it's certainly not an offense that justifies violence and pepperspray from the police in response. No one was resisting arrest or being violent. This was clearly a case of the City being brutal because it doesn't like people who are bucking the status quo. And isn't bucking the status quo something that all Mass riders, wuss or freak, can agree on? This is one issue where all Massers should come together. Contact the city and tell them this behavior from the police must stop.

Pepper spray is not okay 31.Aug.2002 11:18

Hope Marston hmarston@epud.net

This is the most important point that needs to be made about A22 and about the Critical Mass ride on A30, and about all other past and future confrontations with police:

There is no excuse for police to attack citizens who are peacefully dissenting -- with chemical weapons or "non-lethal" weapons like plastic bullets, or any other weapons. They can make arrests without harming individuals. They can respect that the person dissenting has a different point of view. But they have no excuse for hurting citizens who are merely trying to exercise freedom of speech by expressing it publicly.

If we can get others to grasp this simple point, we will stand a better chance enlisting others to support our efforts at speaking out about the injustice we see.

Agree with us -- disagree with us, fine. But don't shoot us. Don't hurt us. That's not right.

Thanks Jeremy for articulating so well the importance of the Critical Mass rides.

Hope

Welcome to the Fatherland 31.Aug.2002 11:44

D.L. Bagrov

I was wondering why there were no cops at yesterday's anti-war rally. I'll try and bring 10 more people with me to next month's ride. Everyone try and do the same. It's time to make a stand.

(Great job of photo journalism, by the way.)

Drivers calling 911 re Critical Mass 31.Aug.2002 12:19

Mary

The Portland Police consistently use the excuse that they had to respond to 911 calls from drivers on cell phones (all the way back to that first May Day demonstration, too). But 911 is supposed to be limited to life-threatening situations, not traffic blockages. Aren't there legal penalties that can and should be enforced against those drivers?

corporate media 31.Aug.2002 13:08

legacy

did it make the news this time the helicopters where out.

I'll be there 31.Aug.2002 13:27

fuckkatz

I've never joined a critical mass ride before, but this fucked up shit has convinced me it's a major priority now. Fuck you, Mayor Katz. If you think this kind of violence and repression will deter folks from joining in, you're dead wrong.

Let's Do It Again! 31.Aug.2002 15:12

bikefortherevolution

So the only solution is to have more Critical Masses, more often. Let's see how they like it every Friday, or, better yet, random days in between.

Ha ha ha fuck you vera kroeker et al.

Threats by cops 31.Aug.2002 15:45

alex smutstain@yahoo.com

I personally saw cops making threats towards riders. One cop told a rider: "You're next!" The rider replied: "Next for what? I'm not breaking any laws. Are you threatening me?"

Why Stand on One Side of the Fence 31.Aug.2002 20:05

Freedom of Slander hallinb@hotmail.com

Why does your news organization post pictures and quote people when all the information wouldn't be able to stand on Two Feet. Your organization posts Barry Lince (Amendment 1) in regards to freedoms. However, how does one justify placing blame on Law Enforcement when the blame needs to be placed on the person/persons doing the wrong. But your organization wouldn't see it that way because you would never be anything but peaceful! I would love to sit down with you and explain away your ignorance in regards to freedom and what it stands for. Please take a moment and look around at all the freedom you have then look at what you have contributed to be free.

Justice 31.Aug.2002 20:27

green

Equal Rights - Equal Enforcement

Well, I don't know about the fury of pepper spray and such but it is about time the cops stopped singling out soccer moms in minivans for traffic transgressions.

Critical Mass online forum 31.Aug.2002 20:49

aaron aaron@subluna.com

I have added an online forum to the critical mass website for portland oregon. feel free to use this as a resource.

 http://www.subluna.com/criticalmass/forums/

Cops are in it for the power 31.Aug.2002 21:07

Old Geezer

I went to a college back east in the late 60s and early 70s that had and still has a major law enforcement degree program. The dorm I lived in for a few months had alot of future (and now current cops) living in it. In addition to many of them being thieves and major drug dealers at the time (and who knows maybe currently) they were also into power and controlling people. I would say about 80 percent of the people I asked why they wanted to be cops replied: so they could either beat people up, have power over them or both. Only 20 percent said they wanted to serve and protect the public. So when people get pepper sprayed and beat up you are being greeted and served by the 80 percent who crave doing that.
It is bullshit that our cops are the brave heroes the corporate media protrays--80 percent are thugs and criminals with badges on their chests.

One victory we had at the time was when we boycotted classes and had demonstrations on campus over the current cops at the time attending classes for law enforcement upgrades (meaning more pay) bringing weapons into the classrooms of public policy and adminstration classes. After about a week of unrest the college administration relented and banned weapons in the classroom. The cops were pissed and we had major heated arguments in the quad with them and their weapons at their side.

I played hockey in college and after college played in a league in the Boston area where the police and fireman had a team in the league. Ice hockey is the ONLY place you can get in a fight with a cop and not get arrested even if you beat the shit out of him (or her).

Old Geezer

To Mr. freedom of slander 31.Aug.2002 21:15

practice what you preach

The comments and angle presented here are far less bias than the slander filled right wing hate mongering drivel posted in the police union "Rap Sheet" newspaper. Will you ever critizise them the way you did this article?

Oy Vey. 31.Aug.2002 21:17

lancey

"On this site I saw a driver threaten a cyclist's life..."

With every year the debate tactics of your mentor, the master linguist Noam Chomsky, namely, misquoting out of context, and splitting the premise, among others, become more and more apparent.

