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New Years Day Protest Plan Stands, Slightly Modified, Despite Controversy

The "human chain" action -- against the Bush regime and in anticipation of the 3000th US troop killed in Iraq -- is still planned for noon on New Year's Day at the Steel Bridge, though details have been modified in the wake of several weeks of heated debate over tactics.
Members of the South Side Democracy For America MeetUp and the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition have called for a low-key "family-friendly" anti-war action at the Steel Bridge at noon on New Year's Day to oppose the ongoing US-led carnage in Iraq. Their call is in solidarity with vigils and protests planned across the country in anticipation of the 3000th US casualty in Iraq. (See calls from United for Peace and Justice and American Friends Service Committee.)

The plan in Portland is to form a human chain to express solidarity against the Bush regime's actions in Iraq. Event organizer Russ Hallberg says this action is inspired by a human chain that was organized across the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 1989. "They did this to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as the illegal occupation of their countries for over 50 years," he said in a phone interview. "[That action] was partially responsible for the downfall of the Soviet Union. Now we consider the US to be an occupied country by an illegal regime, too."

According to another organizer, Joan Coates, the exact location for the gathering has now been changed from on the bridge to next to it at Waterfront Park. "There are a variety of reasons for this," she said, "mostly having to do with safety." Coates said the organizers were particularly concerned with the safety of families with children and elderly protesters, which they anticipate will attend. "We wanted to hold the march on the bridge," she said, but we didn't really think thru the logistics of family safety. What we were looking for was a place where we could gather and not block any traffic."

The change comes in the wake of several weeks of heated debate on Portland Indymedia over the non-confrontational tactics chosen by organizers. A December 18 post by an unidentified "Organizer" issued a sternly worded admonition to all potential attendees that civil disobedience or direct action of any kind would not be welcome.

The post went so far as to threaten to report anyone stepping out of these bounds to the police: "Since illegal direct action would be harmful to the spirit of the event, you may expect other event participants to testify against anyone who commits illegal acts, like trying to block traffic," it reads. A barrage of angry responses followed, including a post calling for activists to do just what "Organizer" had instructed them not to -- engage in confrontational direct action.

These exchanges reflect both conflicting strategic perspectives as well as a the accumulated result of distrust between the activist communities. While the distrust is part of a longstanding and recalcitrant conflict between different tendencies within the left, it is particularly strong now because of the controversy that unfolded in the wake of the confrontation between activists and police at the October 5 Word Can't Wait protests. As detailed by CatWoman, activists believe that the melee was provoked at least in part a statement made by WCW organizer Hallberg, distancing himself from the more militant of the protesters.

Some posters in the recent deliberations indicated that WCW members had testified against "O5" defendants. But Catherine, posting as a member of the Portland Legal Defense Network, corrected these rumors, stating that according to the National Lawyers Guild no WCW organizer had testified on either side to date.

One comment on December 29 had incisive criticism of both those who would control dissent through threats, as well as those who would organize disruption for its own sake: "My freedoms are being abridged by some folks' fury, and other's fear. If you are ruled by either, and especially both, you have a war to win in your heart before you can do much anywhere else."

When asked if he supported the post that threatened those who step out of line, Hallberg said no. "I think the person who posted that was probably a little impulsive," he said. "Testifying against other protesters would start a really bad trend."

But he reiterated the request to keep confrontational actions elsewhere. "The focus of the impeachment movement is to inform and motivate the public to do something toward impeachment; it is not about confronting the police."

In posts on December 17 and December 29, Barbara G. Ellis emphasized that the intention of the gathering is to create a human chain, and would not include speeches or chants, and that signs should be worn on jackets or hats so that people could hold hands. She suggested the following themes for signs: "Iraq exit, peace, impeachment, 3000 KIAs."

According to Dan Denvir, organizer with Portland Central American Solidarity Committee, requests and guidelines are commonly and justifiably put forth by organizers in a variety of political actions. "While I think is completely out of line for someone to threaten to call the cops on fellow protesters, I do think its reasonable for protesters planning an action to stipulate the general character of an action," he said, when asked for comment.

