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Report from the Saturday March and Rally

There were about 200+ people gathered at Pioneer Square to attend the rally and march. I would guess many people were kept away by the fear tactic that it was going to be violent that was employed by the police, media, and other activists.

In speaking to some of the organizers, I learned that there was an impressive amount of organizing done for this march. Something like 10,000 pieces of mail were sent out, hundreds and hundreds of flyers posted, quarter sheets handed out, an ad in the Willy Week, and outreach to the African American community including the families of some of those murdered by the police.

It was shocking to hear stories from various sources of how people were being told not to go to this event, and how other activists were making efforts to deter participation. The organizers from the march of the previous day were saying this was going to be a violent event. Of course it wasn't.
Wasn't planned to be, nor did anyone want it to be.

One woman, going to a mailing party for the march, said Dan Handelman warned her about going because these people were violent. I heard other such stories about activists in Portland undermining the effort to organize this march.

Now I expect the police and the corporate media to tell lies, and to spread disinformation, but for activists to spend time actively undermining the hard work and sincere efforts of others by spreading disinformation is very disturbing. If these stories are verified, then I can say that I would find such behavior disgusting.

I hope more clear information comes out about this.

The speakers today were good. The first woman, speaking about Mumia, went on too long in my opinion about things not so directly related to events here in Portland. She did have good things to say. The next speaker named Alta (sp?) was excellent. It was worth going to hear him speak. He is dynamic and intelligent. Radical and militant and unafraid to speak out about police violence.

It has really struck me over the past week, as this event approached, and discussions happened on this site, how narrow the thinking can be. A group calls for radical action and self defense, and people get all bent out of shape that they are going to be violent. Alta gave an excellent example about how people should stop their car if they see the police have pulled someone over. That they should carry a camera, or if they can afford it, a video camera, and videotape the cops.

This is just one of many such actions that people can take to hold the police accountable rather than just beg the system to change. This is just one example of how people can stand up and defend themselves against cop violence.

The speakers articulated their demands that Sery be tried for murder and real citizen oversight of the police be implemented.

After the speakers, a march started. It tried to go on the street but the police stopped it. There were something like 150 police on hand. They were reasonable and not arresting anyone for the slightest reason. Not that it is reasonable to have all those police there in the first place you understand. As always, there was the ever present irony of the police blocking the streets in order to stop people from marching in the street. This of course shows that it is about control, not keeping the street clear.

The march went to Vera's house, and stayed there for something like 20 minutes. That was an excellent choice, and more people should organize protests there. In fact, it would be great of people went there everyday for an hour or two until there is some real action taken to address such killings.

From hearing eyewitness accounts, the arrest of Mike D was completely unwarranted. One person says they have video of the whole thing.

After that, the march went back to Pioneer Square and dispersed.
Disinformation 25.Apr.2004 00:22

Dio

"Now I expect the police and the corporate media to tell lies, and to spread disinformation..."

The police and media were not needed. If you check out the threads on this site, you will find people, claiming to speak for Arissa, and not denounced by Arissa, doing their own best to muddy the waters.

random thoughts post march 25.Apr.2004 01:46

dlkjdg

i know there are cops reading indymedia and posting comments and such. (welcome to the show.) this message is for them.

thanks for coming out to the anti-police brutality march mr. and ms. portland police officer. it was nice to see you come out in such numbers to help us protest the actions of a few bad seeds among you. it's the training, we know. if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start to look like nails. thanks to the efforts of people like richard rosenthal, gary blackmer, ppa president king, mark kroeker, vera katz, and a long list of others, portland police officers have been poorly trained and very poorly disciplined. it's not all your fault.

we really like the consistency of the training: nice knowledge of the force continuum during the perez stop. tazing him AFTER he was dead? real smooth.

we're all glad you left mark kruger out of sight at the march today. i guess the leadership was not prepared to go for FIVE federal lawsuits because of his actions against peaceful demonstrators. either that or it was his day off.

anyways, i was wondering whether some of us in the community with our own video cameras and videographer skills could ride along with some of you like you let the 'cops' tv show people do sometimes. i mean, the portland police bureau makes a few bucks and gets some free publicity from the show, just for letting some camerapersons from 'cops' ride along with a rolling camera, right? there must be some really interesting stuff that has been left on the cutting room floor.

now, i don't know about us paying the bureau for letting us ride around with pdx cops, but i can guarantee some free publicity.

whatta ya say, folks?

feel free to post your reply/information below and we'll get back to you.

p.s. who WAS the policewoman on the last horse today? she gave my heart quite a beating... i felt dizzy and disoriented. i started weezing and my chest was really tight. at first i thought i had been pepper sprayed, but then i realized i was in love.

so called violence 25.Apr.2004 02:32

jayson

i have also heard about the massive organizing effort that went into this march. the fact that less than 200 people showed up, i think, says something. i won't go into exhaustive detail or work the bold and italics and footnotes of recent posts on this issue, but i will say this.

the police and the media have proven over and over again that they can work seamlessly together to distort and re-package reality into whatever story they want. they are on auto-pilot. their beat reporters were there the whole time, listening (?) to what was said, and witnessing the overbearing police presence, yet they go on the air and tell the same old lines they always have.

the message to us is: stay in line, keep your mouth shut, and don't ask questions. the message to others who would hear our message is: don't listen to these people and don't join them.

i still can't help but wonder, however, given how many people knew about this march versus how many showed up for it, whether people are uncomfortable if not unclear about where arissa is coming from. take away all of the police lies and intimidation and the media distortions and might there still be some question in the community as to whether arissa supports violent demonstrations?

can someone help me out?

