A Party in the Streets

A Commentary and Reportback on the Feb. 29 Demonstration
Autonomous Workers’ Group

You can label this as just another Liberal Occupy March that identifies only Corporate Influence on Government and not Capitalism as a broader disease on society, or you can recognize this as an interesting progression of up and coming activists towards more radical tactics and mentalities. To put F.29th in context you have to look at its significance in light of actions post N.17. While N.17 began with the arrests of some marchers in an attempted action to move protestors across a bridge, and continued throughout the rest of the day on the sidewalk and with the arrests of dozens of protestors. The Anti-NDAA marches likewise had many arrests and failed attempts at de-arrests/taking the street. The peaceful Tahir Square Celebration march saw a 15 year old hit, and a few arrests. Shermanski Park Occupation saw the highest accounts of Police Brutality – broken bones, internal injuries, black eyes, etc. The February 6th march against Police Brutality in Solidarity with Oakland saw similar acts of Police Brutality – police officers throwing protestors onto concrete and chasing others with bottles – and failed solidarity amongst protestors.

The experience of these events, alongside the Direct Action training of Occupiers we think lended to a different attitude of protestors at the F.29 demo. While radicals were enlisted to form the an anti – capitalist bloc at the front to provide defense for the march, the general attitude amongst all the marchers was that we had to keep this in the streets, and we had to make this a success. Whether marchers called themselves pacifist, radical or militant everybody played their part as we stalled police or crashed through Police Lines on multiple occasions with no arrests. Despite initial attempts on Police to push us onto the sidewalk, nobody in the march abandoned. We stood our ground and fought their tactics, each time gaining more confidence as police moral lowered. At one point, a cop in his stupid car wanted to drive into the march from his parked location and was blocked repeatedly; he got out and attempted to make an arrest of one of us in the AWG, but got scared and got back into his car and sat there. They brought four or five horses into the middle of the march to rescue him and we all held our ground. One of the banner/signs got partially consumed, yes eaten, by a horse (lol). On Multiple occasions we chanted “From Portland to Greece, FUCK THE POLICE” and “The System has died: HELLA HELLA OCCUPY” which received support from all parts of the march. On numerous occasions the liberals thanked us for keeping the front and sides of the march in a tight protective formation and on the Facebook Occupy page you could see people thanking the so called “Black Bloc” that in large part made the Demo a success.

To the radical community which doubts Occupy, while we understand, we think it is coming around. The way Anti – Capitalists and Anti – Authoritarians participate is key. The shortsightedness of Occupiers don’t seem to recognize that the same people breaking windows are the ones making their actions a success and branding them a good name in the eyes of the broader working class. F.29 did a few positive things, while short of actually challenging the Capitalist Regime it reversed the pacifistic rhetoric of Chris Hedges and his sympathizers and revitalized the idea of Militant Direct Action and Anonymity, small pieces of the “Black Bloc” tactic and thus creating a situation where activists and average people are more sympathetic to it. In their accumulated experience, we would not be surprised to see Occupiers make their own banner defense teams. It also educated the public to, well, a practically unknown capitalist agency which corrupts the so called “representative democracy” of this country; fueling contempt for existing Capitalist system amongst the working class. Lastly and most importantly, the messaging of radicals on banners and in chants were key and most likely led to a radicalization of marchers or an extended knowledge and sympathy for anti – capitalist alternatives.

It’s one thing to smash property, which is great and should not be stopped (rather extended and continued alongside education and assembly), but the radical community shouldn’t doubt or turn a blind eye to the effect we could have through utilizing the Occupy medium both in Outreach and in Education.  As our Radical forefathers and foremothers would say “Agitation, Education, and Organization”. In the wake of the spring resurgence of Anti – Capitalist and Class Struggle, this slogan becomes ever more apparent if we want to see a Social War in Portland and abroad like our brothers and sisters in Greece, Egypt, etc.

Toward a New Struggle this spring

Toward a Social Insurrection

Toward a World without Oppression

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4 Responses to A Party in the Streets

  1. Pingback: “Party in the Streets” – Autonomous Workers’ Collective | GREY COAST ANARCHIST NEWS

  2. Crash says:

    Yet another pontification about a protest that uses the word “police” umpteen times — yet never once mentions the American Legislative Exchange Council. Ironically, the purpose of this protest was to bring attention to ALEC as one of the key sites of powerful oppression, but from the usual black bloc rhetoric, one gets the impression that ALEC might actually be controlled by the police.

    The police are indeed a seriously fucked up institution, and they’re also an immediate oppressor on the streets. But it would be more strategic to say here that those hiding behind the police pulling the strings actually succeed every time a protest or action gets talked about as a police-conflict rather than as the intentional aim of that direct action. In other alternative media, the shadowy ALEC got outed like never before. Where’s your expose?

    • We did mention Alec, just not in name:

      “It also educated the public to, well, a practically unknown capitalist agency which corrupts the so called “representative democracy” of this country; fueling contempt for existing Capitalist system amongst the working class.”

      There was no point in going in depth as to what ALEC is and why we were there, as well, it was all pretty self – evident. There is no need to pat ourselves on the back for raising awareness on ALEC, that was the whole point of the protest. Rather we were intending in this piece to highlight the role radicals played, and the roles they need to play in the future

  3. Z says:

    “Rather we were intending in this piece to highlight the role radicals played, and the roles they need to play in the future”

    You did a good job.

    I, too, was surprised at the constant thanking from the Occupy organizers directed at those up front. In each Occupy event I attend I have viewed myself more as an observer than a participant, because I know what the attitude is towards someone like myself; dressed in black. There was definitely a change of attitude on F29. I heard those chants of “Fuck the police” and saw the march halt several times to wait for its red/black defenses to arrive back up front.
    This was a great development to witness and I’m hoping things look brighter and brighter on into the spring and summer. I’m waiting for the sun to shine. 🙂

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