Statement from PopMob on the recent antifascist mobilization in so-called Portland, Oregon against the Proud Boys and the response from the State and its police.
This weekend Portland police opted to “stand back and stand by” during a confrontation between far right extremists and local antifascists. Many Portlanders expressed anger, shock, or confusion over the PPB’s no-show, however members of PopMob felt something closer to relief.
“An active police presence would have added a second group of violent white supremacists to contend with,” stated PopMob spokesperson Effie Baum. “We saw once again that the police exist solely to protect the racial hierarchy, not the community.” This was evidenced by the glaring lack of a police presence in Parkrose on Sunday, an area of town usually heavily policed under the guise of “preventing gang violence.” Parkrose was noticeably devoid of cops while the Proud Boys, a known violent gang, held a rally in support of members facing charges from the Jan. 6th attack on the US Capitol.
In my story about Sunday’s antifascist demonstration and Proud Boy violence, I look at how the antifascist coalition stopped the far-right from holding their rally in the city center. Just the threat of organizing pushed them to the edges of the city. https://t.co/wTzXi0UrR2
— Shane Burley (@shane_burley1) August 24, 2021
Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, pointed out, “All prior experience shows the Portland police to be extremely reluctant to intervene against the far right, even when they openly announce plans for violence. In contrast, the cops repeatedly assault left-wing groups indiscriminately, following even symbolic displays of resistance. The only difference this weekend is that no antifascists were injured by police.”
Ted Wheeler and the PPB patted themselves on the back for their “effective” tactical victory of the Proud Boys relocating to “a separate area in the city” while they encouraged the city to “choose love” by staying home instead of attending the counter demonstration. There are also emerging claims that Sam Adams may have played a role on behalf of the Mayor’s office in moving the rally to one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Portland. If true, that further shows the city’s willingness to accommodate the Proud Boys and co-sign their violence, highlighting a greater need for community organizing and coalition building to provide alternatives to their ineffectual handling of these violent threats.
“Are you serious? [The Holocaust] didn’t happen? Then f*ck it, what are we waiting for? Let’s make that shit happen. Round ’em up.” – Proud Boy leader, Tiny Toese
The Proud Boys promote white supremacy, genocide, and anti-Semitism on a mass scale. https://t.co/aKogh1s5op
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) August 24, 2021
PPB have also reportedly stopped responding to traffic violations, street racing, and many emergency calls. PopMob believes this “slow down” is a pressure tactic in ongoing negotiations between the city and so-called “police union.” More importantly, it may reflect the general sense of demoralization among rank-and-file officers, who are quitting at record rates. 100+ days of demonstrations last summer showed cops how thoroughly unpopular they are, and they’re responding like spoiled children.
“The cops seem to think that withholding services will prove their value,” Baum says, “but their petulant sulking only discredits them further. It is time the city stops funding their abuse, and invests instead in resources and social services that actually make communities safer.”
PopMob was not involved in organizing the August 22 counter-protest, but are longstanding proponents of “Everyday Antifascism” in Portland. We oppose white supremacy and fascism of all varieties, whether in or out of uniform, and aim to inspire Portlanders to openly and actively counter hate wherever it takes root.