Re: "disinformation" 25.Apr.2004 07:12

guffman

I predicted injuries from the Arissa march. It appears I was wrong. Kudos to Arissa for pulling off a nonviolent action.

Kudos to Mike D. for classic nonviolent sack-of-potatoes response to being arrested. That makes a good video clip, a useful image. As opposed to Seattle-style masked vandal clips, which aren't useful.

HOWEVER:

"The organizers from the march of the previous day were saying this was going to be a violent event": I would like to see documentation on that. The organizers were the Albina Ministerial Alliance Ad Hoc group, & I never heard them offer anything but respect to Arissa, although they made it clear that AMA Ad Hoc was not/is not Arissa. I don't speak for AMA Ad Hoc.

A reporter's side note... 25.Apr.2004 11:18

Wally Cronkite

First we're accused of being the liberal media...now we are in bed with the conservative corporations. (Sigh) Oh well...

After the march I came home to watch the lies mount. 25.Apr.2004 12:04

Michael b - an Arissa street organizer

First, I got home and watched the corperate media give us decent coverage of the event. It had a great deal of coverage of Alton speaking about self defence. Asking folks to keep a camera in thier car etc. It had footage of us in front of vera's house, and audio feed from her 911 call for us to disperse. This I believe was on channel six. Then I checked indymedia. I was frustrated to find post after post from people that had taken thier assumptions and left the event before the speakers were even done.

A minor correction.

The speakers went in this order:

Rebecca P- an Arissa organizer
Ruth- with Justice for Mumia
Alton- with the October 22nd coalition
Michael b- an Arissa street organizer

For the record-
The Arissa organization publicly apologised to Joe Keller for any misunderstandings we may have had that caused him any hurt. From our dialoge with him we believed he understood that the bulk mailing of five thousand was already printed and that it did include his sons name. We recognize that the stem of his frustrations focused on two points. After he saw the bulk mailing it was clear that it had been dated the 19th. I believe we'd spoken with him on the 15th. This clearly led him to believe that we had printed the mailing after we'd spoken. When in fact we pre dated the bulk mail with the understanding that it would go out by a deadline. We thought we had an understanding. Clearly this wasn't the case. We told him that we'd printed the 10,000 three folds for the 5,000 bulk mailing already. His sons name WAS NOT MEANTIONED IN THE PUBLIC APOLOGY. The next point of conflict centered around the fact that the corperate media had draged his sons name through the mud. He understandably want's to avoid this happening again. He feared that our fliers and bulk mail might bring this on. We agreed that after the bulk mailing went out we wouldn't print anything that had his son's name on it. We bear some measure of frusration that after both speaking to us, and our public apology, he still went on the corperate media to slander us as a "violent" organization. When in fact no one in this organization has acted "violently" in the time they've been with us! If the corperate media had even a scrap of dignity, or honesty, they would have reported our public apology. They don't, and they didn't.

As the night carried on the corperate coverage got worse. They began to say things like "The event put on by Rose City Copwatch, an event organized by a violent organization, an event organized without any pulic support, an event organized by Craig Rosebruagh former head of a terrorist organization." When in fact this event was organized by an ORGANIZATION named Arissa, and it's supporters. It is not TERRORIST to defend our city from police repression.

From the get go we've been attacked by people that consider themselves our "radical" allies, people that have parroted the copmedia's line "The organizers need to realize that they have NO public support." Tell that to the ten people that helped us with the bulk mailing. Tell that to the people on the streets that literally cheered for us as we dodged the cops putting up ours, and rose city copwatch fliers. Tell that to the hundred or so people that joined our march after we left the square. Don't believe that people support an effort to prosecute Sery for murder, and get Public Police review with DICIPLINARY POWER? By any means nessicary? WE DO! If we didn't get the response we got on the streets we probably wouldn't have had the heart to do this march. We respect all those who had the courage to come to this march despite the urgings of thier church, political leaders, or friends in the scene, to stay away from us. Thank you.

