I was down in Portland last weekend counting down to the city’s midnight deadline for clearing Chapman Square of Occupy Portland tents. At midnight the crowds grew and the atmosphere became more festive than confrontational.
A tweet attributed that to “Portland Nice.” It only got serious later Sunday afternoon when the police moved in to clear the area and arrest those who would not leave.
No doubt some folks came to Occupy Portland only as ‘lookie loos,’ but many came to stand with those who occupied the park, the same way thousands had come together in the early days of Occupy Portland.
Unfortunately, the media coverage was all about the confrontation between the police and those in the park. Mayor Sam Adams, Park Commissioner Nick Fish, and the Portland Police Department have become ‘the enemy’ instead of the fat cat bankers, multinational corporate creeps and sleaze-ball politicians.
It is totally legit to carry out a large-scale occupation of a public space in order to call attention to the obscene influence and power one percent of the population has over the 99 percent— and engage people in corrective action. What happened to that message?
I think it was Nick Fish who said that the one percent wasn’t paying for police and other city staff overtime and repairs to the park; it was all the taxpayers footing that bill. That’s not a bill I’d prefer to pay since it doesn’t serve my political purpose.
I want us to get smarter in bringing about real change. How about you?