A breakdown of Anarchy as Order flyers
In a recent livestream I pointed out how the, previously unknown to me, Anarchy as Order Twitter account (@anarchyasorder) had apparently tried to align themselves with Raindrop Works and noted public records and rights lawyer Alan Kessler and heavily imply that we were working with them, a detail which only came to light as they allegedly began spreading (in their words) thousands of flyers throughout NE Portland neighborhoods trying to use the newly approved recall process to further their own means. In the video I tried to go through the flyer in the best detail that I could, refuting what I saw as dangerous or troubling points. Almost a full day after, the operator of AaO’s twitter claimed that “No one has refuted any of our points!”
So allow me to do that now.
After I did the livestream, I was pointed towards a similar, but not quite the same flyer that made the rounds on Facebook in late May thanks to Twitter user and journalist @johnthelefty that I’m also going to use in my breakdown, as most of the items are shared between the two, and the differences are telling in regards to the evolution of a message.
|May 29 Flyer||July 9 Flyer||Notes|
|Anarchy as Order logo matching their Twitter banner||Anarchy as Order logo has had font changed from a calligraphy script to a more cursive script. Also, the Total Recall PDX logo has been added to each top corner||It didn’t take long for a response from @totalrecallpdx to confirm that they did not authorize their association with this flyer|
|Agenda for Abolishing Portland Police Bureau||Agenda for Recalling the Portland Police Commissioner and Abolishing Portland Police Bureau||It becomes clear that while, yes, one of (many) concerns cited about the mayor that’s driving the recall is about his mishandling of the Portland Police, the maker of the flyer is even more focused on that detail than the larger picture.|
|Agenda (Short Term)|
|– Radicalize converts||Recall Ted Wheeler||The flyer has evolved to make a hard shift from ‘coverting’ people to courting the recall effort as a mechanism, while still maintaining the extremist ideologies in later quotes|
|– Build financial reserves.|
– Create weapons cache
|Appoint Jo Ann Hardesty as police commissioner||The tone here has backpedaled hard from setting the stage for a private army to instead wanting Jo Ann Hardesty to replace Ted Wheeler as police commissioner. This is something Jo Ann and a number of protesters have ultimately wanted to have happen (her being police commissioner), but there is no ‘appointment’ process in the case of a successful recall. Mayor Wheeler’s duties would be divvied between the remaining council members until the election of a new mayor.|
|– Finance more activists to Portland||– Disarm all police|
– End qualified immunity
|This is another hard pivot in agenda because the original agenda doesn’t mesh well with recall efforts. Disarming all police, while ideally sounds good, becomes problematic with later reading. Ending qualified immunity can be seen as a laudable goal in itself, but it would require legislative changes at the state level, which the city has limited sway in|
|– Drain key city resources||– Terminate city contract with PPA||The pivot from draining city resources to terminating the current police contract is written to be more in line with oversimplified recall goals, but will make a resurgence later in the flyer. Beyond that, terminating the PPA contract would not only face stiff legal challenges (especially since the contract is going towards arbitration for renewal at this time), but if the PPB was dissolved, all that would happen is that most of the resources would be merged with the already existing Multnomah County Sheriffs Office, a proposal that was already mulled over last year.|
|Abolish PPB||Abolish PPB|
|Replace with community defense groups||Replace with political community defense groups managed by Sarah Iannarone||The addition of “political” as well as the idea of former mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone is language chosen to be inflammatory. While details on why ‘political’ was added are uncertain, the idea of them being managed by Ms. Iannarone, without consulting with her first, was immediately evocative of Portland Tribune editor’s implications that the recall effort was more of an effort to relitigate the 2020 election and slide her into the mayor’s seat through some backdoor. Additionally, she responded to state that she had not authorized her name to be attached to this plan at all, and a piece she wrote on July 1st confirmed that she wasn’t even certain if she’d ever run for another elected position again, much less the Mayor’s office|
|Approach and Cycle (Onboarding)|
|Introduce recruit to “Uprising – A Guide from Portland“||Introduce recruit to “Uprising – A Guide from Portland” Feat. PAC founder Alan Kessler!||Presumably, the refers to a podcast hosted by Robert Evans (available here), working with a number of local journalists. I haven’t been able to confirm if there was an episode where Mr. Kessler was interviewed, but if so, it’s still simply another attempt to generate false legitimacy of this group as affiliation with the recall PAC.|
