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actions & protests march 20, 2004

thoughts from the march

Walking at the front of the march taking photos I took in the general attitude of marchers, cops and bystanders. No idea what it was like farther back in this really long line of people, but for what it's worth here is what I saw. Please add your own thoughts from the middle and rear of the march and this might turn into an interesting story.
This was such a great march, I was very impressed with everyone on all sides. The cops, freshly neuterd by the courts, seemed to take their loss of "failure to disperse" arrests in stride. Without thoughts of "heard them up, clear 'em out" running through their heads they seemed to be more focused on their actual job. I walked at the front of the line, and the police up there were working to keep traffic out of the march's way.

I swear I saw one sergeant tell off a bicthing commuter who was complaining about the bus disruptions. He told her this was scheduled and actually mentioned that we had a right to do this. Never expected a PPB Sergeant to actually remember WE had rights, and to go to bad for us, even if just verbally.

Also at the front were photographers, dozens of them. Corporate media, indy media, straingers, freelancers and hobbyists roamed in packs between the police escort and the banner. At one point, the "anti-protest protestors" hijacked the entire march by waiting a few blocks from the start, and then simply walking in front. For a while there, it looked like a 10,000-strong pro-Bush march with their signs in front blocking all view. I have to give them credit for being sly, but they seemed to dissapear a few blocks later.

Speaking of blocks, this march was so many blocks long we at the front had a really hard time spotting the back. At one point around NW 6th st we could see the middle of the march heading in the opposite direction a few blocks away. some of us put our heads together and and did some math to figure that the march at that point was at least 15 blocks long. Several riot cops poured out from their hiding spots at the courthouse as we passed, chimping at the bit for action. I believe they were dissapointed, I never heard of a riot at the courthouse today.

Some people were egging on cops for no reason (other than the fact they were cops that is), and there were the usual "I bet none of these protestors missed work to be here" comments from a random office worker (I pointed out all the union banners first, then told the person is was saturday and many people had the day off. He blushed and left).

One guy decorated his truck with the british union jack, the american flag, the POW flag and the marine corps flag, and got through the roadblock to noce right up to the march at pioneer square. He blared really bad versions of "purple mountains majesty" and the star spangled banner (why do people think that singers who otherwise are not worth listening to are somehow more acceptable when they sing religious/patriotic stuff?) The police had let him through because they knew him, and a few transit cops came over to say hi to him while he heckled me about what I should photograph (he felt his truck was more newsworthy than the march because it had flag).

I left Pioneer square around 3:30, there were still smiles all around. Marchers were tired and passing water around, police were relaxed and smiling, the TV reporters were depressed about the lack of "action" (they either wanted the marchers to get out of hand and vandalize things, or the cops to get out of hand and shoot people). There was police horse crap all over the place though, the hourses, riot cops and other assorted police assets were parked mostly out of sight the entire time, sipping bottled water and cracking "cover me, I'm going in" jokes every time one went into a coffee shop.

allowed 20.Mar.2004 21:16

tab

It looks like this march gave strength to those who were there, and i am very happy about that. I am glad that the police officers toned down their reactions, but while watching corporate media, I became concerned when a woman actually said, "They allowed us to express ourselves today." Excuse me...they ALLOWED us to express ourselves? Citizens! Don't ever forget that the right to free speech is not something that is allowed us by the authorities. It is a basic civil RIGHT.

By the people 20.Mar.2004 21:32

Sam Adams

Government is not empowered to "allow" dissent. It is the other way around. No power is inherent in government, but those that proceed from, or are granted by, the governed. Do not let the agents of government make you believe that they are doing you a favor by allowing you to speak your mind.

M20 ReCap 20.Mar.2004 21:39

Cycle Rider

No reports of police violence in Portland. However, San Franscisco and New York City Indymedia websites are reporting scattered incidents of police violence and some arrests. SF Indymedia is reporting one man severely beaten by police and having to be hospitalized with at least one bone fracture.

Channel 12 coverage of the March 20.Mar.2004 22:19

ctrl-z

Just watched Ch. 12 news - Their protest coverage had a big text message: 'Protests both for and against the war' and never gave an estimate of crowd size. They had the Mother of an Iraq Vet complaining about the protest and another person in Military garb saying how important it was to support the troops. Very slanted coverage. Channel 8 (on 22) gave a crowd size estimate of 25K and had real coverage of the march (although they too tossed in the oblibigatory pro-war person.)
I think 12 should start putting 'Today's RNC News' into their news intro.

Network Reports 20.Mar.2004 22:42

anon

I didn't get to attend, but saw several news reports which were shockingly good. The ABC national news led with shots of protests around the world, hardly any "these are anti-american protests" then went to a critique of the new reports out about Bush, 9-11 and Iraq, building on the legitimacy of the former Intelligence officer. Then BACK to in depth reports on the various marches...

Weird! But Good!

coverage of the March 20.Mar.2004 22:56

Catalina Eddie

I quit the demo early today and came home (well, I was tired). I flipped on the toob t'see if there was any protest coverage. It musta been NWCN cause that was about the only news at the time. On and off since then I've been checking the news and I too think the coverage has been far more fair than it's been in the past. Seems though, that I looked at several channels and every one had the same coverage of the same bozo in fatigues who supported our troops. Do they share these clips, or was it filmed earlier for presentation in this time zone? Talk about Fair and Balanced!

No, I don't care about corporate news, but I was too tired to do much else this afternoon.

Vancouver

violent peace protesters 20.Mar.2004 23:30

Just another kid

Yeah, I know I'm one of those crazy anarchist, so maybe my opinion doesn't count, but I saw something I never thought I would see. One of the PPRC type folk a "peaceful" marcher, fullout punched one of the black bloc kids in the ribs. It all happened when the radical contingent tried to stop the march and make speeches. A bunch of people had pulled together with their arms linked to stop some people from going by. A few of the organizers were trying to push a speaker system through the line of masked up people, and they wouldn't budge. Now before you start bitching at me about why would you block the "peaceful" organizers from getting through, I ask, why wouldn't you? I mean they had full intention of crushing our right to share beliefs that go against theirs, so why shouldn't we share them by postponeing their march by 15 minutes? Anyways as they were shoving through the black blockers shoved back, against the big frame not the people. Well, as I saw it one of the people slipped and pushed one of the people who was moving their speakers. Well that guy absolutely flipped out and ended up punching the black bloc kid in the ribs. As I see it, you should never punch someone, ever, especially when you've tried to devote this day to promoting peace. But like I said I'm just another kid with a slightly different opinion than most. Just don't always believe that the ones you have to watch out for the most are the police.

you're not alone 20.Mar.2004 23:49

being peace

What is peace without liberty and respect?

Today I learned that we don't need Ashcroft, Bush, and the portland police to take away our civil liberties, the PPRC will take care of that for them. I saw them tell people that they couldn't stand and hold signs in front or to the side of the march, on side streets, or anywhere that they didn't condone. Though I respect a diversity of tactics I cannot respect those who do not share that same level of respect. The PPRC is far more concerned with its image than its cause and though I didn't witness any violence at this march, I have on several previous marches.

I'm glad others felt good about the march because I felt disempowered. I'm also saddened to see so many people checking the corporate news, as if the corporate news is ok so long as it's on "our side". The corporate news is poison; they're just trying to make a profit by showing people what they think will be popular. They smell the blood in the water for the Bush administration but do not confuse that with them becoming "enlightened" to truthful reporting.

Sam Adams, you are right on, though I would add: "Do not let the agents of the so-called peace movement make you believe that they are doing you a favor by allowing you to speak your mind.

This march was all about control, packaging, and image and frankly the whole spectacle of it was fairly nauseating to me. I am glad that others got something positive from the experience and I hope you carry that energy with you; I know I will carry my lessons from the day.

yeah, I saw that fool on the 21.Mar.2004 00:08

x

news being giddy about being allowed to march down the street with a sign. Nauseating. Hopefully she just got nervous for the cameras and wasn't really thinking about what she was saying. If the average person really feels content to be "allowed" to have a peaceful protest, then...oy vey, we're doomed.

Thoughts on the March - Part II 21.Mar.2004 01:58

Logic Void

I too, was at the march. Regardless of whether or not most people approve of the tactics the PPRC used, it was largely successful. We achieved the goals of getting widespread news coverage, a lot of which was overwhelmingly positive since some of the news media here in Portland apparently has started to realize a large percentage of their viewers are in opposition to the GOP's views. We achieved a large (though I would like to see larger) turnout, and we achieved getting our views and voices heard. But what we didn't achieve was the true unity of activists in the community. Post the march in Pioneer Courthouse Square, I saw the speeches of several of the youth. I was with a few friends of mine, and was surprised at the lack of actual knowledge into what Bush has done, and the harm the Iraq war has caused. The speaker talking for youth anarchists failed to tell me what his actual positions were. Its time we got some speakers who knew the political system and what was going on. Instead of giving the sermon to the choir, tell us things we need to know.

I consider myself fairly liberal, but regardless, am a realist and have real political opinions. Most of the people at the march and rally had real political opinions too, but a few were trying to cause trouble, regardless of who it was with. Its time to shut up about we the 'peaceful protestors' not being 'radical enough', and realize that unless you work with us, nothing can happen. Unite, and things can happen. Know the facts, know what you need to do, fight against laws, lobby, canvas for candidates, that gets things done. Complaining and trying to hold back a tide of peaceful protestors doesn't.

do you even hear yourself? 21.Mar.2004 02:18

being peace

"unless you work with us, nothing can happen."
"Its time to shut up"

So everyone should get behind you because you know what's best for everyone? There has never been a successful social movement in this country without direct action. Now you don't have to be the one taking the direct action but you should understand and respect the value of that action. I don't think getting positive news coverage should be considered an accomplishment because all you did was help sell car ads. And if what you want to accomplish is unity you should realize that the only path to unity is through respect which is something peace activists seem to really struggle with. I could respect the pprc organizing rallies if they didn't try to tell everyone what to do, where to stand, who can speak, when, where, and about what. I don't consider myself a radical or a liberal but I respect diversity of tactics, diversity of opinions, and diversity of people. One need only look to nature to see that there is strength in diversity and if people could realize and harness that strength there is no limit to what could be done. But unity is not conformity, it's mutual respect, mutual aid, and solidarity. The question is who really wants to achieve unity and who wants to talk about how everyone should unite *behind them*.

I agree that Channel 12's 21.Mar.2004 02:29

coverage

was typical FOXIFICATION of the news. As for that poor Mom of the vet, she's becoming a local
celebrity seems like. The poor bozo's...well, what would ya expect for this poor dude?

Those wacky rebels... 21.Mar.2004 06:40

Sarah Richardson

All those kiddies running around with scarves on their faces, trying to disrupt the organized march to stage their own little event... they're just attention starved kids who feel like they get to do something rebellious for the bragging rights at the party next weekend. Oooh, we're all so very impressed. It means more if you take off the scarves and are willing to stand up and admit your own viewpoints... otherwise, it's like spraying "Bush sux!" on a wall anonymously rather than write letters to editors, congressmen, etc. and being willing to sign your own name. So grow up. This isn't about you and your little "But I wanna make a disruption! Marching is boring!" tantrums.

I think it's a shame, and it detracts from the real message... remember, the one about us being against the war on Iraq? The big "WE TOLD YOU SO" that people should've been throwing at the government? Instead, people throw in all these other side issues at the same time, which only hurts the core message.

