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My experience passing out copies of "The WORD on the Street" in Portland today

Yesterday there was a post on this site called, "PDF about sElection fraud from portland indymedia stories to PRINT & DISTRIBUTE", at  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/11/302663.shtml. It contained an upload of a newsheet called "The WORD on the STreet" for people to print, copy and pass around. Taking stories from indymedia, it exposes the fraud of the stolen election.

Today I printed one up, took it downtown where a friend of mine let me use the copier in his office, and made over 400 copies. Then I walked around Pioneer Square passing them out. About half the people I approached took one, and of those, about half were really excited. It was easy to offer it to people. "Hey, you want 'The Word on the Street'?" I'd say. That was fun to say.

Anyway, I left a stack of 100 or so at the Red and Black Cafe (22nd & Division) for other people to go get some if they want, to pass out themselves. They're on the white lit table by the computers. Come and get 'em!
Pioneer Square was interesting. Some asked, "What's it about?" and I would say, "The election fraud" or something like that. A couple people said, "I've heard enough about that!" or "I don't want to think about it anymore." Others were just like, "Thanks!" Twice I was going to pass them out to the throngs waiting for the Max, but each time I walked up, the train arrived. :( It was the only time I wished public transportation was less efficient in Portland! :)

I talked to one guy for like 10, maybe 15 minutes. He didn't want one because "I already know about all that", but he did want to converse. He said he left the country when Nixon was elected (in 1972) and didn't come back until Carter was president (1976 and after). He said things were bad then, electorally, and that people had trouble believing the system could work, and that it was even worse now. He didn't want to discourage me from passing out the news -- he understood that I wanted to do something, anything -- but he didn't see how it would help because "What can we do anyway?"

There isn't much we can, of course. We can try to help out Bev Harris and Black Box Voting ( http://www.blackboxvoting.org) as she tries to expose the election fraud through in-depth investigation and Freedom of Information Act requests. She's a hard-working activist, and if her work breaks through the corporate media veil, it could make a difference. But honestly, the stolen election is probably just gonna stay stolen. It sucks.

What we can do, though, by educating people about the theft (or about any of the other nasty things about the current system) is get people to the point where they want to dis-associate themselves from it, and live lives that are free of corporate control, and start making meaningful choices that actually give them that. The more that we all "go off the grid", metaphorically and literally, the less resources the system has to survive. We've got to cut off its oxygen down here at the root level, by changing the way we live, and helping others change. I guess that's why I was out there distributing "The WORD on the Street" today; because it exposes lies of the system that are so disgusting that dropping out becomes the only real choice. I want as many people as possible to drop out. That's "seccession", if you ask me, just in slow motion.

Anyway, this is your invitation to go get some copies at the Red and Black and post them around. And of course you can also download the PDF and do it yourself, too. Have fun!!

you are the media 08.Nov.2004 23:16


good job! we thank you! i should be able to pass out some copies in seattle this weekend!

The word "Word" turns me off 09.Nov.2004 09:22


The WORD of God? Subconsciously it is a turn off. Too close to the Jehovah Witness approach. Why not just use the title: Numbers and facts about the election?

A great idea... 09.Nov.2004 11:28


...and a good job too.
I've often thought about turning pertinent articles into a paper newsletter.
It's a logical evoltion of the 'Zine concept coupled with the immediacy of the internet.
And it scares the shit out of fascists.
Thanks for the inspiration, leafletter.

About the name "The WORD on the Street" 09.Nov.2004 12:38

The WORD on the Street

Responding to Paul:

I chose the name, "The WORD on the Street" because, as a concept, it still has currency with people. That is, there's a respect for "the word on the street" as being "the real deal". The point was to draw a contrast with corporate media, which at this point inhabits the same corridors of power as those it is supposed to cover. The media have become part of the elite, and I think that, at least subconsciously, many people now understand this.

And offering a stranger, "the word on the street", is to let them in on something. There's a kind of "pssst, hey, take a look at this," about it that has some value.

It's true that there's an echo to the Christian Bible with the word, "Word", most explicitly in the opening of the Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word *was* God". The author(s) of the Gospel of John chose this way of speaking because the concept of "the word" as "truth" was already well-established back then. That is, those early Christians picked up on an already existant train of thought, and used it for themselves. They didn't invent it. A man in a coffee shop actually quoted that verse to me the night before I put this issue together, and inspired the name. This man is also not a Christian (and was a young man in the late 60's/early 70's, last time there was a radical upsurge) but also recognized the power of this word, "word".

However, all tht being said, the Christian echo is entirely secondary to the choice of naming it "The WORD on the Street". I just picked up on something that someone else long ago also happened to have picked up on. Nothing new, in other words, which is one way of telling that it's a good concept.

"Numbers and facts about the election" would not have been a good title, because the news-sheet was more than that, and if it continues, would cover other topics, too. In this issue (which may or may not be the only one; we'll see), the numbers and facts about the election were only part of what was shared. Conceptual frameworks (esp. re. the corporate media) were also prominent and necessary. Also, "numbers and facts [anything]" is pretty dry sounding, and not very engaging. Many people want more than just those.

Thanks very much for the comment!

Drop out? 10.Nov.2004 12:42


Can you be more specific? What exactly do you mean by dropping out? Isn't this a luxury that only certain people can afford? how can we all "drop out," when so many of us our poor.. case in point.. just found out that the owner of the food-4-less store is a big Bush donor. Dosen't suprise me but I like to shop there because it's dirt cheap, has a lot of bulk and fun international items, and mostly because my food budget is about $50 a month. I would love to eat organic, afford it. I live very close to the People's food Co-op but it is WAY to expensive for me to even consider shopping at. I have to drive a car for my job, both the car and job of which I'm damn lucky to have considering my income. It is a very fuel efficent car but I hate driving. I would love to be able to ride my bike to work but my work requires me to travel to different, often very distant locations throughout the city.

I have considered "dropping out." I've lived abroad, in other countries where people have other lifestyles that seem more sane and more safe for the world. But I am a citizen of the US, this is my home. I find myself in constant struggle trying to create a sane and safe lifestyle for myself here, but the more I try the more I realize it is a luxury that most people can't afford.

setting food priorities 10.Nov.2004 19:22

may set some of your confusion free

dear confused--

you only afford yourself 50 dollars a month for food? I can see your confusion when you can afford a car to travel to another neighborhood for your job, but you cannot afford more than 50 dollars a month to nourish yourself.

i am not going to presume to understand your situation, but don't be scapegoating people's food cooperative because you are not prioritizing your personal health. safeway, and cheap food outlets are taking advantage of you. empty calories and dead food from the ends of the world are not saving you any money.

fuck you 11.Nov.2004 10:03

$50 a month

That was really rude... how come every time I put a comment on indymedia I get bitched at? I am not against people's cooperative food efforts. I fully support them, and would support them more if they could become affordable to me. About my car.. I have not always been this poor. So I have a car, a cheap, little car. And if I didn't have that car I wouldn't be able to do my job because I need my car for my job. My job pays just about enough for me to put gas in my car (they reimburse me for gas) and pay rent. If I didn't have this car I wouldn't have a job. I was unemployed for a long ass time, and I finally found this job, and lik I mentioned, I hate driving, but if I didn't do it, I would have no money at all.. WAKE UP TO THE REALITY OF PORTLAND< what planet are you living on?

more comments 11.Nov.2004 10:06

$50 a month

You wrote that as if I had a choice in the matter, tell me, is there anywhere I can buy healthy food with my budget?