Denvir drew a distinction between this situation and a more pressing political event that demand broad-based organizing. "Its one thing when there's a summit or some sort of event like George Bush coming to town, where people from multiple tendencies on the left would have an interest in attending and disrupting. In a context like that, I think there's a responsibility for people from different ideological and tactical perspectives to dialogue and come to some sort of consensus on mutual tolerance."

"But in a case like this, there's not something particular about the Steel Bridge that would be attracting people if this group hadn't called an action... If they'd like people not to participate in direct action on the Steel Bridge, I think that's reasonable. People are, of course, free to organize their own action more in line with their ideological and tactical positions if they'd like to, like on a neighboring bridge."

"There's no political action that's intrinsically progressive or revolutionary," Denvir added. "They are only so in terms of its social and historical context, and whether it concretely makes the world a better place -- by transforming economic and human relations."

The online dialogues in the aftermath of October 5 contained the seeds of such transformation in the human realm. While full of indignation and frustration, they also contained epiphanies -- moments of exuberance and gratitude as people recounted moments of connection across divides. CatWoman recounts one:
"Somewhere in that conversation, a healing began. I could feel a thawing in the long, cold rift that has frozen the ground between liberals and radicals in this city for years... Somehow, it was surprising to me that this man sat there with me for so long, actively listening and mulling over what I said. Not in that shallow, "political" way that is the hallmark of the liberal mindset. Not in a dismissive, yeh-yeh-yeh-whatever kind of way. But in a sincere, thoughtful way that began to absorb what I was saying. And I wonder if the next event that he's involved with will be different."

Italics added...

Protest 31.Dec.2006 00:43

Joshua Peace Seeker

Are the Pigs family friendly? STOP BICKERING WITH EACH OTHER AND FUCKING PROTEST!

no 31.Dec.2006 00:50

.

I will not attend a protest organized by those who threaten activists. Not in this lifetime nor any other. I expect that sentiment to be common among those seeking peace and social justice.

statement regarding these organizers, including russ 31.Dec.2006 01:47

one radical organizer

As long as some liberal organizers are threatening to turn people into the cops, they are an enemy of mine. There is no negotiation, no common ground, no room for understanding with anyone who has that position.

The WCW organizers co-opted the militant language and symbols of the radical movement in their promotions for the Oct 5th event. They invited what happened, then cried about it afterwards. There have been plenty of events like peace vigils, hands across the bridge, gatherings at the waterfront like this event. No radicals ever show up to disrupt them. Many of them show up in support. It was radicals who reached out to try to bridge the divide and come to some understanding. The WCW organizers said they were afraid to show up to a second meeting. Instead one of them posts that garbage on this site about turning people into the cops.

So these so called organizers, publicly attack people, threaten them, and are too cowardly to show up at a meeting. They are not worthy of respect, or the name 'activist'.

Same 31.Dec.2006 01:57

J.N.

Yes, that sentiment is common. I also will not be attending this event. I usually attend most every such event. I don't care what type. Candlelight vigil, holding a sign at an intersection, un-permitted street march. Any action is good action as far as I'm concerned. But I cannot in good conscience attend this one because of organizers threats to target activists. We are entering a time when such targeting could land some sincere person in prison and I simply cannot be party to such as that.

hmmm 31.Dec.2006 02:09

Jason

in anticipation of 3,000 US soldiers dead.

the 1.5 million dead Iraqis over the past 15 years of war and sanctions is a much more important number. at what point does it become a Holocaust?

A 31.Dec.2006 02:15

Clarification

"The change comes in the wake of several weeks of heated debate on Portland Indymedia over the non-confrontational tactics chosen by organizers."

This is incorrect. First, the organizers use highly confrontational tactics. Rather than meet with radicals, they refused, and then publicly threatened them with harm. Second, the debate on PDX IMC was not about event tactics, but about the threats made by this events organizers towards activists.