Ohhh wait a minute there Sarah 21.Mar.2004 07:50

just me

Those "wacky rebels" you mention are some of the brightest young people I have ever met and most of them have very strong opinions about the direction this country is taking. I think there is danger in lumping ANY group together under the umprella of a "cute" or "nasty" label. Of course some Peace demonstrators want no violence at all in their events. I happen to be among that group. But think about it! Who pushes the edges? Who actually will say, "Wait a minute! Look! We are here only because we are allowed to be here. Watch this!" Diversity is necessary in a true democracy. We cannot all be nicey nicey and wait to be ALLOWED to speak out. So those who need to be Peaceful, work in your peaceful manner. Be tolerant. But do not be too quick to label others ans "wacky rebels". As Salman Rushdie says, "Democracy can only advance through the clash of ideas. The point is to defend people, not their ideas."

Just another kid 21.Mar.2004 08:43

I was there

I was one of the marchers pushing the speaker system, and witnessed this incedent you allude to. The man who you claimed punched the black blochead probably did, I was directly in back of him, and it looked to me that he was acting in self-defense more or less after he was prodded by the butt of the flag or banner or whatever it was he was carrying with no clear communication of his intention. I was pushing the rear of the tower, in back of this "violent" PPRC type and positioned myself between him and the guy with the flag, and was promptly yelled at by him and a female member of the group. I then asked what was up, and he claimed that this individual pushing the tower had shoved him. If they were trying to stop the march in order to say their thing, I suppose that's fine, but they can't seem to handle a peaceful march, and it seems they need to have a certain amount of chaos to strive, so they resort to thuggery. Armchair critics such as "Just another kid" seem to have the misconception that all peace marchers are pacifists, and will turn the other cheek in the face of confrontation. Which of course is not true, supposedly we were there for the same reasons, and it takes all sorts to make the changes we want to see.

forms of disruption 21.Mar.2004 08:49

LeftFielder leftfield@post.com

The allegation that a PPRC "type" marcher punched some radical youth "type" smacks of government-sponsored disruption techniques. Make no mistake, there is an effort to create DIVISION between political and social groups within the broad antiwar movement. We should not allow division, neither should we paper over DIFFERENCE. We have to find ways to admit our political differences, work together when possible, which is most of the time.

To have an impact, the anti-war movement must become a majority movement. What is our strategy to become a majoritarian movement of social disruption? What tactics contribute to that vision, and which tactics take away from that vision? One positive thing about yesterday's march was that differences were celebrated as speakers from different communities took the stage: vets, union activists, professors, etc. How can we organize to expand the "allowable" differences? (Note: "organizing to expand" is quite different from "whining about limits," which is self-indulgent.)

In solidarity,

Free at Last, Free at Last 21.Mar.2004 08:54

Sam Adams

Recognizing how "liberating" it feels to be "allowed" to voice our discontent, much as the "free" trade protesters in Miami were "allowed" to the point of hospitalization, I went about the web to see how some other places were honoring the constitution by allowing the voices of dissent to speak frealy.
San Francisco was particularly refreshing, just allowing all over the place:
allowed by plastic restraint and pepper spray
allowed by plastic restraint and pepper spray
allowed by baton
allowed by baton
allowed by bat two
allowed by bat two

Some pictures speak for themselves 21.Mar.2004 08:55

Sam again

How appropriate
Hides the horns pretty well, doesn't it?
Hides the horns pretty well, doesn't it?

some thoughts 21.Mar.2004 09:09

li'l c

I ended up walking the march with two good friends, one of them under 7 years old and got a view different from what I normally do when I flit around as if it's one big strange party. One was that some of the speakers were all over the map with causes and yes I realize everything is inherently of one piece but they didn't make very coherent connections, just one long laundry list of grievances. Not everybody buys the whole package, perhaps it's better to focus on the big problem at hand. And what was with those hordes of Kucinich people? I actually like the guy but felt like I was at a Scientologist convention, eek!
My youngest friend, quite a thinker, was pretty upset with the armored cops-"Why are they dressed like that? They're scary-what do they think will happen?" etc. and we had no glib answers. Saw the infamous Officer Myers-his bizarre energy is such that I wanted to be really far away from him; is he on drugs or something?

acceptance 21.Mar.2004 09:16

street dancer

It makes me sad that some people didn't feel as good as I did at the march yesterday. I didn't agree with everything that everyone said and did, but I accepted their right to dissent just as I was dissenting. Some people may have objected to me, I don't know. I don't care! I had a great time! I said what I needed to say, and heard what I needed to hear and danced barefoot in the street for hours. I felt the awesome power of my community.
Honestly I don't think that kind of demonstration really makes a huge amount of difference to the federal government, they've proven this many times over. But where it does make a difference is in our city. It does make a difference in my life - and in the lives of all of the people whose lives were touched in one way or another by what we did yesterday. I've found that action free from attachment to outcome is the most effective way to create change. We must act for ourselves, never for other people - we must create change by demonstrating freedom to those who tie themselves to the corporate message of "the American dream". We can force change on no one. No one can force change on us.
Unity with diversity is so important to "our" movement! We all have a right to do just as we please as long as it isn't physically hurting another person, including of course, bitch. I just hope that we don't end up giving ourselves more bad press than the corporate media does - how ironic would that be?
Create change and joy today in your life! Let's keep marching in everything that we say and do. Let's stop trying to homogenize our own movement.
with love from that girl

just a kid 21.Mar.2004 09:31

my account

In response to the accusation of violence I have to say what I saw did not come close to what was described above. The folks pushing the speaker system were trying to keep up with the front of the march and were politely and safely trying to make their way through the obstruction at the intersection.
There was no accidental slip or fall. What I saw was a male holding a red and black flag initiating contact by intentionally stepping in the path of one of the people pushing the cart and shoving his shoulder into the pusher. I saw the "pusher push back". surprise! There was an exchange of some words but there was absolutely no swinging or punching.
I'm constantly amazed by people who complain about their right to be heard and their freedom of movement but when it behooves them, they try to restrict someone else's rights to those same freedoms.

The worst march yet 21.Mar.2004 09:56

WendyB

Dear Sarah, I have grown up, I'm in my 30's, and that was the most pathetic display of compliance I have seen in awhile. A woman came up to me at Pioneer Sq. and wanted to remind me to behave. I have no idea if she was a peace cop or what, but I thought it was odd that she assumed that I wouldn't. * Has anyone thought about the term, "Peace cop"? Kind of an oxymoron. * Another woman attempted to solicit money from me for the priveledge of attending this dazzling display of dissent. This event shouldn't have cost a dime. If everyone honestly wanted to protest a war, an occupation, an injustice to the Iraqi people, why charge? For all these dumb parents of dumb kids that sign up for the armed forces, stop whining. Don't support your child's decision to kill people and you won't have to worry about them being killed. Oh, they are the working class, let's support them. They're fighting for our freedom, those wonderful heros. Everyone does have the ability to CHOOSE an occupation. Some of us are more limited in our choices than others, but you have the choice to sign up to kill. That goes for you too, popo. We don't even need the cops anymore at marches. We all walk in straight lines in designated areas slap happy for the chance to do so. I suggest selling tickets next year.

to 'street dancer' 21.Mar.2004 10:28

tab

Right On! Keep going! You are an inspiration.

rights and responsibility 21.Mar.2004 10:30

deva

"We all have a right to do just as we please as long as it isn't physically hurting another person"

Please examine this statement in relation to the world we live in. If you do, you will understand that people of this country doing as they please is causing great harm to others around the world.

It is people doing as they please, which is causing vast ecological destruction. It is people doing as they please, which is causing the extinction of countless species who have every bit as much 'right' as humans do. It is people doing as they please, which is causing the wars people were protesting.

I did not hear any mention yesterday of human responsibility. I did not hear any mention of the consumptive excess which is making war inevitable.

It is laudable to oppose war, but it is also important to see its roots. The war on Iraq is not the result of someones whim. It is the result of dwindling resources, and this indulgent nations unwillingness to curb its excesses which makes war become an option.

As long as the people of this country demand to live a lifestyle far above the majority of the worlds peoples, the government will make war to obtain it. If a person complains if gas goes over $2 a gallon, then that person is asking the government to make war. They may not think about it that way, but that is what they are doing.

Human right is not the question, human responsibility is.

missing the point 21.Mar.2004 10:47

mb

I can see that for some this rally was empowering. I respect that. It was well organized for what it was. The liberal groups leading the event had a solid and well co-ordinated grip on the actions of the group. There is a reason they are called peace police. In fact I wouldn't be supprised if they recieve training from the police. Some people find conformity empowering. We're trained to from an early age- it's a difficult pathology to escape.
Recently I heard that the student actavist alliance tried to get a slot to speak at the pioneer square rally and was told that they must pay an organization sponsers fee, and an individual speakers fee. When the organizers were told that they didn't have this kind of money they said too bad. Untill the saa kids protested that the organizers had no youth voice at the event- from what I've been told the organizers responded that SAA could speak but that they must speak about school reform, and thier speach must be approved by the event organizers. Is this true? In an earlier post a pprc supporter/organizer said "unless you work with us, nothing can happen."
"Its time to shut up." Is this kind of paternalism acceptable? It seems to me that the focus of many complaints agianst radical youth is that thier message and actions are ignorant, misinformed, or paternalistic. Is it appropriate to respond in kind? Is it fair to judge us all by the actions of a few among us? Like wise is it fair to judge you by the few that lead you? Does this seem like anything but a self reinforcing cycle of education twards disimpowerment?

One thing that I know is that a hundred years ago anarchists and peace protesters were carrying signs that bear a remarkable resemblance to the ones we carry today. At some point we gotta ask ourselves are we passing down our symbols to our kids. When you die will you leave me your signs? In fact I was in Eugine last year and I went into an infoshop. On the wall was a newspaper article that described anarchists protesting for the fourty hour week. They were described as misinformed, ignorant, violent, terrorists, and critisized as having a message that was no less paternalistic than the message of the bosses.

Why do believers in social justice settle for bieng a marganilized segment of
society. Why do we settle for democratic canidates that pledge to continue the "War on terror" -meaning us. Why is it inappropriate to stop the public and ask these questions and more. Questions like "How can we ever rid ourselves of the prison industrial complex, if it's corperate supporters subsidize the election campaigns of our cantidates?" Questions like "How can we stop imperialism if our economy if fundamentally tied to it's continuation." Questions like "Will these social evils ever stop without a fundamentally revolutionary shift in power?"

Personally, I felt disimpowered by both the "radicals" and the "liberals" good intentions aside.

yours in love and war,
mb

Anti-PPRC editorial slant dividing the movement 21.Mar.2004 10:49

Just another revolutionary

I've read all of the comments on this article, and I feel that the two small quotes which the editors pulled out and put on the front page don't represent what really seemed to have happened. If you put all of the reports together, it isn't fair reporting to say that the person in the wrong was associated with PPRC. Honestly, I'm not a liberal, but all the liberal bashing on this site and anti-PPRC comments makes me think that the editors here want to divide the movement.

Miss Movement Manners 21.Mar.2004 11:05

Tom Hastings hastings@pdx.edu

This is an interesting thread of commentary; I'd offer a couple of thoughts thus far unexpressed.

First, a correction. Neither the rally nor the peacewalk was a PPRC event. PPRC is one of 126 groups signed on to this event. The PPRC events are the small weekly Friday rallies at Pioneer Square. For those who offer stinging criticism of PPRC, do so with the facts, please.

Second, unless there were other peacekeepers at the front talking to folks who were out in front of the banner, the so-called PPRC peacecop was me. I never saw any other peacekeepers talking to any of the folks out in front of the banner, but none of us witnessed everything. I may have missed such an exchange.

I never told anyone what to do, but I tried to inform them of what the organizers of the event were asking for, which was that the banner lead the event and that the Vets for Peace come next, and then everyone else. To their credit, a few folks who were out in front with signs actually fell back and joined the event behind the vets. There were a group of bike riders out front who ignored me. Whatever. I just chalk it up to immaturity, ego issues, or just plain bad movement manners.

