Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY)---February 1---Resistance Road Trip To Salem---We're hearing that folks will be arriving here for a rally at the State Capitol at 11:00 AM---Please show up!

Reflections On The Anti-Trump, No-Ban Rally In Portland Yesterday

I attended yesterday’s anti-Trump, no-ban rally in Portland with a strong local activist who is not part of our group. We both came away feeling energized by the rally and talking about what is needed here in Salem. This reflection on the rally reflects my thinking only.

With the airport protests, the street protests and the rallies going on we have options about how to plug in to the movement---a movement which is increasingly self-describing as a “resistance”---and it is good to be intentional about this. These events bring many people into the streets for the first time, and people new to politics and new to protests should be welcomed in, helped to feel safe and encouraged to keep coming back. The language of the left and protesting will not make immediate sense to people new to the movement. Soon enough they will take up complicated issues involving the Democrats or labor or strategy and tactics and political lines. Let’s make it easy for them.

The rally helped do this. First, there was the hand-holding and telling people next to us that they are loved during the rally. I’m not so warm and fuzzy but these simple actions did help build a feeling a solidarity. Many years ago in Baltimore we took this a step further with an exchange of contact info and a promise to call within 5 days. Whatever we do, human contact at the base matters. Second, the rally struck a good point between aggressive actions and the very-much-needed airport protests. We heard from workers, union representatives, Senator Merkley’s office, Jobs With Justice, community members, local politicians and LGBTQIA+ people, most of them women and people of color speaking from a militant place. Take the politicians out of the mix and it was still a pretty good rally, but my sense is that local liberal or progressive politicians are still important to the mix, and much more so than the folks who turn out for drama.

I was recently speaking with a local activist here in Salem who agreed with me that violence directed against property can have a cathartic effect, if only because it breaks down fear barriers and gets some people past sanctifying private property. And, realistically, violence is part of the mix sometimes whether we invite it or not: the Trump rally at the State Capitol in which scores of people marched into the Capitol fully armed and seeking a confrontation and the killing in the Quebec mosque bring violence to our doorstep and we would be foolish if we did not prepare for more. But at some point anarchists clocking reactionaries and bragging about it on Facebook and Twitter will have to recede and be replaced by a mass movement. No one gets a vanguard position because they clock fascists; that position is won and held by people who organize and build from the grassroots and create united fronts of struggle from below.

The speeches were almost all good. The day may be remembered for Tom Chamberlain’s unfortunate remarks. Chamberlain spoke as the head of the Oregon AFL-CIO and employed some rhetoric which first shocked and then angered the crowd, forcing him to stop speaking. Still, let’s remember the day as a day when the labor leader also sought to publicly make amends for his remarks and was welcomed back by the crowd after he did so. And let’s remember that the largely-white crowd had the presence of mind to both boo Chamberlain and applaud his apology and self-criticism. I have never heard a labor leader make a public self-criticism and I have been in crowds where white people did not protest racism.

Several competing lines are emerging in the movement. Among these are the line that holds to the Democrats, refusing to criticize or acknowledge the mistakes made during the election and over the past eight years; and there is the line that holds that opposition to Trump is not enough and seeks to blame the left, or sections of the left and liberals, for not mobilizing during the past eight years; there is a united-front line which holds that “big-tent” organizing and forms of coalition politics are needed; and there is a line which rejects alliances and coalition politics; and there is the anarchist line. These are broad descriptions, not meant to be inclusive or to go deeply into political differences. Still, what we saw yesterday was a rejection of the line which is alternately “ultraleft” and social-democratic and which was recently expressed by Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of Jacobin magazine, when he wrote

But it’s key that even though the people in charge of the bourgeois state at any moment (then Obama, now Trump) are our main enemies, much of our political activity should be challenging (broadly conceived) the political center. By this, I don’t mean individual liberals, but the centrist leadership of the Democratic Party at every layer, and the caste leading liberal reform groups in this country.

Indeed, the parts of the movement which take this side are not there with the kind of working-class and community rallies we saw yesterday and they seem to have had limited juice at the airport actions. Granted that some politicians may mislead and create confusion at some points, others can and must be won over, disengagement and attacks on allies are destructive and some liberal reform groups are playing positive and necessary roles right now. We are all in a situation where in eleven days we are learning what it may have taken eleven months or four years to learn otherwise. And in a situation where Bannon moves up in a kind of coup and Yates gets fired, the maximum amount of engagement is needed. The rally marked a good point in engagement.

We can see from this rally and from others that a spirit has left a bottle: anti-Trump sentiment is mixing with pro-immigrant sentiment, anti-racist solidarity, demands for womens’ rights and for climate justice. We would not be at this point were it not for Black Lives Matter and the climate justice activists showing us the ways to unity and activism. Many people I talk to now just write “demonstration” on their calendars and turn out regardless of the issue, birthing solidarity. This happens less because of politicians and more because of leadership at the base. The rally reminded us that we need some kind of rapid response group here in Salem. Are there any takers? 

Monday, January 30, 2017


Tuesday, Feb. 7
Schute Park
900 SE Maple St.
5 PM - 8 PM

"#Resist in every way you can. Be braver than you ever have, and still more humble. Demonstrate more beautifully what love and humanism looks like. But don't give them even an inch. There's no compromise with tyrants."---Asha Bandele

Community Multicultural Celebration Coming To Woodburn

Community Multicultural Celebration
Sunday, Mach 19
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Woodburn, OR.

Protect Mexicanos/Latinos Rights From Persecution-Portland, February 5 and 6

The Mexican/Latino community is seeking assistance next Sunday on February 5th from 11:30 am to 1:00 p.m. Several bigoted individuals were outside the church harassing folks as we were entering Sunday Spanish mass by yielding racists chants and challenging folks to fight. Church located 87th and SE Foster.

February 5 – February 6
Feb 5 at 11:30 PM to Feb 6 at 1 PM
8623 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland

TOMORROW (Tuesday) in Salem: The Movement for Black Lives Platform Study Committee Meeets---Please Join In.

A group is forming for the purpose of studying The Platform of The Movement for Black Lives. The first meeting will take place at 6 pm on January 31 at 3850 Portland Rd NE #100. The Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality (SKCE) has generously offered their space. This will be a chance to get to know one another a bit better and chat about why we're each interested in the platform and racial justice in general.

All are invited.

The Movement for Black Lives is producing a webinar series with the first installment taking place on February 8 at 4 pm. This is a recent development (there will be one installment per month for 6 months) and seems like the perfect opportunity for our newly formed group. I know 4 pm is early for those of us who work your standard 9-5, but hopefully quite a few of us can make that work. The plan is to meet at the same location (3850 Portland Rd NE #100) at 3:45 pm on February 8 (please arrive 15 minutes early to get settled for the start of the webinar). SKCE is offering us space and a projector. A laptop will be provided, and we'll all be able to view the webinar as a group. The more the merrier.

