The dismal turnout (no more than 300 people) at the March 20, 2010 Anti-War rally and march in Portland in opposition to the aggressions in Iraq, Afghan, and Palestine was discussed at the teach-in which followed the march. The broad consensus of opinion was that marches and rallies have become ineffective tools of activism, and that what is needed now is direct action.
The "Challenging Robotic Warfare and Social Control" conference was held in Hood River, Oregon on April 16th through 19th, with keynote speaker Cindy Sheehan, and it culminated in a protest at the headquarters of Insitu, a major manufacturer of military drones. Some speakers, including the conference organizer, Peter Lumsdaine, stated that what is needed now is not simple protest marches and rallies, but direct action, including sabotage.
The April 8th, 2010 Black Bloc Rally against police brutality in Portland was a great successs, and it demonstrated the 'right way' to conduct a cutting-edge, attention-getting protest event. Without breaking the law or committing any violence, the protesters continually pushed the limit, getting lots of public and media attention, and costing the City of Portland a huge sum for police overtime. The City cannot afford to police many such protests before it runs out of money -- which means that such protests can serve as an effective tool to bring the City to seriously address the problem of police brutality.
We need to start using the tactics of the April 8th, 2010 Black Bloc Rally at our anti-war protests. THIS COMMENT IS A CALL to the Black Bloc and other anarchist organizers to network with the anti-war protesters and advise and assist them on methods to make our anti-war rallies and marches more effective.
Like limit-pushing protests and direct-action events, vandalism and sabotage are effective ways of disrupting government and corporate 'business as usual', costing the establishment expenses that they ultimately cannot afford, and demonstrating to the government, the corporations, and the public that the protesters are determined to stop the institutionalized violence of the US government.
To those who advocate absolute non-violence within the protest community, I remind you that many thousands of innocent people have died, and will continue to die, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Those who FIGHT to defend those innocent victims of US aggression are heroes, not villains.