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imperialism & war

175+ people take the streets to protest the war at Portland Friday Rally

At least 175 people showed up for the Friday peace rally in Pioneer Square, giving it the largest attendance in a year.
friday rally: no war in iraq - the crowd
At least 175 people showed up for the Friday peace rally in Pioneer Square, giving it the largest attendance in a year. Anti-war sentiment had been stirred up on Thursday and Friday when first the House and then the Senate granted Bush dictatorial powers to wage war against Iraq. The tragic possibilities of such a war are heart-wrenching to imagine, and history will surely view Congress' decision with disdain. The death and suffering wrought upon Iraq by the sanctions of the last 11 years -- on top of the destruction that country suffered in the so-called "Gulf War" -- are already crimes against humanity for which U.S. "leaders" should be tried. Additional attacks of a more intense variety could take thousands -- even millions -- of lives, and affect the population there for generations to come.

friday rally: no war in iraq - holding signs on the corner for traffic

That elected representatives in Washington, D.C., received an overwhelming number of calls and emails opposition to this passing of the war-reigns to Bush is cause for additional anger. What options remain when the proper channels have been utilized? Taking the street and stopping business as usual is one. And that's what we did tonight.

friday rally: no war in iraq - taking the street

I believe taking the street and stopping automobile traffic is an effective tactic, as do other activists. I know everyone doesn't agree, but -- with Congress having just given up all control of war-making powers to a madman -- we've gotten to the point where we need to shake people up and get them to pay attention to what's going on. The U.S. government is about to commit yet another set of heinous acts against an innocent population. It's really fucking sick. This issue needs to be brought into the general consciousness and acted upon. We must stop business-as-usual in the U.S. 'coz business-as-usual of the U.S. is war.

friday rally: no war in iraq - taking the street

It's been beautiful to see the resistance to war flowering across the country lately. The 11,500 who came out in Portland last Saturday were awesome. But we need to put on the pressure in every way we can -- not just at huge rallies. We need lots of smaller demonstrations, civil disobedience, and other creative means, and we need to be doing them all the time. Lives are being threatened by the "leaders" of the country we live in, and it is our duty as human beings to say NO. NOT IN OUR NAME!

See you on the streets.

Uh huh.... 12.Oct.2002 05:54

Trilox

<p align="center"><img src=" http://images.indymedia.org/imc/portland/1011pprc-inthestreet2.jpg">

Hey! Look at me! I've got shirt with an overweight heroin junkie who likes to paint his face! Yaaaaaaaayyy!

Thanks for being there 12.Oct.2002 08:36

grannymarcher

Thank you for being out on the street and visible, taking a stand for peace. I could not be with you this time, but want you to know that others out here of all ages support you by writing, calling and talking to others when we cannot support you by marching. (Forgive me if this shows up twice. I posted a comment over an hour ago, but it looked as if it might not have made it, so am trying again.)

thank you all 12.Oct.2002 09:25

corpmediacritic

I am so thankful that there are those who are ready, willing, and in this particular instance-able, to make their/our views public, and not silent. I note, once again, despite what the corp media and a few nay sayers who have their own agenda say, the mix of protesters spreads across the whole spectrum. I did not see the "heroin adict," but if sh/he was there, I thank them, too. What I DID see were concerned parents, students, children, educators, middle class, poor, and possibly even a few wealthy, along with "the unwashed masses." Again, you speak not for a radical minority, but for us all, and you make me cry, and you make me ashamed for not being there. I saw many of you at the NOT IN OUR NAME rally last week, and I have seen a lot of the same faces many times. I also see new ones at every event. KEEP IT UP!

but there are distinctions 12.Oct.2002 09:49

The One True b!X

I believe taking the street and stopping automobile traffic is an effective tactic, as do other activists. I know everyone doesn't agree, but -- with Congress having just given up all control of war-making powers to a madman -- we've gotten to the point where we need to shake people up and get them to pay attention to what's going on.

Unquestionably. In the end, it comes down to what approach(es) are going to get people to pay attention, and what approaches are going to make them dismiss the cause.

And, no, that's not my way of saying there's never any place for disruptive disobedience.

There just needs to be -- and this isn't a direct response to anything here, just a theoretical observation -- a capacity to make a distinction between actions which help the cause, and actions which are simply good for the egos of those involved. Because I've seen both, and the latter are usually far more harmful than they are helpful.

There's another issue too, and it's one I don't think the more radical people here like to think about. If you want to get people attention, and make them think about things -- normal people, mainstream people, etc -- than you are going to have to play some image games.