I was being TOTALLY SARCASTIC when I said I would "mow down" the next idiot who deliberately endangered her/his life and the safety of everyone around them by swerving in front of the truck I was driving without looking. Satire is utterly lost on you people...or perhaps my sense of sarcasm is just too dry and cruel for your sensitive tastes.
Perhaps I SHOULD just not slam on the brakes the next time this happens...one less literal-minded idealogue...
I ride a bike, often. I'm on your side, dummy, when I poke fun at the excesses of "radical bicyclist culture."

Jeez. You just never get it right.

Feel free to mis-interperet and flame.

ignore 01.Sep.2002 02:06

Robinson Crusoe

What did lancey say? i can't remember. Oh well, there was another really interesting comment to respond to up above his.

wait a minute. That was a great idea ! 01.Sep.2002 03:35

Lancey again.

Speaking of satire, I'll just hop on over to the other side of the fence (yours, I think.) That post from the guy who went to school with all the future cops got me to thinking. There was actually a study a few years back, I forget which University right now, that correlated the personality types which make up Law Enforcement and Gang Membership...they are nearly identical. Thus the recruitment of sociopathic LA gangbanger thugs into the LAPD, the Ramparts scandals, the CIA and various Mafias becoming indistinguishable from each other--literally--beyond a certian level of power, etc., etc.

Now, this poster had an excellent point : Ice Hockey is the only medium wherin one may whup ass upon Cops and get away with it, legally. Now, I'm sure just about everyone here is as incredulous as I at Premier Katz's idea for an Ice
Skating rink in Pioneer Square, at a time of widespread budget cuts. Why not have the City of Portland sell tickets to a "Cops vs. Activists" hockey match 4 times a year ?

Viola ! Instant revenue, and the rink is paid for.

Weally weally super scwary.. 01.Sep.2002 06:56

GW

Critical Mass seems to be comprised of a mass of unbathed hooligans.
No job, no life, no soap and no sense of being....now they've banded together to show the world the they are something.
Pitiful.
The mass will always amount to jack shit in the eyes of the normal populace.
Maybe the cops should leave you all alone, but maybe you should leave society alone. The majority looks upon you with utter distaste, and that, my unbathed terrorists, is the truth.
Acting like a screaming extremist radical in public will get you no sympathy to your somewhat understandable cause, less cars and less dependance on fossil fuels. A cause most of us understand.
Critical Mass is a bad advertisement for this agenda.

RE: Drivers calling 911 01.Sep.2002 10:23

woo woo

>>But 911 is supposed to be limited to life-threatening situations, not traffic blockages. Aren't there legal penalties that can and should be enforced against those drivers?
-------------

There's also a law where if you are moving slowly and tying up traffic, you're supposed to pull off to the side and let others pass.

There's also a law against running red lights .

Aren't there legal penalties that can and should be enforced against Critical Mass?

Minneapolis mass 01.Sep.2002 10:24

Colin fjordwind@hotmail.com

Holy shit. I can't believe the Portland cops would do this. Well, actually this is pretty familiar. Several massers were attacked in much the same fashion here in Minneapolis last March (see  http://twincities.indymedia.org:8081/front.php3?article_id=4541&group=webcast).

After March's Critical Massacre, several meetings with elected officials and police leadership took place, which, while contentious and often tense, yielded mostly positive results. No one has been arrested at a Critical Mass ride (which have grown exponentially in riders. March's ride consisted of about 60 of us. Each subsequent ride has had 200-300 people.) since the crackdown. At the April ride, police rerouted traffic around the mass, and followed it from behind to seal cars off that way (and, obviously, to keep their eyes on us). During May's ride, the cops came on bikes and brought ice water. And at last week's ride, nary a cop could be seen. Not surprisingly, the rides are quieter, friendlier and better received by the non-massing public.

I can't quite account for it. It's been a lousy year for the MPD, between at least four shootings of people of color, the death of an officer, the infamous hockey riot, our little fiasco and a mini riot two weeks ago where cops and mainstream reporters were attacked after police accidentally shot a ten year old boy. But it does seem that someone somewhere in the upper levels of police leadership has gotten wise to the fact that police create disorder violence and chaos at least as often as they put a stop to it.

I recommend that you refer leaders in the local government to the strategy Minneapolis has used to deal with critical mass. They might learn a thing or two.

Colin

PS - Props to JDS!

CONCRETE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE 01.Sep.2002 10:29

woo woo

1. Grow up.
2. Put down the hash pipe.
3. Wear some clothing that covers those usightly tattoos.

A screaming extremist radical rant for GW 01.Sep.2002 10:54

Put down the bicycle and put up your hands

I for one am glad not to have a job. It gives me more time to figure out how to live without all the crap that "normal" people and advertisers seem to think that we all need to have a meaningful existence or perhaps a "sense of being".

One discovery I am proud to have made is the bicycle. It's a perfect application of technology to the problem of human transportation. It extends the reach of our legs to get us several times farther every day several times faster than just our feet could take us. They are light, last forever with ridiculously little maintenance, and are cheap and easy to repair.

Cars on the other hand are big, noisy, expensive, consumptive and are responsible for a huge chunk of environmental pollution. People can drive them if they want.

