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What does the phrase "Diversity of Tactics" mean?

Does the idea of a diversity of tactics mean that every protest must include civil disobedience and disruption, or is mutual respect and solidarity built on respecting the chosen tactics at various events?
The Friday rallies have been fairly tame for a long time. Older activists, people with families, and others attend these rallies because they want to speak out but they don't want to get arrested or risk attack by the police.

Should the character of this event be respected? Do the more liberal protesters deserve a space to assemble without disruption?

What does it mean to employ a diversity of tactics?
Yes, Yes They Do 21.Mar.2003 16:40


Yes, they should be able to hold a calm, straight-forward protest if they so desire.

Similarly, we should be able to engage in direct action without receiving sanctimonious bullshit lectures from liberal types.

Not a Lecture 21.Mar.2003 16:50

Douglas Lain

Does you mean that black masked types won't be blocking traffic at tonight's rally, or that they shouldn't?

I'm not trying to lecture, I'm just trying to start a dialogue here. I can imagine that there are times (tonight for instance) where world events may necessitate impolite actions (impolite meaning that they are disrespectful of the pre-existing norms of the event) that will alienate some protesters from the others. Sometimes solidarity and mutual respect has to take a backseat to the need for disruption.

However, often this is not the case. Often enough there is no pressing need for disruption. Often enough the disruption serves no direct purpose.

Look up the Quebec FTAA protest 21.Mar.2003 17:01


I think that was the best example of a diversity of tactics plan put together for a major protest.

Don't Know 21.Mar.2003 17:18


I can't really say. Since we have no leaders, its hard to predict what autonomous groups will do. A lot of people are wiped out from last night, so perhaps not.

On diversity 21.Mar.2003 17:54

Radical Woman

Greetings, Douglas. Thanks for asking the question. We actually DO need to talk about this, because we're going to need to stand together in the face of what's to come.

Yes, diversity of tactics means people are free to do what they must do to stop this war. Some people will make this war inconvenient for those who will support it -- either explicitly or through their lifestyles.

Other people are not comfortable with that, and will find quieter ways to protest. All are valuable, so long as we suppport each other.

I believe last night's protest was a good example of this. The protest had numerous splinter groups who planned in advance the level of civil disobedience they were willing to engage in. Those wanting quiet vigils and sit-ins did so, those wanting more spectacular actions did so.

What impressed me about this is the fact that, when word came to the larger march that some bloc-ers were under attack on the steel bridge, most of the march headed toward that bridge in solidarity. It wasn't just the radicals, it was most everyone who heard the word. By the time they got there, the action was over, but the fact is, they were ready to stand with the people on the bridge.

I believe many so-called "liberals" have been thinking about this a lot, and I have seen many of them realizing that the radicals are on their side.

Not everyone agrees with radical actions, but even the stodgiest liberal needs to understand that THEY are the "lunatic fringe" to the corporate media unless the radical community takes on that burden. Make no mistake, liberals. The corporate media loves to demonize dissidents. Without us out there scaring them more than you, they would be telling the "mainstream audience" what anti-social, maladjusted dolts YOU guys are. Be thankful they're focusing that energy on us, and you are free to be the darlings of the media. I've heard them telling their audiences, time and again, how peaceful "most" of the protesters were last night, only a few were "violent."

(Violent? They just spent two hours telling us how heroic "the troops" are because they're raining bombs down on the children of baghdad, but they say we're violent because someone broke a window at McDonalds???)

Anyway, those are my thougts.

Dialogue necessary 21.Mar.2003 17:55


One point is clear: everyone should be able to express themselves and take actions as they please. Radicals shouldn't use liberals as unwilling body shields (i don't think this happened), and liberals should not play authoritarian corps by trying to impede radicals (nor did this happen). So in that sense I think it is clear, let PPRC go down without any direct action, unless people want it. Let the radicals take action! But still there was a problem yesterday.

Some radicals (anarchist or otherwise) are against violence, pointless destruction of property, flag burning, physical attacks on the media, etc. The critique is that not of tactics, or goals, but rather that of targets. Some of these people I spoke with are extremely angry. They feel they were used. They wanted to take direct action to shut down portland, but not in a way that alienated themselves from the actions occuring, and was extremely damaging to their work on outreach.

Where do I stand? Somewhere in the confused middle (between the two radical camps that is). I think perhaps we need to develop tactics that let groups function autonomously rather than as a mob. That way diversity of tactics would mean we're united in goals, autonomous and distinct in our actions.