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New Tactics Needed

We cannot continue to attempt civil disobedience by meeting in a central place and trying to block streets. Our tactics need to evolve.
Tuesday's attempts to shut down the city were a failure. Our tactics need to evolve in response to the police's changing tactics.


1. Future efforts to shut down streets need to come from a decentralized effort. Instead of gathering in one spot and attempting to overwhelm the police with numbers, how about announcing a day and time for affinity groups to take action on their own to take over streets and intersections that each group selects in small groups. Five or ten small groups would be way more effective than one big one.

2. Pick new targets. Pink Alert, with Medea Benjamin as spoke, has targeted media outlets. There are oil company facilities at the port, military facilities (eg Air National Guard at Portland Airport), banks, government buildings, etc.

3. Affinity groups could target shopping centers, malls, department stores. People could filter in one and two at a time, and then converge at a central meeting site.
Good Idea 26.Mar.2003 09:13

Non violence for peace

This suggestion is a good one, although I dont think that our efforts so far have been a complete failure. I mean, what's really going to happen? Portland isnt going to completely shut down because we the people are marching in the streets. Unfortunately there are too many people out there who just dont give as much of a damn as we do; and some actually do see us protestors as new business, so thats just one reason that I suppose our efforts could be considered "failure". Failure is our government. We must do something to make ourselves heard. Random vandalism and causing the cops to stop traffic is probably not the most effective way.
But lets move forward and get our message out. I know there are smart and creative people out there who have more good ideas...
To everyone willing to take a stand and speak their mind for peace - lets keep going!! We cant stop now!

These tactics will fail 26.Mar.2003 09:46

Victor Vet

You punks and hooligans will not succeed with such tactics. You will only alienate the vast majority.

City Under Seige 26.Mar.2003 10:41

Lars the Infidel

I think the constant protests have had a lot of effect. If you are simply watching the TV, it looks like downtown Portland is under martial law since last Thursday. I'd say that is a big crimp in the status quo.

With more protests set for the weekend, things will get much more interesting downtown. Just like the cops are doing a lot of the street and bridge blocking for us, they are also raising the emotional threat level for everyday people here in Stumptown as regards the local reaction to the invasion. Now that's progress.

Impeach Bush!

new tactics indeed 26.Mar.2003 10:42


I've been listening to suggestions and sharing my own ideas to improve the peace movement. We are definitely on the right track, but people like our friend Victor Vet here, continue to diffuse solidarity with childish insults, pepperspray, and uninformed opinions. These people are creating a verbal war and a police state within our community.

Victor, I don't know why you feel the need to be so defensive and threatening. If you really are a vet you should be proud that you fought for our right to free speech and applaud our efforts to make our voices heard. The fact is, those that break windows and assault police officers use rhetoric that is difficult to distinguish from yours.

new tactics indeed 26.Mar.2003 10:47


I've been listening to suggestions and sharing my own ideas to improve the peace movement. We are definitely on the right track, but people like our friend Victor Vet here, continue to diffuse solidarity with childish insults, pepperspray, and uninformed opinions. These people are creating a verbal war and a police state within our community.

Victor, I don't know why you feel the need to be so defensive and threatening. If you really are a vet you should be proud that you fought for our right to free speech and applaud our efforts to make our voices heard. The fact is, those that break windows and assault police officers use rhetoric that is difficult to distinguish from yours.

Who Cares About Vast Majority?? 26.Mar.2003 11:12


I for one no longer care about offending the opinions of the "vast majority". The vast majority are those Americans who sit comfortably at home every night and watch CNN. The vast majority do not care how many children and civilians will die because of what their tax dollars support. And the vast majority have nothing to lose -- they have never been in the military as I have nor do they know anyone in Iraq today. The vast majority also don't vote, but they are very interested in who wins the American Idol contest. So I could care less about any of those bastards.

The truth is that without huge casualties and without mass demonstartions in all American cities the Bush administration will continue to fight this illegal war. The reason that we must shut down America is so that the world will know that a significant number of Americans are against this war. We will show that we do not want Bush to attack any other countries like Syria or Iran. And if we can hurt the nation's economy (which is deserved after what we have done) then Mr. Bush will be thrown out of office and we can rebuild our country and our alliances with other nations.

