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Marching to Nowhere?
From the open publishing newswire: On March 20th, 2003, as bombs fell on Iraq, I joined with the thousands who took to the streets of Portland, Oregon, to express our rage against the war and to disrupt business as usual. One year on, I decided to travel to the Bay Area to check out the anti-war/anti-occupation demonstration there. What follows is not an attempt at a comprehensive report-back; I will merely describe my own experience, and draw a few general lessons from what I saw.
Peacemobile to cross USA from Oregon
From the open publishing newswire: Why is it that people so often resonate with anti- messages yet seldom in the same breath will offer viable solutions to the problems of which they so loudly complain? Strangely, H.R. 1673 was barely mentioned in the anti-war hoopla of the past week, nor even by any of the speakers at Pioneer Courthouse Square March 20 to a crowd of at least 5000 proponents of peace. One woman, Patty Annis of eastern Washington State, carried a large banner about this DoP bill and says that few people she meets, even among anti-war progressives and Democrats, seem to know of its existence or, if they heard of it, have not read it nor realize its import.
"The solution to making war is obviously peacemaking", says Annis, "and the Department of Peace bill is far more than just an idea; it is a piece of legislation sitting in a democratic congress just waiting for citizen input and lobbying to make it a reality". A former Portlander, Ms Annis has decided to embark on a 7-month mission to educate the general public throughout the country and garner more support for H.R. 1673. The bill has 50 co-signers in congress so far but needs much more support to become law.
Direct Action Shuts Down Bechtel HQ on Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
From the open publishing newswire: SAN FRANCISCO - March 19 - Over 500 Bay Area residents marked the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq by taking direct action at the headquarters of the Bechtel corporation to protest their exploitation of the Iraqi people and misuse of U.S. tax dollars. Two marches converged on Bechtel's offices, one led by teachers holding a banner reading "Education Not Occupation," and one led by healthcare workers marching with banners reading "Healthcare not Warfare" and "Democracy Not Empire". While the crowd occupied the street, several dozen people engaged in civil disobedience by blocking the entrances to the building. By noon over twenty-five people had been arrested. The actions were organized by local grassroots mobilization Direct Action to Stop theWar (DASW)
Affinity groups involved with DASW also occupied an abandoned building to highlight the impacts of the escalating military budgets on Bay Area communities. "Why are we spending billions to illegally occupy Iraq when there isn't even enough affordable housing in our communities? Teachers are getting pink slips and our hospitals are under funded while more and more money is directed to Bush's policies of permanent war and empire-building," said Victoria Welle a San Francisco hospital worker.
Last year, DASW coordinated the largest and most consistently visible direct actions against the war inside the U.S. On March 20th, 2003 an estimated 20,000 people engaged in civil disobedience which shut down the San Francisco Financial District. In the following three days over 2,300 Bay area residents from all walks of life were arrested for protesting the invasion. Throughout the spring, DASW's direct action campaign continued with mass actions at the offices of war profiteering corporations like SSA,APL, Chevron-Texaco, Lockheed Martin and Bechtel.
thoughts from the march
From the open publishing newswire: This was such a great march, I was very impressed with everyone on all sides. The cops, freshly neuterd by the courts, seemed to take their loss of "failure to disperse" arrests in stride. Without thoughts of "heard them up, clear 'em out" running through their heads they seemed to be more focused on their actual job. I walked at the front of the line, and the police up there were working to keep traffic out of the march's way.
Just another kid comments: I saw something I never thought I would see. One of the PPRC type folk a "peaceful" marcher, fullout punched one of the black bloc kids in the ribs.
being peace comments: Today I learned that we don't need Ashcroft, Bush, and the portland police to take away our civil liberties, the PPRC will take care of that for them.
Related Stories: [ AUDIO FILE: Portland Oregon March 20 Rally and March - PDX IMC Web Radio - MP3 format : Philosopher Seed - Real format | Best signs from the march | Prevent Crime Today Downtown, Watch A Police Officer! | Collect riot trash after police use weapons | inspiring photos of tonite's pre-March rally | Poem: What Price? (no One is an Accetable Loss!) ]
March 20, 2004 - Protesting Invasion and Occupation
From the open publishing newswire:
Bridges: Burnside to Baghdad, M20
From the open publishing newswire: On March 20th, 2003 I sat, arms linked with fellow humans, at the intersection of Burnside and Second. I stayed there until I was arrested at around 2:00 AM on March 21st. This particular intersection could be considered the very nexus of our city, Portland. Burnside Avenue divides north from south, and the bridge it leads to crosses the Willamette River, which bisects east and west. We were at the center of our urban compass rose. We were also at the dividing point in the pattern of seasons -- Winter had just given way to Spring. And our country had just crossed the line from a kind of peace to a pre-emptive war opposed by most of the world.