Humans verse Humans 31.Dec.2006 04:35

.

I can't understand why you mourn for 3,000 US soldiers who by their actions choose to be in Iraq, choose to make a war possible that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Mourn for the Iraqis. They didn't choose their fates.

Re: Clarification 31.Dec.2006 08:29

Amy

Hi, thanks for this note. Its true, this sentence does kind of collapse two things into one. Perhaps I should have said something like -- "debate over the tactics chosen by the organizers, and they way they communicated about those tactics."

As I tried to represent, it seems painfully clear that "Organizer's" post is problematic, makes no sense, and is destructive to the movement. I totally understand people distrusting the motives behind this post, and not wanting to attend this protest for that reason.

I hope the dialogue can continue though.

~ Amy

hmmm 31.Dec.2006 08:44

Jason

"STOP BICKERING WITH EACH OTHER AND FUCKING PROTEST!"

I do, at least twice a week. However, I will not be at this event. A friend has been asking people not to go because of the willingness of organizers to snitch on activists. I said I would honor that request.

No. 31.Dec.2006 09:02

CatWoman

"They can rot in jail." --Russ Hallberg, speaking about demonstrators who were arrested on October 5th.

Barbara G Ellis expressed similar sentiments, during the post O5 attempt at reconciliation.

And Amy, you stated, "These exchanges reflect both conflicting strategic perspectives as well as a the accumulated result of distrust between the activist communities."

No. This is not merely a case of conflicting strategies. Were you there in the meetings at PSU after O5? Because you have completely misinterpreted this situation. This is not simply about "conflicting strategies." No. This is about willful collaboration. This is about these organizers refusing to agree not to turn people over to the police state. This is about the kind of clueless apologists who would send people off in cattle cars and still feel good about themselves.

If this were simply a matter of differing strategic perspectives, then the meetings held in the wake of their betrayal would have been productive. Because there is a need for all of us to consider what it means to respect each others' tactics. From the people who want to be able to attend low-risk situations without being thrust into a situation they were not prepared for, to the people who want to be able to engage in real and effective action without being demonized and sold out. There is also a desperate need for strategy, on all sides of the tactical arguments. I see no more point in taking part in aimless cake walks than I do in taking part in pointless actions that will land me in jail, unless there is some kind of effective strategy involved. If there is a goal, a point, then I applaud any action. So long as it NEVER involves selling each other out and turning each other over to the police state. That's what these people have done, and despite Russ's protestations now, it is what he has promised to do again. I have heard him with my own ears. In one sentence, apologizing for saying that people could "rot in jail," and in the next breath saying that they deserved it and he would be willing to testify against people who do not follow his lead. This is viscious collaboration.

For the record, I agree with Dan Denvir, that there is nothing wrong with stating, in advance, the character of the action that is being planned (nor is there anything wrong with providing a meaningful critique of those plans). I also very much agree that this does NOT mean threatening people with the fist of the police state. Which these organizers have done. Amy quotes Catherine of PLDN as saying that no WCW organizers have yet testified against demonstrators. However, it is my understanding that this is not quite the whole truth. Apparently, videotape of at least one of the organizers blaming the demonstrators for the police violence did surface during one of the proceedings.

Finally, Amy, I resent the fact that you have quoted me in this article, which you knew I would not agree with. You have even italicized what I said for emphasis: "And I wonder if the next event that he's involved with will be different." If you had asked me first, I would have told you that I have since come to revise that feeling. Because after I wrote that, I met with all of these organizers, and I came to realize that I had been a fool to think that they would be anything but a bloody, liberal, knife in our backs.

... 31.Dec.2006 09:06

...

Organizer's post is putrid. And if it was just that one person, it would not matter as much. But the silence from other organizers of the event indicates tacit approval for the original post. I waited for some sort of statement from other WCW/DFA people. No, they are in agreement. They want to get rid of and exclude radicals. It is a calculated strategy. They want a predictable and controllable path to change. History condemns such efforts to failure even before they start.

