portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

actions & protests | imperialism & war m20: day x

Protest is Proof of Effectiveness of Radical Approach

After hearing tireless complaints from liberals about radicals and direct action, after hearing insistent pleas that protests must be law abiding, after all the perjoratives about radicals, anarchists, etc, how fucking wonderful it is to see how effective direct action really is!
Portland, you've changed history.

To the liberals, peace be with you. Tonight's protests were almost entirely peaceful. If we could get the attention of the media and majority through legal protests, then that's what we should do. If we could change the government through the legal means that are supposed to be available to us, then that's what we should do.

But, we need to face the facts. We are enemies of the very system that we hope we will change. Our government is not a true democracy as few people participate in or acknowledge the responsibilities of self-governance. Our legal system is classist (lawyers cost money; bail costs money; whites are typically handed less severe sentences for the same crimes as non-whites; money promotes legislators into election). The people who flair 'freedom' and 'liberty' as American rationales for war and consensus are, very unfortunately, products of the mind-numbing, consent manufacturing machine of the corporate system.

For example, immediately after Bush's televised ultimatum on Monday, a poll of about 700 people was conducted. This poll found that 77% of people who had viewed the speech were in favor of the US position as opposed to 60% of those who did not view the speech. A large number of the people polled (note that a post 5:00 PM telephone poll limited to people over 18 has specific demographics that are probably more in favor of the war than others to begin with) had seen the speech.

The result? A slight (and likely temporary) statistical increase in support of the president's position. This increase, which can be tied directly to the time of polling and the speech (how interesting the president's instruction to Iraqis to not destroy oil wells (in fact, it is considered a 'war crime')) has been bandied about all week long as though it was a meaningful increase in support for war.

Through the protests Tonight, far stronger than any since the 60's, a true spirit of freedom, democracy, and independence has been shown. The American people are not all drones. Despite the persistent efforts of the administration and it's corporate backers through media, legislation, and agression, has not destroyed the American love of liberty. Instead, more and more are coming around. More and more and seeing, perhaps for the first time, perhaps as reaffirmation, or perhaps as they have seen continuously: A Democracy must be governed by the people.

Today the people of Portland assumed there own governorship and demonstrated very effectively through efforts thought of these days as radical, that the basic human right to peace is worth defying centralized authority. That makes me very proud to be your countryman. Thank you, peace activists, for shutting down the city and starting up the evolution of the American consciousness.

p.s. Fuck off rightwing trolls!
Reality Check 21.Mar.2003 01:44

Oz

The only consciousness you changed was that of the police. The patience the police showed tonight will be only a pleasant memory after the Mayor rips the Chief a new one in the morning after all this hits the wires. The orders for more pepper spray are already being placed...

I know everyone thinks all this direct, totally radical action "accomplished" something, but trust me you only succeded in completely alienating the only people who you might have actually persuaded to your point of view... The middle class.

Any semi-politically astute person already knows this already. The big political battles are fought on the edges of the society for minority and upper class votes, but the middle ultimately decides close elections and they can be a fickle bunch. And if history holds true, in times of crisis and unstability they tend to seek the shelter of a more conservative administration.

The working lower class is already sympathetic, but too busy eeking out a living to pay any attention to you or to your cause. The upper class simply ignores you from behind their gated communities and could and will continue to care less. I'm guessng that contributions to the RNC will skyrocket in the next election cycle - your frolicking friends all but wrote the commericals and fund raising pamphlets tonight.

All that is left are the folks that were trying to get home to their families tonight after a hard days work while your merry bunch was blocking the highways and bridges. Think about it for just a second - the typically right-moderate leaning middle class will never join any of your protests now, especially if they think it will likely degrade into the idiocy that resulted tonight.

Unlike the great unwashed hippie crowd, they have too much to loose. They value their house, their car, the cruise they are planning this spring, and have spent their life working their way up in their careers and aren't going to risk having their boss see them on Action 8 news in "solidarity" with the idiots the "radicals" proved themselves to be tonight (especially not in this economy).

You probably alreay know this, but you screwed up...Mr. and Mrs. Slightly Above Average have tuned out - they watch the "corporate media" almost religiously, they listen to Rush and Shawn Hannity, not KBOO (the Right media is going to have a field day with this tomorrow - and bad for you, but they will be able to ridicule you tomorrow because the war is going well and they don't have to be "somber", they can yuk it up - the interns are in the studios right now working up the 1:30 bits that will be used to bump commercials tomorrow), they vote in huge numbers, and the coverage you got tonight from the local talking heads coupled with the early success of the war will make Rush's voice sound even sweeter to them tomorrow now that "order" has been restored. Their frustration and anger will send the next set of polls firmly into agreement with the government's actions in Iraq.

Tell your radical friends that unwittingly they did more damage to their cause than they could possibly ever realize. Hope you enjoyed the party, because the hangover will sting like hell tomorrow.

Were I a sincere, law abiding, bleeding-heart liberal dem I would be mad as hell with this childish and negative behavior that will haunt them during the next few years. After all, the Democrats were already on a fast track to self descruction and the successful execution of this war with minimal casualties will seal their fate in 2004. The good Rev. Sharpton will almost certainly assist the Greens and the whatever eco-splinter inserts themselves into the election to split the Democratic vote and Hillary or Mr. Lieberman just ain't gonna cut it to bring the party back together.

Now, since I'm not, I guess I should just say thanks for the help.

By the way, I think it is two words "right wing".

one thing... 21.Mar.2003 01:54

Alex

Apparently everybody else is still sitting in the Ministry of Love right now and I'm just posting to everything. I was released earlier, and am now waiting for my partner to be released.

