(or) How Flying Pigs Turned Me into a Believer
This story is part of our feature about the many protest events on May 1, 2012. Visit the feature page to see more.
by Little Bear
During the main May Day march, leaflets were being handed out calling for a Dance Dance Revolution – a roaming dance party that was to begin in the South Park Blocks. I arrived a little late to find about 100 protesters wrapping up the day’s activities with a celebratory dance party in Pioneer Square. The Bike Swarm had brought out the disco trike and was blasting dance music. We reveled in each other’s company, in song, dance and the spirit of revolution. Forming a conga line, we began snaking toward the justice center in order to bring some cheer to our comrades that had been beaten and arrested for the *gasp* inconceivable crime of jaywalking.
We crossed the street and I got about halfway down the block, when I turned around to see a gang of cops on bikes rounding the corner. They came pummeling into the crowd on the street. Cops and protesters went flying as they collided. One cop even flipped over another as they raged down the street and into the crowd. With fists-a-swinging, it’s like the police had taken our technique of bike swarming and used it against us in a cruel way. Following the flying attack pigs, there came the pigs on horses. The horses got up onto the sidewalk in an incomprehensible act of restraining protesters…onto the sidewalks…where they were already standing. Immediately, one of the horses emptied its bowels in fear onto the sidewalk. The horses, if asked what they thought of the situation, probably would have responded with “Why the hell are we being used as tools for evil?” That sentiment could probably be extended to the bicycles, if bicycles were sentient beings.
The cops dove into the crowd, grabbing protesters’ shirts, pants, legs, arms – whatever they could get their greasy paws on. Comrades were crushed by the gross weight of these beasts (and I’m not talking about horses). Because standing by and watching is how we got ourselves into this (much larger political mess), many reacted like they always do – with direct action! We grabbed our friends as they were tackled and pulled them back into safety and out of the grips of the Portland Industrial Police Complex. Based on the voraciousness of the attack, we wondered if there was some sort of dissent-crushing quota these pigs were trying to meet. We grabbed as many as we could, reassembled, and headed forward to the Jailhouse. The Disco Trike turned back. We couldn’t afford another $850 incident.
Songs and chants filled the air as we headed to the home sweet home of Chapman Park in order to let our friends inside know they were not alone. We lined ourselves up and down the sidewalk and faced off more bicycle cops, as well as a new battalion of black storm troopers. In times of stress, I sing to myself the imperial march from Star Wars. It seems to lighten the mood. After all, we are the resistance.
Choruses of “Solidarity Forever” were met with a light-flicking acknowledgement by those locked inside. Our megaphones carried the tunes of friendship up to the rafters. Echos bounced off the inJustice Center and probably rattled around freely in the skulls of the riot cops. I imagine there must be plenty of space in those heads of theirs – it’s doubtful that orders take up that much room. After each song, a choir of wolves would begin howling for the freedom of the members of their pack. Lights flickered in return. At one point, I got the chance to share my song with the Portland Police. It’s called “Cascadia, the Free“, and as I sang out to the riot cops, I hoped beyond hope that at least one line would penetrate their cold, black hearts and light a little fire of resistance.