BLM Won – Just wait til they win some MORE!

Hey, folks! It’s time to PARRRRR-TAY!

BLM and their supporters have managed a major victory in Portland. Not only did Fed presence almost entirely disappear from Portland (we saw one FPS vehicle – a clearly marked SUV – anywhere downtown last night, Thursday the 30th, and it was parked and empty about 5 blocks from the Hatfield courthouse), but we ourselves did a good job of stopping any antics. One small fire was set, but protesters acted quickly to put it out with bottled water.

Although I don’t think that small fires or launching fireworks can possibly excuse the behavior of the Feds, in the PR war being waged in the media about whom to blame for the Portland catastrophe, making that first night without Feds as peaceful as possible was an important victory. For that PR victory, I’m quite glad.

I’m also still feeling pretty horrible from the effects of Wednesday night. I went through some shit, but the Feds’ behavior was even worse than I knew. It turns out that the tear gas canister that landed 1m-1.5m/4′ (-ish) from me on Wednesday night was fired from the roof. The roof of a building which has 13 stories.

After you see a tear gas canister land, you can trace a smoke trail tracing the projectile’s path, but only about 5m or so max. You can look again at the video of the gas canister that landed closest to me (at least since a week ago Tuesday) I could tell the angle it came in on was very steep, and I mentioned in earlier reports that I was surprised it stopped rather than rolling toward me. This is much more easily explained not by shooting in a high parabolic arc, but by shooting almost directly down. We have footage of projectiles landing among the crowd coming from an angle that could only mean that they were shot from the roof of the courthouse from as early as a week ago, but somehow I missed that story.

Why is this important? Well, because a projectile like that can build up a lot of momentum falling from that height and despite being billed as less lethal, when shot from far above its kinetic energy makes the housing lethal even if the tear gas contents are not. Some people believes that any shot from the roof would constitute use of lethal force and is thus a further escalation of illegality on the part of the Feds.

But whether or not the law treats this behavior differently, as human beings who were fired upon in this way, our critique should gain in resonance and reach. The fact that the Feds missed my head by a few feet doesn’t negate the fact that they fired a projectile in such a way that, had it struck me directly, would have been fatal.

Anyway, I’m also glad the violence of the Feds is ended because it will allow me more time to talk about the words of the protest organizers – something I’ve wanted to do.

So despite feeling terribly, I’ll be going back to the rally tonight and (probably) leaving early, right after the speakers are done, so that I can get a bit more rest and then give you my videos of the speakers and thoughts on their message that I’ve been collecting.

Although it has gotten much less attention than Gov Brown’s negotiation for the withdrawal of the Feds, ultimately the more important news story coming out of Salem is the commitment of state and local government to introduce legislation on issues of justice and community health for which BLM organizers have been fighting since Day 1.

Here’s the Oregonian’s take on it.

Please note that a huge portion of this consists of proposals that Black and indigenous people have been fighting for for years. The Portland African American Leadership Forum ideas from 2017 are in there, and the Urban League’s ideas from 2015 are in there. And of course, although those proposals were updated with specifics relevant to their times, they also drew from even earlier proposals.

This victory has been a LONG time coming. BIPOC organizations have been fighting for measures that help all communities for much longer than 60 days, and I hope that wherever you live, you take some time in the next few days to look up the great programs that support communities in your area and find out a little about how they have been created or sustained in significant part through the work of people of color.


  1. says

    First, well done you!

    Second, as I watched the exchange between Dr. Fauci and one of Ohio’s least favorite sons–we are so sorry to have inflicted him upon the rest of the nation–I thought of you and the others in Portland.

    If you could have whispered in Fauci’s ear, what would you have told him to say to Rep. Jim Jordan?

  2. Who Cares says

    It just shows how bad Trump or one of his cronies messed up if the state government feels it needs to make concessions like this to compensate

  3. kestrel says

    Fantastic news – and well done, everybody there! May this be a turning point where things start to get better.

    It will be fascinating to hear what the people there have to say. Looking forward to those posts, but of course rest first!

  4. says

    ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ! ! ! CONGRATULATIONS to BLM – and to you, and every ally on the ground in Portland!

    Just a side note, but Protesting 101 should emphasize this: Every action of protesters policing themselves makes the pro-fascist narrative harder to swallow. (Tho not for fascists, of course.) Speaking of which…

    If you or anyone else is interested in FauxNews depictions of the Portland protests – i.e. a preview of the Trump/GOP propaganda leading up to the November election) – but you can only stomach this through a lens of outrage and humor, see this segment of John Oliver’s most recent Last Week Tonight. The montage of FN clips starts at 2:38.

