occupy your heart {occupy portland}

i would like to share a letter from a portland occupier, lindsay walker, in light of mayor adams’ order to vacate the camps.

i’ve become totally disappointed in a sector of the movement that are not satisfied with peaceful marches and demonstrations, and only seem to want violent confrontation with the police. we don’t live in oakland or atlanta. our city has supported us in this movement. it seems like this part of our occupation is disappointed that they didn’t get to riot and confront the police. and i believe that is completely missing the point. non-violence is a core value of this movement and we should not forget that.

i am also very saddened about the drug overdoses that occurred during the occupation. people, please take care of yourselves. and stop giving our movement a bad name.

this movement began with a message, let’s bring it back to that.

from www.occupyportland.org

An open letter to the occupation and city,

The night before the announced Sam Adams press conference I removed my tent, cleaned my area and officially left the camp. I am still visiting but will honor the eviction notice Saturday at midnight. I propose we take down everything, clean, leave the camp and withdraw peacefully. Lets show the city we can un-occupy just as fast as we occupied with minimal damage to the park. This will make it easier for us to re-occupy again downtown or somewhere else.
If you have a place just go there. Why would you camp outside if you don’t need to? Lets encourage the street families and houseless to go where they would have gone if they weren’t at the occupation. Some will go to shelters and others back to the street. This is better than jail. We can do outreach to those who go back to the street. We can use our donated food resources to prepare meals for them and deliver to them. We can use our medic team to provide street medic services to them. We can use our Occupy movement to hold occupation donation drives in parks around the city to get necessary supplies like sleeping bags, tents, tarps, blankets and socks to give to the houseless. This will simultaneously accomplish much needed outreach both to the houseless populations around the city and to people who would like to support us. We can connect them and foster a community of sharing. These people will be occupying other spaces, but much of it will be alone behind dumpsters or in groups on empty lots and under bridges. Lets go out in affinity groups and form a ring of protection around them to prevent them from being harmed.
Originally our intention was to fight corruption on Wall St., but our occupation was destroyed by three forces. First was our own prejudice against the houseless. Any occupation we setup will be dominated by those already occupying in that area. If we know these people we will start with a strong community and be able to know the difference between those truly in need and those preying on others. The second force is groups ignorant of or unwilling to commit to a strict discipline of non-violence. If we simply step out of the way we will be performing a judo move where instead of taking on the blunt force of the state, we will allow it to strike our enemy who chooses to foolishly remain in the camp and fight. The police have already said they will hold whoever they arrest as long as possible, and there are people in the camp who want to take on the police. Why should we stand in their way? Lastly the forces of the right used negative media attention to criticize the problems in the camp, but if we are helping people how can the right criticize us? They would look like jerks! How can you be against helping people?
If we do this we should have no problem setting up our next occupation. In fact we could probably just ask to use whatever space we desire. If it was not granted the people would probably support us again. We can use this space to both build community and advocate for our broader political aims. Let’s take the good will of the city that has been given to us and “Pay It Forward”. This is more effective than fighting directly against the powers that protect the system of ownership. It is also the right thing to do. We cannot let the houseless people who stood with us go unprotected. Let’s stand with them in true solidarity. Occupy your heart. Take care of each other.

Peace and love,
Lindsey Walker

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