Siege of Portland June 26

Daytime protests in Portland have waned to the point there was no presence at the Justice Center today. The nightly protests persist with smaller but more determined crowds; they too were easing this week until last night, when antifa launched two separate attacks, assailing a precinct in a gentrifying neighborhood on MLK Blvd as well as the routine harassment of the Justice Center downtown.

It represented an escalation after a week of de-escalation, and the attack on MLK may have been the first strategic mistake for antifa:

As workers used power-washers to rid the outer walls at Portland’s North Precinct of vulgar and derogatory graffiti tags against police, members of Portland’s Black community stood with the city’s police chief outside the building Friday to decry the vandalism, barricading of precinct doors and setting of a nearby fire the night before.  

Chief Chuck Lovell called the actions “not only reprehensible, but they’re evil, ‘’ emphasizing that people were inside the precinct when vandals blocked side doors by nailing wooden beams across them, and then pushed a dumpster, from which flames were shooting out, along the west side of the building. “It needs to stop, and it needs to stop today,‘’  

Lovell said. Other Black leaders in the community called the criminal activity the work of “terrorists,‘’ “delinquents,‘’ and the “act of a coward.‘’ They blasted those responsible for undermining the Black Lives Movement and causing damage to Black-owned businesses in an area where the Black community has struggled to maintain its historical hold.  

Mayor Ted Wheeler called the destruction “a horrible, horrendous miscalculation.‘’

The mayor’s use of the word “miscaluation”, sounding more like someone in a strategy session with, than a mayor addressing the public about the actions of antifa I think is revealing.

Nightly the Justice Center is under similar assault and no one at City Hall offers even a tepid defense of the police. Instead they congratulate the rioters on their wokeness and apologize for not having looted the police budget sooner to fund some of the same people organizing the Mostly Peaceful Protests–from bent knee.

We’re a month into the siege and it’s the leading progressive on the City Council who’s put the brakes on the giddy rush to defund the police to the tune of 50 million–probably not out of civic good sense but because progressives find themselves so far ahead of previously realistic expectations and are suddenly in the position of potentially inheriting the police department. With no opposition in sight on the horizon, why hurry now to slash a budget you could inherit?

They’ve achieved the remarkable goals of being rid of the city’s gang/gun unit, transit patrols and school cops–all deemed racist because of their tendency to oppress gang bangers, fare jumpers and school bullies. The state has convened a session to address the crisis and things like qualified immunity for cops are being hauled out like unfortunate motorists who’ve wandered into a Mostly Peaceful Protest.

Now that the capitulation seems to have reached the point of diminishing returns, the siege has eased broadly, leaving the city alone during the day and convening every night at the Justice Center. Yesterday City Hall removed its concrete block and chain link fortifications at the same time the Justice Center was redoubling theirs.

So Wheeler’s use of the word “miscalculation” would be giving away the game if anyone was paying attention. 
He speaks as if he’s got some sort of agreement with the rioters (something for all the capitulation with no sign of slowing), that they would confine their activities to harassing the jail

Wheeler may also feel emboldened now in his struggle with antifa, suddenly vulnerable for having stepped on black toes. Some earnest young antifa leader right now is banging his head trying to keep up with the rules.

“You attacked our community,‘’ said Nike Greene, director of the city’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention. “We will never stand for that.‘’ Late Thursday night, dumpsters from businesses along Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard were moved to the intersection with Killingsworth Street, blocking traffic. A fire was set inside one and the dumpster was pushed up to the west side of the police precinct. Graffiti was left on businesses along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, north of the precinct, and windows of the Top To Bottom clothing store were broken and merchandise stolen.

Police Deputy Chief Chris Davis said officers used tear gas after they had trouble clearing people from the area once flames were shooting out of the dumpster. They were working to allow firefighters to get in to put out the blaze, he said. Police are under a court order restricting tear gas use to only life-threatening situations….There were officers inside the precinct, as well as four people who were in custody at the time, Davis said.

I watched this on a livestream last night and the crowd was overwhelmingly white antifa. Whi-tifa.

Portland native and ex-gang member Lionel Irving Jr., who started a nonprofit called Men Building Men, said he came out to Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Killingsworth Street late Thursday into early Friday to try to talk to those intent on causing damage.

He estimated that 30 to 40 people, who were largely white, were involved in the vandalism out of a crowd of about 200 people. “I challenge the brothers in this community to come out to these protests. You’ve got to come up here and be on the front line. Don’t allow them to speak for us,‘’ Irving urged. “Don’t let them represent you. Don’t let them tear our neighborhood down.‘’

“You can’t oppress the oppressor. That will never work,‘’ he said

Oh I don’t know about that. The designated oppressor is looking pretty oppressed.

In all the chaos and excitement of the past month black women forgot why they march–to be considered more attractive. So just when we thought we had a moment to breathe (cue breaking down in tears, “he just wanted to breathe, man…”; sorry) here come the formidably intersectional faction of black female sex workers to the Estates Venereal to demand–but of course, it was inevitable!–that your erection check its white privilege:

 “No justice, no booty!” was one of the rallying cries during a PDX Stripper Strike protest on Wednesday afternoon. About 100 people gathered for the event…Cat Hollis, lead coordinator with the Haymarket Pole Collective, which works to implement anti-discrimination policies in the adult industry, delivered letters of demands to both clubs. The protesters want all Portland clubs to provide cultural sensitivity training for employees and offer more equitable scheduling for dancers of color.

Strip clubs are to stop discriminating on the basis of sexual attractiveness.

Brianna Cistrunk, a former dancer, founded the Jezebel Project two months ago to “give a platform to Black strippers and entertainers that find themselves either discriminated against or without a voice.”  

…“If we do get hired, we’re usually kept on day shifts or shifts during the week which historically are not the more lucrative shifts.”

The legendarily jarring afternoon shift, yes. Can’t unsee it, as they say.
But there’s hope:

“Public accommodations include places that do business with the public,” wrote Jenny Smith, spokesperson with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries. “In your example, if a club was refusing to audition or book dancers of color because of their race or national origin, that would be illegal discrimination.”

To paraphrase the man, imagine a black stripper twerking in a white face forever.

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