Portland police lost a fight with antifa yesterday.
A family facing eviction for defaulting on a second mortgage had become a cause for antifa when our summer of rioting kicked off this year. Antifa use the term “afro indigenous” like an honorific when championing them; the matriarch was let go from some native rights activist group recently. The house was purchased for cash sixty-five years ago, when the neighborhood was redlined. The history since then sounds familiar, with the family refinancing a paid-off home to, purportedly, finance the criminal defense of a family member, in 2004. That loan was defaulted on and after two years of legal wrangling, a real estate developer who bought the property has been trying to claim it, despite an eviction moratorium in effect due to Covid (which the city says doesn’t apply in this long-running case).
A tent encampment has occupied a large vacant lot next to the home, and through the summer “The Red House on Mississippi” was a venue for BLM activists, antifa and hangers-on in the midst of a nicely gentrifying neighborhood–gentrification being the broader issue invoked in the squatters’ stand. Antifa returns now I suspect with some relief to gentrification and homeless sweeps–recently resumed by the city–as causes, after a riotous summer dominated by Black Lives Matter which in the end yielded 15 million dollars cut from the Portland Police Bureau’s budget, the election loss of a hardcore progressive city councilmember, re-election of Ted Wheeler and the loss of public sympathy.
Every protest is an anti-police protest of course, and has been since before even Trump came on the scene. And every protest is an opportunity–sometimes it seems the whole point–to provoke police into excess that can be fed back into the Narrate-o-Matic as more proof of the need to de-fund the police.
Yesterday Portland police came to clear out the complex and were chased off:
As soon as the cops were routed the victors set to erecting barricades, and have claimed a couple of blocks, on a beautiful early December day:
As I write this they remain, dug in and calling via social media–their accounts are rarely shut down, still–for reinforcements. It’s the city’s play now.
Yesterday Ted Wheeler tweeted his determination to close the house down. The family took out an unwise variable-rate second loan in the middle of the mortgage bubble; their champions cite this without mentioning the bubble (I guess to cast their case as unique, rather than common) as if no one’s ever heard of it, and maybe no one here has at this point.
Unverifiable claims say they owe less than they’ve raised in donations. The family insists the vacant lot next door is worth over a million and it just might be, even now.
Antifa clarify it isn’t an autonomous zone, but an eviction blockade on indigenous land:
The Red House family held a press conference today.
At the moment the occupiers await the police assault.