Reportback from the “End the Camping Ban” Rally and March

First, A quick run-down in the “tactical” developments within Occupy. Certainly the post – eviction period of Occupy changed the political climate towards a more radical perception of the Police as fundamentally agents against the Working Class in the interests of the so called “1%”. The Shutdown of the Ports and a few Solidarity marches with Oakland organized by the “Hella 503 Collective” – an amalgamation of anti – capitalist, anti – authoritarian and just plain Occupy activists dedicated to an escalation of tactics – changed the game as far as tactics go towards more radical messaging and defense in street demos. At previous mass marches by Occupy Portland, particularly N.17 and a Solidarity march with Tahrir Square there had been heavy accounts of Police Brutality preying on amateur or weak protesters.  So when the F. 29 national call to action organized by the “Portland Action Lab” – an organizing arm of Occupy Portland – came around, the Hella 503 collective was enlisted to provide defense for the march. We built reinforced banners to prevent “snatch and grabs” and crash through police lines and well, it worked. About 30 people blocked up at the front of the March caring banners rolled through police lines and defended protesters.

Here is a Picture from F. 29

Here is from March 25th:

Occupy for the most part took a little break after F.29. Returning to the streets on March 25th though it came ready with its own reinforced banners, militant tactics and folks blocked up chanting things the Hella 503 collective injected into the crowd at previous demos, but most intensely at the F.29 march – “The System has DIED – HELLA HELLA OCCUPY”, “A-ANTI-ANTI CAPITALISTA”, “I Declare a Class War, ORGANIZE AND LIBERATE” “We are THE WORKING CLASS”. With only about 100 -200 folks it held its ground marching around downtown against Police calls to move to the sidewalk. The crowd of Occupiers who I’d seen only a few weeks previously so passionately protesting Anarchist Cooption and Militant Street tactics were now they themselves sympathetic, if not ardent participants. But there were those nostalgic elements of Occupy that don’t always fit in with the Anarchist praxis that were successful and shouldn’t be overlooked: older folks with their kids whom coordinated the march from the sidewalk, aesthetically welcoming signs to those with bourgeois mentalities and creative puppets or costumes which make the pigs think twice before breaking a march and 99% – 1% rhetoric.

I don’t think it’s useful to argue against Occupiers. They are stubbornly Liberal until we show by example, how we ought to March and act. Until they feel Police oppression, they won’t become radical. Until they see firsthand the corruption of elected representatives they won’t become radical. But I suspect they are coming around and this action is testament to the positive role radicals can play in escalating tactics and ideology within the movement.

Good Job Occupy, let us be free May 1st.

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4 Responses to Reportback from the “End the Camping Ban” Rally and March

  1. Crash says:

    Yes, they were inspired by that F29 front line of reinforced banners. They still need training and practice on how to use them however. Fortunately, the cops left them alone.

    By the way, this was a march for and by unhoused people, and it was titled “End the Camping Ban”. A mere detail perhaps. But the characteristics of this march were also a result that the organizers and most participants were on the lumpen side of the Occupy spectrum. Despite the relative militancy and small turnout, the police surprisingly left the march alone. The march ended up back in Terry Schrunk federal Plaza where the GA was held for the first time since last autumn. This was followed by a sleep-over on the sidewalks in front of city hall.

  2. Hart Noecker says:

    I’ve been to big marches with tame energy, and I’ve been to small marches with too much hostility. Today was by no means a large march, but the passion and drive was incredible. With no police to block streets it was up to us to safely and peacefully cork intersections, and we took care to make sure we disrupted motor traffic as little as possible. It was amazing to watch and take part in such a prime example of how the 99% can take the streets and maintain order while still making a statement that needs to be made about the immorality and inequity of this nation we live in. Props to everyone involved today, Occupy Portland did it better!

  3. Pingback: Reportback from the “End the Camping Ban” Rally and March | GREY COAST ANARCHIST NEWS

  4. Pingback: Occupy Portland’s “End the Camping Ban” March

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