Portland Community College officials have recently canceled an on-campus event planned by the Portland Democratic Socialists of America after right-wing protesters from Patriot Prayer threatened to attend the event and disrupt it, according to a recent email.
The event planned to have a brief discussion regarding the concept of job guarantee led by economics professor Mitch Green, and a discussion on the Green New Deal by a panel of DSA members, according to the Willamette Week.
“PCC Public Safety was made aware of a possible planned disruption to tonight’s event that may have had an impact on the safety of the academic community and event attendees,” Lt. Erik Hargrove said in an email to Green. “To ensure the event could be held safely, and successfully, a mutual agreement between Public Safety and the organizers was made to accommodate the event at a date/time that sufficient pre-planning could take place.”
According to DSA co-chairwoman Olivia Katbi Smith, the decision to cancel the event was not made by all parties involved in the event.
“Portland DSA is extremely disappointed to announce that Portland Community College’s campus security department has cancelled this evening’s teach-in for economic rights and climate justice because of threats from the right-wing street gang Patriot Prayer,” Smith said in a statement. “A handful of Patriot Prayer members have suggested on social media that they planned to attend the event, and PCC’s security has deemed themselves unable to respond appropriately. We strongly disagree with this decision, which was made without consulting our organizers or our dedicated safety team.”
Portland Community College and the Portland DCA is open to rescheduling the event. Campus security said it wants to ensure safety for its students, staff and faculty.
Patriot Prayer members have been harassing the Portland DSA chapter on multiple occasions last month, attending a DSA Jan. 17 meeting at the Industrial Workers of the World union hall and marching in front of the building two days later.
Some of the Patriot Prayer members belong to the typically violent far-right men’s fraternity, the Proud Boys.
“While Patriot Prayer often touts ‘Free Speech’ as the motivation for their disruptive rallies, PCC has effectively stifled the free speech of Portland DSA and allowed Patriot Prayer’s hostile tactics to intimidate them,” Smith said. “Decisions like this will encourage them to continue to suppress positive organizing, and will only embolden them in the future.”