Nobody should feel like missing one meeting rules you out of attending other meetings. I encourage people to attend what they can and not feel bad about missing a meeting here or there. As of now, I think the expectation is that we'll meet once a month, though we may opt to meet twice a month for the next 6 months (once for the webinar and once to chat about what we're learning). That is yet to be determined.

Thanks for your interest. I hope to see you all on the 31st.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

March against police brutality and fascism--Portland--March 4

March against police brutality and fascism
Saturday, March 4--3 PM
Pioneer Courthouse Square

FIRST THING MONDAY CALL YOUR SENATORS: Focus the calls to be very specific and actionable and demand an answer 1. Push Senators to delay the Monday evening vote on Rex Tillerson so he can be recalled to speak on the ban. 2. 10am Tuesday morning Judiciary Committee vote on Jeff Sessions should be delayed, so he can be recalled to speak on the EOs and his claims to not support a Muslim ban.

Portland Airport Today

CAUSA Rally In Portland At Noon TOMORROW (Monday)

Causa unequivocally condemns President Trump's series of anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim executive orders. These orders are an assault on civil liberties and religious freedoms, and are an unconstitutional attack on immigrants, refugees,and Muslims who have been a vital part of the fabric of the United States.

President Trump’s orders seek to:

•  Approve the construction of a massive wall along the US-Mexico border with deficit funding;
•  Require local law enforcement collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) undermining local efforts to ensure trust in public safety;
•  Punitively subject anyone “facilitating the presence of” undocumented immigrants to a $1,500 fine or 6 months in jail;
•  Do away with previous enforcement priorities (including consideration of humanitarian factors) and instead makes an enforcement priority of any “removable” immigrant convicted or suspected of any criminal offense – gutting the presumption of innocence enshrined in our Constitution.
•    Establish a racist ban on the admission of immigrants from 7 majority-Muslim countries: Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan; and
•    Unconstitutionally deny legal permanent residents (“green card holders”) from the 7 above countries re-entry, dividing and harming children and families.

“None of these executive orders are a real solution to our nation’s broken immigration system, and they won’t make us safer.  Rather, they will waste limited taxpayer resources to militarize our borders, tear families apart, and breed a climate of fear and hate,” said Andrea Williams, Causa’s Executive Director.

Our message is clear. Immigrants and refugees make America vibrant, strong, and prosperous.
 Will you join us in supporting Oregon’s immigrant and refugee communities by attending tomorrow’s action?
No Ban No Wall Rally
Monday January 30, 2017
12:00 pm
Terry Shrunk Plaza
364 SW Madison St. Portland, OR

No Ban Demonstration In Corvallis TOMORROW (Monday)

Monday, January 30, at 5:00 PM
Benton County Courthouse

LAX And Indianapolis Airport Right Now

The Resistance To Trump And His Policies Is Everywhere

Arlo Guthrie sings "Deportee"

Naomi Klien to speak in Corvallis

Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017, 7pm:  Naomi Klein
LaSells Stewart Center, OSU (875 SW 26th St, Corvallis)

Renowned writer and cultural critic Naomi Klein comes to OSU to offer observations on current U.S. and World political and social movements, and assess the efforts to address climate change and social justice. Sponsored by the Spring Creek Project, OSU Student Sustainability Initiative, Office of Sustainability, College of Science, Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative, and the School of Public Policy, School of History, Philosophy, Religion. Free and open to all.

Friday, Feb. 17, Noon - 4pm: Wear the Rainbow---Help create an inclusive and reaffirming space for LGBTQ+ identified people within the Corvallis community.

Friday, Feb. 17, Noon - 4pm:  Wear the Rainbow
OSU Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, 2695 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis
ASOSU, SOL, and the Pride Center are proud to announce our event Wear the Rainbow: A Clothing Drive for the Queer and Trans Community.
This event seeks to not only provide a much needed resource to this community but also to create an inclusive and reaffirming space for LGBTQ+ identified people within the Corvallis community.
We are accepting gently used clothing, accessories, shoes, and unused beauty products starting February 3rd through February 15th. Following this collection period we will be holding the event on February 17th where you can come by and take what you need!
FMI on donations, see the FB event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1638318799809836/

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at queer.affaris[at]oregonstate.edu

Did Uber drivers scab against the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, break solidarity to support immigrants? Please consider dropping your Uber account and/or protesting. AND please check out the peoples' victory in fighting Uber and Trump!

From social media:

“The ride-hailing app is being accused of profiting from a strike by New York’s taxi drivers that took place yesterday evening.

Drivers from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance refused to pick up airport passengers between 6pm and 7pm in protest as protesters joined together against Trump’s ban inside John F. Kennedy International Airport.

But people said Uber continued offering rides to and from JFK despite the strike and even switched off their surge pricing, which is usually put on when demand is high.

In response, hundreds of people are now using the hashtag #DeleteUber to protest against the app and have also accused the company’s CEO of collaborating with the new US president.”

“I Don’t Need a Ride to Vichy”

AND...please see this article about a peoples' victory in taking on Uber and Trump!

Tim Horras writes on building a socialist party. What do you think?

The following essay by Tim Horras speaks to some of the questions before the left right now. It is one point of many, but one that I feel close to. A difference of opinion here may be that many of us think that a united-front strategy and building a socialist party come through on-going engagement with all kinds of people, including people at the base of the Democratic Party, while the author may be pointing in other directions. Still, the essay is a good one and should be discussed. Please send in your comments! 

One reason revolutionaries create or join revolutionary organizations is because organization function as repositories of collective knowledge of the masses and experiences of previous iterations of struggle. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel, we can learn from the successes and failures of revolutionaries all over the world and creatively apply lessons of the past to our own unique political situation.
With that in mind, I'd like to relate a cautionary tale:
Many of you may remember the glorious upheavals of the Arab Spring, in particular the locus point of Tahrir Square in Egypt, where hundreds of thousands converged to drive out a dictator.
However, following an election in which conservative and right-wing forces in Egypt were significantly better organized and coherent than moderate and left-wing forces, an arch-conservative was elected president.
Sure enough, the new president began to immediately crack down on protesters, implement unpopular new executive measures, and generally govern without concern for the Egyptian population outside of his conservative base. The election revealed, just as the revolution preceding it had exacerbated, tensions within the ruling elite, and elite opinion began to move against the new president, in alliance with the older forces from the dictatorship who were still miffed at having had their power removed.
The revolutionaries, mobilizing the masses into the streets to drive out the president, made a de facto alliance with the military leadership, wherein the left tacitly provided political support for a military coup against the president.
After the coup, the military placed one of its own into the office of president. Unsurprisingly, the new government immediately continued its crackdown on the left. Today, the Egyptian left is scrambled and disoriented, and life has gotten worse for the Egyptian masses.
Why did this happen? It's because the revolutionary left in Egypt failed to create resolutely independent political organization; they didn't build a party.
Right now, here in the USA, there are increasing fissures developing within our government: federal vs state, state vs local, local vs federal, etc. various departments within the government maneuvering one against the other. Elements of the deep state -- the permanent bureaucracy ensconced in the security apparatus -- sniping at their rival agencies, etc. When many of us are cheer on the resistance of one or another of these factions, we are making a dangerous mistake. We cannot afford to place our faith in the courts, the lawyers, the politicians, or the security state. We can trust only in the power of the people.
Our movement cannot afford to tie our long-term fortunes to one of these ruling class factions. Without independent initiative and our own organizational wellspring of people power -- a party -- we will snap back from fascism to an even more toxic form of neoliberalism than we had before. Let's not forget, it was Obama who singled out the seven countries that make up Trump's ban list, and the original Visa Waiver Program into law in 2015 with broad bipartisan support, and nary a peep of protest from the left.
Here's the takeaway: Let's get out there, protest, and raise our voices. But if we're not at the same time working to build a socialist party to advocate for the interests of the oppressed, of poor and working class people, we are going to find ourselves driving the wolf out the front door while the fox sneaks in the back door.

