After The Smoke Clears: A Quick Report Back From Portland
It’s been two weeks since Portland erupted over the news as THE city that opposes trump and his administration. The riot caused approximately one million dollars in damage, as well as costing the city’s police department $600,000. Portland has mellowed recently in preparation for the inevitable flag-burning and hell-raising of inauguration day. Currently several groups have risen to not only prepare for the impending fascist creep, but the harsh repression from the government that is in full force.
Only two people have been arrested on felony charges for the riot that occurred on November 10. One of them, Mateen Abdul Shaheed is currently facing 8 total charges, 2 misdemeanors and another 6 class c felonies. A class C felony is punishable up 5 years in prison and carries a hefty fine. At 20 years old he is facing a maximum of 30 years over broken windows and upset gentrifiers and pacifiers who have refused to come out in open support for him. The other individual arrested on felony charges is facing a single class c felony.
Several community organized self defense classes have sprouted like mushrooms after rain in Oregon. More and more gyms, more and more spaces are providing free self defense training, and for good reason. Oregon has had the largest spike of reported hate incidents since election day in the whole country. A lady was attacked by three white supremacists with a brick in a neighboring town, and recently a black teenager larnell Bruce, was killed by a European Kindred member as his girlfriend cheered him on.
Currently the 3 most active groups in Portland are all organizing around the same idea, however all 3 represent something different. The first is the newly formed Portland’s Resistance, a breakoff of Dont Shoot PDX. This is the liberal group are that raised around $60,000 to “repair our city.” Hundreds of guilt-ridden whites donated thousands of dollars to repair broken windows. A separate fundraiser created by the Portland prisoner support has only garnered a meager $3,000. Portland’s Resistance has not come out in public support for Mateen, nor reached out to his family. Portland’s Resistance is the group for individuals not ready for the reality, but looking for something to plug into, its leadership has been majorily silent unless speaking at an event.
The second group is Don’t Shoot PDX, an organization that has been around since 2014 in response to the Michael Brown shooting and the ensuing protests that happened. A young group still learning what it wants to do, from impromptu block parties, to city hall occupations, to vesting within the political system and lobbying for bills and putting political pressure on different venues of local and regional government. Currently they are organizing safe houses and other such things in response to Trump’s election. Since the Portland’s Resistance individuals broke off there has been high tension and much drama relayed on facebook in back and forth “call-outs.” Don’t Shoot PDX is the best group for those new and wanting to get involved.
Finally the 3rd group is the recently created Portland’s Assembly, which stands most belligerently for direct action to counter Trump, and the city of Portland itself. Started by seasoned individuals with a long history of political work, Portland’s Assembly aims to create a spokes council for all sorts of different groups to communicate, conspire, and act under a simple united banner. The first event is scheduled for December 17th and looks very promising.
Other groups are trying to capture the spirit and resistance of Portland, however they appear to be failing spectacularly. A new group, Direct Action Alliance, is the DNC front group formed immediately after the election. They created the first event page for inauguration day and have, so they assume, a complete monopoly on the many demonstrations that day. The founder is a member of the facebook group “Stronger Together” which is the national tie-in for the DNC, aiming to pacify and neutralize rebellion just as the CNT-FAI did in Spain. BerniePDX are also still trying to stay relevant by hosting a “direct action training.”
The most alarming news out of Portland is the repression being faced. Currently 3 of the main organizers for Portland’s Resistance, as well as a single anarchist who has been heading the security for all of the main events, have had their personal addresses and phone number publicly displayed by the local police department. In a 64 page compilation of officer reports of a student protest, the Portland police did not redact the personal and sensitive information of these four individuals, even going so far as laconically saying “deal with it” after they received many complaints.
The city is trying its best to contain, harass, and scare organizers and those they designated as “leaders.” By posting such information, the police have declared they want people to hurt, and they are willing to blatantly break the law. This is what we as anarchists face in Trump’s America.
Finally, the arrestees, Mateen Abdul Shaheed and the other individual are still in jail, both at the local jail in town. Mateen recently had a release hearing where the DA called him a dangerous criminal and other squalid things, and the judge did not grant release that day. The judge did state if a plan is in place to guarantee his return to court, he would grant release however. The other individual has so far not wanted any sort of court support or public support (hence his name being redacted). Finally, the only good news out of this repression is one individual is confirmed on the run and even though their registered address was searched they have not yet been caught. Good news.
That is currently what is going on in portland. Local organizers faced with the very real threat of death, infighting, and the sprouting of new things with hope for rebellion to come. The state has no idea for what is in store, may the fires of rebellion of urban youth inspire us all, as well as their bravery. May the fires of rebellion kindle and reignite on J20.
Free Mateen! Solidarity with Gregory, Kathryn, Julian and Armeanio! Solidarity to the free one ON THE RUN
PS. Donate to this gofundme to help support arrestees! https://www.gofundme.com/support-fund-antitrump-activists