Mayor Wheeler is a Danger to Our Community

A statement from the Portland DSA Safety Working Group
illustration by Brubaker, courtesy of DSA

With his latest statement, Ted Wheeler actively threatens the safety of Portland residents. By directing unknown people to track, record, and report so-called “black bloc” protesters, he is jeopardizing the safety and security of any number of Portland residents. These residents may or may not be associated with any protests. Furthermore, Wheeler is, wittingly or unwittingly, inviting and encouraging violent, far-right cells to act as vigilantes within our community. Because Ted Wheeler cannot offer real solutions to our city’s problems, and cannot rally the support of people who live in this city, he is placing untold numbers of our fellow residents in danger in an ill conceived attempt to quell righteously justified protests against him and his police.

Sadly, each and every time Ted Wheeler has been faced with an opportunity to lead this city and solve real problems he has made the lives of the people of Portland far worse and less safe. This is true whether the problems stem from traveling bands of white supremacists invading our streets and terrorizing our residents or from his own unaccountable, violent and murderous police force.

In the last few months alone we have seen Ted Wheeler’s police collaborate with far-right brawlers who later went on to storm the capitol in DC, dox the District Attorney (elected by a popular margin, unlike Wheeler who couldn’t muster even a simple majority), and attempt to frame a city council member by leaking information to online grifters. And just outside our city last summer, we watched as right-wing vigilantes established armed checkpoints, some with the explicit help of law enforcement, due to false rumors of “antifa” starting forest fires. These are the legacies of Ted Wheeler’s tenure as mayor and police commissioner.

Now Ted Wheeler is calling on these same elements to harass and intimidate Portland residents accused of no crime, solely based on attire and general proximity to a protest that he believes might be involved in some kind of future crime. In the midst of uprisings against an unjust system, Ted Wheeler has firmly sided with those who attempt to harm us with impunity again and again. He is unfit to be mayor and is a danger to our community.

Ted Wheeler is a threat to anyone who believes in freedom of assembly and speech. We condemn Ted Wheeler’s attempt to restrict the freedom of Portlanders and we call on our fellow residents to condemn his cowardly actions that will hurt us and our neighbors.

Statement on Police Murder in Lents Park

Police at Lents Park on Friday, April 16, 2021

Portland DSA condemns the police murder of our community member yesterday in Lents Park.

The brutality of policing is an everyday horror perpetrated against the most marginalized people in our society — and it is a tool of capitalism to maintain inequality.

Last year, Portlanders mobilized alongside millions of others around the country to protest racist police violence. Our demonstrations forced the Portland City Council to take action: they voted to defund the Portland Police Bureau by $15 million and remove police presence from schools and public transit. But we must not only prevent this funding from being reinstated — we must go further and strip the police of their power to terrorize and kill with impunity.

This most recent murder by the police happened in the pilot zone of the Portland Street Response. This clearly demonstrates that it’s not enough to create an alternative to the police if nothing is done to decrease the power, scope, and size of the Portland Police Bureau.

To do that, we need an organized mass movement of working class people capable of challenging the police and the ruling class interests they serve. Through coordinated, strategic mass action, we can build the power required to transform the system.

Socialists believe in a world where everyone is guaranteed a home and health care — not a military occupation masquerading as “safety.” We must divest from policing and use those funds to support essential public services that directly address the root causes of poverty, crime, and violence. True safety means dismantling the systems that perpetuate injustice, including the police and the prison industrial complex, and reinvesting in our communities.

That’s why we won’t stop fighting to defund, disarm, and disband the police. That’s why we demand justice for the victim, his family, and the community. And that’s why we demand accountability from Zachary Delong, the officer responsible for the public execution of a member of our community, as well as the Portland Police Bureau and every other police officer and department in this country.

Join Portland DSA at the city budget hearing on May 5 to make our demands heard!