CUNY grad student Saira Rafiee has been denied entry back into the United States from Iran. Please take a moment to call CUNY Chancellor Milliken at (646) 664-9100 and PSC-CUNY at (212) 354-1252 and demand that they take action immediately on Saira's behalf. If you can't get through to the PSC, email Barbara Bowen at bbowen@pscmail.edu.


I, Saira Rafiee, Ph.D. student of political science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, was among god knows how many citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen that have been denied entry to the US. I was on a vacation, going back to my country to see my loved ones, like many other students. I was about to check in at the airport, when Donald Trump signed the EO, banning people from the above-mentioned countries from entering the US. I got on the flight to Abu Dhabi, but there at the airport was told that I would not be able to enter the US. I had to stay there for nearly 18 hours, along with 11 other Iranians, before getting on the flight back to Tehran. I have no clue whether I would ever be able to go back to the school I like so much, or to see my dear friends there. But my story isn’t as painful and terrifying as many other stories I have heard these days. I know an Iranian student in the US, who was planning to go back to Iran to see her sister who has cancer probably for the last time, but had to cancel her trip because of this order. A dear friend of mine, a Columbia Ph.D. student, went to Canada on Friday to be with his fiancĂ©e for the weekend, and is not able to go back to his studies and work, back to his scholarly life. I know many students who are outside the US, doing fieldwork for their dissertation, and have no clue whether they can finish their studies after studying for many years. And these stories are not even close in painfulness and horror to those of the people who are fleeing war and disastrous situations in their home countries.

The sufferings of all of us are just one side of this horrendous order. The other side is the struggle against racism and fascism, against assaults on freedom and human dignity, against all the values that even though are far from being realized, are the only things that would make life worth living. As a student of sociology and political science, I have devoted a major part of my scholarly life to the study of authoritarianism. The media has published enough statistics during the past few days to show how irrelevant this order is to the fight against terrorism. It is time to call things by their true names; this is Islamophobia, racism, fascism. We, the 99% of the world, need to stand united in resisting the authoritarian forces all over the world.

I want to thank all my dear comrades, classmates and professors at the Graduate Center, who have been following my situation since yesterday and have spent a great deal of time to help me and many others in the same conditions. This is a fight for all of us, and I am sure the people, united, will never be defeated.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ready to Resist: Emergency Call #2 with MoveOn.org, Working Families Party, and People's Action Tomorrow (Sunday)

Ready to Resist: Emergency Call #2 with MoveOn.org, Working Families Party, and People's Action

Sunday, January 29, 8 p.m. ET (7 CT/6 MT/5 PT)

Last Sunday, more than 60,000 MoveOn members and allies joined the Emergency Call to move into action after the historic Womens' Marches, and on Tuesday, 15,000 people joined more than 200 actions in 43 states to stop Trump's "Swamp Cabinet".

There is amazing energy—and we need to continue to support each other and come together in the face of the dangerous and unprecedented actions Trump is taking.

Join us again this Sunday for our next Emergency Call as we lay out the plan for the next #ResistTrumpTuesdays, January 31, outside members of Congress' district offices.

Sign up on this page, and you'll get a call at 8 p.m. ET (7 CT/6 MT/5 PT) this Sunday, January 29 at the phone number you provide.

You can also listen online via live webstream at this link starting at 8 p.m. ET (7 CT/6 MT/5 PT) this Sunday, January 29:


Oregon Organizes Against Trump

Rally Against The Muslim Ban---Tomorrow (Sunday) 12 PM ---Eugene
Resist Trump Tuesday - RALLY---Tue, January 31 12 PM---Medford

The next meeting of the Salem Solidarity Network is Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6:00 PM at 1730 Commercial St. SE.

PORTLAND AIRPORT PROTESTS UNDERWAY----Meanwhile...The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has announced on Twitter that it is halting passenger pickups at JFK airport in protest of the dozens of people detained under President Trump’s Muslim immigration ban. The Alliance announced that it would be halting pickups at JFK from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to protest reports of at least a dozen people who have been detained in the airport due to the immigration ban executive order signed by President Trump yesterday. One green card holder was released from detainment earlier today...

Every floor of JFK is appently shut down


A crowd at O'Hare Airport has shut down all lanes of traffic at terminal five.


A mosque has been set on fire in Texas

And a KGW report says:

Multnomah County leaders on Saturday addressed reports of increased activity by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers at the courthouse and condemned any potential ICE activity at the courthouse.

In a statement (Multnomah County leaders), said they have not yet determined if ICE officers have been more active at the courthouse.

The statement was signed by Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Vice Chair Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Commissioner Loretta Smith, Commissioner Sharon Meieran, Commissioner Lori Stegmann, Judge Nan G. Waller, and Sheriff Mike Reese.

They expressed concern that an increased ICE presence could deter people from visiting the courthouse to access its services.

“This is devastating for the people accessing our services, and in many cases, counterproductive to a lawful community,” the statement read.

They also urged ICE officers to recognize that courthouses are a sensitive location and to consider the impact of their actions.

“We can't have people afraid to access justice in Multnomah County. “

One of the reports came on Friday from Mat dos Santos, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. He tweeted, "ICE is going into MultCo courts & arresting people and sending them to detention/deportation hearings. Some w/o criminal conviction."


Protests are held in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Denver and other airports.

And then...

"The federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay halting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries tonight, following widespread protests at airports around the country."

But we hear from California:

There are thousands here and more coming. They're asking for more to come and to bring food and water. We're staying until SF federal court issues a stay, as did NY.

And in Los Angeles:

We see UNITE-HERE Local 11 joining in the protests, no doubt building on the strength they built in the airport in their fight for a $15 minimum wage, and Black Lives Matter and young women of color in the lead and giving everyone a needed reality check.

The Movement For Black Lives In Salem

A group is forming for the purpose of studying The Platform of The Movement for Black Lives. The first meeting will take place at 6 pm on January 31 at 3850 Portland Rd NE #100. The Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality (SKCE) has generously offered their space. This will be a chance to get to know one another a bit better and chat about why we're each interested in the platform and racial justice in general.

