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Why we protest

Do you have those annoying friends that pester you about going to protests? I sure as hell do. They keep asking you the same stupid questions like, "why do you do it," and, "You know you're not making any difference, why do you keep going?" When in those situation I usually just blasted my head off about the world coming to an end under Bush's regime. But I always wondered secretly in my head why I really do it.
It's so easy to discriminate against a protestor. That may have just sounded like an oxy-moron but it is true. We "complain" to much, in the eyes of the public. So, why aren't we with them. What makes us feel the need to give a crap. Recently, I found out we are the normal ones. Are only wish is to make this world a better place.

So heres for all those annoying assholes that just want to start a fight with you. Just say you want to make the world a better place. Tell them that you care, if no one cares, nothing gets done. Tell them that you are change, you are a revolution. This may be a meaningless article to you but for those that have "friends" that annoy you for being who you are, find knew friends, or tell them what you are. I could never get out of a situation in which I was ganged up on when people were making fun of my activism. For all what I stood for I thought that was wrong. That I shouldn't be in that scenario. Why are we hated when we are the building blocks of society? Since when did normal become a real word? What's normal is change and what is change isn't what is normal. So any time a cop, co-worker, classmate, friend or anyone makes fun of your activism tell them that you only hope for a brighter day.

add a comment on this article

Right on 31.Jan.2005 23:58

Andrew

Thanks for your comment. It is one of the few places where we can implement a type of pressure upon a system. Often I find that those who ridicule are suffering from chronic apathy or maybe more like complacency, they'll complain about the state of things, but when it comes to going to a protest or seeing re-runs of "Friends" they would much rather sit on their asses. I'm so fucking angry at the ambigious nature that so many have adopted.

insurrection 01.Feb.2005 00:56

now!

lots of people get out in the streets and get controlled by the cops.
the media is used to us.
the politicians are used to us.
the people are even used to us and unfortunatly not inspired by us (which is the reason for getting out in the streets)
we need to figure out how to get people back into it and back into actually fighting. to walk on the sidewalks does nothing it is like a pack of tourists that happen to be fenced in by the cops. we need to figure out how to bring to people's attention the fact that the cops are blocking our right to fight back, they are blocking our right to speak up, they are the representation of a police state and a facist government. we need to take the streets and cause conflict because as long as it is another protest with no casualties, people won't take notice. we need to fight and stop giving them the right to stop us. we need to tell them to go home and leave the country to us. we need to say "FUCK YOU!" :in the words of one of my favorite poets... "fucking fight!!!" a parade is not a fight.
sad but true.
I say this as one who loves to take the streets and go to protests.........

Maybe you missed the point 01.Feb.2005 08:46

Andrew

Aw, thankyou again for preaching to the converted. However, I think your claims of "Insurection" are entirley disengenious. Maybe a lesson that we all should have learned now is that we can not rest our hopes and dreams upon the shoulders of a violent revolution, if you have any clue of the enormity of the status quo and its influence you know it would onle be a futile lesson. Maybe if you want to even make a dent on the Police, you go get a law degree and you participate in action like those in the North West Consitutional Center and the Belmont Law Center. Organize, Reform, resist, abolish, these would be revolutionary ends and we can meet them without turning this insurection BS. Death is a very real thing. Maybe tactical "Direct Action" would be quite a bit more inteligent. Of course all of these "actions" would be relative to the situation. Example... Government Attacks Iran, we shut this place down.
Protests may not be the most effective form of action but they serve a purpose, as far as inflicting casualty to get attention, I think your a fucking idiot and totally counter productive to much of the good and thoughtful work that is done out there. If you need some confrontation to get the adrenaline rushing please do not bring it to a protest were your confrontational action can serve as the pretext for police aggression (although they don't need much of a pretext in the first case).

Peace and Struggle.

