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How did Nazi Germany happen? Here's how: Portland City Council renews PJTTF today

i went to the sham hearings for the renewal of the portland joint terrorism task force (PJTTF) today. what a fucking joke. we all knew how they were going to vote. why even bother with a hearing? this is the sorry state of most of democracy today: foregone conclusions buttered up with "process". sten and francisconni asked some questions and expressed some "concerns" in a meaningless show that will probably be characterized by the corporate media (if they bother to cover this non-event) as revealing some thoughtfulness, but their efforts were complete bullshit. were either of them ever seriously considering voting "no" on a measure that could only pass with a unanimous call? highly doubtful. it's more likely that the timber industry would voluntarily decide to stop cutting old growth; in other words, out of the realm of realistic possibility. no, today's hearing was a kangaroo court that illustrated the hollowness of the so-called "democratic" process and showed that new forms of governance are necessary if we are to create a culture with any fairness or honesty.

RELATED ARTICLE: Will this year's PJTTF agenda focus on environmentalists?
the pdx police, local fbi spook and state attorney gave a rote dog-and-pony show in which they once more trotted out the heinous crime commited by some local kids who torched ross island sand and gravel trucks in a good-hearted attempt to discourage the continued destruction of the environment. they also brought up the burning of logging trucks outside estacada. both incidents involved property destruction (which Francesconi strongly believes is "violence" -- he interrupted the citizen testimony of Mike D. to make this point), but both actions were taken to prevent greater destruction and real violence. to draw a parallel: in some cases, people who have committed property destruction against nuclear missiles have been found innocent because, though they broke the law, they were acting in the interest of a greater law; in those cases, international non-proliferation treaties for nuclear weapons. there is, in fact, a legal tradition that allows a crime to be committed if the goal is to prevent a greater crime. and that is the only sensible way to view the "crimes" of those who have targetted logging trucks, SUV carlots, ski resorts in Vail, etc. of course, this concept of a greater morality and justice did not come into play with today's PJTTF hearings. not that i expected it to, but it's important to have a reality check and remember what's really going on here.

what's really going on here is fascism that has gone from creeping to leaping. a progressive city like portland (and it really is progressive -- i'm from the midwest and can attest to this relative characterization) should stand up and say, "fuck no". i realize that city/business leaders are concerned about profits, etc., but the way portland can set itself apart and attract a vibrant population of people would be to celebrate its progressiveness and run with it. make portland a haven for the Dissenters, and believe you me we'd have no problem having a healthy economy around here, if that's what these folks want. highlight the differences, rather than conform. but vera doesn't get that. it's too bad.

what else is really going on here is a world going to hell really f'n quick. only 20% of the old growth forests are left globally. the u.s. government is pursuing imperialistic misadventures. the people of the u.s. are living indulgent wasteful lifestyles that are resting on the backs of the oppressed people of the world. the climate is changing for the worse. the environment is filling with poision. the weapons of war can destroy everything and everyone. in other words, it's time to get serious and save our collective asses. portland could be a place where the local gov't could recognize this, encourage the positive actions of its activist citizens, and set itself apart. it could say, "hey fbi -- fuck you!" and it would be beautiful.

sigh....

today was a very depressing day. to see that it didn't matter a fucking fig whether any of us spoke or not was really discouraging. we are not in control of our lives, our neighborhoods, our government, or our police force here in portland. a small group of rich people are. and what we say and do doesn't matter to them. they'll do what they want and they've bought the elected officials to make it official. it really sucks. we can look to argentina and its peoples' assemblies for inspiration, but what's the point? is any of that real, true democracy ever going to happen here? i don't think so. i think what we're looking at is a long slow steady decline into fascism, economic downturn, environmental disaster, and great suffering. today's city council vote in favor of the PJTTF was just one more nail in a coffin that's already shut over our heads. we can still breathe but that's only because the air hasn't run out. but there isn't much left. soon, we'll be gasping.

my advice?

ignore this city council bullshit. create new structures and lifestyles from the bottom up that will make them irrelevant. turn off your fucking television. boycott the corporate media. only shop at businesses that are cooperatively or collectively owned. stop driving. reject a culture that puts the opinions of experts above your own observations. go to the forest. re-discover faith. live a real life instead of a corporatized mediated existence. after you read this article, turn off your computer and never turn it on again.

instead: breathe. everything else will be clear once we figure out how to do that.


I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAY, BUT... 29.Oct.2003 23:52

Kurupted Kidd

This is OK. I agree with all you write, except with the part about turning off our computers and never turning them
on again. That is where our power is. That is how we stay connected, motivated, inspired, and informed so we
can stand up to the Beast and RESIST! So retract that idea and your commens are perfectly well put. Hang on!

exaggeration is a rhetorical device 30.Oct.2003 00:10

Ernesto Ulyanov

The point is, Korrupted Kidd, that we use our computers, tvs, etc, too much. I think the author was engaging in exaggeration as a rhetorical device. Sometimes one has to exaggerate to make a point that is important but too often ignored

makes sense! 30.Oct.2003 00:17

Kurupted Kidd

Ernesto! What you write makes sense! Thanks! I understand now!

A new culture from the bottom up 30.Oct.2003 01:06

jesse

This is what we need to do: clean up our own act.

I know some people who will voice their concerns for the state of affairs in the world in one breath, and in the next say "Hey, let's go to Wal Mart." The most radical political act possible is to live your life impeccably.

Howard Zinn said in one of his books that I read something to the effect of 'the best way to bring about a change to make the world more like you want it to be is to live your life as if it was already so.' I suggest that we live our lives as the person we want to be, encouraging the kind of interpersonal relations we would like to see in our world, patronizing nothing that we find morally reprehensible, and trusting our own judgement enough to decide for ourselves what is right.

