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!)