15 October 2011

Occupy Portland, 15 October 2011

I went to today's Occupy Portland rally downtown. The turn-out was impressive; I'm no good at estimating crowd sizes, but it must have been several thousand.

It was a joint rally combined with another group's protest against the war in Afghanistan. This increased the impression of lack of focus from which the Occupier movement still suffers; while the two causes may well have a considerable overlap in supporters, they are distinct.

Nevertheless, judging by the signs displayed, most people were there for the Occupier rally; the dominant themes were inequality, jobs, and the criminality of the rapacious financial sector.

[Click on any photo for a bigger version.]

I don't know what was up with all the tents -- there were far more than you see here. Perhaps a permanent encampment is planned? Update: I got this wrong -- there has already been a permanent encampment there for over a week.

There was a good cross-section of citizenry. Few people gave me the impression of being students, hippies, unwashed, or any of the other clich├ęs favored by MSM coverage of the movement.

The majority of the signs were home-made, and expressed a wide range of sentiments.

The march paused for a rally which featured music and speeches, both at earsplitting volume which made it difficult to talk with people. The speeches ranged from on-target to frankly incoherent ranting on the Middle East. Proponents of various causes weaved through the crowd giving out leaflets. Jarringly, the Israel-bashers were out in force.

One leaflet I was handed by a serious-looking man my own age was for a "Jobs with Justice" march next weekend; I may well go.

In an absolutely grotesque display of missing the point, there were even some Ron Paul supporters present; I can only assume they were trying to glom onto the out-of-Afghanistan element, not us. They even joined the march when it started up again. The danger of co-optation by the right has been raised already and it needs to be firmly squelched; the Occupier movement, if it is to stand for anything at all, must be explicitly anti-libertarian.

But I think most people present did get the point. There were even at least two signs supporting the AJA, and most participants were clearly there for the economic / anti-financial-sector cause.

And I've never heard so many supportive honks from passing cars. I didn't see a single one go by without enthusiastically blaring its salute.

It's still early, but my current feeling about all this is much more optimistic than my initial assessment of it. From here in Portland, at least, it looks like the start of something very big.


Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Neat. I like the fact that there are so many different age groups participating. I love it that the youth got this whole thing started, but I love it more seeing older people taking part. That's a very good sign.

15 October, 2011 21:26  
Anonymous nonnie9999 said...

one of my blog friends attended occupy santa rosa in california saturday. she said that 1,000 were expected, and 3,000 showed up. the reason that came to mind when i read your post, infidel, is that she said the same thing you did. she was amazed at the support of the motorists driving by. they were honking and waving in solidarity, even though traffic was slowed down by the protesters.

16 October, 2011 00:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: There was definitely a broad range of ages including plenty of older people (who often had the best signs, in fact).

Nonnie: The movement clearly has wide support. Even people who won't take the time to go to a rally, or didn't hear about it, will show how they feel when they see it.

One thing I forgot to mention in the post is that there was a police escort, more than a dozen officers and two cars. I saw one sign that said "Remember, the police are part of the 99%". Quite different from the brutality in New York and Boston.

16 October, 2011 04:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At a similar rally here in Lansing this weekend. How uplifting to be among progressive activists - people of healthy mind and soul. People who care about their country.

Below is a little youtube clip featuring these 'thugs' ...

Keep up the fight Infidel!



16 October, 2011 08:43  

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