See, the event didn't just belong to whomever showed up. A coalition of many groups has been meeting for months to plan this event. Any group committed to a nonviolent event could have joined the planning and any group committed to a nonviolent event can join the planning coalition for the next one.

But what you find is that planning meetings are boring and involve actually listening to many people with differing views, respecting those views even when there are serious differences, and doing the work necessary to build toward a successful event together. There are literally thousands of human work hours just in the planning discussions.

After that, those who attend the meetings go back to their groups and the groups offer to do some portion of the work needed to organize these events. Or perhaps some think that these events organize themselves spontaneously with a couple of dishy emails and a list serv notice, or perhaps a spot on the indymedia calendar. Ummmm, wrong. Again, literally, LITERALLY thousands of human hours go into phonebanking, media work, postering, pitching to countless groups, media conferences from groups of groups (like the faith-based media conference at the Unitarian Church downtown, etc.), and a great deal of other nuts-and-bolts organizing. It is drudgery, but kids are still dying in Iraq and it has to be done, period, by any people of conscience. So we do.

Of course, there are those who think it's clever to hijack all that good organizing and disrespect all of us who do the gruntwork day in and day out. They show up, act like they called the event, and puff around, telling us we are peace cops if we suggest that they consider what the organizers have consensed to. The bike riders were especially rude and obnoxious and did dilute the message with their tactics. If they weren't all police agents they may as well have been, for the inane spin they put on the procession.

If you don't like the way the event is organized, by all means, organize your own. Just do it on a different day, out of some modicum of respect for a diversity of ways, which is what many of you call for constantly. I promise I will not show up at your event. I wish that, if you can't respect all the work that others have done, that you would stop showing up at our events. And if you can respect it, you are most welcome into the decisionmaking coalition. With that comes a commitment to the trenchwork, and we are exceedingly happy to share both!

Naturally, when Bush or Cheney come to town, the dynamic is different. They are in and out on a specific day. Everyone is out and the vibe is what it is. But when a day is picked by a group, other groups really ought to pick a different day, or a different place, to hold events if they cannot abide by the consensed spirit and intentions of the group that does all the work.

If I've made mistakes in logic or in the facts, I apologize. I offer a perspective that I haven't read here yet in this thread.
Tom Hastings

li'l c asked what's Officer Meyers on? 21.Mar.2004 11:46

it's obvious...

a POWER TRIP! I've heard it muttered by cops friends that Meyer's is really seeking a rapid
promotion, if not, an outright unsetting of Foxworth to himself become the "chief"! Don't know
if this is true, but one can tell a lot about a person by their "actions" and then seek to dis-
cern what drives them. What a hellhole this place would become "if" Meyers actually did it and
became the chief. Let's see to it that it don't happen!

to those of the black bloc 21.Mar.2004 12:06

yak

never doubt your ability to influence events in a positive way. americans are so trained to be afraid of violence, unless it is on television, it makes me sad. i have participated in protests from madrid to seoul, and the black bloc contingent here in portland is a blessing. i love and respect everyone of you. keep it the fuck up and dont let a couple of toob numbed moms or agents of the USG or meyers' conintellpro squad get in your way (not that you would). and believe me, IF the resident select manages to stay in the white house (VERY unlikely IMO) then you will have quite a few new friends. viva la resistencia!

oh, and i too was at the front of the march, just behind the noble veterans that led it. it was quite different from last year, and i'd hoped for at least 25,000, not 10-12,000. guess the toob was just easier for most people. or shopping. listen to your children, they are the only ones with enough experience to see what is really happenning in this country. if you have a problem with the black bloc you are too busy being scared to ever be free.

Very Interesting Discussion 21.Mar.2004 12:22

E. Combatant

Hooray for the "street dancer". I did not see the alleged attempt at disruption, but the shoving scuffle account sounds like the most likely version. I don't understand the criticisms of the cyclists, if someone could expand on that.

As far as the woman that was thankfull that the police 'allowed' her her right to free speech, I agree with the criticisms of her comment, but I had a slightly different take on it. That kind of statement is a powerfull one, that I think many more 'moderate' folks will pick up on. The government's case is becoming a widely accepted failure, and a statement such as hers could help ordinary people realise that their guaranteed Constitutional rights are in jeopardy, and that is the first step towards doing something about it.

I viewed yesterday's event as a success. We made a good showing, and added our voices to millions from Baghdad to London, Istambul to Argentina. We demonstrated that our informal army is indeed a force to be reconned with. Extreme tactics are not always the most effective, as the US military is demonstrating with increasing frequency, with its mounting military failures around the globe, despite a decidedly 'superior' force.

What I want to know is what happened to all of these 'radicals' at the North Park Blocks? That's where I started out, and our dwindling numbers of 15-20 were outnumbered by the cops. We marched anyways, and took the streets for a couple of blocks, but we simply did not have the numbers or the energy to go all the way. In the past, the 'radical feeder marches' have brought tremendous energy and momentum to the mainstream events, and have always been met with cheers. Why give up on a successful tactic?

Other demos around the globe featured direct action events seperate from the mainstream events, as well as break away marches. Both of these seem to be much more effective than trying to disrupt a large, well planned event.

I went to the North Park Blocks to show my solidarity, even though I am no among the 'radical insiders'. What happened? Are you making your ranks so exclusive that you are denying support from 'outsiders'?

response to Tom 21.Mar.2004 12:31

being peace

Tom, given your views on how others choose to protest I think you're more concerned with your image than with stopping the war.

I can't respect your lack of respect for differing tactics and views. I may stop showing up to your events, and encouraging others to do the same. On the other hand, I may show up and pass out copies of the first amendment so that people understand that you want to take away those rights as surely as anyone else.

"But when a day is picked by a group"

You didn't pick the day, the Bush administration did and your love it or leave it attitude really disturbs me. But I suppose the events speak for themselves. I'm glad you were there for some people to feel good about voicing their dissent in an "acceptable" way. It seems to have been a good event for people who have never protested before. But for those of us who were on the streets last year, I think we all know which event was more empowering, and effective.

Also, again, to those claiming that people are trying to "create a division" I would suggest that he division already exists, and it's time to make it visible again to see if it can be healed through respect and solidarity.

Letter from Birmingham Jail 21.Mar.2004 12:33

Martin Luther King Jr.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

...

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.


another response to Tom 21.Mar.2004 13:59

Ken Spice kspice@pdx.edu

Who, exactly, do you want to stop coming to "your" rallies, Tom? You and I have spent time in the same room doing the hard work of putting an event like this together. Yesterday, I spent the march helping to push the speakers podium through the streets. Do you want me to keep coming to your rallies?

Wait, don't answer yet...

I'm a radical. I've helped organize unpermitted rallies. I believe in the concept of protest as disruption, of civil disobedience - to disobey, to break "the law". (Generally to be followed by arrest in the classic conception, unless you can run fast, though in recent years far more likely to be followed by assault with chemicals and other "less lethal" weaponry).

Now do you want me there?

Politically, philosophically, I'm an anarchist. Or, if you prefer, an unterrified Jeffersonian democrat (that government governs least, which governs not at all).

How about now?

Here's my point: I find your comments to be disingenuous on several levels, primary among them the attempt to frame the underlying issue as violence versus non-violence... this is quite clearly not where the "division in the movement" lies. Surely you agree that refusing to leave an intersection is illegal, but not violent - if you don't agree, please share what you do mean by "violence".

In my opinion, anyone who truly cares about the meaning of non-violence should join me in writing to the local media to explain to them that breaking the law is not violence. I offer these examples, and hope that Tom will add his voice in opposition to those who wish to redefine the terms of non-violent protest:

 http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=65613
 link to www.oregonlive.com

"Protests last year in Portland sometimes turned violent, with one anti-war march ending with 135 arrests, and demonstrators shutting down several bridges, freeways and intersections near the city."

So a protest is "violent" if protesters get arrested? If bridges, freeways and intersections are shut down? I am sorry but anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty would deny this formulation. I believe that anyone who is truly passionate about non-violent civil disobedience absolutely must denounce this idea, and sing loudly the praises and virtues of breaking the law to precipitate social change, with at least the same level of enthusiasm with which you praise law abiding, non-disobedient political rallies.

You see, "respect" truly is a two-way street.

P.S. I can't possibly imagine how the bicyclists "did dilute the message" and would love to see a justification for this charge. I challenge anyone to argue that yesterday's anti-war message was in any way unclear. Untidy, perhaps - but unclear?

P.P.S. to my dear radical friends, sorry I wasn't involved in any of the organizing with you, next time I'll try to be more so. I do actually agree that trying to stop the legal, permitted march in the middle of an intersection, if that's what happened, is a bit disrespectful, and I'll probably suggest that some sort of a breakaway march is probably a better idea. Remember that <-- Democracy | WTO --> sign? Something like that, with:

<-- legal, permitted march to register your discontent with the status quo
unpermitted march - civil disobedience to disrupt the status quo -->

diversity 21.Mar.2004 14:21

Enji

no one has mentioned yet what a diverse crowd this was. I don't recall ever seeing so many different colors of skin, and such a wide range of ages.

look again at Tom Hasting's account of the VOLUNTEER hours that went into this event. it is because of that respect and diversity of groups involved in the creation of this event that more people of color were at this large rally than any I can recall in the past two years.

the music committee and the speakers committee worked hard on bringing diversity to those two very important aspects of the day. I would assume it is thanks to Ramon Ramirez as keynote speaker that we saw so many Hispanics come out.

and was he awesome, or what? or maybe you were too busy roaming about to find peace cops you could blame for not being peaceful, to actually listen to the keynote speaker.

Wha? 21.Mar.2004 15:07

Logic Void

I've seen a variety of comments after my post, and it seems to me that the general consensus within the radical community is that there is the need for respect of tactics. I agree, I have been to logging protests, the Bush protests, and several of these anti-war protests, and I agree that a variety of tactics is needed. But causing division within our own community, and trying to disrupt a march of peaceful protestors, who just wanted to do their thing, is wrong. 1) It causes the peaceful protestors, 50+ year olds to get pissed off that you are stopping them when they want to keep marching and shouting, 2) It looks as if you are just causing trouble. Instead of pushing through forcefully, say 'Excuse Me', move to the front, and march ahead of us. We had thousands of people, you could have helped rather than harmed us.

You are right, it is time for unity, not entirely behind one group perhaps. I have chosen to unite myself with politics, and working against laws, lobbying, volunteering etc. Perhaps you want to align yourself with the radical movement, thats fine, but rain on the GOP's parade instead of a crowd of peaceful marcher's. They aren't the ones you need to get your message across to.

AND, if you are truly interested in a message, tell your radical brethren the facts. Instead of getting up there and stupidly making up BS about the Bush administration, tell us what they've done. Tell us that they lied about weapons of mass destruction, that they lied about Iraq being part of the war on terrorism. Tell us that they've ruined the environment, that they've caused thousands to be without jobs. That their tax cuts are aimed at the wealthy. Without substance, I fear nobody will listen.

- Logic Void

Memory Void 21.Mar.2004 16:31

Carl Panzram

"Instead of getting up there and stupidly making up BS about the Bush administration," lets talk about the 500,000 to a million Iraqi children that died during Clinton's 8 years of nonstop bombing (according to the traditionally pro-US World Health Org) - bombing which selectively targeted Iraq's drinking water system, among other things - effectively slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of children, not to mention the adults. Let's talk about what it would be like to see your child die of dysentery. Lets talk about the tons upon tons of depleted uranium that have been sown all over Iraq's land and people, mostly during Clinton's 8 year reign in office.

Let's talk about the "welfare reform" bill signed by Clinton - perhaps single-handedly the most drastic cut to our social services since the New Deal came about.

Let's talk about NAFTA, also signed by Clinton - perhaps the single-handedly most deadly blows to the working people of North America, along with their environments.