The Movement for Black Lives is producing a webinar series with the first installment taking place on February 8 at 4 pm. This is a recent development (there will be one installment per month for 6 months) and seems like the perfect opportunity for our newly formed group. I know 4 pm is early for those of us who work your standard 9-5, but hopefully quite a few of us can make that work. The plan is to meet at the same location (3850 Portland Rd NE #100) at 3:45 pm on February 8 (please arrive 15 minutes early to get settled for the start of the webinar). SKCE is offering us space and a projector. A laptop will be provided, and we'll all be able to view the webinar as a group. The more the merrier.

Nobody should feel like missing one meeting rules you out of attending other meetings. I encourage people to attend what they can and not feel bad about missing a meeting here or there. As of now, I think the expectation is that we'll meet once a month, though we may opt to meet twice a month for the next 6 months (once for the webinar and once to chat about what we're learning). That is yet to be determined.

"Trump did not appear out of nowhere. He is the logical and most grotesque expression of a variety of trends we have allowed to fester: endless war, a virtually omnipotent presidency, unlimited war powers from spying to due-process-free imprisonment to torture to assassinations, repeated civil liberties erosions in the name of illusory guarantees of security, and the sustained demonization of Muslims as scary, primitive, uniquely violent Others."---Glenn Greenwald

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Contradictory Moment In Oregon

We have this:

and then we have this report from a Facebook post:

The Democratic Party of Oregon's (DPO) leadership team is in a panic over recent gains made by the state's Progressive wing. Since November, in county after county, party leaders and committee members have been losing power to Progressives, many of whom were instrumental in helping Bernie Sanders win the state's primary last year.

Now, it seems that the state party leadership is striking back.

In a highly unusual move, current and former members of the Oregon state legislature, and even their family members, have been hastily recruited to run for State Central Committee delegate positions in Multnomah County, just ahead of that county's organizational elections. The State Central Committee is the governing body of the Oregon Democratic Party, and the party will be holding elections for its leadership in March. State legislators who were called in to help stack the deck in favor of the current establishment include Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, House Majority Leader and Representative for House District 45; Loretta Smith, Multnomah County Commissioner; Rob Nosse, Representative for House District 42; and Mary Nolan, former House Majority Leader. The party has also tapped spouses and partners of Democratic Party staff in an attempt to dilute the influence of the party's progressives in the upcoming party elections.

DPO Staff and party resources may have been used to recruit over 100 new Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) that were appointed at the December Multnomah County meeting. The new appointees can then vote for State Central Committee delegates at the county re-organization meeting. The DPO staff is also calling current Multnomah County PCPs asking them to attend the Saturday January 28 Multnomah County re-organization meeting -- something they didn't do for either the Washington County or Clackamas County re-organization meetings.

Clearly, Oregon's Democratic Party leadership wants to hold onto it's power, even if it means disenfranchising the thousands of Progressives in the state.

The State Party's attempt to 'put it's thumb on the scale' is reminiscent of the now well-documented efforts of the Democratic National Committee to help the Clinton campaign during the primaries.

Multnomah County will elect 18 State Central Committee delegates this Saturday, January 28th. The meeting is open to the public. Elected delegates will be voting on the officers of the Democratic Party of Oregon on March 26, 2017.

and so we can ask:

1. Does the strategy to deal with a budget shortfall necessarily depend on keeping a liberal bloc in power?
2. Is the state Democratic Party leadership willing to risk losing and alienating progressive Democrats?
3. Will either side organize and mobilize at the base to defend all social services and an all-peoples' social agenda, or will the progressives, Democrats and labor pit groups against one another?
4. Is the Democrat establishment trying to make us pay for backing Sanders? Is this vengeance?
5. Which side has the support of the core forces most involved in winning social change (people of color, labor, women, youth)?
6. Are progressives prepared to take on the fight over the projected shortfall? Can they rally the core social forces into a working alliance or take over existing alliances without destroying them?
7. Is there a unifying option for progressive Democrats outside of the Democratic Party which will actively engage in the struggle over the budget, defend all social services and build a peoples' social agenda? 

"Advancing Justice and Equality for All Through the Strength to Love," sponored by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform---March & Rally In Portland Tomorrow

10 a.m.-- Assembly at Martin Luther King Statue
10:30 a.m. SHARP -- March begins (it's permitted)
11:45 a.m. -- Rally at Maranatha Church, 4222 NE 12th at Skidmore (tabling and hot food).

Participants are encouraged to take public transportation. There are a number of options to consider. If you park near the rally site at Holladay and MLK Blvd you may run into people parking for the Auto Show, which is the same day. If you instead want to park near Maranatha Church at NE 12th and Skidmore, you can either take the #8 bus down 15th and the Max over to the Convention Center, or walk over to MLK and take the #6 down. The MAX Blue, Green and Red lines all stop at the Convention Center.

Signs: Please bring family-friendly signs appropriate to the day's themes of justice, equality for all, and the strength to love.

Endorsers include NAACP Portland Chapter, Urban League of Portland, Unite Oregon, Muslim Educational Trust, Portland Copwatch, and others.

Links to the poster:

Problems & Prospects For Building A Radical Movement In The Mid-Willamette Valley---Third In A Series

This post follows two others and forms a kind of series taking up the difficulties and possibilities we face here in the Mid-Willamette as we try to build radical and socialist movements. Perhaps the easiest way to approach these questions now is to pick up at the point where the previous posts left off and trace the path ofsome recent events.

We are seeing some interesting developments among liberal and left groups locally: MoveOn is growing on its own, the Democrats who most strongly supported Sanders are pushing for change within the local Democratic party but don’t have a program, the NAACP is growing, a Salem Solidarity Network has been founded and Salem 350.org is doing real movement-building by diversifying their tactics and finding ways for everyone to join in and do something. Many protersts have been planned for Salem in the coming weeks.

The CAUSA-led immigrant rights demonstration on January 14 might have marked a real turn in activism and involvement. What was missing were strong white support and mobilization, particularly from labor, and the spontaneous push from the community to move the demonstration forward. CAUSA did great work with its allies and gave us a gift with the demonstration. The DREAMers and the immigrant and Muslim speakers were particularly effective and the good publicity that the march won was well-deserved. We could have done without the employers’ speeches, but that is a minor matter compared to what else was said from the podium. The weather and panic in the community over Trump’s immigration policies no doubt worked to keep attendance down. But still, we ask, where were the unions, the left and the white allies? Solidarity is not a one-way street.

I left the CAUSA rally feeling energized, and hoped that others did as well. We can make up lost ground, I thought. But the next day we had only 6 people at a healthcare and Social Security rally while Portland had thousands of people. We are Oregon’s second-largest city, and it’s fair to note that the culture and history and politics of the MId-Willamette Valley diverges from Portland’s, but people have been agitating here over healthcare for at least15 years, and individuals associated with groups like MoveOn are key to that work. It seems to me that we need levels of continuity and organizing which we have not yet found.