I encourage you (that is, I grant you the courage to) think long and hard about what you believe in, then act on your beliefs. Don't be afraid to change your mind about something; that is part of growing.

There is no past. There is no future. There is only this moment.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? 30.Oct.2003 01:17

if you are

I have been trying to start some community police alternative for a LONG time now, and if you folks are serious about what you say then that helps solve the problems i've been having. Mainly not enough bodies to seriously handle calls 24-7 and train on how to deal with domestic problems. Also the police find out were stealing they're thunder and we all get locked away in a secret trial that no-one hears about. Yuk I feel like i'm being my own cointelpro here and I don't like it. The point I want to make is that You say lets do this shit and do you really mean it and what is the next step. You better not announce it here- on this wonderfull mass police monitered tool. But if you try to organize the activist by phone you wont get far either, but please try let me help we need to be desperate, every day we let this shit continue in light of what we know about what is really going on we are also to be held accountable. The phone is safer than this shit here they can't afford to TAP us all. we need to organize quickly and I am leaning with turning off this radiation screen

ummm 30.Oct.2003 03:47

juan

walmart is cheap. the co-op is EXPENSIVE. And middle class bleading heart whites wonder? Workers are sick and tired of having to pay for cheap food and cheap everything. the problem is every worker that may join any cause doesn't want to be sold out again. we are ALL so tired of being sold out by fake ass leaders.

Fascism seems to have a new meaning these days 30.Oct.2003 05:48

Patrick Henry

Fascism is now defined as when someone I disagree with politically won't do things I want them to do.

Sorry, but that's not fascism, that's called majority rule. If you had enough people on your side of the political fence, then your bidding would be done. But you don't so you call it fascism when you don't get your way.

You don't have a clue as to what real fascism is and what it can do, and I am so happy I live in a country where the best the opposition minority parties can do is call losing, fascism.

It means liberty is alive and well, and our representative republic (not a democracy) is alive and well.

the quandry 30.Oct.2003 08:11

lizzzarde

Juan is right. And when you are living on minimum wage barely making ends meet as it is, you do what you have to do. It is so easy to say "don't shope at Wal-mart because they have horrible politics and they treat their employees like shit and their corporate structure is corupt (and what corporate structure isn't) and on and on and on - and shop at the locally owned store!!!!! Yeah, all right, I will!!!!! Until I get my pay check. The simple fact of life that about 30% of Oregonians have to face every single day is that Wal-Mart is cheap, and as much as it pisses some of them off to have to know/believe one thing and do another, reality is that they can buy a whole lot more at Wal-Mart than the local coop. Ideals vs. reality. Oh the quandry...

re: Patrick Henry 30.Oct.2003 08:15

take stock of the situation

In Fresno, their JTTF sent in an undercover agent to infiltrate a Peace Group who was doing nothing even vaguely illegal. The only reason this agent was found out is because he died in a motorcycle accident and someone saw his photo in the paper and made the connection (used a different name as a 'member' of the Peace Group)

This is the act of nascent facism. This is not an over fascist state... yet... but the trend is in that direction, and many people feel it is possible that this coultry may be the next Nazi Germany.

The signs are many. Things like the Patriot Act, and further pending legislation that is considered to be Patriot Act 2. The loss of rights to an attorney, and attorney client privilege, wiretaps with no real evidence other than assertions of terrorist involvement. A definition of terrorism that would brand individuals such as Dr. Martin Luthor King as terrorists. The disappeaing of people so their families do not know what happened, the violation of due process. All of these rights have been violated. The very rights that this country proudly proclaims as a reason this country is better.

On the broader social scope, patterns of isolation, and imperialist arrogance where we bully other nations, act without regard for other nations, back out of sensible international treaties to pursue military expansion all point to a growing fascism.

I was there too 30.Oct.2003 08:16

witness to this bullshit

First, a word to Patrick Henry. Sir, it is you who hasn't a clue what fascism is. Fascism is the melding of state and corporate power into a repressive web of lies, deceit and violence. Fascism is Nike and the PBA and the timber industry strong-arming this city and its people through the PJTTF. Fascism is fearing what we say, knowing the eyes of the state and the corporate power structure are always on us. (Look up! Is that an ODOT camera staring down at you? Or is it kgw's "skycam"?) Fascism is the use of authority, through the courts, public office, the police force, even through corporately controlled media, to strip the people of their rights, their freedom, even at times their lives. Fascism is fearing we could disappear any day for something we might have said. Fascism is being beaten in the streets by "authorities" for the crime of holding a sign. Fascism is being spied upon and facing prison terms for political beliefs. In short, Mr. Henry, you're living it. If you can't see that, you've had your head in a bag. What a rude awakening you will have when they come to your door. And they will. They always do.

Second, I would like to express particular contempt for commissioner Erik Sten, who gave a long, rambling, seemingly sincere speech about why he has genuine concerns about the JTTF, why he should vote against it...right before voting aye. This is a disturbing pattern of Mr. Sten's. This is the liberal's dilemma: How to appear indignant in the face of moral outrage without actually having to do anything about it. How to dissent just enough to look good, without ever actually rocking the boat. How to spin good PR without ever biting the hand that feeds you. Mr. Sten, like others before him, surely recognizes that the hand that feeds him is also the hand that chokes us all. But he's just too fucking spinelessly comfortable to do anything about it. Next time, Mr. Sten, spare us the long winded soliloquy and just cast the damn vote.

