Tuesday, November 22, 2016

WHY PORTLAND'S RESISTANCE IS OFF-TRACK

An organization calling itself Portland's Resistance has been leading protests in the streets of Portland since the election of Donald Trump as POTUS-Elect. The group is an outgrowth of the group Don't Shoot Portland combined with other political activists, which had it's origins in the Black Lives Matter movement. In my opinion, Portland's Resistance is off-track, and is doing more political harm than good.

This is a very important moment in modern U. S. History, in which we are poised to have a man in the office of President who will rebuild government in what history will certainly see as a negative direction. Many people will be harmed by the Trump administration, and U.S. democracy could be set back decades. This is a time that calls out for people to be united around basic principles of democracy, and to be organized at the community level to push back against egregious policies and directives that will certainly issue from the office of the President and the Republican-dominated Congress.

Portland's Resistance, originally conceived, I think, as a response to the Trump election, has instead gone to battle with the City of Portland. They have organized demonstrations that they have, in some ways, and to their credit, tried to keep peaceful. Some of these almost daily demonstrations have attracted known anarchists and provocateurs who are intent on vandalism and disruption. However, the organizers also seem to think that closing streets, bridges and freeways is an effective strategy. The resulting "peaceful" protests encourage people to disobey laws and police orders, and has resulted in more than 100 arrests. These disruptions of traffic are more than an "inconvenience" to Portlanders, as the organization and it's sympathizers claim. These actions are disruptions that have negative effects on people's lives, and do not garner support from those whose lives are disrupted. (And before you challenge me on this, dear readers, by disruptions I'm talking about people who are kept from getting to work on time, being on-time to pick up their children, getting to critical jobs at hospitals and nursing homes, and etc.)

How does closing down a street, bridge or freeway have any effect on the ascendency of the Trump administration? How do these actions bring our community together? Why are these actions positive in any way?

And now Portland's Resistance has shifted it's focus and declared the Mayor, the Police Bureau and even the City Council as the enemy!

The fascists are loving this. The actions of Portland's Resistance and similar groups are the wedges that keep progressive people apart, instead of uniting us. As an example, the Portland mayor announced a city-sponsored gathering of peace for today that was widely announced and supported by many groups and organizations in our city. It was announced at a huge community gathering of Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people a couple of nights ago, and hundreds, if not thousands of people pledged to attend. This morning, however, the Mayor pulled the plug on the peace gathering because Portland's Resistance called for a counter-demonstration against the gathering, on the basis of their claim of police brutality and lies from the Office of the Mayor in regards to the Portland's Resistance unruly demonstrations (three of the group's leaders were arrested yesterday during a demonstration).

I have posted previously about the trend of disrupting public meetings and gatherings in Portland. We are on the cusp of losing opportunities for police reform and other positive changes as a direct result of the disruptions to civic discourse by small bands of disrupters and provocateurs. This is not only disheartening, it is a clear sign that, unless we can figure out how to come together as a community around larger issues, we are doomed to suffer whatever the Trumpsters dish out.

I admire the political convictions of the Portland's Resistance leaders, and I applaud all people who see the need and take positive political action in this strange time. But goals and strategies need to be clearly developed in order to unite rather than fragment the majority of people in this country. We lost this election to extremists for a variety of reasons. A major reason is our fragmentation, our single-issue focus, our quickness to jump on political bandwagons without careful scrutiny.

Folks, we're in for a storm of political backwardness in this country. We need to switch into a build mode, not a destroy mode, and do it quickly.

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