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Critical Mass Is Dead, Long Live the Mass!

If you were there tonight, or anytime recently, you know it's true.
Critical Mass has been thoroughly domesticated - we are subjects, in Foucault's sense of being subjugated. It was a guided law enforcement tour, complete with every pointless rule in the book being shouted by 'lead cop.' Time for a New Mass, another time, another place, with hundreds of us. Mass is no longer were it's at for the biking community. We need something new, and soon ...
Mitical Crass 25.Aug.2006 23:20


Take it back!

hmm yes 26.Aug.2006 01:00

climate justice organizer...

yeah, as one of the folks promoting the climate justice event it was definitly a downer to see that a more advertised ride = (even) more police crackdown.

Especially with the SF, Asheville, LA, Chicago, and other rides for this event going really well, it's pretty unfortunate how C-M is basically banned here.

definitly seems time for something fresh!

different communication 26.Aug.2006 09:24

web reader

There is definitely need a new event and a need for different way to advertise it, the cops have computers and internet access afterall. Word of mouth may be the best bet. A small group that the cops haven't prepared for would be a breath of fresh air.

PDX CM Compromised 26.Aug.2006 09:45

Militant Cyclist

I haven't been to a CM ride in over a year. The last time I went I witnessed how the Mass has deteriorated into some bourgeois parade. Police herded, cyclists scolded other cyclists for runnign stop signs, and gas consumers cheered. After that I tried to find out more information about what had happened to CM. Why was there one person with a megaphone directing everyone around? Why was the mass being split into seperate groups? Why was I being lectured (by other CMers) about the importance of "sharing the road with cars"?

A little bit of looking into the matter yielded this:  http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/pdxcriticalmass
An email list used to organize and plan future CM's in Portland. And I thouhgt that CM was decentralized?

From that email list I also learned about this:
"For more than a year now Portland Critical Mass has been having
informal meetings with local government ( PDOT, ODOT, PPB and the Mayors Office) every one is welcome to attend ... though the space is small and can hold about 10 people."

Working with the police seems like the most counter productive thing CMers can do. This practice must be stopped, or the PDX CM will never accomplish it's goals.

Untill, there is a more welcoming Mass I'll just continue to shout "OWN THE ROAD" at my fellow cyclists. I've participated in many two or three person Masses all of which I enjoyed much more than the big CM.

An idea 26.Aug.2006 11:23

an urban cyclist

I too think Critical Mass needs to change. I would like to get out of Downtown and ride on roads like SE 82nd, Sandy, SE Powell, SW Barbur, N Colombia, N Lombard, NE Killingsworth and Ne Freemont.

Maybe Critical Mass needs a start location not only in Downtown but also in the North, NorthEast, SouthEast and SouthWest.

Then for instance if the Northeast ride wants to follow the law then great, while if the Downtown group wants to ride a diffway. Way, great.

My biggest concern is that there are cyclists who want to follow the law when they ride. This will not support others what do something that they do not agree with.

So that is my suggestion. Let's figure out some more spots to meet up next month and have many rides and let people choose what riding style they want.

how about a"no more bullshit - fuck your laws and your cars bike ride" 26.Aug.2006 16:56

don't obey

a few ideas... why not get smart and once the cops show up start obeying the rules, only to disband and rejoin to start again. have a few lookouts with airhorns/noisemakers. when the alert sounds, play it cool. everybody split and regroup in another part of town. be fluid and smart. head up the hills and fuk it up in the rich hoods. break off into packs small enough to stay together. barricade roads so the traffic has to stop even though no bikes are there.

how many of you house bikers drive cars and work with the cops. any stocks in the car companys? sell outs.

 link to www.infoshop.org
Bicyclists shut down Interstate to demand 'Climate Justice', 1 arrest made

different stuff 26.Aug.2006 22:24

NE portlander

- downtown is played out. I would super support a ride starting somewhere else.

- We need to find a way to not follow traffic laws or if people want to do that, they should change the name, since following traffic laws = "not a Critical Mass" b/c the ride will always fall apart if there's more than 50 people doing that; it's simply the nature of traffic systems to break up traffic out of "masses".

- Personally, I'm not 100% against talking to the cops. FAR LESS than ideal, obviously! But if it was the only way, even signing a damn facist-permit would be better than following traffic laws...it'd be depressing to do, but at least it would still be a critical mass of riders. In a semi-facist countries people have often been faced with annihilation or making due with facist bs for the higher goal of continuing to exist / resist.

- I like the idea of dividing up...and reuniting...it's worked before in pdx. but maybe less than an ideal long term solution...cops will quickly find out what's going on (e.g., as soon as they read it here...)


- Interesting...but keeping it secret / word of mouth seems counter to the openess many people appreciate about coming to a critical mass for the first time.

- shit talking other critical mass riders publicly at pdx-indy. All the people on the c-m email list are real people: talk to them in person if you think their strategies (working with cops or whatever) are crap. And/ or out organize them and do something better. "Netiquite" exists for many good reasons, and is good for anarchists too.

- Giving up on C-m because of what a "few riders" said to you. "Hell is other people" said somebody once... The best thing about c-m back in the day in pdx WAS that people accepted each other.

Sure tell cars-are-eqaul folks to get off the high horse - but it's not their fault the rides are crap, just like it was never people disobeying traffic laws that the rides are now crap: it's the system of law and corporate order, managed in this case by pdx's finest.

This system makes us blame each other and forget the real enemy so often

The best thing about c-m back in the day in pdx WAS that people accepted each other. disagree sure. but down with divisiveness like that (on any side).

protest 26.Aug.2006 23:46


i think CM riders need to organize protests in PDX against police harassment of bikers and harassment of CM. challenge the politicians who want to mold pDXs image as a bike-friendly city, and propose how to make it really bike friendly to them. invite the media of course to call out their eco-whitewash BS and demand more freedom for bikers. see what happens, it couldn't hurt could it? i think a large crowd could be brought together if you can do outreach to bike shops and commuter cyclists and other people who just want to see as many bikes out as possible. name and shame the "eco" politicians for allowing harassment of bikers and CM. make it an issue.

support for not cooperating 27.Aug.2006 16:42


cooperating with and having the PPB lead or guide a CM isn't a CM. definitely think there needs to be something fresh - i would get a hold of the NLG though. they don't talk to cops but if something happened it would be nice to have it documented.

Getting Along, Isn't All That Bad 27.Aug.2006 17:11

Ben Waiting

short of revolution, I always thought "cooperation" was an avenue to co-exist and try to positively resolve indifferences. I myself like a good protest for a good cause
...but then I really like..... seeing pro-community building and positive programs working to serve the common good

maybe the whole concept has been too played out?

just "my" thoughts!

cooperating 28.Aug.2006 20:14

is ...

cooperating is giving up ground. to cooperate with the police means to allow them to control some or all of the terms of our actions. the extent you cooperate also ends up being the extent to which you give up the things you want to have happen and submit to what the police want. and if you give the cops an inch, they will take a mile, i've seen it a hundred times.

Cant we get along? 15.Feb.2007 18:49

Ben Waiting

why not co operate with your fellow citizens and community ?

Its not just the police who seem to be at odds with the mass!