Salem’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events followed the CAUSA rally and the attempted healthcare mobilization. These Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events have been growing over the past three years, and will likely to continue to grow. Again we can ask where labor is in all of this and why we see so few people joining all of the demonstrations and forming self-activating and self-conscious cadres of activists. It is not a problem when “the usual suspects” keep showing up; the problem is that the suspects don’t consolidate and organize.

But there are other problems here as well. Zaid Jilani, Osagyefo Sekou and others have all said that the effort to turn the day of remembrance for King into a day of feel-good liberalism and community service dishonors King’s legacy. Locally we are also stuck for the time being with having a day dominated by a conservative Christian message which excludes LGBTQIA+ people, Muslims and people supportive of Black Lives Matter. Indeed, this year it was expected that participants thank the cops and Salem’s chief of police addressed the gathering at the State Capitol. These are weaknesses, not strengths. The participation by the youth this year was fantastic and promising, but a deeper vision and a higher level of activism and engagement are needed in order to help keep the young people moving forward.

There have been opportunities to work out the theory and practice of these efforts. The Salem Progressive Film Series unfortunately gave space for the showing of “We The People 2.0” on January 17, which derails conversation about politics and power, but will be doing their next event on healthcare. Erious Johnson, Jr. gave an interesting presentation on slavery, capitalism and citizenship on January 22, but the presentation itself did not emphasize Black humanism or militancy, did not take up the matter of Black self-determination and seemed to land in a place which was pro-capitalist. Here, again, the allies needed to create a real conversation were missing, and so were the young people, Black and white, who would benefit most from the discussion.

We suffer in Salem from a lack of education and theory. The Racial Justice Organizing Committee works very hard to remedy this in taking up anti-racism, and recently filled the room with folks motivated to hear Jo Ann Hardesty, but this educational and theoretical work is incomplete because Salem lacks the interest and opportunity required. In fact, the Hardesty talk did not draw in either the leadership or the rank-and-file of the people-of-color communities. A talk by R. Gregory Nokes, a white man, on some aspects of local Black history on January 23 showed us that there is a hunger for addressing racism in a historic context. What about other issues? What if we adopted the models of our friends at LUS and Mano a Mano and started showing popular films and hosting discussions? What if we brought back the pena (popular encounter)? 

I am struck by comments made recently by Sam Webb, a former leader of the Communist Party, to the effect that the left has failed to make a necessary self-criticism in light of the results of the election. I think that Webb goes too far in demanding that the left should have supported Clinton without criticism, or without much criticism, but he has a point in arguing that the people with the most credibility now are the folks who engaged prior to the election, who helped craft and build the progressive planks of the Democrat’s program. In applying this locally, however, we have the problems that the core forces for change here do not always include the leadership of the Black community, the labor movement often builds a wall around itself and is inconsistent, that the Sanders supporters have no real program for changing their party, that part of our base is made up of people who cannot vote, and that the leadership of the Democratic establishment comes late to the table and divides interest groups. Certainly the left could have done much better, and functioned more responsibly, by deepening our engagement in the pre-election period, but I am left wondering if that would have made much difference.

If we are going to be saved at all at this point, it will be by the energy of the womens’ march and how that develops, by actions organized by Salem 350.org, the One Billion Rising demo on February 14 and the lobby days and protests which come while the legislature is in session, by the efforts to build support locally for Black Lives Matter and the necessary organizing which comes with all of this.

The January 21 march broke all expectations for turnout and left us feeling motivated and enthusiastic. Anyone reading this blog knows that my line has been to insist on unity in the wake of the march and to see in this activism some real potential which needs to be translated into support for immigrants, labor struggles, people of color, climate justice, LGBTQIA+ people and a fully radical agenda. That can happen with organizing. It cannot happen by criticism, distance, by adopting a dismissive stance or inaction. What mobilizes oppressed people is good, what demobilizes is negative.

I was happy to hear Professor Crier and the young people at the January 21 demonstration. They said much of what needed to be said. Cara Kaser also made the needed unifying points. But Kate Brown has been late to the table on immigrant rights and is not consistently pro-labor and has a bad record on the environment. We needed to hear less from her and more from, say, Teresa Alonso Leon or young people like the strong women who lead LUS and Mano a Mano, the DREAMers, and the climate justice activists. We want to avoid situations like another vote in which whites vote for pot and against drivers’ licenses for immigrants. We need to address the oppression of people of color and LGBTQIA+ people. We need to hear and act on what is needed from us for the immigrant and Muslim communities. We need the January 21 organizing group to hurry and set up a townhall of meeting for follow up.

With this in mind, it has been hard to see Kevin Cameron, the Commissioner of Misogyny, getting away with his most recent offensive comments, and to go to the Bridging the Gap community meeting on January 26 and hear the minister of Pauline AME Church saying “All lives matter” and to be repeatedly addressed by Cameron and armed police at that meeting. I hoped that the City Council people and the leadership of the NAACP would denounce these remarks, but they instead gave them credibility in their words and in their presence. For that matter, the City and many liberals seem stuck on supporting and using Broadway Commons, which I believe is not LGBTQIA+ friendly. There was not time at the event on the 23rd for audience q. & a., but there was time for Sam Skillern, leader of the reactionary Salem Leadership Foundation, to praise those on the platform and give Gregg Peterson, a conservative running for the Ward 6 Council seat, an extended advertisement. The Foundation is a major impediment to social change.

Our challenge as radicals is to find ways to engage without being opportunistic, to find ways around the leaderships which block activism, to develop the means to protest and organize effectively and to bring people together and develop radical programs which unite immigrants, people of color, white working-class people, women, Muslims, LGBTQIA+ people and climate justice activists. Engagement requires a level of organization and a continuity of practice which we have not yet found.

Wednesday, February 1---Resistance Road Trip To Salem

Thanks to the election of President Trump, we need our legislature to step up now more than ever. We need to send them the message that his hateful rhetoric and policies are not okay and that this is not normal. 

We need action. We need progress. We need it now. We need our state officials to insulate us from Donald Trump, not with walls, but with policies. This requires action on a houseless bill of rights, no-cause eviction, rent control, environmental protections, air quality protections, criminal justice reform, protecting our immigrants, healthcare, and so much more. 

In order to do this, we need pressure from the people. We need our elected officials to see our faces. We need them to hear our stories. We need to show them that our lives matter.

To that end, we will all be bussing people from Union Station to the State Capitol in Salem on the first day of the legislative session.

For the new legislatives members, their first day in office is going to be a memorable day, no matter what. Let’s fill those memories with the stories and the faces of We the People so that they can carry our message with them for the rest of their tenure in office. For those returning to office, this will be a powerful message that this is different. We cannot afford business as usual.

We will hold a rally at the Capitol and deliver hundreds of letters from our communities to the legislators. We will be leaving Union Station by 11:30 AM and plan to be back by 4:00 PM.

If you would like to join us on the bus, please email your first and last name with the subject line “RESISTANCE ROAD TRIP” to portlandsresistance@gmail.com. Also, please help collect stories from your friends and neighbors.

