portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

actions & protests | community building | police / legal

Some thoughts on Strategy in Portland.

Some thoughts on Strategy. I think that we shouldn't have the actions downtown, I think we should have them in the Neighborhoods.
OK, so everytime there is a protest in Portland it follows this basic format:

-In response to some event (war, bush visit, etc...) an action is called.

-"Protest Organizations" put together some sort of call out and applies for a permit.

-The Direct Action crowd calls for a permit-free march, debate follows.

-Protest happens in Downtown Portland: permitted march wanders around the vicinity of Pioneer Courthouse Square, the unpermitted march starts at the N Park Blocks and makes it to the end of the other march.

-The city has blocked off the entire area of the March so that no one who doesn't want to be there has to see it.

-At the end, everyone goes home.

What we get from all is this is that we are reminded that we have power, that we are not alone, that we can celebrate life and at the same time NOT FORGET the tragic state of human affairs.

I would like to offer an alternative strategy. Some of this comes from the successes of Seattle N30 some from the successes of San Fransisco last year, some from our own communities successes.

I think that we shouldn't have the actions downtown, I think we should have them in the Neighborhoods. If all the people who went to the last Antiwar protest got into groups and went to their neighborhood (or even quadrant's) protest, it would:

-Decentralize the event so that there is less mob mentality

-Help neighbors meet each other

-Make it harder for Police to respond to dozens of simultaneous events.

-Smaller clusters would also be less inimidating for police so they wouldn't flip out and start clubbing and teargassing people.

-The marches/events/actions would also be in the communities and people will hear music in the streets and people chanting and will come out to see what's happening. The crowd will grow and grow until there is a simultaneous uprising. (best case senario!)

-It will also make it so that people who only watch FOX news will see what the people are like at Protests (Hey! They aren't crazy! They are my neighbors!)
organize it. 09.Apr.2004 15:22

don't just post it.

It's been suggested before. It's just waiting on folks to organize.

But there is a value to taking protest to the heart of insitutional power, to the the heart of capital, to the door step of the business alliance.

And there wasn't any clubbing or tear-gassing on Mar 20 in Portland. That's not to say the police haven't traditionally responded to protests as violent political adversaries. Just that they didn't respond that way this last time.

I think they are 09.Apr.2004 15:58


I think they are...

posting it is a first step to bring up dialog

The difference between a strategy and tactics. 09.Apr.2004 17:19

!HECKNO! mbthink@hotmail.com

A tactic is a method for achieving a result. It is a proposition of sorts. Often times there is more than one tactic that will achieve a similar result.

Strategies are made up of a tactic or group of tactics that clearly define how they will achieve specific goals.

An example of a tactic would be:
to climb a tree grab the branches and leverage your self up.

now this statement or tactic is declaired regardless of the context of the situation or a goal you specificly wish to achieve.

Say for example you wish to climb a branchless palm tree. It is your stated goal to climb this tree. You will develop a strategy.

To develop a strategy you would find multiple tactics to reach the top of the tree. You would take into account the context of the situation (how high the tree is, does it have branches, does it sway easily in the wind? And determine the best possible route.) A carefull climber would test thier footing or strategy a little at a time to ensure that thier strategy will work.

In the context of direct action this means develop exit strategies, and easy tactics for getting in and out of the situation- field of battle.

Recognizing the difference between a tactic and a strategy can be the difference between arming yourself with a tool, and equiping yourself with a skillset.

Your post is rightly critical of the lack of strategy among those struggling for thier social justice issues. It's good to know what you need. Even if you don't know why you need it. This need gives you a basis from which to start.
You confused strategy with tactics because you didn't define your tactics within the context of specific goals you wish to achieve, or define how your tactics would achieve these goals. There is a lot of peer pressure to blur this distinction. There's also a great deal of social pressure to undermine revolutionary consiousness. Maybee these things are connected?

stay real,

Good idea 09.Apr.2004 18:10

Pink Emma info@codepinkportland.org

Good idea, p-towner. In fact some Portlanders are doing this, if on a small scale. Code Pink holds street actions, with various timely themes and in various neighborhoods around Portland, including:

- NE Glisan at 60th (freeway overpass)
- NE Broadway at 33rd
- SE Hawthorne
- SE Powell Blvd (with sign series a la "burma shave")
- SE Belmont at 20th
- Burnside Bridge (with sign series a la "burma shave")
- West Bunside in front of Fred Meyer
- SW Barbur Blvd at 69th
- SW Capitol Highway (Hillsdale)
- SW Kruse Way in Lake Oswego (with sign series a la "burma shave")
- SW Macadam in front of Clear Channel x2 (once with some Radical Cheerleaders helping out)  http://codepinkportland.org/gallery.html#clearchannel
- And hosted "Who's Emma?" an evening of celebration and activist networking, at In Other Words bookstore, SE Hawthorne

see  http://codepinkportland.org/actions.html
and  http://codepinkportland.org/gallery.html

And you'd be surprised at the reactions we get! Yes, taking the protests to the neighborhoods can work. Let's try it on a bigger scale. For all the reasons mentioned, it's a great idea.

