Every protest is virtually the same: Start out at Terry Schrunk Plaza. Yell for awhile, try to take City Hall. Get distracted from City Hall, walk down the street to the bridge. Bridge is blocked, go to another bridge. Bridge is blocked. Sit down. Get bored. Disperse. Wonder why no one is listening to you. Rinse, repeat.
You look like zombies afflicted with attention deficit disorder.
It's time to come up with a plan and stop this senseless and annoying lollygagging about town. Everyone's getting bored with it, and you're losing support. Say what you want about the U.S. war machine, they'll never be accused of lollygagging. That's why if you want to stop the enemy, you need to think like the enemy.
The U.S. military is successful because they have a clear objective and spend time thinking of ways to obtain that objective. And just like the thousands of troops in Iraq, peace protesters have enough hippie power to create a "shock and awe" campaign in Portland that will captivate the nation--and all it takes is a little military-style planning.
URBAN WARFARE 101
To deal with the vagaries of fighting in an urban atmosphere, the U.S. Marine Corps has issued a training manual entitled Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (you can download this manual from
www.globalsecurity.org). Also known as MOUT, this manual is designed to "provide doctrinal guidance and detailed information on tactics, techniques, and procedures" for those interested in overthrowing despots, or annexing oil-bearing nations. And while the manual has tons of information about placing land mines, killing snipers, and destroying buildings with armored vehicles--you're not interested in that just yet. You're interested in occupying an area or landmark which will draw tons of media attention without attracting too much collateral damage (i.e. fights with cops, pepper-sprayed babies, everyone else in the city hating you and suddenly turning pro-war).
The first thing the military advises when planning a campaign is to decide on an "objective" (aka, the area, building, or landmark one wishes to occupy). This could be anything from the Federal Building, to City Hall, to one of Portland's many bridges. Now, I'm personally against occupying a bridge because the action is too far removed from the point you're trying to make. Sure, I've heard all your hoo-ha about "this war is about oil, cars run on oil, therefore if we stop cars by blocking a bridge, people will realize that millions are dying because of our dependency on oil." While this may be true, your idea is convoluted, and it's making you sound like a left-wing conspiracy nut. Therefore, keep it simple. Take over City Hall and chain yourself to Jim Francesconi's private bathroom with the golden toilet. People will get the picture.
On the other hand, if you simply must take a bridge go ahead. It looks impressive, you get some fresh air, and while your actions will only make people take another route, which wastes more oil, thereby killing more innocent Iraqis who am I to nitpick? Knock yourselves out.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
You know you have 30,000 people at your disposal. They don't all have to be shambling around Terry Schrunk Plaza like brain-dead mummies. You haven't even started and the cops have already surrounded and cordoned you off like a herd of cattle. Either get smart, or learn how to moo.
Take a tip from the Marines and break this huge group into smaller units. (For fun you can give each unit a macho shithead name like the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles.) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that large groups equal restricted movement. Posting smaller units at different locations within the city forces the cops (who we shall also refer to as "the defenders") to disperse their troops, and weaken their position. This is called "isolation." Remember that term; it's important and we'll be coming back to it later.
And HELLO?? Why are you repeatedly starting off your demonstrations in the center of town? Disperse your defender's effectiveness by stationing your groups on the outskirts, and work inward toward your objective.
PHASES OF ATTACK
Okay, you've got your objective, and small units are stationed in different parts of the city. Observant and concerned business owners are calling 911, and the cops are scattering like jelly beans thrown on an ice-skating rink. You're ready to move out. However, to get to your major objective, you have to gain and secure ground. According to MOUT, there are four phases of attack that are necessary for securing the areas leading up to the main objective.
-PHASE I: Reconnoiter. MOUT says, "Whenever possible, a leader makes a personal reconnaissance of the area just ahead to collect first hand information." This is also known as "taking point." One person goes ahead of the crowd to look for cops, scope out avenues of approach, and possible escape routes. After giving the 'all clear' the group moves forward chanting something inane like 'No Blood for Oil,' and so begins
-PHASE II: Isolate the Defenders. Let's say you run into a gang of cops. The more you isolate the defender, the better shot you have at gaining ground. Instead of being corralled by the cops, split your group in half, each going in a different direction. This forces the cops to follow both, minimizing their effectiveness even further. Expect to be separated and make a plan to meet up later at the Tabouli cart.
-PHASE III: Secure a Foothold. It's always a smart move to protect your "six" (your rear) and your "flanks" (the areas off to your left and right). That's why you should leave small reserve groups behind to hold the ground you just acquired. It's their job to make a lot of noise to draw the cops away from the main objective. And finally
-PHASE IV: Seizing the Objective. By leaving behind small troops to plop down in the middle of Burnside, blocking the Morrison Bridge, and staring menacingly at shoppers going in and out of Nordstrom, you've forced the defenders into quite a pickle. "How can we be in 27 places at once?" This should leave a clear lane for your real objective--which is, of course, the golden toilet of Jim Francesconi. (Rumor has it he shall never let his unsoiled bottom touch a public commode.)
THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
But if nothing else, for the love of God, learn to use the element of surprise. Your current "groupthink suicidal lemmings" strategy isn't fooling anybody. Every corporate media news whore in town knows where to point their cameras: At the guys with the pierced noses and black hoodies. Since everybody knows you're the troublemakers, it's your responsibility to lead the cops to PGE Park while your fellow protesters (dressed in business suits and pantyhose) have snuck into City Hall and are chaining themselves to the golden drainpipes of Francesconi's bidet.
Want to change the world? Prove it. Want to show you can beat Bush at his own game? Prove it. Everything up to this point has been romanticized hippie bullshit. Want to convince the nation that peace lovers can be smarter than war mongers? Prove it.
Take the military's advice, and for once, surprise us.