Back during the civil rights movement in the south, when they headed out for marches or disruptive lunch counter sit-ins, everyone dressed in their Sunday best. Why? Because of the image it projected. Tons of well-dressed people marching the street. Or dozens of well-dressed people sitting at the lunch counter and eventually getting arrested.

Why was this important? In part because if even just a small percentage of the mainstream white-bread American audience who were middle-of-the-road on racial issues saw such footage, especially during the arrests, they would see all these nice, respectable-looking weel-dressed people and maybe think, "Well that doesn't seem right. What's going on down there?"

Would it changes the minds of hardcore racists? No. But neither are we right now trying to convert the hardcore neo-conservative hawks pushing the war.

Anyway, this is not as structured as I wanted these issues to be. I'ts early. I've had no coffee. The usual disclaimers. I'll discuss them again more coherently at some point.



dress for success 12.Oct.2002 10:38

peace rebel girl

the author of the article can speak to the issue of dressing in his "Sunday best". People do indeed stand up and take notice when for example, a man is wearing a suit and tie. I too have noticed a certain response when dressing to win over the mainstream. Thanks for the comment.

checking page A2, the oregonian 12.Oct.2002 12:13

everyoneinthisworldisdoingsomethingwithoutme

in checking the the latter pages of the oregonian i find little blurbicals that insist that US forces have actually been "attacking" positions in Iraq, as some have suggested, ever since the gulf war. so then why is this cry for a new war so important if the US has been bombing them all along?

i've seen 2 such blurbs within the past 30 days.

Interesting idea! 12.Oct.2002 14:52

signwaver

What an interesting idea. Perhaps seeing people dressed in their best clothes stopping traffic would make those nearby wonder again about the message. Just have a good mix of folks, like those who show up at the rallys and marches. Not all have to be all decked out in their Sunday finest, but some might...why not? Isn't the idea to make people stop and think, wonder, eventually do something about this world situation? Give everyone something to think about! We cannot help or change it that some who have been sleeping still believe that those who dress up have a more important message. I do not agree with that, but am willing to work within those perimeters if it will make any changes in the direction this country is taking.

Stopping traffic 12.Oct.2002 15:21

David B.

I have to agree with b!X on this one -- I think that taking over the whole street was counterproductive in this case. Maybe if had been a huge rally with thousands, but a small demo with just under 200?

Not only would have keeping it to the rightmost traffic lane pissed off Middle America less (and we don't want to piss off Middle America -- we want to get Middle America on our side), and it would have allowed the traffic driving past to see what the protest was all about. (Those in vehicles more than a few cars back saw no demo at all -- just a mysterious outbreak of worse-than-normal traffic congestion.)

And yes, I was there....

Portland, OR

Just To Say 12.Oct.2002 16:55

non-confrontational

I appreciate a variety of tactics and I'm not about to tell people what to do at a demo, but I was concerned by the way traffic was blocked yesterday.

I understood that people were protesting what was in the gas tanks, but what I saw was at least four drivers who were completely alienated by us. What did we do? We sure WOKE THEM UP. But to what effect? I think that instead of stopping traffic, it would have been better to pass out litterature. Sure, it's not as much as an ego boost, but you have to make the protest accessible to everyone possible. So what if people can still avoid being confronted by it? Do you really think calling someone out like that getting in someone's way is going to do anything but make them angry and even more unaccessible.

Once again, I support those people's passion and commitment. I just want people to be really thoughtfull about their actions. If you consider what I've said and still block traffic, Rock on. You might even be able to convince me that its an effective tactic, in which case I would gladly join you.

lower class 12.Oct.2002 17:00

dissentfromthedissent

I am not dressing up to appease anybody. I am poor. In my position, middle class america doesn't give a shit about me, except when I get in their way. I am not waiting for them to come around, they'll only come around when it affects them least. And my situation never changes. Sunday best, screw 'em!

What to do if you encounter these dissidents 12.Oct.2002 18:41

BA

What to do if you encounter these dissident anti-Americans:

1/ Point and laugh.

2/ Put out a freak alert on your cell phone.

3/ Take photos which you can email to you're friends with the note "Look at the weirdos I saw in Portland."

4/ Go home and take a bath.

clothing options make me what? oh, wealthy! 12.Oct.2002 19:16

thelessiwearthehappieriam

All the attention paid to attire strikes me as a bit ironic. We who are discussing this issue happened to have been born in (or emigrted to) a place where many people have the ecconomic opportunity to choose what they want to wear each day. What luck for us.

I understand the argument being made about looking like the folks we want to educate but I must admit that it makes me a bit embarassed for my relative wealth.

