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Jul 1, 19

Police Push MisInfo After Portland Shuts Down Proud Boys

Report from PopMob in Portland, Oregon on the success of the recent mass mobilization against the Proud Boys and the subsequent fallout in the mass media, which picked up and ran with far-Right conspiracy theories.

PORTLAND, OR: On Saturday, June 29th, PopMob, Rose City Antifa, Democratic Socialists of America, and hundreds of Portlanders came together to oppose the Proud Boys and alt-right provocateurs gathering in Portland. We created a fun, unique opportunity for this vibrant city to show the world – we don’t stand by when hate marches through our streets. It was wildly successful. People danced, laughed, drank delicious vegan milkshakes, and stood in solidarity as a community united against hate. Unfortunately, this was once again overshadowed by the actions of the Portland Police Bureau.

PopMob served over 750 milkshakes to demonstrators, using music and whimsy to create an atmosphere of joyful resistance to threats posed by Proud Boys and the alt-right contingent. Everyday antifascists outnumbered them 10:1. Collaboration between groups with overlapping, but distinct, political ideologies who came together to confront a common threat, showed what we can accomplish as a community. However, we have seen the Portland Police Bureau protect and collaborate with these violent right wing agitators many times, so it comes as no surprise that this unity would be a threat to their power, and backlash from the PPB was inevitable.

This is further evidenced by the spurious allegations of cement milkshakes we are now seeing, a misinformation campaign blatantly manufactured by the Portland police to disrupt a thriving antifascist movement. This is a classic tactic of state repression. It immediately put community organizers in danger as concocted stories quickly escalated into an onslaught of alt-right propaganda and fear mongering, culminating in national news agencies reporting as fact what originated as a completely baseless claim.

Since facing public scrutiny, the Police defended their unsubstantiated tweet saying they had an anonymous email threat. This was later revealed to be yet another manufactured narrative when it became clear the email came after the tweet had been sent. Since we cannot rely on the police to protect the people of Portland, it is up to antifascists to defend ourselves and people at risk of police and right wing extremist violence.

This is even more important now when several members of our community are being attacked online as a direct result of the PPB’s unfounded fabrications. As we have seen with the recent uptick in violent attacks by extremists on marginalized communities, these online threats cannot be disregarded and could result in tragic consequences.

Media outlets across the country reported the tale spun by the PPB as fact with no evidence, showing reckless disregard for the truth and causing the misinformation campaign to spread wider. The lack of journalistic integrity and “if it bleeds it leads” sensationalism only put our community members in further danger. PopMob stands in solidarity with the antifascist community in Portland and will not let this absurd spectacle stop us from continuing to build a mass movement of antifascist resistance.

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A group of concerned Portlanders united around a single, common goal: inspiring people to show up and resist the Alt-Right.

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