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NOT MY PRESIDENT PROTEST(?): The Police were organized... what about the activists?

I like many other PDXers have noticed the flyers around town pinned to the local coffee shops bulletin boards, in the store front of local bike shops and strewn about other various places of community affiliation all gearing up for Today's "NOT MY PRESIDENT rally taking place 12:00pm at Pioneer Courthouse Square NOV 13th.
So what happened? Granted I showed up to the square at around 12:45 slightly tired from Friday Nights pre-rally Strategy Meeti.... ok I was getting drunk, but I still arrived seeing about 10 strong souls sitting on a blanket in the middle of the Square and one Sign Noting that: Kerry's statement of succession held no legal grounds. There was also a younger group of 20 or so Abercrombies (no offense intended) that gained in numbers as more of their ranks made their way out of Starbucks and back from Sbarro's at which point it seemed they took off towards the mall. There were also of course the bystanders sitting around on the outskirts not wanting to join the "rally" just yet but waiting for something to happen non the less.

As for the the "Law Enforcement's" presence I noticed about 4 Tri-met Explorers with attached employees sitting in their vehicles across from the square and I noticed about 4 what I assume to be also Tri met workers on bike with yellow police jackets sporting "Security" on their backs and laughing as they gazed around at the dispersing Catalog shoot. At this point having hung around the square for about an hour I decided to head home for some comfort in watching Fox News to see what my Messiah (re)Elect *cough*STOLEN*cough* was planning on for his next miracle to win the hearts of the world community. As I rode down Water Front Park to head back over the Hawethorne I came from out underneath the bridge to loop back up to find a group of 15 or so Portland Brand Bicycle Cops apparently organized for some good ol' quelling of social unrest. So again I say "The Police were organized... what about the activists?"

plan in advance 13.Nov.2004 15:47

x

I didn't hear about this until last night and I try to keep abreast of stuff like this really. Protesting is great and keeping a presence in the streets is awesome, but more serious planning and community organizing needs to happen to make this stuff successful. Posting an annoucement on indymedia and some flyers around town a couple days before hand doesn't cut it in this town.

I've tried it before and it doesn't work. There are so many flyers in this town you may as well not post them. Talk to people, get them talking to people, get a buzz going and you'll have some success. It takes phone calls, reminders, and some advanced notice. The WTO protests were planned >1 year in advance, and it showed!

I'd suggest 2 months for any serious demo -- we only had 1000 people after election because it was an "emergency" and everyone was thiking about it before hand. Reality is that despite the ongoing emergency we can't call for "emergency" protests every week. All protest and no time for planning makes for some lousy protests....

i didnt know 13.Nov.2004 16:32

me too

if i had known i would of been there. sounds like many didnt know. sounds like no one knew but the cops. Hmmmm....THATS really interesting, huh?

networking 13.Nov.2004 17:17

una

The reason you did not see people at 12:45 is because we all talked and made a plan at 12:30 in the square, to leave in small groups and meet up again afterwards at 1pm at 2nd and Burnside. We left some people to tell latecomers the plan, but apparently that did not work out. The strategy worked pretty well and the cops did not arrive at Burrnside until about 40 minutes later when we had been blocking half of the intersection for 10 min. Pictures will hopefully appear here soon. There were about 60 0f us.
I think we all agree that more planning is needed, I got a fair amount of contact info from people, hopefully everyone else is networking too. We were talking about the day after Thanksgiving (Buy Nothing Day) as a possiblity for the next large action.

Pictures 13.Nov.2004 18:06

David B.

