The September 5th weekly Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's rally and march for peace was another step in sharply dropping numbers and enthusiasm for the weekly marches. Approximately 30 to 40 people attended the march, which generally has a short rally and speeches at Pioneer Square and a march to City Hall for more speeches, and a march back to Pioineer Square. The crowd has become increasingly subdued throughout the last several months; at several points during this week's rally, the only person chanting was the person with the megaphone. The marchers are also increasingly more representative of older peace activists as youth and young adult participation has become rare.
During the march, a woman who appeared to be pregnant and about 40 years old collapsed onto the sidewalk, her abdomen and face hitting the sidewalk with relative force. Several marchers helped her to her feet and assisted her in walking to City Hall; once at City Hall, marchers asked for a sugar-loaded snack to give her. The symbolism of a pregnant woman, full of the potential for life, collapsing from low blood sugar was not lost on all of the marchers. Many members of the defacto leadership in the PPRC have continuously distanced themselves from Portland's energetic youth activist culture. At a PPRC meeting several months ago, a member of the leadership stated that he did not like the "element" that came to peace rallies as a result of posting announcements on Portland Indymedia. Other defacto leaders have stated that they did not want to allow people to wear black bandannas at the rallies, a tactic employed by a disproportionate amount of younger activists. This is in stark contrast to the actions of the older women of Code Pink, who has worn pink bandannas to demonstrate support of a variety of tactics and activists. Through the words and actions of some of the PPRC, many activists have felt pushed away from participation in PPRC events. It is as if PPRC is the pregnant woman who fell during this week's rally; full of creative force but low on blood sugar, the organization has refused to energize itself by embracing a variety of ideas that are held by the youthful activist culture. The correlation that the PPRC has apparently written off Portland Indymedia and that the weekly rallies are smaller than ever has not gone unnoticed by many in the activist community.
Many defacto members of the PPRC leadership are frustrated and upset by this lack of momentum. Several members of the PPRC have continued to post "unofficial" announcements on Portland Indymedia and to engage the youth and young adult activists during more energetic events such as Critical Mass and the zine symposium. While the more conservative members of the PPRC work to engage churches and priests and encourage the organization to ignore or actively discourage radicals and revolutionaries, other members contiue to speak out in support of more vigorous action. Just like Portland Indymedia, the PPRC is an open group that anyone can influence simply by attending planning meetings. Some activists have pointed out that if a sizable contingent of radicals and revolutionaries took part in the PPRC organizing meetings, they could easily be a swing voting block and provide a sugar rush for the weakened PPRC.