Not everyone is as naive as you and you're multitudes of liberal collaborators. Not everyone thinks like a simpleton - continually sticks one's hand in a flame again and again and again - to be burnt again and again and again.

"Yes, if we can just get rid of Bush, everything will be fine!"

We know that the continual flip flop of power between the Democrat and Republican parties, the two different faces of the american fascist party, is an extremely efficient system for the continued monopoly of power by the top 1% of income earners - the serial killers who sit in boardrooms, planning genocide after genocide, with the US government and military used as a simple tool.

In the Soviet Union they had elections too. You could vote for one Communist party member of another. Here in the US, we simply vote between one fascist party member or another.

There's a void here all right - it's called denial of reality. It's called selective amnesia, the forgetting of unpleasant facts that do not support one's lazy fantasy - the forgetting of history - recent fucking history. And this amazing display of denial is motivated by the fat-assed all-american need for immediate gratification.

"Well, I did my part to stop the endless genocide funded with my tax dollars, I went down and voted Democrat."

If you vote Democrat, then you are responsible for the non-stop mass-murder, torture, environmental destruction, and starvation that our government, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, endlessly perpetuates with our tax dollars. The quiet collaborators of any age are to be despised as the cowards that they are - especially those with children who do nothing to make the world better for the next generation (and yes, voting Democrat is doing nothing, and neither is marching in a permitted parade - a direct violation of our always time-honored fist amendment right to assembly and freedom of speech.

So did you feel better when you didn't see Clinton's Iraqi genocide in the corporate media when he was in office? Does that make it easier to deny that real people, millions upon millions, are continually starved and slaughtered by your benevolent government - slaughtered in your name?

For those interested in organizing outside of the political system - the only way equality and true freedom for all can ever be attained - free from the leaders, the dog hierarchies that lead to the inevitable monopolies of power and resulting horrors - stop by the Industrial Worker of the World union hall on 616 E Burnside. Informational sessions are open to all at 7:00pm on the second Monday of every month. Or stop down any other time to hang out and chat in the worker owned café next door.

Building our autonomous community is the first step.

Leaders will always betray you. Simply pick up a history book.

tough challenge 21.Mar.2004 16:32

deva

First, too much generalization does not lead to fruitful discussion, nor does being overly focused on assigning blame.

Second, Ramon Ramirez was excellent. He touched on some important issues. That was the highlight of the day for me.

Logic Void said "Perhaps you want to align yourself with the radical movement, thats fine, but rain on the GOP's parade instead of a crowd of peaceful marcher's. They aren't the ones you need to get your message across to."

Actually they are the ones (among others) to get a radical message across to. War is not an isolated event. It is the result of the totality of the social situation. The Pentagon report recently covered by the UK Observer, predicted more wars, including nuclear wars, as nations fight over dwindling resources.

There was no mention of this at all yesterday. No mention of the forces pushing war to happen. Peak oil, and the unfolding environmental catastrophe are making war more and more likely.

Why is there no context to the anti-war message?

Like it or not, the proponents of war are offering their solution, which is to go take what this nation needs. If you are going to oppose war, then you also need to address the causes, and offer an alternative solution.

The peace coalition has sacrificed the hard truth in the name of a feel good message of peace in order to maximize the number of people at such events. I will suggest this is why during the big marches from Sept 2002 through March 2003 and now including this one, you will not hear any talk of the roots of the war.

Once you look at the roots of war, then the only ethical solution is for U.S. citizens to change their consumptive lifestyle, and the basic economy itself. This is the imperative ethical and moral choice given the facts, and the peaceful, anti-war, well meaning middle class does not want to face this truth and tackle the enormous challenge it represents.

This is the basic impotence of the anti-war movement.

What we face in the way of war and suffering over the next twenty years makes Iraq look like a picnic. If some bicycles didn't move when Tom Hastings asked, or some radical youth, scared to shit because they feel what future we face, tried to stop the march so what! They feel the pathological denial that grips the psyche of this country and regardless of whether their particular action was useful or not, do understand that such effort is seeking to break through the denial.

Countless species are going extinct, and humanity may up as one of them. Given the situation we face, I hope you can see the pathology of even being concerned whether a few radical youth tried to stop a march!

The far bigger concern is why the peace movement is more concerned with orderliness and everyone being in line, than in the truly frightening reality we face.

excuse me? 21.Mar.2004 17:16

burr

Tom Hastings said: "Of course, there are those who think it's clever to hijack all that good organizing and disrespect all of us who do the gruntwork day in and day out. They show up, act like they called the event, and puff around, telling us we are peace cops if we suggest that they consider what the organizers have consensed to. The bike riders were especially rude and obnoxious and did dilute the message with their tactics. If they weren't all police agents they may as well have been, for the inane spin they put on the procession."

Please do tell us how exactly the bike riders stepped on your toes or diluted the message?

As far as I could tell, all of the cyclists were both supportive and on-message. People on bicycles turned out in force for the rally and march; some chose to ride along. I'm not exactly sure what was wrong with that? Maybe next time I'll stay home and tell all my friends opposed to the war who bicycle to do likewise. If your attitude was better, this message I'm posting could have been a thank you for doing all the boring organizing work; but instead, it's 'screw you and your haughty attitude.'

And by the way, an apology from you is in order for insinuating that the cyclists were police agents. That's just fucking uncalled for!!!

This forum is fantastic! 21.Mar.2004 17:57

just a citizen

This discussion is one of the best I have seen since I started checking the posts here a few weeks ago. I totally appreciate being able to hear these points of view, they help educate me. Ok, here's my bitch.

Yesterday's march in Downtown Portland was a resounding success, good job to all! There was only one fly in my ointment yesterday, and I have run across this same thing several times now so I have gotten to where I must say something. Soldier bashing still seems to be in fashion with some peaceniks, and people, it's just plain wrong. Indeed, our warriors have been misused in many conflicts and that is deplorable, but the troops do not make policy. By the very nature of their occupation they have no choice where or when they fight. Unless they have obeyed an illegal order, you might as well yell at a hammer for what the carpenter did.

Now, if you run into a General Staff officer or a senior Pentagon official, you might try telling them what you think- that guy might have some influence on policy. Your congressmen, senators and all those people, they have influence on policy. Write them, call them, email them, they are the ones who can do something. If you want to stop a train you tell the engineer, not another passenger. Why would you think stopping a war could be done by yelling at a soldier?

On the tube, in the papers, the two themes are played against each other. The peaceful masses of ("Upatriotic") dissenters and the few lonely ("Loyal American") troop supporters. The "Support Our Troops" crowd's tears for and feelings of gratitude to the men and women who fight and die for us all (regardless of what their leaders are looking to gain) are not misplaced. They have missed a point however. Those who don't support this war, barring a few, support the troops too. Our differences lie in what we think of the policy that sends those young people into harm's way, not in the respect we have for their sacrifices.

Let's send the message to the ones driving the train.

International Law, anyone? 21.Mar.2004 19:44

Jake

"Soldier bashing still seems to be in fashion with some peaceniks, and people, it's just plain wrong. Indeed, our warriors have been misused in many conflicts and that is deplorable, but the troops do not make policy. By the very nature of their occupation they have no choice where or when they fight. Unless they have obeyed an illegal order, you might as well yell at a hammer for what the carpenter did."
International law would disagree with this. Principle 4 of the Nuremberg Principles states "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." What they're doing in Iraq does violate international law, and they can't just say "well, I was only obeying orders." No. It doesn't work like that. They have the responsibility as humans to disobey when they're ordered to do something that is murderous.

this is no way to work for the greater good 21.Mar.2004 19:46

street dancer cmaddox@prescott.edu

Dear burr (and everyone else),

I hope that you don't mean what you said about staying home and telling your friends to do likewise. In my opinion this is an immature reactionary way to deal with what happened at the march, and with what the liberal organizer has posted. I believe that what he wrote was wrong and irresponsible. I believe that what you wrote was every bit as paralyzing to "the movement".
"Maybe next time I'll stay home and tell all my friends opposed to the war who bicycle to do likewise. If your attitude was better, this message I'm posting could have been a thank you for doing all the boring organizing work; but instead, it's 'screw you and your haughty attitude.'" This is the part that I really take issue with.

If we are going to change the way humans all over the world think about, discuss, claim, and exchange resources and identities (because that is essentially what all of this is about) then we're going to have to learn to talk and act with people all over the world! We do not live in a vacuum - this world belongs to ALL of us humans, as well as all other living and non living things - therefore we must not exclude anyone from our attempts making it a better place. This doesn't mean individuals should not fight passionatly for what they believe in, it just means that ultimately whatever world we create (and the process of change is not one with a beginning or an ending - there is no goal in sight) we are all going to live there, unless you advocate gunning down all those who dissent (which doesn't work - they tried that already).

I am angry with the neo-liberals and corporate profiteers (and to a lesser extent the consumer class) for their seeming desire to create a world in which only they can survive happily - therefore what right do I have to create a world in which only I may survive happily? What right do you have? Capitalism has worked so far because it does not require any human being to actually think about the world that is being created - they set up and protect the parameters of the system and the market simply creates it for us automatically and mindlessly.

If we are to begin truly consciously creating our world we need to do it by the messy, at times ridiculous process of talking whispering speaking screaming yelling and conversing with one another - not by dropping out of the conversation the moment someone says someting that we don't approve of one hundred percent. In a perverse way we need the reformers, the democrats, and the green party just as much as we need the black bloc, critical massers and tree sitters. We're all part of the same world here - let's act like it. I'm sick of acting out "their" patriarchal power oriented autocratic infighting with my fellow activists. Let's find a new way to relate to one another.
I hope to see you at the next direct action - whether it be organized and approved or not.

with love from that girl

Cyclists as Police Agents? 21.Mar.2004 19:47

brandywine

I was one of those so-called rude and obnoxious cyclists. I fail to see how my participation in the protest was disruptful, and I really question why on earth anyone would consider any of us police agents. I've had my own share of run-ins with Officer Meyers.

I have a great deal of respect for the folks who did all the work putting the event together. I know how much work goes into something like that; it's not fun and no one every says thank you. So, thank you. However, I thought that a protest on the city streets was open to anyone at all, and not just for the people who organized it. When did the definitions change?

I had a great time at the protest and I loved seeing so many people there all saying the same thing. I'm not sure why now some folk's message is worth more than others.

nice 21.Mar.2004 20:20

how about

<--- use same old tactics
use same old tactics--->





the revolution WILL be televised.

Politics shared by Liberals - or - More concerned with Image? 21.Mar.2004 21:39

mb

Can you guess who said this?