Sometimes paths cross and one arrives at the exact place where one belongs, whether by chance or by choice. That night such an event took place in Portland. This was a moment in time when we took ownership of a bridge. Overcoming fear of consequences to our lives, our comfort, our own safety, we made the bridge one small zone of peace in solidarity with a people half a world away. There was dancing on the bridge that night. The cars were gone. In Oregon, pedestrians are said to have the right of way. But normally, that is only in narrow crosswalks and footpaths. Examine the design of the city -- obviously it is the internal combustion engine which takes precedence over those of us not armored in steel and glass. What an extraordinary thing it was for one of Portland's gracious bridges to belong to those who walk and bicycle. [ READ MORE>>> ]
Plans for Radical Day X, II
From the open publishing newswire: The radical spokescouncil has been planning and flyering to meet at the opposite corner in Pioneer Square at 1pm. I noticed that someone had posted something about a march from N park blocks at 12pm. The folks involved in the planning have felt this wouldn't be a wise choice. Our numbers will be quite low this year and having everyone split up would suck a lot. The pigz have been training and gearing up(with new tazers) for 8 months already. We don't wish to be so easily silenced. We plan to have speakers and LOTS of drums, flags, banners, music, etc. If you wish to get involved in planning for DayX II then please hook up with the local radical group of your choice. [ Read More ]
Oregon Supreme Court declares part of "disorderly conduct statute" unconstitutional[National Lawyers Guild ] (NLG) Portland Chapter is celebrating today's groundbreaking Supreme Court decision striking a portion of the disorderly conduct statute as overbroad. Stu Sugarman, Portland litigation committee co-chair, stated: "This decision removes the state's biggest weapon against law abiding protesters, and just in time for the Iraq invasion anniversary protests and the May Day protests."
The decision, State v. Ausmus, arises out of protests to President Clinton's bombing of Iraq during December 1998's Operation Desert Fox. In that case, which Sugarman coordinated, but Tim Bowman, Drew Chilton, and Hugh Sage argued, 24 protesters were prosecuted. 11 won their cases at trial and the rest had their charges dismissed because they were prosecuted under this unconstitutional statute. [ Read More ]
This March 20th will not be like the last.
From the open publishing newswire: It will be like March 20th 2001. What I mean by this is that there is nothing that will come out of a rally and march on the 20th except some liberally sore feet (hah!). Even the so-called "radical feeder march" is a fucking j-o-k-e. As the pages of indymedia say, from the people that are out there, this is a yawn. This is not a reason to leave your homes and go rally with PPRC or the so-called radicals at wither Pioneer Square or the North Park Blocks.
Last year, when the war broke out, people broke out of their shells and voiced a loud NO in opposition, this year, people are attempting to do the same thing, which is so stupid. Okay, I remember last year, it was great, we got together in the nights before and made shields and networked. We had emergency councils and tried to really make a statement. Now we are just going to walk in circles against a machine that doesnt listen to dissents VOICE. [ READ MORE ]
march 20, 2004
From the open publishing newswire: 1 year since the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq officially began.
1 year since brutal police repression of anti-war protesters in portland, throughout the united states, and around the world.
2 marches have been announced:
Save the Date - March 20, 2004: The World Still Says No to War
From the open publishing newswire: Momentum is building across the globe for the Global Day of Action against War and Occupation on March 20, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq.
On that day millions around the globe will take to the streets to say YES to peace and NO to pre-emptive war and occupation. Joining with growing numbers of military families and soldiers, we will call for an end to the occupation of Iraq and Bush's militaristic foreign policies. March 20th will be the first time the world's "other superpower," as the New York Times described us, will take center stage since February 15th, when more than ten million people across the globe expressed their opposition to Bush's looming war on Iraq.
The US protests will also take on the war at home. We will express the growing opposition to the so-called PATRIOT Act, authorizing political arrests, indefinite detentions, domestic spying, and religious and racial profiling. We will call for an end to the mass detentions and deportations of innocent immigrants in the name of fighting terrorism. We will say no to massive military spending amidst vast cuts in vital domestic social and economic programs.