This is a post on Portland Indymedia from someone who was involved in this weekend’s Port Militarization Resistance activities in Lakewood and Tacoma. Posted yesterday:
Thirteen people were arrested last night along various exits and onramps on the I-5 corridor between Fort Lewis and the Port of Tacoma. Some others were detained but released. Looks like everyone will be out of jail today.
When I left downtown Tacoma last night I talked to someone else who was with us who was a little bummed about the whole ordeal. “This isn’t the Port of Olympia,” he said with a sigh.
I agreed with him but reminded him that it was only the first night of the shipments. Just the first night and we were able to mobilize perhaps seventy people in Lakewood from as far away as Seattle, Portland and remote places on the peninsula. This is the first time in my memory that we were able to mobilize that number of people that quickly from several different cities.
Yes, people were arrested, but people were also being very strategic about things. Blockades of people popped out of nowhere during the night at various exits to I-5 and took the convoys and the police by surprise. Turns out everyone was unharmed, except for a report that one person who was arrested was dragged by their hair by the cops and roughed up a little bit. Earlier in the day a convoy that was returning from a training exercise elsewhere in the state was blocked for quite some time by just three people before the cops did anything. (A military movement is a military movement; doesn’t matter if it’s Washington the movements are militarizing, or Afghanistan or Iraq — they should be blocked regardless.)
People stayed awake, alert, and mobile until sometime after 3:00 a.m. When many went home for some rest, others stayed up all night keeping their eyes on I-5.
There were some incidents outside the lovely eating and drinking establishment Galloping Gerties in Lakewood when some belligerent right-wingers came out and started pushing people, threatening to beat the crap out of demonstrators or threatening to kill them (while simultaneously saying that we have our freedoms because of the troops), and shouting racist, heterosexist, and sexist things to many people. Some of them came out and started pushing the demonstrators. The cops of course did nothing and the media, if they were there, would not have reported this at all (much like a demonstration in the past at the Freedom Bridge where a gauntlet of hot-headed right-wingers, fascists, and pro-war veterans tried to pick fights with the peaceful anti-war demonstrators. Several of them actually spit on some of the anti-war Iraq War veterans.)
But let me remind everyone, this was just the first night. Convoys were successfully blocked, albeit for a short period of time, but our numbers were the largest to begin with out of any port actions in the past. At the Port of Olympia in 2006, the whole day only drew a dozen people down to the port and the numbers didn’t reach over thirty for the first few days. If we do things right, this will be the first major anti-militarist and anti-imperialist action during Obama’s presidency. We can send a clear message nationally that this administration’s policies are terrible as the last. As Angela Davis puts it, “. . . a black face on white imperialism and capitalism . . .” This round of military shipments, unlike many in the past, places us at a very interesting and crucial point.
As someone stated in the past, “. . . one, two, three, many Olympias . . .” Let’s create another Olympia.
Tear it down!
-love and revolution,
Port Liberation Front (PLF)