Anarchist Reportback and Critique from Occupy Portland

author: 
anonymouse

for additional critiques, check out the puget sound anarchists site:
http://pugetsoundanarchists.org

Anarchist Reportback and Critique from Occupy Portland
Fri, 10/07/2011 - 11:09am — Anonymous
http://pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/995

We just got back from the opening march for Occupy Portland, and were even more disappointed by how liberal, reformist, and nonthreatening it was than we had expected. The website for Occupy Portland had promised that "proper actions" would be taken against "instigators" of any "illegal activity (property destruction etc.)," which we can only interpret as a threat to snitch to the cops, so we went with low expectations, but this was by all means a massive disappointment even taking into account our pessimism from the get-go.

We attended the opening march for Occupy Portland because we are some angry-ass proles who really hate capitalism. Although Occupy Wall Street (and the various off-shoot occupations) have few official defined goals or positions, there is a general opposition to "corporate greed" and "corrupt politics". As anarchists, we seek to expose and destroy the roots of these problems - as long as capitalism and the state exist, there will be greedy corporations and corrupt politicians. Capitalism and the state cannot be reformed into something kinder, gentler, or more humane, it is exploitative by nature. We wished to push the discourse at Occupy Portland in a more radical, explicitly anti-capitalist and anti-state direction. So we attended the Occupy Portland opening march in full team colors with a big banner that read "NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP (A) NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN." Hey, we do have a sense of humor.

Although Occupy Wall Street and the offshoot occupations are supposed to be leaderless movements, we found that there were most definitely leaders who managed everything, from the route to the chants to who was allowed to be at the front of the march to who was allowed up on the microphone at the rally at the end of the march. To be clear, this was a hierarchical, authoritarian event. These leaders/organizers, especially the wannabe-cops wearing blue "peacekeeper" armbands, are not our comrades in any way, shape, or form. When the march stopped at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the "peacekeepers" (whose role it was to de-escalate any conflict should it arise) chanted to the bike cops something along the lines of "Thank you cops, we love you!" It should be self-evident to anyone who doesn't have their head stuck up their ass that the police are not our allies. The police protect property over people and enact violence daily along lines of oppression. The police exist to protect and serve capital. The police uphold the very institutions that the Occupy movement is supposedly fighting. When we brought out the usual anti-cop chants ("All cops are bastards, ACAB" and "No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!") we were shouted over and told to calm down. One of the peacekeepers called out on the megaphone, "we need volunteers to block the anarchists because they're being negative and this is a positive event!" We were repeatedly told that "cops are the 99% too!", which made us very sad that so few people have any understanding of how class society functions. Cops are class traitors and the enemy. Cop-lovers who try to manage and neutralize our anger toward the forces that exploit us are the enemy. To be clear, the Peacekeepers functioned to protect the cops from our anger and to do the cops' jobs for them. The Peacekeepers attempted to physically block us from marching at the front of the crowd, and apparently found our banner so offensive that they formed a line in front of it (we're talking about mere inches in front of it) so that no one could read what it said. They told us that if we were to speak out against cops and dogmatic pacifism, then this movement is not for us and we should leave. A movement that in theory should be explicitly anti-capitalist does not serve some working-class folks who recognize the role the police play in our exploitation? Something's wrong with this picture. But that's what you get with fuzzy "99%" rhetoric instead of anything resembling an actual class analysis.

To the crowd's chants of "We are the ninety-nine percent!" we responded with "You have a shitty class analysis!" To their chants of "Show me what democracy looks like!" we responded with "This is what a police state looks like!"

Before moving to the park that they planned to occupy (err, can you really call it an occupation if you have a permit?) the crowd gathered in the park across from the Justice Center. The organizers/leaders took turns making speeches to the crowd on the PA system. One of the A-team members made it up to the steps where the organizers were speaking, managed to get on the microphone, and read this hastily-written speech:

"Egalitariansim has never existed under capitalism, and we should not be trying to restore our culture to some mythical egalitarian past that never existed. To argue that the system just needs to be fixed (as if it were ever unbroken) is to ignore the racism, sexism, and all other forms of oppression that have existed as long as the state and capitalism have. This whole fucking system is designed to exploit us. Let's kick it over!
"So-called peacekeepers are enemies of any revolutionary movement. If you try to control or de-escalate my rage you are decidedly not my comrade. Calls for nonviolence are delusional and can only come from a place of oblivious privilege. Tell me, what part of the material conditions of capitalism is nonviolent? If you think nonviolence is a feasible strategy for bringing down capitalism, check your fucking privilege.
"Fuck liberal reformism. Demand nothing, take everything!"

When we got to the part of nonviolence being ineffective and delusional, the person in charge of the microphone pulled the plug on the sound system and cut us off. Leaderless non-hierarchical movement my ass. Luckily a sympathetic by-stander offered their megaphone and we were able to finish speaking.

The person who spoke on the microphone before us said something along the lines of "this is a revolution that started in Egypt and is now sweeping the globe!" The Occupy Portland organizers conveniently forget that in Egypt, they actually fought the cops. Again and again, past movements are rewritten as nonviolent and nonconfrontational, and anyone who dares to draw clear lines in the sand with the cops on the other side is silenced and branded divisive and a threat to the movement.

We heard that the Mayor Sam fucking Adams attended the march. Let's be clear here: politicians are the enemy. Your "99%" category is meaningless and useless if it includes politicians and cops. Fuck your liberal reformism, fuck your dogmatic nonviolence, fuck your cops-in-training Peacekeepers, fuck your boring "occupation" (PS: it's not an occupation if you have a permit and you leave when the cops ask you to). We still stand by our original demands: Taquitos (vegan), burritos (not vegan),Rihanna, negation, total destroy, the head of every cop on a stick, same with rapists, Justin Timberlake n00ds, mo garbagio, srsly taquitos, Derrick Jensen’s badger sweaters (12), Urban Scout, loljk Urban Scout is a joke, that fancy-ass dark chocolate with the almonds and sea salt, and dank bud.