In the meanwhile, the real work will carry on.

Ultimate rule 31.Dec.2006 09:52

Che

You cannot exist as a counter revolutionary culture, without one inviolable rule: No one, NO ONE, sleeps with the enemy! When you threaten, or even act upon the threat of, turning a fellow revolutionary over to the agents of the state, you become an agent of the state, the enemy, the unwanted, unwashed, unwelcome, and unbefuckinbelievable tool of the establishment. That said, when an "organizer" wishes to "organize" a non dissent, I am too busy.
Words and actions, without at least the THREAT of more harsh dissent, do not impress an establishment that can afford to suit and armor their borgs to stand against any potential threat.
Get a clue, Russ and Barb, and all of you other feel good cheerleaders. You are sleeping with the enemy.

Cat Woman, Please Step Forward 31.Dec.2006 10:52

Beetled

CatWoman,
What you call for is right on. You are always right on.
Do you also see that you are probably the most respected voice in the community?
Do you realize people trust you and would follow your leadership?
In my opinion, you have the ability to bring all sides together for the common purpose.
It may not be what you seek or desire, but as you recognize and as some liberals recognize, there is a tremendous need for your kind of clear thinking and leadership.
The window of opportunity to perform a common good is open.
Sometimes people do things they woud rather not do, just because they need doing and just because no one else is doing them or can do them.

Without a true leader, we are all just "beetled" (on our backs kicking our legs ineffectively).

One more thing. 31.Dec.2006 11:10

CatWoman

"The plan in Portland is to form a human chain to express solidarity against the Bush regime's actions in Iraq."

Surely I cannot be the only one who catches the irony here. Solidarity? People who actually threaten to turn others over to the police state claim to be expressing "solidarity"? People who erase the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead from their equation, remembering only the 3000 US soldiers who have died, see themselves as expressing "solidarity against the Bush regime's actions in Iraq"?

This is not solidarity. This is posing for the cameras and patting each others' backs, and cluelessly collaborating with the system that they claim to oppose. This event makes a mockery of the word "solidarity."

Hey let's focus. 31.Dec.2006 11:12

Michael b.

To the extent that Dan was quoted I agree with what he said. I beleave that the context of your work matters. I probably disagree with him in regards to how that applies to different situations, but in principle context matters.

I think that the focus of a demonstration on the steel bridge is not something that really warrants my participation. I feel that if I'm going to take the risk of attending a protest I'd like it to draw the lines between the change we want, and the people who stand in the way of that change more clearly.

That said, I do not feel that it does us and a movement for radical solidarity across struggles (a revolutionary process) much good to condemn others protests as ineffectual. They are doing what they are going to do. Arguing with them online will only waste your time and theirs. What we cannot see is our place in history. We can barely grasp the context we exist in right now because we (as a movement in the broader sense) do not have the strong working relationships across struggles needed to predict the course of work being done by people we don't know.

For all we know, if we refrain from participating in these limited specified actions, and focus on more strategic locations for example "the offices of guided missile manufacturers, and chambers of commerce" rather than contained events like this, we may build a relationship of trust that could grow. Left to their work they may become a huge coalition of groups, and play some pivitol role we cannot at this time see. We may build the trust that allows us to do independent actions, in the same city, on the same days without being publicly slandered.

Can we see the future? Can you see beyond the curve of the planet?

If we want to discuss our disagreements with them we can do it face to face.
It does us all a disservice to objectify theirs and our opinions to the extent that we all become walking, talking, clinches. Do it to them, they'll do it to you. If we're lucky the feds won't jump in from the sidelines and turn it all against us. Fuck luck. Ideas do not exist outside of beleaver's heads, or outside our practice/actions. Giving ideas power outside the personal makes us all less than human. I am not a piece in some one else's game, and I sure as hell do not give anyone permission to demand my adherence to a platform I consider nonstrategic. Calling them liberals and saying that we shouldn't work with them anyway, leaves them little room for change. Change is what we want. Right?