Thanks Ben 01.Feb.2005 09:13

creeper

"Why" is indeed a question we are all asked regarding our activism. Isn't it shocking when folks wonder why we don't like bush and the present administration? Where do we begin to answer! We just keep on trying to make the world a better place. As for 'preaching to the converted', I don't feel that is what you are doing Ben. I gather strength from others who are willing to get out and work for a better place and I want to hear from them on a regular basis. Out where I live, I am just about the only person who feels uneasy with the present regime so there is no one to talk to here. I am always glad to hear what you have to say and I will remember your posting the nest time I am asked WHY.

true intelligence 01.Feb.2005 09:24

natey (of iowa)

I agree with you. I am always telling my parents, especially my dad, about corrupt the system is. He usually comes back with: "you have to have faith in something". I can see his point, but if you don't know and use your rights, somebody will take them away. It's great to see that there other people who aren't so blind as a lot of people are. Thank you!

Faith in something 01.Feb.2005 10:10

Ben

Hello again, a comment just posted reminded me of something. Faith in something. Religions are there to make the world more peaceful (well in their minds). Communities are there for that reason too. In fact all charities are made to make the world a better place. So why is it that religious activists look down on us (I.g. The Christian protestors at Cheveron)? We are just trying to make the world a better place. We are fighting for the same cause, just in differen't techniques. We do have faith in something natey. Tell your Dad that you have faith, just like him, to make the world a better place.

Another question widely asked, is why do we protest. Protesting is a way to target larger goals. It is where a lot of power is used to try to overcome some unjust. People may think that we never get that large goal. Well, recently we have found that to be not true. The Parry workers got more than what they wanted (woohoo). Didn't they protest? Didn't they stick up for their right? Didn't it work? It did. What about Vietnam? They overcame that large goal by protesting. It doesn't matter if it is given to us peice by peice, we want change. Change in the way the country will be run for the next 4 years. Change in the way we hack down trees overexcessfully. Change in the way our children, women, minorities, religions, and people, for that matter, are treated. We just want to make the world a better place, so why do they bring us down. Protesting works. We see it works. So, why stop it?

protester mom 01.Feb.2005 11:54

...

Hi all, I am a mom who protests, and being a mom causes me to protest. The main thing I want to say is that protesting is good. We get so many cheers from people walking by and driving by in their cars that are inspired and comforted by the very sight of us. That alone is good, plus the message that we constantly enforce to the police "Violence is not the answer," etc., will eventually get to them. TRUTH ENDURES, AND SO DO WE. Here is what William Blake has to say, and I think it applies to protesting and what's going on in the world right now:

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
...

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
...
When the soul slept in beams of light..."

That protesting is good is my main point, but as a mom, I have something really sad and illustrative to drive it home with. I am upset about this because I know that mothers have great reason to protest--perhaps the most reason to protest (after all we are closest to and hold the stakes to society's most vulnerable, and "the future"), yet I find specific barriers from not only "without," as in too many time constraints put on us, but, most pressingly, I have found a sick barrier from within the movement.
This movement is from the activist lawyers themselves, who are, you guessed it, men.
What happened is that I was recently and unexpectedly arrested at the N3 protest just for having my foot in the street, and a small crowd had gathered because my daughter was visably upset and not getting in the cop car. The police did not want to make a scene (a lot of credit for that goes to to the activist lawyers for enforcing that policy/ideal), so instead of hauling us off to jail like they would have if I had been a guy, they let us go early at Pioneer Square. We rejoined the protest, and the arresting seargent was mad, because he said "Why'd you have to come back again!", and whispered to three officers on three separate occasions, who each made eye contact with us, including the paddy wagon driver who leered menacingly at us for a long time.
My charges were dropped, because they knew they had no real charges on me anyway. However, WHAT THEY DID WAS TO CALL IN TO THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE THAT I WAS AN ABUSIVE PARENT FOR STAYING AT THE PROTEST UNTIL 10:00. I repeat: THEY CALLED IN TO THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE THAT I WAS AN ABUSIVE PARENT FOR STAYING AT THE PROTEST UNTIL 10:00. They promply started pepperspraying right after we left, too, and I had the last remaining child at the protest (kudos once again to the activist lawyers who enforced the respect the child policy/ideal).
So now I have child abuse people knocking on my door (litterally), and once someone has made an accusation like that, I am permanently in the hot seat, and though unresolvable, it will always remain on my record. This sucks, because I have specifically been fighting for my family's and specifically my daughter's welfare, ever since we were financially raped in open family court. As a true activist and mother, I have given from the heart on this. I don't even have a choice to turn back, as it would be wrong for me to not only let my daughter be raised in open financial/property violence from the courts and her father, but to leave it to her to deal with as a wife and mother, too. Thus, protesting is biologically tied to my chromosones....
AND, WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I ASKED THE ACTIVIST LAWYERS FOR HELP IN BEATING BACK THE LONG AND PARTICULARLY INVASIVE ARM OF THE GOVERNMENT--
"No, we only do criminal law."
As if it's not a crime for the police to initiate a false procedure designed to dangerously harm a protestor. What if the child abuse people did say that "Yes, staying at a protest until 10:00 means that you are a bad mom, and we are going to have to constantly monitor you and you are going to have to report to us, or we are going to have to take your child away."
What then, will the family court, that gives us only 1% of our maintainance money, sold our entire house illegally, gave the family car to my husband, along with our insurance, my daughter's college money, and 99.99% of my retirement money (in order to shut me up because I spoke up and openly declared financial rape)--do then with such an accusation by the police? They will try to take the one they couldn't take (because the could not touch my track record as a mom)--my child. My child. The whole reason why I protest.
I remember that night, when we were on 2nd, near Burnside, and the cops were trying to take people down, a woman said to me and my daughter: "Don't go over there, it's violent!" Me and my daughter simultaneously replied: "They need us!" without missing a beat and went to help them. I feel that everyone must do what is in their power, and although our power in this case stems from our vulnerability, the presence of numbers and women and children can cut down on police violence. So we did it. Unconditionally, as true protestors.
It's a sad day when the police go so far as to sic(sp?) the child abuse dogs on a protestor, and even more so for protestors to get burned by the activist lawyers who are the closest to fighting for principle instead of money.
When those lawyers fail a major stakeholder, what else have we got? This is why I protest, because we have nothing else. Everyone, please protest, and walk your talk in all circles!!!!!

