[pjw] INFO: ACLU calls out Mayor Hales for telling people not to protest

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Nov 16 14:13:00 EST 2016

Hi Peace and Justice Works supporters

On Monday, the ACLU posted the below letter to its website, sent to 
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales after he told people to stop protesting and 
instead do work over the next four years to change who's in elected 

There are a lot of other issues that need to be examined, including but 
not limited to:

--the police declaring a protest a "riot" when only a few people were 
causing property damage and live TV coverage showed demonstrators milling 
about while police stood with their thumbs in their utility belts

--the media playing a role in showing confrontational tactics over and 
over again rather than being amazed that thousands flooded the streets 
(and freeways) in peaceful protest

--the correlation of property damage to violence, which really acts to 
marginalize when such tactics are used to, say, damage draft records, mark 
recruiting stations with bloody handprints, or hit the nose cone of a 
missile with a hammer-- or for that matter, ending up condemning the 
uprisings in cities after police violence (Los Angeles/Rodney King, 
Ferguson/Michael Brown). There are many ways to protest government 
policies, while those are not tactics that we choose to use we can 
understand the underlying anger.

--the media (and others) labeling everyone who is dressed in black, 
and/or wearing a face covering, and/or engaging in those tactics as 
"anarchists" even though they didn't ask their political leanings. Most 
anarchists I know don't believe in property destruction or violence, just 
a non-hierarchical society. It's intellectually lazy (and politically 
expedient) to label those protestors "anarchists." It's also clear from 
history that occasionally such people turn out to be undercover police or 
their hires.
Oakland 2014:
Toronto 2007:

--along these lines, Gregory McKelvey of the new group Portland 
Resistance, which has been leading many of the protests, has, echoing the 
above concerns, noted that MLK said a riot is the voice of the unheard, 
and advised people not to interfere or argue with others' activism, if 
they don't want to be engaged with the destruction, to walk away.

Your thoughts welcome.
dan h
peace and justice works

An Open Letter to Mayor Hales Regarding Free Speech
November 14, 2016

    Dear Mayor Hales,

    The ACLU of Oregon joins the calls urging those few who have been
    engaged in violence and vandalism during the protests to stop. However,
    we fully rebuke both your calls for the protests to end and your
    statement that protest cannot effect change in our democracy. American
    history, indeed world history, is full of stories of protest that
    opened the path to change.

    Peaceful assembly and protest is at the heart of our democracy. It may
    not always be convenient or pretty, but we think it is powerful.
    Protest is:

    > a means of expression when people feel unheard through other methods;

    >  a beacon of solidarity and connection to people who resonate with
    the message of the protesters;

    >  a way to spark conversations and debate about important issues; and

    >  an opportunity to form community and connections, which can lead to
    further organizing and action.

    In a democracy, our government officials should not retreat in the face
    of raised voices and protest. Rather, it is their duty to listen and
    harness those voices to move our community toward the realization of
    liberty and justice for all. No doubt it is hard work, but that is what
    we elected you to do.

    Since Election Day, thousands of Oregonians have taken to the streets
    in protest. Mr. Mayor, you do not get to decide when their protest is

    You have noted that you believe the outcome of the presidential
    election did not reflect Portland's values. One of Portland's values is
    to come together and take to the streets when there are fears, sadness,
    and anger over political events. And should the Trail Blazers win a
    championship, rest assured Portlanders will take to the streets in

    So please, Mr. Mayor, do not dismiss the protests. Empathize with your
    constituents' fears, and if you cannot give them hope for change, at
    least respect their right to ask for it.

    The ACLU of Oregon

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