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U.S. | Police State and Prisons

Police murder in Portland, anarchists respond with vengeance
by Solidarity
Tuesday Mar 23rd, 2010 12:16 PM
"We don't give a fuck, the time is now."
When word spread that the Portland police had just shot a man to death at the Hoyt Arboretum, we knew we had to make a choice: to allow ourselves to be human, or to participate in our own murders, to hide away in sleep and the unfolding of a routine that ends, for all of us, in death. It's a choice that has been made for us so many times before: by the media, by community leaders, professional activists, bosses, teachers, parents, friends who do not push us to confront this fear with them. We are killing ourselves with so much swallowed rage.

Tonight, we would not go to sleep with this sour feeling in our stomachs. Tonight, we gave a name to what we feel: rage. This is how it started.
[This is what it means to be human. Refreshing change.]

Within hours of word getting out, local anarchists met in a park, and decided we had to march on the police station. Not the central precinct: that neighborhood would be dead at this hour. We wanted to shout at the police, but also to find our neighbors, to talk to the other folks in our community, to let them know what happened and call them down into the streets with us. To not let them find out about this murder in the sanitized commentary of the glowing screen but to meet them and cry out to them, the rage and sadness plain in our faces: we cannot live with what has happened. We cannot allow this to go on.

The march left the park and headed through a residential neighborhood, interrupting the dead Monday night silence of consumer-workers recovering from another day ripped from their grasp. Chanting at the top of our lungs, we encountered our own anger, our own sense of power. "And now one slogan to unite us all: cops, pigs, murderers."

Many expected this march to be only symbolic. Few were prepared for anything more. But we encountered a collective force that amplifies the individual rather than smothering each one of us in the mass. The two who took the initiative to drag a dumpster into the street changed the history of this city. This small sign of sabotage spread. We all made it our own.

When the first little garbage containers were brought into the road, a couple people put them back on the sidewalk, trying to clean up the march, to make it respectable. They were confronted, shouted at. "This doesn't send a message," they said. "You can do that if you want, but go somewhere else," they said. But we have nowhere to go, except for the spaces we violently reclaim. And our message is unmistakable: we are angry, and we are getting out of hand. People continued to be uncontrollable, and soon those who had appointed themselves the censors of our struggle saw that it was they who were in the wrong place. No one attempted to control their participation. They were not allowed to control ours.

Once we got on Burnside Avenue, dumpsters were being turned over every hundred feet, blocking both directions. Folks had scavenged rocks and bottles and sticks and drums. One person had had the foresight to bring a can of spraypaint, also changing the history of our moment. We were no longer a protest. We were vengeance.

When the crowd passed the first bank, a few individuals erupted into action, while others watched their backs. The ATM got smashed. A window got smashed. Rocks and bottles were thrown. Sirens began ringing out behind us. A Starbucks appeared one block ahead. A race: could we get there before the pigs arrived? We won. More windows broke.

When the police tried to get us on to the sidewalk, they were shocked by the intensity of rage they faced. "Fuck the police!" "Murderers!" Their lights and sirens had no effect. Someone shoved a dumpster into the lead cop car. They were temporarily speechless.

Only when the cops outnumbered the people did they try again, with some pepper spray and brute force finally succeeding to push us onto the sidewalk. But we were smart. We knew we couldn't win a fight just then, and every chance we got we took the street again. We didn't surrender: they had to work for it. And never did we surrender our power over the mood of the night. Louder than their sirens were our ceaseless screams, our chants, focusing our range and wiping the arrogant smiles off the pigs' faces. They were visibly upset by the level of hatred they encountered.

We got to the police station and yelled at the line of police waiting there for us, yelled at the media parasites standing by with their cameras, calling out their complicity in police violence and racism. Most of us didn't worry about sending the proper message or appearing respectable. We expressed our rage and the power of our analysis, our ability and willingness to take initiative and change this world.

The first TV news clips, ironically, were the best we could have hoped for, but we do not put our hope in the media. We will communicate our critique of the police to the rest of the city with our protests, our fliers, our bodies, our communiqués. With graffiti and smashed windows.

It should also be noted that the police have not yet released the race of the person killed. We don't know yet which community is "most affected" by this murder. We respond because police violence affects all of us, because we want to show solidarity every time the State executes someone. We know that racism is a critical feature of control in this society, and we also believe we must find ways to act responsibly as allies to communities that are not our own. But solidarity must be critical, and it can only be practiced by those who are struggling for their own freedom. It is clear from tonight's actions that we fight against police violence because we feel rage and sadness whenever they kill someone.

We fight in solidarity with everyone else who fights back. And by fighting, we are remembering what it is like to be human.

In these moments when we surprise ourselves, we catch little glimpses of the world we fight for. Running down the streets, stooping to pick up a rock, we realize that in our hand we have nothing less than a building block of the future commune.

Our commune is the rage that spreads across the city, setting little fires of vengeance in the night. Our commune is the determination that comes back to the public eye the next day, meeting in the open, not letting the rest of society forget this murder, not letting our neighbors numb themselves with routine. Our commune rattles the bars of our cages, and this noise is our warcry: "out into the streets."

