I arrived to the protest around noon, decent crowd, however from the moment I arrived there I was puzzled why the seperation of all the groups into different stages. You had the main stage, the youth stage, a couple other makeshift stages with people on bullhorns or PA's addressing their message. Last year's march at the waterfront had one main stage, with some decent speakers and the whole scene had a sense of being united under one cause. Yesterday however, it seemed like the entire movement in portland was splintered, divided, with each group attending to the focus of getting their own message across. Also, where was the outrage? Were was the anger? I didnt hear a single speaker or group during the pre-march time really get the crowd going. While I think it's nice to have a mellow sunday, considering we're going on 5 years of protesting the war in Iraq I would think we would be slightly pissed off about it.
Maybe things were so spread out because of last year I remember after the march returned to waterfront park instead of people going back to the stage to hear some more boring speakers an impromptu drum circle was started. I remember several people with the main organizer groups standing around in disgust that things spiltered off and weren't going according to their plans. They couldn't simply be happy you had thousands of people show up and making a highly visable event happen!
This was the first large protest in portland since the reformation of SDS. It's good to see the student movement to become mobilized however, I was expecting to see the local SDS chapters play a bigger role in yesterdays events. It seems the local protest leadership (if you can call multiple peace organizations working against each other leadership) is still composed of weekend warrior baby boomers. It's the 18-25 age group that is going to get hit the most from this war, and with the draft being an inevitable fact on the horizon those of you involved in SDS and other radicle student organizations should step up and share in the organization of these events, and if the boomer groups don't want you there, you simply do what a revolutionary group would do, you take over! If your going to wear the symbol of the revolutionary fist on your shirts, then please, by all means, act as revolutionaries and don't take a back seat in the anti-war movement here in PDX.
Also, all over the news was about the "splinter" group that broke off from the rest of the march and was arrested. Yet, there was only a few hundred people who showed up down at Police HQ? That doesn't suprised me from the visible display of a major lack of solidarity I witnessed pre-march.
I want to further say that if we are truly going to create revolution, and change, we have to organize in ways that are above and beyond the pigs and government that were are speaking out against. We are out-organized, plain and simple. We have to dig deeper, below the surface, we can no longer rely on the same tools that activists relied on 30 years ago. The lopp holes that the yippies and other groups of that time period uncovered have long since been closed up. We have to wake up to what's really going on here, and what we can really do about it.
Love is the only truth, everything else is illusion and simply does not matter.