You may feel like critical mass is all about putting on a stunt to show the world that we are something, that we have a life. Well, I don't give a fuck what you or the rest of the world thinks or sees, I ride critical mass for the experience, and it IS (part of) my life. You may feel like we're irrevocably harming other people by riding critical mass. Well I disagree, and I'll tell you why. The only people who NEED to get anywhere fast and can't AFFORD a delay are ambulance passengers. And we MOVE to get them through. TRAFFIC JAMS are caused by CARS. CARS can get locked up on the FREEWAY, or they can do it DOWNTOWN. Critical Mass has been going on for years now, and every month more and more people are seeing it firsthand. If you, in effect, KNOW that the last Friday of the month is Critical Mass, and you still CHOOSE to drive your fucking car, then you DESERVE to have to wait for the bikes who take over the town that evening. You may feel like bikers don't deserve to have access to the city, that WE haven't done anything for it to justify our occupation of it. Well, neither have YOU. The city is here, it exists, it changes, because WE all live in it. You do not have to right to tell US what a city is FOR because what we DO is what makes the city. Downtown is compact, centrally located, beautiful in a way, and ideally suited to bicycles. If that doesn't give us the right to congregate there, then I don't know what does. Perhaps you'd like to put a tax on bicyclists, just to put them on par with CAR DRIVES. Like a special toll booth in the bike lanes entering town, or mandatory PLEASE ARREST ME YOU MOTHERFUCKING PIG stickers glued to our handlebar bike baskets.

I hope you aren't taking this rant personally GW, because I know you don't deserve it. You are just like me, living your life out, trying to do the best you can with an ever-more complicated set of stimuli. You even sound like you realize that human activities are disturbing the potential for everlasting human health and happiness. You're posting to this website, which everyone is free to do, even mainstream press people can post articles here if they want, as could George W himself. But trying to make people give up those aspects of their lives which they find to be fortified with experiential riches is a lamentable cause. Trying to make us care what the know-nothing "majority" think of us is a lost cause. Either the majority can see judicious and evolved use of constitutional safeguards which the founding fathers sa fit to put in place for their benefit, or they see those safeguards as worthless atavisms currently only fit for exploitation. I personally don't see what kinda of noble life one can lead which the majority will approve of, so seeking majority approval looks like a dead end to me. If the majority chooses to give up those very constitutional protections, I'm not going to feel guilty for "coercing" them into doing it, because they weren't making use of those constitutional protections anyway. If you aren't going to use your arm, then you might as well cut it off.

Finally, GW, attacking other people's hygeine in the most ridiculous ploy that I see used on a frequent basis on indymedia. Do I try to dictate how often you can take a shower. Do I make snide remarks or gag and turn away when you walk by chemically perfumed and sanitized and smelling like a Porta-Pottie?
A screaming extremist radical rant for GW
A screaming extremist radical rant for GW

choosing to be ignorant 01.Sep.2002 12:06

grantly

GW, blinding yourself to facts, and choosing to remain ignorant are completely up to you. And you certainly are not alone.
Where I work, there is a big loud overbearing supervisor-type that sounds just like you. Sitting in front of the TV "news" the morning of the A22 protest, he pontificated for everyone in ear shot of his booming voice, "yeah, the only people that show up will be the homeless, street kids, and people without jobs." Dead silence. Then he kind of squirms, because nobody is chiming in with their support of his blathering, so he adds, "well, people who have jobs will be at work, right? So who else would go?" Summoning up all the courage I can (the guy is my boss, after all) I reply, "a lot of us who think Bush is an idiot will be there". His response: "oh".

The point is, being critical of individuals of a large effort, and trying to cast everyone in a generalizing and negative light, is the mark of someone who would like to be an Authority-On-Something, but isn't. I don't agree with every tactic used by protesters at either "un-welcoming Bush" or at Friday's critical mass. But I admire and respect the collective effort to stand up and take action on the things that we individually recognize to be wrong.

I am disturbed and disgusted with the way the local "peace officers" -- aka police, have historically used brutal force to carry out their commands from Katz-woman and her LA-bred Kroeker. That, along with your ignorant assumptions, are reason enough for me to show up for the next, my first, critical mass. I'll have a video camera.

On Critical Mass and related issues 01.Sep.2002 12:59

Kerry Canfield

1. When an auto driver runs a red light or stop sign, and a policeman sees it, it is my understanding that the policeman does not -- except in response to obvious threat from the driver -- drag the driver from the car or pepper-spray him or her. The driver is issued a ticket and sent on his or her slightly-less-merry way.

2. The next time there is a car traffic slowdown on any street, thoroughfare, or freeway, which effects a mean traffic speed in excess of 10 mph less than the posted speed limit, I fully expect the Portland Police Department to rush en masse to the scene of this CRIME immediately, stop all offending drivers, pull them from their cars, and pepper-spray and arrest them. This would easily free up road space for other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Some people will likely protest that such a response is much too severe, since such auto traffic slowdowns are only temporary; I have, however, witnessed slowdowns (and outright stops) that were far less temporary than any caused by a crowd of bicyclists. Good grief, what's next? Pepper-spraying and arresting crowds of school-children and teachers who slow down the progress of city buses when riding them to and from field trips?

3. On the evidence that when I am driving at the posted speed limit, most drivers are still driving faster than I, I can only conclude that most drivers (more than 90%) drive 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit, and that there is very little law enforcement focused on this epidemic CRIME. Most traffic could use a little slowing down.

4. In many countries, bicycles are still used by more people than are cars. And the efforts of automobile manufacturers and oil companies to hook the entire rest of the world on driving cars notwithstanding, the majority of the world's population are still pedestrians.

5. Bicyclists are not "blocking traffic." Bicyclists ARE traffic. Moreover, all vehicle operators -- regardless of whether that vehicle is an automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, et al. -- need to realize that traffic control devices exist for a reason (i.e., to control traffic), and to be considerate of other drivers and especially of pedestrians; such consideration may even involve the need to SLOW DOWN. And if you are moving by any other means than feet-on-ground, hang up your confounded cell-phone until you come to a complete STOP.

