portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

actions & protests | community building

Occupy Open House

Attended the Occupy Open House last night Friday 01/13/2012. Was quite pleased. Glad to see that this is still going on.
Having taken part in Occupy actions, i wanted to attend the Open House last night at St. Francis. I have to say, i was pleased with not only the turnout, but the way in which things were generally well-organized. And it was great seeing tables set up for various facets of this movement, including a radical action table. I got the most from attending the discussion panel on non-violent tactics (held in the Hawthorne room). Everyone who spoke had great points to make, and it was good seeing a couple of 'veteran' activists there who were definitely educated about radical activism and added alot to the discussion. I'm still very open to the concept of "diversity in tactics", but i left the panel satisfied with what i've heard.

Even though OccupyPDX is being head-quartered out of a church (and a catholic one, at that), the over-all vibe was very accepting. And there were only modest reminders that i was still inside a church. So hopefully, as things really start to solidify, Occupy will see a strong resurgence in acouple of months. This miserable country is in desperate need of its own 'Arab Spring'. Especially in this election year, when all of our "options" stink to high heaven.

One last word - i'm hoping that Occupy activists in certain other cities are planning some sort of action to address the criminal voting restrictions that are already under-way in many states. See you in the streets!

 link to blogtown.portlandmercury.com

uh huh.... 14.Jan.2012 14:15

no shit

So, basically it was another white liberal organized occupy event. Overwhelming number of people of color attended?

I'm shocked!

arab spring 14.Jan.2012 19:00


"This miserable country is in desperate need of its own 'Arab Spring'"
Well, then you better forget all the bullshit you heard hyping 'non-violence'.

Domestic Militant 14.Jan.2012 20:44

Haters gonna hate

"So, basically it was another white liberal organized occupy event. Overwhelming number of people of color attended?

I'm shocked!"


Ok dude, OBVIOUSLY you weren't there, so while you're sitting at home not doing a damned thing, let me fill you in.

There were actually quite a lot of POC there in attendance, including myself and including a radical friend of mine. And there were militant POC on the panel discussion as well. But you wouldn't know that, since you WEREN'T there. But since YOU'VE got this shit just ALL FIGURED THE FUCK OUT, and since YOU clearly have far better ideas on how the world should work, i'd love to hear YOUR suggestions.

Less Self-Congratulation, please 14.Jan.2012 21:11

Speaking even though my voice shakes

We went to the Open House as well. As requested, we brought a pie; we brought canned food donations; we brought ourselves and we brought our energy. We have supported the Occupy Movement at the rallies and marches and by donating supplies, although we were not residents of the Occupy encampment. We considered ourselves part of the "Occupy" bandwagon even before it took off.

Just a gentle reminder: There is a strong activist community in Portland spanning across generations and across cultures. Corporate greed has been in existence since probably before the Industrial Revolution. Endless wars of imperialism have drained economic resources. Most of the young people in the Occupy Movement have spent half of their young lives in the shadows of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which wars their lower-income peers and peers of color "volunteered" for as part of the "poverty draft"). People of conscience have been responding to these social injustices, often feeling very unsupported. Nonviolent civil disobedience is not a recent invention, nor does it belong exclusively to the young people in the Occupy Movement (nor of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Department at PSU). There is a documentary, "A Force More Powerful," that can be checked out through the Multnomah County Library, which details the history of nonviolent civil disobedience throughout the world. What seems to make economic justice more pressing now -- and is responsible for the energy behind the "Occupy Movement" -- is that young, white, middle- and upper-class people are now realizing that even with masters and doctorate degrees, they may not have well-paying jobs after graduation and their student loans are coming due! Their rage is palpable because their personal futures are at stake! Welcome to the Movement!

After a horrendous workweek aggravated by the disturbing media coverage of some vicious beatings on public transportation during which no on-lookers intervened to help the victims, we were looking forward to a fun and educational event. We were looking forward to mingling with other committed people, familiar faces and new ones. We were looking forward to (further) education. We were looking forward to visiting the new space and finding out how we can further help.

The opening panel discussion was largely devoted to self-congratulation. The panelists congratulated themselves on being members of a diverse movement, but this was not reflected in the panel. No one appeared to be under the age of 30. There was a white male, a white female, a white female, a Latino male and an African-American male. All seemed to have substantial education -- one was even a "professor." There was no veteran; there was no houseless person; there was no female of color. When the introductions were made, the white folks were the first to introduce themselves. So much time was spent on introductions ("tooting one's horn") that this resulted in a very limited question-and-answer period. When the questions were asked, the white folks also always took the lead. What happened to the "Step up, stand back" principle of cross-cultural organizing? In addition, one of the young white female panelists was encouraging invitations for Occupy to visit classrooms. Apparently Occupy has visited classes in communications and social justice at PSU -- sharing their experience with their peers of other white, educated youth. This young woman also bragged that these classroom presentations were a good public relations opportunity for Occupy: the public would see for themselves that Occupy protestors were not "dirty hippies." "Dirty hippies" is a pejorative. "Dirty hippies" was used to describe the young people protesting the Vietnam War in the 60s. Today it is primarily being used to describe houseless people whose circumstances make hygiene extremely difficult. Occupy organizers should not resort to the language of the corporate media when describing themselves or possibly some of their other marginalized members. The other stereotype that has been applied to Occupy protestors is "over-educated slackers living in their parents' basement." Neither stereotype is worth reinforcing in a forum.

