What I saw tonight will be seared into my mind until the day that I die. I saw thousands of people together organized in downtown Portland fighting Trump’s fascist goons.
It’s not war, but it’s a war zone and this was a people’s army. There was “Momtifa,” the Wall of Vets, Teachers against Tyranny, doctors, lawyers, a hundred dads with leafblowers to blow back the thick clouds of tear gas. Kids with hockey sticks and lacrosse nets to toss back munitions. Ranks of medics, Ropes and boltcutters to tear down the fence. A steady stream of fireworks lobbed at the Trump’s Nazis armed to the teeth.
People were working together. Someone had the brilliant idea to spray foam across the thick steel fence at head and torso level. That helped to stop Trump’s goons from firing munitions directly at people.
Commands would be called out, “We need lasers up top,” and a dozen green lights would dance across windows to force away the DHS spotters calling out targets.
As people cut the steel bolts others would use shields to protect their torsos while umbrellas would block camera eyes.
Tear-gas cannisters would come flying over and they would be picked up and lobbed back along with plenty of fireworks.
Virtually everyone was in respirators, gas masks, helmets and fully clothed on a warm summer night. The feds started shooting munitions directly at the crowd. High-velocity projectiles trailing sparks were going straight into the crowd. People were chanting, “Feds go home.”
In the last video, my friend Jordan’s camera is hit. If it wasn’t for the camera, the munition would have hit him in the eye, blinding him or possibly killing him.
I waded into the street onto the frontline. A dozen secret police were massed in the smoke in front of the federal courthouse where the nightly battles rage. A hundred people crouched behind shields in the tear gas as dozens of people with leaf blowers cleared the poison gas. Music was blaring, a few were dancing. A woman crouched gagging, tears and snot running down her face. No one paid her attention. She would be okay.
Explosions were everywhere. Media and livestreamers were recording it all. I retreated to the side of a large oak tree, crouching. OC pepper balls hit the tree, stinging my hand a dozen times. Something slammed into my shoulder like a hammer. It took me a second to realize I was hit.
The feds attacked. People retreated as they unleashed all sorts of weapons. Then the Portland police joined the fray.
I retreated to the sides and watch the cops bull rush the crowd repeatedly, beating and arresting anyone they caught.
The crowd is brave. The crowd also lacks strategy and discipline. I eventually left, jumpy about cops prowling to scoop up victims.
Some people filtered back to confront the feds.
Thousands of Americans in one city are openly rebelling against the government. And it’s parents and nurses and Teamsters and line cooks and teachers and students. They are being joined by people streaming into Portland from all over the Western U.S. They get it. Trump’s fascism needs to be crushed by the people. And it needs to be crushed now. I have been out half a dozen times in the last two weeks. The resistance is overwhelmingly nonviolent. They are facing down armed maniacs with homemade armor. They are extraordinarily courageous.
I’ve been warning for three years Trump is going to bring the war on terror home. It’s begun in Portland. Yeah, every one these wants Trump out, even if that means being replaced by a neoliberal corpse named Joe Biden.
But if you think this can wait until November, that’s like waiting for rescue ships to come to the aid of the Titanic.
Trump needs to be smashed to bits now with massive fierce nonviolent resistance like is happening in Portland right now every night.
I’m old. Out of shape and with a nagging injury that makes it hard to run. But I have to be out there because the determination of these kids is extraordinary. They are fighting for you. They are fighting for your kids and family. For every notion of freedom and liberty you hold dear. Right here, right now. And you need to be out there fighting as well.
It will be too late in November if we don’t act now.