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Leave the '' Barristas '' out of it
Tuesday Mar 23rd, 2010 4:41 PM
Do you Black Blocers know who works at Starbucks ? Mainly 20 something folks (even a few Anarchists ) trying to survive on low pay with work schedules that change from week to week , both in terms of number of hours worked and when .
I hope the store was closed when you hit it. Otherwise both workers forced to put up with the above exploiative shit and customers (Yes Customers . Contary to myth most aren't yuppies but many are working class people and students ) would have to duck flying glass and the workers would have to clean up your mess.
I'm second to none in fighting against Police Brutality and Murder . But two questions : One what was the circumstances of this shooting ? You didn't say . If it was some thug threatening to shoot his girl friend or something --
Two What the hell does a SB hav eto do with it anyway ?
by Roknich
( roknich (at) electromagnet.us ) Tuesday Mar 23rd, 2010 10:55 PM
From the objective report I read at the "Oregonian", this incident didn't have to happen:
it happened thanks to the aggressive decision on the part of Officer Jason Waters:
"
Breaking News »
Second fatal Portland police shooting leads to renewed questioning of why it takes so long to interview the officer involved
By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian
March 23, 2010, 7:15PM
Sizertime.jpgTorsten KjellstrandPolice Chief Rosie Sizer listens to Detective Mary Wheat describe the fatal police shooting that occurred 20 hours before in the Hoyt Arboretum. The second Portland police fatal shooting in two months led to renewed questions Tuesday about the time it takes detectives to interview officers involved, and criticism of the time that passed before the Portland Police Bureau answered basic questions about the incident.

Officer Jason Walters responded on his own to a call about a drunken transient harassing people at Washington Park's Hoyt Arboretum Monday afternoon and, three minutes later, shot the man four times. Police say the man emerged from a restroom with blood on his face and advanced toward the officer with a razor-type blade. "

Sounds to me like a poor homeless guy found a straight edge razor and public bathroom and then cut himself while shaving. Whether he was "drunk" and the time is hard to discern from this report.

It's stressful for someone who has to sleep in the street to even find a razor, much less shave.
Appearing drunk could be a consequence of no sleep.

KILL THE HOMELESS, that is the reason why we booted them to the curb so we could have someone like Officer Jason Waters finish them off.

You might want to read "A Modest Proposal" or my version thereof:

"In 1729, Jonathan Swift made a "Modest Proposal" for relieving the suffering of the poor. Recent statistics indicate a similar trend:

A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

"The stark fact is, some people are murdered in Britain today because they are poor," said foundation director Richard Garside..."

This is what it's like:
http://electromagnet.us/dogspot//modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=375
by Hands Off Starbucks workers
Wednesday Mar 24th, 2010 9:37 AM
I appreciate the post from Roknich . It does sound like , at best, a grey situation that probably could have easily been handled without shooting the Homeless man .
But even so it doesn't sound like a clear cut case of Police murder ie Oscar Grant or Amadou Diallo .
My point is that while Yes our main enemy is the Criminals in the Suites there are a lot of truly anti-social street criminals out there . I think we hurt our credialbilty if we in a knee jerk way denouce any and all Police actions.
That doesn't mean that we tacitly accept draconian measures like '' Three strikes '' or the Death penality . But if some wacko threatens to kill his two year old (after maybe he shot his wife ) My and most people's only concern is that the Little kid is unhurt . If the guy is killed in the process let's just say i won't be attending his memorial .
But i concede that even situations like that can be murky because cops lie so damm much .
I would like to see a serious discussion about the ''Criminal justice''and Crime .
That's long overdue on the left.
PS But once again even if the Portland shooting was as cold blooded as what happened to Oscar Grant in Oakland it still makes no sense to heave bricks thru Starbucks (Or Peets, Tully's , Seattle's Best or any other overpriced chain ) because it's the ripped off workers that suffer not the Howard Schultz's !
by ???
Thursday Mar 25th, 2010 3:22 PM
It was closed, the march went by Starbucks at like 10:00 Pm. how do starbucks workers pay for that? It seems more likely that insurance companies do.
by deanosor
( deanosor [at] mailup.net ) Friday Mar 26th, 2010 1:47 AM
1, Of course, insurance pays for any broken windows at Stsrfucks. 2. Seattle's best is owned by Starfucks.
by g_ortutay@yahoo.com
Friday Mar 26th, 2010 7:49 AM
"The two who took the initiative to drag a dumpster into the street changed the history of this city." Umm, thats quite a stretch.
by Damage
Saturday Mar 27th, 2010 2:51 PM
This conversation about whether or not it was "okay" to smash a Starbucks window is fucking silly. "It's the workers that pay for it?" Really? I fail to see how damage done to a closed Starbucks window is going to "hurt the working class". On the other hand it sensationalizes the issue that police are fucking murderers and that if this continues we're going to fight back. Not to in any way down play the actions of those who committed the acts, because it takes a LOT of courage to get out there and put yourself on the line like that and they did a great job, but next time, if anything, there should be more damage. Just because some glass needs to get swept up the next morning and the insurance companies pay for a new one (not that I give a flying fuck about Starbucks recovering in anyway from such an action) isn't any reason not to show the 5 o that we're willing to go toe to toe with them any time they fuck with our communities. It's actions like these that will be some of the stepping stones that we will need to escalate our resistance into a more effective movement. I commend all those that took to the streets that night. Anarchos from around the country support our troops in the streets of Portland!

Life, Love and Liberation,
Damage