PS Mr Henry, once again, the overwhelming majority of people who spoke out about the JTTF spoke against it. Guess that blows your "majority rule" argument, doesn't it.

reply 30.Oct.2003 08:53

Indy Reader

<<<the quandry 30.Oct.2003 08:11
lizzzarde

Juan is right. And when you are living on minimum wage barely making ends meet as it is, you do what you have to do. It is so easy to say "don't shope at Wal-mart because they have horrible politics and they treat their employees like shit and their corporate structure is corupt (and what corporate structure isn't) and on and on and on - and shop at the locally owned store!!!!! Yeah, all right, I will!!!!! Until I get my pay check. The simple fact of life that about 30% of Oregonians have to face every single day is that Wal-Mart is cheap, and as much as it pisses some of them off to have to know/believe one thing and do another, reality is that they can buy a whole lot more at Wal-Mart than the local coop. Ideals vs. reality. Oh the quandry... >>>

There are some important points to remember which undermine this supposed quandry.

1 - You cannot buy healthy food at Wal-Mart. The fruits and vegetables have no life, and are not organic. There are endless amounts of packaged highly processed foods which do not nourish. I think if you calculate over time the health benefits of eating good food you will find less cost for medical reasons, less depression and its commensurate loss of enthusiasm and productivity. In the long run, especially with healthcare in the state it is in, it pays to eat well.

2 - Buying bulk food as opposed to packaged foods brings the cost down alot. Many people who are shopping at Wal-Mart are obviously buying all the mountains of packaged stuff. Bulk food at the co-op is cheaper than packaged stuff at Wal-mart.

3 - Stop buying junk food. The isles at Wal-Mart are full of soda and candy and other empty food.

Through intelligent use of money and ones purchases, one can eat cheaply by shopping at People's coop, and be getting a very high quality of food nutrition which is essential for a healthy life.

the quandry as posed by Juan and lizzzarde 30.Oct.2003 09:03

alex

While this discussion has moved very far afield from discussion of fascism, Juan and lizzzarde make good points. The argument that workers are justified in shopping as wal-mart rather than a coop because they're too poor is a cop out, though. Many working class folks haven't yet realized tht human industrial culture is in a downward spiral and are easily preyed upon by teevee advertisers. Sure, after the premium cable bill, the car and insurance, daily McDonalds and other wasteful spending there's not much left. This is exactly why they should modify their lifestyles and support community based production and distribution. Shopping at the coop is healthier both physically and emotionally, community gardens are a great place to meet people and grow free food, the bins (if you wear gloves) can be pretty interesting and you'll never have to buy new clothes again. As long as coops are supported only by 'hippies and anarchists' their impact will be small. The trick is gradully expand their reach and starve the capitalist parasites of money, their lifeblood.

To suggest that the working class is justified in taking the easiest path because they're so downtrodden is akin to justifying an alcoholic's vast consumption of cheap wine because he/she has developed a high level of resistance and needs more to get a buzz. The American manufacturing base has disappeared and been replaced with lower wage service sector jobs. Such wage competition translates into less disposable income, shopping at wal-mart only accelerates the process.

try not to buy ...anything 30.Oct.2003 09:23

mamansita

tell me something you have to buy i will come up with an alternative. tell me what you need. right here and right now.. and i'll try to tell you how to find it. you won't always get just what you are looking for just when you are looking for it. but you will usually end up with all you need just at the right time. there is so much junk out there just wasting... no need to buy anything ever again. free has two different meanings, you know. but it all comes down to the same thing. buy little resist much

and it is much easier to make many basics then you might think or have been led to think. just give it a try. growing things is easy too. in buckets and coffe cans if you have no space.

rent is a clincher for me. i whore my poor loved one out for at least 100 hours each month just to have a place to call home. there has to be a better way. where are my 40 acres so i can feed my family and keep them sheltered?

PATRICK HENRY is a... 30.Oct.2003 09:35

i been told

As for this "Patrick Henry" and his comment, I'd not get too worked up over it, as a police pal of mine told me that
it is the handle used by this guy that monitors the Portland Indymedia website for officialdom. Sometimes he also
uses "observer" or "one who is observant". He isn't really suppose to interject his own opinions, but he seems to
get raw nerves jangled and does so from time to time. As my pal laughs, this guy is a pseudo-intellect, with the
emphasis on "pseudo" and is one serious pompous dude, so much so that even his master's laugh behind his
back! So, I'd suggest you pay little heed to his postings/comments and simply ignore them and get on to far more
important things than acknowledging such people. We've got a war to fight and don't need to bog down with silly
fruitless skirmishes.

TTFs Just COINTELPRO for Cops 30.Oct.2003 09:47

enemy combatant

FBI-run COINTELPRO by another name...

Fascism - The dictionary's meaning of the world 30.Oct.2003 11:34

Patrick Henry (another pat henry, and not some other)

Fascism
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
Oppressive, dictatorial control.

Here you can debate the meaning with the Webster dictionary..

The simple point is, if you are allowed decent in this country (and you are this blogger website is proof of that) then its still a free country.

If their is any fascism in america, its in form of political correctness.

 http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fascism

majority of people??? 30.Oct.2003 11:47

Pat Henry. (the same on from this thread)

you wrote

"PS Mr Henry, once again, the overwhelming majority of people who spoke out about the JTTF spoke against it. Guess that blows your "majority rule" argument, doesn't it. "

If you have enough like minded people who are committed to change, you can vote these guys out or the people who appointed them.

I know for a fact that you don't have enough like minded people. You have a VERY vocal minority, but that doesn't make up the difference at the ballot box.

Like I said, its not a democracy and never has been, it's a representative republic. The representative makes the laws, and you have to live with them. If enough people don't like what the representative does, they vote them out of office.

If the people are asleep (in our opinion) then that's their right, and its your right to wake them up (within the confines of the law).

You are free to be as delusional, or as indifferent as you want.

It's the free market. It always has been, and always will be. The socialist utopias and their seekers are in Europe, and that's what the people who created this country were trying to get away from.

where are my 40 acres? 30.Oct.2003 11:53

ph

Its out there, but not in portland.

you can easily afford 40 acres, but you don't get to chose where they are.

most of the western great plains can be had for a few hundred dollars an acre. Prime wheat growing country.

the problem with dictionaries 30.Oct.2003 12:16

defining fascism

Is that they lack any sort of context and often conceal their assumptions. So what is fascism?

