I am thankful

Yesterday, while USians were curled up at home feeling thankful and/or gluttonous, feminists around the world were celebrating a different day: the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Few noticed in the US, I’m sure, because of their own major holiday, but there were things to note. In the coverage of the protests by Agence France-Presse, reporters noted that many demonstrations sang A Rapist In Your Path, a song written & first performed in Santiago, Chile.

One might think that Chileans would be particularly proud that a local protest song has become a worldwide dance anthem, translated into dozens if not hundreds of languages on its way to being performed on every continent. (Except Antarctica?) And likely many are, considering how many showed up to those protests, but the government in Santiago is not among the fans: they used water cannon on the dancers. Yes, in another spectacular example of Unclear on the Concept, feminists protesting violence against women were met with violence against women.

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When it matters to locals…

Many years ago, Bob Packwood represented Oregon in the US Senate despite a veritable career of sexual assault, often carried out in the US Capitol Building. Although the Oregonian, the largest newspaper in the state and one which likes to bill itself as the paper of record for Oregon, had the story, they declined to take it to press. IIRC, one reason for that decision was that they didn’t want to influence Packwood’s reelection bid by printing the story too close to November.

The Oregonian’s slogan at the time was, “If it matters to Oregonians, it’s in the Oregonian.” Naturally enough then, when the Washington Post printed the story of Packwood’s serial predations one immediately began to see bumper stickers around Portland stating, “If it matters to Oregonians, it’s in the Washington Post.”

This phenomenon isn’t unique to the Oregonian, however. There’s an old expression, “Don’t shit where you eat.” The message of the metaphor is that you don’t want to make a mess of the place where you live, because you’ll hurt yourself in the process. Though journalism writ broadly does like to hold powerful figures to account, it doesn’t like to do so if that’s going to make a mess of the places where journalists have to make a living.

As a result, it can sometimes be easier to get good, honest analysis of how fucked up your local situation might be when reading a news source based far away. The problem here is that the honest assessment and willingness to tell the truth even if it makes a local mess is combined with a lack of access to local facts. It’s simply harder to get all the details necessary for the analysis, even if it’s easier to do the analysis honestly once the facts are in place.

But every once in a while you’ll get good writing about your local situation in a foreign source that also managed to get access to all the most important facts, and when that happens it’s often the best reporting you can read.

Today, courtesy of Wonkette.com, I found my way to reporting in The Guardian on police violence in Los Angeles. The whole piece is worth reading, but the conclusion takes one’s breath away:

Lopez knew she wanted to get in engaged in local activism after watching George Floyd’s death. In June, she wrote to the mayor of Ontario, the southern California city where she lives, and outlined her own experiences with police over the years and the ways officers mistreat Black families like hers. She called on city leaders to stand up to systemic racism: “I tell you about us so that you are convinced that we matter.”

On 10 June, a police official responded to her email, thanking her for her words, but suggesting the George Floyd tragedy was unique and did not represent officers’ behavior.

The following day, police killed her father.

California god damn.

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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Interview with a YOUNG HOT GAY

So, you don’t believe your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke that the protesters have, yes, in the past thrown fireworks and set small fires of wood or trash on concrete (where they could not spread), but that we were getting more peaceful over time, the BLM organizers were calling for more peaceful activities every day she was there, and that they’d even gone so far as to call on people to just go home after the rally and skip the courthouse protests (though they did not repeat that call last night, I can’t say why, but seemed instead to endorse staying in the park and partying over the fact that the worst of the feds were in town for only one more night)…

…and that therefore all this violence by the feds was majorly, unutterably, supremely fucking undeserved?

Well maybe you just don’t like hearing things from a woman. This is why I gots you a REAL MAN and a YOUNG HOT GAY to boot to ‘splain the same things I been telling you, only this time on camera where your Crip Dyke will not put her face.

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Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s bad.

Note: I wrote this first as a comment over on Wonkette.com. I could have written up a description of he evening from scratch. in fact, I intended to, as I like to think that I have a little skill as a writer and I don’t normally want unedited, top-of-my-head thoughts to represent me. But I think that there’s some information in how this was written. My head was spinning when I got home from the Wed July 29th protests and the story below is also a circle. Maybe it’s not my best writing (hell, the tense changes alone drive me batty rereading it) but i think it is communicative of many things, including how rattled I was, and for that reason I’m copying it over almost untouched. As for the reference in the title, it’s to Marcus Ranum’s current post on the history of bloody, violent clashes between cops/ national guards/ security acting on behalf of capitalists and workers organizing for better wages and conditions. It’s titled How to Riot, and it’s a good read.


