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Let's stop this squabbling and work on making actions better

A response to all the "our unpermitted action was so much better than yours" BS
I have to disagree with you just a bit, spark, lars, and others...

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.
Yeah but 17.Feb.2003 12:19

Jacobyte rebel@worldsend.net

While I generally agree about cooperation, sweetness and light, etc., the newly minted Bourgois protesters need to understand a few things. They're not running the show. This is about more than the upcoming escalation of the war. Even if we run off the Busha Nostra it's not over. The capitalist system is destroying the systems and wasting the resources we need to survive and it cannot be reformed. Their happy little lifestyle isn't sustainable and can't be allowed to continue. You don't stop Nazis by marching on the disewalks and we are dealing with Nazis. AND WE WILL TAKE THE STREETS, WE WILL RIOT IF WE NEED TO, WE WILL COMMIT DIRECT ACTIONS WHEN JUSTIFIED AND IF THEY DON'T LIKE IT THEY CAN FUCKING GET OUT OF THE WAY! I've been fighting this system and putting my head in the noose for a long time now and I don't need some yuppie to tell me what to think or where to march. No Fucking Comprise in the Defense of Our Planet!

response 18.Feb.2003 10:19

to "contest"

Uh, we DID have medics and we DID have cop watchers. I know, cuz I was a cop watcher. And I watched a medic come to the rescue of three people who were pepper sprayed.

Irresponsible? How so? Staying home would have been irresponsible. Deciding to come to the streets was anything BUT irresponsible. I know you knew about the action in advance, "not a contest." If you thought it was important to flyer and announce in a big way, you were free to do that. That's what this is all about. Do what you wanna do. I know, it's a big leap from what we learn in this culture, but make the leap!

Having said that, I will agree that there is also merit in the big marches. If that's what those folks wanna do, let em. And I will be there. (Unless another peace cop shoves me out of an intersection....)

I think the point of the posts about Saturday is to provoke discussion, which is good. Yes, we DO need a diversity of tactics, and a healthy respect for each other. I think it's great that some folks want to spend time organizing a big march. But I don't think it's great to have them trying to herd me through the streets, and I don't think it's great when I see them helping the cops to oppress people. That really stinks. That's been happening a lot, and it needs to stop. Other than that, though, thanks for your hard work too.

I had a much better time on Saturday, and see? It worked! We've had a big problem with the cops here in PDX -- if u hadn't noticed. So one would have expected more problems from them this weekend. But no! They were actually very cool for the most part. I think it helped to deal with them as equals rather than dealing with them in a position of plebe-authority figure. We all marched together this time, we and the cops. (Except the ones who rode that big tank thing.) I think this helped us to see each other as human beings.

I will say that it's a little sad to be grateful that they weren't more brutal than they were, considering that they arrested four people for nothing more than sitting in the street, they pepper sprayed half dozen others for nothing, and they shoved me and others around some on Broadway. But I am grateful. Because I also saw several officers who were unwilling to play that game, and I saw lots of officers who treated protestors with respect. I actually joked with one for awhile, and he seemed decent enough.

(Mr. Rowly, or whatever your name is, though, you're an asshole. You make your comrades look bad. Are you impotent or something? Is that why you gotta fondle that gun and shoot off pepper spray with that salacious grimmace?)

basically a good point 18.Feb.2003 11:15

deva

Got no problem with a permitted march - go for it - even though I find them personally unsatisfying, and do not believe they will do that much good, I have still helped promote them because every little bit helps and we are in deep dodo.

I do have a problem when I learn that the controlling male personalities of PPRC are actively working against free media outlets like indymedia. These dominating male types just cannot stand something happening that they do not control, so just like the typical social pattern they will try to ostracize, minimize and deter it from happening. To hear tales from numerous sources that PPRC had some sort of vote to not post anything to indymedia and then to hear other stories from around the state about how some of the peace organizers have been bad mouthing indymedia and other radical efforts has let me know who is an ally and who is not.

The big organized demonstrations do serve a function, but some of the people organizing them are on the wrong side of the fence and so will ultimately undermine a true peoples movement because they would not longer be in control.

what?? 18.Feb.2003 11:43

CatWoman

PPRC had a vote not to post to indymedia?? Is that true? Well, fuck them. What nonsensical crap. If they want to give up their voice then let them. It's their choice. Guess I won't be hearing about their marches from now on, though, nor helping them post their flyers. Because I don't pay attention to the "mainstream" corporate media, and I have always dutifully downloaded their flyers from indymedia and posted them all over town in preparation for their big ass marches.

See? Organization can strangle, can't it.

You guys at PPRC seem to think that because you are privileged white guys, everyone else who "matters" is too. You're constantly pandering to the chimerical "masses" out of self interest. Really. Just because you see the world a certain way doesn't mean that's how the "masses" want you to structure everything. What you really seem to mean when you say you're "appealing to the mainstream" is that you're appealing to everyone to think and act just like you.

This is small minded.

