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actions & protests | legacies s24 mobilization

Reportback from a rebellious woman: S24-Seattle

You are a rebellious woman.

I will talk to your husband but not to you. You are a rebellious woman.
truth in a basket
truth in a basket
feeder rally _gabriela
feeder rally _gabriela
worry.
worry.
On the way up to Seattle we passed the time filling in madlibs packed by the spirit of creation, a mother with fire and love in her heart. Mothers must terrify the pro-Bush "Christian" death worshippers who called me a rebellious woman as I passed their contingent of two by Westlake Center. Females need one seed, then create on their own... life in all its uncomfortable, uncontrollable glory. To have your own power, your own voice, to seize your life as your own insults the death cultists, threatens their existence, gnaws thru the shabby veil of their reality construct and shows them their uselessness, base cowardice and petty, peevish, shoe-licking opportunism. They must silence all but the 3rd tier death-worshipping zombies from which they draw the small amount of spark it takes them to somnambulate and try to spread their filth. And forget the Christ they say they worship. A man if not a god who died for what he believed and shared a compassion which threatened the already parasitic power structure.

So anyway, madlibs. Portland Zipperistas find in language the most amusing utility. In Sacramento, it was haikus (5-7-5) to afford a non-money-based observation window in which to enforce the posted rule above the door: No Agents. No Assets. No Assholes. On the way up to seattle, madlibs provided a funny way to pass the time and an inadvertent exercise in relational psychology. We laughed we cried. We learned about mung. Small windows into secret, near places.

At the small feeder rally the next day, we encountered a splintered mirror of the left. Queer revolutionaries, anti-imperialists, friendly & wonderfully prolific Pepperspray videoistas, Philipina human rights advocates, obnoxious, articulate Haymarket boys with their zines and donuts, anger at the power structure and tentative resistance to a sure but sometimes covert threat. Heartening to find friends we had and had not known, in another town, of a kindred spirit, strengths and weaknesses of their own. And perversely nice to note that Portland radicals can organize as well or better as their larger sister-city. On Capitol Hill, we took to the sidewalk and obeyed the lights. Sometimes that's just what you do.

The ANSWER rally was bigger ... and cheesier. But, it's always heartening to see people out trying to amplify the truths and lies they've located and stored. Together, we covered a lot of bases, saying out loud what needs to be said in our own, living voices... about the looters in the white house, the remorseless attack on our people by our ruling class on 911 and thereafter, the sheer lunacy of those in power now, the faithlessness of those who pose as the loyal opposition... the need to look to ourselves and each other. There was no lack of creativity and attention to detail, stoking my love for those gifted at transforming message into image. Some messages were hard to decipher, but one person standing with modest pride, bearing a sign crafted to convey their heart's truth is its own ineluctable character, shaped before the first flood of light and continuing past the last sound.

As we drove back to portland, packed in and decompressing, the youngster among us shared his knowledge, his story of first and continuing enlightenment and struggle and drilled us for tales of the recent past. What was Mayday 2000 like, has there been a portland riot that wasn't just the cops attacking people, how many people showed up at the church to break the silence to say that all was not right in the city when mothers with children are targeted and thrown down... what was our first protest? The last question was tough for me to answer. I'm getting old. My first protest began long before i showed up, the day I learned the word no.

The first protest at which i showed up was an act of slacktivism. My boyfriend and i were living on 9th & spring, two blocks away from the Catholic Cathedral where thousands of people were gathering, lighting candles, preparing to march in protest of the 1st Gulf War. Hearing the din, we decided to tag along, me bearing our cat Zippy under my coat to his consternation and lifelong grudge. It was a large but uneventful march on Capitol Hill. When the group broke off into a couple of factions who disagreed about direction, we followed the one that circled back south and after a few minutes wandered off.

Life often seems a series of aimless walking, regular tasks and seemingly unimportant revelations that somehow sprout wings of epiphany, dropping seeds, vining, growing. The moment from that march was a very old man, a passerby, from whom i expected hostility, but there was none. He stopped to speak to the people closest to him who seemed to hear him, us two tagalongs. And he thanked us for being there and said with a wronged man's righteous anger that they had said World War I was the war to end all wars. That after that war there would be peace. There would be no more wars. They promised. That's how they got a lot of those young men to go over and fight that war they didn't understand. And, they lied.

