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july 4 flag-burning reportback

So, some of us (anarcho-kids, mostly) went down to the waterfront to burn flags and drop our banner, last night. It didn't go so well, but I felt like it was worth doing.
We got downtown at 9, then hung out and waited for everyone to show up (maybe 15 in total), then went and dropped our banner from the Morrison Bridge. There were people standing over the waterfront, so we had to drop it over Naito Parkway. It had a native american on it pointing out and said "What the fuck are you celebrating?" There was almost no reaction to that, so we were able to press on. There were cops coming up the walkway of the bridge so we took another way down. We went down by the bridge and stood for a minute collecting our thoughts. There were more people this year than last year, it was much more densely packed.

We went under the bridge, where there is concrete, and we lit up our flags. It took a while to light them, but once they caught, they burned very quickly. A few people yelled sarcastic things from the distance "yeah, woohoo, fuck freedom", but there was very little response. The flags went out and we stood around for a while, sort of wondering if we should leave or what. We didn't have time to answer the question in our heads because we were quickly being surrounded by muscley-men, shouting anti-gay and anti-women slurs at us and shoving us around. Some of us were shoving back, but by in large we were trying to keep the conflict a verbal one. Soon there were too many people to talk to, so that even the few muscley-men who were trying to talk couldn't be heard over the ones that expressed that they only wanted combat. A man in a wheelchair flashed his pistol from under his seat, and I decided that would be a good time to begin the retreat. Others were already walking backwards, and I did the same. A man from behind me (the direction we were retreating to) wanted to actually know why hated america, so I started talking to him, when from behind me a kid came and punched me from behind. While that was happening, another person in our group got punched from behind, and the person who punched him got pepper-sprayed. That agitated them more, and they came with full force pushing us away. We retreated into downtown, and walked each other to our respective busses and bikes.

Kinda a sucky experience, my jaw doesn't open quite right at the moment, but fuck, it was worth it. Portland, a city that I would guess has the most radicals per capita, and out of the non-radicals, almost all are at least progressives, gets sacked a few times a year. One of those times being the 4th of July. Every bumpkin piece of shit comes out of hiding, flocks together and says and does ignorant shit in the name of nationalism. And the pollution of the fucking sulfur being shot into the river to-boot. We need to reclaim our waterfront. We need to create a safe-space for opposing viewpoints. I would not have taken a young kid to this, but I'd like at some point to have a place where people with opposing viewpoints can state their feelings in a way which best fits the determination with which they feel it, no matter what their age, gender, size, sexuality, and feel like they're safe in doing so. And the only way we can do that is by paving the way. Letting them know that they can fight us, and look like the ignorant jingoists they are, but we're going to be here, and nothing they can do can stop us.

It also reminded me of an important lesson I read about long ago... the difference between freedoms and rights. MLK started talking about this later in his life. The government fools us by using the two as synonyms. I have plenty of rights. And truth be told, this country may give more rights than anywhere else in the world, but rights are worthless. The MLK example was poor people of color being given the right to eat in any restaurant they choose, but they don't have the freedom to eat in those restaurants, because the disparate economic system leaves them without the means to pay for it. Along the same line, I have the right to burn the flag in public, but by in large, I'm unable to. I'm without the freedom to burn the flag. I have the right to elect an official that votes the way I want him or her to, and if they don't vote the way I want, I have the right to vote them out. But I haven't the freedoms that go along with that, because all politicians, furthest left to furthest right, have been bought by the corporations long ago, and the one or two who haven't never stand a chance. I have rights, I have more rights than I could ever possibly use, but I've never seen the tools to use them... the freedoms that make them real. I don't know how to see those freedoms, but I know the state isn't going to be helping me along the way. We're going to have to figure it out on our own.

There are pictures, but we have to wait for the person who took them to blur the faces and post them.

thanks anarkid! 05.Jul.2007 14:12

john brown

You've got guts, and an insightful analysis of the situation to boot!

breaking the spell of genocide and imperialism 05.Jul.2007 14:53

bandito

I hope our actions on the 4th at least made a few people think, or at least question, the true meaning of, "independence day." Now I know most of those drunk macho baffoons who attacked us could care less about intellectual debate, or freedom of speech. Non the less, we crashed their party. As small as it may have been, we threw a wrench in the gear of their propaganda machine. For a split second we broke the spell.

It's funny to me to look at the arguments of opposing side. It's always either a personal attack or a racist, sexist or homophobic slur. One was explaining to me that all non-Americans are terrorists, another who happened to be in the military, just shouted homophobic obcenities. It's never a coherent or even intelligent argument, they just spew all the shit that the media, government, and military teaches them. It scares me to think that fascism is truly the mainstream.

some photos 05.Jul.2007 16:36

camera eye

here are a couple photos

LOVE YOU KIDS! 05.Jul.2007 19:10

Marlena Gangi en_lucha@riseup.net

Rock on!


2 more photos 05.Jul.2007 21:26

camera eye

First is the banner that was dropped over the bridge

Second is a photo of the attackers

Way to go 06.Jul.2007 00:05

Wee Raven

I am sorry to hea about you sore faces... I can tell you egos did not take a similar beating. I am glad you all are atill going stong when so many hide in fear right now... even those we all respect. You guys are and always have been ... pretty fucking awesome.

Thanks 06.Jul.2007 10:16

rhonda sweet_earth_lover@hotmail.com

Thank you for doing something VISIBLE to protest the rabid nationalism on 7/4....all I did was sit and grumble to my honey. I especially like the "What the F are you celebrating?" sign.

Since I moved to Portland 6 years ago, I have witnessed that the black-clad anarchists have been the ones who consistently push the envelope and get their message across. I've heard many negative comments from life-long "nonviolent" activists about the actions of the so-called Black Bloc. These same ones play within the mutually agreed upon guidelines for protest, right down to choreographed civil disobedience (been there, done that). This seems to have zero effect upon the ruling elite. Then, the latter have the nerve to criticize the formers' strategy and its effectiveness.

Anyway, my thanks again and stay strong.

Stay The Course 08.Jul.2007 13:36

boomer joe

You did well! Thank you.

There are some who are fascist to the core and will not change, but there are many more who will be inspired to leave their fences and look into why people would perform such an outlandishly creative action. There is lots of room for lots of tactics.

CIA out of Brazil 10.Jul.2007 15:10

braulio

July 4th, a day to celebrate Amerika's independence from England.
We can not celebrate freedom and independence if Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) psychos are harvesting terror around the globe.
CIA out of Brazil.

Daily Routine of Violence in the Peripheries of Rio de Janeiro Increase with Pan American Games
 http://www.indymedia.org/en/2007/07/888504.shtml
CIA out of Brazil
CIA out of Brazil

I love you 13.Jul.2007 19:07

next time invite me

I would have been there standing by your side. I bought fireworks 5 years ago for the 4th of July, but did not light them mainly because I was sick of how much pollution it puts in the air, especially combined with everyone else's on the 4th. You know what? They are still sitting in my closet because I don't know what to do with them. Then I started thinking on how much it resembles war.....the sounds, the smell, even packages come with little tanks and other crap. I usually spend my 4th doing nothing, that is my protest. But if I would have known about this, I would be there. I expect that every 4th of July this group will be getting bigger and bigger. Thank you so much! I will be there next time!