At the urging of the secretary, member of the Cascadia Chapter of the pacific green Party of Oregon Herschel Soles herewith shares his experience at the 2015 Labor day Picnic in our fair River City;
Labor Day Experience!
Shortly after 9:30 AM, my sign [ Democratic Party Supports Israeli Genocide in Gaza] and I entered the Oaks Park picnic grounds via the South central walk-way. Jim Robison, former Multnomah County Democratic (MDC) Chair , environmental activist, and strong advocate for Single Payer Healthcare, gave me a smile as I walked down the pathway from the Southern entrance to the North West entrance. James Strassmaier and Lane Poncy were at an ”Oral History of Labor” table and I spent some time with them. While at the table, a Bernie Sanders supporter sought my signature of support for Bernie but I declined because of his Zionist views. As she was departing, she expressed support for my cause and her intention to check into Bernie’s position on the issue. I then moved next door to the Democratic Party Table. The two women at the Demo table expressed indignation at the suggestion that they, as Democratic Party members, might be implicated as supporters of the Genocide that is slowly taking place every day in Gaza. When the younger of the two tablers tried to say that President Obama, head of the Democratic Party, can’t do everything, I explained that everybody does what they can and that I was doing what little I could do by carrying my sign. I did my best to explain the the MDC defeat of Peter Miller’s resolution condemning Israel for War Crimes during Operation “Cast Lead” (27 December 2008 to just before Obama’s inauguration in January 2009). There was little reaction from these two faithful Democrats.!
Mister Soles, the driving spirit of the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, which has met for more than 13 years every Friday afternoon on the sidewalk beside Pioneer Courthouse square, and the elected vice-president of the so-called Eastside democratic [small “d”, get it?] Club goes on to explain the cryptic acronym Em-dee-see. Or may be M- sea – D.
For those readers who are not Multnomah County Democratic Party insiders, at the January 2009 MDC meeting, Peter Miller, a dedicated supporter of Palestinian human rights collected sufficient signatures to introduce an emergency resolution, calling out Israeli War Crimes against the Palestinians and calling for Israel to be held accountable. Uncomfortable with the resolution, the Zionist wing of the MCD party had the resolution referred to the MCD executive committee for refinement. Rather than edit Peter’s resolution, a second resolution was written and both resolutions were presented at the February MCD meeting. After some heavy lobbying from Multnomah County Democratic Party stalwart and Zionist, Sue Hagmeier, the new resolution was approved as a substitute. The new resolution replaced War Crimes and War Criminals with two sets of victims, Palestinians and Israeli, and accountability was replaced with hope for a better future. With the death of 22,000 Palestinians, including 500 children, at the hands of the Israeli war machine all the MCD could muster was a hope for a “better future “
After leaving the MCD table, I signed a petition for increasing the minimum tax for corporations that do more than $25 million in business in Oregon and talked with a team promoting a candidate for Multnomah County Commissioner. While standing in front of the Bernie Sanders table, a woman, claiming to be an organizing official, confronted me and said that only organizations that had paid for tables were allowed to do any vending and that I would have to leave. When I explained that I “was not doing any vending”, she signaled her boss and picnic companion Bob Petroff, Northwest Labor Council President. When he asked that I leave with my sign, my response was: “I’m not sure that I want to do that”. Vagueness tends to reduce tensions.
He then cautioned, in mildly threatening language: “If you don’t leave, I will have to resort to my own personal remedies.” The obvious threat, however, was tagged with not so definite description of an area near the miniature railroad tracks where I might stand. We shook hands and I walked toward the Eastern entrance where I met up with Tim Calvert, an uncompromising supporter of Palestinian Human Rights. His sign read, Boycott IsraHell. (There is a powerfully directed message in two words)
The concluding paragraph of Herschel Soles’ written account reads as follows:
Tim and I stood near the railroad tracks and conversed with politicos until noon when a beady eyed plainclothes security type used his smart phone to notify Petroff’s secretary that we were “still there.” Upon her arrival, Tim and I were puzzled by the woman’s antagonism, and asked if she was a Zionist. She denied being a Zionist but was unresponsive when questioned about obligations to defend free speech and to stand in “solidarity” with besieged and oppressed people like the Palestinians. “Solidarity” was part of the posted themes for the Labor Day Picnic. Since Tim had a business appointment and I had a been at the picnic for over 2 1/2 hours, we left together with a very clear picture that Organized Labor and the Democratic Party are not reliable partners in the struggle for a better society.
The transcriber suggests that no one is “reliable”: all are only as good as they do. But then, the writer of these lines was censured by the last [Saturday, 26 September at the S.E. Stark Street Friends’ Meeting House] state convention of the Pacific Green Party. So how reliable is he?