And they've kept lying. Those fuckers. And we don't know exactly what to do. But we keep trying. We're tired but keep trying. We look at our paths and realize we have to make our best guess, based on where we are and what we have and where we've been. Sometimes you just must go on.

The young among us are brave and they are not tired. We will continue.
Mmm mung 25.Sep.2005 16:50

bEn

The protest was not what I expected. It was as if Portland was Seattles mom in terms of protests. Our group often had protest leaders ask us what to do next, and what actions to take. This protest was nothing like a Portland protest. There were over 8 thousand people there and only one or two squad cars. There were no riot police, no horse cops, just bicycle cops. Even the more radical feeder march was controlled easily by the police. I have never been in a protest in another state, so I was expecting at any time the ice cream truck would come out and hundreds of riot police would disperse the protest. I found myself getting madder at the protest organizers than the police. At one point a woman on the megaphone said, "everyone put your right hand in the air in a fist! Now everyone lower your right hand into your pockets and grab your wallets and give money to us." At first I thought she was making fun of the democrats, but then I realized she was being serious. Protestors yelled that they hated the adminastration and then went to starbucks for a coffee break. There were endless amounts of tiny shop tents with anti war messages written on T-shirts and crappy lyrical bands playing. For most of the people there, it was their first protest.

After endless amounts of redundant speaking, the protest finally began. I got some great camera shots, but the protest was just lacking the energy of Portland protests. It was fairly peaceful and incredibly organized, but it did not really accomplish anything. As the march stopped 75% of the way through many of the protest organizers lined up infront of the protest with buckets. The buckets were donation buckets, and their plan was that they would intersect through the crowd getting donations for the people who organized the protest. I filmed all of this and was pretty mad. As the protest went back to the original starting point, an olympian imc comrade and I had enough and encouraged others to stay in the street and put out a message that people would have to listen to. Make people know that people actually care about the people dieing over in Iraq. A small group of us stayed in the street, some of us sitting some of us standing. I happened to film a conversation between an old woman and a cop. She told the cop how she was abused at WTO and how she was shot and peppersprayed. The cop ignored her and told her to move because they were barricading the street. They kept pushing us back until we went into an intersection where cops pushed us back to the corner of the sidewalk. A man, without notice, just stood there and waited. He refused to move, and was arrested. I found out when it was to late and he was being transported into a police van. No one said let him go, let alone trying to un-arrest him. The cop watchers didnt find out until one of us told them. As I was filming I noticed the peace-police (the people in orange jackets) organize something to get people out of the square and out of the sidewalk. They really didn't want any of us actually sending a message because that would be bad, I guess. I filmed them and they got quite mad at me because they didnt want people to know how useless this protest was.

Feeling exhausted we stood around starbucks and watched all of the "activists" flood it and get there soy double lates with no cream. Many of them went into the mall and spent their money buying clothes and food. I was exhausted and we decided to go back, after what was supposed to be a quick bite to eat.

The ride home we told stories of past protests and what the future was going to look like. We all were encouraged to become extremely politically involved by the first protests we went to. Going to each protest inspired us more to make a difference and do something. Now-a-days, it is the exact opposite and energy is dieing. I wish this was not such a negative post but the message is we cannot rely on change if we expect others to do it for us. We all have to realize this before something actually happens. None of our protests have done anything if we do not put effort into them. Black rights were not given out for free, people had to fight for them. Not just parade around in a circle and ask for money.

Until then, Hinky Dinky all.

anti-imperialist feeder march 25.Sep.2005 18:44

Edward

It was nice to see some Portland people made it to our protests. I have heard a lot of good things about Portland protests but have never participated.

---

I should just try to clarify one or two things about the anti-imperialist feeder march.

Many of us [  http://struggle.net/s24/ ] had never really organized a protest before, so it's kind of a question of learning as we go along. This inevitably means making a mistake or two but the bigger mistake is to sit back and refrain from trying to do what needs to be done, right?