|Invite to Mutual-Aid events or projects for action on-ramping||Invite to Mutual-Aid events or projects for action on-ramping||On the surface, mutual aid is completely innocuous. It’s simply groups of like-minded people working together to provide for a need in the community. This is one of the few things I have no refutation for, mostly because there’s no clear detail about ‘on-ramping’|
|Establish a self-righteous crusaders mindset||Explain anarcho-egalitarianism to recruit||The repeated use of ‘recruit’ in these flyers, as well as the choice of text in the May flier are both reinforcing the highly evocative imagery of a ideological, almost religious war, against those who don’t agree with your view. While there’s no ready definition for ‘anarcho-egalitarianism’ to look at the words individually, it would suggest a political philosophy that prioritizes social equality for all people, but doing it without any political authority. Personally, I would normally question how this would work without abuse by those who wish to consolidate power for themselves, but the ‘lack of political authority’ portion is weakened as we go further through the document.|
|Introduce doctrines justifying destruction such as:|
– Why Break Windows?
– People Over Property
– Eat the Rich
|Recommend radical doctrines:|
– Why Break Windows?
– People Over Property
– Eat the Rich
|The premise is watered down to introducing these doctrines, presumably because even the writer knows that trying to justify property destruction in the recall narrative will work against their goals. Listing them here does not imply that I agree with any of these doctrines.|
|All systems are racist and must be destroyed||All police and justice systems are racist and must be destroyed||The limiting of the detail from ‘all systems’ to ‘all police and justice systems’ seems to, again, be an attempt to make the flyer more palatable, as well as framing the conversation solely from a ‘recall the Mayor to fix the police’ narrative.|
|Introduce to firearms training and convince recruit to purchase firearms||Introduce to firearms training and convince recruit to purchase firearms||On the surface, this is in line with the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, which would be fine. The reference to ‘recruit’ again could be used to imply building an unregulated militia, which is something that is not allowed under state constitution.|
|Approach and Cycle (Action)||Some editing is done in this section because bullet points were moved around, so trying to link them as closely as possible|
|Training in direct action black bloc activities, queues [sic] and verbal commands||Training in direct action black bloc activities, queues and verbal commands||Black bloc has been used as a defensive tactic to help prevent retaliation by government or non-government actors for protected political views. It has also been used to obscure the identities of people engaging in extralegal activities. Not all black bloc is bad, but like most things, it can be misused.|
|Overburden existing police and fire resources. Misdirect and coordinate actions against a variety of targets.||Overburden existing police and fire resources. Misdirect and coordinate actions against a variety of targets.||These are tactics that have been used to effect in protests over the last year, where police, focused on a planned protest at one location, had no idea that, for instance, a police storage lot was broken into and police vehicles vandalized. Misuse of a tactic like this would, however, interfere with services that could be needed to save lives that have nothing to do with this movement, such as the two alarm fire in Portland that recently took several lives.|
|Militarize defensive fortifications against police evictions or homeless sweeps||Militarize defensive fortifications against police evictions or homeless sweeps||This is a difficult situation. Evictions and homeless sweeps are almost guaranteed to become a large problem without significant legislative work to address, but the images evoked by this language reminds me of the issues that arose out of the occupation around Red House last summer, and may directly lead to casualities.|
|Attend a protest in black bloc. Chant away being a citizen and become a subject. Be water.||Attend a protest in black bloc. Chant away being a citizen and become a subject. Be water.||Attending a protest in bloc is concise, and I see no issue with it. Being water, especially in regards to movements when police attempt to break up protests, is non-violent and very useful. The phrase ‘chant away being a citizen and become a subject’ is something that honestly confuses me. If someone can explain it better, feel free to reach out to me.|
|Confront, block or assault anyone with a camera. We have our own press.||Confront, block or assault anyone with a camera. We have our own press. No police body cameras!||The addition of body cameras to the language is likely related to a proposal for Portland Police to wear body cameras, with the union being in control of the footage, giving the appearance it’s less for police accountability and more for police propaganda.|
The claims that the group has it’s own press, with no indication of who such press are, suggests that it’s less ‘press’ and more ‘propaganda’. Considering there is an entire propaganda section to come reinforces the idea.
