reposted from Rose City Counter-Info
Tonight, Feb 4, we stuck it to PPB by… yelling at them for a couple hours. And making them take their squad cars into the IJC basement parking from the street. Impressive. Why are we still doing this? Because it was effective in June of 2020? Was it even effective then or did it just feel effective?
It is 2022. Another Black man was murdered. It is outrageous. We should have millions on the streets. But we do not.
The police are not afraid of us right now. Because they know that if a person is murdered 15-100 people will go yell at their concrete tower and nothing will happen. Hell people barely tag it these days. They were afraid of us in 2020 because a precinct burnt down, federal officers were getting hit with bats and hammers and entire downtowns were being looted.
We do not have that energy right now. We need to change with our tactics. We need to reflect. If a movement does not reflect after it dies it will strangle the next movement in its crib. We need to ask ourselves what do we want to do? What do we have? What are effective ways to do what we want to do? What can we do with what we have?
What do we want to do? We want PPB to be afraid. We want OSP, MCSO, the feds, the guard and the army to be afraid of Portland. We want the people in Portland to have so much trust and mutual support for each other that when the cops try to enforce violent patriarchal ideas and property relations they get shot at. They get chased out of town and we make Portland ungovernable.
What do we have? In terms of spirit, number of people, individual and communal skills, communication between crews and collectives, and willingness to act, what do we have? Our skills and our connections are paramount. If we are not educating ourselves and building connections we will never liberate ourselves. We must nurture our skills that will collaborate with our desire for freedom. In terms of spirit it is very clear that a lot of the country is broken but angry. We are licking wounds, we are scared to act, because a lot of us are alone, or at least somewhat isolated. We found each other in 2020 and yet many people never really made strong enough connections before getting arrested, traumatized and then disappearing back to our “normal” lives. Those people will likely not read this communique, but in a better world they would. A lot of us are connected. A lot of us are knowledgeable and willing to use that knowledge for liberation. We know how to fix up cars or clothes or bodies. We know how to break shit. We know how to find each other. How can we act on this knowledge?
What is effective? This one is the thorniest one. Some people will say that standing around the IJC is effective because we bully cops and then they quit. I think yelling at concrete walls is more demoralizing to us. It also burns our bloc because we are right in front of like 20 cameras. If you want to bully cops please do. I try to do it as much as I can. But I suggest that it is more effective to yell at them away from their safe-places, their fortresses, in Starbucks parking lots or from the crosswalk as they are stuck at a red light. Some people also argue that we are a distraction by being downtown and putting their eyes on us. If the point of standing around downtown is to “be a distraction” then maybe we should… you know, actually do things to distract them? PPB is understaffed and does not have a riot squad. Yelling at their precinct will not distract them. If a distraction is measured by how many cops show up to deal with a crowd then 20 people yelling at the IJC does not distract most cops who will continue to do their desk jobs or sit in Starbucks parking lots. 20 people yelling on a sidewalk are not a risk. 20 people looting the Apple store are. 300 trying to burn a courthouse are.
But the distraction argument also ignores that we should not be offering anyone up as bait (and no one should feel or think that they are merely bait). A large group should not be bait, it should be a threat. For example last April the MSCO building in Laurelhurst was attacked at the same time that cop cars were in St Johns. But for the small group to use the big group as a distraction was not the best outcome. The best outcome was for the cars to get smashed and for the MCSO building to get burned to the ground by a large bloc.
We should work towards spontaneous simultaneous uncontrollable attacks. We should, as a maelstrom of willing hands, know that every night is an opportunity and that the cops will never know what awaits them around the corner. If someone tweets “IJC at 7pm” the cops should be afraid that there will be a crowd of 500 trying to burn the IJC down AND that not a single Starbucks window will see the sunrise.
What is effective? I do not know. But I know that we need to stop yelling at precincts. It was old in October of 2020 it is fucking ancient now. I do not feel like we honored Amir Locke tonight. I doubt anyone does. And that is why people have stopped coming out. Yelling at a concrete wall does not feel good and is ineffective. Yelling at a concrete wall and then getting the shit beat out of you with your lungs full of teargas definitely does not feel good and is definitely ineffective. People are not showing up to “IJC at 7pm” events because they know nothing good will happen. If we want to re-engage people we cannot give them the same shit that has left so many beaten and PTSDed to fuck. It feels like a joke: When confronted with an injustice liberals yell “Vote!” and Portland anarchists tweet “IJC at 7pm.”
This is the first post in what will hopefully be a conversation between Portland anarchists on what to do. Please write a response in your tweets or noblogs or yell at me on the street.