the Lessons From OccupyICE Portland

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

I remember visiting the the OccupyICEPDX encampment during its first week in Portland, Oregon in which activists successfully shut down the local I.C.E. Facility. I was able to have conversations with several activists and assist in carrying heavy items around the camp.

The activists told me what made this occupation so successful was once they decided to commit to setting up an encampment around the facility their numbers grew quickly. These rise in numbers is what has helped sustain the occupation.

This first visit to me felt like an occupation. Building was still being done, many items were still needed for the camp, and teams in the camp were recently established. But something else was coinciding with this occupation. Something that we can all learn from, it was not until my visit to the camp on June 30th for the nightly vigil that I realized what these lessons were.

When I returned to camp a week later for the nightly vigil I realized this occupation has moved into a new phase… community. While many will use the word “occupation” to describe the camp I would caution you to emphasize using that word and instead think about the new community that has been built next to the I.C.E. Facility in Portland, Oregon.

This camp has teams such as the mental health team, the engineering team, the kitchen crew, and the medical team. It has ideologies like being anti-capitalist; being against the current white male patriarchal structure; and…

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