Fuck, fuck, and triple-ultra-fuck.

Remember when i was wondering a few hours ago if the Feds, knowing that they were on their way out tomorrow, would be more laid back or if they would be extra violent?

EXTRA VIOLENT IT IS.

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Past the expiration date

Well, two bits of important news.

First, the tear gas they’ve been firing at us? Well, it turns out that a lot of it is past its expiration date.

What does that mean? We don’t know. It could be a good thing, with the most toxic chemicals breaking down into less toxic or inert chemicals. It could also be a bad thing, with toxic chemicals breaking down into even more harmful reaction products.

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What’s up with the tear gas, Feds?

ETA: Read the comments below. Although no one has questioned that I and other protestors are correct that we’re getting low doses of tear gas throughout the evening, commenters much more knowledgeable than I am about this stuff have a much better hypothesis for how this is happening: without rain in Portland, the toxic powder that is called tear gas settles on surfaces, but remains potentially active. When kicked up by activity, it can be breathed in with no more difficulty than it is during initial pyrotechnic dispersal. Because so much tear gas powder has been released into the environment and because summer is a very dry season in Portland, the normal human activities associated with walking around the area, sitting on benches, etc., are kicking up a lot of still active tear gas. This makes the ongoing, low-dose toxicity and associated persistent hellishness almost certainly unintended by the Feds. Of course, I don’t think they regret it at all either. In any case, don’t skip the comments. I am lucky enough to have better quality commenters than most.

Okay, what’s up with the tear gas, Feds?

We know you release whole canisters of the stuff, and sometimes drop 20 canisters at a time (yes, I know it’s hard to tell exactly how many, but 20 seems roughly accurate during larger offensives). We know you do it to punish people rather than to aid in crowd dispersal because, look! You drive people away for less than 5 minutes before they’re back at the fence!

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Sunday Night Protests: A wee spot of bother and a chaotic video

Much more to come later. Got home at 1;30 am and set some water heating for tea. Desperately needed to take a shower and get the tear gas off my skin.

It was a mostly safe night, though I got knocked down in a panic from a nearby flash-bang and several tear gas grenades/ canisters/ thingies going off at once. I honestly don’t know who knocked me down, but there were several people that bumped into me nearly simultaneously and one kicked one of my crutches out from under me. The other crutch went as soon as my weight was no longer directly over it and a different person bumped into the now-unstable crutch. I actually fell onto the backpack of someone in front of me and they slowed my fall (fortunately they also didn’t hit the ground). On the way down I got kneed in the left side, more or less. It was right next to the kidney right where my side meets my back. While on my knees I couldn’t gather my crutches and someone stepped on my heel. As my toes were pointed it couldn’t drive them into the ground, so I felt lucky not to break a toe. Almost immediately 3-4 generous people were helping to pick me up. I think one of them was the person who stepped on my heel, but I don’t really know for sure.

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Desperate for some Tear Gas Video? I have you covered!

Man, tonight was just lots and lots of tear gas. They did so many small gassings, many of which were down the block from me and hardly affected me at all. The more I experience tear gas from even a small distance away, the more I realize that how incredibly fucked up I was on Tuesday night was because I was clearly sucking in a super-heavy dose. On Tuesday I remember 3 tear gas canisters around me, all very close, none farther than 5 meters away for sure, and I don’t think any of them were even 3 meters, but I was in shock from the flash bang, so I’m saying less than 5 meters just to be safe. But here’s the thing, I had my eyes mostly closed after that until I was just over a block away, but when I would open them for a moment to try to plan a safe path to walk with my eyes closed, I was still in a fog of tear gas for a good 3/4 of the way through the park. I had previously reported that they had kept the tear gas close to the courthouse on Tuesday night’s 1st offensive, but tonight I was upwind of the tear gas and could remain longer and watch more closely. The tear gas from a single canister just isn’t that dense 30 feet/ 8-9 meters away from the canister. It’s a very, very light mist . except sometimes when the wind moves the cloud more or less intact. It’s still only maybe a 3 meter diameter of intense smoke, but sometimes that 3 meter bunch moves more-or-less intact on the wind instead of being stretched and thinned.

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