You can also drive on your own. This is not an event for only Portland residents. No matter where you live, please join us.

If you cannot join us on the bus you can still send us your letter via email or if you would like to hand write your letter you can bring it to Union Station prior to our departure.

To find who your specific state legislator is click here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html


Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Like many other black women, I was conflicted about participating. That a group of white women had drawn clear inspiration from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, yet failed to acknowledge the historical precedent, rubbed me the wrong way. Here they go again, I thought, adopting the work of black people while erasing us...I’d had enough before it even began. 53% of white women who voted in the 2016 presidential election did so for a man who aims to move society backward. Were white women now having buyer’s remorse? Where were all of these white people while our people are being killed in the streets, jobless, homeless, over incarcerated, under educated? Are you committed to freedom for everyone, or just yourselves?...For weeks, I sat on the sidelines. I saw debates on list-serves about whether or not to attend the march, the shade on social media directed at the “white women’s march.” Unconvinced that white women would ever fight for the rights of all of us, many decided to sit the march out...Yet as time went on and the reality of the incoming Donald Trump administration sank in, something began to gnaw at me. Do I believe that a mass movement is necessary to transform power in this country? Do I believe that this mass movement must be multi-racial and multi-class? Do I believe that to build that mass movement, organizing beyond the choir is necessary? If I believe all of these things, how do we get there and what’s my role in making it happen?... I decided to challenge myself to be a part of something that isn’t perfect, that doesn’t articulate my values the way that I do and still show up, clear in my commitment, open and vulnerable to people who are new in their activism. I can be critical of white women and, at the same time, seek out and join with women, white and of color, who are awakening to the fact that all lives do not, in fact, matter, without compromising my dignity, my safety and radical politics." ---Alicia Garza

Support The Portland Tenants Union!

APRIL 15---BlackLivesMatter---March On Seattle 2.0---Saturday, April 15---2:00 PM---Seattle, WA

"The old world is dying. The new one is late to appear. It is in this chiaroscuro that monsters are born."---Antonio Gramsci

A Steve Cerulli meme.

The invisible, unpaid work that women do...

"Discussions are also under way about the recognition and communalisation of the work of reproduction - that is, the invisible, unpaid work that women do for the family, in the household. 'We want that all 'invisible' work be socialised, beginning with housework,' the economist Azize Aslan has said.

'Why should women use washing machines at home? Why shouldn't there be a laundry for the village or the district? Why should there be no kindergarten or common kitchens? ...These are some of the ways the patriarchal, gendered separation of 'men's and women's work' can be discarded.'"

--Revolution in Rojava

Trans and Muslim Solidarity

This is an important issue for us---and I think that this is the correct approach to moving the struggle forward.

"Why Some Silicon Valley Tech Executives Are Bunkering Down For Doomsday"

Some of the wealthy are genuinely scared of Trump's policies and the peoples' reactions to them. Survivalism has found a new base and raises new questions, the inescapable ones being what happens to folks who can't afford survivalism in the event of calamaties and the personal and social price being paid in a have/have-not system which is prepared to sacrifice people. Read and listen to the Fresh Air story about this here.

"Trump's flurry of executive orders and pronouncements is a reminder of the urgency of forming committees in every congressional district - in most instances under the canopy of the Democratic Party - to begin preparations for next year's elections at the national and state levels. Things like candidate selection, voter registration, protection, and education, listening meetings, etc. need immediate attention. To me this is a strategic priority if we hope to stall the Trump-Republican offensive. It doesn't preclude others forms of resistance. It complements them. Moreover, without this dimension of struggle everything else will limp."--Sam Webb

Tonight in Salem---6:00 PM: Salem Solidarity Network January Meeting at 1730 Commercial St SE.----6:30 PM: Townhall Conversation organized by the Salem-Keizer NAACP and the Salem Coalition of Churches at Pauline Memorial AME Zion Church (3593 Sunnyview Rd. Salem): A community conversation with City of Salem public officials and law enforcement officers. Topics include Policy, City mananagement, policing and people of color, the economic outlook in NE Salem, mass transit, the Salem/Keizer School District and dialog on issues that are dividing our community---7:00 PM: POWER, PRIVILEGE & RACIAL DIVERSITY IN OREGON, an Oregon Humanities conversation led by Emily Drew, at Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St., SE. More info from Valorie Freeman at vafreeo9@gmail.com, 503.561.5279. This isn't a complete list. There is something positive for everyone to do tonight!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"The distinction between the feudal system and the capitalist system stems from the radical expropriation to which workers are subjected to in capitalism, and their separation from the means of reproduction. This is the motor of capitalist development as well as the intense exploitation of labour...(C)apitalism is the first system of exploitation that sees labour, rather than the land, as the main form of wealth. For this reason it has developed a whole new politics with respect to the disciplining of the body, especially the body of women, and the management of reproduction beginning with procreation. Capitalism must control the work of reproduction, as it is a central aspect of the process of accumulation, so that reproductive work functions as the reproduction of labour power, i.e. our capacity to work, rather than (for instance) the reproduction of our struggle...(W)omen’s unpaid labour, which continues into the present, is the condition for the devaluation of labour-power. Without this work, the capitalist class would have had to make a major investment into all the infrastructures necessary to reproduce labour-power and its rate of accumulation would have been seriously affected. There is also a political side to the devaluation and consequent naturalization of reproductive work. It has been the material basis for a labour hierarchy which divides women and men, which enable capital to control the exploitation of women’s work more effectively through marriage and marital relation, including the ideology of romantic love, and to pacify men giving them a servant on whom to exercise their power."---Silvia Federici

Portland Democratic Socialists of America Emergency Meeting---Sunday, Jan. 29, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM---1339 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR ---Agenda will include icebreaker and new member orientation, and then break out groups to plan for mobilization in response to the current Administration's emergency orders and plans to strip healthcare from millions of families.

Earl Blumenauer has co-sponsored H.R. 676 for the first time!

Earl Blumenauer has co-sponsored H.R. 676 for the first time! See https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/676…

Singlepayer healthcare advocates are asking that we call Congressman Blumenauer and thank him. He has not co-sponsored before.

His Portland number is 503-231-2300 and his D.C. number is 202-225-4811.

H.R. 676 is the national single payer bill long offered by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who worked closely with Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in crafting it.

De-dudeing socialism---Emily Robinson speaks directly to issues confronting our movement

“How do we bring more women to socialism?” is a question I have been asked with increasing frequency in the past several months. At first, I assumed that people were asking me because of my unmatchable feminist cred, but later I realised it was because I was one of only one or two other women in the room. Still, I would try my best, stammering and stuttering my way through the question, because really, who was I to speak for all women?

But the fact that I’m so often asked this question speaks to the very nature of the problem: women in politics — not just left politics — are tokenized and asked to be the standard bearers of their entire generation, not simply to be comrades. Young women on the left bear an immense responsibility, they must fight the hard fight not only for socialism, but for socialist feminism, and for women at large. Where men aren’t forced to identify with an identity, they are instead allowed to speak only for themselves on issues, women are asked to speak for all of womankind when they speak out.