The change we seek is a change of behavior. Behavior is influenced by belief. We sat down with world can't wait organizers and they apologized for attacking our friend catwoman. They apologized to our faces for any role conscious or otherwise that they played in turning people over to the cops. One person declared that they needed to address their personal motivations, and would leave the movement. We told them that if they were so personally driven for justice that they'd attack others, then they need to stay, stop attacking comrades, stop tearing down their own strength, and focus on change. It took courage to embrace enemies, and beleave in their capacity to grow.

We treated them like they were worth being met with face to face, worth embracing. This was a service to our dignity and theirs.

Now if "anonymous" is someone in that group or another that is interested in stopping growth like this then we shouldn't give them power, or enable them. They are not the groups, and they are not "the process." In other words don't judge a group by it's haters. There are often three to five people that lead many groups. If two or three people are haters, and they work against the interest of our common struggle then their beliefs and actions, and not the captive audience of their group are the problem. Hell if they are empowered to lead these groups, and they are tearing apart our larger community should we accept that MISSLEADERSHIP? The group that listens to them probably doesn't see any alternative. Enlighten them.

It's my experience that people surround them self with people that agree with them. This is organizational growth, but taken to an extreme can be insular.

Don't hate the groups, change the haters. If they don't change fight them and their beliefs, not the process. My two cents.

In common struggle,
Mb

almost 31.Dec.2006 11:20

to mb

I was there after the wcw protests, mb. But they did not apologize. They did not even agree that they would not turn us in.

I'm all for building real bridges, but not with people who would turn me in to the police state.

the real rub 31.Dec.2006 12:43

.

The greatest insult to intelligence of all comes from the underlying assumption that somehow the police will operate on the side of "law abiding" protestors, and that the police are there to maintain the public safety. If that's the case than you might as well call such a protest a "civic event" like the Rose parade.

In every major protest around the world, the police have shown themselves to act as a law unto themselves - entirely outside the principles of rule of law.

The world wide entrenchment of the fascist, corportist state has progressed far more than many people realize. The police work for the politicians who sign their paychecks, politicians who, in turn, work for the corporate interests who pay them. They do not work for the general welfare.

They did apologize...but let's look at moving forward 31.Dec.2006 13:33

troublemaker

At the meeting I was at (Smith Center), I distinctly remember several of the WCW organizers apologizing, and pledging to not turn people in. I'm not saying that they will stick with those pronouncements, but I definitely heard them there.

How do we move forward from here? There is much work to be done to stop this war, change the system, build solidarity and so forth, and I'm not sure all of this energy will move us any closer. I agree with Michael b here--endless denouncements of each other's tactics only serves to build division and make us weaker. I don't think we will ever all get along, and people should not have to work with people that they don't want to, or don't trust. Dan is right--people should be able to organize events the way they want (unless it's a larger event where multiple actions, tactics should be used). Let's let the liberals do their thing, and build some other stuff that will compliment their work, even if we don't agree on much at all. Not that it's a very good analogy, but Malcolm and Martin showed some good ways to do this. They used each other to move a common agenda forward. They definitely did not agree on tactics, and also disagreed a lot on goals, but their work complimented each other, and the work moved forward more because of their contributions.

I'm not sure how we can move forward, but I feel a desperate need to keep looking. We just hit that 3,000 mark in Iraq, and it looks like there will not be any event organized that will say what I want to say. I'm not into human chains or die-ins or church services. It seems like us radicals are better at bitching about other people's actions then organizing our own, and that's pretty sad.

this isn't about tactics; it's about threats of violence 31.Dec.2006 13:54

.

No one has said the that anyone *must* engage in civil disobedience; that they *must* follow in the footsteps of Gandhi or King. What we're discussing is those who have threatened to turn such individuals over to the police and those who support those threats (tacitly if not explicitly).

How favorable would history be to those, if they could even be remembered, who threatened Dr. King for engaging, repeatedly, in non-violent civil disobedience?