6. Writers who post to email forums should stop writing as though they are screaming in our faces, should SLOW DOWN, check their grammar and spelling, and make sure that what they are saying contains a cogent argument or meaningful comment. "Fuck you" (or variations thereon) is not a meaningful comment and is merely irritating, indicates a severe lack of sensitivity and sensibility, and betrays a woeful inadequacy of vocabulary and expressive ability. Calling names does not constitute a cogent argument, and actually tends to demonstrate a lack thereof.

To Chomsky's Droids 02.Sep.2002 01:11

the lamet vali allthingswheeled@pavement.com

Communists on bikes seem to underestimate what they are truly up against.

Time and time again, you guys keep getting your asses kicked by a few cops. The communist protesters and bikers always, in every instance, outnumber police. And still you lose over and over again. Why?

Common answer number one: The cops have guns, pepper spray, rubber bullets, or real bullets. They have tear gas and batons and shields, and all we have is our shitty bikes and a turtle costumes.

Let me enlighten you on the obvious. If you were serious about changing government and forcing a change, then you would actually fight for those changes, physically and with weapons. But everyone knows that communist fringe groups like the so-called "critical mass" aren't to be taken seriously, because all you do every time is lay down on the pavement for an ass whipping like a little bitch.

So if you (the communists) really mean what you keep saying about America, about Republicans, about capitalism and free markets, about corporate media, or about President George W. Bush, then I dare you to do something about it. I fucking dare you.

But just know that when you hop on your bikes with what ever weapons you're able to find, you won't just be up against the Portland Police. You will be up against citizens like me who will take to the streets to defend the integrity of this great land, and my team will be the one using SUV's, Chevy Suburbans, high-powered firearms, and bullets dipped in cyanide.

PEPPER SPARY IS GOOD FOR US 02.Sep.2002 01:22

anonymous

PEPPER SPARY IS GOOD FOR US

Pepper spray is also known as O.C. spray or OC (for oleoresin capsicum (CS), the active ingredient in cayenne pepper). Pepper spray is all natural being made of cayenne pepper extract. Pepper spray is safe enough for you to spice up your chili, and in the face and eyes, pepper spray is no more harmful (just a lot more painful!)

Pepper spray is now used by nearly every law enforcement agency throughout the country because it is more effective than mace or tear gas and because pepper spray does not directly cause permanent harm. Pepper spray works on domestic animals as well as humans and its effects fully wear off in about two hours. Pepper spray is the best non-lethal personal protection available and it really works!

Cayenne Pepper / Capsicum / Hot Pepper / Red Pepper / Pepper Spray>

General Description
Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum frutescens / C. annum), also known as Capsicum, pepper spay and Hot or Red Pepper, is used as a supplement and as a spice and contains the compound capsaicin, which reduces pain and inflammation, probably by clocking the activity in the body of substance P, a compound needed for transmitting pain impulses.

It has been known for its ability to aid in digestion, improve circulation, and reduce or stop bleeding from stomach ulcers. Taken internally it stimulates circulation and induces sweating to breed a fever. Some herbalists use it to treat colds and infectious diarrhea, arthritis and rheumatism. It is also used with lobelia for nerves. It is beneficial for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach. When applied topically in a lotion or salve it is good for muscle aches and pains.

Combined with other herbs it helps increase or supports their effectiveness by helping them to enter the blood stream faster.

Cayenne Pepper, which is actually a berrie, contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-ionone, caffeic acid, campesterol, capsaicin, carvone, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, citric acid, cryptoxanthin, hesperidin, kaempferol, limonene, lutein, myristic acid, 1&8-cineole, p-coumaric acid, quercetin, scopoletin, stigmasterol, and zeaxanthin.

To the lamet vali 02.Sep.2002 11:58

Adam

Ok so I had no Idea I was a communist in fact ever since I was sixteen I could have sworn I'd been following a rigorious moral platform of anti-authoritarianism which in short means that any one should be tell or forcing me to live a certain way which rather than suiting me only suits them. I am sure you have figured out by now that I do critical mass not to force people out of there cars or make them live as minimalistly as I do I am merely voice my and many others opinion that by driving your car and living the consumer dream not only are you hurting yourself but your destroying my home and my dreams of ever rlishing in the fact that even when I am gone my children and there children will now the happieness that merely living life brings but a word of warning do not fuck with us we are not stupid and as I have said you are threatening my right to life and I am not afraid to fight for that kind of freedom I will use any means neccary and I am not afraid to die for a person with out right to live freely has no reason to live
so the next time you base an opinion on everything you've heard on TV know I am not the only one there are others and we are getting very pissed off!

Pick up a book, Adam. 02.Sep.2002 16:47

big whoop

And yet you people STILL wonder why most folks consider you to be ignorant, conformist, idealistic COMMUNISTS. Read Marx, you little fool, and some histories of mass uprisings in, oh, the last 500 years. Pick up a Dictionary, a Thesaurus, and a copy of "Elements of Style" while you are at it.

Sheesh.

ahh 03.Sep.2002 03:44

AnarchoS

I have one word for u big whoop - democracy.

Think about it.

You Luz 03.Sep.2002 05:39

Gyro

I have been to other countries and seen true oppression that reeks like death.
I have seen the look of utter dispair in the eyes of hopelessness.
I have seen Police toting MACHINE GUNS at port arms among their populace.
I have been to the ends of the earth that few have seen.
Trust me folks, a lil pepper spray and flexcuffs will not kill you..
You know not true oppression, and be glad you live in the United States, it by far has other countries beat hands down for quality of life.
If you find Utopia where all is fair and balanced, lemme know.
Be glad you dont live in a place where, when acting like mongrels, protesters are apt to be shot down with real bullets and left to rot.
Protest all you want, and raise a little hell, but trust me, living in the U.S. is a cake walk.
Looking at bloated dead bodies covered in flies leaves time for refection that I hope you never experiance.
You cry foul, you cry injustice, you cry brutal.....trust me, you don;t know what brutal is.
I have walked throught the valley, and I smell it still.
Pray to your God you never experiance it.
Be glad you have a civilian Police force that doesnt execute you for speaking your mind.
You really dont know how good you have it.
Take care.

