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Fast Food Activism

Some thoughts on the A-22 and I-war settlements

I agree with some of the posts on this site and with Lloyd Marbet that this settlement has not as of yet made any noticeable difference in the brutality and oppression of the Portland Police.

However, for those of you who know me, I have been involved in trying to bring accountability to the police for years. See the Majority Report on the city of Portland website. I don't do this for recognition or for monetary gain. My grandparents were dragged out in the middle of the night by nazi thugs in uniform to be gassed to death at Auschwitz. I am genetically inclined to do battle with the forces of oppression for the sake of my grandparents and my children and grandchildren. Like everyone else, I appreciate appreciation, but don't expect it.

I, like Lloyd, would have preferred some written policy changes. However after negotiating for five months, the city offered us only watered down policy directives that were meaningless. I was not ready to recommend some meaningless piece of paper to my clients.

This law suit, BY ITSELF, will accomplish little change. I agree. However, all of the Plaintiffs and lawyers, other than Lloyd, have committed to funding the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center, a project of the National Lawyers Guild.

All of the guild lawyers who I have spoken with nationally, who have worked in mass prosecution of protest cases and who have sued other cities over protest violations tell me that if you keep hitting them in their pocketbook, again and again, they will change.

Los Angeles is now a much more First Amendment friendly town than before because the city council realized they would go bankrupt if they didn't reel in their cops. This is a good example of what we can do here.

Here is what we plan to do. We will sue again and in fact we are gathering evidence from the latest demonstrations including videos and photos that we plan to share soon.

We will depose and investigate the police. We hired private investigators to go after Herr Kruger and will do it again and again if the police continue to violate your Consitutional Rights.

We plan to buy cameras and train people in using them including African-American youth in North Portland so that those streets can be safer from police brutality.

We plan to keep files on them, like they keep files on us. Touche!

The beauty of this is--that we won a battle. Wow, that is hard for some of the left to accept. We can win? Something must be wrong with it? -------------NOT!!

This is not my victory or the Plaintiffs or the legal team. It is yours. You can appreciate it, use it or spit on it. It is your choice. But if you have strong opinions either way, please do something more than simply criticize the good works of others. Get up off your ass and put your ideas into action. Then come talk to me.

For those who expect one law suit to make fundamental changes in the system, don't understand the system. The system will not allow it. As Arthur Kinoy once said, justice is a constant struggle.

I, like my colleagues, have made a life-time committment to making positive changes. Activism is not a fast foods phenomenon. The struggles we engage in and the efforts we make to change society may not even come to fruition within our lifetimes.

All we can do is try our best and use as many tools that are available to get the work done.

We did win a battle here,

and if I have my way, we will continue to do battle.

Will you join me?

We plan to throw a celebration party and you ALL ARE INVITED.


Alan Graf,
a hippy who kicked police butt
and plans to do it again.

homepage: homepage: http://www.nwcrc.org

img 02.Dec.2004 17:25



Hip, hip hoorah! 02.Dec.2004 18:07


Bravo! I WILL come. When's the party? A few say it was not a "win," but it definitely was progress, and I respect and appreciate it highly. My trust is with Graff. I certainly don't trust or respect the Ptld. police and I'll be watching and attending the Jan. 20 inauguration protests in Ptld. We simply want a VOICE, not violence. Peace.

Perspective 06.Dec.2004 10:18


On August 22nd, 2002, the police officers sworn "to serve and protect" pepper sprayed our babies. They visciously assaulted the people of this city in an unforgettable orgy of bloodlust. Draped in the padded, black ritual garb of the cult of global domination, they unleashed whole arsenals of what they euphemistically call "less lethal weapons." And they did it all to protect the bush regime from the voice of the people, and to protect a few millionaires from the "smell" of those "icky protesters." The corporate media nodded along, calling us "loiterers," "malcontents," and worse, even blaming us for bringing our children to be exposed to the chemicals doused upon them by the police. Some of their street reporters were as wet with pepper spray as we were, but their broadcasts were as bland and lifeless as if they were reporting the weather. While KATU parroted the PIO's assertion that they had done nothing wrong, KPTV's Beth English demanded that the police learn to tell "real" reporters like her from the rest of the rabble, so they would not pepper spray her again.

Similarly, in March of 2003, the local minions of the global class war dragged people off sidewalks and beat them in the streets if they dared to resist the war we were all being dragged into. More than 100,000 people died in Baghdad while the PPB brutally silenced any and all dissent against the massacre. Many people were sadistically attacked with chemical weapons, though they had committed no crime other than believing in their constitutional right to free assembly.

Something must be done.

No, $300,000 is not nearly enough. And yes, the legal system is still the system, which cannot be reformed. Certainly there is room for questioning the wisdom of putting all our hopes into a few lawsuits. And yes, there is much more that can, and must be done to stop the brutal thugs in riot gear that keep showing up in our streets. But having said that, I take my hat off for Alan, and for the people who had the courage and the will to MAKE THEM PAY.

Yeh, yeh, I know, I get all squeamish about lawyers profiting off the misery of others too. But tell me what else has been done in the 2+ years since A22 to hold those monsters accountable? Listen, when someone's got my back, I'm grateful. And every time I find myself facing down the mesomorphs in the streets of Portland (or wherever else), I'm fucking grateful to see the green hats of the legal observers behind me. Just as I'm grateful today that Alan and the defendants stuck it out this far and made the city pay. As a person who works with the city's poor, I'm also grateful that Lloyd thought about where the money is likely to come from, but the $300,000 price tag is gonna make a lot more frantic policy changes at the PPB than a few polite words on paper might have.

This settlement not only guarantees some second thoughts before anyone authorizes the pigs to mow down protesters in the streets again, it also exposes the lies told by the corporate media on A22 and in the dark days of March, 2003. If things happened the way they said they did, why on earth is the city willingly forking over 300Gs?

So yeh, I agree that there's more to do. I agree that legal solutions are usually only about tweaking something that cannot be fixed. And I laud Lloyd Marbet for not taking the money. But that doesn't mean we can't acknowledge a battle won, and an activist lawyer who has earned some congratulations.

Hats off, Alan!