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Great Event--PDX North Park Blocks Rally & March!

Portland Turns Out Radical
AntiWar Protestors in the Streets
in Solidarity with Feb. 15 Rallies Worldwide
Today's noon North Park Blocks antiwar rally and downtown march served as a vital bridging action linking the incredibly large and well-organized events on Oct. 5, Nov. 17 and Jan 18 with what's to come in Portland.

The everyday people who attended today's radical gathering didn't worry about the weather, they didn't worry about permits, they didn't worry about side-issue messages. A crowd estimated in the high hundreds to low thousands simply came together with little notice and no traditional organization via the Portland IndyMedia Web site and word-of-mouth communication to loudly say

NO WAR!!

One of the best features of today's rally was the dozen or so members of the crowd who summoned their courage and got up on the park benches or just stood in front of their brothers and sisters and spoke from their hearts. No special guests. No prepared speeches. No appeals for donations, and no friggin' sound system!

I swear, those people connected better with the crowd than ANYONE else I've seen on the elaborate stages and planned agendas associated with the earlier events. See, I'm not criticizing big planned rallies. We're surely going to want and need them. Big one coming up on March 15, and we'll all be there. But let's just remember that we should listen to the workaday ordinary people who take the time to show up and really want the chance to make their voices heard. This is democracy. This is empowerment.

Moreover, this rally and march proved that the Portland antiwar movement DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT, have to worry about city/police permits. We had a damn fine orderly march down Burnside, on Broadway and more. Yes, there were cops present, but we didn't give them any reason to get weird. We marched, cars stopped, people looked on or joined in, and everything worked fine. Hey, remember we still have freedom of assembly. At least until Bush and his murderous henchmen declare martial law. Jesus, get out there and exercise that right, and face down your fears!

Lots of folks were disappointed Portland didn't have larger numbers in the streets today. Too bad. We had a more than respectable turnout in the rain, regular people voiced their opinions, we marched down Portland's main thoroughfare, and we got out our message of

NO WAR!!

Every one of the children, women and men today at the North Park Blocks can take a special pride in standing up to the Bush war machine without measured prompting and without dancing to someone else's tune. We did it on our own using a kick-ass graphic Web poster, the fabulous Portland Indy Media site, and help from the Friday morning ladies at KBOO. Some lessons to be learned all around, most definitely.

NO WAR!!
BUSH IS THE TERRORIST!!
STOP THE US MURDER IN IRAQ!!
FIGHT BACK ANY WAY YOU CAN!!
illustration for above article 15.Feb.2003 21:06

Brian Thomas

"One of the best features of today's rally was the dozen or so members of the crowd who summoned their courage and got up on the park benches or just stood in front of their brothers and sisters and spoke from their hearts. No special guests. No prepared speeches. No appeals for donations, and no friggin' sound system!" -- Lars the Infidel


I agree with Lars that we need find new ways to fight back. I'm working on something new this week. I've signed up for a new anti-war leafleting drive with MoveOn.org that I will be talking more about in another thread.

We have to reach the uncommitted, undecided, and the just plain apathetic. It's been said that the beginning of the end of the Viet Nam war was when the middle class mainstream folks joined the movement. Well, MoveOn.org may be the most successful and gutsy anti-war organizers in that mainstream.

 http://www.moveon.org/

illustration for above article
illustration for above article

Thanks from one of the usual suspects 15.Feb.2003 22:35

Jacobyte rebel@worlds.end.net

Dear ordinary middle class folks, thanks from an old red who's been marching around in the rain for decades. We may not stop them from their despicable deeds but we have won the cultural battle. Now don't stop! even if they don't bomb Iraq everything isn't all right. We have a short window of opportunity to maybe save enough of what we have to maintain life on this planet and see our kids have a future. Don't go back to sleep. And yes, it was a damn fine protest and you all were very fine indeed I love Portland so much...

resized and cropped pic for feature 16.Feb.2003 00:08

pdx indy graphics drone #6082

resized and cropped pic for feature
resized and cropped pic for feature

Thanks 16.Feb.2003 06:53

Kathryn kathryndoherty@eircom.net

I am an American currently living in Ireland, though Portland is home to me. I am a former US soldier and believe the only real protection soldiers have from being ordered to participate in immoral acts comes from citizens who keep democracy dynamic and hold their governments accountable. I am delighted to see this article because we get so little news over here about things like this in the US, and I feel the American people are quite misrepresented lately. I wasn't able to get to the big march in Dublin because my son was unwell but still got out and did Balloons Not Bombs. In our small town, my 5 year old enthusiastically gave away over 40+ "peace/no war" balloons himself. We later also joined with another 15 or so women protesting and stopping traffic (with police assistance). While it wasn't the 100,000 in Dublin or the thousands in Belfast and Sligo, it felt like it mattered very much to keep solidarity and hold the idea of peace in the world. I'm moved to tears to see Oregonians keeping light in the world. Thanks!

brave folks 16.Feb.2003 09:11

mcwho bridge2peace@yahoo.com

Thanks to all who went out without permits to exercise their right to assemble. We all need to be this brave. We must stand up to those who would silence us. Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.
NO WAR
PEACE NOW