[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #15 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jul 4 15:54:40 EDT 2020

Greetings supporters of peace and justice

Last night six people once again attended the ongoing Friday rally, now 
representing more than 18.5 years of rain-or-shine, pandemic-or-not weekly 
action. We were able to give out several pieces of literature (both Iraq 
fact sheets and Copwatch newsletters), educate people with our signs 
(including the digital reader board Ann Huntwork Memorial Sign for Peace), 
and take a healthy walk around downtown Portland.

We received a number of supportive honking horns and thumbs-ups. The area 
is still eerily empty, probably due to a combination of the stay-at-home 
orders and the businesses boarded up after property damage from the 
ongoing protests against racism and police brutality. Though we're able to 
have as many as 25 people at the Friday rallies now, our numbers were the 
same as before "Phase 1" reopening. Do let us know if you want to be part 
of the rallies.

Before the "announcements" over the mega-cone (orange cone mounted on an 
oil filter wrench, so it has a handle) a few of us debriefed Monday's 
livestream event with Zaher Wahab talking about Afghanistan. It was 
generally agreed that both substantively and technically the event went 
well. If  you haven't watched it yet, here is a direct link you can go to 
and/or share with others:


During announcements, I talked about the fact that Israel did not yet go 
ahead with its planned annexation of much of the West bank on Wednesday, 
mostly because they only have tacit, but not express approval from the 
Trump administration. The plan has brought much international 


I mentioned how Zaher Wahab had explained the international interest in 
Afghanistan, partly for the billions in natural resources waiting to be 
exploited, and how the US still has 8600 troops there.

We also talked about the ongoing struggle for racial justice and police 
accountability. I can't remember whether or not I talked about it on the 
"megacone" but did talk about the fact that City Council approved a one 
year extension of the Police "union" contract Wednesday, even though 
Portland Copwatch and others have been pushing for over a year to fix the 
problems in that contract which inhibit truly holding police accountable.

Also, even though a court in Colombia said that US military troops could
not deploy in the country without express legislative approval, the 
Colombian government claims that since the Americans are merely "advisors" 
they do not have to follow constitutional requirements.


Over by the Apple Store, which is still boarded up and covered with Black 
Lives Matter murals, I talked again about how diverting money from 
military spending could go to health care, housing, education and other 
human needs in this time of crisis-- and always.

For those who noted my curious observation last week that the scrolling 
digital sign keeps cutting out at the end of our event-- it happened 
again. I can almost pinpoint exactly where it happens, at a light pole 
near the northbound MAX tracks at 6th and Yamhill. It similarly cut out on 
my way toward the square near the southbound tracks at 5th and Yamhill. I 
suspect there is some kind of signal being emitted that makes the sign 
shut off. I will look more into this mysterious phenomenon. The good news 
is, the sign keeps running its messages of "US out: Iraq, Afghanistan, 
Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, North America ..." and "Justice 4: 
George Floyd, Andre Gladen, Quanice Hayes, Aaron Campbell, Keaton Otis,
Kendra James..." throughout the rally and march, with the bizarre cut-out 
happening at the very end of each week's event.

Finally, as today marks the United States' independence from Britain, 
let's remember how those horrible hoodlums who had the audacity to destroy 
the property of the British East India Tea company who were condemned for 
not being peaceful protestors. Oh, wait, that's not how history is 
remembering them, my bad. Back then I think people realized property is 
not human life. This brings to mind a statement that was reported in the 
Oregonian, made by a Portland Police non-sworn records clerk who took time 
off, apologizing to her coworkers for perhaps spreading an anti-fascist 
virus among them. She remembered her grandfather fighting fascists in 
World War II and being called a patriot, whereas antifascists (and 
anti-racists) now are being targeted by police and the federal government.


She put forward an easy test for her virus: "Do I support fascism and 
authoritarianism? yes/no"

--dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works
         Iraq Affinity Group
         PO Box 42456
         Portland, OR   97242
         (503) 236-3065
         iraq at pjw.info
         Donate on line: http://www.pjw.info/pjwdonate.html

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