Category: Essays & Letters

A Meditation on Malheur and Meaningful Organizing

photo by Paul

Story by Pete Shaw When the healthcare law debate was raging a few years back, there was a rally at which people were urging Senator Ron Wyden to support the “public option,” something that perhaps would have more rapidly led to single payer health insurance system. If memory serves, the precise point of the rally…

Giving Thanks

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Story and photos by Pete Shaw The late, great Townes Van Zandt once said, “Aloneness is a state of being whereas loneliness is a feeling. It’s like being broke and being poor.” Thanksgiving is a day that begins a six or so week stretch that reminds many of their aloneness more painfully than usual. So…

New York Fight for $15 Now! Delivering Big Results

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Story and photos by Pete Shaw New York is big. New York is loud. It is bombastic, boasting, and even overwhelming. New York is not Portland. Last week I was in The City, part of a trip to visit my family. A few days before departing, I realized I would be missing the rally in Portland…

Portland Police Campaign Takes Shot at Black Lives Matter Movements

Photo by Pete Shaw

Story by Pete Shaw The Black Lives Matter movement, which sprang up in the wake of the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer George Zimmerman, exploded into a major ongoing human rights struggle a little over a year ago with Michael Brown’s murder by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. The revolt has been instrumental in…

Ahjamu Umi’s “The Courage Equation” Probes Race, Violence

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By Pete Shaw Frederick Douglass once stated that power concedes nothing without a struggle, and history certainly bears that out. The struggle to wrest power away from those who hoard it in vast disproportion is a story that is given short shrift in US history textbooks, the preferred narrative being a combination of the myth…

Parachutes and Sea Shells

1973.  Me, my dad, and my brother.

Story by Pete Shaw I was recently on a train from Denville, New Jersey to Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station as the locals have it) in New York City (The City as those same fellas have it), my balance bent. I grew up in New Jersey, not far from The City, and at least once I…

The System Fiddles While We Burn

Story and photos by Pete Shaw The Fennica has left Portland despite the noble and courageous efforts of the kayaktivists and Greenpeace climbers whose blockade cost Shell Oil two days of profits. But while ultimately failing to keep the boat moored in Portland, they showed people that they can stand up to the large energy…