(All this is said with the assumption that deva is correct when he reports that you guys voted not to post to indymedia. Otherwise, nevermind.)

Portland Peace... 18.Feb.2003 12:18

Bee

On Friday at the PPRC rally nothing was said about the Saturday march. I knew something stunk. I'm not surprised to find out what it was. Some of this might have risen out of several small shouting matches with drivers during the PPRC rallies over the past few months, caused by the younger more radical marchers. Of course the liberals will have none of that.

Strange though, I did shortly see one of the PPRC's privileged white guys at the intersection of Broadway and Main on Saturday before all the shit went down.

Uh, excuse me... 18.Feb.2003 22:07

Enji

why would PPRC want to hang out here after having been persistently dissed with vague rumors and innuendos here?!

not to mention the constant dissing of the coalition efforts behind the big rallies?

something stinks, and its not PPRC, or the coalition of groups

Excuse you, Enji 19.Feb.2003 00:46

Bee

If the PPRC is truly serious about ending the war shouldn't they utilize all outlets and support all actions against the war, regardless of their radical critics and allies? Instead it sounds like they are buying into vapid/elitist sectarianism, an infectous death-sentence which slowly kills any movement, radical or liberal. They aren't going to stop any wars ignoring people or actions.

Bee 19.Feb.2003 11:14

Enji

you merely confirm my point

Thoughts 19.Feb.2003 12:49

to enji

Well, you're still here anyway, tho. And that's good. Because yes, we all need to get past ourselves and our little hurt feelings and get together. Yes, I include myself in this. I'm a radical and frankly PPRC has really pissed me off with some of their criticisms of radical activists and radical tactics.

I bought into the stereotype thing too. Because I've been out there on the streets for a long time struggling to make a difference, and I suddenly see all these vapid yuppies out there telling me what to do and how to do it. And to make it even worse, they're usually clueless and wrong. So I associated that with PPRC and the whole "let's be mainstream" movement. Maybe that was wrong.

Maybe the "radicals" and the "liberals" need to come together and recognize where they have similar goals. Maybe you guys don't (yet) understand the need to dismantle the entire capitalist system. But you do at least understand the need to stop this war. Perhaps we disagree about exactly how to go about doing that. But we do agree that it needs to be done, for all of us.

I think a good place to start is where we are. I have come to all of your marches, even when I feel completely dissed by them. I post your flyers all over this town and others. And you, Enji, are still here conversing with radicals, even when you feel completely dissed by them.

Here is what I would like from "liberals." Please don't tell me how to act at a march. I've probably been doing this longer than you have. In any event, you're free to do what you believe is right. As am I.

We can discuss tactics and particulars, can disagree vehemently if we want to. But let's do it in some other forum than the middle of an intersection during a march. If you see me blocking traffic and you don't agree, just keep walking. That way, you're not participating in something you don't agree with, and you're not being an asshole either. Don't join the oppressor by trying to shove me out of the way, or standing there admonishing me for what I'm doing. If you see me wearing a mask and you don't think that fits with your cultural norms, then don't wear one. But please don't make stupid comments about it to me because you don't know what you're talking about. And do NOT try to take it off, because trust me, this would not be a good idea.

I'm not trying to be an ass here, I'm just looking for some common ground. Because we need to develop a sense of solidarity if we are going to be useful to changing this situation. There is a retarded anti christ living in the whitehouse bent on destroying the world. Our forests are nearly gone. People in Iraq are about to be blown to smithereens. The earth is struggling to survive our onslaught. These things are more important than some petty "radical/liberal" split. I'm willing to work with you guys, even if I have to say some things that might make you mad sometimes, and listen to some things that might make me mad sometimes. You're not the enemy, and I'm not the enemy.
Are you down?

Blackballed? 19.Feb.2003 14:06

Bee

I think you might have missed my point, Enji. Criticism is necessary if we want to change the world, and that includes criticism of PPRC, and radical actions like Saturday's street blockade. But boycotting possible allies is simply suicide. I've never heard anyone here on Portland Indymedia call for a shut out of PPRC. If this has happened please inform me.

If its true that "the controlling male personalities of PPRC are actively working against free media outlets like indymedia," and that there was a vote to not post information to Portland Indymedia, then we have an intensified problem within the hierarchy of PPRC. As all anarchists know, authority will always turn to tyranny, and it appears that could be happening at PPRC. Not only would such an action show a fear of losing POWER, but it also would send a message, not to Portland Indymedia, but to Portland Indymedia readers, that their participation with PPRC is undesired. That's not going to stop any wars.

Radicals have participated with PPRC rallies and respected the PPRC tactics, but I don't feel that respect goes both ways, as shown on Friday by the omission of ANY mention of the Saturday afternoon autonomous march. Perhaps that omission was just a lazy mistake or maybe PPRC members were just naively unaware of the march, or maybe I just missed it (but that's unlikely). Whatever the case, this sort of omission, and others like it should not be tolerated by anyone serious about ending war, radical or liberal.