"I'm surprised at the fact a lot of people were talking about freedom and democracy but would not allow other people to speak, but showed rude and crude behavior."

hows about this:
"The FBI's broad definition of terrorism might easily apply to disciplined non-violent civil disobedience."

or this
"Of course, there are those who think it's clever to hijack all that good organizing and disrespect all of us who do the gruntwork day in and day out. They show up, act like they called the event, and puff around, telling us we are peace cops if we suggest that they consider what the organizers have consensed to. The bike riders were especially rude and obnoxious and did dilute the message with their tactics. If they weren't all police agents they may as well have been, for the inane spin they put on the procession."

find some context at
 http://www.counterpunch.org/mercier1031.html

Response to Mr. Hastings 21.Mar.2004 21:46

SKiDmark

I'm tired of the the people at IMC refering to us as hipsters. It's not our fault that we come up with shit and then everyone else gloms on to it. They have this tendency to paint everyone who is young(or young looking), tattooed, pierced, (post-post)punk, and beat up bike riding with the same brush. They even use the *trying to get attention* observation. Personally, I look the way I look so the Herberts will LEAVE ME ALONE. It's this ridiculous self-inflated conceit the normal people have that we somehow give a shit what they think. Like I punch holes in my body and sit for hours under an ink-filled sewing machine for their benefit.Yeah all the pain, all the money, all the black clothes that don't show dirt, it's for you normie! Apparently it's only okay to be concerned about how your government is fucking you if you look like joe-average-citizen.Sorry if looking like a freak somehow takes legitimacy out of your cause.Having the freedom to look like a freak and still get respect and not be judged by my appearance is part of my cause.


freak 21.Mar.2004 22:52

me too

freak!

an apology and some thoughts on movement growth 21.Mar.2004 22:54

Tom Hastings hastings@pdx.edu

To the bikers who chose to ignore the wishes of those who organized M20, about whom I said "if they weren't police agents they may as well have been," I apologize. I'm pretty sure that none of you were police agents. However, you were incredibly boorish when you were asked nicely, twice, to respect the long hard work of those who met for months on end about a million items all decided by group process. And if any mainstream media were taking the images from the front of the event--which is kind of logical--the image projected was a bunch of bikers with brilliant signs such as "Bomb the zoo, not Iraq," riding around going "whoop! whoop!"

That image is fine for an event organized by those people or for an event where the organizers might have said, hey, whatever, or for an event where the organizers asked the bikers with those kinds of signs to ride around in the lead and project the image of the event.

That image for the event actually planned and organized was not what the organizers wanted. I volunteered to help with vibes watching and I passed along the wishes of the organizers who had told us this quite explicitly. They sent off the peace walk with that very message. Everyone who had been listening knew and those who hadn't heard were told in a respectful fashion by me.

My primary point stands. We learn how to do a better movement when we process events after and try to learn. I learned some things yesterday and I'm trying to be a part of helping others to learn too. This is the dialectic that keeps us growing, evolving, isn't it?

And to those who somehow heard in my comments that I was accusing the bikers of violence, hogwash. They weren't. It was a simple question of showing some respect for lots of hard work that others do to make an event happen. The organizers (and for this event I certainly don't claim to be one, just a helper) made some decisions. Show some maturity and abide by them or leave and do another event elsewhere.

Finally, the notion that this war deserves civil resistance is absolutely correct. I've certainly spent my share of time in jails and prisons for nonviolent civil resistance and no doubt will again. But I would NEVER do an act of civil resistance in the context of a mass event unless that was part of the planning by the organizers of the event. Again, this is basic movement courtesy for the uninitiated. If arrests occur despite all efforts to remain law abiding for the duration of the event, well, that can't be helped and it's time to for jail support. But for those who come into an event that other people have worked incredibly hard to bring together and to do spontaneous provocation is poor form indeed. Again, pick another time of the day or another area of town and go for it, clearly separated from the mass event. Stop ripping off other's hard work for some kind of ego gratification.

I learn from all of you and I thank you for your high commitment. I won't stop challenging you when I have the time to do so, and I will expect the same from you in return. We need to grow. We need to cut the props out from under this corrupt war system and live the world we know is possible. I hope we have the ethics and ingenuity to make it so.

Tom, you're SO off base about the cyclists 21.Mar.2004 23:49

PDXer

wow, Tom, you have some gall, insisting on your point about the cyclists, and repeating it again. all this talk about the "image" that was being "projected" for the corporate media is just disgusting. the corporate media are not our friends, will never be, and can not ever be used in a truly effective way for any of our causes. you need to cut yourself off from the corporate media (all forms) for at least six months, and then rethink this topic. the longer you stay away from corporate media, the more you realize it is a tool of oppression and nothing else. while still consuming it (and being addicted to it) on a daily basis, you will never see it for what it is.

the zoobombers were great. they actually lent a certaom cache to an otherwise pointless and meandering event. diversity, brother. can you dig? i guess not.

get out of the ivory tower. stop reading so many damn newspapers and watching "the news", and you'll be much better off.

boom 21.Mar.2004 23:57

ka boom

zoo bom foo bomb you too
freak!

courageous revolutionary 21.Mar.2004 23:58

mogwa ryceugene@yahoo.com

I just wanted to acknowledge the most courageous individual I saw all day. He was wearing a green hat and drumming in the street surrounded by bicycle cops. I don't know how many of you have ever been surrounded and physically pushed by cops, but it takes a lot of strength and courage to keep your head about you. I wanted to make sure that this young man was recognize and hopefully we can reflect upon the courage it took for him to stay put and be physically removed while his acquaintences stood on the sidewalk. He was definately one individual that I would sit in the street with.

more to come later...

bought to you by...the revolutionary youth collective

something smells 22.Mar.2004 00:01

Salamander

<<<The organizers made some decisions. Show some maturity and abide by them or leave and do another event elsewhere.>>>

The organizers made some decisions? I can make some decisions too. You do not own the day, nor the event.

Do what you are told, or leave? Guess you do not like dissent huh. Own and control, just like the republicans and corporate dominators. Fuck you Tom Hastings you arrogant prick. You are no ally of mine.

<<<That image for the event actually planned and organized was not what the organizers wanted. I volunteered to help with vibes watching and I passed along the wishes of the organizers who had told us this quite explicitly. They sent off the peace walk with that very message. Everyone who had been listening knew and those who hadn't heard were told in a respectful fashion by me.>>>

Boo Hoo - It is not what the organizers wanted. Again, they do not own the day. The day the bombing started is everyones day. I bet the organizers were not the ones out blocking roads, being beaten and peppersprayed and getting arrested last March 20th.

See how quickly the liberals co-opt things. They are just like the corporations. Same basic mindset, but with a nicer veneer.

And check out the words "were told". I don't give a fuck if you are all nice and cuddly about it, you still want to tell others what to do.

You talk about how dissent is important for democracy, but as soon as there is dissent against your schemes, you want to shut people up. I am sure also, that if you had the power, you would remove people, all so you can whore yourself and present the proper image to the media. You are no different than the state when it actually comes down to it.

You better look long and hard at yourself cause you are perpetuating the status quo.

Re: Very Interesting Discussion 22.Mar.2004 00:26

E2

E. Combatant wrote: "What I want to know is what happened to all of these 'radicals' at the North Park Blocks? That's where I started out, and our dwindling numbers of 15-20 were outnumbered by the cops. We marched anyways, and took the streets for a couple of blocks, but we simply did not have the numbers or the energy to go all the way."

What did happen to all of the "radicals"? The picture is more dismal than Mr. C painted it: there were only six or seven marchers from the N. Park Blocks. There also was an observer from Human Rights Watch (I hope I got the name correct) and some (Indy)media people--but even adding them doesn't flesh things out to more than about twelve.

Still, the small group took Burnside, then Broadway. Then the stern horsey-cops put an end to marching in the street and then then jay-walking. (Have you ever wondered whether cops were the fuck-ups in school that got yelled a lot? That's how they interact with the public at times--with a bullying, commanding style inappropriate for dealing with most adults. However, in terms of short-term compliance, it seems to work and they probably don't care that people don't think complementary things about them.)

and people wondered 22.Mar.2004 01:16

Enji

why there was so little mention of the March 20 event here on indymedia before it happened.

are you still wondering?

mean people suck.

grow up.

Tom, tom, the piper's son 22.Mar.2004 01:40

WendyB

"and stop showing up for our events..." And stop showing up for OUR events. Wasn't this supposed to be a global show of solidarity for the Iraqi people? Wasn't this supposed to be an international show of anti-imperialism for the occupied nation? This was not a forum for the KBOO membership drive or Kerry support or Queer Rights or LaRouchce. I feel like most of you could care less about the struggles abroad as long as your platform is recognized. By the bye, the so-called "radical feed" from the N.Park Blocs consisted of an entire army of 12. We weren't disallowing anyone, other people certainly were participating in willfull ignorance and denial by not showing up. Now, get in the boxcar. You know you love you love it. It is empowering to conform.

its a nice day 22.Mar.2004 09:07

deva

enji -

if you want to see certain stories on the site, post em...

if you are excited about an event, share your excitement and enthusiasm... post organizing meetings, encourage participation and so on...

I walked on the march, and enjoyed the nice weather and as such, it was pleasant. I was not enthusiastic leading up to the event, and I am not excited about it after the fact.

Ramon Ramirez gave a good speech, but otherwise the speakers said little of interest.

I do not see the event as being of much use. Not because it was permitted, or because there was no civil disobedience, but because there is so little context. There was virtually no addressing of the real issues driving this and other wars. It is a reactive event which makes an emotional appeal lacking in real substance.

Obviously it took a great deal of work to put it together, and it may indeed be useful for new people who have never done such a thing, just to get out on the street. However, it misses the opportunity to educate about the critical situation we face.

As I said in a previous comment, it looks to me like there is a deep denial amongst the 'anti-war movement' as to why there is this war, why the U.S. is working hard to overthrow Chavez in Venezuela, why the U.S. consumes so much of the worlds resources, and how the U.S. strategy fits in with the swift environmental change we are in the midst of, and the end of cheap free oil.

Look, right here. I raise these absolutely critical issues in this discussion, and Tom Hastings ignores them and stays focused on calling a few bike riders boorish because they did not do what the organizers wanted them to. You too for that matter. You focus on whether people on indymedia are nice or mean.

Of course they are sincere, and mean well, but in my opinion, all the hard work of the 120+ groups that put the march together is to a large degree, wasted, if we do not get to the heart of the matter and make effort to do something about it. Time is somewhat short.

reply to Enji 22.Mar.2004 10:06

pdx indymedia editor

Enji, there was an entire section of this website devoted to posts about M20 for weeks beforehand, and a link by the calendar on the left-hand side. this event got the type of billing on this website that only a handful of events do every year. this, in spite of the fact that many of the liberal organizers don't like indymedia and won't post to this site. the special section was created in response to people posting to the newswire asking for it. that section is here:

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/action/dayx2004/

it's true that there weren't as many M20 stories before the event as i was expecting, but keep in mind that some PPRC folks (though they were only one element of M20, they are very active generally) actively discourage people from using indymedia or posting to it. certain of them (will seaman, mykel clayhold, among others) dislike indymedia because some members of the community have used indymedia to criticize PPRC events. they're the ones who need to "grow up".

to "WendyB" 22.Mar.2004 10:15

Pink Emma

"WendyB" wrote:
"For all these dumb parents of dumb kids that sign up for the armed forces, stop whining. Don't support your child's decision to kill people and you won't have to worry about them being killed... Everyone does have the ability to CHOOSE an occupation."

For someone who claims she has "grown up," you display extreme callousness and lack of human compassion. The "dumb parents" should stop their whining? How you, "grown-up" Wendy?

-- You whine about being _asked_ to behave. (Certainly she had no right to boss you around, but just as certainly, you know this, and you are whining about it.)

-- You whine about being _asked_ to contribute. You whine this event should "not cost a dime." (Personally I enjoyed being able to hear the speakers and musicians, which would not have been possible without the expense of the sound system, just as one example.)

I'm sorry, Wendy, but the sad truth is, the "dumb parents of dumb kids" are not the ones who have any choice in the matter. Whether the parents support or oppose their kid's choice, the choice belongs to the kid. "Kids" who have the choice to join the military are in fact adults and beyond their parents' control.

Even parents who supported their child's choice to join up will suffer horribly if they lose a child to war. Wendy, would you begrudge them their grief?

My cousin - without the support of his mother - joined up and went to Vietnam. He was 18 years old. He went not to kill, but as a medic. He survived in-country only one month, to die of a rifle shot in the chest by one of the snipers, who especially targeted the medics.

Wendy, this is my wish for you:

I truly and fervently hope you never have to know the unspeakable anguish of having your child die, whether through war, disease, crime, or accident.

May some smaller tragedy teach you the compassion so profoundly lacking in your character.