"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power."
Benito Mussolini

"Fascism, which was not afraid to call itself reactionary... does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and anti-liberal."
Benito Mussolini

For the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism read this:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/05/265139.shtml

And another take on the characteristics ( http://www.zeppscommentaries.com/Politics/fascism.htm):

Fascism:
* Is an economic system geared to the needs, not of the people, but of the wealthy elite.
* It is a republican form of government
* It features extreme forms of nationalism.
* While Nazism is a form of fascism, fascism is not Nazism.
* Fascism creates "enemies of the fatherland" in order to gain public support. These "enemies" usually include liberals, socialists, trade unionists, and conspicuous minority groups.
* Fascism is not conservative, although it often claims to be traditional.
* Fascism will replace a free press with propaganda.

And yet another indymedia take ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/04/63267.shtml):

Let's look at Fascism on several fronts. Fascism generally implies:

* An authoritarian government.
* A militaristic policy.
* Nationalism.
* Anti-leftism.
* The police state.
* Repression of political dissidents.
* Some form of economic corporatism often parading as "populism".
* Claiming to be a democracy.
* Genocide (sometimes)

VERA AND THE 4-TOADIES VOTE FOR ASHCROFT AGAINST US 30.Oct.2003 12:21

are we surprised?

Come on people! So Vera and the 4-Toadies voted for Ashcroft against us. Is anyone seriously surprised? Get
real! When these 5 jamoke's are nothing but bought 'n' paid for hired actor's for the Portland Business Alliance,
they are going to vote according to how they're told to. No telling what the PBA's Intel folk's have on these corrupt
politician's, but it sure must be heavy-duty. Let's down get off from wondering "why" they did what they did, we all
know why. Now, the real task before us is HOW are we going to really respond? Are we going to just roll-over
and let 'em slip the PBA-dick to us, OR are we gonna bark back? Maybe bark with a real bite! Let's roll!

let's battle. 30.Oct.2003 13:11

this thing here

>Like I said, its not a democracy and never has been, it's a representative republic. The representative makes the laws, and you have to live with them. If enough people don't like what the representative does, they vote them out of office.<

if so, then how can your PJTTF be what the majority of people living in portland want? how is it based on a majority opinion if it's not up to majorities or minorities to decide, and instead simply the will of a representative?

how would the PJTTF fare if it were put up to a direct vote?

as for your immensely naive notions about fascism, explain to me how my being able to post dissenting comments freely to this internet sight automatically means fascism still couldn't happen in america? or that the federal government isn't becoming increasingly authoritarian as i write this? yes? how does that logic work, because it doesn't mean shit for shinola.

so we don't have unifomed men in swastikas walking down the streets and killing six million jewish people, so therefore my rights as a citizen are prefectly safe from unwarranted and unconstitutional government authority? so therefore, my rights and my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is somehow majically guaranteed forever and ever? how does this half-assed, childish line of thinking work? yes?

and what if, in a hypothetical future, a majority of americans, represented by politicians, voted to outlaw the bill of rights? or selectively strike away certain amendments? or allow secret trials and indeterminate sentences? if that's what the representatives of the people want, that somehow majically makes it right, makes it a good thing, makes it a good idea, absolves humans of their god given ability to fuck up in a huge, disastrous way? like the germans and italians did? like the russians and the chinese did? like the chileans and the south africans did? how does the tyranny of the majority gauarantee that it's tyranny will always be right and true and good? how can america honestly believe that it isn't capable of completely losing it?

it doesn't. american exceptionalism is the currency of proud idiots.

so to all of you out there who have a problem with people who would rather have their rights untouched than an increasingly authoritarian government "protecting" them from nothing but fear, too bad. deal with it. the fact remains: fighting terrorism has absolutely nothing to do with my rights before the court. zero. no, i refuse to accept the utterly misleading argument that my rights before the court were too liberal, and therefore they allow terrorists to get away with terrorism, so if we don't want terrorism, we need less rights before the court. and the true intent of the patriot act, as a right wing statist rewrite of u.s. criminal law, is becoming all the more apparent when i read stories in the paper about the new laws in the patriot act being used in simple criminal cases, or to catch drug dealers. what am i supposed to think when i hear about that? that the patriot act is only used against muslim men with brown skin who barely speak english and blow things up? pleeease... you're not fooling anyone but yourselves.

i find it vile and true to it's nature that the right wing of this country wants to blame freedom for terrorism. take your "we had to limit your freedom in order to save it" argument and shove it back up where it came from. YOU ARE NOT HELPING ANYTHING. YOU ARE, IN FACT, MAKING IT WORSE.

better be careful there, are we surprised... 30.Oct.2003 17:03

we wouldn't be surprised

Yes indeed! You'd better be careful there "are we surprised" for these Friends of Vera & John just might knock
on your door and then kick it in to take your away for "questioning" as you've questioned these sorry asses that
we've got as miserable excuse for so-called leaders. Let's all get a march together to run their asses out of the
City Hall and let 'em squeal all the way home. Let's roll!

Rhetoric and Republics 30.Oct.2003 19:24

Bison Boy

Before I make my main point, I just want to point out that the city council, in addition to approving the extension of the JTTF, also passed a resolution against the Patriot Act at the same meeting. While certainly it would have been better had they let the JTTF expire, or demanded and *received* local oversight as a condition of continuing it, the resolution against the UPA at the same meeting delivers a nice warning shot across the federal bow. It's not a total loss.

But that's not my point today. I'm here to talk about the loose use of the words "fascist" and "nazi" , and how that loose use helps the conservatives to dominate us.

