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A bold new civil liberties strategy for Portland

It's time to focus the energies of the thousands of people in our city who don't agree with the policies of the federal government regime, and who even suspect foul play in these elections. At the local level, there are fresh faces on the City Council and a chance to start afresh with a strong new program. Here are some specific ideas for that program.
Now is the time for a bold, aggressive new agenda for protecting civil liberties in Portland from an irresponsible and reckless federal regime. There are new faces on our city council, offering the chance to start fresh. And people in our city, the vast majority of whom do not agree with the outcome of these elections -- and in many cases distrust even the election procedures themselves -- need a strong program for their energies to coalesce around.

I think it's time to revisit and re-energize the fight on a bunch of issues, such as:

Why do we continue to allow the Portland Police Bureau to cooperate with the FBI in ongoing fishing expeditions against citizens of our city? The results so far don't suggest that the FBI is really conducting an effective fight against "terrorism." The quality of the cases they've developed and brought doesn't reveal them to be on the trail of the elusive, insidious, and imminent threats of dark conspiracy against our fair city that the government and media have hyped. Rather, they look more and more like politically motivated grasping and overreaching in search of a justification for their own budgets and increasing power. Disband JTTF and replace it with a case-by-case approach. When FBI has a case that's strong enough to withstand the scrutiny of outside oversight and considers it necessary to call on local law enforcement to assist it, let it present the case for review and a City Commissioner can sign off to activate the JTTF. Otherwise, what we have is a permanently institutionalized Red Squad which will do little or nothing to stop the dubious and elusive threat of "terrorism," but a lot to squelch our civil liberties and harrass our citizens.

Pass an Arcata style resolution against the "patriotic" act finally!

Pass an ordinance withdrawing police protection from visiting high-profile federal officials, on the grounds that the City of Portland cannot afford to expose itself to the legal liability of cooperating with the Secret Service's illegal, abusive tactics against citizens exercising their free expression rights at public events. Any such protection or cooperation with Secret Service must, once again, be requested and reviewed by City Commissioners on a case-by-case basis, taking care to negotiate event-specific protocols in advance to protect civil liberties. In the event that the request is approved, the City should estimate the cost of such services and hand the feds the bill in advance. If the feds don't like this, let them provide their own policing and foot the bill themselves. No more PPB cops pepperspraying babes in arms!

Pass a resolution reminding all city officials that, in the event of any conflict between any federal law, regulation, or edict, and local and state laws, local officials are to be guided by local laws first. Also, the City should advise all public officials that any federal orders, decrees, or regulations violating the US Constitution are illegal, null and void, and may not be enforced in our city.

Create a "Citizens Review Board" for federal actions that violate civil liberties. Local citizens could bring reports of cases where they feel their rights have been violated by federal officials. The review board would be empowered to review the cases and, where appropriate, recommend that the City file amicus briefs or otherwise intervene on their behalf.

Just a few ideas. What do you think?

Let's do it 10.Nov.2004 13:47


These are very good ideas. For Portland to pass an ordinance refuting the Patriot Act would be a very significant and great achievement. I like the idea of the citizens review board as well. It is very important that we strenghten our own citizens movements by forming these types of "citizen government" groups. Also, strenghtening our relationships with local government officials, with our representatives is very important now that we have few friends at the top.
How do we go about starting this ban of the Patriot Act resolution?

We're already part way there! 10.Nov.2004 14:22


As it happens, the Portland city council already did finally pass a resolution criticizing the Patriot Act, though I doubt it goes as far as Arcata, California (Arcata actually imposes a fine on any city officials who cooperate with the enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions of the Patriotic Act!) Now, with new faces on the council, we should be able to go a lot further, especially if there's vocal demonstrations in the streets and a great turnout of citizens at the council itself raising these demands. Check out  http://www.rights101oregon.org/ for more info. To quote a great patriotic call-to-arms, "Let's roll!"

County Commissioners Voting On Resolution Against PATRIOT ACT 10.Nov.2004 15:37

Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

A 7 minute audio file of a speaker from a PATRIOT Act forum last Friday evening. Dr. Herman Frankel speaks about an upcoming vote on a Resolution criticizing the USA PATRIOT Act taking place at the Multnomah County Commissioners on 12/9/04. He encourages people to write to the Commissioners detailing their grieveances against the PATRIOT Act.

Dr. Herman Frankel

Other speakers from this forum are available at the link supplied.

Issues and struggle. 11.Nov.2004 06:23


Should these issues be isolated or removed from the context of a broader struggle twards specific goals? Broader struggle meaning revolution? This work should be placed where it belongs in the context of steps twards a greater revolutionary effort.
If people are working on this we should work together, but not at the cost of halting our ability to do other things like this in the future. Framing this as local issue only (and in some part it is) isolates the context of the work, in seperation from say struggles to secede. And if we do not address this interpretation of context, and make these connections who will? Those that seek to harm our efforts? Those that seek to make these connections in ways that harm rather than help us? Or perhaps any random chauvanist eager to step into the post election vacume created by the fall of leadership on the left?

Resist to secede,

PATRIOT ACT and PJTTF 12.Nov.2004 16:35


The resolution against the P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act's portions that infringe on state law is a good start. I'm glad the city council did that!!! However, the enforcement of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act is locally overseen by the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force. This is the arrangement between Portland Police and FBI, funded by us (taxpayers) to use the Act to disrupt the activities of leftwing, rightwing, people of color, muslim, and many other organizations based on thier ideology.
for more info on the PJTTF:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/301144.shtml

The city council will meet on December 22, 2004, 10:30 am.
It will take place in the chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

This date could change as easily as the last 2 did so watch the site or call the Auditors office 503/823-4082 for confirmation if you have any questions. We should ALL show up, to tell them exactly what we think, and that this expenditure doesn't fit our priorities- and infringes on our right to dissent.