Re: deva 22.Mar.2004 10:25

E. Combatant

You made some excellent points, as usual. But as far as the march disruption goes, while I would agree that the incident was minor, especially in the broader scope, it does present a fundemental issue that is being lost here. The 'radicals' fault the 'liberals' for failing to demonstrate solidarity for more agressive tactics. Yet, in this case, the radicals did not only fail to show solidarity with a worthy and positive effort by the mainstream, but they went a step further, and attempted (apparently) to co-opt it for their own purposes. How can the 'radicals' expect solidarity if they are unwilling to demonstrate any?

Additionally, the North Park Blocks offered an opportunity to make a statement, yet myself and the dozen other attendees were left blowing in the wind. Should I bother to show up next time? Risking the alienation of a positive effort does not make any sense to me when their are clearly plenty of alternatives.

Reflections on the March that Wasn't 22.Mar.2004 10:45

CatWoman

Above, sarah richardson said,
"All those kiddies running around with scarves on their faces, trying to disrupt the organized march to stage their own little event... they're just attention starved kids who feel like they get to do something rebellious for the bragging rights at the party next weekend."

I find myself wondering where Sarah formed this blatant and erroneous stereotype. Was it while she was sitting back on her couch guzzling in the diet of poison doled out by the corporate media? Because it absolutely could not be further from the truth. It's almost silly in it's ignorance, but then again, it's scary how easily the liberal masses will turn on those whom the corporate media brands as villians. My apologies to those who don't deserve this, but Sarah's diatribe has made me feel free to share a few stereotypes of my own.

I didn't go to the march. I didn't want to go. I could respect the whole diversity of tactics thing, and tell myself that somehow, this seemingly pointless endeavor might make a difference. But I couldn't drag myself down there. Why not?

Because I've seen a lot of marches. Listen, I have tried to avoid the divisive rants characteristic the liberal/radical divide. I really have. But frankly, this march had all the trappings of the kind of wasteful, liberal, feel-good-and-do-nothing events that I have come to despise.

Before you lay into me for being too critical of all those liberal efforts, ask yourself how many people showed up to all those "planning meetings" with starbucks mugs in their hands? How many got their post-meeting caffeine hit from a big gulp of coca cola? How many people, do you suppose, drove to the march in Jeep Cherokees? How many marched around in Nikes? How many (gag) went shopping after their "civic duty" was fulfilled?

This is no way to change the world.

The sickening build-up prior to this event sounded, at least to me, more like a sales pitch for downtown businesses than a plea for change. Hell, the PBA loves this stuff. The "good" marchers, who won't do anything to slow down business and will, in fact, bring dollars streaming in. What could be better than a free-speech corral full of "customers" marching up the street?

No, I didn't go to the march. I just couldn't stand there, again, and watch people streaming out of pioneer square and into Starbucks, still carrying their signs. How many times I have watched the petty little security guards at Pioneer Place turning people away after marches because you can't go into Pioneer Place with a protest sign. Should people really have to be told that? I mean, they're marching for "peace," right? How is it they fail to understand the connection between all the things they take that they don't really need, and all the places those things have come from? How can they not see the impact of captalism itself on the world we live in? How can they possibly think marching around in a big circle is going to change anything if they can't even bring themselves to put down that fucking credit card, even for just one day?

For every 100 square feet in your home, picture a few more acres of forest denuded...somewhere. For every pair of shoes you buy, every plastic gadget in your kitchen drawer, every electrical appliance gracing your home entertainment center, picture children laboring in foreign factories to make them for you. And while you picture that, imagine the resentment building in the hearts and minds of those children and their families. For every ounce of coke you drink, think of the workers who have been murdered by the real thing. And for every pint of gasoline you put into your tank, think of the pints of blood flowing through Iraq. This is war. All of it. It's easy to imagine war being some nebulous thing existing only "over there," to forget that you really do have the power to change it. It's easy to delude yourself into thinking you're powerless in the struggle except to march in circles. But it's much, much harder to really do anything about it -- even if all you need to do is stop taking more than you need.

This is the message that's been missing from every liberal march I've ever attended. Although I wasn't there, I can almost guarantee it was missing from this one as well. And it sounds like, once again, the few people who actually tried to stand up and get this message out were scorned by the "acceptable" and "mature" folks who would have everyone parading around for the corporate media, smiling at the armed police state waiting to take down anyone who steps out of line. (Incidentally, is it true that people weren't allowed speaker time unless they could pay for this "free speech"? I would have blocked such a fickle speaker platform too.)

Yes, it sounds like it all came off without a hitch. Wallow in this illusory victory while you can, because the hangover is gonna be a whopper.

my last comment 22.Mar.2004 10:51

Enji

As the contact person for Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, I often have reason to publicize things. PPRC, Mikel Clayhold, and Will Seaman have nothing to do with the reason that I have stopped using Indymedia's calendar, and have stopped using Indymedia to post articles. I went to nearly every organizing meeting for the March 20 event, and they never once told anybody to stay away from Indymedia. People from the organizing meetings did not post to Indymedia beforehand because I presume they have drawn their own conclusions about the efficacy of Portland Indymedia.

You may not wish to hear that, but really, PPRC does not have a campaign against Indymedia. As any reasonable person would, when someone rudely screams at you, harangues you until you leave the room, PPRC folks have left the room, along with the rest of us who are turned off by such unreasonable behavior.

The rudeness, the blaming polemics, the fallacious arguments, and the immaturity as found on any web board or public email list are the reasons I have severe reservations about using this site as a way to get out the news. Frankly, I have no wish to attract such rude people to the events that my group may be involved with. I occasionally attempt to have a meaningful conversation in the hope that if I am reasonable, someone will be reasonable back, but that rarely happens.

PPS 22.Mar.2004 11:04

Enji, get over yourself.

Really.

oops 22.Mar.2004 11:04

that was TO enji.

As in, Enji, get over yourself. Really.

Snap Out of It, CatWoman 22.Mar.2004 11:22

E. Combatant

I have found the vast majority of your posts to be very inspiring. Your last one sounded like sour grapes. I understand your criticisms of the mainstream event, although I don't completely agree, but I realy could have used your support at the North Park Blocks, and I wonder why you were not there.

Guess what? I used to drive a gas guzzler, drink Coke and Starbucks, and wear Nikes. Now I don't, and I owe that transition to people like you. People can't change their stripes overnight. Gradual change is the most lasting, and drastic changes can make it difficult to function. The alternatives have a ways to go before they are completely workable for most folks.

Not everybody needs to sell there car and shop in dumpsters to effect real and substantial change. One less Big Mac, Starbucks, and/or Coke per week, and one more non-automotive trip, would go a very long way towards changing our course, or at least buy us a bit more time to sort out a new plan.

Minimize the millions in the streets on Saturday if you must, but something is a whole lot more than nothing. Have a great day!

Wow!!! 22.Mar.2004 12:26

mogwa ryceugene@yahoo.com

more thoughts from the RYC...

Please stop the infighting!!!!!!!!!!!

The police are no longer needed...we are destroying ourselves...

I've worked on organizing committees in the past in an attempt to put together a march/rally in solidarity with a day of action. I know how difficult it is to bring together all the pieces. Hell, I almost failed out of school last year because I was going to so many meetings. I've felt the ageism brought on by an older generation while at the same time being accused of not respecting the 60's generation. The biggest thing I learned from all of these things is flexibilty. The more organized and scheduled an event is the more dissappointing it will be to it's organizers. All tactics are vitally important and absolutely everyone has a place in this movement. It's like a faceted sphere...there are those who preffer to work within the current system of society (ie. lobbying, voting democrat, whatever) and there are those who preffer to work outside of the system (ie. sitting in the street, blocking bridges, destroying SUV's or corporate windows...etc). Now here comes the hard part...everyone needs to find the facet of the movement that fits their own ideology the best and those on the inside push for reform and those on the outside pull against government tyranny and only then will we be working together. Forget the person working in a different part of the movement...it's the same damn movement! Once we can all figure out that everyone involved is absolutely necessary only then will we witness social/global change.

Be flexible...
Live and love to your fullest extent...
Remember that children are the only people not yet jaded by society...
and...
Please, don't lose hope...keep doing what you know is right.

peace

re: E. Combatant 22.Mar.2004 12:42

deva

"The 'radicals' fault the 'liberals' for failing to demonstrate solidarity for more agressive tactics. Yet, in this case, the radicals did not only fail to show solidarity with a worthy and positive effort by the mainstream, but they went a step further, and attempted (apparently) to co-opt it for their own purposes. How can the 'radicals' expect solidarity if they are unwilling to demonstrate any?"


I did not see this moment where some people tried to stop the speaker platform. I do not know the reason, the intent, what happened or what was said or done. I really can make no useful comment on it specifically. What I can comment on is the general situation.

First, I am not concerned with whether a tactic is aggressive, but whether it is the intelligent outcome of a clear understanding of the situation we face.

Second, I myself have no expectation of solidarity from liberals. To expect solidarity, means you consider the person or group an ally and that they have a common purpose. I no longer see mainstream liberals as an ally, any more than I see republicans as an ally. I do find allies among many places, some quite unexpected.

Now, there are plenty of good people who went out on the streets last Saturday. To say 'the liberals' is dangerous, just as saying 'the radicals' is. I prefer the notion of the liberal mind set, which grips many people. Many good people are gripped by the liberal mind set.

The liberal mind set is an integral part of the problem we face. The liberal mind set is an ideology which is divorced from reality. It is part of the social control mechanism. It is an illusion. Some people are hooked by conservativism, others by liberalism.

To be radical, means to have no overarching ideology, but rather to look at what is, and respond intelligently, perceptively. That is getting to the heart, or root of the matter.

I was very disillusioned when I realized that the mainstream peace/anti-war movement was not an ally. Though painful at the time, this was a healthy and necessary disillusionment.

The liberal mind set fundamentally likes and is attached to the status quo. In that sense, I have no common purpose with the liberal mind set. Mouthing words of peace means nothing.

What percentage of the people at Saturday's march are living a lifestyle which makes war inevitable? As Catwoman asked, how many are still consuming coke products?

And still you see Tom Hastings stay doggedly focused on a few bikes at the front of the march, enji on whether people on indymedia are nice enough, and you, you at least acknowledge I made a good point, but then return to this old argument.

The complete absence of anything related to consumption, to the environmental catastrophe that is now unfolding which is due to our excessive consumption, to the fact that this war is over resources to feed our addictions and mad lifestyle, this absence is so telling. It bespeaks the fundamental unwillingness to address our own behavior which is driving the war we say we want to stop.

To E Combatant 22.Mar.2004 12:52

Regarding the march in the N Park Blocks

Perhaps you didn't see this posting from 3/11/04:

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/03/282585.shtml

"The radical spokescouncil has been planning and flyering to meet at the opposite corner in Pioneer Square at 1pm. I noticed that someone had posted something about a march from N park blocks at 12pm. The folks involved in the planning have felt this wouldn't be a wise choice. Our numbers will be quite low this year and having everyone split up would suck a lot. The pigz have been training and gearing up(with new tazers) for 8 months already. We don't wish to be so easily silenced. We plan to have speakers and LOTS of drums, flags, banners, music, etc. If you wish to get involved in planning for DayX II then please hook up with the local radical group of your choice."

In any event, this isn't why I didn't attend either march. As it happens, both seemed pointless. M20 was what it was because people were reacting to an immediate event at a moment in time. That's what going to the streets is about. The desire to throw a party a year later just seemed like a fruitless attempt to re-live the adrenaline of the day without the reason for it. Yes, I know the war is still going on, and I agree that doing something about it is in order. But let's face it. A year later, we need to be doing more than just marching around. We need to actually be examining our own actions and considering what we might be doing that's caused and is contributing to this war. And we need to be thinking creatively about how we're gonna stop it.

