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ARISSA: using white privilege to make an organization

Does anyone have the letter that the Perez family wrote up about why people shouldn't attend Saturday's rally? I never got to see it because I felt like Saturday was going to be counter productive and didn't attend, but I still have some questions...if anyone has a copy and is willing to share, please post it here. Thanks.
pacha mama? 25.Apr.2004 23:06

have you even gone to arissa.org?

probobly not


question for 'pacha mama' 25.Apr.2004 23:15


what does the title of your post "using white privilege to make an organization" have to do with the content (your request for copy of letter - which could be had from the Perez family themselves)?

Changing ARISSA web site 26.Apr.2004 15:16

politics as possible

When ARISSA first posted at Indymedia, the home page consisted of nothing but a picture of someone (I had to suppose that it was a young lady named "Arissa"). The picture showed a more-or-less "hip" but definitely "privileged white" looking person (complete with a Hindu upper-caste mark on the forehead). The message originally posted (about a month ago) was all about how pointless street demonstrations and marching are. Shortly thereafter, the web site was enlarged to include a collection of iNet links. Now, there is little "movie" at Arissa featuring pictures of popular more-or-less leftist leaders from Geronimo to modern feminists. Excellent little slide-show type movie, really, titled "228 years" (since 1776).

The thing about ARISSA is that it seems to have sprung, like the goddess Minerva, full grown from her father's headache. But who is ARISSA's daddy? The organization obviously has some money behind it, but from what popular movement did it spring? It doesn't appear to have grass roots --- and for sure no grass roots from the hardy variety that grows between the cracks of concrete on "the street." (Maybe its roots are out there in the white suburbs somewhere, or possibly from the well-tended grass of some Federal office building.)

BTW, all I was able to get at Arissa.org was the "slide-show" --- I did not see a copy of the Perez family letter. So, basically, Arissa raises more questions than answers. For example --- what was the point of forming an organization and a demonstration to compete with the already-existing united front that has been formed from the streets? ARISSA is just a little too slick for me. Can "Pacha Mama" be blamed for thinking that the organization comes from a place of "white privilege"?

Arissa site 26.Apr.2004 15:32

where is the letter?

I went to the Arissa web site and still didn't see a copy of the letter asking people not to go to the Saturday march. Where can we see it?

another problem with Arissa 26.Apr.2004 16:09


Above poster raises some good points. Where are the grassroots? A white male (Craig) decides to create an organization funded by- what?
profits from his restaurant (most restaurants in Portland are struggling to survive right now)? From book sales (who's buying his book on how violence is the best way to create a revolution?)
It does make you wonder.

Do you know us? Apparently not. 26.Apr.2004 17:12

Michael b mb@resist.ca

I am an Arissa organizer. Arissa is not a person, it's not an achronym, it's an organization. We're doing good work, in a revolutionary context. If you don't know us, or of us you're probably not from the erea. That's OK. We're interested in building alliances with other revolutionaries, and working together. We're not interested in bieng called racists by people that don't know us.

A Little Gray Propaganda? 26.Apr.2004 17:15

Just questioning....

While I don't pretend to agree with everything either Arissa or Craig Rosebraugh says and does, I find it odd that these posts all popped up in sequence like this. I also find it interesting that people would jump to the conclusion that Arissa is a front just because they are uninformed about where it all came from or who is behind it.

Those are legitimate questions, mind you, but why not just ask rather than imply something is not right just because you haven't yet bothered to find out? Could it be that the poster of these comments has his or her own agenda?

For the record, those of us who haven't been living in a bag for the past year are well aware of what Arissa is all about and where it came from. No, it doesn't "make me wonder." Do you homework. While I, personally, believe the Saturday march could have been a little more up-front about what people should expect if they attend, I have no doubts about the good intentions of most of the organizers. I have more concerns about the person posting these innuendos than I do the intentions of Arissa.

And by the way, I also think the organizers of the Friday march could have done things a lot differently. Not to mention the pathetic rally at TS Plasa a few weeks back. If I hear one more person get up there and tell me not to "act in your anger" I'm going to angrily strangle them.

Ok, I've been in a bag 26.Apr.2004 17:41

why not tell me

It seems an honest question, "What is Arissa and what is it about?"
What is this "good work" that the group has been doing?
It's not possible to tell from their web site. I think that these are things that it's appropriate to ask about.
Not everyone who reads this (Indymedia)can get out to all the events, and not all of us live in Portland!
Wouldn't outreach to others be a GOOD thing?
Don't assume I'm an enemy just because I have questions.

and furthermore... 26.Apr.2004 18:17

i'd like to follow the money

where does arissa get its funding from? i have seen little to no fundraising events here around town, definately not enought to run off thousands of leaflets, do a mass mailing and take out large ads in the weekly paper(s).
is it coming from the pockets/trust funds of those involved? is this why no one i know can afford to eat food in that giant renovated mansion on hawthorne? are there grants/other outside funding involved?

given that activist types in general tend to be poor (either working class or slumming it and not working), and arissa seems to have a fair amount of money, i think these questions are very important to any kind of integrity that arissa hopes to achieve.

obtaining "the letter" denouncing Sat.'s march 26.Apr.2004 19:35


I believe Sen. Margaret Carter has agreed to act as public spokesperson for the Perez family. She would be the appropriate person to ask for the reputed letter and the background about it.

craig are you paying 26.Apr.2004 19:49

your taxes?

If you are running a high end restaurant (not even collectively owned) who are you to be the spokesperson of a revolutionary movement when you yourself are a capitalist? What is capitalism not the problem? Is distribution of wealth no big thing? You put a lot of time money and effort into feeding the upper class when arissa is talking about feeding the poor. If this revolution is successful will you still be in business on Hawthorne?
People live with the most tremendous contradictions!!!
Arissa boasts of being on the cunning edge of the political movement yet on Saturday everyone (except Mike D) obeyed all the orders from the police that you were there to voice out against.
How do you plan to overthrow the US government when shouting "whos streets, our streets" from the sidewalk...kind of sounds like a PPRC ralley.
I still think that it was a good idea to go to Vera's house, but you should really explore further ways of handeling the police without submitting to their illegitimate authority.
"an unjust law stays on the books till people with guts defy it" a lady sung at the 1999 WTO demo in Seattle.
Confront the power structure.
Be smarter than the power structure.

'pacha mama' has still not answered the question 27.Apr.2004 01:33


what does the title of your post "using white privilege to make an organization" have to do with the content (your request for copy of 'letter' - which could be had from the Perez family themselves, or other sources as suggested abofe)?

I agree with "?" 27.Apr.2004 01:49

nice title pacha mama

Arissa took it upon themselves to make a stand. God bless them!