FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jumping to the Front of the Occupy Parade

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

I went with friends to the Occupy Portland event at Pioneer Courthouse Square Portland at Noon last Friday. It was headlined by the band Pink Martini who played a bunch of songs in between a series of speakers. The GLBT folks were out in force and somewhat dominant in the event, as it was convened by Thomas Lauderdale, the hyper bandleader of Pink Martini who is securely tied to the GBLT community and the Oregon Democratic Party.
The speakers were an assortment of ministers, rabbis, an imam and then a woeful spokesperson for the actual Occupiers – who were camped a few clocks away. Then a rah rah “we’re here to lead you” speech by the head of Oregon’s AFL-CIO. Then a couple political hacks, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) came on and cheer-led the crowd with substanceless speeches. DeFazio’s speech was as void of substance as his 26-year Congressional record is of any accomplishments; but, if he’s done anything in those 26 years, it’s to refine his phony hissy fit persona to perfection.
It was a textbook example of folks “jumping to the head of the parade.” With classic Portland New Age babble, cribbing from their usual GLBT speeches, minister after rabbi talked ludicrously about “inclusiveness.” They even brought up the need to get to 100%! — That the other 1% were actually part of us and hurting, too and we need to “include” them.
What it wasn’t, though, was anything close to “inclusive,” itself. There was not much political analysis at all, if any. They certainly did not “include” any left analysis of just what is wrong or any real look at just why all those folks are camping out just down the street from the Square. The only speech that was remotely political was Paul Cienfuegos speaking on Corporate personhood.The only thing remotely connected to our devastated environment was a sentence by one speaker about fracking for natural gas. The only attempt to even remotely connect the dots to the party of the chosen politicians was one rabbi’s sentence that the “Democrats and Republicans both share blame” (Don’t know how he got that by the censors.).
That lack of real inclusiveness and the ties to the Dems seeking to co-opt the Occupy Movement were brought home loud and clear when Blumenaeur began to speak. A large contingent  in the crowd held up signs, blown-up photos of the Rep. and a huge banner taking Blumenaeur to task for recently voting for yet another “Free” Trade bill. (Both Blumenaeur and DeFazio talk a good game, but the proof is there for anyone to see in their voting records.)
The woman on the mike, Storm Large – working her way into lead singer for the band and obviously not wanting to blow that opportunity – could have used it as a real solidarity opportunity, “Well, Congressman, we are an inclusive community here and a lot of the folks here have an issue. What do you have to say about it? Would you take some time and address their concerns?”
But, no, Large shut down the protesters, tsk-tsked them about being “respectful” and the Congressman was allowed to go forward with a meaningless speech with no larger purpose than, as noted, providing the Dems, GLBT and Labor a spot at the head of the parade.
I had thought it would be the coming weather that undoes the Occupy movement. Not anymore! Typhoon Self-promoter has already made landfall.
MICHAEL DONNELLY live sin Salem, OR. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail