.. pj .. on Tue, 21 Jul 2020 09:53:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> People uniting against intense state violence in Portland...

Just wanted to share some news out of Portland, (so-called Oregon) as
the police violence has intensified in recent days, but so too has the
people's resolve.  Last week an activist was shot in the head point
blank, and that was followed by several days of reported "snatch
squads", unmarked Security Police grabbing people off the streets
suddenly.   Just yesterday, dozens of mothers have taken up direct
action solidarity positions on the frontlines around a major police
station, held them off for hours, and withstood surprisingly large
volumes of tear gas and rubber bullets.  Tonight hundreds of moms and
more than a 1000 people are out for the 54th consecutive day! ... Still
taking the streets every day, despite the crackdown on what the state
tries to label as "violent anarchists" when the emperor's naked violence
is plain for all to see. 

   Up here against the Canadian state, we have not had as high levels of
mobilization, since the Wet'suwet'en (and Tyendinaga) solidarity actions
leading up to our quarantine period.  Many communities desperately
trying to keep out tourists and Covid to especially protect the elders. 
 We are fighting for the right to keep our tent cities, have a Sacred
Fire burning at a newly established "Kennedy Trudeau" encampment with
more than a hundred tents, in the downtown eastside of Vancouver.  More
broadly, we are pressing against mounting eviction threats and for our
on-going land defence campaigns.  Much devastation has been labelled by
the province and the state as "essential infrastructure services" and is
moving forward despite the public health issues these may bring (now and
into the future) especially into isolated Indigenous communities where
large workforce camps are being hastily constructed on unceded land.

 Will share further on these struggles soon, however, for now, check out
this Portland article (a co-operation between It's Going Down and
CrimethInc) available here:
(with multiple embedded tweets that give you a sense of how this is
spreading and sustaining resistance... on twitter, can follow #pdx or
#PDXprotests or ofcourse the #BlackLivesMatter hashtags for ground

solidarity from Coast Salish territory...

.pj lilley . http://gidget.koumbit.org . t:@gidgetdigit
PGP:  1EF8 E7AF 426D FC59 BC0E 7F85 D749 5767 3895 9F9C

Jul 17, 20

Solidarity With The People In The Streets Of Portland: Against The
Federal Occupation

Filed Under: Anarchist Movement, Editorials, Featured, Repression, The

— It's Going Down

The following statement, written along with our comrades at CrimethInc.,
discusses the ongoing police and DHS actions in Portland, Oregon.

On Thursday, both Donald Trump and his white nationalist and nativist
advisor Stephen Miller announced that they will begin deploying armed
officers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the streets
of cities that have seen large-scale protests—specifically, cities
governed by Democrats. According to The Daily Mail, Trump stated he
would “be looking at Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland, and Chicago.” To
understand what the stakes are, we focus on Portland, where DHS agents
have already been brutalizing demonstrators for weeks.

At the beginning of June, when Trump tried to mobilize the military
against protesters, he discovered that they were not willing to use up
their credibility propping up his administration. Trump’s order to
attack DC protesters so he could stage a photo op and his push to invoke
the Insurrection Act only further diminished his polling numbers,
illuminating some of the fault lines within the state.

In the month since, Trump has worked out which of the armed elements of
the federal government are loyal enough to him to go to war against US
citizens on his behalf. As demonstrators pulled down statues outside the
White House and his faithful Fox News spin doctors labored overtime to
come up with new narratives justifying violence against civilians, Trump
called for Department of Homeland Security agents to deploy to places
where statues were under attack. Now he is expanding their mission,
challenging local and state authorities’ control. It is a classic Trump
move to sidestep the bad press resulting from his ruinous response to
the COVID-19 crisis and his efforts to cover up the mounting death toll
by redirecting the news cycle to his grudge match with the Democrats,
“antifa,” Black Lives Matter, and other such bugaboos. But deploying DHS
forces is also an opportunity for him to test out a new strategy,
attempting to set a new precedent for militarizing and politicizing the
suppression of protest.

If this succeeds, Trump will continue to push the envelope. At this
point, it is beside the point to compare developments in the United
States to the situation in Germany in the early 1930s; we are already
seeing the outlines of 21st-century fascism. If they remain spectators,
those who anticipate the presidential election as a referendum on
Trump’s brand of government may discover in November that the future has
already been decided. And if there are not serious consequences for this
decision, then regardless of whether Trump wins the election, we will
see DHS forces regularly deployed in this manner more and more,
intensifying the police state.

