most of America
breathed a collective sigh of relief at the historic April 20 verdict
in the Derek Chauvin trial, Portland Oregon, saw its most
inexplicable night yet of chaos.
the same day as the Chauvin verdict, Portland police shot and killed
a man experiencing houselessness, within four minutes of arriving at
Lents Park, where he had been carrying a toy gun. This added even
more chaos to our already Def-Con 9 situation.
damage to a Boys
And Girls Club
wrought by rioters that night in NE Portland made no sense, even in a
city dubbed “Little
by President George H.W. Bush's Secret Service, after protesters in
the late 1980s and early 1990s cemented our national reputation as a
protest problem child.
protests, while chaotic, were also creative, meant to spur our war
consciousness, designed to shock as did the three protesters who
up red, white and blue in front of the President’s motorcade in
1990. These current “protests” really need to find
another name. They are designed to cause harm to a community already
devastated by a year of covid plus epidemic violence.
rages on and the death count due to homicides piles up, one young
activist told me last week in their neighborhood, machetes are
selling for $3. We’ve already had historic Gun
and ammunition sales, selling an unbelievable 516,000 guns in 2020,
now machetes? To what end?
a psychiatrist, the fact I find the most senseless in the tragic
death of Mr. Delgado is that he was terrified of the police. Yet
another heartbreaking truth is that we have a mental health unit
dedicated to assessing situations exactly like these. This unit, the
was not called because of the presumption that Mr. Delgado had a gun.
what I mean? Nothing makes sense anymore.
the final insult in my book was our Mayor’s April 27th press
conference, timed at precisely the same time as Mr. Delgado’s
family press conference, calling for public citizens to put
themselves in harm’s way and “Unmask”
the black bloc doing damage to our city’s windows.
lack of human empathy shown to the Delgado family in the timing of
the conference, the prioritization of property over human life, not
to mention the failure of leadership shown by the City administration
over the past year has our city defending itself yet once again.
protest community is fighting back. The day before the Mayor's
disastrous press conference, black activists wrote the Best
yet, putting our anarchist community on notice. In the words of Layla
Saad, a world-famous anti-racist educator, it was a Calling
they wrote, "Revolutionary times call for revolutionary
measures, but success requires thoughtful action. Actions that
neither increase solidarity nor broadcast purpose while making the
lives of local Black communities more difficult is not acceptable."
I wish these words had stood on their own in a city, like most in
America, in desperate need of anti-racism work, we are showing the
world how not
to do it, one action at a time.
our federal government is
listening, for the first time in four years. The Department of
Justice sent a Letter
to our City for violating the terms of their 2014 settlement overuse
of force. And just yesterday, the Oregon attorney general and
Multnomah County District Attorney announced a Joint
into the death of Mr. Delgado, and the policing practices that led to
it, a welcome sign of civilization.
my former life as a trained psychoanalyst, I spent a lot of time
studying the ways we as humans act, both conscious and unconscious,
some actions inexplicable even to ourselves.
I can tell you about the anarchists is this, if their actions are
designed to act out of rage against the system of capitalism and to
provoke society into self-reflection, it's not working. They forgot
to take into account Backfire.
their minds, smashing the Boys and Girls club—a nonprofit
mostly serving brown and black children—makes perfect sense if
the intention is to show that nothing is sacred.
one anonymous Youth Liberation Front member said in the “Beat
the Bastards” podcast several months back:
we have to work inside the system and not just outright destroy it,
it gives the people in charge, in this case, Ted Wheeler, two
options. You can go with, in his mind, the violent rioters wanting to
destroy everything or the peaceful ones. He's always going to take
the peaceful marches but they are still out there demanding school
resource officers out of school and ending the gang violence unit. I
guess if we are working with the system then any progress is good.
hindsight, this quote explains the Boys and Girls club destruction
perfectly. In a movement unhinged, they have decided to work not just
outside the system but with the intent to destroy society.
is a public to do with an ideology so extremely destructive? As we
wrestle with this as a city, my personal goal is this: to meet
destruction with understanding.
am doing the most radical thing I know how–I am armed only with
love. I’d love to talk with the young anarchists face-to-face
someday. I doubt they are reading this article; they even blocked me
on Twitter. But if they are reading this now, I hear you, I see you.
a world that is upside down with climate change, income inequality,
social injustice, and massive amounts of denial, I understand your
frustration. I share it. Our systems must change, on this, we agree.
my heart, I cannot find it in me to give up. If we want to win, we
cannot meet hate with more hate. Nonviolence is not an ideology, as
much as it is a way of life that can be both confrontational and
is my mantra:
commentary was originally published by PeaceVoice.info