portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

actions & protests | bikes/transportation | faith & spirituality a21 bush protests

Critical Mass Commentary

telling people who still use their cars that they are frauds for promoting progressive culture is assenine. any person willing to spend one afternoon out of their cars representing cultural change, whether or not its on the last friday of the month starting under the burnside bridge, has the same value and significance as the next. that's what makes it a MASS. that your criticism and theirs (or mine) WILL differ, is immaterial.
my first ride was m20. i'd had enough. enough with misrepresentation. enough with the RepubloCrat capitalism. enough with the "high" standard of living (rampant consumption and cultural greed) at the expense of a "third" world full of slaves and worse. i'd driven my car, sadly from NE MLK, to previous protests. driving in for one i found myself stcuk behind a mass of bikes. stopped dead. the drivers around us, especially those in the SUV's and pro-grade pickups, were irate. i just felt stupid. its tough when you realize you're keeping the wrong company.

i haven't trashed my car yet. but i'm trading it in for something that will burn biodiesel. am i a hypocrite because i ride CM? the "oldskoolers" and purists would have me feel ashamed, conflicted and unrighteous. fuck em. if i can weasel out of my corpie life-sucking gig for the day when Son of Bush is in town, i'll ride my bike and join a group of cyclists in their critique of the culture. considering that my political beliefs will not jibe 100% with a SINGLE person there (my partner included), i'll get over it if mr/ms oldskool purist doesn't like the way it gets labeled.

telling people who still use their cars that they are frauds for promoting progressive culture is assenine. any person willing to spend one afternoon out of their cars representing cultural change, whether or not its on the last friday of the month starting under the burnside bridge, has the same value and significance as the next. that's what makes it a MASS. that your criticism and theirs (or mine) WILL differ, is immaterial.

that a ride promoting cycle culture would naturally mutate into a ride against the "New American Century", its wars, its architects and its puppets, shouldn't be a suprise to anyone. i'm always disappointed in our progress when we act like such morons. totalitarianism, apparently, isn't exclusive to the right.

whatever one contribuutes to activism and initiation of change adds to the idea of critical mass. those two words are not the provennance of the every-last-friday-under-the-bridge bike bloc. its a concept with its roots, i think, in physics and has come to be discussed in every way we look at the world. from the original physics to metaphysics. there is mass of metaphysical energy created by our opposition, in all its forms, to the ongoing quickening towards cataclysm. as that body of energy builds toward its own critical mass we can't be made ashamed for any effort no matter how small.
hm 05.Aug.2003 12:57

miraz

did someone really criticize you for driving and partaking in CM? that's pretty pathetic. i havent experienced that kind of thing though i am like you. i have a car that i drive because i have to be in a million different places all the time. i have family out of town that i like to visit and school and work. i am not making excuses. its just the way it is. i dont have time to commute via public transportation all the time. i know that once things settle, i will be able to. i am just glad that i have bike that i ride around town when making short trips and i participate in CM when i can. i am just proud of that fact and everyone else can shove it up their booties.

kinda funny ironic 05.Aug.2003 14:02

Ironnic

For all this bike riding to protest cars or promote bike riding I find its kind of ironic that the public is doing just the opposite. They are increasingly trading in their cars for gashog SUVs. In other words the real battle right now should not be against cars but the growing SUV fad menace. Bush and his cronies even recently passed legislation giving a big taxwrite off for business owners that buy the over 6000 lb giant SUVs like the Hummer and Yukons. The media is totally soaked in SUV advertising and cash back offers. Critical mass is a fantastic cause but it seems ineffective from stopping this environmentally catastrophic trend.

Responsible Car Use 06.Aug.2003 19:04

Not an Oxymoron...

There is such a thing as responsible car use vs. irresponsible car use. I don't think anyone that rides in CM believes that all the the cars and trucks will actually vanish *poof* into thin air. But, responsible car use includes (1) using a fuel-efficient, less-polluting vehicle, (2) using an alternative to a fossil fuel burning personal vehicle for as many short local trips for commuting, grocery shopping, other errands and social visits as possible, i.e. walking, biking or using transit instead of your car or truck, (3) planning car trips you can't avoid to minimize enviro impacts, etc., etc.

See, for example:  http://www.mobilityweek-europe.org/thematic/car_use.html for more info on responsible car use.