notes from the last of 10 to be released
While sitting in the emergency room awaiting an examination of my facial and sacrial contusions, I couldn't help but laugh loudly, despite the pain racking my body, as I watched the local news video stream of aggressive policemen dragging me across the asphalt at SW 12th and Jefferson, as the newscaster voice-over claimed that today's protest resulted in no injuries. It seemed too deliciously ironic to be true.
Actually, like most of the irony riddled throughout today's protests, it was more tragic than delicious. The energy we hoped for was more than abundant, but the actions we took involved too little planning, and too much misdirected angst. The brutal retaliation on the behalf of the police force proved that the only ones who could effectively not wait today were the coppers. We have several stories of solidarity to share from within the holding area. I am too weary to write more of my thoughts, and our experiences being arrested tonight. I promise to add more of our experience in jail tomorrow. For now I thought I'd post the speech I delivered in its original format. I cannot post it exactly as it was delivered, for the changes I made were on the hardcopy i have in my backpack, whih is still in police custody. Someone had asked me to publish it, though, and unfortunately his email is still in my back pack as well. I hope he checks this...
Good afternoon, sisters and brothers. Thank you for coming, you all look beautiful. I can see the restless hope thriving within you, beaming from your faces, and your spirits collectively are keeping me warm. This can only be so, because collectively, we are here for the same reasons, borne from the same dissatisfaction. This unity is a beautiful phenomenon.
Yet something of our current methodology troubles me, friends. Something about the agenda of this march does not make sense to me. It is the fact that today, if all goes as planned, we will be participating in the same hypocrisy that we deplore, that we are gathered together to condemn. If we march today, as intended, which is without action, we will be forcing ourselves, and the world to wait, while announcing the credo that it cannot. The power of the message wanes as it must be reiterated a year after it was first proclaimed. If an entire year has passed since Portland boasted that the world could not wait, what must the world be doing now? It is more than ironic that it has been a year since we marched together beneath that same banner - it is pathetic that we have allowed one another to wait this long. Yet, even as the organizers of this event have recruited the youth of our cities to rally among us, to take to the streets and to not wait any longer, that same youth will soon be disempowered, by being relegated to a controlled march, without pertinent destination or action. They will destroy the momentum they have worked to create for months by directing them to obey traffic lights, so as not to disrupt the routine of those willing to wait. And they will prove the transparency of their rhetoric as they call on us to discontinue our dependence on the atrocious authority that oppresses us, yet ask us please to abide by the wishes of our own police-state.
It is my understanding that the WCW organizers plan to wait for their permits' approval, to wait for traffic to cede, to wait for the right time to lash out, to wait for corporate newspapers to run their ads, to wait for all of these things in the hope that their movement will grow exponentially by gaining the respect of non-participatory citizens. I can agree with this reasoning - given there is time to wait for all of these factors to coalesce. Today, however, we have no such time.
I have spoken to innumerable activists who were discouraged from this year's event, as a result of the happenings of last year's march. It seems that organizers aimed to discourage any dissent outside of non-action, going as far as to brief the police of their intentions beforehand. They noted that any deviation from their planned march was not sanctioned, and should be dealt with accordingly. The fear, as I understand it, being that their acceptance and trust of other forms of dissent opens up the possibility of short-term cooperation with what the great world condemns as untouchables. This could lead to their public prejudgment, thence to their political ostracism, and thence to defeat. And yet, though organizers claim to be waiting for intensified support for their specific movement before advocating any form of civil disobedience, no appropriations have been made to include these innumerable comrades of the cause in this year's event, in any way. In fact our mayor and the police forces have already been notified that this march, and its affiliates, will wait, appropriately on the sidewalks, as those seizing the full power of their right to assemble by deviating from the designated path of protest, are apprehended and "dealt with." I do not believe that such perpetual disenfranchisement of those committed to the same cause will ever create the support that the WCW is waiting for - that this collective movement so desperately needs. Rather, to quote the WCW itself, "When we go to the people and invite them with passion to join with us in this
movement of hope we are building, THEY WILL COME."
Brothers and sisters, members of WCW, I do not wish to attack your event, or your intentions, for above all else, our intentions are one in the same. I simply believe that goals are accomplished more quickly by multiple, direct means, as opposed to slowly building, singly-minded efforts. I greatly appreciate the opportunity you have provided for all of us to gather thusly, and for a few of us to speak our mind freely, as it ought to be. I applaud your efforts, and wish that so many others could have the same determination, the same organization, and especially the same funding within their causes. Neither, my friends in the cause, do I wish to "take you over," in as much as I do NOT believe in the need for a central power apparatus within the resistance movement. I, and others, simply believe that there is a time to wait, and a time to act, and as you have so graciously provided the mantra for us, we shall run with it, knowing that for those of us unified within the struggle for peace the world can no longer wait - it must act. Today, I call on those of you who share this sense of urgency.
Today, more than ever, we must cease awaiting the approval of more timid citizens, and of oppressive authoritarians, on bended knee. Today, brothers and sisters, we must rise up. We must act. As we show that we will no longer wait, others will learn that their time for waiting has ceased, also. Let them keep to the sidewalks in Chicago, let them adhere to their permits in New York, and let all others across the nation cower as they wish in the sight of their brothers and sisters, masked beneath the riot gear of an oppressive state! But today, in Portland, let us stand tall, and remind this administration, and this city, that the civil rights movement was not won from the sidewalks, and that Ghandi certainly did not concede to traffic lights or apply for permits. Let us, in the same momentous fashion, not only take TO the streets, but TAKE THEM OVER. To the Hawthorne and Burnside bridges, to the banks, and the other profiteers of this unjust war. I call upon you to go to wherever you see unfit and shut them down! We have the "righteous outrage" in our favor! Today in Portland, let us proclaim to the world that WE WILL NOT WAIT! And today, let's give the world hope that it will no longer have to.
thanks for all the kind remarks and wonderful show of support everyone. it was amazing, as the last to be released tonight, to emerge from the building and be welcomed by so many warm faces and friends. i love you all. let's not loose today's momentum in to outrage.... ya basta!
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