Harvest the whirlwind
There is no shame to honorable anger: the anger that comes and stays against those who saw and would not aid; those who looked and shrugged and turned away—Dorothy Parker, of the USA during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.
I’m familiar with that honorable anger, and I’m struck by how similar Trump’s actions are to those of Franco in the 30s. The difference is that so far, Trump’s troops are not shooting to kill. But anyone who shrugs and turns away is aiding fascism.
I sat in the courtyard of a friend’s apartment building this afternoon, contemplating fallen apples as she updated me on events in Portland while I was away. Two of our photographer friends were harmed. Mike Hastie, 79, was pepper-sprayed in the face and groin and said he felt like he was on fire. Bette Lee, 70, was drenched in a chemical that blinded her for a while and caused her to vomit and gasp. She wrote a detailed article about the “nightly ritual of resistance” illustrated with her photographs. The Guardian does a good job of informing the world. If you’re not squeamish about blood and bruises, you can look at this local story about the damage done to protesters’ bodies.
The night before the Feds left downtown, they unleashed a haze of toxic gas and powder, thousands of non-lethal bullets, lashings of pepper spray such as no one had seen in all the 60-some nights before then. Now the Feds and the mercenaries have left the downtown area, but they are still in Portland. After protesters hung banners saying "Feds Out of Portland" at the Marriott Hotel, where the Feds and the mercenaries were staying, they were deployed to a variety of small hotels, presumably on-call to batter “violent anarchists” with truncheons and chemical weapons.
Who are these “violent anarchists”? They have no weapons. They commit, at worst, the crime of believing the world can be better, the crime of associating the President’s name with an expletive, the crime of spray paint on public buildings, the crime of "mutual aid" in the form of granola bars, dishes of food, bottles of water. People still fuss about “looting,” which happened once, on May 29. Get over it. The “violent anarchists” are photographers in their 70s, teenagers rebelling against Covid restrictions, 30-something moms and dads, laborers, unhoused people, and masses insisting, despite all of American history, that Black Lives Matter.
The last two nights without Feds downtown have been calmer and less violent, though thousands of people are still showing up for the nightly ritual of protest. In other parts of town, the Portland Police are as violent as ever, declaring public gatherings “riots” and rushing the crowd with guns and truncheons. It’s grim at night, though in the daylight life goes on as if everything were the new normal. The good news: filming of Donna's play has begun, see extra by Jessica Daughtery, one of the camera people.