Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Protesters Set Fire to Police Union in Portland

On Saturday night, a fire was started at the office of the police union in Portland. Cop “unions” exist to defend murderers in uniform. This is accountability.  

Eli Dunn

August 10, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share

On Saturday night, a group of protestors set fire to the Portland police union building, following hours of protests. Police responded to property damage with violence, declaring the protest a riot, firing “less-lethal” munitions and chemical agents into the crowd, and arresting an unknown number of people.

This comes on the heels of a report released by the Portland police department showing that officers used force against 45 out of every 1,000 Black people they arrested, compared to 31 out of every 1,000 white people. Considering that Black people make up only 6% of Portland’s population, this disparity is yet another example of why people continue to take the streets even after two months of actions.

Portland previously became the site of increased national attention after President Trump deployed federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and the Customs and Border Patrol to the city in July. Protestors and community members reported being detained in unmarked vans by officers who refused to identify themselves, as well as experiencing other forms of physical violence, like being shot with projectiles. After mass demonstrations and the threat of lawsuits, federal forces were recalled. But that does not mean that people in the community are now safer; whether it comes from federal officers under orders from a Republican President, or local police sanctioned by Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, state violence is continuing.

The targeting of the Portland Police Association raises questions about the role of police unions and the disservice they do to the public. Unlike working-class people, police exist to protect property. They are part of the anti-Black, anti-worker capitalist state. And their unions “negotiate contracts to ensure that their members have immunity from repercussions for brutality and other injustices.” This is why people all over the country have demanded to get cops out of our unions — cops aren’t workers, and they have no place in the labor movement. 

The attack on the police union office is not just the work of a few “outside agitators” or white protestors; it exemplifies the pain and rage that many people are feeling as time passes and few major changes, like defunding and abolishing the police, have materialized. The fire at the police union shows that this  movement is still committed to defending Black Lives, and to fighting the institutions that repress and oppress Black people.

Facebook Twitter Share

Guest Posts

Xenophobia on the Rise in Russia  

After the deadly attack on a music hall in Moscow, racism against non-Russian people is growing. This has a long history in Russia. 

Alina Tatarova

April 5, 2024
A group of protesters gather in front of the University of Michigan. Some are holding Palestinian flags

University of Michigan Proposes a Harsh Policy Curtailing Freedom of Speech and Protest on Campus

A new policy proposal targeting activists, protestors, and union organizers is cause for concern, but might help groups engaged in a range of struggles find a common enemy.

Ryan McCarty

March 30, 2024

Lord Balfour Was an Imperialist Warmonger 

We should give our full solidarity to the Palestine Action comrade who defaced a portrait of Arthur Balfour at Cambridge University. But the problem for everyone who opposes the genocide against Gaza is how to massify and politically equip the movement.

Daniel Nath

March 21, 2024

“Poor Things” Floats Like a Butterfly and Stings Like a Butterfly

Poor Things is a fantastical comedy with beautiful set design and costumes and an Oscar-winning performance from Emma Stone. So why did it leave me feeling so empty? Despite juggling feminist and socialist ideas, the film is ideologically muddled and often self-contradictory.

Basil Rozlaban

March 16, 2024


Thousands of Police Deployed to Shut Down Congress on Palestine in Berlin

This weekend, a Palestine Congress was supposed to take place in the German capital. But 2,500 police were mobilized and shut down the event before the first speech could be held. Multiple Jewish comrades were arrested.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 12, 2024

Liberal Towns in New Jersey Are Increasing Attacks on Pro-Palestine Activists

A group of neighbors in South Orange and Maplewood have become a reference point for pro-Palestine organizing in New Jersey suburbs. Now these liberal towns are upping repression against the local activists.

Samuel Karlin

April 12, 2024

“We Shouldn’t Let this Stop Us”: Suspended Columbia Student Activist Speaks Out

Aidan Parisi, a student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, was recently suspended and has been threatened with eviction from their graduate student housing for pro-Palestinian activism on campus. Aidan talked to Left Voice about the state of repression, the movement at Columbia, and the path forward for uniting the student movement with the labor movement and other movements against oppression.

Left Voice

April 11, 2024

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine — Interview with Nancy Fraser

The University of Cologne canceled a guest professorship with the philosophy professor from The New School. In this interview, she speaks about Germany dividing between "Good Jews" and "Bad Jews," her politicization in the civil rights movement, and her time in an Israeli kibbutz.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 10, 2024