There was a question of whether or not we should march up and then down Broadway (as per the original plan) or if we should just go straight down Pine to join with the ANSWER rally (since we were running a little late). It seemed like this was a fine question to put before the people. I'm pretty sure that was the only time any Anti-Imperialist Contingent organizers ever really asked anyone "what to do", aside from asking for input on possible chants.

A movement based on mass participation and not just the whims and directives of "organizers" seems more compatible with the kind of world for which we fight.

The S-24 Anti-Imperialist Committee is going to publish a "summation" statement pretty soon. We'll post it to Seattle and Portland IMC and definitely welcome comments.

---

There is something disconcerting about the way so many groups run their little tent stores at protests. I know they're trying to get a message out, but it just seems so...it gives me a bad feeling. I guess they need to raise money, too...

Another thing that always gets me is all the pushing, shoving and jockeying for position that takes place right before the march actually starts. Too many confuse physically "leading" a protest (by getting one's banner in front or by just generally bossing people around) with real political leadership.

The part with the collection buckets was also fairly disgusting. Why should anti-war activists PAY to hear speakers from the imperialist Democratic Party?

---

There are a lot of different ideas about what constitutes an effective protest. I consider a protest effective if it helps to raise the consciousness of the masses. In another words, almost all protests are effective to one extent or the other. Obviously, some are more effective than others.

Some have an unrealistic view of what individual protests can achieve. Then, when their dreams don't come true, they often swing over to the view that "protests don't work"...and quit protesting.

And while there is no principle that says we have to "take the streets" in order to "make a point" (and what point, exactly?), it is fairly fucked up the way far too many "leaders" and "organizers" are all too eager to help the pigs clear the streets.

I guess they need to raise money, too... 26.Sep.2005 02:23

.

If your people don't want to fight their (or your) own battles, you need to hire mercenaries.

Same As Portland 26.Sep.2005 08:01

Den Mark, Vancouver

As i read the description of the Seattle thing, i could've been reading about the last big Portland protest, cuz it also had endless boring speeches, way too much control, many requests for money, & so on. It's not just Seattle that's like that. That's the way mainstream marches are now, & why i did not go to DC. Too much cost to just walk around for a while. I can stay in Portland or go to Seattle to walk around.

The old days gone in Seattle protests 27.Sep.2005 17:34

anarcho-redneck

My first demo was in September of 1991 in Seattle, during the build up leading to the Gulf invasion, bombing to commence on MLK day in 1992. There were about 300 at this demo, and it was the first time I had seen real live anarchists and socialists.

In January, these demos swelled to 20,000-30,000. And unlike today, the leaders of groups never undemined each other in public (and they certainly never denounced one another in the media). On the street it was "if you want to do blockades, follow this group; if you cannot risk it and just want to march, follow this group". It worked out in a practical sense, and more then once did I find myself in a breakaway organized by anarchists, who were also very active in the 80's squatter's movement here. The police were restained, knowing full well that all bets were off with these folks, who were also disciplined enough to not start unnecessary confrontations with the police.

How the times have changed. I've considered myself an activist since, but rarely go to the rallies. They are very demoralizing. They always result in the State being stonger and us being weaker, resigned to beg for media clips.

thanks for the food for thought 27.Sep.2005 20:22

V!

to edward:
no worries friend. everyone has to start somewhere. this march reminded me of a couple that I have organised. without organising experience it's very hard to know everything you're supposed to think of beforehand, unless there's folks around to ask. it is actually very admirable that you are dedicated enough to set aside ego and ask how to do things or ask for input from other people. there's nothing wrong with that and in fact there needs to be more of that. kudos :)

to Anarcho Redneck:
thanks for your input. I think it's valuable to keep general organising skills & history alive to prevent the painful reinvention of the wheel every 10 yrs. I agree it's time to cut the denounciation of other organisers. this was a trend probably started by feds and continued by activists. I know from time to time I have problems with this and should work on communication and curb the self righteous ego tendency in myself. protests and campaigns in general in the 90s certainly were a lot easier and a lot more inspiring before the friendly fire trend really got going. looking farther back, shit talking is part of how the BPP got so split up.