Portland DSA’s Statement Against Collaboration with Police

Portland DSA reaffirms our chapter’s commitment against collaborating with police.

In 2017, when our chapter was less than a year old, Portland DSA participated in the Portland United Against Hate coalition to counter-protest rising far-right activity in our region. The coalition asked Portland DSA to act as police liaison; two members of our chapter joined with one other coalition partner to fill that role.

After this event, our chapter developed a non-collaboration policy for police engagement to guide our membership and keep our community safe. This policy remains in place today. The key points are:

  • Portland DSA does not coordinate with the police in direct actions and rallies without explicit permission from our steering committee
  • DSA members should not speak to the police about DSA without explicit permission from our steering committee
  • DSA members may not volunteer to act as police liaisons in coalition events unless explicitly authorized by a chapter co-chair
  • Any authorized interactions with police should be documented and reported for transparency and accountability
  • No law enforcement officer or prison guard is permitted to be a member of Portland DSA

As socialists, we recognize that police exist as a tool of capitalism to maintain inequality and protect the interests of the ruling class. In the name of “safety,” police oppress, criminalize, and terrorize the most marginalized people in our community — especially communities of color, the houseless, the undocumented, the disabled, queer and trans people, and people experiencing mental illness. We affirm that none of us are safe while others live under the threat of police violence.

Since we launched the Portland chapter of DSA, our membership has actively organized against police and private security in varied ways. We have mobilized hundreds of community members to testify against continued police investment and community disinvestment at City Council budget hearings. We worked in coalitions to divest from police and private security. During the summer 2020 uprisings, we distributed more than $10,000 worth of gas masks and protective gear to the Portland community. We stood among thousands of our neighbors night after night — many experiencing physical violence firsthand — to demand justice and an end to the military occupation of our city.

As we persist in this fight, Portland DSA vows to continue demonstrating our commitment through not only statements but also action. We are proud to stand in solidarity with the many organizations, coalitions, and community members working to abolish the police and establish a world where every person is healthy, cared for, and truly safe.