"Fascist" and "nazi" are powerful words, ones that must not be used lightly if the user is to be taken seriously. Many posters (not just in this thread) have been careless, or deliberately inflammatory, in choosing to use them. By using them (and defending their use) in contradiction to the apparent facts, these posters demonstrate a disregard for meaningful discourse. This does the poster's credibility a grave disservice and, sadly, each such article degrades the credibility of Indymedia as a whole.

It may be that the US is becoming more fascist, in the sense of "Mussolini's own defnition of fascism as the marriage of State and Corporate Power. " I really would like to dispute that, to say it ain't so... but the facts don't support that. Our nation's government is coming further under the dominance of corporate power every year, it seems.

But even though we might be more fascist than we were, we're not a fascist state by a long margin. Not yet. I want to keep it that way. And calling the US, or Oregon, or Portland a fascist system does not help to keep it from becoming fascist in reality someday. It only makes the person using the words look like a fool or a zealot in the eyes of anyone less radical.

"We're not a fascist state." You the reader might sincerely disagree with this assertion, of course, and that's your right. (Which I take as evidence of my position, frankly. :) But even I, a person very much concerned with diminishing civil liberties and growing corporate power, a person who is actively political for liberal causes, don't see it that way. Over 90% of the population is less radical than I, and even I think this use of "fascist" and "nazi" is divisive and offputting. Think about what this means for your message, the message you must successfully deliver to the masses to achieve the victory you want.

What we need to do, if we want to fight corporate power peacefully, is to organize blocs of citizens that oppose it with a power of their own. In addition to voting, we need to avoid shopping at national chains, we need to use free or open source software, we need to support local jobs by patronizing local producers and union shops, we need to get out there and support liberal candidates for office. And especially, we need to win centrists over to our side of the ballot box. We need to ally the left and center, in a way that will effectively oppose the right.

An earlier poster defended the use of rhetorical exaggeration as a necessary tool of communication. I think Karl Rove and the folks who sold the public on a war would agree. But I don't.

And that is why I object so fervently to the careless use of "fascist" and "nazi" to smear anyone or anything that the poster hates. They are exaggerations of the worst sort. These words do not encourage centrists, these words do not cause moderates to re-think their positions, these words do not unify the natural opponents of the right. These words divide them. Their very use induces moderates to ignore radicals as irrelevant fanatics. And this is a tragedy, because the two groups are much stronger together than they are separately. And together can they beat Bush.

Any rhetorical benefit gained from these words is dwarfed by the aid and comfort they give to the right, by the disdain the words generate among our centrist allies and the libertarian right.

Strident shouting is not all there is to activism. Please don't gratify the desire to shout inflammatory epithets even if it harms the cause.

(The ad hominem attack on the poster "Patrick Henry" by "i been told" is deplorable. Do we stand for free speech here, or not? I wonder: when will the jackboot posters come to falsely denounce me as an agent? Don't become what you hate.)

hah... the anti patriot act thing 30.Oct.2003 21:13

boonplod

" the resolution against the UPA at the same meeting delivers a nice warning shot across the federal bow. It's not a total loss. "

it is a total loss

that resolution against the patriot act means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, it is nothing but symbolic...

whereas the JTTF actually effects how we live our lives... they are just throwing the dog a bone my friend... . .

anywho.. again... the anti-patriot act thing is worthless... had they passed this years ago (when it was introduced) then it would have mattered.

pattern emerging 30.Oct.2003 21:51

original and honorable Patrick Henry

Points have been made regarding majority rule, representative government, and public input at PJTTF hearings. Who's interested in gathering signatures to put the issue before Portland voters directly? If shit canning the PJTTF were put to the voters of PDX, how would it turn out?

P.S. Secret police can suck my fat fucking cock.

to bison boy 31.Oct.2003 09:39

seeing with mine own eyes

ask not for whom the jackboots pound, bison boy, they pound for thee.

if you really believe we are not far down the road of fascism, you really haven't been paying attention. it's time for many of us to get out while we still can, and for others to commit to the struggle.

bison boy, you're ignoring your history. this is the stance that made the third reich possible: many, many liberal minded people simply didn't see it coming. worse, they actively fought those who did. they sold out friends and neighbors who were more awake than they were, and after it was way too late they realized those whom they had sold out were right.

let's talk about fascism in america. 31.Oct.2003 13:13

this thing here

first, is america a fascist nation? are all authorities in uniform nazi storm troopers?

in my opinion, no. i am not prepared to go that far.

however, i can tell you that if fascism were to grow on american soil, it sure as hell would not look like nazi germany. because nazi's were the most famous fascists, it is easy to assume that nazi germany is the only possible representation of fascism, and if a country and it's leaders don't do all the heinous, evil things that hitler and the nazi's did, well, they're just not fascist.

this line of argument is such simpleton crap.

so let's talk about fascism in america, what it would look like.

how would it begin? well, what gives an individual american their power in this country, in the face of government authority? yes, their rights. their civil rights, their criminal rights, their rights before the courts. so if, if, fascism were to start growing in america, the first place i would look is an individual's rights. are they being weakened? are they being eroded? rewritten? tailored?

look at the patriot act.

another place i would look in the beginning is the merging and comingling of government and corporate power. this is what is known as corporatism. and remember what mussolini said about corporatism. frankly, i think there's more room to debate about the state of our rights than there is about whether we have corporatism in this country. it's here.

two of the most powerful forces in america, other than individual rights, are government power and private corporate/industrial power. all corporatism is is the two forces of government and private industrial power deciding that it would be in both of their best interests if they started to work together rather than as adversaries. one power draws another power to it. this teaming up is plain as day. here is how the idea is manifested: corporations and industries pay for elections, politicans and government write favorable legislation/block unfavorable legislation.

