portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

alternative media | community building | human & civil rights | imperialism & war | police / legal | political theory

How the F15 march could have been better, and a call for respect and solidarity

People should stop debating and dividing.
I have to disagree with you just a bit, spark...

Diversity of tactics means just that: diversity.

We need all kinds of actions, including the big peace marches that we both find kinda boring. But just because you and I think they are boring, and waste tons of money on unecessary permits and "free" speech rights, doesn't make them useless.

We should be embracing each other's tactics and supporting each other, not arguing amongst ourselves. "Radical" marches (although I would hardly call yesterday's march radical in terms of tactics or message) should be more inclusive of liberal folk, and the big permitted marches should encourage more creative forms of direct action. Instead, posts like yours (and similar posts from the other "side") have polarized us into two camps. This divide between "good" protestors and "bad" protestors will work great for the cops when they decide to attack us.

Let's not do their work for them.

And one thing that they do better is organization.

From another rant of mine:

Clearly, we do not need permits. But we do need a little more organization. Yesterday's action was pretty good, but could have been so much better.

If someone had actually worked on publicity (making/distributing flyers, telling KBOO, other stuff) there might have been 3000 people instead of 300. I believe it is pretty irresponsible and lazy to call an action by only announcing it on Indymedia.

If someone had done some minimal logistical support we might have had a bullhorn or two for the speeches, street medics to help deal with the pepper spray, and copwatchers to document cop crap.

If people had agreed on a plan, we might have gone somewhere with more of a political point than shutting down the entertainment district.

We do not need permits, tons of meetings, parade marshalls, etc. but we do need some minimal organization.
success without planning 17.Feb.2003 12:22


I agree that the march could have been a little better organized, if only to be a little more clear on the route, even though the trip over the Burnside bridge was a bit of spontaneous genius. The only criticism I have is the aimless wandering south of Pioneer square on the empty streets, but even then, it's not like I propose making a map for the cops to set up barricades at. I don't know what the solution is, and even given the amorphous leadership, it rocked.

I'd like to thank everyone who turned out, all the people in cars who showed their support in small ways, and those cops who kept their cool and went with the flow.

reply 18.Feb.2003 10:53


This sort of spontaneous action will improve. This is part of the work of people empowering themselves. See something that needs doing? go do it! don't see posters up? make some and go flyering. We do need practice at self organizing and in the long run, I believe it will help us more than having 'organizers' do it for us.

I agree that there is room for 'a diversity of tactics'. I do wish to point out some things though

One, tame permitted marches would be more palatable if there were a greater sense of urgency expressed there. There is a helluva lot more at stake than just this one assault on Iraq.

Two, it gets said over and over again that parents need to feel like the march is safe to bring their kids to. Gotta let all those parents know that their kids are not safe, not at the march, and not at home. We are facing global war, and a potential global environmental collapse. Letting the children sit in front of a TV or video games will do far more harm than attending an unpermitted march. The vast number of children taking these terrible drugs like Ridilin shows how fundamentally unsafe the world is.

Do let us speak clearly about what we face and the situation we are in. Sure, get a permit, but that does not mean that the message needs to be narrow

To me, the difference between 'radical' and 'liberal' is not whether there is a permit, but in the willingness to speak frankly to the truth of the matters at hand regardless of social palatability, and then to make a determined effort to address such matters in ones own life.