You can walk around in a free speech pen if you like, but I prefered to spend the day more productively. I planted a garden that will feed my family. It seemed more fitting for the first day of spring, and to me at least, it seemed a lot more likely to really make any difference in the world. That's a year's worth of food that won't be trucked in from some pesticide-laden corner of the 3rd world to my table. It's all the associated resources (in pesticides and herbicides to douse it with, cheap labor to pick it, fuel to get it here, paper to advertise it, money to buy it) that will not have to be used for my benefit. That's dollars that won't go to Monsanto, or DuPont, Dole or ADM, or any other destructive agro-giant in my name.

I've said all that in explanation for why I wasn't at the march. But your point about gradual change is well taken. We don't all start out in the same places, and all of us can learn a thing or two along the way. Thanks for the reminder. A friend recommends 10%. I think he's right. If everyone reduced their consumption by 10%, made small, positive changes in the world 10% at a time, the world would look much different than it does. And 10% is easy. It's not intimidating or overwhelming -- on the contrary, it becomes addictive. When you've done 10%, you feel like you can do 10% more. And then 10% more....

Tom, you silly man.... 22.Mar.2004 12:57

Zoobomber

Zoobomb is not a radical animal rights group. "Bomb the Zoo" simply means coast the hill from the Zoo. It is a joke. I'm sorry if humor and sarcasm doen't fit your image. Maybe you should get a sense of humor. It's amazing how much shit we get for being PRO-FUN.

Fight Evil Crime!


Right On deva, CatWoman, mogwa! 22.Mar.2004 13:23

E. Combatant

Keep up the good work and don't dispair. WE ARE WINNING!

re: E. Combatant 22.Mar.2004 13:41

deva

"People can't change their stripes overnight. Gradual change is the most lasting, and drastic changes can make it difficult to function. The alternatives have a ways to go before they are completely workable for most folks."

Unfortunately, we do not have time for gradual change.

A few people speaking harshly, is nothing compared to the vast suffering that is coming unless we change FAST.

This is the hard truth.

If your house is on fire, you do not sit inside saying I need to change slowly. If you do that, you will die.

We squandered our opportunity to change slowly. It is too late for that now. If we do not change consciously, and fast, then our habitual lifestyle will be changed for us, and it will not be nice. It will not be peaceful.

The idea of people needing to change slowly is a denial of the truth. When you see the house burning suddenly you are filled with energy to move and you run out. Saying things like people are not comfortable with alternatives, just shows the the fire is not seen and accepted.

This is why it is important to break through the denial.

Global climate change is accelerating at a breathtaking rate.

This is the hard truth.

This is what is not being faced.

Atmospheric CO2 went up 3 PPM in the past year. The previous decades have seen an average of 1.8 PPM increase per year. At this rate, in mere decades, NY City will be underwater.

Face it, feel it, let it sink into the bones. The psyche wants to deny it, hide in distractions of work and daily routine. That is a pathological response.

It is pathological to march on the street, say we want an end to the war/occupation in Iraq and then carry on the daily routine ignoring that far worse is just around the corner and essentially doing nothing.

This is the hard truth.

People do what they do. I do not hate people for hiding the head in the sand. However, I am not going to pretend it is anything but a disaster.

Re: deva 22.Mar.2004 14:14

E. Combatant

I am not unaware of the scale of the problem. 80% of our big fish gone, 2/3 of our crops contaminated with GMOs, mass extinctions underway, etc.. The house may be on fire, or there may be only smoldering ashes remaining. It is impossible to tell for sure. However, I refuse to embrace hopelessness and will continue to tilt at the windmill until it falls.

The biggest obsticle as I see it, are not misguided liberals. They have the right idea and simply need someone to draw them a cause and effect picture. They can and do change. Hopelessness and apethy are our biggest foes as far as I can tell. Most people in this country simply don't care or think that their efforts will do any good. I think that you are not among those ranks or you would not bother with your efforts.

Bicyclists had a positive message about a positive direct action against the war 22.Mar.2004 14:46

burr

The sad thing is, the fact that the bicyclists were carrying a positive message that may have made all those who traveled to the rally by SUV uncomfortable, but that people across this country should really be heeding: The war in Iraq is being fought to secure cheap oil to perpetuate the unsustainable American suburban lifestyle. Riding a bike is a simple direct action in the 'Think Globally Act Locally' mold - and it is a clear alternative to the typical American lifestyle that is literally driving us to war in the Middle East. Riding a bike is also much more fun than driving, despite the attempts of the car companies to brainwash us with their ads to make us think that driving is somehow sexy.

PUT THE FUN BETWEEN YOUR LEGS
NO WAR FOR OIL - RIDE A BIKE - LOSE THE SUV

if I may field a question 22.Mar.2004 14:49

eek

Back at the August rally, the one to greet Bush, there were people talking about how "boring" and "liberal" that event was. Of course, since that one was in a residential area, it was supposed to be noneventful. Not a good idea to get innocent bystanders teargassed in their own homes. (Even then, though, when the cameras were off, some people did get beaten and dragged away)

This one, however, was in downtown. What excuse was there to NOT let people march wherever they please? To let them heckle the police? To let them march at their own pace, instead of taking 10-20 minute breaks so everyone behind can catch up? So the planners of this nonevent can curry favor with the city government? What do you gain by taking the state on, on its own terms?

Clarifications 22.Mar.2004 15:45

V!

1. Radicals were there. They were not at the march in N park blocks that was called unilaterally by one guy. They were exactly where we said we would be. The plan that came out of the well represented radical spokes.
2. The plan was not simply to stop the march just for the hell of it. That would be a complete waste of time. The march was stopped so that some speakers who actually cared enough to apply some broader analysis to this otherwise single-issue-beat-your-head-against-a-brick-wall event. They stopped the march for all of 15min to allow low-income youth, people of color, and anyone who wanted to speak to speak FOR FREE. Not everyone can afford over $50!!! just to speak at some event. These people asked to be able to speak and were denied that right. One group was allowed to speak but only at the end of the march. They were assigned a reformist topic and threatened with BODY GUARDS if they should vear off of that topic. Also there was people handing out a flyer with the contents of the speeches because our low budget sound-system could not carry far.
3. Not all radicals are young.
4. Will Seamen has in the past actively spoken against indymedia because his feelings were hurt by criticisms that people in the community were posting. This was dispite the fact that indymedia flyered for and covered his events and was supportive.

5. Portland Indymedia is a popular forum and a good way to reach a lot of people. The site averages around 50,000-to over 90,000 readers PER DAY. The stats keep growing as the outreach gets better.

6. If voting and protesting was revolutionary, we'd have won the war by now. We are not free from this empirialist government and never will be at this rate. Voting is handing over your sovereign rights to some rich man. Protesting is only good for outreach, low-level empowerment, and propaganda. It's like mb said. What kind of legacy do we want to hand down to our children? Our slogans/signs or freedom? We've been struggling for 200 yrs! It's time to get focused and plan some effective strategies! Start study groups and get busy!

kill your television 22.Mar.2004 17:40

gb

It saddens me that the consensus reality projected by television still has so much influence on people and their actions, even people who believe that they see through the lies and brainwashing, people like Tom Hastings.

I have a hard time whenever I visit my own folks, as I am now doing, and they always turn on the tv, which is full of lies and distortions and prowar propaganda, which they claim to see through, even though ten minutes later they are unconsciously repeating some nonsense they heard on tv. Both my parents are hooked to the tv, even though they won't admit it.

I consider it much more destructive to adjust your actions and responses to the truly lamentable and dangerous situation in the world today to what will "play" on corporate tv, than to cause a "disruption" of this "message" by riding a bike with a lighthearted slogan at the front of a march.

I agree with what Deva has said, while a lot of work may have gone into this, a lot of this work is wasted motion if it doesn't energize and empower people to do more than march in circles. If you could credibly argue that this marching in circles was energizing and radicalizing more people than it was demobilizing and disempowering, and that it was laying the groundwork for something much more effective in the future, then I'd agree with you, Tom. Right now, I just don't see it.

I also agree with Deva that we should look beyond the superficial, ego-based view that "these stupid kids are raining on MY parade!" and embrace a deeper view of the situation. I doubt seriously that Sara has a clue what she is talking about when she attributes the actions of these kids to "immaturity" and petulance. Maybe some kids out there were immature and petulant. But I also know a lot of kids out there firsthand who are deeply worried about the future, and have a sense of urgency and despair that drives them. And they look at something like this march, and it only accelerates that sense of despair, and of frustration at the reality disconnect so endemic to "nice, liberal, middle class" Portland, and the rest of "nice, liberal, middle class" America.

I don't know what the answer is, but I agree with Deva that time is a wastin'. We don't have the luxury of gradual change at this point. More and more, I fear that the change will come about through "shock and awe" of a totally involuntary and painful sort.

WOW gb 22.Mar.2004 18:53

dandelion ryceugene@yahoo.com

Wow gb,

that was the most intellegent thing that I have heard on the topic of our current sittuation, and the wasted/yet maybe not completely time last Saturday. Thank you for that, you have said it better then I ever could.

I attempted to say something similar in an article posted in the "Publish" section, but do not feel it even approaches the depth of yours.

Thank You
please email my collective, for you are someone to organize along side.

To Clarify a Few Points 22.Mar.2004 20:52

Older politicos

Dear Wendy B: There was no turnstyle at Pioneer Square. You did not have to contribute money to be there. We just asked for donations because putting on the event cost about $10,000 for the square, insurance, sound system, cell phone rentals, canopies, tables, posters, flyers, etc.

Dear MB: None of the speakers had to pay to speak, or even be from a sponsoring or endorsing group.

Catwoman: None of the organizers drive Jeep Cherokees, wore Nikes drank Coke or Starbuck's Coffee at the organizing meetings. We respect your point that war has economic roots and people in America consuming way more than their share of resources is one of the roots of war.

Deva: The rally had three themes: Fund Jobs, Education and Health Care, Not War,
End U.S. Support for Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Defend Civil Liberties: Repeal the Patriot Act. The speakers spoke to these issues. Those issues are specific, have substance and give context to the demand for Peace.This time the economic roots of war and environmental degradation were left off. We have also had criticism for having too many speakers and speeches being too long and so every issue can't be covered every time. Decisions were made collectively in a group process.

The organizers are accused of being "Liberals", but most wouldn't accept that label.


We are glad to see all the caring and involvement indicated by this interesting thread.

From,

Among the organizers.

it's the same ole' story 22.Mar.2004 22:17

juglar vein

This page is a solid example of why the conservative elements of our society always have and likely always will run the show. If you can't ally yourself with other groups and spend all your time fighting people who are basically similar to yourselves over piddly differences, then ya get what ya deserve. Nihilistic but true.

PPRC, CNPJ are NOT HELPFUL 22.Mar.2004 23:07

Douglas Lain

Here's the cold hard reality:

The peace organizations that have the most influence in this city, PPRC and CNPJ, are not open, democratic, participatory. These organizations are, instead, cliques of the comfortable. These groups spend their time coordinating with religious institutions in order to put on street shows that function to make the participants feel good about themeselves for "doing the right thing."

The idea that people who want to avert the growing crisis should fall in line and shut up in order to create solidarity in the left is backwards. What's equally absurd is to rail against PPRC and CNPJ continually, critiquing these organizations as liberal or, more accurately, self serving poseurs. Instead we should be trying to figure out why these organizations formed the way they did, what the underlying assumptions were how they played out, so that we can avoid these traps and create new approaches, new organizations, better tactics, etc...

PPRC is clearly not an organization to waste your time with. The people in the organization (all six of them) may or may not be decent and kind, but the structure of this group has got to be rejected.