it works backwards and forwards. you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours. let's not fight, we're each too strong, so let's just team up and get even stronger. you pay for our campaigns/you give us the hundreds of millions we use to influence voters through the broadcasting of campaign ads, and we will protect you from motions which may jeopardize your profits, we will put you on a list for contracts, we will write legislation that protects you from legal challenges or allows you to drill, log, pollute, etc. / you hire us for projects/you protect us from environmental legislation/you allow us to log in national forests and build power plants and sell cars with poor gas milage and grow to almost monopoly size, and we will pay for your campaign ads, put your ads on our airwaves, speak favorably of you, etc. one power draws another power to it.

how does this effect the other major power in america, people with their rights? well, who do the representatives listen to if they've got letter's in one hand and lobbyist campaign checks in another? who do you think they're looking out for? whose interests are at the top of their daily schedule? who do they make time for? who do they legislate for? who, in their eyes, is worth their time? the individual citizen with their letter? or the corporate citizen with their money? (yeah, well, look at wellstone. he cared for people. yes, he did. but how many other politicians are there in the u.s. senate?)

so if this teaming up of government and corporate/industrial power continues, it will have an effect on the only thing blocking it from gaining absolute power, and that is citizens with their rights. citizens with rights will be intentionally marginalized (aren't they already). if some amendment to the bill of rights poses a problem to some industry, you can bet lobbyists will lobby to have it stricken or tailored. the point is, everything will be made to work for the corporatists, while citizens will be left with the results. i think we have to realize that lobbyists are the political representives of industrial power, and politicians are the political representatives of government authority. and that's THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN. so who represents the citizens of america? i guess what i'm trying to decribe here is a relationship between three friends that has gone sour, because two of the friends have turned their back on one friend, and have grown immensely close (not to mention powerful) together. this turning away from the one friend, the public, is the face of corporatism.

so there's corporatism and the what the patriot act represents. i think the important thing here in my opinion is that fascism will not be a sudden thing. it will not appear out of thin air all of a sudden. in my opinion, it will be a general trend, an incrimental, one step at time movement over a number of years. it may even be so slow in some cases that nobody will notice the movement. it may move slow for the very reason of trying not to bring attention to itself.

so if fascism comes to be in america, here's how it will work and feel:

everything will look pretty much as it does today. except.

i get the feeling, based on the ideas and general attitudes behind legislation such as the patroit act, that the right in america is moving towards taking away any and all rights of those americans who have committed a crime. the logic being: if they commit a crime, they are vulnerable, and they deserve nothing, and they lose it all. all freedoms of speech and association, all legal representation, even their citizenship. everything. if you commit a crime, you become a non-existent person.

compare that to the rights prisoners have today. even prioners who have committed brutal crimes. they have the right to legal protection. murderers can even launch legal motions of their own from behind bars, such as sueing prison guards for mistreatment. which is to say, even though they are criminals behind bars, they are still protected by their rights. though they have forfeited their right to associate freely, they still can speak freely, as mumia and many others have done from behind bars. they can pray. they are still a u.s. citizen, even if they have forfeited their right to vote. they are ensured of a trial by jury. they are ensured that their trial will be held in public, and not some secret star chamber. they are ensured that they will not be tortured, or punished in any undue fashion, or held for an indeterminate time either before or after their conviction. so imagine if ALL those rights were instantly gone the second you were convicted of a crime.

so imagine, in say 10 years, if this right wing trend keeps inching along, this messianic, law and order, punitive jihad that ashcroft epitomizes, imagine that the corporatist government passes a law which states: upon conviction of any crime whatsoever, felony or misdemeanor, that individual forfeits all rights and any claims to citizenship.

so imagine, in say ten years, you want to march to protest the invasion and bombing of yet another country, but you know that the authorities have not granted permission for the march and protest. if given the fact that you may be arrested, and that upon conviction for unlawful assembly, disturbing the peace, etc, you would lose all of your rights and your citizenship, would you march?

(so let's say you are convicted. and you do your indeterminate time, and you get out of prison. what would it be like to live in america if you had no rights? could you get a job? sure you could. drive a car? yep. could you have a social life, marry, raise kids? sure you could. but nothing you thought, said, did, believed, created, or prayed would be protected. what would that do to you as a person? talk about being vulnerable and disarmed...)

this will be the face of american fascism. that is how it will operate. that is what it will feel like. it will dare you to challenge it. "you still have the freedoms to challenge me, so why don't you?"

it fits with the pattern of the government teamed with it's industrial elite going after the one thing it's way, the rights of citizens. it fits with the image of the two friends turning their back on the one. i think it matches with how americans would accept fascism. it CANNOT be overt, but if it's in the details, then that's just fine. the more insidious, the better. it will appear so friendly and so much the same. fascism? where? what are you talking about? all the vestiges of democracy will still be there. the politicians will still be there. the elections will still happen. it will all appear totally legal, because after all, it was voted into law, right? our rights will still be there. hell, you had a fair trial didn't you? but, it just won't be the same. oops, too bad, you were convicted. it will be like the doppleganger in the movie solaris compared to the man's real flesh and blood wife. because if for one second you step out of line... oh, you're free to march, you're free to run naked down the streets screaming, you're free to publish that poetry, do this or that, but if you cross that line, you're nothing. so are you going to cross that line?....

this is not meant to be some argument about criminal rights. this is just to point out one thing: if i see someone arrested and held indefinitely, and then put before a secret trial, it's not about, "but for the grace of god go i", end of story. no, it's about "if that can happen to him/her, than it can happen to me. because i have exactly the same rights as they do." the only weapon i yield as a citizen in this county against any authority, foreign or domestic, is my rights. that's all anyone has...

Up against the wall 31.Oct.2003 13:58

Bison Boy

The poster 'this thing here' has it right. Fascism is not a black-and-white issue, it's a continuum. I agree that we're moving toward the fascist end, and faster in the last couple years than I would have ever dreamed possible before dubya came to power.

