Members of Occupy Portland and others were part of a group of around 50 people who damaged several businesses including 4 banks and a Walgreens in SE Portland on Thursday.
After arranging the action on Facebook, the group met at 8:30 pm at SE 35th & Taylor and shortly thereafter, began throwing rocks and smashing windows of businesses. Police began receiving calls, including that bottles were being thrown as people, according to NWCN, who also interviewed one man who was nearly hit in the head by an object.
Wells Fargo, Umpqua, Chase and US Bank all had their windows broken. The Walgreen’s store on Southeast Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Southeast Belmont Street also was vandalized. It was reported that the vandals also walked into traffic and blocked vehicles.
According to KATU, Virginia Suftin said she saw about 50 people headed her way. “I heard the noise and the glass shattering as I was walking to my apartment,” she said. “and they threw a rock right at the bank. They had a huge banner that said ‘no prisons, hug cats? And a bunch were wearing ski masks,” Suftin recalled. An anarchist report indicates the banner read: “BURN THE PRISONS, HUG CATS. YOLO (A) ACAB”. ACAB means “All Cops are Bastards”. According to the same report, they pulled news paper boxes and other items into the streets to block being followed and chanted ”GIVE NO F–KS TAKE NO ORDERS, SMASH THE PRISONS AND THE BORDER!” Here is another account by an Occupier who “observed” the march
By the time police arrived, most of the people had dispersed. No arrests have been made, police said.
Here is video made by BareItorBearIt of some of the damage. The video also notes how this action was advertised on the Occupy Portland Facebook and notes who said they would be attending. Citizen Journalist has confirmed that in fact it was indeed advertised, and is still in fact up on their Facebook, although the names of those attending appear now to have been erased.
Despite this, Occupy disavowed the action, telling KATU that the event was not sanctioned, organized or affiliated with them. “The action last night was not an Occupy Portland action or march” a spokesperson said.
This particular action was reportedly in response to the jailing of three people for refusing to testify in response to grand jury subpoenas, despite being granted immunity from prosecution. Since a grand jury, by its very nature, is secret to protect the integrity of pending investigations, it is not clear what information is being sought from these three. Supporters of those jailed contend the three are being held purely for their anarchist views. This was disputed by a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office, Emily Langlie, stating people were not being investigated for political views. She also noted that grand juries can consider many cases, not just one, and that she cannot comment on the ongoing investigations.
Wells Fargo today announced a $25,000 grant to aid merchants in the Valencia Corridor of San Francisco.
The grant will be administered by the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association and the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association, who serve local businesses in the Mission District of San Francisco.
Many small businesses in this neighborhood were impacted by a recent wave of vandalism, and these funds will allow for repairs and improvements so that local merchants can reopen for business. Reports estimate that more than 30 businesses were damaged during a recent streak of vandalism, which amount to necessary repairs in the tens of thousands of dollars.
“This grant will help our local merchants make much-needed repairs like replacing broken windows, removing graffiti and aiding in the general clean up required to open their doors again,” said Erick Arguello, President of the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association.
“Many small businesses in the Valencia Corridor don’t have the cash reserves to handle unexpected expenses like vandalism,” said Deena Davenport, President of the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association
Businesses were damaged by a Black Bloc that rampaged through the District after an Occupy pre-May Day “ruckus party” against gentrification in Dolores Park. Local occupiers claim that the damage was not caused by occupiers. See prior story and video from inside the black bloc rampage here
On Tuesday, several hundred people, including members of Occupy, showed up outside the Merchant’s Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco, where Wells Fargo was holding a shareholders meeting. Claiming they were protesting the bank’s alleged “greed” and involvement in foreclosures on homes, the group gave speeches outside the building, banged drums, and some tried to get into the meeting. Some were able to get in briefly but were then removed as they rose to disrupt the meeting once it started. According to Wells Fargo, the meeting proceeded as scheduled.
“Let my hard-earned money speak for itself,” said shareholder Ralanda King, as quoted by ABC. “I expected to be let in, as my right as a shareholder. I came over 2,000 miles to come to this meeting only to be held back.”
According to SF Gate:
Nine protesters were arrested outside the building on charges including trespassing and resisting arrest, said police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak. All were cited and released except for two, who were booked on charges of attempting to hit sheriff’s deputies, he said.