counterproductive voilent protesters 01.Feb.2005 12:51

lifetime Oz activist

Andrew

Thank you for the comment on the adrenealin junkies who go to protests to start a fight.
We just don't need 'em
I have been involved in protests since I was a child (thanks mum ;), and if there is one thing I have seen it is just how much damage violent morons do to a cause.

When you are struggling against a system whose primary means of population control is the mass media, you have to know that all violence is gonna get you is nothing. Sure, the mainstream press will report, but all that will be reported is the violence. And if what you are protesting about is mentioned, it is done so in a context so as to associate the cause with violence.

This has dual effect

1) It makes so many people afraid to join you on the streets that it cripples the very nature of protest and mass action

2) It makes the public at large unsympathetic to your cause

NVA (not the type that is so PC you cant say anything that might offend somebody) is the only way.
Please, I am an anarchist, and there is nothing I would like better to seen than a revolution, but when you are taking part in an action, think about what you are doing. If you must resist (and often you must) sit down, chain yourself to something, whatever. No1 likes the mechanisims of law being used against the people, and for supression of free speach, but we MUST keep in mind the environment in which we live.

Like Nataly said, joe pulic needs to have faith, and without them our cause is somewhat futile. We want people to fear the culture of power ascribed by money, not those who want power ascribed by true democracy and equality.

If you want a fight, visit the pub, not a demo


yuck!! 01.Feb.2005 13:14

-

Check out this page:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/309481.shtml

"...Right here in Austin, Texas. Every month they're grabbing the equivalent of 5 first grade classrooms of child protective services. No rights, no nothing. Parents, it's just a total takeover and the very people doing this here locally are involved in their own forms of wickedness which is a whole another show. This stuff is proliflic. It is a cult of evil and it's more wide spread than you can probably can imagine. Senator Decamp, we were talking during the break and you made the point how this is this new world . What do you mean by this new world?