But we're not there yet. 'This thing here' has produced the kind of post that can change the minds of moderates, that can wake them up. My thanks, and bravo as well.

Too 'boonplod' I will point out that this is a political matter. In politics, symbols are less than results, but they are far from being nothing. Savor any victory, even a small one.

As for 'seeing with my own eyes', who says "it's time for many of us to get out while we still can, and for others to commit to the struggle." I regretfully agree. But I'm not leaving, and I urge others to stay regardless of the consequences.

I've given this some thought, because I think that if dubya wins again in 2004, I might someday be faced with the same fate as the original Patrick Henry. Or if not me, then my children might have to face that choice one day. I have thought about running away, and I decided that flight is not an option. Where can we go? What place in the world is safe from a sole superpower turned both fascist and overtly imperialist?

Only we, who are citizens of the US, can stop this thing. Only we can throw these idiots out of power at the ballot box. Only we can organize and convince the masses to halt this madness. I cannot run to save myself, and let others try to stem the tide later with guns in far-off lands, when I could have done it with a ballot and no blood shed.

We can only stop it peacefully, for violence will accelerate the concentration of police power and discredit us in the eyes of the masses. To fight it peacefully, we must organize, we must unify, we must take comfort in what small victories we gain, and we must never surrender. If arrested, we must never plea-bargain when the constitution is at stake, we must fight all the way to the supreme court even if loss means death.

I will stay, and give my one life for my country without regret, if that's what it demands. Freedom is worth it.

I stand against the wall. Will you stand with me?

hell no, I won't stand with you against the wall... 31.Oct.2003 14:58

get a brick

Hell no, I won't stand with you against the wall. That's what THEY want us to do. It's easier to mow us down then. I'm in
favor of taking that wall down and grabbing bricks and throwing it at THEM before they throw lead bullets at me.

to Bison Boy 01.Nov.2003 08:10

CatWoman

Innocent people are being mowed down in our streets without trial or consequences. The truth is being eradicated from corporate media, and intellectual property "rights" are being used to erase the truth from alternative media as well. The police state is spying on us for political purposes in unprecidented ways. A rogue "president" who wasn't elected is using our blood to wage a war none of us want, but we are hacked down in the streets when we speak out about it. Powerful unelected figureheads have wrapped themselves in the flag and demand we buy their brand of patriotism or face the consequences. We're asked to turn in our neighbors and our friends if they seem... suspicious. And if we refuse, if we dissent, we are beaten, gassed and jailed.

And you don't think fascism is here with us already? Truly, the jackboots are at your door.

Your most recent message is eloquent and heartfelt, but I still believe you simply don't see what's coming. What, I fear, is already here.

I, too, would love to see meaningful changes made peacefully. (And no, Commissioner Francesconi, that doesn't rule out graffiti, vandalism, holding up signs, or expressing dissent in a stronger manner than kneeling at your altar.) I don't believe in hurting other people, even those with whom I disagree. But my eyes are open, and I see what we're up against. Do you?

You stated, "We can only stop it peacefully, for violence will accelerate the concentration of police power and discredit us in the eyes of the masses."

Bison Boy, we ARE the masses. Police power is concentrated against us already, and we ARE the masses. Can you not see that? You are pandering to a myth perpetuated by the corporate media in a desperate effort to keep us docile. "You don't want to offend all those regular people," they drone. And then they tell us lies (aka KATU) to convince us anything effective that we do is alienating our neighbors. Look around, Bison Boy. Your neighbors are all on the streets beside you. Alas, most of them are also worried about not acting up too much, not alienating "the masses."

The problem is complex. 02.Nov.2003 22:32

Bison Boy

Thank you for your polite, eloquent, and heartfelt response, CatWoman. If I may, I will have to separate some of your points, for I see two lines of evidence that cannot be fairly addressed as one.

CW: "The truth is being eradicated from corporate media, and intellectual property 'rights' are being used to erase the truth from alternative media as well. The police state is spying on us for political purposes in unprecidented ways. A rogue 'president' who wasn't elected is using our blood to wage a war none of us want... figureheads have wrapped themselves in the flag and demand we buy their brand of patriotism or face the consequences. We're asked to turn in our neighbors and our friends if they seem... suspicious."

This I agree with. I do see these things, and I deplore them. But none of these things are unprecedented, and our republic has survived worse. (The exception being the use of intellectual property rights as a tool of censorship. That's unprecedented in the US, but just plain censorship has at times been worse.)

I urge you to read up on the state ot the nation leading up to the election of 1800; I highly recommend "American Aurora" by Richard N. Rosenfeld. In that case the trumped-up war was against the French, who just 20-odd years before had nearly bankrupted themselves to support our independence from the British crown. (The ingratitude lives on, apparently.) The Alien and Sedition acts were unspeakably vile from the modern perspective, much worse than the UPA. Many worked and many died to preserve and build the support needed for Jefferson to defeat Adams in 1800, and it literally changed the fate of the nation. The leaders were radicals, and the masses followed them to lasting, significant liberty. The current situation seems similar, to me, although actually *less* hostile and violent than it was back then.

We have our work cut out for us, to be sure. We can lose this country to authoritarians. But we have not yet lost.

CW: "Innocent people are being mowed down in our streets without trial or consequences. ... wage a war none of us want, but we are hacked down in the streets when we speak out about it. ... if we dissent, we are beaten, gassed and jailed."

This I do not see. Or at any rate, while it is true to some extent, I theorize different causes for the observed effects.

It is true that some people are injured or killed by police hands. Sometimes, this happens in the context of a protest or riot; other times, it happens at traffic stops. What I do not see is injuries or deaths at US political events (or elsewhere) in anything like the numbers that would indicate any organized or malevolent abuse of power by a police state.

