reviewed It Did Happen Here by Moe Bowstern (Working Class History)

Moe Bowstern, Mic Crenshaw, Alec Dunn, Celina Flores, Julie Perini, Erin Yanke: It Did Happen Here (Paperback, 2023, PM Press) 5 stars

Portland, Oregon, 1988: the brutal murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads shocked …

"Together Against"

5 stars

I got this book a bit early for preparing an interview for the radio show, but since it hasn't been released (brag brag) I won't include any spoilers. Basically, if you haven't heard the KBOO podcast hosted by Erin Yanke, Mic Crenshaw & Celina Flores, do it! If you've heard the podcast, check out the book and you'll find even more interviews (in addition to many from the book) with antiracist activists from Portland from the mid 80's to late 90's. Plus a ton of photos, posters and flyers, news clippings and more. There is so much here and I've no doubt it's just scratching the surface. This is a great read for anyone interested in radical or regional history, doing anti-racist activism, who is interested in multi-generational and coalitional organizing, or into subcultural punk and skinhead resistance.

Starting earlier, though really sparked by the murder by beating of Ethiopian immigrant and educator Mulugeta Seraw as he tries to stop a fight between his friends and nazi "bonehead" skinheads from East Side White Pride in 1988, the book follows lesbian activists, gay Act Up organizers, punks and skins, seasoned leftist activists, feminists and other concerned community members as they attempt to face down, map and out-organize not only violent street fighters but also holocaust deniers, rural white nationalist militia, and right wing Christian organizing by Oregon Citizens Alliance in and around Portland before the turn of the millenium.

Massive respect from here for the activists and community members whose stories are told here, as well as the producers of the podcast and this volume for their amazing work crafting such a moving patchwork quilt of experience.