While it didn’t really disrupt the conduct of the meeting, it did apparently disrupt the surrounding businesses and people, says My Political Intervention:
The blockade, intended to disrupt shareholders from attending the meeting, largely succeeded in becoming a nuisance to those that worked in the area. Anyone that attempted to pass through the chain of people were interrogated as to their profession and how much money they made. In one instance, a woman had to arguably explain that she worked for a non-profit before Occupy SF allowed her to go to work.
Was this group a spontaneous grass roots flood of anger from the run of the mill person in the street?
Well, no not really. Check the pictures:
In additon to SEIU and the Chinese Progressive Association, there were signs from the CWA, Causa Justa, Code Pink, and Occupy. Oh and the “pro fabulous anti capitalist” Queer Feminist Bloc.
The numbers, however, were mostly SEIU women; once they left, numbers dropped appreciably.
Even Ralanda King, the random quoted shareholder who came just for the meeting? Democratic politician and operative from Philadelpia.
No grassroots to be found.
As My Political Intervention notes, this effort was at least in part organized by ACCE – Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). While some may not be familiar with ACCE, that is at least in part because they changed their name. ACCE used to be known as ACORN. ACORN derivatives can be found at many of the other Occupy operations, most notably New York, where it is manifest in the involvement of NYCC (New York Communities for Change) and the involvement of members of the Working Families Party.
ACCE was involved with a similar protest against Bank of America in November, 2011 where people stormed inside the bank building at ACCE’s behest. In this video of the event by Lee Stranahan, you can see the organization behind their actions.
But didn’t this all stem from outrage of the people in the Occupy movement?
Well again not exactly.
These efforts by the SEIU and others against the banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America have been going on for awhile and predate the Occupy movement. They don’t just involve actions outside of office buildings but marches on the private homes of people.
Check this article from May 2010, where 14 buses of SEIU thugs went to the house of the deputy general counsel for BOA and frightened his teen aged son who called next door neighbor, reporter Nina Easton in a panic.
Easton asks raises interesting points in her article:
What’s interesting is that SEIU, the nation’s second largest union, craves respectability. Just-retired president Andy Stern is an Obama friend and regular White House visitor. He sits on the President’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission. He hobnobs with those greedy Wall Street CEOs — executives much higher-ranking than my neighbor Baer — at Davos. His union spent $70 million getting Democrats elected in 2008.
In the business community, though, SEIU has a reputation for strong-arm tactics against management, prompting some companies to file suit.
Now those strong-arm tactics, stirred by supposedly free-floating (as opposed to organized) populist rage, have come to the neighborhood curb. Last year it was AIG executives — with protestors met by security guard outside. Now it’s any executive — and they’re on the front stoop. After Baer’s house, the 14 buses left to descend on the nearby residence of Peter Scher, a government relations executive at JPMorgan Chase (JPM,Fortune 500).
Targeting homes and families seems to put SEIU in the ranks of (now jailed) radical animal-rights activists and the Kansas anti-gay fundamentalists harassing the grieving parents of a dead 20-year-old soldier at his funeral (the Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the latter). But that’s not a conversation that SEIU officials want to have
SEIU has said it wants to organize bank tellers and call centers — and its critics point out that a great way to worsen employee morale, thereby making workers more susceptible to union calls, is to batter a bank’s image through protest. (SEIU officials say their anti-Wall Street campaign has nothing to do with their organizing efforts.) Complicating this picture is the fact that BofA is the union’s lender of choice — and SEIU, suffering financially, owes the bank nearly $4 million in interest and fees. Bank of America declined comment on the loans.
In fact in March 2011, multiple news organizations including Business Insider and the Blaze reported on a tape of a speech from SEIU leader Stephen Lerner speaking at the Left Forum (a Leftist planning conference) about a plan to “destabilize the country” by bringing down banks and Wall Street, to cause a redistribution of wealth. This plan would have “community groups and other activists” taking the lead. Lerner noted how we have to take what we are doing now in Madison to Wall Street and do the same thing there. Sound familiar?
Occupy, you weren’t co opted by the unions and the far Left, you’ve been their creation since the beginning. How does it feel to be ACORN and SEIU’s “personal army”?