Leaving aside injuries for a moment, how many protesters have died while protesting this war? Certainly not as many protesters have died in the last two years, as have US soldiers in Iraq in the last six months. It's not even close. Have a hundred protesters died? Have twenty? Have ten? If you contend that many people have died while protesting in the US, as apparently you do, then give me some evidence. Prove me wrong. I'm not ashamed to admit my mistakes. I may be truly blind, and would welcome the opening of my eyes. Tell me how many have died, where and when?

(You may claim, CatWoman, that you are not referring to fatalities with language such as "hacked down" and "mowed down", but only to injuries or pepper spray. But if so, I would caution you against such language; I think any reasonable reader would assume you mean fatalities, as I have. Inflammatory imprecision does not help our cause.)

As for injury and imprisonment, I know there has been a lot of this. Many people have been beaten or sprayed or jailed. But again, I don't see it happening on a scale sufficient to demonstrate a malevolently authoritarian system. I see it on a scale that demonstrates it to be a system designed to enforce order with somewhat more than minimum force, a system that manages to weed out all but a few of the sadistic, power-tripping people that want to become cops... but not all of them. This system needs improvement to be sure, and maybe its goals need to be re-aligned to allow for more liberty. (Lord knows the Portland police need better citizen oversight. And don't get me started about the Eugene P.D.!) But an actively malevolent system could and would do much, much worse damage.

"Could be worse" is, of course, faint praise indeed. But honestly, the injuries I see look like the result of angry protesters meeting mostly decent (but frightened and excited) cops, with a small number of actively sadistic cops and provacative protesters as a catalyst to violence. Never underestimate the fear that an ordinary police officer feels every day, let alone when facing an angry mob. They want to go home to their kids at the end of the day just as much as the protesters do. Their fear can sometimes override their training and lead to bad decisions with tragic consequences. I pity them.

(I know, I know. I'm probably going to get a lot of hostile replies to this view of police. Perhaps someone can take rants against me to another thread so this discussion is not overwhelmed by them.)

Again, I'm willing to be shown my error, shown that the government is indeed systematically killing leftist protesters. Show the evidence to me. If you're evidence is sound, I'll be willing to discuss what conclusions can be drawn from it.

CW continues: "Bison Boy, we ARE the masses. Police power is concentrated against us already, and we ARE the masses. Can you not see that?"

No, I surely can't see that, because it's not true. It's not even logically possible.

If we were indeed the masses, police power could not be "concentrated" against us... there are simply not enough police. There's maybe one officer for every five hundred people. (Salem, where I now live, has 176 officers for a population of about 140,000, according to the police website here. That's over 750:1.) One against five hundred (or 200, or 100) cannot reasonably be called concentration of power. This is not just a semantic argument, either. It reflects an underlying reality that is important to understand: the apparatus for true state control does not exist in the US as yet. (But let's not build any more prisons, m'kay?)

Also, I hate to break it to you, but the folks who read Indymedia, who are leftist or libertarian radicals or even folks who sympathise with those radicals, are a tiny minority of this country. A very vocal minority, a valuable minority that can actually move the mainstream, but still a small one. We are not the masses. Hell, I'm a lot more moderate and centrist than most people on Indymedia, and even *I* am not actually mainstream by quite a margin. If we were the masses, the antiwar protests would have turned out 100,000 in Portland, not merely (!) 20,000.

That doesn't mean we can't attempt to lead the masses, and succeed in doing so. Indeed, we must figure out how to do so, just as the conservatives have. Alas, unlike the 1800 election, we lack a Thomas Jefferson, and we need one desparetely.

CW: "You are pandering to a myth perpetuated by the corporate media in a desperate effort to keep us docile. 'You don't want to offend all those regular people,' they drone. And then they tell us lies (aka KATU) to convince us anything effective that we do is alienating our neighbors."

This might be a more convincing ad hominem argument if I actually paid much heed to local or national corporate media. :) I haven't watched local TV news for maybe eight years, or even CNN for nearly two. I've never seen Fox news, but I hear it's horrible. I'm exclusively a radio (NPR, BBC), print, and internet news kinda guy.

And why, pray tell, do you presume that I am an ideological automaton? You seem to think that I am an unskeptical consumer of mainstream media, even as I post skeptically about what I read on Indymedia. It's all the same to me; some wheat in much chaff. (Indymedia has a worse noise-to-signal ratio than the New York Times, or even the Oregonian, I;m sorry to say. But I read it because I think it contains some important information, and I want to engage radicals in constructive conversation.) Every news source should be viewed skeptically, *epecially* one like Indymedia where anyone can post under any name with no accountability.

But as for the myth that you refer to, keep in mind that being mythic does not necessarily mean an idea is false. We do indeed need the masses, whoever they are, to vote on our side at the ballot box. You and I have different ideas about who those masses are and how to reach them, but the fact remains that the masses have the power to change the destiny of the nation and we do not... except by moving the masses.

(The masses might be moved by persuasion or by violence. Aside from moral reasons to avoid violence, practically it is obvious that the other side has primed the masses to jump towards authoritarian responses to violence. Violence would be counterproductive... and yes, that generally includes graffiti and vandalism. Our society sees property damage as violence. It may be stupid, but it's true.)

CW: "Look around, Bison Boy. Your neighbors are all on the streets beside you. Alas, most of them are also worried about not acting up too much, not alienating 'the masses.'"

We clearly have different neighbors. :) *My* neighbors sit around watching Must-See TV (TM), dammit. Where should I go to meet *your* neighbors?

It all makes sense!!! 12.Sep.2005 14:59

Kasey (age 11)

Hey I like your article. It really makes alot of sense and I think it is true. Thank-you for writing it so I had a chance to read it I loved it.