What do you need to know about the Portland protests?

Obviously I have Opinions™ on what needs to be said about the protests in Portland. I think they’re important and I couldn’t have come to that conclusion without thinking that certain specific things about the protests were important.

But honestly, these protests aren’t important at all unless they’re communicating something to people. Now, just photos of tear gas can inform us about the state of authoritarianism in US government, but there’s so much more to say, especially since general authoritarianism doesn’t tell us anything about the original goals of the movement: ending racism and racist violence in policing.

So of course I’ll continue to report, but I want y’all to get the information that is most meaningful to you. I genuinely care about what you want to know.

So, if you were going to the Portland protests, what would you investigate? What would you be trying to learn? What would you be looking to see?

in short, what can I tell you that you aren’t getting anyplace else?

Most requested/upvoted will get the highest priority, but I’m really going to try to get people everything on the list, if it’s in my power to do so.

Some previous suggestions from Wonkette’s comments where I’ve also been posting about the protests:

  • Demographics, esp race.
  • How much of the crowd is college students? How active are they? What about the olds?
  • Any more co-opting by III% or Boogaloo Bungholes?
  • I want to know if you’re OK, if you move been hurt by the feds and/or police
  • if there’s anything we can do to help
  • Part of me just wants to know all the little anecdotes.
  • Another part of me wants to know what kinds of plans people are making to actually change things as we go forward – that includes holding the line on Trump et al invading cities like Portland, but more specifically, the issues around injustice and police brutality and ongoing systems on racism (sure, just a small basket of things, no trouble right?)
  • I would like to know how it feels to participate in the protests, to be there?

You can suggest something totally new, or use these ideas as a take-off point, or just comment to give your +1 to one or more of them without adding your own creations.

99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

Portland’s wall of mothers has gotten a large amount of attention and their motivation to protect their own and others’ children has generated high praise. However, most Portland mothers have not attended any of the demonstrations that have occurred nightly in the city since the death of George Floyd. The reasons for this seeming lack of enthusiasm appear to have a common thread.

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A few more pics from Portland

Some lunatic was running around with this on hir back:

Transsexual Perverts 4 Peace

Must have been someone itchin’ for a chance to rumble with the feds is my guess.


There’s a LOT of graffiti. I’m told by multiple people that it’s power washed and/or painted over every single day. I specifically asked if they take weekends off. They replied that the graffiti is erased Every. Single. Day.

Some of the graffiti is artistic. The most artistic, by the way, is also the most long lasting since the people that enjoy doing art enough to become talented at it have saved their better works for boarded up buildings other than the courthouse so as to avoid the daily purge. This graphic is one of those, and may have been up longer than 24 hours because it was on private property two blocks from the courthouse:

An anarchy symbol - the A in a circle - and the peace sign are given legs and arms in this picture. An attractively simple drawing, it shows Anarchy & Peace holding hands, with a heart symbol growing over those linked hands between them. Immediately below this friendly image, however, is the reminder,

Anarchy & Peace are sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I found myself particularly affected by this one. The image is attractive and friendly. It was also found in many places downtown. But then there’s the statement, “Blue lives murder.” Of course that’s unquestionably true, and the point of the protests, but it can be jarring immediately below the more upbeat image of anarchic, peaceful love. That image of anthropomorphized anarchy & peace, by the way, was not generally accompanied by the words blue lives murder when painted elsewhere in Portland.

Of all the graffiti I saw, this is the single one that stood out the most. I felt this one. I still feel it when merely looking at the photo.


The federal courthouse itself is a site of more chaotic expressions:

Chaotic graffiti on the west face of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse building. The fencing piled to the right is barricading a door that police have used to emerge from the building when ready to surprise or assault or clear protestors.

Less than 12 hours worth of graffiti.

You can see that there’s some pretty angry, hateful stuff there (“kill all cops”), some humor (“yum, bacon!”), and some much more hopeful thoughts expressed (“I love you mama, papa, babies, but no one taught me how to love you”).

Pictures from Portland

So my first night protesting in Portland in a while. Brings back memories.

Here are a couple photos, though there should be more coming later when I have a friend’s phone available to me:

An EMT has climbed into a tree in the park across from the federal courthouse, and is reclining on a branch.

An EMT in a Tree.

Turns out, being an EMT at the protests can wear you out talking to people. Sometimes you just have to get away from all the people clamoring for your attention, so….

Next up, a Star Wars reference!

An organizer and medic wears a white cross-on-red with the word “Ewoks” filling the crossbar.

I spoke to this person about their shirt. She said she was part of a group of people that was doing the networking and connecting for the protests. In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the ewoks did tons of organizing as evidenced by their log traps and whatnot, and were absolutely necessary for eliminating the shield generator to make the raid on the 2nd Death Star possible, but the humans and the ship pilots got all the credit. She said their aim was to be like the Ewoks: worry about the organizing, not about the credit.

The purpose of the shirt, then? She said it wasn’t about getting notice or credit either. The purpose of the shirt was because it allowed people to recognize them and ask them for whatever they might need. The Ewoks wouldn’t necessarily provide it, of course, but because they’re the networkers, they know exactly where to go and whom to ask to get what you need.

There were things to dislike about the protests, of course. It was chaotic, as protests tend to me, and far from homogenous. As a result there were some people who were, shall we say, not my cup of tea. But there were lots of good things as well, and I’ll provide more on both another time. I must get some sleep.

 

Fascist Policing: Portland Oregon Edition

Yet another tip from Shaun King, whom I’ve come to respect more and more. This from my home town, Portland, Oregon. Protestors there interposed themselves between an ICE detention facility and a bus delivering prisoners. They had appeared to violate a rule. They were warned. They may even have been given an explanation. Nevertheless, they persisted. So cops arrested them.

I’m actually okay with the arrest in this case. The point of civil disobedience is to force the government to act according to its laws in order to bring attention to those laws, and I’m much more comfortable with a government that obeys its own laws than one that does not, even where I strongly disagree with those laws … because at least then I have more reason to be confident that if I and others successfully advocate for a change in the law, that might be followed.

It’s what happened next that is disturbing: five of the protestors had bound themselves together to form a human chain which would be much harder to re/move than any individual person might be. Those protesters were hooded and earmuffed. Then the police applied tourniquets to their arms and explained that they were going to be using loud, dangerous tools to separate them, and the earmuffs would protect their hearing while the tourniquets protected against massive blood loss should any major injury occur to a person while the cops were separating the protesters using these dangerous tools.

No loud tools were used, however, and it’s unclear if any potentially dangerous tools were used or whether applying tourniquets in advance would be a proper protective measure if such tools had been used.

Ultimately, it seems much more likely that this was a scare tactic than anything done for the protesters’ protection as claimed by the police. The tourniquets are particularly disturbing, as harm can be done to extremities by the effects of the tourniquets themselves.

No, Portland. Just No.

BLM and the state of the USA’s constitutional protections in Utah

Portland has been my focus, because I was on the ground there (I am now away from the city for a week, but I’ll be back). But Portland isn’t the only place where Black lives don’t matter nearly enough, and it’s certainly not the only place where Black Lives Matter is getting into some good trouble:

Black Lives Matter protesters in Salt Lake City have been accused of splashing paint on a road and smashing the windows of the district attorney’s building at a July protest — and now, the charges they face carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Madalena McNeil, the woman who committed the crime of – get this – buying red paint at a store that was later sloshed on a street by a completely different person, is now facing life in prison.

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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.

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