We emerged from Occupy Portland’s N17: Occupy the Banks, part of an Occupy Wall Street national day of action. Inspired by the success of that action, we chose to continue working together as the Action Lab within the Occupy Portland movement. We organize as a spokes council of community organizations, affinity groups, and interested individuals eager to bring coordinated direct action to Portland and beyond. Interested groups and individuals are welcome to join us.
The corporations, which run our government, place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and domination over equality. Corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth and power from the people and the Earth. Foreclosure, hunger, climate change, unemployment, lack of health care, biodiversity loss, xenophobia/immigrant detention, animal exploitation, prison population growth and so many other issues that are facing us are not unrelated problems. They are connected.
These problems stem from the dominant culture’s obsession with profit, individual maximization, consumption and greed, which corporations only take to their logical and frightening conclusion. These tenets reinforce other intersecting systems of oppression: race, gender, sexuality, class and domination over nature. These interconnections can be seen in how women and people of color are the most drastically and disproportionately effected by societies ills. We cannot work from a narrow economic perspective alone.
The future of our species and the planet requires our cooperation. As long as individual gain and corporate greed constitute the foundation of our economic, social and political systems, they will inevitably lead to injustice, destruction and consolidation of power. In the dominant culture, profit is primary over relationships with one another. Profit is primary over our relationship with the environment and other species. Profit is primary over community. In this justice, liberty and a livable future are casualties.
We are one of a multitude of global movements taking direct action against oppression, marginalization, poverty, violence and domination and for a more just and sustainable world. We take direct action as a means of obstructing practices we protest and reclaiming our agency in creating the world we live in. Direct action manifests in many ways such as sit-ins, strikes, blockades, boycotts, banner drops, culture jamming, and performance. The roots of direct action are deep and range from Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. to Rachel Corrie and Tim DeChristopher. Our social fabric is woven with direct action from the Boston Tea Party, to the Silent Sentinels’ pickets for women’s suffrage, the NW timber workers strike of 1935, SNCC sit-ins and the Freedom Rides, the occupation of Alcatraz, actions against nuclear power and weapons, the forest defense movement and the shutdown of the WTO in Seattle. Direct action is a tool for building a new foundation based upon cooperation, mutual aid, and social as well as ecologically connected community.
Together, through action, we will create a new future. Join us!