And of course, assaulting someone simply for having a camera is a crime. Police have been assaulting enough press already, do we really need protesters doing it too?
|Do not comply with police, and flee and de-bloc only when safe and out of sight||Do not comply with police, and flee and de-bloc only when safe and out of sight||This has appeared to be a standard suggested practice during protests, in large parts because of suggestions that police dispersals have, in a number of cases, been of questionable legality to begin with.|
|Approach and Cycle (Propaganda)||More editing to align bullet points properly|
|Only photograph police, never the protesters||Only photograph police, never the protesters||Two points:|
1) That’s generally been what has happened with protest documentations already, as the focus has been on police brutality.
2) This seems to run counter to the ‘confront, block, or assault anyone with a camera’ claim before. Are cameras okay as long as they’re pointed at police? Or is this only for their ‘approved’ press?
|Dehumanize the police as bloodthirsty demons||Dehumanize the police as bloodthirsty demons; never speak of reformation. Return Satan’s works to Satan||The reintroduction of Judeochristian religious iconography after the ‘crusade’ reference was removed before is odd. I’m not sure what to make of it.|
Reformation versus abolishment has been an ongoing ideological debate, but it’s been clear that this group has always been fully on the abolish side of the debate.
|Weaponize homeless as victims of State cruelty and never mention rehabilitation, only freedom||Weaponize homeless as victims of State cruelty and never mention rehabilitation, only freedom||I was homeless. My circumstances were only marginally a result of state actions, much less cruelty.|
The reasons that an individual may be unhoused is as unique as the individual involved. Depending on the circumstances, rehabilitation may be a useful tool to allow a person to reach social equality (an egalitarian principle), while ‘only freedom’ is an incomplete description that does little to explain what you wish to see for the homeless.
Either way, to use the homeless community as a weapon, or a tool, for your own purposes, presumably without asking their permission or input, is to me morally reprehensible and repugnant. Tell their stories individually instead. Let the world see how the current system is failing them that way.
|Label moderate opposition as fascist or racist.||Label moderate or liberal opposition as fascist or racist||I guess I’m fascist then. Whoops. It’s easy to see the shift to further extremism here, and this is the exact rhetoric that outlets like OAN, Fox News, and Andy Ngo will use to claim that ‘the left’ just calls everyone they don’t agree with those words. It’s a trope, and you’re showing your hand.|
|Editorialize lawsuits against police and weakening qualified immunity so further resources can be extracted||Editorialize lawsuits against police and weakening qualified immunity so further resources can be extracted||I’ve already addressed how qualified immunity is a legislative function that needs to be addressed in Salem or Washington DC, not in Portland. Editorializing lawsuits only shows your bias, and trying to ‘extract resources’ will likely be financial settlements out of the city’s General Fund, which may cause an increase in property taxes or reduction in other services. It’s a double edged sword in that it may cause others to decry ‘wasteful spending’ due to a bad city department.|
|Use these propaganda techniques to accept foreign and domestic donations and re-invest in recruitment||Use these propaganda techniques to accept foreign and domestic donations and re-invest in recruitment||If this organization is to be taken seriously, this goal, along with current political climates in Washington, may draw increased attention to them that they really don’t want, in the form of FBI investigations. The end of the July flyer includes Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet addresses, which are also on their first Tweet from their account. As confirmed by other Twitter users, at this time neither the Bitcoin nor the Etherium wallets have had any transactions at this time|
And of course, I apologize for how long that was, but there was a -lot- of information to go through. All of this is also working under the presumption that this is a genuine group, with almost everyone that I’ve interacted with believing this is actually a far-right troll, a law enforcement honeypot, or a PR stunt staged to suppress turnout on the signature gathering stage of the recall petition. No matter if it’s real or not, the idea that no one has refuted any of their points is simply not true.