Try this one... 03.Sep.2002 05:51

Mikey..

I have used a bike for my priamry mode of transportation for the last 23 years. I rent a car if I take vacation.
But you critical mass folks are a serious embaressment to me and my biking friends.
Try a little tact, it might give you some credibilty, something you dont have now.
I dont mean that to be harsh, just an observation.

So we should just sit back...?! 03.Sep.2002 10:44

thousand miles away, but still pissed off....

>>> have been to other countries and seen true oppression that reeks like death.
>>> I have seen the look of utter dispair in the eyes of hopelessness.
>>> I have seen Police toting MACHINE GUNS at port arms among their populac

In regards to this post above....I understand where you're coming from, there ARE more horrendous societies out there that would make us Americans shit our pants, but does this mean we have to sit back, suck our thumbs, and take it???? NO! Our country is the way it is because it gives people the right to stand up when something shitty happens. If nobody stands up and speaks out, we will all be doped up, diapered, consumers playing our PLaystations and DVDs and drooling into our xtra value meals. Oh, wait, were already there.....

But we have the right (or at this point, the shreds of that right) and an obligation to stand up and speak out about crap that happens. And if nobody does....remember Germany before 1939?

what is worse? 03.Sep.2002 11:08

kayoss kayoss@rworld.com

What is worse, being a communist (or anarchist or whatever group that cares about anything other than personal enrichment and thus has been marginalized by the media that masquerades as reality in our culture) or being so goddamed lazy that youre willing to pump poisons into the air that your own kids will spend their lives breathing?

No matter how harsh, unwashed, or politically merginalized Critical Massers are, they are leaving clean air for your children. Something the vast majority of parents dont even care enough about their own kids to do.

To Lamet Vali 03.Sep.2002 12:36

Mishap

Like any of us needs your bullshit posts and sexist remarks about cyclists being beaten.
If its a fucking fight you want, you've got it. Get out of your fucking car and try and catch us! Hah!

Communists...?! 03.Sep.2002 13:05

u.s. meat

...a desperately weak ad hominem against people with 1000 times more courage than yourself.

But with such an interest in unoriginal invective it's too bad you're not sharp enough for the Ivy League or you might have been able to join the ranks of the professional media apologists for the macho psychopaths currently running the country into the ground. Oh well, there's still infantry. Go be fodder...more compost for capitalism. Just think: you could be one of the first brainwashed drones who's confused his "rights" with his "right to buy" on your block to come home from the Gulf in a box so that your SUV driving buddies can gas up at a discount in your honor! What's that? You're not enlisting? Didn't think so...

Imagine if you were someone with courage and did sign up: the draft-dodging assholes of your Furher's administration who sent you half way around the world to get killed would just laugh at you. Just laugh and laugh. What a sucker. You died protecting wealth and privilege you will never even taste the slightest bit of. The parasite class can always count on dupes like you to do their dirty work for nothing but a few pathetic creature comforts in return. Talk about being "a little bitch".

Based on your tired old "communist" epithet and your unintentionally hilarious imagined scene of the Ultimate Conflict between you and your Coors-swilling, latently homosexual, 9mm phallus-worshipping compatriots and a group of harmless protestors on bikes, your comprehension of all things political amounts to the intellectual equivalent of an action movie screenplay even Sly Stallone would have dragged to the Recycle Bin (it *is* revealing how you prefer thinking of some sort of hippy asswhuppin' fantasy to the real war that awaits "patriots" like yourself in the streets of Baghdad).

And finally, some advice: verbally venting all of your unhappiness and repressed anger on people who are actually using their political freedoms trying to do something to make the world a better place (and getting brutalized for their efforts) makes you look...well, pathetic. Cheers.

a rose is a rose 05.Sep.2002 07:17

any other name

Um, I do believe that the term "Communist" applies to just about every eddy in the muddy stream of thought represented here. Take any dictum from the "Communist Manifesto", such as : "From each according to their Ability, to Each according to their Needs. " Take the elitism and disdain for the uneducated common ignorant working stiff displayed rampantly on this site by the children of the elite, retardedly attempting to rebel against all the priveledge they were afforded in life. The people who enslaved Russia and China, and all of the sattelite states of the Communist world were not stupid by any means. They brought themselves into power by exploiting the very type of unrealistic idealism displayed here, and ruthlessly quashing any forbidden ideologies with murderous military might.

Private Property took on a whole new meaning under total State control. You thought that the excesses of early Capitalist greed resulted in environmental degredation and the immiseration of entire societies ? Chernyobyl was nothing compared to the horrors still lurking under the remains of the Dictatorship of the Proleteriat.

The reason why thinking folks shun you and make every effort possible to confront your worldview and politics is quite simple: history.

You posit a poorly informed model of human history and behavior, and, well, when you are called on it, you use bullshit semantics, non-sequiturs, and plain unrealistic zealot tunnel vision to substantiate your argument, just like any other orthodox Marxist used to do. A closed mind is still closed, no matter what it is closed to.

What, exactly, is not Marxist about the viewpoints expressed by the majority of the posters to this site ?

Use examples from Marx, or Pol Pot, or Mao, or Stalin, if you have to, but I would prefer the original source, to refute the idea that the very ideology fueling this website is not, in fact, Marxist.

And don't change the subject to American or European Imperialism. EVERYONE knows about that. The argument that you are losing, is that you are a Communist, and that people have every right to call you that based upon your behavior and belief systems, and every right to fear what would happen if you seized power, based upon what we know about authoritarian Marxist societies.