Then, when these socialist women leave the confines of socialist spaces, they are not only asked to speak for women and socialism, but also for the failures of socialist men. Women are asked to denounce sexism in the left movement – often sexism from men they have never met — lest they face accusations of internalized misogyny. When liberal feminists engage with socialist feminists, it is never on the issues of the day, but rather for the sake of hurling accusations against socialist men that women must answer for.
It is utterly exhausting.

I won’t cover for the sexist men in the socialist movement. I will not dismiss their wrongdoings; nor will I pretend that my comrades and I have never been the victims of sexist or misogynist behaviour instigated by our male comrades. The left undoubtedly has a problem with men who cannot behave. But is it worse than any other political movement? No.

Still, there are ways to reach out to women and make things easier for women already in the movement that ought not be ignored.
1. Feminism is a socialist issue, and women’s issues should not be ignored in favour of more “serious” issues. It’s not unusual to watch people on the left dismiss action on simple issues. Why? Lord if only I knew. Maybe it’s to fulfil the left’s obsession with needlessly overcomplicating things. Maybe it’s latent sexism. I neither know nor care, the problem exists and the answer is simple: don’t do that. Simple issues are no less meaningful than complex ones and can often be a helpful recruiting tool. If women see that socialist organisations are getting involved in educational fights, or in women’s health fights, they will be more likely to see utility in joining those organisations.

2. Don’t let men dominate discussions. It sounds obvious, hell, it is obvious, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see socialist groups making. There are simple and effective fixes to this, that, when implemented correctly flow so fluidly it’s almost impossible to tell that the men in the room are being decentralised. Strategies like taking stack are helpful because they help minimize moments of tokenisation (instances like, “Are we sure there aren’t any female-identifying people who’d like to speak right now?”) but also help to put the wider group at ease with one another.

3. Create a community. While this applies to left organising in general, I cannot stress its importance enough in helping to make socialist spaces palatable to women. Providing a system of resources and support to your socialist organisation will help encourage not only women but also the less timid left-inclined folks to get involved.

4. Don’t overwork your non-male members. If I had a penny for every organisation I’ve seen with three severely overworked non-male members and 30 very relaxed male members, I would be a very rich woman indeed. Things like all women shortlists are good, and truly a wonderful way to engage women, but if it ends up that your all women shortlists are made up of the same few women over and over, consider abandoning some of those fights until you have more non-male members to fill the slots. It’s a controversial suggestion, but if you’d like to prevent all your female members from burning out, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices while you work on the gender balance.

5. Mentoring is good, actually. If you just rolled your eyes at that because it’s such a feature of liberal groups, trust me comrade, I feel you. But at the same time, having women to mentor younger women can make a difference in helping women stick around. There are a lot of unique challenges women face when they make their way into the world of activism and organising, and having someone who has faced the same obstacles before to provide guidance is invaluable.

In the end, all the advice and brainstorming in the world can’t bring women to socialism. It’s incumbent upon socialists to make the case to women that we’re on their team, no one else can, and no one else will. The left faces a lot of challenges in the coming years, but a lack of women absolutely should not be one of them.

Angela Davis and Linda Sarsour---Must-see interviews from Democracy Now! which help us move forward

"First they came for the Latinos, Muslims, women, gays, poor people, intellectuals, teachers and scientists and then it was Thursday."

We're proud of Waldo Middle School today!

The Oregon League Of Conservation Votes Has Scheduled A Lobby Day For March 23---Please Participate!

Clean Green Lobby Machine 2017!
Date: Thursday, March 23rd
Time: 9:00 a.m. (check-in) to 4:30 p.m. (may end earlier, depending on the times of meetings with your legislators)
Where: Oregon State Capitol (more info on nearby morning training location coming soon)
Transportation: carpools will leave from several locations throughout the state. We will be sending out all the information via email so you can catch a ride to Salem. If you have any questions, please email James@olcv.org. 
 The day includes best practices for meeting with your legislators, lunch, a march and rally on the Capitol steps, and then meetings with your legislators
"To change everything, we need everyone." - Naomi Klein

This speaks for me also...

I recently posted here about the racist Carl Pladino and complained about the reactionary views expressed in The Italian Tribune newspaper. I made some predictions in that post, some of which have come to pass and some of which have not. And I did not predict that the editor of The Italian Tribune would run a self-congratulating column in the paper lauding his racist and right-wing views. The editor did criticize Paladino, but the criticism was made in passing in the January 19 issue and were worded in away to support Trump. Paladino is a Trump supporter, an active and leading one at that, so criticizing one and not the other hardly makes sense. El diaol en dove no'l pol meter la testa el mete la coa. Where the devil cannot poke its head it pokes its tail.  

"The decision of a handful of labor leaders to meet with Trump is an example, to put the best spin on it, of sectional, not class thinking. Class thinking begins with the needs and desires of a working class as a whole. It is attuned to the unequal and uneven ways in which Trump's policies in particular and exploitation and oppression in general scar the lives of working people. It considers the struggle for equality to be at once organic to and independent of working class formation, consciousness, and unity. It is also mindful that the fortunes of the labor movement, especially now, depend on deep and durable alliances with its key allies - people of color, women, young people, immigrants, seniors, LGBT people, and many others. Finally, class thinking is repelled by anything that normalizes Trump and his policies at this moment. If labor leaders are anxious to meet, meet with the Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, and the leaders of various congressional caucuses, meet with the organizers of the Women's march, meet with the new social movements, meet with Muslims and other communities of faith, meet with those who will immediately feel the pain of Trump's executive orders and policies, meet with young people in the community and on campuses, meet with the editors of major news sites, and meet with the whole array of leaders of the broad democratic movement. It is only in such conversations and the actions that come out of them that the worst of Trump's policies will be blocked and conditions will be created for a new burst of freedom that insures economic well being for all, expands and deepens democracy and equality, respects difference and the preciousness of life, and safeguards peace and our planet in its beauty and diversity."---Sam Webb

Mark Ruffalo Reads Eugene Debs

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Should the marches have been more multiracial and working class? Yes! But you are not a serious organizer if that’s where your answer to the question ends. The issue for the left is how we get from where we are today to where we want to be in terms of making our marches blacker, browner and more working class. Simply complaining about it changes nothing....The women’s marches were the beginning, not the end. What happens next will be decided by what we do. Movements do not come to us from heaven, fully formed and organized. They are built by actual people, with all their political questions, weaknesses and strengths. If the left doesn’t engage with the aim of contending for leadership and influence, we just concede these forces to the Democrats and liberals, who will certainly try to confine the new upsurge of opposition to the political limits they want to define. The point isn’t to bury our arguments. If we want to win people to more radical politics, we must learn how to make our arguments while operating in political arenas that aren’t just our own. Revolutionary socialists have a long and rich tradition of building united fronts, which seems more real now that 3 million people were in the streets. We must do a better job at facilitating debate, discussion and argument so that we talk about how to build the kind of movement we want. But endless social media critiques with no commitment to diving into that struggle for the kind of movement we want is not a serious approach."---Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

A First-Woman View Of The March in D.C.

