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US, Mayday in Portland, Oregon From an anarchist participant

From: "Louise Michel"
Portland, Oregon Mayday was an opportunity for anarchists to realize how much we have to learn.

For anarchists, Mayday started at 11am, where 200 gathered in a park with a huge paper mache pirate ship, red and black flags, green and black flags, and plenty of jolly roger flags. Most were costumed, and many were black-clad nearly identically. Taking to the streets, the pirate parade defied the parade permit law and refused to move onto the sidewalk. For this, police began to mobilize, and attempted to intimidate us from taking major streets, by assembling riot-cop lines at most intersections. After passing a niketown store, which had a window broken the night before, the parade headed toward the downtown bridges, intending to meet up with the Coalition march in the afternoon.

As we approached the bridge, the black block assembled at the front into several lines and linked arms. This tactic was successful in holding the street, but riot police managed to shove us into one lane as we got closer to the bridge. As the march was being forced onto the sidewalk, the guides of the pirate ship broke away back into the street and the march followed. Police swooped in and arrested the guides, dumping the boat in the middle of the bridge. As angry militants approached the arrest, an aggressive police move shoved everyone onto the bridge sidewalk, and at least two attempts to arrest black-clad marchers was made, and then lost to black block solidarity.

The parade continued tensely downtown anfd eventually gathered in the park where the coalition march was starting. After a pagan maypole dance, and many boring speeches calling for reform, and invoking the "spirit of seattle", the non-permitted, but organizer-police negotiated (for one lane) began, with anarchists defying the orange-vested marshalls and shouting anarchist slogans.

As the black block slithered through the coalition march, sometimes breaking up and sometimes reassembling, the horse-mounted police were visibly taking orders from commanders mounted on ATVs (all terrain vehicles), who were pointing out individuals for no apparent reason. Tight linking of arms was ineffective against hose-cop maneuvers of riding into the crowd, knocking people over and seperating the mass, and snatching individual black-clad marchers. This happened several times, but rather than confront the police, the angered coalition marchers were urged to continue on their route, acting as if nothing had happened. Empty militant rhetoric was spouted to make the pacifists feel more effective, but ultimately it was the police who controlled the streets of Portland.

At one point when the horse-cops were snatching an anarchist, a plastic newspaper box was hurled at the cop. A mounted officer was also bitten on the hand by his horse, but unfortunately anarchists cannot take credit for that. There were also eggs being hurled at police.

Eventually the entire march was predictably boxed into a riverside park and forced to march along the river and break into small groups. Most anarchists had de-masked or dispered by this point, and the coalition demo continued at a nearby bookstore where workers are striking.

Meanwhile, kryptonite bicycle U-locks were attached to the doors of at least 9 Eugene businesses, including three Starbucks Coffee Co. outlets, South Umpqua Bank, Washington Mutual Bank, the Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores, the Bi-Mart and Bank of America. Minor damage was reported to the businesses in the process of removing the locks.

For anarchists, Portland Mayday had some high points, but it was also a vivid reminder that not much has really changed with the mainstream protest movement since Seattle--even in a city only 3 hours away. Considering the disempowering nature of mass "follow the leader" protests, autonomous militant mobilizations are imperative. But if we are serious about being effective, many hours of de-briefing and strategizing must occur. A.G. cluster communications, timing, and spontenaity will have to be empolyed better in the future, especially in this country, where the police state far outnumbers those willing to be militant.

Information and first hand anonymous accounts (written observing the utmost security culture, of course) would be helpful if posted to this list.

pob 11331
Eugene, OR. 97440
(541) 302-5020

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