JD: Well, you just talked about some of it. You just talked about some of it. About 5 , 6 years ago on behalf of a family here that was just totally destroyed by both protective services. I filled a class action suit against the entire system and finally the plantiff , myself, I just couldn't keep it up. They had unlimited lawyers on the other side but I did bring out an awful, awful lot of things that are sure proof enough since then from the way they take kids. The way , your rights the parents are pretty well destroyed...."

didnt they know? 01.Feb.2005 13:19

steel_toe_sandwich

that the only reason we even have rights is because some of us are patriotic about this country(not having to like our government)anough to question whats going on in our name.
muff

why I protest 01.Feb.2005 14:20

an individual

I do not protest for others; I do not ask others to protest for me. I am not concerned about presenting a message. I protest because I feel I must take a stand against what is happening in my name. I do not expect this to affect change, though it often does, but I do it so that should people look back at this time they will know that there were people who understood what was happening. I do not tell others how to protest unless it is a discussion with a group of individuals about an action trying to accomplish a particular goal. I do not presume that I know what others hope to accomplish. I recognize that what I am seeking to accomplish may be different than what others are seeking to accomplish. To label those who choose a different path as "counter-productive" is something I would only do when qualifying what it is I wish to produce so that others are free to state that they are trying to produce something different, and hence, there actions may be quite productive to those ends. I do not worry about others not wanting to join me. I do not worry about others not agreeing with me. If people are afraid then they are incapable of affecting change already. I speak to those who are not afraid and I speak through my actions, my words, and my thoughts. When I speak to those who are afraid I just tell them not to be afraid. Do not be afraid of the police, the government, those in your community who think, speak, and act differently. My message is not to replace one form of authoritarianism with another. I recognize that all social progress has been brought about through conflict, including but not limited to protests and direct action. When people ask me why I protest I tell them why. When people ask me why people protest I tell them I cannot speak for others, only myself and those with whom I've spoken.

Learning to not speak for others, nor allow the words and actions of others to be spoken for you, is an important lesson that I would like to see more people engaged in protests and direct action learn.

read this nugget 01.Feb.2005 14:41

-

*The female prison population has risen 275% since 1980. 90% of women in prison are single mothers - there are 167,000 children with incarcerated mothers.
*In 1995: 80% of women report incomes of less than $2000 a year; 92% less than $10,000 in 1994
...
* In 1994 92% of federal inmates were incarcerated for non-violent crimes.
. *Over 100 political prisoners in the United States are serving long terms not for crimes committed but for political beliefs and activities

The Fraternal Brotherhood of Police draws allegiance from police of all ranks, prison guards security guards, and those inside and around the court system. And what is the proportionally fastest growing population in prisons? It is women of color, for non-violent offenses.
When women are separated from their children, and children from their mothers, because police and courts judge them to be a part of the "criminal class", we know slavery has not ended.

From:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/309333.shtml

On Goals, Objectives, and Planning 01.Feb.2005 16:36

Brian brian@projectindependent.org

The objective of a parade is to have a good time and perhaps promote one or more of the groups supporting and participating in it and the community as a whole. A riot is bunch of people breaking shit and generally tearing up low-income neighborhoods, as the riots in LA popularized by so many cheesy punk songs aptly demonstrate, forgive the pun, and are generally expressions of powerlessness, frustration, and an inability to organize effectively.
A protest or demonstration is a pressure-applying tactic. When applied at the end of a concerted campaign and with demands against the relevant authorities, they can be quite effective and often serve as the tipping point for victory. If you protest without an objective, you are setting yourself up to lose, because you have no means of victory.
Case and point, the marches in Alabama in the 1960's against the city's policy of segregation. They came at the end of years of organizing effort; the distribution of hundreds of thousands of pamphlets and materials, the education of thousands as to the inherent injustice of the practices and viable alternatives, months of boycotts against the segregated municipal services and businesses. Things came to a head when the people in the position to make the changes in policy were presented with a list of demands and a statement that the protest would not disperse until the acceptance and the beginning of the implementation of the demands. Now anyone can eat at whatever diner they chose in Montgomery and sit wherever they desire on the bus. Victory?
Case and point, the PDX J20 protests of the inauguration that demonstrated widespread dissatisfaction with W's electoral victory over his war mongering doppelganger Kerry. While they were a lot of fun and while many cool hip young psuedo intellectuals did get to "bang" some dread-locked hot leftist chicks because of the demonstration, Bush is still in office, we're still occupying Iraq, and the anti-war movement is not in a stronger position or taken more seriously than it was before.
I've been arrested at to many protests and had my head slammed on the ground by to many obese pigs who giddily anticipate to protests with the same self-edifying and mind-numbing close mindness as many of the protestors to sit by while people pat themselves on the back for standing up but not moving forward.

it's the media, dumbass! 01.Feb.2005 19:31

Trek

you seem to undermine the fact that our presense, although extraordinarily widespread, is relatively unknown to the general public. Many say Seattle put us "on the map", however...you can line up 20 random americans, and I guarantee that ONE...just one, will know "a little something" about what went down in Seattle 5 years ago.

