Rebels require money, too
- Pamplin Media
- Portland Tribune - Opinion
The Tribune's Feb. 6 article 'Activist indulges capitalistic craving' essentially suggests that Craig Rosebraugh, former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, has become a shameless capitalist.
Capitalism, especially on the scale it currently exists, is insidious in many ways, but most notably in the way it forces you to play by its rules. One of its immutable laws is that without finances you have very little power. Opposing capitalism does not change that law. With the exception of large-scale, spontaneous revolts, people attempting to overthrow capitalism have always needed money to do so.
The Black Panthers, for example, operated a nightclub in Oakland called the Lamp Post, as well as starting other small ventures such as a record label and distribution network. The George Jackson Brigade robbed banks, and for all we know the ELF is holding organic bake sales somewhere. Running a restaurant and publishing a book hardly mark Rosebraugh as a greedy, heartless capitalist.
The fact of the matter is that Rosebraugh is playing by rules that he cannot avoid in order to have the means to challenge the system. Sure, he could drop out entirely and live in a yurt in the forest somewhere, but the only thing that would change would be his ability to be a threat to this sick system. Rosebraugh and I disagree on a lot of things, but I'm damned happy to see someone who isn't afraid to poke a finger in the eye of our government.
If you or any of the other purists out there have a better way of doing things, please share. But in the meantime, those who want to see revolutionary change need money. Revolutionaries also need to be able to sustain themselves, and that means paying rent and bills. We certainly must strive to minimize our overall impact while doing so, but abstaining from capitalism altogether only ensures removing ourselves from the very people we are trying to reach with our message.
Ultimately, that would cause far more harm than Rosebraugh's opening a restaurant.
Rights are not -an 'assault'
Your 'True Believers' article (Jan. 30) featuring soon-to-be-married couples began with the line 'The institution of marriage may be under assault, but the slings and arrows weren't breaching the heavily fortified Oregon Convention Center during the Portland Bridal Show.'
'Under assault'? Clever metaphor. But is your writer referring, not so subtly, to the effort to win civil marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans?
Or is he thinking of the real assaults on marriage in our culture Ñ a 50 percent divorce rate, Mormon polygamists in Arizona and Utah, and a popular culture that markets sex and violence to young people?
Like the smiling (straight) newlyweds on your pages, taxpaying gay Americans, too, deserve the more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities that come with civil marriage.
Gay and lesbian couples in lifelong relationships pay higher taxes and are denied basic protections under the law: hospital visitation rights, health insurance benefits, inheritance rights, Social Security survivor benefits and so on.
All American families deserve these crucial protections. It's a matter of fairness.
Boxing champs too-important to forget
Thank you so much for the article on the Knott Street boxers (Requiem for a dream, Jan. 27). I've lived in the Portland metro area for five years and am always amazed at how little my fellow residents actually know about their area's recent and not-so-recent history. The epilogue to this article should, of course, be a resounding, 'Yes! Of course the Knott Street champions deserve a place in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame!'
But why stop there? Knott Street Gym is a positive piece of Oregon's past. This story is literally screaming for savvy pols, who always seem to be scratching their collective heads on ways to promote Oregon, to give it some hard focus. Highlight not only the boxers but also the positive effects that the gym has on the community.
Need other suggestions?Here's a hint for you local filmmakers and screenwriters: I just know that there's a Hollywood film in there somewhere. Think of the money that could be pumped into the city, state and North Portland economies.
Maybe Portland State University Professor Darrell Millner could use his influence to have PSU highlight the story in an exhibition about Knott Street. I would surely part with some money to see such a positive film or exhibit on a piece of Oregon and Portland history.