  5. voyager says

    Fabulous news. I hope tonight is filled with joy and celebration. You did it!
    After that I hope you get a good restorative rest.

  6. Allison says

    Just because I’m a long-time prophet of doom and gloom (one of my managers referred to me as “old doom and gloom” — and I was only in my 40’s back then), I’m going to point out:

    What BLM has “won” is a skirmish. The brown-shirts and black-shirts have retreated — but only in Portland — but they’re still out there, and there’s nothing to prevent them from coming back.

    And even when the ‘shirts are truly defeated, and the white supremacists driven back under their rocks, there’s still the systemic, structural racism to deal with. The ways in which USAan society is set up so that people with no (conscious) racist intent will unknowingly perpetuate racist effect.

    The police and the ‘shirts are merely the agents of a racist system and society. It is the racism built into the system and into our Weltanschauung and into our way of life that is our real enemy.

    Celebrate if you will, but keep your powder dry, and locked up where you can get at it quickly. It’s going to be a long, slow war, which in all likelihood none of us will live long enough to see the end of. (But maybe, if we persevere, and we’re both wise and lucky, our efforts will mean that our children’s children will live in a better world.)

    Oh, and remember: “we have met the enemy, and they is us.” If we’re not careful, we can be our own (or our cause’s) worst enemy.

  7. Who Cares says

    @Iris Vander Pluym(#5):
    I’ve followed it through some aggregation site. And if you only see their news you’d think half if not more of Portland has been burned down by protesters firebombing everything that even smells of law enforcement while throwing whole waste bins worth of thrash at the poor federal law enforcement who are just trying to get the people responsible for this whole list of absolutely heinous crimes like graffitiing federal buildings. The poor guys having no other choice then deploying more less then lethal defenses then have been used in the last 10 years in the whole of the USA to defend themselves from the ravenous hordes on the street of Portland.

    It is absolutely sickening but then again FoxNews won a court case when they got sued for (deliberately) lying in their news, not the talking heads/opinion sections but the news. They are allowed to lie in their news.

  8. says

    If you could have whispered in Fauci’s ear, what would you have told him to say to Rep. Jim Jordan?

    I know you weren’t asking me, but “shut the fuck up, you ignorant cracker.” Would have been a good start.

  9. says

    Does a battle of narratives matter when the opposition is not interested in truth, only in application of power? I’m sure that there are undecided people who are swayed in one direction or another, but I always worry that attempts to expose fascist dishonesty are naive. They don’t care. Force is all they care about. You can’t argue with them you can only grind them into dust.

  10. says


    I’m probably naive, but I still believe that getting a majority of people to stop caring about truth is difficult. Yes, the fascists don’t care about truth, but if we give up then those “undecideds” you mention will conclude not that we’re exhausted, but that we, also don’t care about truth. If they think that neither the left nor the right cares about truth, they may very well shrug their shoulders and cease caring themselves.

    In fact, I’m actually of the opinion that this has already happened. So-called “democratic norms” that value comity over truth during policy debate have led to both a Democratic Party and a mainstream media that cannot find it in themselves to be outraged by lies. The media have for years not challenged this shit at all while the Democratic leadership simply plod along using the same language, “I don’t believe that is true,” that the fascists use.

    I think standing for the proposition that we should care about truth is almost radical in this historical moment and we need to push back against that. It seems to me to be almost the very first necessary attack: reestablish that the USA should value and will value truth. If we can win that fight, all the other fights become easier.

  11. komarov says

    Regarding narratives, right-wingers may not care about being truthful but it still pisses them off to no end to have people pointing out reality and / or their lies. I’ll just point to the approximately fifteen billion mentions of “fake news” by that great president of yours. Plus, if you ignore the right-wing framing it’ll definitely stick, no matter how obviously fake that actually is. In the clip Iris posted, John Oliver notes the graffiti. What he didn’t point out but maybe should have is the footage Fox used: It looks to be mostly made up of tear gas canisters, while commentators talk about protester violence. So they’re using police violence footage to illustrate violent protesters. Hard to see how you could get things any more backwards than that.

  12. jrkrideau says

    FoxNews won a court case when they got sued for (deliberately) lying in their news,

    I believe that is why we do not have a Fox subsidiary in Canada. Apparently Pox was shocked to discover it is against the law to deliberately lie on the news here. It was bad enough we had Sun Media.

    The roof of a building which has 13 stories.
    He may have learned his trade as a sniper at the Maidan.


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