Taken at 2nd and Burnside today.
Banner
Banner
In the street
In the street
In the street, view 2
In the street, view 2

organizing 14.Nov.2004 12:32

some thoughts

i think people are right about needing to organize better but you've really got to have some perspective about where folks were at on the 13th. what happened was on the 6th some folks said same time next week and some people came back and some talked to their friends. i had been disapointed by what happened on the 6th (basically a lot of following the cops around until we ended up completely out of sight) and i planned to go since it was happening but am saving my energy for something i think could work better, which would probably not start in pioneer square.

so i went and it's really quiet and by 12.20 there are still more cops than protestors and a lot of folks are leaving or are confused as to if there's a rally happening and no one seems to have any ideas. so i'm thinking that with all the cops and so few of us, we've got to get away from them or it's gonna be just like the 6th. so, since the crowd's so small, some folks and i figured we'd try breaking off and meeting at burnside. we didn't know how many people would make it, but most of the folks did! so we were at burnside with no cops (yay!) but still didn't know what to do. not many folks were willing to go in the street. but we figured with no cops we could try for half. so we held half of burnside with just 10 to 15 folks in the street. and yeah, we scattered as soon as cops started to show but we really didn't have the numbers or energy to stay through that.

so please, give some credit for what we were able to pull off with minimum energy, numbers and planning or at least take it as a test case on how to do things a bit differently.

We need a stratagy meeting 14.Nov.2004 13:55

Kevin C kkcoughlin@yahoo.com

Personally, I did not hear about this and even if I did I am not convinced that "who streets, out streets" protests are helpful. They seem pointless and unfocused. Like a primal scream, good for the individual protesting but terrible for social change.

What I do think we in Portland need is a weekend long stratagy planning workshop with activists from all walks discussing and seeing if there can be some consensus on some actions (personally I want more non-violent civil disobedience and passive resistance.) We break out into work groups discuss workable stratagy then organize. Making a flyer and posting it here is NOT Organizing and frankly I think it becomes demoralizing (too few people too much frustration).

So what ya think.

ok... now move forward 14.Nov.2004 14:15

...

Great, you blocked burnisde while holding sings. People will argue as to if this was more or less effective than a march (I feel it holds both potentials) but maybe more to the point, Burnside, or whatever street you were on, is not exactly a staple of the millitary/empire complex... while places like the Army Corps. of Engineers, is. (located somehwere on 2nd ave. I believe)
You've proven that you can plan an action on the fly, good job, now do something with it.
Block an army recruiters office, picket the Department of Homeland Security office, go to the source and your impact will be much greater. Having a strong point to make and a clear strategy for making that point makes it harder for people to distort your message, or just get confused.
Got to some production plant that supplies the army (it's not hard to find out which ones do) early in the morning and don't let people go in to work. Call or hold a press conferance before hand and get the media on your side (they will give you more favorable press if it's exclusive for them)
I promise you it will have a greater effect.

peace

Where was everybody from 11/3?? 14.Nov.2004 16:14

Ravenwolf

That "croud" looked like it could barely make a chain across the street (park?) Where were the HUNDREDS of people from November 3rd?
At least SOME showed up to make a statement. Right on.

Mobilize, Identify, Act 15.Nov.2004 13:16

Mistletoe Angel

I guess the reason why far fewer came to this Saturday's planned protest in comparison to the November 6th one was simply because right after a hectic election season, you can expect all kinds of aesthetic reactions boil and far more are frantic and believe they have to do something, and we got more than just our most devoted protesters out there. We had many young everyday citizens join us too, mothers, etc.

We failed to really show this is something we want to endure as a weekly traditional Saturday protest. We've got to harness this energy and recycle the emotions and energy time and time again and arouse these feelings in others.

First things first, we need to identify this group. Tell them who we are and what we're all about. If local residents see us as "Oh, it's those guys that blocked traffic at 2nd and Burnside with their banner and signs!" we won't make a lasting resonating message. But if we meet up and build this new movement accordingly, we could be in for something strong and enduring.

I believe the Ninth Annual Children's Peace Fair may be a good place to start promoting who we are and mobilizing. Contact other local organizations like the Portland Alliance, etc. See to it we weren't just a protest one trick pony, but a real passionate movement who holds this passion of protest dear.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

Kind of disapointed 16.Nov.2004 08:22

Kathy & David

We showed up promptly at noon with a nice sign, and nobody was there. We wandered around for awhile until a few people showed up, but who was organizing this thing? We were vastly outnumbered by cops, which was rediculous.
Pics from Pioneer Square Nov 13
Pics from Pioneer Square Nov 13

Organize 16.Nov.2004 13:44

B

Organize and mobilize people