Conrad Wilson and Jonathan Levinson have a pretty good look at the internal and external tensions — or, let’s say, the differences of opinion — around the various approaches, strategies, and tactics of two months of Portland protests. They talk to a number of Black activists and voices on the ground, and its great primer for understanding the dynamics of this particular debate.
In the crowd that night was Byrd, a middle aged Black woman who has been attending protests at the Justice Center since they started. Among other events bringing people to the street, she said the federal law enforcement officers’ actions have made people scared that their fundamental right to protest is in jeopardy. The hand wringing over white people in the protest misses the bigger point, she said.
“You’re either for human rights or you aren’t,” Byrd said. “We can’t concede the point that now there’s an energy that is bent toward racial justice for Black people. And that’s the focus.”
They also report that Mine Furor is increasing the numbers of paramilitary shock troops in Portland, which makes Ed Pilkington’s unsettling profile of Customs and Border Protection generally — and Bortac specifically — just that much more unsettling (via Andy Baio).
As news circulated of demonstrators being shot in the face with “less lethal” munitions, and of unidentified masked agents in camouflage strong-arming civilians into unmarked vans, the nightmare scenario Tomsheck had heard expressed by his bosses almost a decade ago – of border patrol becoming a nationwide militarized force operating outside constitutional constraints – was becoming real.
“Border patrol has always seen itself as a militarized force, and that aspiration is now being enabled by the current administration,” Tomsheck told the Guardian.
It’s unnerving to see in Pilkington’s piece that discussions of CBP in fact are beginning to refer to “the interior”; recall David A. Graham’s recent depiction of Trump effectively trying to cobble together a de facto Interior Ministry.