It's not enough to be heard. 26.Mar.2003 11:35

John Shepard squid@flyingmice.com

It's not enough to be heard, we must have something articulate to say. I mean, any bunch of drunken hooligans can shut down traffic or clog up a mall. And for that reason, that's exactly what most of Portland thinks we are.

This city needs educating. Look how many people have this hopelessly simplistic view of it, that you either support Bush's decision to start this war when he did, or you're personally on al-Qaida's payroll. Look how many people are going around saying "yeah, these damn protestors, all they ever do is clog up traffic" - they have completely missed the point. If the idea is to link, in their minds, traffic disruption with war, we've failed: they now link traffic disruption with peace. Ask around if you don't believe me.

I'm not saying we'd do well to stand on street corners and shout at people. It doesn't work when the preachers do it, so I doubt we'd have better luck. But signs, bumper stickers, and performing acts of culture jamming on newsboxes, just to get words before people's eyes - words they won't hear on KOIN-6 - now that has a chance of, if not changing people's minds, of putting concepts INTO their minds, and letting them digest. Simply annoying them has only done that: annoy them and close off their desire to learn. They now know all about us they want to know.

An idea I've been tinkering with for awhile: offline pirate TV. Blank videotapes are what, $1 each now? And many DVD players will play video CDs, which are the cost of a blank CD. So it's feasible to produce weekly "TV" shows - news and exposition - that can be handed out on street corners. They might initially go only to people who are sympathetic to our cause anyway, but those people have friends. Imagine the tapes being surreptitiously left playing on a TV when they've got friends over. Imagine the VCDs accidentally left in friends' DVD players when you're at their house. Produce a show that looks like a news broadcast, with a newsroom and all, to sucker them in. I don't know if we have the resources to do this and make it look good enough - you know how people value style over substance - but it's a thought.

Hmmm. An idea just hit me: didn't the Supreme Court just hand one down saying it's okay for abortion protestors to block access to clinics? "End 60th Trimester Abortions!" (I noticed when I had that sign up, with the picture of the dead soldier, the pro-war people AVERTED THEIR EYES. Funny - you can show us pictures of peace and we don't have to shield our eyes.) Wonder if we can use that to help cover our asses when blocking access to government buildings?

Effective 26.Mar.2003 11:35


Protests are obviously having an effect, because the PBA is bitching to the Portland Tribune (incidentally the only decent coverage that has come out this week) about lost business due to protests. So, in that regard, we are succeding somewhat.

Here's a tactic I'd like to share: Covert black bloc. Gather together a group of people who want to black bloc. Find your local mall. Walk in dressed as normal folks. Carry black bloc materials in a backpack or bag or something. Use dressing rooms or mall bathrooms to change into black bloc regalia. Form black bloc at pre-arranged meeting point. At this point, in all likelihood, you wouldn't even have to do anything but walk around the mall to cause it to get shut down. One whiff of the black bloc and they'll freak out and shut the whole place down for you. The worst that could happen is they'll trespass you out of the mall if you refuse to leave. However, by this point the mall is probably already in an uproar and you can leave having already fucked business up without actually doing anything illegal. And, if you don't get arrested, as they have no idea who you are, you can repeat this process as much as you'd like.




I am not particularly happy with the justification for the war in Iraq, and would join a group who was truly PEACEABLY ASSEMBLING and petitioning the Government. What I see is hooligans and thugs damaging public property and breaking laws designed for public safety. I have and will continue to send letters to public officials and will vote for people who uphold and enforce the constitution. I will attend public meetings and get involved with local representatives. People who make a difference are the ones involved with the process not the ones standing on the sidelines breaking laws and complaining. So peaceable assemble near to your favorite government office. Make signs that state your issues and petition for change, and perhaps the other law abiding citizens of Portland will gather with you. Continue to break the law and watch your numbers shrink and the out cry for more police protection to increase. It seams to me that there were far more people willing to participate on Thursday when they thought that the protest would be peaceful than any other subsequent protest.