That's all. I'm just a cranky old free-thinker who recognizes your games as easily as I recognize the ploys of the other wing. See, my mind is just as open to right-wing solutions as left-wing, that is to say, very skeptical.

But, again, refute the perception of a Marxist bias here with examples from Marx, and why his philosophy, called "Communism", does not exist as the de facto dominant philosophy at Indymedia.

A rose? Nah, just another rosebud... 05.Sep.2002 14:55

u.s. meat

Um, I do believe that the term "Communist" applies to just about every eddy in the muddy stream of thought represented here. You are welcome to believe anything you like. Substantiating such belief in a public forum is a burden that belongs to you alone. Take any dictum from the "Communist Manifesto", such as : "From each according to their Ability, to Each according to their Needs. " Hmm. Not actually in the "Communist Manifesto"; your scholarship is apparently as unsubstantiated as your beliefs. Take the elitism and disdain for the uneducated common ignorant working stiff displayed rampantly on this site by the children of the elite, retardedly attempting to rebel against all the priveledge they were afforded in life. Some specific examples might have gained you a modicum of sympathy for these conjectures. It would do nothing, however, to moderate the sneering intellectual elitism you attempt to display in your post. Also, since you failed to put "uneducated common ignorant working stiff" in quotes one can only assume that you share the same attitude. The people who enslaved Russia and China, and all of the sattelite states of the Communist world were not stupid by any means. They brought themselves into power by exploiting the very type of unrealistic idealism displayed here, and ruthlessly quashing any forbidden ideologies with murderous military might. Since political exploitation of the masses is the favorite game of despots of all ideological stripes I can only assume that you excluded the "they" that used xenophobia, greed, or just plain ol' fear to achieve the same ends in order to keep your simplistic argument undiluted. Private Property took on a whole new meaning under total State control. You thought that the excesses of early Capitalist greed resulted in environmental degredation and the immiseration of entire societies ? Chernyobyl was nothing compared to the horrors still lurking under the remains of the Dictatorship of the Proleteriat. Agreed. The reason why thinking folks shun you and make every effort possible to confront your worldview and politics is quite simple: history. The implication appears to be that if one doesn't share your narrow selection and interpretation of historical events then one is an unthinking dupe of Marx destined to be railroaded by a socialist demagogue/tyrant - that's quite a leap from a bunch of protestors on bikes. Yet your premise that the documented violence and repression of certain socialist/communist regimes discredits the entire philosophy/ideology of economic egalitarinism is as blatantly and narrowly ideological as the straw men you have set up to knock down You posit a poorly informed model of human history and behavior, and, well, when you are called on it, you use bullshit semantics, non-sequiturs, and plain unrealistic zealot tunnel vision to substantiate your argument, just like any other orthodox Marxist used to do. Or indeed as anyone with an ideological axe to grind might. BTW, until you substantiate your primary assertion, you have yet to call anyone on anything. A closed mind is still closed, no matter what it is closed to. Agreed. What, exactly, is not Marxist about the viewpoints expressed by the majority of the posters to this site ? Again, you are making the accusation, you must provide the proof - or is that just "bullshit semantics"? Use examples from Marx, or Pol Pot, or Mao, or Stalin, if you have to, but I would prefer the original source, to refute the idea that the very ideology fueling this website is not, in fact, Marxist. It's scholastic and intellectual hypocrisy to insist on the "original source" when you've already shown no familiarity with it. And again, the burden of proof is still yours. But regardless, blaming Marx for Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot is like blaming Adam Smith for the genocide of the native Americans. And don't change the subject to American or European Imperialism. EVERYONE knows about that. The argument that you are losing, is that you are a Communist, and that people have every right to call you that based upon your behavior and belief systems, and every right to fear what would happen if you seized power, based upon what we know about authoritarian Marxist societies. That's all. I'm just a cranky old free-thinker who recognizes your games as easily as I recognize the ploys of the other wing. See, my mind is just as open to right-wing solutions as left-wing, that is to say, very skeptical. But, again, refute the perception of a Marxist bias here with examples from Marx, and why his philosophy, called "Communism", does not exist as the de facto dominant philosophy at Indymedia. Your post is classic "straw-man" stuff Mr. Oh-So-Ideologically-Evolved-Free-Thinker. You start from the unsubstantiated premise that everyone using this site is an elitist/privileged/Marxist/Communist/dupe(?!) then you proceed to beat up on all the deserving old whipping boys of socialism/communism as if that somehow deductively proves your case. What you will not mention in your selective and shallow trolling of history are the socialist-inspired enterprises in this country and how they produced labor reforms that made life better at every turn for those you refer to as the "uneducated common ignorant working stiff[s]". My turn: everyone in this nation, as free as it is and will hopefully remain, is chafing politically under the yoke of the corporate "ideology" (which is demonstrably both socialist and capitalist depending on which facet of corporate power and organization you examine). The fact that it is not generally considered an ideology is another example of the insidious and effective manipulation of the political discourse in the economic interests of a few at the expense of the many - and please spare us your predictable assesment of this very general and popular sentiment as "Marxist". Indeed, it's a sad footnote to the larger tragedy that anyone attempting to challenge this calculated chokehold on the terms of the political discourse is smeared with the filthy ghosts of shamed socialist/communist enterprises of the past. Indymedia is but one of the ways in which people can challenge a de facto usurpation of individual political power - by reporting events that go unreported or mis-reported in the mainstream, corporate-controlled media. It is, alas, a tedious fact of life that the people that use this tool for protecting the integrity of their views and actions (however objectionable to you or anyone else) are subjected to endless ideological attacks from those that apparently prefer to purchase their democracy in tidy, hermetically-sealed packages (courtesy of self-serving corporate political largesse) disregarding the cost to our future health as a people, a nation, and a world.

