The headline Occupy Protestors Do Some Damage shocked us. Just across the river in our family's neighborhood--not downtown. It was an Oregonian story buried on the second page of the Metro of Tuesday's Oregonian. According to news reports, the people who did the window-breaking and related damage (a 15 year old boy among them) were not representative of an Occupy group. The "official (?)" group was on a nighttime march intended to protest police brutality in Oakland, California. From the news report:
"At one point, protesters began fighting among themselves, arguing about how to proceed. Some demonstrators advocated keeping the protest peaceful and others disagreed."
As I wrote here a few days ago, Occupy Portland seems unfocused in its publicized interest in stopping housing foreclosures. Others have questioned consequences of the dominant "whatever" attitude, the resistance to organizational structure or any form of leadership.
"...happy to see the Park occupation end. We'd lost control. Totally. By the end, we had 75 to 80 percent homeless there."
Duin echoes what I wrote here five days ago on the need for focus and positive actions on substantive issues:
"...[they] must remain engaged in the housing and health care debates, link arms with the interfaith commmunity and remind Portlanders that the symbol of free speech has evolved from a speakers' corner..."
His column must have been delivered to the paper before Monday night's outbreak. I look forward to a follow-up column. Perhaps he can decode the twisty rationale at Occupy Oregon, titled "Police Respond Violently to Anti-Police Brutality March."
A non-violent movement must find a way to distance itself from any kind of violence. It must also look at its own behavior. If its anti-police-violence statements and marches attract out of control actors, then is this an appropriate use of its time and energy when there are on the ground issues that need attention?
And so I unsubscribe.