This was the scene on the Hawthorne bridge every night for a solid week after the 2016 election: Hundreds to thousands of protesters would gather downtown, commiserating and looking for some kind of catharsis. Streets were paraded down, arms were locked, chants of hope and resistance flooded the air and a much-needed sense of belonging was felt by many.
The Department of Homeland Security has labeled these protests “Domestic Terrorist Violence.”
Two things: One, the unclassified document The Intercept is reporting on is obviously another leak in the administration’s ongoing feud with the intelligence community and is probably a minor point in the grand scheme of things. Two, yes, but every inch counts when you’re fighting an uphill battle. This is extraordinary language on official state letterhead; the potential for what it could lead to is the real terror.
What Homeland Security is actually hinging its report on came the second night, when a small offshoot of mostly kids were declared riotous while vandalizing small businesses for no apparent reason.1 The next day, Portland Resistance organized crowdfunding to reimburse for damages. Days later, the police made a couple arrests and eventually a couple more. What is the basis for weighted state security memos seems more like a pretty open-and-shut case of civil unrest.2
The real act of domestic terror here is the extent to which narratives will be stretched in order to stoke the fear in society in order to push an agenda.3