OK, you caught me in a grumpy mood 06.Sep.2002 01:05

any other name

You apparently have one up on me in your study of Marxism. I have been so busy working my stiff ignorant self into the grave for the past decade, that I have not had time to go back to University to re-read Marx as thoroughly as you. From my standpoint, it appears that you are splitting hairs, but from yours I don't know what hair is...
Since you agreed with me about a few things, I will agree with you that this was a gross generalization on my part. Which book was it that this central idea of Communism and
very famous quote ("From each according to their ability...") first appeared in ? It will help me in my re-reading, as this is a subject I am becoming more intensely re-interested in.

If this philosophy does not deserve the term "Communist", what term might apply ? Also, if those governments who murdered 120 million people in the Twentieth century alone were off in their own characterizations of themselves as "Communist", with the attendant mass distribution of propoganda by authors calling themselves "Communists", what term would you and the many people expressing similar sentiments to these authors here at Indymedia prefer ? You sound as if I am weaving some sort of insane consipracy theory when I make these allegations, demanding some sort of proof, when all you have to do is open any damn book on history, look at the overwhelming majority of posts here, and put 2+2 together...

As far as the struggles of American workers for a living wage, decent work hours and conditions, and the conflicting ideologies that brought all that about, etc. Did I even mention or attempt to discredit any of that ? This is a subject I also am becoming attracted to once again, from Kropotkin to Goldmann and back. Straw men...that is a good
subject, one that works both ways. Who exactly threw that bomb in the Haymarket, Mr. Meat ? Who benefited in the short run and the long run ?

I did not posit a condemnation of these struggles of human beings for the basic dignities and rights which we are so lucky to enjoy at least a passing nod at here in our "evil empire."

If you are more familiar with socialist, communist, and anarchist philosophies than I am, and it sounds like you were able to afford a lot more schooling than I had, what should we label the predominant leanings of the human soul here at freethinkin' Indymedia as, if they are not overwhelmingly leftist, if not outright Stalinist or even Marxist in character ? Ah, but labels are another tool of our Capitalist Masters to divide and subjugate us, when all human beings want to do is just live in peace, and history supports this assumption, right ?

Sure, using Adam Smith's ideas as a sounding board for a critique of Capitalism is as ridiculous as using Marx as a basis for the failures of Communism. You are dead on right about that, and the "hindsight is 20/20" implied is doubly relevant. My problem is that critique A is hailed as genius by the Chomskyites here, and critique B results in one's outcast as some sort of Republican pariah.

Simple, right ? It works for Noam's team, and "mine."

And, as a last note, how did you get those neat italics ? I'm stuck in the stone age on a computer salvaged from the garbage, really!, and barely know HTML from Unix, from a BIOS to a hole in my head...and I have to get up for my shitty job tomorrow, opressing the masses from my elite skyscraper...

That's Commisar Meat to you... 06.Sep.2002 10:46

u.s.s.r. meat

You apparently have one up on me in your study of Marxism. I have been so busy working my stiff ignorant self into the grave for the past decade, that I have not had time to go back to University to re-read Marx as thoroughly as you. From my standpoint, it appears that you are splitting hairs, but from yours I don't know what hair is... Since you agreed with me about a few things, I will agree with you that this was a gross generalization on my part. Which book was it that this central idea of Communism and very famous quote ("From each according to their ability...") first appeared in ? It will help me in my re-reading, as this is a subject I am becoming more intensely re-interested in.

Listen pal, I'm a high-school dropout that did nothing but toil for shit wages to subsidize my own (lack of a) music career until a few years back when I started making decent money as an Internet router lackey. But let's not get caught up in the "who's more salt-of-the-earth" game, eh? It's hardly dignifying. I wanted to poke holes in your pronouncements for the sake of it so I did a text string search for Marx's quote in one of the many online postings of ye olde Manifesto, and lo and behold... The truth is I couldn't find the source of that quote in my five minutes of working Google. You may be disappointed to discover that an erudite critique of your ideas requires less than decades spent poring over tomes of arcane social theory.

If this philosophy does not deserve the term "Communist", what term might apply ? Also, if those governments who murdered 120 million people in the Twentieth century alone were off in their own characterizations of themselves as "Communist", with the attendant mass distribution of propoganda by authors calling themselves "Communists", what term would you and the many people expressing similar sentiments to these authors here at Indymedia prefer ? You sound as if I am weaving some sort of insane consipracy theory when I make these allegations, demanding some sort of proof, when all you have to do is open any damn book on history, look at the overwhelming majority of posts here, and put 2+2 together...

My point is just that you are perfectly within your rights to ideologically smear, en masse, the folks that post to Indymedia. It's not a conspiracy theory to insist that if you would like to associate the crimes of authoritarian socialist governments of yore with the philosophies espoused on this site the burden rests with you to show how such philosophies are directly related to such specific examples of exploited and murderous socialist regimes. You imply some mechanism exists from getting from point A (posting one's views on Indymedia) to point Z (ruthless communist dictator purges NRA members) and simply throw your thumb over your shoulder in the direction of history as your proof. Not good enough.

I can point to more recent historical examples that change the ideological direction of the jackboot that seems to haunt you: thousands of pages of State department documents were declassified yesterday revealing more of the wink-and-a-nod complicity of Henry Kissinger, et al. and the Argentinian generals responsible for murdering tens of thousands of people with views much like the ones expressed on Indymedia. Along with the students and professors, labor leaders and rank-and-file striking workers were tortured and murdered. These methods have been repeated all over Central and South America, always with at least the tacit approval of the U.S. government (and in most cases arms and training) - all of which I'm sure you're probably already aware of. Is it fair for me to hang those crimes around the neck of the people in this country that argue for "free markets"?

