Tonight, activists in Portland, many of them affiliated with Occupy Portland, are planning to gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square in (forgive me) solidarité. They're also calling on people all across the city, if they can't make it down, to bang pots wherever they live. Our local event—maybe better described as a burgeoning Occupy-like movement—is aimed at the rising cost of education here, but also at larger questions of debt (as in, crippling student loans) and the privatization of what ought to be a government function (educating its people).
Many of the protests in Quebec have ended violently, with fringe participants, yes, throwing things at cops—but mostly because of riot cops, working at a numbers disadvantage, throwing things like flash grenades, kettling people to make mass arrests, and using their batons. Portland's organizers have sent a letter to Mayor Sam Adams letting him know they're not getting a permit for tonight's protest but asking him not to send in the riot cops to bust it up.
Hit the jump to read it.
To Mayor Sam Adams, Portland Police:
People of the City of Portland, representing all walks of life, will gather in Pioneer Square at 7 pm on June 11, 2012 to express solidarité with people in Québec and around the world who are asserting their rights to education without lifelong debt-slavery. This event will also mark the beginning of a local effort to organize ourselves against the profiteering of education by the people and institutions that make up the economy’s financial sector. There will be music. There will be dancing. We have invited the public, including yourselves, to join us. This is about highlighting the importance of education, and asserting our right to it. We write to strongly express our desire for this to be a safe event for all.
With that said, we feel it is important to state that we will not pull a city permit for the use of Pioneer Square on June 11 because, in short, public space in the United States was made into a commodity during the last century. We reject the legitimacy of this process and the restriction of expression that has resulted from it. Additionally, the safety that city permits claim to provide explicitly requires our submission to the authority that you frequently abuse. The safety you offer has costs, both in terms of dollars and in the otherwise free movement of our bodies. As recent history demonstrates, to refuse this offer of safety is to accept fully any violence that you may choose to use on us. Again, we reject this. A continuation of your history of violence would not surprise us; still we write to demand better of you, our public servants. Regarding the offer of safety that your permits represent, we write to say “No deal.”
This event will be safe because we, the organizers, will ensure the safety of the people who choose to attend it against any and all people who choose to disrupt it. We thank you for your cooperation in advance.
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