Most of the audience at the Open House considered themselves part of the Occupy Movement. Many had marched the first day or participated in rallies or marches or other actions on other days. A smaller number had camped. Not everyone can sleep in a tent outside City Hall: Some people have work or family commitments. Some people are old with creaky joints or disabled. Some people don't have a tent. Many of these people who could not camp nevertheless supported the encampment as they were able -- many with donations of goods and services. People do as they can, when they can, how they can, in big or small ways.

The workshops were next -- with only 1/2 hour dedicated to workshops. There was even a hierarchy for the workshop presentations. Two workshops merited a room to themselves; the other workshops got to occupy a corner. It was very difficult for workshop participants to determine which corner of the room each workshop was occupying. Searching for the workshops took away some of the 1/2-hour. There were so many people and so many workshops in the small space that no one could hear if they were not sitting right next to the speaker. It was like Charlie Brown and his teacher in the classic cartoon -- burble, burble, blah-blah-blah.

Many people left the open house after the panel discussion. More people left after the workshops.

The booths were high-interest and the people staffing the booths were enthusiastic and personable. It might have been better to have dispensed with the panel discussion, given that so many in attendance at the Open House were familiar with the Occupy Movement, and given floor time to each of the tablers to briefly introduce their work.

The "Occupy Movement" has great potential. Let's try not to fall into the traps that many organizers have fallen into. Engage in less self-congratulations. Create more opportunities for inclusion for those who don't exactly organize the way we do (those dirty words, "diversity of tactics") or mirror white, middle-class values and white, middle-class priorities. Examine why needs that have always been urgent have now so suddenly become pressing. Houselessness has long been a serious problem in Portland; it is only now when middle-class people are in danger of losing their homes due to foreclosure that people are expressing outrage about loss of one's home. Many lower-income young people and young people of color have always had more limited "options" for a bright future; it is only now when middle- and upper-class youth may not get the well-paying jobs they are "entitled to" are people seriously questioning the budget and the war economy. Check your privilege.

A bumpersticker at one of the tables declared, "Let's revive the middle-class." Perhaps more radically and more simply, the message should be, "Share." We're all in this together. Let's come together as equals.

Try on another label 14.Jan.2012 21:43


Your credentials as a militant are suspect given that you found the non-violence discussion to have merit. Seriously, fuck the Occupy bureaucracy so hard - coming from a former occupier who has seen enough of this bullshit first hand to have developed an informed hatred of liberal Occu-opportunists. These people are not allies to actual militants, despite whatever lip service they give to being open and inclusive. Wake the fuck up.

Who were 14.Jan.2012 22:31


radical poc on the panel?

ok... 15.Jan.2012 13:51


Wow, alot of miserable-ass people here. And i thought i was pessimistic. Fine - the Occupy movement is a COMPLETE SHAM. Fuck it, it's a giant cy-ops front. Whatever. Not that i have much hope for the future myself, but i happen to think it's actually a POSITIVE thing that some people still seem to give a shit. And the Open House was far from a "Democratic convention" full of Obama apologists. And even though i don't agree completely 100% with everything that was suggested during the non-violence panel, i still say it was good that the discussion even be had. So YES, i thought the panel had merit. Ofcourse it had MERIT! Doesn't mean that this approach must absolutely be the "right" way for everyone. And i'm sorry, but i don't recall "claiming" to have credintials in anything. Didn't know that this was a "militant dick-measuring" contest.

But since EVERYBODY involved in anyway with Occupy is a fraud, i'd love to hear better ideas proposed here.

so who were they? 15.Jan.2012 18:53


Who were the panel speakers? Thank you!

Since you're askiing... 15.Jan.2012 20:41


"Who were the panel speakers? Thank you!"


If you're asking ME, i don't remember the names of everyone who spoke. I mostly just listened to what they had to say. However, if i wanted to revisit WHO SPECIFIALLY was on the panel Friday night (say, for research purposes, for example), the first thing i'd do is go to the OCCUPY PORTLAND web site and see if i can find a list of speakers from that night.

all this talk about "militants" is pretty funny 15.Jan.2012 23:10


Unless you're engaged in armed rebellion, stop patting yourself on the fucking back when you talk about militants and how occupy doesn't respect your hardcore stance against the police state.

Please note, standing with your arms linked and getting pepper sprayed and arrested does not make you a militant. Wearing a black bandana and carrying a banner with a spy vs. spy looking "bomb" drawn on it does not make you a militant. Spraying a circle-A on buildings and parked police cars does not make you a militant. And claiming "solidarity" with people who risked actual death (and died) in arab spring uprisings does not make you a militant.

So when you piss and moan that Occupy (or any other movement) doesn't appreciate, respect or condone your "militant" tactics, please remember that you aren't actually bringing anything even remotely resembling that kind of resistance to the table.

Funny how? 16.Jan.2012 07:17


Militancy doesn't mean armed struggle.

Militant: Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause.

So yes, actively resisting the police and engaging in property destruction does make you a militant. Language can also be militant. And again, the liberal faction of Occupy that rents space at the church are not allies to militants.