This article is my attempt at initial post-event reflections. I want to cover some ideas I have for the present and future of social movements in light of our successes.
First some more facts on the police-military infrastructure. I estimated around 100-200 police on the streets. This could be inaccurate as they may have changed clothes at various times and we couldn't see the reinforcements in the center or hidden in buildings. A loose estimate would be as follows: 50 police on bikes, 50 riot cops, 50 officers in normal uniforms, 10 on horse back, and 10 in cars. That is my low estimate. Also note, see my pictures after this, that a military helicopter with an enormous gun circled us as well as police choppers. There were also snipers on the roofs. They had the industrial pepper spray cans, all the toys of bean bags, rubber bullet, and pepper spray bullet cans, prison busses, riot busses, and so on ad nauseam. If anyone knows what the mysterious armored PSSI van with massive satellite dish was please post or comment.
On the future and present,
I see three things we can make out of this
1. A strong police accountability campaign, whereby we can address the concerns of police civil and human rights violations, intimidation, and isolation from community accountability. We can make them protect and serve.
2. A coalition of alternative non-corporate media to inform Portlanders of the world and local news.
3. The building of stronger organizations working for social change.
Given the wide awareness and access to the event we have the chance to grab the attention of the populace and allow people to empower themselves to work for change. It was clear on the streets; people are fed up and want an outlet for their disputes. Also with many of the major media outlets utilizing Indymedia, massive posting and viewing of this resource, and the wonderful support of KBOO [though after some community pressure], it is the perfect time for us to take back the media. With our numbers growing and an international community observing us, an alliance to seize the media out from under business interests is ready. I am not saying that revolution will come tomorrow. Instead I see very clear attainable goals of some serious outreach, community building, and winning of attainable local goals. What we do now may set the stage for the rest of the country. We caught them off guard, now we should drive them as far as we can take them.