by Culture of Resistance
This article appeared in the April 2013 print edition of the Portland Radicle.
March 16th marked the first of what we hope will be many gatherings in an effort to facilitate communication, networking, and solidarity among local anti-capitalists. Our common efforts demand coordinated strategies and efforts, and it is with this in mind that we were pleased to witness the assembly of more than 50 local anti-capitalists engaged in constructive discussions and even eagerly going into overtime. Groups with representatives in attendance included: the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, Anarchist Black Cross, Blazing Arrow Organization, Blue Heron Collective, Food Not Bombs, Food & Garden Team, Hella 503, Industrial Workers of the World, Jericho Movement, Laughing Horse Infoshop, the Portland Radicle, PSU Student Action Coalition, Student Organizing Coalition, the Pink Tape Collective, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, the Red & Black Cafe, several different neighborhood working groups coordinated under the umbrella of the community housing agreement, a loose assortment of other individuals from Portland (and one from Oakland) and, of course, the event’s hosts, Culture of Resistance.
Breaking into topic-based groups, those in attendance had a number of conversations on matters of deep concern to our community. The topics of these discussions, as determined by group proposal and participation based on interest, were: alternatives to the police, prison abolition and anti-repression, housing justice, community accountability & safer spaces, workplace struggles & organizing and May Day. The content of these discussions both was informed by the ongoing discourse around these topics within our community and, it is our hope, will contribute to the continued development of this discourse and practical application of theory in active praxis within our community. Questions such as “What does accountability within our community look like materially?” “How can we support unemployed construction workers with better public works projects to assuage tensions between labor and environmentalists when projects like the Columbia River Crossing threaten to deepen rifts between the two?” “How to we respond to police violence against our communities?” and “How can you help with ongoing projects such as prisoner letter writing night every last Tuesday at the Red & Black Cafe or with May Day organizing?” are all important to laying the foundations for building momentum in our struggle.
Finally, the general attendance of this assembly discussed the topic of anti-capitalist solidarity and what that should look like here in Portland. Ideas suggested to this end included: a non-sectarian focus on our common work, principled collaborations, organizing after the marching stops, integrating our projects into long-term campaigns, building our movement beyond subcultures and in the material community around us, broadening the scope of the struggles we consider as inhabiting the realm of anti-capitalist struggle and revisiting anti-capitalist histories to learn the lessons they have to teach us about our failures (how to avoid repeating them) and our victories (how to achieve them again). It is here, that we hope this discourse builds into an active and engaged manifestation within our community.
We’ve got to keep meeting like this, and it is our hope to help in facilitating further assemblies of this sort in future. In the meantime, perhaps our community should take up the opportunity to advance the discussions had at the Anti-Capitalist General Assembly, as well as other conversations by way of the myriad of possible frameworks to advance fun within our community. Such frameworks could include social nights like Music for the Working Class every last Wednesday at the Red & Black Cafe. These frameworks might also include film screenings or perhaps the ever-elusive radical soccer league. Ultimately, however, this discourse is not the next step but merely the ongoing process of maintaining a foundation for our struggle against capitalism. In the long run we must work with the people in our neighborhoods and communities, not just with radicals. We must build relationships and do the hard, unglamorous work.
There are many ideas floating around for what the next Anti-Capitalist Assembly should look like. We invite you to offer suggestions and assistance in making it everything our community needs it to be to help facilitate success within our movement. The next assembly could be more formal, perhaps taking the form of a spokes council with delegates prepared with proposals from their groups and decisions arrived at, or maybe even less formal, including more time for socializing among our fellow socialists. Ultimately, this is your assembly as much as it is ours and we encourage those investing their time, thoughts and energy in the end of the capitalist mode of production to contribute in making it happen.