I agree with nearly everything posted above except:

<snip>
how fucking wonderful it is to see how effective direct action really is!
<snip>

I have some problems with the way "direct action" and "civil disobedience" are used today.

In the case of DA, the action itself must have value in and of itself, like the hungry storming a warehouse for food, or whatshername (no disrespect intended, I just can't remember) who was killed blocking the Israeli bulldozer, going on base and damaging war toys, etc...

CD is the active resistance to unjust laws Rosa Parks refusing to move, Gandhi picking up the contraband salt, "coloreds" sitting down at the lunchcounter, etc...

Sitting in an intersection, while I've done it and applaude all those who do, doesn't fit either of these models. Personally, I have no desire to sit in an intersection and don't really resent the idea that I'll be removed. It is true that drivers get pissed, and aside from making a statement about cars and oil dependency, it doesn't sell to the public at large.

WE NEED SOLID IDEAS FOR ACTIONS. They are out there, but no one has thought of them yet. Everyone is a leader and should think like one. Never planned anything before? Here's your chance. Think it's a stupid idea? Might be. History will be the judge.

We have nothing to lose.

sean hannity???? 22.Mar.2003 01:16

oblio

you say this!:

<<Mr. and Mrs. Slightly Above Average have tuned out - they watch the "corporate media" almost religiously, they listen to Rush and Shawn Hannity, not KBOO>>

really?! your an idiot you cant even spell the name of the idiot who you listen to. 620 is not the truth, friend.

you are WRONG about the effect on middle america. know why???

cause when we go into baghdad, and bodies start coming back, the middle class you so condescendingly attempt to represent will PROVE you wrong.

LONG LIVE INDYMEDIA!!!!

FREEDOM IS A DIRECT ACTION! 22.Mar.2003 01:26

seven

it lukewarm liberals like the last two responders who bring all good movements down. if you guys want to have a pleasant, non-offending, and non-controversial protest, do it over lattes at starbucks. i'm sure that would score bigger points with the sheeple at large and probably get a stellar review in the Oregonian. the masses don't care, as long as they are not inconvenienced, they'll follow the leader whether its Hitler or Bush. and the only reason the cops didn't beat EVERYONE is because there were too many groups. or do you think its because the cops really want to be your friend? anyone remember pepper-sprayed babies? there was at least 3 different groups of marchers/sitters and 2 different groups of cyclists. organized military action (such as police riot tactics) always come up short against guerilla tactics. why do you think we lost Vietnam? This weeks actions are a perfect example of how effective guerilla tactics can be. Ten Davids will always win against one Goliath.

Punching Mirrors. 22.Mar.2003 04:02

Hoping for something better.

Radical left?
Radical right?
They meet hand in hand in this ring of politics. "Direct Action" leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, much like the "Direct Action" our administration is taking in Iraq does. There has to be a better way than knocking down police bikes. It makes me sick to watch these men in their riot gear beat a peaceful protester down. It also makes me sick to watch hypocrites vandalize and incite inflammatory behavior within the police just so they can cry Martyr. You don't bitch about the cops when they stop the thief from robbing your house, but you do when they do another part of their job, riot control. This is not an excuse for what a lot of these officers do, they above any other should keep their temper in check if they are to uphold the ideals they swear to protect. Yet it seems half the reason shit gets so hairy in a protest is because "radicals" make it seem like everyone is against the police, not the war. I don't see these people marching down in solidarity,(this does not go to the majority of the protesters, just the violent/destructive ones,) I saw assholes ready to destroy ideals that so many good people were trying to voice for their own selfish agendas or misguided anger.
Get up, speak out, scream if you have to. But the moment you raise a fist to try and lower another, your fist smashes the mirror.
..........
Pertaining to "Freedom is a direct action",
Yes the riot police pepper-sprayed a baby, and it was wrong, completely and utterly. But your opinion screams gratitude for the atrocity, so you can hold it up for martyrdom and show everyone how evil these "fascists" are. If you were there would you get sprayed in the face for that child? Or would you stand by, because a baby being sprayed would incite more of a reaction for you to cry out about. Your "with us or against us" attitude for the police is the same as Bush's was against the French when they spoke out against war. It smacks of McCarthy-esque "gasoline and match" rhetoric. You don't have to be violent or destructive to be controversial. I ask you to look at the dictionary definition of fascist and take a long hard look at your agenda.

fas·cist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fshst)
n.
1. often Fascist, An advocate or adherent of fascism.
2. A reactionary or dictatorial person.

Fanning the flames of police brutality to further ones selfish agenda is reactionary.
Using fists to stop fights is reactionary.

Opps. 22.Mar.2003 04:19

NIHIL SINE SPE

P.S.
Oblio,

"really?! your an idiot you cant even spell the name of the idiot who you listen to. 620 is not the truth, friend."

If you are going to criticize Oz on spelling errors, proof-read your response first, it just looks bad. Also when you attack an argument with something as trivial as a spelling error, it makes you look like you are in a 1st grade argument. The you're a poo-face doesn't cut it.

Yeah right... 22.Mar.2003 07:26

Woodsman

"Protest is Proof of Effectiveness of Radical Approach"

The only thing you did was delay some jocks from getting to the bars downtown...

Hmmm 11.Apr.2004 13:45

Someone young

Grow up and get on with your life.
surely there's better things for you to be doing than writing this rubbish.
Even a quick masterbation sesh would be more fruitful.
Speaking of which....
Bye!