After a solid year of “protests” – they might be more accurately called “a ‘ultra-progressive’ coup on the streets” – Portland’s coalition of Big Left constituents is starting to fracture.
[The “anarchists”] have shown themselves at times to be violent — one was charged with attempted murder after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police — destructive of property and highly adaptable, using social media tools and other strategies to divert the police from the targets they select.
Direct actions are promoted on social media with the phrase “No gods, no masters,” a 19th-century anarchist term that indicates a rejection of all forms of authority. More traditional protesters from Black Lives Matter and other movements who try to curtail violence are now ridiculed as “peace police” by the anarchists, who mostly consist of young, white men.
Demetria Hester, a member of Moms United for Black Lives, continues to push for defunding the police but disagrees with the current call for dismantling the entire political system. “Breaking windows is performative,” she said. “That satisfies them at night, but they don’t have a plan.”
Some prominent Black leaders have been formally distancing themselves, with some calling the anarchists’ rejection of gradual progress just another symbol of privilege that Black people do not have.
“Being able to protest every night is a white privilege, being able to yell at a police’s face is a white privilege,” said Gregory McKelvey, a prominent Black organizer who ran the mayoral campaign last year for Mr. Wheeler’s opponent, Sarah Iannarone. “Most Black people across the country do everything they can to avoid cops.”
Of course, the McKelvey’s statement shows his own class bias; wanting to “burn it all down” and “revolution”, like all such revolutions, are the affectation, not of those who have nothing to lose, but of those who believe they have nothing to fear about everyone else losing everything.