Portland Peace Power
by Stew Albert
It's a kind of secular miracle. On Junuary 18, 20 to 25 thousand peace rebels
marched against the Bush war. It's a record for peace marches in Oregon. Even
beats the Sixties.
All kinds of people, carrying all sorts of signs, and chanting various and
sundry slogans. Even a few marching bands. About 25% raised their hands when
asked if this was their first peace march. My first, was in 1960 over
atmospheric H-bomb testing. I've done it countless times but this one was
special. There is no draft and the war hasn't started. The message is clear.
Bush is single handily rebuilding the protest movement. Creating something
that will be larger and much more varied than in the 60's. Even the wretched
Ronald Reagan couldn't manage this feat! Boy the people hate Bush. You can
tell from the hand made signs and the chants. One really pissed off
participant went so far as to wear a Bush mask and a small rocket at penis
The march was fantastic. It offered hope in a dark forest. But, as usual, the
rally sucked. There were some good speakers but they went on for far too long
saying things that had already been said and said again. This time, there was
almost a rebellion. The crowd kept interrupting speakers chanting "March,
March" and some did actually break away and start marching against orders.
Most remained however for the official OK, but they felt like kids doing High
Another problem came from two speakers who repeatedly attacked Israel,
without condemning Palestinian terrorism or supporting Israel's right to
exist. This brought some angry crowd comments about "this isn't why we came
here." I know Jewish people who stayed away because they feared being exposed
to this type of unbalanced Middle East style politics.
I really admire the demonstration organizers for devoting their lives to
these events but honestly, they are going to have to learn about holding
informative entertaining and brief rallies or just just stop having them.
One last and very strange note. There were real Nazis at the rally. Some were
present in a stealthy way, hiding behind anti-Israel signs, but one guy
(having a small kid present for protection) was actually sporting a large
black swastika one a red patch, in the middle of his cap. He made it through
the whole rally. In the Sixties, he wouldn't have lasted for a minute.
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