Many of us are still riding a euphoric wave after the demonstrations held last Saturday. We're still excited about the numbers of people who came out, the multigenerational crowds, the large numbers of people who turned out for their first demonstrations, the evolving calendar of events for the next six weeks which will tell us if we have a movement or not and what kind of movement that will be, the ability of people to show up prepared with their own signs and demands and take to the streets for them. There were some great national speeches, which we have noted elsewhere on this blog, and the Republicans have been forced to react and go on the defense. A line can be drawn from Occupy to the Sanders campaign and from there to the efforts to win a progressive Democratic platform to solidarity with Standing Rock to today. A line can also be drawn from Black Lives Matter to the Movement For Black Lives Platform to the heightened efforts to defend immigrants, people of color and Muslims to today, a harder line to follow but perhaps, in the long run, the more important line. The Platform, after all, should be our model, and organizing workers and protecting them and people-of-color communities from a context of intersectionality are our on-going tasks.

Not everyone shares our joy, of course. We are hearing from trans and gender-variant people that they were excluded, or felt excluded, from the rallies and that using the uterus and the vagina to represent women is a false, oppressive and binary way of seeing gender, gender oppression and the world. We are hearing from "ultraleftists" who criticize the most prominent speakers and who suspect that this has all been engineered by the Democrats. We get a great deal of mansplaining. We hear from Sanders supporters who insist that a Sanders win would have practically eliminated the need to struggle and from Clinton supporters who hold that Sanders and his supporters cost their candidate the election. We hear from many people---and particularly people of color----who say that it was necessary and difficult to push back against rally organizers who wanted a non-political, all-inclusive, love-one-another themed movement. We hear the painful truth that masses of white people have not yet turned out to defend people of color. We hear from union members who ask where their unions were while they were protesting.

Some of these criticisms have substance, some don't. It sometimes feels like 1963 and the beginning of the antiwar movement, at other times like the worst of the1970s and the destructive factionalism of those years. Our group can't resolve these contradictions, and we will be posting more about these contradictions and how they affect us locally later this week. I'm most interested in staying positive and focused on movement-building right now and at looking at how we can build a radical and socialist movement with and within the larger movement and do so using united-front tactics. I'm most interested in what the people who live at the intersections of race, class, gender non-conformity and developing political consciousness have to say.

A dear friend----an especially talented organizer, a lesbian, a working-class woman full of heart and soul from Oregon---attended the rally in D.C. and wrote up her observations. Here is some of what she wrote:

It was truly exciting to see so many Millennials and other youths - as well as some dinosaurs like myself -almost all on the same page, with the rage and outrageousness only to be admired.
I never actually saw the stage area because I could not get close enough due to the incredible density of participants. My favorite speakers or performers that I saw and heard at this event were on a big screen at Independence and 12th. I never saw such sustained density ever before.
I really enjoyed Michael Moore but as usual he was too windy but he did have a plan this time... Ashley Judd kind of bumped him out and was very funny while being dead serious and did that with great energy and enthusiasm.
Another favorite for me was Sophie Cruz a sub pre-teen who presented her just the right length speech in English then in Spanish. Her parents stood behind her and I have no idea if they were bi-lingual or not, but seeing their eyes well-up with what I assume was pride brought welling-up from many participants and chants of Sophie..Sophie..SOPHIE!.
And it was about time I saw Gloria Steinem almost in person. “This is the upside to the downside.”
It was good to see The Indigo Girls since I hadn’t seen them since the No on Nine Campaign, which I think, was in 91 or 92.
I was never a big fan of Madonna and her performance didn’t change my mind except to the extent that she offered herself up at this important event. Many other people seemed to really enjoy her.
But to me, 5 hours of speakers and performers while standing in place on hard surfaces before the March actually started (without permission of the plan) did me in. And I was not alone in this opinion. By 1:30 many in the crowd were chanting MARCH, MARCH, MARCH!
I can’t remember being in that much physical pain in public before. I grossly over estimated my physical or planning ability to participate in this event. The physical stuff I already mentioned, but silly me did not carry any cash. All the food vendors I saw were cash only, and I could find no restaurants. So there I was, a type 2 diabetic who went the entire day without liquid (after my early morning coffee) or food. Sometimes I’m an absolute fool. I got lost trying to find my bus among the 1800 or so in the RFK stadium parking lot. So between low blood sugar and my usual anxiety I lost it and burst into tears. The bus captains found me pretty darn close the right bus row, were nice enough and got me some food and water they had stashed. At the very same time they were kind of dismissive and did not consider they might be dealing with a handicapped participant.
To be fair though I believe the turnout way exceeded the expectations of its organizers and accounts for most of the snafus.
I can’t remember the name of the Islamic women but I remember she is an attorney and said among other things “If he starts forcing Muslims to register all of us will register as Muslims. That drew a roar of approval, I remember thinking I will want to do that I wonder how to do it. I love this kind of thinking and creative straight -forward fucking with Trump ideas. Although there allegedly was violence and arrests in the demos on inauguration day, not one incidence of violence was witnessed by me or reported in the news. I haven’t heard of anything anywhere about violence in any of the US Woman’s ‘Marches. I tried to investigate that especially in Portland and Seattle. You folks know of any? Did the anarchists leave the NW Women’s Marches actually butt out or behave in the NW for a change? I’ve never been a fan of the anarchists, who in my opinion bring public shame to our efforts. I know who a couple of the PDX one are and it was shocking to me.
I also really love the fact that there were “Sister” Marches all over the world, even the Arctic. Lets see Mexico, London, Cape Town, Sydney Australia, Berlin, Frankfort, Munich, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nairobi, New Zealand, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Rome, London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Kosovo, the Czech Republic, and Georgia. I love this not just because of the sense of support, but because I’m less embarrassed by Trump. Lots of people, all over the world, understand the majority of us do not support this lunatic. Makes him a little less of embarrassment anyway.
I don’t use the word lunatic lightly because as many of you already know I have mental illness- severe reoccurring depression...and anxiety/panic disorder. I know and have experienced discrimination based on mental illness. And of course I’m opposed to that and am sensitive about calling people crazy. However I believe this man suffers from some kind of personality disorder with grandiosity, pathological lying, and distorted thinking. impulsivity, and on and on. Narcissistic Personality Disorder?, Antisocial/Psychopathic Personality Disorder? Schizoaffective Disorder? Who knows? It’s clear he should not be in his current job. And that he is potentially very very dangerous. I think this orange man is going to go down in history as the worst and most dangerous President. I never thought I’d have this thought- He’s worse than George W Bush.

Girl Power vs Trump Tower
Dump Trump
The future is female
My Pussy has TEETH
Rise Love Resist
Keep Your filthy Laws Off my Silky Drawers
Fight Like a Girl
Woman’s Rights are Civil Right (sound familiar?)
We the People Protect Each Other