by the Academy of Anarchy... including Chantelle Hylton, Phil Busse, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Katia Dunn, and Ian Thompson.
Thomas Jefferson, our country's original anarchist, once wrote that a nation should not go longer than 20 years without a revolution. Of course, as the chief architect of democracy, Jefferson also had the smarts to build political systems that could withstand the bending, stretching, and twisting forces of cultural fluctuation.
Somewhere between these Jeffersonian ideals of anarchy and order--in that fertile territory of free speech and the right to assemble--are the seeds from which protests prosper. At their best, protests are well-choreographed performance art shows that take our political leaders by their pant legs and shake out political change. Example: In mid-March, when Mayor Vera Katz cast a tie-breaking vote to throw out a claim of police brutality against a 68-year-old African American grandmother, nearly 70 PSU students stood up and turned their back on her. It was a breathtaking moment. Katz stood frozen, mid-sentence, as the students silently walked out of the City Council chamber room. Their actions left the mayor speechless and, hopefully, with something to think about.
And now, as the cherry blossoms bloom along the Willamette, so starts another season of protest--Earth Day, May Day, Critical Mass. But, before the new round of protests begins, the Mercury would like to take a moment, smell the teargas, and reminisce about our favorite activists from the past year in what we like to call the First Annual Anarchist Awards.
And oh! What a year it was! Whether it involved stinky hippies in trees, or whacked-out ballot initiatives, the way we protest gives us insight into our city's soul and consciousness; it tells us what troubles us and where we want change.
So without further ado, the envelopes please!