I'm seeing some good ideas here... 26.Mar.2003 19:37

Skwirl ominous_squirrel@hotmail.com

The problem with a lot of the current civil disobedience is that it's not nearly as poetic as previous movements. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were fighting the same laws that they were breaking, but there are several levels of abstraction between the laws we're breaking and the ideals we're espousing.

I think current FCC policy is ripe for civil disobedience. The ideal of the law is to protect the public airways for the best public use and that means creating ideological diversity. Well, it's pretty clear that there is no ideological diversity and the FCC continues to deregulate the airways and hand them over to polyopoly and monopoly control.

I think old school pirating of the airways is called for. From what I understand, Clearchannel owns a majority of all radio stations and they're quite pro-war. There's sure a lot of empty channels on the TV antenna, too. Is pirating cable feeds with a non-obstructive "tune to channel 11 for the truth" banner technically feasible?

The readmittance of military recruiters into public schools is another law we can fight head on. Why not put peace recruits in the public schools?

I like the culture jamming ideas given here. The psych-out black bloc idea is amusing, although I'm not sure how benign intimidation fares in the court of public opinion. How about "Bush Jr. has a posse" stickers with a link to http://www.newamericancentury.org/ or a summary of their scary-ass goals? Stuffing newspapers with well-argued leaflets?

Here's an idea I really like, on sunny days, set up tons of free Internet access terminals in public places utilizing one of the public wireless networks. Power it as much as possible with bicycle generators. Have one of the peace groups draw up a quick quiz designed to have people scratching their heads going, "whoa, I had no idea. Why didn't the media tell me this?" and make the quiz the only prerequisite for using the network without restriction. This action, although a little unwieldy, would have the potential to unite a number of activist communities in Portland: Free Geek, bicyclist, old school peace educators and media activists to name a few. Think of it as a New Media learn-in.

stopping traffic, educating with leapfrog 27.Mar.2003 10:51

macaano hannahdee@hotmail.com

I was reading at one point about an idea to stop traffic through a leap frogging approach rather than a full blockade. Sign weilding chains would step in front of lines of traffic, allow one line to pass, as another chain of folks with signs is stepping in...the person who wrote this pointed out that it would slow traffic, but also force drivers to see the signs...I have been making a lot of signs geared toward public awareness and would be interested in helping organize this type of road blocking to go alongside anything else that is happening on Friday. Also, in Germany, (I think) there were protesters with "blood" on thier hands...I think for the above leap frog, it would be pretty effective to have signs in red and black and white that say something like "you have blood on your hands too..." other ideas are "are you really gonna ride the fence?," "rethink representative democracy," "think past Bush and see the whole system," "those who sit idly by are becoming the minority"... I think these kind of tactics are important because there ARE alot of folks riding the fence...coming up with a bazillion excuses about why they are not protesting, why they are not looking at the larger ramifications and intersections of this war in the global schema, why they are powerless, etc. Protests must get larger...people are generally like cows, they will follow the herd. And though I am a part of the radical protests and want to fuck capitalism, etc...I think there needs to be some shifting toward focusing on communicating to these cars and folks on the street WHAT exactly is being protested out there, why, and how...I say yes for the "down with BUsh"...but if true shifts in conciousness are to occur, especially if these protests will segway into more people's power which includes arresting the state and its hold, and identifying it as an inviable form of control along with asking questions about representative democracy in this country and as it is being tooted all over the world...all of this will continue to be a point of contention after the war in Iraq is over if we seek to incorporate into these protests a host of issues...This war is not happening in a vacuum, and history repeats itself... This is not just about Iraq...it is about connections to larger institutions and systems of power that ARE NOT VIABLE--look at the inequality in purely economic terms, and expand that into historical, physcological and political and environmental...So back to the protests, I for one will be gearing my signs toward scathing and provacative messages that indicte apathetic, unsure, unthinking people...and I also think the neighborhood protests are an ideal site to begin this messaging (of course, alongside all the others that are just as important...Who wants to join in on the leapfrog and where, how, etc.???