If you're talking about revolution...the next step in this ongoing resistance is for our focus to shift as directly onto the mainstream media as was our focus on the WTO and the FTAA in recent years.

Again, it's the media, stupid! And of course we all know this. But we're not directing the majority of our energy toward it as we should. We never have..............................

why was this featured?!?!? 02.Feb.2005 02:09

regular reader

i mean, it's not a BAD story, but why is this in the center column? this same discussion has happened over and over again, and the original auther has nothing original to day. what's up, indy "drones"??!!?

why this was featured 02.Feb.2005 12:10

less regular reader

"Why we protest" epitomizes the whole reason for dissent and indymedia. "Everything" virtuous, human, and non-robotic can be pulled out of this thought, along with the first amendment.
Besides that, Ben is a really right on guy.
Also, we need this stuff to be pounded in to us, and to those who visit the site out of curiosity. What about me, I don't get to indymedia as regularly as I would like, and this article benefited me by being there when I was.
Psychologically, the more a person hears something, the more it's likely to become internalized. And we can't get too much of stuff like this, because how could anyone go wrong with the right to dissent.........

the public is under the boot of thought control 02.Feb.2005 20:24

unrepentant

Whether it's reading the psychological warfare of the u.s. media (and much of the so-called 'alt' and even Left/anarchist media), or watching such constantly on t.v. or being surrounded by narratives to constantly Shut Up And Go Back To Work (or similarsuch),

people genearlly are

under the boot

of thought control become normalized.

How about all the information that attacks us and all the lack of info that could be inspiring us?

The Left, Right, and mainline is engaged in agitation propaganda, keeping us all hyped up, off-balance, and giving our power away to our "leaders". And to "specialists". And away from our autonomy.

So, no wonder most people seem to act like they're already living under tyranny. Because they are!

The only thing is,
this form of tyranny is LARGELY IN OUR HEADS.
THE BIGGEST TYRANTS ARE IN OUR HEADS!

All the BELIEFS we hold about how to live "successfully", what is "responsible", who is supposedly "happy", who holds "power", THESE ARE ALL LIMITS THAT HAVE BEEN PLACED INSIDE OUR HEADS!

A few get attacked, namely, the "leaders" who use their real names and follow traditional NOTIONS of activism. The tyrants and their guard dogs "make examples" of a few for very interesting reasons. Because they don't have the power to SILENCE US, so they SILENCE OUR DESIRES.

info:
www.Africa2000.com
www.anti-politics.net/forum/


WHY AREN'T WE... 03.Feb.2005 00:37

Pissed

Why aren't we protesting MORE? J20 was over by 9 o'clock. We're getting lazy, people! I say, take it to the streets March 19th. Anyone want to help? Post some fliers. Or we could get a permit and all that...whatever, just get out there and resist.

Dear regular reader 03.Feb.2005 19:51

Ben

Thank you all for your comments. To the regular reader, where are these stories? I go on indymedia a lot but I don't seem to find a lot of these stories. I guess portland indymedia didn't see a lot of these stories because it got on the newspost. I wrote this story because, in my life, I see a lot of protestors get shut down by family and friends. Sometimes, in this world right now, we do this so many times we forget why we do it in the first place. I see many of people cuss out people when they diss on us for protesting. That reverses our message. We just want to help the world.

Protest Untill Its Fixed 04.Feb.2005 17:56

Family thing

I have brought my 12 yr old to numerous WAR Protest's and we will both continue to go to more.
Children can send a strong message MY child know more about politics than many adults
Exposure to the wrongs of society and the push for change is part of all of our lives.
I Thank the woman who wrote about her plight and I support her she inspires me to continue on.
So far The Bush War is killing lots of the women and children
Hell ya let the children stand up and be heard.
We are just borrowing this land that is really their children's land
Power To The People Stand up for what is Right.

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