The people in attendence at the rally, and at any of the rallies over the past year, wore many different kinds of clothes. In fact, it was a joy to see folks in stereotypical "business" attire out marching in our streets, in harmony with folks dressed otherwise.

We did hand out a lot of liturature, and for what it's worth, that doesn't seem to be an attire-dependent job.

Not asking 12.Oct.2002 19:18

signwaver

To dissentfromdissent: I would not even presume to ask you to 'dress up'. I don't mean to tell anyone else how to act or dress. What I am saying is that some of us might think it a good or interesting idea to dress up and in that way perhaps catch the attention of someone who would otherwise blow off a protest as just another 'punk activity'. I keep thinking that the point is to reach people and try to get them to wonder about what is happening around them.

BA 12.Oct.2002 22:02

Zookeeper

I hope even you are aware that EVERY right we have - from independence from England to womens sufferage - was gained by some namby-pamby dissidents fighting our own government.

Now go back to the compost bin dear, before you wear yourself out...and you don't want to get fleas from those hippies do you?

surprised 13.Oct.2002 08:04

signwaver

I thought we were all working together. So, do some of you want to "involve others" and others want to push us away? I guess that is just human nature, but I am disappointed to learn that those who speak out with a quieter voice are merely compost.

Ah, Well: 13.Oct.2002 09:03

Methusala

Yes, zoo keeper person, as a grandparent, I have been around long enough to see much of what you write about occur. I have also studied history and political science a great deal. As you say, much attention was drawn to these issues by "namby pamby" types, and many of these issues were brought about, or prolonged by narrow minded people, such as... who felt that there was no room on this big blue planet for views other than their own. Each must protest in he/is own way, and be proud in that. None belongs in the compost bin, but rather, to be speaking out, to those who will listen. I do not suppose you will grant any importance to the day Ed Murrow (or do you remember?) finally had enough with McCarthy, and spoke out-IN HIS OWN WAY, USING HIS BEST AVENUE. Nor can you remember when Cronkite had had enough of Viet Nam, and said so. Now you will take credit for the radicals in the street bringing this about, however, I think that both of these "suits" deserve some credit for adding their huge weight to the masses in the street, convincing corporate types, as well as middle amerika, that it was over. Let us allow each to protest in her or his own way, and stop dumping feces all over their efforts by insisting that yours, and only yours, is the way, the truth, and the light (it has been done.). I wish to you peace and happiness, and a liberal education. Please do not wish for me a place in the compost bin.

Clothing in 'The Movement'... 14.Oct.2002 09:58

Calvin

I've thought about how clothing affects people's interpretation of ideas before and have come to a conclusion; if you dress realtivly 'nice' people will be more willing to listen to you. Let's do an experiment, lets get a guy with grungy, smelly clothes and one wearing a button up shirt and 'nice' pants and have both of them walk around Pioneer Square distributing literature. Have both act relativly the same way, and say the same things. I think it's pretty obvious what will happen.

I'm not saying we should appease anyone, I'm saying we should have enough respect to our cause to use any *moral means* necessary. It's sad that we even have to talk about how we *look* but its the truth, most people are that shallow.

I have personally decided to change my wardrobe in order to be more 'approachable' to people by grabing relativley 'nicer' clothes at thrift stores. If I'm approachable, then my ideas will be approachable. I'm not whoring myself to people, I'm whoring myself to my idea.

Calvin

btw, I also think this could be applicable in a Satyagraha campaign.

Oops! 14.Oct.2002 10:45

Peacemaker

Um...not that anyone is even reading these comments anymore, as this is old news...but i am really enjoying the debate here. I do want to clarify something tho. It appears that signwaver and methusela have misunderstood Zookeeper's comment and taken it to heart. Looks like signwaver thought zookeeper was talking to her, relegating her to the compost bin, and methusela jumped to her defense.

The misunderstanding stems from the fact that the comments appear in the order they are posted, not necessarily under the comment to which they are referring. I can't speak for zookeeper, but it seems fairly obvious to me that zookeeper is talking to the infamous BA, not to signwaver. I can understand why signwaver would have been offended if she thought that was directed at her for making a positive contribution to this debate, and why methusela would have been also.

Maybe this is a lesson for all of us: don't be too quick to jump to judgements about what we are all saying to each other. We may disagree, but let's at least listen. Signwaver and Methusela, don't give up on this site or on the debate. (That's what the trolls want...that's why they post so many nasty comments.) Your voices are welcome here. Agree or disagree, your comments are thoughtful and reasonable. I know zookeeper would agree.