Threats of violence against activists do not come from those seeking peace and it ends any discussion about tactics. How could I work with someone threatening me with violence?

I've long suspected that these organizers do not seek peace, but rather a return to imperialism under a democrat president. When a democrat runs the war in Iraq let's see how active they are then...

Apologize? 31.Dec.2006 13:55

no, they didn't

I was there, and no, they did not apologize for turning people in, nor did they agree not to do it again. That was the sticking point, remember? That was why they would not meet again. They refused, as a group, to agree not to turn people in.

What you are remembering is probably that several individual people did apologize (notable the woman who attacked people that day), and at least two of the WCW people agreed, as individuals, not to take part in turning anyone in. But as a group, they did not.

Russ Hallberg momentarily apologized for saying people could rot in jail, but then the next time he spoke, he went off about how anyone who didn't do what he wanted deserved to be arrested, and how he would testify against people.

There is a difference between moving forward, which can be done when people agree to be allies, and being foolish enough to allow ourselves to be trapped in the web of people who have willingly proved that they are NOT allies.

A Life of It's Own 31.Dec.2006 14:46

Eugene

I've been hearing about and reading some of the arguments in this thread.

I would Love to have the ability to organize an event where masses of people come to show their unity. But each individual comes with their own agenda. Their are outside influences, especially the cops who Love to instigate violence to become even more violent themselves. One thing I've learned through all the demonstrations I've been to is that THEY TAKE ON A LIFE OF THEIR OWN. No one gets to be the king at the top to gather in the glory for themselves. We all know this world is being destroyed and those most destructive are protected by the cops from the masses at the bottom. To hand over our own, whether we agree with their tactics or not, is a form of "treason."

Anybody who knows the behavior of cops knows they like to commit torture and other forms of brutality to the people both physical and emotional. It gives them a sense of power and does much to harm any forms of organized behaviors on behalf of the masses to bring about the end of the destruction of our world by their masters, the corporations.

There are many peace organizations I don't agree with. Many I cannot work with. But I would never commit treason against them, tell them they don't have a right to behave the way they do, and I certainly wouldn't turn them into the police who are criminal in their behavior. And if I was able to organize an event like this, I certainly knew that even if it came together, that I wouldn't get to be King, or the organization I was part of wasn't going to be King of the event. I would not get "control." It is the peoples protest and it WILL take on a life of its own.

As I'm fond of saying: things may not turn out the way I expect them to, but they always turn out.

A more serious question about this event, like I've read and heard being brought up in many forms on this thread: Is this going to be effective? What is this event expecting to do? Who are the people being reached out to that don't have the same kind of knowledge? What will be the follow up on this event? Effectiveness is most important. What will this do?

The thing I don't like about these types of events is that it seems many are in it for self-glorification. Fuck that shit! Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have been murdered for the oil business. Millions of you include Bush Sr.'s Illegal war. Millions more are suffering with displacement, health issues caused by U.S. destruction of infrastructure, U.S. lead torture, Etc. What will this event do for those people? let alone the troops killed or those who survived and come home damaged in one form or another? This is not including the U.S. lead destruction here and all over the world. What is this event doing to end all that?

I like the community, knowing there are others out there wanting to do something, anything, to end the horrible U.S. lead destruction of the world. It is an almost overwhelming task, but well worth the efforts. It is time for a Revolution. It is time to change everything.

ARE YOU HALF EMPTY, OR HALF FULL? 31.Dec.2006 15:00

Michael b.

ARE YOU HALF EMPTY, OR HALF FULL?

What we percieved about what was going on at the smith center was different. If you want to speak as if one or three people are WCW, or this New Years protest that is your problem.

Unfortunately it becomes my problem when the people you paint into a corner and label "that group" become "that group." As it stands there's a handfull of confused and distructive organizers in the peace activist community. The same applys to the rest of us. Everyone acts fucked up some time. The question that gets me, is are we going to pressure and provide incentives for our peers to change. If we fail to recognise breakthroughs in the process can a process for change exist?

