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Occupy Portland | Occupied Stories

Tag Archive | "Occupy Portland"

M1: A First Hand Account of the Heinous Crime of Jaywalking

Editors note: This story was orginally published in The Portland Occupier. 


Portland, OR – During the main May Day march, leaflets were being handed out calling for a Dance Dance Revolution – a roaming dance party that was to begin in the South Park Blocks. I arrived a little late to find about 100 protesters wrapping up the day’s activities with a celebratory dance party in Pioneer Square. The Bike Swarm had brought out the disco trike and was blasting dance music. We reveled in each other’s company, in song, dance and the spirit of revolution. Forming a conga line, we began snaking toward the justice center in order to bring some cheer to our comrades that had been beaten and arrested for the *gasp* inconceivable crime of jaywalking.

We crossed the street and I got about halfway down the block, when I turned around to see a gang of cops on bikes rounding the corner. They came pummeling into the crowd on the street. Cops and protesters went flying as they collided. One cop even flipped over another as they raged down the street and into the crowd. With fists-a-swinging, it’s like the police had taken our technique of bike swarming and used it against us in a cruel way. Following the flying attack pigs, there came the pigs on horses. The horses got up onto the sidewalk in an incomprehensible act of restraining protesters…onto the sidewalks…where they were already standing. Immediately, one of the horses emptied its bowels in fear onto the sidewalk. The horses, if asked what they thought of the situation, probably would have responded with “Why the hell are we being used as tools for evil?” That sentiment could probably be extended to the bicycles, if bicycles were sentient beings.

The cops dove into the crowd, grabbing protesters’ shirts, pants, legs, arms – whatever they could get their greasy paws on. Comrades were crushed by the gross weight of these beasts (and I’m not talking about horses). Because standing by and watching is how we got ourselves into this (much larger political mess), many reacted like they always do – with direct action! We grabbed our friends as they were tackled and pulled them back into safety and out of the grips of the Portland Industrial Police Complex. Based on the voraciousness of the attack, we wondered if there was some sort of dissent-crushing quota these pigs were trying to meet. We grabbed as many as we could, reassembled, and headed forward to the Jailhouse. The Disco Trike turned back. We couldn’t afford another $850 incident.

Songs and chants filled the air as we headed to the home sweet home of Chapman Park in order to let our friends inside know they were not alone. We lined ourselves up and down the sidewalk and faced off more bicycle cops, as well as a new battalion of black storm troopers. In times of stress, I sing to myself the imperial march from Star Wars. It seems to lighten the mood. After all, we are the resistance.

Choruses of “Solidarity Forever” were met with a light-flicking acknowledgement by those locked inside. Our megaphones carried the tunes of friendship up to the rafters. Echos bounced off the inJustice Center and probably rattled around freely in the skulls of the riot cops. I imagine there must be plenty of space in those heads of theirs – it’s doubtful that orders take up that much room. After each song, a choir of wolves would begin howling for the freedom of the members of their pack. Lights flickered in return. At one point, I got the chance to share my song with the Portland Police. It’s called “Cascadia, the Free“, and as I sang out to the riot cops, I hoped beyond hope that at least one line would penetrate their cold, black hearts and light a little fire of resistance.

-Little Bear-

Check out all our May Day coverage here. 

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About Last Night’s “Reoccupation” of Chapman Square

PORTLAND, OR–If you were watching at least one or two news stations last night, and if you’ve read the Oregonian‘s website this morning, you might have heard about an aborted attempt to “reoccupy” Chapman Square—the heart of last fall’s Occupy Portland encampment.

I was out there, too, showing up a little before 11 and staying until well-after the cops cleared the park’s sidewalks (no one messed with the still-tender, still-fenced-off replanted grass). And it was a strange affair. (And the Oregonian story, relying on a morning report from a police spokesman, got a few details wrong, mostly in timing.)

The occupation was impromptu, led by one occupier, Remi, who put the call out on social media for reinforcements in hopes of making a stand on First Amendment issues. He brought a sign, his molecular biology textbook, and a backpack. The idea was interesting: Occupy and break park curfew hours without camping—a protest, not a party, etc. Whether and how to reoccupy isn’t yet a clearcut issue for Occupy.

Editor’s Note: This story is excerpted from the Portland Mercury; you may continue reading here.

-Denis C. Theriault-

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How Rose Found Her Roar

Editor’s Note: A version of this story originally appeared at the Portland Occupier.

Today it was my privilege to sit down with Rose and Pam Hogeweide at Anna Bananas in North Portland to discuss Rose’s arrest on the morning of Occupy Portland’s eviction. They are a dynamic and strong mother and daughter that I first met after seeing proud mother Pam’s Twitter posts announcing Rose’s first court date on December 13. They have been involved in Occupy Portland actions since October 6 and recently celebrated Rose’s 18th birthday in very Portland-like fashion with a tattoo that matches her mother’s.

I briefly visited with the family prior to court and we’ve kept in touch in social media circles. As was the case in many Occupy related arrests, Rose’s charges were dropped. By her account, this left Rose feeling very discouraged and ultimately dismissed, in the same way that she felt the entire Occupy movement was dismissed and disregarded. In the next 90 days, Rose actively participated in several actions, such as Occupy The Ports, with the full support of her family. Still feeling no sense of closure about the initial arrest, they decided that they needed to take further action and filed a complaint with the City of Portland. As a result of this complaint, earlier today [April 15, 2012] Rose participated in mediation with the officers who arrested her . She met with the pair of officers she was handed to after being pulled from the crowd in the following video around the 6:44-8:04 mark.