It's time to start again.


ok 22.Mar.2004 23:52

mb mb@resist.ca

The weather is shifting..

Last year shortly after the day of bombing an Indymedia actavist recieved word from a kboo volunteer that kboo had decided not to broadcast autonomous calls to action. Meaning that the general news broadcast that kboo does would no longer contain calls to protest from groups like last years radical spokes council. The decision according to the kboo volunteer was prompted by a call from Will Seamon. From talking to Tom I doubt that people in Seamons organization know half the shit he does in thier name.

Tom Hastings is dead wrong in the respect that the day of bombing was a members only event. He's right in the respect that we shouldn't waste our time focusing on appealing to liberals. RATHER we should speak with people on a personal level. It would be more productive if rather than talking to people that are already conditioned to the belief that they'll hear a single track liberal message. Perhaps community forums? With questions and answers? With fliers produced by someone other than the person that makes the band show fliers?
If we're going to talk we should have a unifying vision, goals, and a clear strategy. With out them it's difficult to offer any hope that we can change anything. Identity is only half of why they draw such crowds. We don't have a clear message. May I suggest overthrowing the government to institute community based democracy? A clear drive to syndicalize the resources?
Our message doesen't need to be passivist or watered down to the the degree that we are virtually indestinguishable from other single issue groups- It needs to be clear and offer concreate steps to reaching our goals. Maybee the goals we offer could focus on the divisions between social justice struggles. For example maybee anti-vivisection folks could volunteer with "elders in action" and get some medical fraud response training, and start a hotline of thier own? Then we could help elders get cheaper generic medicines that don't make them sick, and tell them that when the people rule this country there will be free universal healthcare.
Maybee revolutionaries could start a direct action campaign to lift the embargo against CUBA? VIVA? One that worked with Farmers perhaps? Highlight the fact that the current government is "shipping our work off to china" but won't let our farmers sell to a country that has universal healthcare?
Tell people that we intend to make a better world without THE US GOVERNMENT.

Resurect the coalition for human dignity? With an anti imperialist backbone?

Here's a positive message I BET WE CAN!

I know that spokes council groups were "just" trying to capitalize on the fact that 100+ groups had brought a spectacle to downtown. Truthfully though, can we step back from the radical dance party in the streets for a second and look at what we're doing? It seems to me that for all this talk of changing peoples minds the radical contingent didn't talk much. The majority of the time we marched in step with the rest of the crowd making our own brand of youth culture music. What do you think people think when they see us dancing with people that clearly indentify as liberals? Perhaps that we're agreeing with thier platform? Every time we do this we suck up teenagers off the street like a vacume. They flock to our dance party. But does anyone listen to OUR message? What is the message when we turn our chants into punk lyrics, our expression into a rave, and present this as a last ditch alternative to the ominously repeated mantra "The revolution will happen sooo far in the future that it's all we can do to radicalize liberals.. (or the people they attract)" I speak with enough radical organizers to feel that this is a prevailing sentament. It's just that it doesn't strike to the heart of matter. The other day I was told that we couldn't take the streets if we wanted to, and we did. Almost every radical I meet tells me we couldn't take the government. WE CAN!
It's a question of scale but, WE CAN!

Maybee it's like Joe b said "You gotta have fun some time." I'm PRO FUN, hell I can be down right POSICORE in the right company. It's just that I have more fun meeting some random person on the street that says that we need a revolution in this country, than I do talking to a hundred random wingers at a street party.

The fact that this dialogue represents more than a smattering of green anarchists talking about living on rats suggests that we have a BASE of support. In fact it suggests that our base of support is broader than the scene.

Let's not repeat the mistake we made last year. Let's do somthing positive with this people power. Let's take some clear steps to revolution.

shaking the fence,
mb


thanks deva and victory! you rock!

tv news 23.Mar.2004 03:47

cycle jerk

i watched some of the corporate news stories and don't remember seeing the front of the rally. i do remember them showing the @ cheerleaders. are they next to be bashed? they did get on the news and took away the spotlight from the organizers. i love the cheerleaders and the drummers and yes, the cyclists. if people can't express themselves for peace then what's the point?

Lessons of Vietnam 23.Mar.2004 06:41

Middle Aged Peace Activist

I appreciate this thread so much. I am learning a lot about what others think about the rally and march. The rally and march were peaceful events. They were not planned as direct action.
I have respect for the role of direct action by the Berrigan brothers for example, or the people in S.F. who closed Bechtel for the afternoon on March 19.

From the past I learned something that I want to share with younger people: We stopped the War in Vietnam by coming together. It took everyone of us from different perspectives to keep coming to those demonstrations over and over whether we agreed on everything or not. And it worked. The war ended, and those who were its architects were discredited. This nation learned a lesson. American attitudes towards govt. were changed forever. IT WILL TAKE ALL OF US TO MAKE CHANGE. Let's build on what we have in common.

What I will take from M20 is a tremedous sense of happiness, satisfaction and pride. We had more people in the streets than Berlin did! Great Job Portland!

re: older politicos 23.Mar.2004 13:44

deva

"Deva: The rally had three themes: Fund Jobs, Education and Health Care, Not War,
End U.S. Support for Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Defend Civil Liberties: Repeal the Patriot Act. The speakers spoke to these issues. Those issues are specific, have substance and give context to the demand for Peace.This time the economic roots of war and environmental degradation were left off. We have also had criticism for having too many speakers and speeches being too long and so every issue can't be covered every time. Decisions were made collectively in a group process."

The economic roots of war and environmental catastrophe (we are way past degradation) have not been a topic on a single big march yet. I am pointing out how these core topics, which are defining all the issues that were chosen as themes, are not spoken about.

This lack is a basic denial.

What do you mean by fund jobs, education, and health care? The health care system is defunct. It is dead. Costs are spiraling out of control. It is a huge scam. There is no such disease as ADHD. It has completely lost sight of what is human health. Some extra funding will do nothing but buy a small amount of time.

The concept of endless economic growth is a lie. Politicians continue to tell lies like we can have endless growth and create jobs and so on, and these same basic lies are unwittingly fostered at these marches.

There is no challenging of the almost all-mighty dollar and its economic priests who have sold everyone on a set of beliefs which are killing the planet.

What is the idea of jobs? What sort of jobs? What does having a job mean if that job is part of a system which leaves the earth unable to grow enough food to feed people?

Please answer these questions

Can we continue with the current economic system, have jobs, health care, education, and not deplete resources or destroy the environment?

If the answer is no (which of course it is) then it is pointless to talk about health care and jobs without addressing the core structure.

Politicians tell people they can have their cake and eat it too. They lie to placate the citizenry which is addicted to material indulgence. That is how they secure votes. It is my assertion that the organizers of these marches have fallen into the same pattern of talking about nice things that people want, without mentioning the price. This in the name of maximizing the number of people out on the street.

We have to choose a new, sane, sustainable path otherwise we are ensuring our own fall.

Please show how this rally and march moved us forward? This march was the latest in a year and half of such events and they are no closer to addressing these crucial issues.

We need many of those ten thousand people to see that we are in serious trouble, and stop business as usual and habitual daily routine, and use all their resources, time and energy to advocate and live the new path.

I've seen 5 year olds with more maturity. 23.Mar.2004 22:42

M.

I could only stomach about 3/4 of the posts in this thread so I apologize if i missed anything. However...I was curious as to why the main"organizers" of the march did not permit any of those"crazy anarchists" to speak when they asked.The reason why the march was detained(and by no way stopped) was because several representatives of several different groups(and when I say groups I mean actual groups of organized people that do ALOT of work in the community) wanted to speak to the public to make aware that there are things that people can tap into on the more "radical" edge. There was nothing unruly or violent about it...it's simple logic...had the people with the mic "allowed" them to speak we wouldnt even be having this discussion(indeed, they WERE asked). I hear alot of spew about unity and solidaruty but because people look a little different then you, you call them "violent" and "crazy"? all this says to me is that you all need a good dose of culture...thank goodness you werent in Rome when those "crazies" threw molotov cocktails at businesses or in Iraq for that matter when citizens were shot for taking the streets because they have no jobs, no money and no way to support the family they MIGHT have left...and your arguing because a few people wanted to have thier voices heard?!(i sat through all those boring speeches earlier that day...have the same respect please) get a grip people...you do not own the anniversary of the war(the only point of the march was really just nastalgia anyway). The fact of the matter is is that no matter what happened, if those in the black bloc hadnt been there you would have critisized them for that...but since they were you have to find something else to critisize for it not being as "successful" as maybe you had wanted it. Blaming them for ruining the march because they wanted thier voices heard just the same as "you"(the "official" organizers)is petty and redundant.
Organizing marches does not change the system.

My children 24.Mar.2004 00:45

WendyB

Might have a horrible accident, disease or death. That would be bad. Don't have a wish for me. Have one for yourselves. I teach my children to not sign up for the military. It is really unfortunate that you do not.

Tom Zoobomb 24.Mar.2004 16:20

:)

Maybe Tom is a bit of a control freak. It helps him be motivated and to get a lot of work done, but rubs people the wrong way. This might be more about personality than ideology.

Remember folks, control freaks are that way for a reason. It's not their fault.

I think Tom needs to relax, have a little fun and commune with some generous souls. ZOOBOMBERS, are you up to the challenge?!

Tom should Zoobomb for a day.

Are We Ready For Distrib. Demos Yet? 25.Mar.2004 01:56

Hollywood and Hawthorne already reaching out!

Flashback:

When I was at the protests after war the war started, hundreds came out and ad hoc took over the Burnside bridge then walked onto I-5 and then I-84. That's when the police came and showed force. I left because I was working the next day and didn't feel like getting arrested. I wanted to go back down town, but the cops had blocked off the streets a little, so I took the long route back, hoping to meet up downtown again to continue to try to speak to the city of Portland (it's people) through a continued demonstration. I thought, "wouldn't it be great if everyone just did what they felt like and walked where they wanted without having to f eel like they were being forced into a song or forced in line?" I knew we could have just spread out so that it would have been hard for cops to arrest us without more seriously removing our constitutional rights. I looked into this alternate method of visible protesting called below distributed protesting.

Distributed Protest

"The purpose of a protest is, ostensibly, to attract attention to an issue.

When my brother and I went to the June 23rd protest against Bush and his abuse of the office of President, I held up a provocative sign, "Why did Bush block the investigation of the 9/11 attacks?" The protest was large and loud - as it should be. A few thousand people showed up, but many of them could not find a place to stand in the pens that were set aside for the protest.

Several people were arrested for walking outside of the pens.

After the protest, I walked to Bryant park - holding my sign. I noticed that I got a lot more attention as a "lone-protestor". People came up to me and asked questions. Everyone in sight plainly read my sign, and many people asked me to turn it - so they could get a better view.

It dawned on me that another way to protest is for everyone to simply carry a sign on the street, on a designated day. That way more people will see the message. Imagine how powerful it would be that when you went to work, or to the shops, saw a person carrying a sign on every block, no matter where you looked and as far as you went. [Imagine, wow, imagine Powell, Broadway, Donwtown busmall etc., Sandy, Burnside, 39th, all the bridges, 405 overpasses, etc. WOW!]"

Self Centered Protests are unnatural in that they rally the same energy (overburdenned with the negation of war) again and again to a point of numb stagnation or angry violence without don't reach the minds and bodies they are destined to reach. Isn't it time we explore this new resource?! Reaching out tests the logic of the activist and reenforces and strengthens the resolve of the truth sayer. We need reach out tactics for reach out problems!

More M20 Photos 26.Mar.2004 11:32

The Compassionate Conservatives thecompassionateconservatives@yahoo.com

"The Face of War" is Olivia Watt, who has seen many protests. God/Allah/Buddah bless her!

No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind
The Face Of War
The Face Of War
Recipe For War
Recipe For War