It is not in our interest for the MINORITY of people within the peace community that would turn me, or you over to the cops to be painted as, or promoted to leadership as representitive of the peace activist community as a whole. They've got enough problems without our "help."

So when a room full of people starts eagerly declairing that they will not collaborate against the movement and turn us over to the cops. When the person that attacked my friend apologises in tears, and the whole room cries DON'T LEAVE THE MOVEMENT! YES! I DECLAIR, THE GLASS IS HALF FULL! Why? Because it is our common interest as a movement build on our victories, as small as they are.

The local organizers promised us two sentences,

1 They would not turn other protestors over to the police.
2 They would not collaborate with the police against us.

Thier national leader said NO! and shot back with a fucked up statement. The local "leaders" of thier group said they would hold true to what they said in thier confernce call with us.

There was more to this, they felt that there was no burden to make a public statement because we couldn't prove that the people turning folks over to the cops wern't people that had simply bought thier shirts. They reiterated that they as local organizers would hold true to the agreement.

I told them that we would probably fail at turning away reactionaries among us eager to disrupt thier events, without a public statement that included these two sentences. That it would be almost impossible to work together in "days of action" without this public statement.

Both the girl in the bandana, and I reported this at the report back.

Has WCW put out some statement declairing that they will turn us over?

Some anonymous lone gunman is goading you all into a devisive shit storm.

Probably a cop. If not, clearly a cop lover. Maybee in thier group.. Maybee another.

Who does it benifit to build a movement that actively promotes solidarity across groups and struggles? That recognizes steps taken towards this goal?

--------
Who has a decided interest in solidarity across groups and struggles falling apart? In promoting insular, and hate filled people to positions of leadership in a devided and secterian community?

You gonna fall for it?

ARE YOU HALF EMPTY, OR HALF FULL?

I appreciate your attempts at peacemaking mb 31.Dec.2006 15:12

.

But I think it would be wise not to make unwarranted assumptions. Russ is not a cop and he is an organizer and he has stated that he will turn people over to the police and testify against them.

>> Has WCW put out some statement declairing that they will turn us over?

I think the better question is: given someone claiming to be an organizer of *this event* has made such a statement why haven't the other organizers either denied that individual's involvement or stated that they disagree?

I believe the answers are that the individual is an organizer and that the other organizers either feel similarly or do not want to take the person to task for making threats against activists. Either way my belief, clearly a shared one, is that they cannot be trusted and should be avoided.

. 31.Dec.2006 15:30

.

Russ Hallberg is a violent man. He is happy to let the state be the proxy enforcer of his violent threats. That is a common behavior for privileged white males who expect to be obeyed. Don't obey them, and they will threaten you with harm.

Mistake 01.Jan.2007 07:13

Russ Hallberg

It was a horrible mistake to post an announcement of the Human Chain event on Portland Indymedia. It will not happen again. That is the appropriate way to deal with these issues. Then, there is no need for any of the issues that have been raised.

For reasons of family safety, the event has been moved away from traffic. It will be at Waterfront Park, at the base of Steel Bridge.

One Truth 01.Jan.2007 11:32

legendline

Thank you Micheal b for not only your intelligent and informative posts, but also for being willing to identify yourself to add validity to what you have to say.

I wasn't at the wcw meeting but I personally know people who were there, and they told me, in person, what was said and accomplished (same as what Mike b now says is what happened).

What concerns me is the extreme number of anon posters on this site who have different opinions on what happened in those meetings, all who claim to have been there. Who are you? I have to say I'm beginning to think it is the same two people posting under different names claiming this, no that, no this. All you are doing is giving people a distorted sense of what has happened, and furthering the divide between people.
I like to believe there can be multiple truths to things, but in the case of what was promised at a specific meeting by specific people, I think there's only one truth. I know who Mb is, I don't know who CatWoman is but I might know her, and I'm inclined to believe those people over people who post without a name and say "I know because I was there."