Intensifying Brutality

Starting in late May, Portland police mobilized riot troops daily to
push protesters off the street, targeting and brutalizing journalists
and turning the downtown into a shooting gallery with tear gas and “less
lethal munitions.” DHS agents first joined them in brutalizing
protesters weeks ago. According to the Williamette Weekly:

For the past two weeks, federal officers have patrolled the blocks
surrounding the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse. That’s thanks
mostly to President Donald Trump, who deployed the Department of
Homeland Security to at least three U.S. cities that had seen
significant street protests—Portland, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

In a DHS memo explaining the deployment to Portland, described by the
Portland Mercury as “an inflammatory statement riddled with inaccuracies
and spelling errors” and in some cases lacking even the most basic
punctuation, acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf repeats the phrase “violent
anarchists” 72 times, using this phrase to designate a total of several
thousand people. In many cases, he brands a group of hundreds “violent
anarchists” on account of the alleged actions of just a couple
individuals. Of course, secretary Wolf and his cronies have no way of
knowing the politics of every person involved in the protests. Rather,
their goal is to carry out classic totalitarian propaganda: in repeating
this phrase endlessly, they seek to invent an enemy to justify a
militarized takeover.

As the Portland Mercury pointed out:

Wolf did not mention that the majority of violence Portlanders have
witnessed over the past 47 days has come from the hands of the police.

While DHS officials publish fear-mongering announcements about “violent
anarchists” painting messages on the plywood covering the windows of the
Hatfield courthouse in Portland, federal agents have been set loose on
demonstrators throughout the city. On July 11, federal agents in
Portland shot 26-year-old Donavan LaBella in the head with an impact
munition, fracturing his skull. LaBella required facial reconstruction
surgery and was still in serious condition at the hospital days later.

According to a report on Oregon Public Broadcasting:

Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to
drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July
14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the
officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation
of why they are being arrested, and driving off.

We should take care not to treat the intervention of federal agents as
exceptional; it is just the latest chapter in a story involving state
repression at every level. As the Portland Mercury reports, Portland
police have been inflicting plenty of violence themselves:

On Tuesday, a PPB officer was caught on film removing a protester’s
protective face mask to pepper spray a protester in the eyes. This
morning, the public witnessed a gaggle of PPB officers chase and tackle
a person who was biking down SW 4th in downtown Portland—despite that
street being open to public use.

The Two Faces Of Fascism

For years, the Portland Police and the Department of Homeland Security
have worked with fascist and far-right organizers to coordinate their
demonstrations and facilitate their violence against anti-racist and
anti-fascist counter-protesters as well as the general public. In June
2018, DHS worked directly with Gibson to plan a rally in downtown
Portland during which fascists were permitted to attack
counter-demonstrators with impunity. In early 2019, texts between
far-right leader Joey Gibson and members of the Portland Police Bureau
came to light, revealing that the police were feeding Gibson
information, letting him know when his colleagues that were on probation
needed to lay low, and informed him in advance about anti-fascist events
and activities. Police faced no consequences for this.

No One Is Coming To Save Us

For now, Trump and his supporters are making great efforts to justify
the intervention of federal officers in Portland, to such an extent that
the governor of Oregon has accused him of simply attempting to pull “an
election stunt.” But if this becomes normalized, one day, the Department
of Homeland Security and other federal agencies will intervene all
around the country on a regular basis, without need of
justification—attacking and permanently injuring protesters, kidnapping
activists in unmarked cars, and suppressing protest by lethal force if
necessary. Trump is not just a rogue demagogue; he is testing the
balance of power on behalf of the entire ruling class, trying to figure
out just how much they can get away with.

The brutality of the DHS and the Portland police illustrates why people
rebelled in response to the murder of the George Floyd in the first
place. There is no question of the government or the police being
accountable to us. The only way we can gain leverage on them is by
becoming ungovernable, making it impossible for them to keep their
economy running at our expense. The answer is not to petition the
authorities for more stringent rules governing state and federal
intervention—a doomed venture—but to delegitimize all the forces of
oppression, from the federal to the local level, and organize together
to make it impossible for them to rule us.

While it currently seems unlikely that Trump can craft a consensus among
the ruling class to hold on to power—democratically or not—for four more
years, it is certain that the marauders who make up his administration
are in no hurry to lose their grip on the reins of the state. As the
rifts within the ruling class widen alongside the gulfs in our entire
society, some of them may be legitimately concerned that they could
share the fate of those of Trump’s closest associates who have already
been found guilty of crimes. If deploying DHS against “violent
anarchists” goes well for Trump, he will move on to his next
adversaries, and the balance of power may begin to shift in his favor.

Rather than imagining that elections and “the rule of law” will protect
us from tyranny, we must understand how representation and law are
themselves bound up in the perpetuation of the institutions via which
tyrants like Trump rule. The only reason we have elections or rights in
the first place is that our predecessors fought a revolution and then a
bloody civil war for them. The work of liberation that they began still
waits for us to finish it today.

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