FREE MEDIA! Code Pink + Radical Cheerleaders Clear Channel Protest
FREE MEDIA! Code Pink + Radical Cheerleaders Clear Channel Protest
Code Pink Goes to the 'Burbs Part 1 - Lake Oswego
Code Pink Goes to the 'Burbs Part 1 - Lake Oswego
Code Pink Goes to the 'Burbs Part 2 - Barbur Blvd
Code Pink Goes to the 'Burbs Part 2 - Barbur Blvd

see post above 10.Apr.2004 00:07

Lars the Infidel

just show up and quit debating!

Noon Saturday April at Terry Shrunk Plaza!

or are we afraid of no permits again?!

This sucks 11.Apr.2004 10:08


Why is every time people try to discuss strategy groups like code pink flood the thread with a buch of self serving reformist actavist bull$***!?!

And lars-
If you don't realize that the site is for dialogue. You're confused. This "Do what we say, say what we tell you." mentality needs to stop!

The drive of my frustration is not that code pink posted thier actions. It's that they posted thier biography/monologue in exclusion to the dialogue that was happening. What does it contrubute to say "this is what we're doing" without in any way responding to the focus of the thread as a DISCUSSION on strategy in portland?

Try the new Adbusters Prescritpion-Rockets 11.Apr.2004 15:56

Andrei NoRoibots

Speak Out Loud Enough to Break Down Walls of Stupidity

Piss on Kerry and Bush Fascism

Out of Sync -

People of America are quite bizarre.

Activists are the most unusual - recently I sent an email article
on CIA dirty tricks and war crimes to some activists from the
FTAA Miami protests -

one of them wrote back
saying to take her off the list becuase
she was worried the government would use
- " the receiving of information" as
a reason to arrest, harrass, or

question her.

Most people here are afraid to even listen

- let alone speak out -

and since they are so ignorant - afraid to read or unaware of - information
that is not approved - well how could they speak out - how could they have
anything meaningful to say ??????????

Adbusters - a canadian mag - for AMerican consumption - is so inconsistent
- but not unlike the " Afraid-of-the-CIA woman mentioned above -

Once a year or so they will run an article or two that are radical
- strident - or obviously in support of major direct action - sabotage
- total resistance ...

A couple years ago they published a great edition on how Vandalism
- Breaking Business windows - setting fires - were the only real art form anymore.

At that time I sent them an article about going underground - about why we have to risk
everything in this fight against our capitalist masters

- they would not run it
- though other magazines did.

Most of the next 2 years of Adbusters were artsy (by the old definition)
but lame and inconsequential - NOW _ now that Bush is looking to
win or steal another election -- or blow the world up first --
the almost-rad liberals want to inject a bit of hyperbole - fire
- sprirt into their utterly empty messages.

First they QUote Mayor of London - and one of the only left of
left-of-center politicians of any note - in the Euro-American dead zone:
Ken Livingston:

" Every year the international financial system kills more people than WWII.
But at least Hitler was MAD..." -

Then the editor, Lasn, has the guts

-- if not the sincirety or comprehension of what real words mean

-- to suggest that:

" It has come down to this: A fight to the finish against the evil forces
of capital that woud wage a terror upon terror upon
terror without end...

[Let's]force capital to retreat by: hacking, stinkbombs,plugging toilets
and sabotaging...
until the cost of doing business as usual
too high to bear...

We attack in the dead of night... We hit them
before, after and during world events
[Olympics- US wars -- WorldForums ???]

We bend them to our will.

... one virus,one blackout, one bushfire,
Mad Cow,

one gram of plutonium has the potential
to trash the whole deal."

See Adbusters, Vol 12,No 2, April 04:


Speak out - better to speak to your closest friends and plan something real
- some thing ...




The Good Old Days COuld be Even Better
The Good Old Days COuld be Even Better