This begins an effort in a CAMPAIGN by the people of portland to demand the criminal prosecution of officer Jason Sery for the murder of James Jahar Perez. It begins an effort by the Arissa organization to get public review with diciplinary power for portland's citizen's by any means nessicary.

p.s. please put a picture on this feature.

http://www.arissa.org
503-972-1140

radical march? 25.Apr.2004 13:13

arissa

If you are wondering why there was so much division about marching with arissa it happens to be because it was not clearly stated that the event was going to be non-vionlent. The co-founder of the organization is a person who wrote a book legitimizing the use of political violence..."The Logic of Political Violence" and this all leaves the door wide open for division with people wanting to keep the response to this tragady non-violent not to mention provocatures. Why not, if you intend to have a peaceful march or demonstration, make it well known that it will not be violent? Why leave it ambiguoius?
Also, and I have to post this again, if this is supposed to be the radical of the radical end of the political spectrum then why did everyone obey the orders of the police adn stay herded on the sidewalk? This I have to say is far from radical. If you want to be a radical or an anarchist then you must stand up to the opressive violent intimidating state and tell them that you are going to take the street for a non-violent political demonstration. I garuntee that if 150 people decided they were going to walk into the street two by two and be arrested for attempting to hold a political event in the street that the city would back down in a second. They use intimidation and show of force to keep people in line (that is why they kill unarmed minorities) and if you submit to this intimidation and fear then they have already won. The government sturctue knows that this system works and untill it is challenged it will continue to be this way. Shouting 'whos streets our streets" from the sidewalk is pretty lame if you ask me and worse than that a clear message that the state has control.

Arissa Helper 25.Apr.2004 14:45

But not organizer

If people want to know more about ARISSA, go to the website which has been clearly posted all over the place. If people wanted to be involved, they could call the number which was also clearly posted all over the place.
ARISSA was not targeting the mostly white activist crowd. Some person claiming to be involved(who actually was not) brought an anouncement of the event here with false accusations and everything. Sorry to damage your ego but arissa was targeting their outreach to the communities that are actually effected by this issue. So not much effort was put into explaining the march and what it's for on indymedia. But thanks to that person who brought it here, liberal leaders in the activist community took that disinformation and ran all over town with it. They even went to the families of the victims after arissa had contacted them and told them arissa was violent and lying about the nature of the march. They passed out a flyer full of lies at the friday march to stop people from attending the saturday march. With the word "violent" in bold letters. Maybe for proof, could someone who got one of those flyers post the contents of it here for everyone to see how vicious some of the pdx liberal leaders can be? Clearly their attitude is as the new saying goes, "solidarity...whatever". I hope that everyone of these individuals involved in this intentional effort to undermine arissa will be publicly called out! This is not the first time they've done this and surely will not be the last. Just because liberals disagree with radicals on the sources of the problems does not mean that they should go around undermining them. Solidarity is important to the struggle. The poor families are probably so confused now that they won't want to talk to any activists and I wouldn't blame them.
RE: RADICAL MARCH?
Violence at a protest is stupid. It is not strategic. Fighting the pigs for the right to walk in the street was not the intention. What point would that fight make? Especially after the previous night's news coverage. Maybe if more people had done a little research into arissa, they would have come to the march and maybe then taking the streets would have been possible. The pigs were so pumped full of disinformation(thanks liberals!) that they were actually checking the garbages and paperboxes for bombs! They wanted any excuse to attack. We had a destination to make it to that was far more important than walking in the street. You've got your priorities all mixed up. If you even came to the march, now you know where the mayor lives. Do what you will with that information.

http://www.arissa.org
503-972-1140

No support 25.Apr.2004 17:10

Try again

You had low attendance because people feared the police? Ya right. They seemed to show up for the Iraq War protest. Why don't you see that no one is believing you this teime?

Keep fooling yourself.

"try again" 25.Apr.2004 17:26

great name for you

the event had SEVERAL HUNDRED attendees.

now that may not be much compared to several thousand, but it was enough for 200 PPD cops on the street and held in reserve.

Any one tactic does not make a strategy. 25.Apr.2004 18:40

Michael b-

Absolete peace in the face of tyranny is co-operation. Absolute violence is tyranny. Both peace and violence have thier place in resistance struggle. That's what the book's about. If you'd read it you'd know that. Reducing struggles to any one tactic is a recipie for failure. When it comes to police repression we do not have the luxury of failure. Failure means more coffins, more broken arms, more freedom fighters bombed or in jail, period. We are not violent. We advocate self defense. We do not harm those who do not harm us. We're not going to stand by and let the killings continue. We're going to apply more and more pressure tell they charge Sery for murder and give us civilian review with diciplinary power.
This is not violent. If a man kills your friends, then kills your cousins, then begins to kill your family, and you do not fight him. You are no advocate of peace.

mb

go portland! 25.Apr.2004 18:55

kimika tonycat_2000@yahoo.com

I work with Austin IMC and I'm very happy to know that you are doing something to make this issue known to the public in your town, because it is a very serious issue here in Texas. Three unarmed black people (two men and one woman) have been murdered by the police in the last year. They police have obscene amounts of power and there is no oversite to their rash decisions when dealing with people of color. We need to keep up this fight.
I have heard that cop watch has been re-instated here in my town. This is a group of people that go downtown and the the nieborhoods of people of color intentionally with video cameras and just watch. It deterrs more than you would imagine.
People around here have also scored images of undercover infiltrators in Austin PD and have put their pictures all over town.
Anyway, keep up the good work. You are not alone.


You didn't ask me 26.Apr.2004 02:36

other wise I would have been there politicalscienceboy@yahoo.com

The PPD suck!