As far as the struggles of American workers for a living wage, decent work hours and conditions, and the conflicting ideologies that brought all that about, etc. Did I even mention or attempt to discredit any of that ? This is a subject I also am becoming attracted to once again, from Kropotkin to Goldmann and back. Straw men...that is a good subject, one that works both ways. Who exactly threw that bomb in the Haymarket, Mr. Meat ? Who benefited in the short run and the long run ?

...a rhetorical question we both know the answer to.

I did not posit a condemnation of these struggles of human beings for the basic dignities and rights which we are so lucky to enjoy at least a passing nod at here in our "evil empire."

Precisely. That is how I choose to see the efforts and ideals of most of those folks using Indymedia for what it was designed for. We are struggling to maintain our political rights in the face of continuous threats - true, some imagined in absurd ideological fantasies, but others as real as having your infant child sprayed with capsicum for the crime of simply showing up to protest demonstrably insane leadership for lack of a venue to do it. That is why the smear that we're all just a bunch of Stalinists - or dupes waiting for our Stalin - is so offensive to me.

If you are more familiar with socialist, communist, and anarchist philosophies than I am, and it sounds like you were able to afford a lot more schooling than I had, what should we label the predominant leanings of the human soul here at freethinkin' Indymedia as, if they are not overwhelmingly leftist, if not outright Stalinist or even Marxist in character ?

Again, don't try to hang that elitist label on me buddy. I have a library card. I use it.

Your original argument was not "leftist" it was "Communist" - and again, whence "Stalinist"?! How do you get from local grassroots direct action democracy to murderous and centralized authoritarian socialism? Also, if you haven't noticed, the contemporary demagogues threatening to perpetrate endless war (and its resulting subjugation) are not of the leftist stripe.

Ah, but labels are another tool of our Capitalist Masters to divide and subjugate us, when all human beings want to do is just live in peace, and history supports this assumption, right ?

You're getting grouchy again - and no one's even calling you a "Stalinist"...

You're welcome to mine history in order to support a socially darwinistic perspective. The resulting worldview can the effect of leaving one morally paralyzed while great crimes go unchallenged.

Sure, using Adam Smith's ideas as a sounding board for a critique of Capitalism is as ridiculous as using Marx as a basis for the failures of Communism. You are dead on right about that, and the "hindsight is 20/20" implied is doubly relevant. My problem is that critique A is hailed as genius by the Chomskyites here, and critique B results in one's outcast as some sort of Republican pariah.

I'm new to this particular Indymedia pond so I can't comment specifically on the character of past postings, but it should be pretty easy to refute any defenses of Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot - should they actually exist.

Simple, right ? It works for Noam's team, and "mine."

If you're bitter about the way your posts have been treated on this board you may want to consider finding one that's more in line with your views (that way you won't have to slander everyone here to make yourself feel better). I'll wager to guess you're a libertarian (i.e. a republican with a library card). Have you been to antiwar.com? It's an excellent site refuting U.S. interventionism ("war is the health of the state") with very little leftist ideological foo to have to sift through - I know it irks you so...

And, as a last note, how did you get those neat italics ? I'm stuck in the stone age on a computer salvaged from the garbage, really!, and barely know HTML from Unix, from a BIOS to a hole in my head

The beauty of the Internet, eh? Even if the box barely works you can get online and call people "Stalinists" 'til the cows come home.

Seriously, they would have been neat had I remembered to include paragraph breaks...*sigh*...I assumed you would take the time to sift through the resulting stream-of-consciousness-appearing post but I doubt anyone else did. If you post your message as html you can get italics with an "i" surrounded by angle brackets. Paragraph breaks are a "p" surrounded by angle brackets.

...and I have to get up for my shitty job tomorrow, opressing the masses from my elite skyscraper...

It's a living.


Italics example for grumpy 06.Sep.2002 10:56

u.s.meat

<i>The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.</i>
<p>
<i>Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.</i>
<p>
etc...

Not a Communist Plot 19.Feb.2003 12:09

Mark in Bellingham WA

Seems like some of the discussion has degenerated into the old Communism vs Capitalism noise. Clearly the issue is more mundane and at the same time more relevent than that Karl Marx vs Adam Smith coffee shout. Riding a bicycle should be a viable alternative to using GAS. Unfortunately it is not a viable alternative becasue of intentional neglect of the needs of cyclists. Riding a bicycle is also a dangerous proposition because of out-and-out hostility against riders. Bicyclists must continue to RAM their rights up the asses of the SUVLUV crowds with techniqies such as critical mass. But Critical Mass should be about bike riding not Karl Marx. Take back the road.

some critical thinking for the mass: "DON'T TREAD ON ME!" 05.Sep.2004 12:17

Daniel

Considering the amount of force the authorities use against unarmed individuals is so grossly disproportionate to the amount of threat they face, it may be time for those involved in these legal gatherings to actually defend their constitutional rights since the local and federal government is obviously not interested in doing so. Unfortunately, most of ones facing this brutality are the very same people who have worked hard to see to it that the law-abiding citizen in this country is deprived of even the most basic means of self-defense such as the right to own firearms. If it were up to me the crtical mass would be critically wounding those officers who were abusing their authority and violating the oath to serve and protect. Times have changed. We should face those changes with the same ferocity that the police meet us with. Any comments?

Wild Ride, indeed! 06.Sep.2004 07:10

RMike rmhoran@comcast.net

Keep fighting the good fight, Portland.