I’ve been involved in this scene for 20 years now.
“There are only a few places on earth where radicals and their children ritualistically burn the American flag and chant “Death to America”: Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, Kabul, Ramallah—and Portland, Oregon.
The City of Portland, a cloud-covered metro on the south bank of the Columbia River, has become known for its political protesters. Anarchists, Communists, ecofascists, and various other agitators regularly denounce the police, politicians of both parties, and America itself, and flag-burning has become part of the protesters’ liturgy. Last summer, protesters associated with Antifa upped the ante with chants of “Death to America” and participated in months of violent protests to avenge the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Children as young as four marched with the crowd to the federal courthouse, raising the Black Power fist and chanting “Fuck the Police!” …
Famously the “whitest city in America,” Portland has become the unlikely headquarters of race radicalism in the United States. The city has elevated white guilt into a civic religion; its citizens have developed rituals, devotions, and self-criticisms to fight “systemic racism” and “white supremacy.” The culminating expression of this orthodoxy is violence: street militias, calling themselves “antiracists” and “antifascists,” smash windows and torch the property of anyone transgressing the new moral law. …
If the cities of Tigard and Beaverton represent the categories of theory and praxis, Portland represents their result: power. In recent years, Portland has emerged as the leading hub of left-wing, Marxist, and anarchist movements. After George Floyd’s death, Portland’s radicals attacked police officers and laid siege to federal buildings. They armed themselves with rocks, bottles, shields, knives, guns, bricks, lasers, boards, explosives, gasoline, barricades, spike strips, brass knuckles, and Molotov cocktails. A year later, many downtown businesses remain closed, and insurance companies have either raised premiums or refused to issue policies because of the ongoing risk of property destruction.
Meantime, Portland Public Schools has institutionalized the philosophy of social justice and codified political activism into every aspect of the bureaucracy. In the district’s 2019 Racial Equity and Social Justice Plan, the administration pledged to make “antiracism” the district’s “North Star” and to create “an education system that intentionally disrupts—and builds leaders to disrupt—systems of oppression.” The superintendent hired a new equity czar and announced a “Five-Year Racial Equity Plan,” which promises a dizzying array of acronyms and academic catchphrases like “intersectionality” and “targeted universalism.”
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