One of the most important questions Rose wanted answered was: why? Why her? She was 17, smaller than the protesters surrounding her, wearing a knitted hat in the shape of a lion, and as you can see from the video, was presenting no threat. Rose’s question initiated a tactical discussion in which she learned that she was arrested because she was in the “bubble”–the area defined by the supervisor standing behind the line of riot police. Anyone located in the bubble was subject to arrest, having supposedly been notified by the infamous “Ice Cream Truck” bearing the sound apparatus calling out a repeated warning to disperse. Rose stated she doesn’t remember hearing the dispersal warning and was suddenly being pushed forward right in the center of the line of scrimmage, in what was reported by officers as a somewhat tense situation. The police also told her that someone had thrown a water bottle or some small item, and that that was what began the series of arrests.

Simply put, Rose was arrested because she was there. She was detained for a short time, and asked a very reasonable question as she was being processed. She asked if she would still be able to attend college and one of the officers stated “this is Portland, this will help you get into college!” She was also told that she was “the nicest Occupier” they had ever arrested.

On that note, we discussed how her view of the political landscape has changed. She stated that prior to Occupy Portland, she wanted to go to college elsewhere, perhaps the east coast. She really had no thought or involvement in local or national politics. Pam stated that Occupy has caused a moment of enlightenment and a growth process in Rose and it is evident that she both supports and loves this awakening in her daughter. It is apparent to me that Rose began to Occupy as a child, and has emerged a more confident, self possessed and empowered young lady with a very bright future.

Through the past months, as Occupy has grown and progressed, Rose has learned that there is a method by which to express her feelings, and that there are solutions to the problems we all face. It has turned her into somewhat of a celebrity in her school, especially with her political science teacher, who looks to her for an opinion whenever Occupy is mentioned. She has gained a fierce sense of community pride and continues to demonstrate a civic consciousness that makes her mother’s eyes light up. Most importantly, she has found her voice and a sense of empowerment that will serve her well as she heads to Portland State University, to perhaps study political science.

-Angella Davis-

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Diane Emerson: Why I Occupy

Editor’s Note: A version of this story originally appeared at the Portland Occupier.

Seeking love and affection any way I could, I found myself pregnant at 15. Knowing I did not have the parenting skills necessary to raise a child, I gave her up for adoption. Then I went on a drive to prove to the world that I was a good human being. With no help from my family, I got myself through college, and, eventually, with the help of my husband, graduated with an MBA. My goal: to be vice president of a Fortune 500 company. Why? This was the ultimate measure of success for a woman in this country. I worked hard, stuffed my feelings far down into my soul, and started climbing the corporate ladder.

As I climbed, I noticed that the difference in pay between myself and the people reporting to me got bigger and bigger. This made no sense to me. These people were working just as hard as me, and had specialized skills I didn’t have. I couldn’t even DO some of their jobs! At one point I asked the human resources people if I could give some of my pay to my team. That suggestion was met with disbelief, and the response was that the HR department was working to increase the disparity, in order to provide people a greater incentive for for working their way up. I kept silent.

Eventually I reached the point where the VPs started inviting me to their homes on the weekends. I knew what that meant. They were seeing if I would fit into the tight social circle which exists at that level. I talked antiques and gardening with the wives, and golfing and global economics with their corporate husbands. I listened to them discuss their homes in Florida, their fishing and golfing trips, their travels to Europe and the Caribbean.

It became clear to me that they only socialized with others at their level within the corporation – tightly held in their carefully constructed bubble of safety and ignorance. I realized that if I actually reached my long-held and hard-fought goal, these people would be “my friends”, my social circle. It sickened me. I realized that if I actually reached my goal, I would be desperately unhappy, and would have to muzzle my voice and my life 24/7. I saw that the huge salaries were part of an ego game, to which everything was sacrificed. Nothing else mattered. I toyed with the idea of going along with the game, and changing the corporation from within. But I would have been alone in my efforts, and it would have been overwhelming.

So I quit. I quit the company, and ended up quitting my 20-year marriage and my country, and I moved to New Zealand to start a new life. I became an independent business consultant and focused on helping New Zealand entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. Then 5 years ago, I moved into the gift economy – giving my time and skills to individuals and small nonprofits around the world who were dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. I had no home, no car, and no worries. A year spent volunteering for people with disabilities in Kashmir, the most militarized place on earth, was the beginning of my activism.

Then, while volunteering for the Catholic Worker movement here in the US, Occupy was born. Now here was a cause that could handle everything I had to offer, and more. I had a plane ticket to take me back to Geneva in March 2012. I cancelled it. There is nowhere else on earth I can do the most good to help the world than right here in the U.S., in the heart of the beast. But this time I am not alone. I am surrounded with like-hearted people. Together, we will create the world we dream of. A world of acceptance, shared values, integrity, transparency, meaning, affection, love, and community. Everything I sought after since childhood is wrapped up in this package called Occupy.

-Diane Emerson-

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Reverend Billy Discovers a New Variation of The People’s Mic

PORTLAND, OR – Last night I was speaking at Occupy Portland, and an inebriated individual was standing next to me suddenly, preaching a duet with me. I had to fight through my defensiveness. Finally I gave him the mic and he commenced a peoples’ history of the song “Amazing Grace” and then began to sing it, but couldn’t remember the words. People from the audience one by one walked up and each sang a phrase until the great song was completed… “was blind but now I see.” And we all whooped – it felt like a poignant variation on the peoples’ microphone.

-Reverend Billy-

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