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actions & protests | arts and culture | community building m19

Three Ideas of what we can do next.

I promise that this isn't a rant!! :) please read and comment...

i know many of us are getting tierd of the same pattern: we go downtown, march (either permitted or unpermitted) yell at people who are trying to get home and generally agree with us, yell at cops who also generally agree with us but are working to feed their kids and pay rent, get hearded into some random place in town (industrial SE, waterfont park, etc) where there is nothing we can go. We get to yell a lot, see each other, then we go home tierd and not having really acheived anything. I have some ideas that i would like to share...
so, i was thinking about direct action. for me, it means that we are actually making changes to the world: it could be ordering soup at a counter that has banned you, it could be stoping people from entering a meeting, it could be burning british cloth and weaving your own. The point is that it is literally adressing the problems that one wants to change: it is symbolic in that it talks about larger issues, but it also directly shows examples of what is to be done.

Well, we live in a town where 80 percent of the voters voted against bush, where there have been many decades of resistance to war, where people have created lasting, real examples of the new world: such as KBOO, the Neighborhood associations, peoples, thousands of collectives and affinity groups, a generally radical culture, the sustainability movement, DIY, Hippies, freelancers, artists, city repair, etc. etc.

This means that, in order to make widespread change, we don't need to tear down what is here so much as rearange it: we need to link up the projects we've been working on into a viable support network and plug in all of well-meaning people in town. This means that our actions need to literally generative new connections that move us towards self-sufficiency, community interconnection, resiliance, etc.

1. idea one: bring the protest to the people.

So i was thinking about what we could be doing instead of the same old routine. The old routine is good in that many of us know how to do it and have energy for it but what if we were to go out into the neighborhoods and march there instead?

Think about it for a sec... many people would now know about the march but would love to hear marching bands and excited people fill the streats outside their home. They would come out en mass and join the party.

If this is done in a few areas around town at once, then the police would not be as able to concentrate their energy one containment of a single march downtown. If they close us in somewhere, then we will be locked in with ordinary citizens who came out to see what all the fuss was.

2. Idea two: reclaim the neighborhood associations!!!
these days, a lot of new activist think that the neighborhood associations are part of the establishment or that they are reformist. WRONG!! THe Neighborhood associations were created through major efforts of the radical community 30 years ago this year! We came together to fight the Mt. Hood Freeway, to put the will of the citizens into effective local groups that we have authority to check the city's power.

one problem: once there were there, not many of the activist have the patience to actually use the bodies that they created. Only a few are still full of activist: Buckmand and Sunnyside, for example. But mostly, the NAs became a place for retired people and a few local businesses.

But here's the deal: nothing has really changed in their structure. they are there and we should reclaim them. If everyone who comes to protests joined their neighborhood association, there woud be a complete radicalizing of Portland.

we are ALso lucky in that a very effective activist Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong,Southeast Uplift's former Executive Director, is now ad advistor for Tom Potter and Potter wants to change the systems so that Neighbors have real power in our city.

I have heard many people talk about how we need to forn Neighborhood Assemblies and Spokescouncils like in Argentina: well, folks we already have them. Get involved and take it over.
If small businesses can join, so can affinity groups, so can Anarchist Sewing Circles, so can Bike Collectives, or Radical Collectives. JOIN YOUR FUCKING NEIGHBORHOOD ASSICATION AND RECLAIM IT NOW!

3. IDEA THREE: MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS.

Alright, this is the last one: Portlanders are generally good people. SOme are involved in radical social change, some are really busy with debt and children and the bs of the system. But it is too easy for radicals just to network with one another. If we are survive the present crisis, it is ESSENTIAL that we meet our neighbors.

Here;s a project for you: go door to door for two blocks and meet everyone in that area. Don't talk about politics. Introduce yourself and say: i'm your neighbor and i just wanted to meet the people in my neighborhood. You will make connections with many different people with different skills.

City Repair says that in portland every skill you need is within two blocks of your home, by building these kinds of linkages you are availing yourself to an incredable skill base.

You are also tighening up the social network. this is essential if we are to build autonomous communities and get enough people on board for Cascadian Independence someday. For now, meet people.

this is all i have to say. Please concider the ramifacations of what i propose.

thanks
definately... 18.Mar.2005 17:11

johro

you make some good points. it would be cool to see residential streets filled with protesters.

great thoughts 18.Mar.2005 17:40

zero_sum0g

meeting people is really important. sharing resources can help end the "one-of-everything" consumer society.

Why March? 19.Mar.2005 12:41

billy ray

Why march? Protestors with signs, drums, etc. spread around the downtown area (on each corner)on the bridge sidewalks and everywhere you look would be effective. It would confuse the po-lice and would not alienate people by blocking traffic..........

Breaking the barrier 19.Mar.2005 13:15

Oni ohmsford@riseup.net

I feel like my transition from street protester to neighborhood organizer was a major paradigm shift for me. I was tired of not accomplishing anything past having a good demo, and giving a big fuck you to the cops. It wasn't what I was trying to do. The ineffectiveness of protests in this city made me realize that what we really needed was to start networking and building an alternative to the systems that we fight against. A major portion of that is being involved in your neighborhood and community whether it's through a Neighborhood association, offering your services to your neighbors, working at the local coop, or just chatting about the news with your friends. It requires not shutting yourself in your house and wishing the world would go away or change for you.

I think that these ideas that you propose are a blueprint for how activism should be done in the future and has started to be undertaken now. Your last two ideas are dead on, and the first I don't agree with mostly just because I've never had a successful demo experience.

I'm part of a group that's trying to accomplish bringing neighborhoods together through building local gardens and having community potlucks. You can learn more about us at  http://communityip.net. I also know of several groups trying to start skill sharing networks or collectives of folks willing to barter certain skills in exchange for others. These are the kinds of institutions we need to be building and that everyone can be a part of regardless of how much money you make or how much free time you have.

Work for the revolution.