I was in the anti-war rally in Portland, Oregon today. As several other people have commented here, it was different from other anti-war rallies, and different from the parade of rallies that frequently occur in Portland. (Including the yearly May Day Rallies.

Most previous rallies in Portland were around rather abstract issues, such as globalization. Now, while globalization may or may not be a good thing, only people who spend their time and emotional energy analyzing political trends get worked up over it. "Globalization, what is it good for?" just doesn't have a good ring to it.

A war is something that is easily morally identifiable. Either you are for it, or against it, but if you are against war, you know when the issue is being presented to you.

The rally was predominantly middle class people, and people who did not have an ideological axe to grind. Although there was a sprinkling of the black clad anarchists, the rally was mostly centered around church groups and unaffiliated people.

Perhaps due to the great number of middle class attendees, or perhaps due to their better judgement, or the fact that Mark Kroeker was out of town, the police presence was rather scaled down, mostly consisting of bicycle police to block traffic and guide the crowd. The only place riot police were present was in front of the Terry Shrunk Federal Building.

Over all, the event had a rather festive atmosphere, with a lot of music and talking. At various intersections along the parade route, belly dancers, musicians and drummers all entertained the crowd. Since the crowd was so large, with estimates being between 20 and 30 thousand people, there was no unified chanting. It was almost as if it was just several thousand people out for a stroll. With signs.

This march, and the others like it, signifies a change in the anti-war movement from the hardcore politicals who protested the global order at The Battle of Seattle into a movement that includes people who just hate the idea of the concrete manifestation of war and violence.