Please, let's stop all this arguing over differing versions of the truth from the past. We ALL know this now- someone posted promises to collaborate with the police state against comrades. No one else from the organization denounced that statement. Let's move forward from here in the manner suggested by Mb and stop yelling at each other over tactics, and instead work to find ways we can support each other (which doesn't mean we have to be in the same vacinity as them- support can be as simple as ceasing to bash them in an anonymous and public forum).

And kudos to the person who pointed out that the radicals haven't given us an alternative for New Year's Day. I wouldn've liked to do something today but was left with the choice of being turned over to the police state, or staying home, so I'm taking the dogs and going on a trail ride. Perhaps next time a radical event will crop up for those of us afraid of these other 'organizers'?

Russ? 01.Jan.2007 12:00

Michael b.

So are you admiting that you are this anonymous "organizer?" Are you or have you admitted that you wrote the original post?

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/12/350918.shtml

If so, the problem is not that you or anyone posted this event to indymedia. Wiether official "organizers" post or not, event descriptions will be posted to indymedia. Wiether that post is a constructive benefit to the work groups are doing depends on how they approach the broader activist community.

The problem is that anyone thinks it's ok to turn our comrades over to the police. It is bad enough that you or anyone conceeds thier power to police that have shown them selves just as likely to beat up PPRC, and pepper spray babies as they are to brutalize radicals. It is another thing entirely to conceed the power and energy of your local movement to those police. When people cooperate with the police against the movement that is what they are doing. Supporting a situation where NO ACTIVIST IS SAFE.

Do you see the difference?

Do you see the deference between demeaning your own power to do effective activism, and demeaning/conceeding the power of your broader community?
One is bad. The other has destabilized entire movements.

What a let down. That hurts.

Alternative 01.Jan.2007 12:07

watching

Den Mark has posted an announcement regarding an event in Vancouver that people may be interested in attending. It sounds like it might *really* be a "family friendly" event, in that it sounds low key, but without anyone turning each other over to the police state. Den Mark is awesome, and I think if you are able to get to Vancouver, it would be worth attending. See the newsire for the announcement.

Vancouver action 01.Jan.2007 12:09

me again

Here is the post for the Vancouver action. It's tomorrow. And you can depend on Den Mark NOT to EVER collabborate with the police state.  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/12/351421.shtml

to Russ 01.Jan.2007 13:38

J

"It was a horrible mistake to post an announcement of the Human Chain event on Portland Indymedia. It will not happen again. That is the appropriate way to deal with these issues. Then, there is no need for any of the issues that have been raised."

No, it was not a horrible mistake to post on Portland Indymedia. It was a horrible mistake to threaten to turn people over to the cops. Many events just like this one have been posted to Portland Indymedia. Many of them have had follow-up reports, been featured and so on.

And no, not posting is not the appropriate way to deal with these issues. That is running away, not dealing with them.

The Appropriate Way to Deal With These Things 01.Jan.2007 16:50

CatWoman

"It was a horrible mistake to post an announcement of the Human Chain event on Portland Indymedia. It will not happen again. That is the appropriate way to deal with these issues." - Russ Hallberg

The appropriate way to deal with these things is NEVER to collaborate with the police state. Never. Now that you have, the appropriate thing for you to do would be to acknowledge the betrayal your own actions have caused, to learn from your horrendous mistake, and to never, ever repeat it. Never. You might also consider actually listening to, and learning from, some of the many truly committed activists who have tried to reach you. Believe it or not, many of them have given you the benefit of the doubt, thinking as I initially did, that your betrayal was merely a stupid blunder, and not an intentional one. I no longer believe that, but if there is any truth to it, it's time for you to pull your head out of your ass and apologize to this community, and at the very least, to commit to NEVER doing anything so absolutely abhorrent and disgraceful again. Barring that, I doubt if there will be many people who will ever work with you again. Aside from the little handful of dolts who also believe that turning people in to the police state is acceptable. What a dangerous little mob you will be. ...to yourselves.