Anarchists Are Fixing Potholes In Portland


Portland Anarchist Road Care, or PARC, is fighting 'the man' one pothole at a time.

In Portland, Oregon, an organized group of anarchists are protesting the city's inadequate attention paid to potholes... by fixing them itself. Called Portland Anarchist Road Care, or PARC (hardy-har!), the group has already attended to three blocks in the Pacific Coast city to fix what the group sees as a side effect of a failed institution—one that it thinks should no longer exist. And it isn't asking for permission because “these are our streets,” it told CityLab.

PARC, which consists of a small group of friends who believe the best way to fix the roads in Portland is to dismantle the city organizational structures that maintain them, has been patching potholes guerilla style. Armed with basic tools, patching materials, and face masks, PARC members show up to make quick work of the divots in the pavement with cold asphalt, then return a while later to make sure the mending has held up. “There can be no ethical services provided by the government because they are facilitated through the power of the gun,” wrote PARC. “Don’t get us wrong, we believe that many of these services are crucial for society, like healthcare, education, and maintained roadways,

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we believe that the way to achieve access for all is by deconstructing the state and capitalism, as well as other coercive hierarchies that exist in our society. It is this driving philosophy that motivates our actions, not only to fix the potholes, but to take power back from the state, into the hands of the people.” However, there is a problem with PARC's method. “It’s not safe or legal for people to fill potholes on streets that are maintained by the city,” said Dylan Rivera, a representative of Portland Bureau of Transportation. “They also run the risk of being held personally liable if someone were to be injured by the pothole they attempted to fix.”

For its part, PARC is unphased by the legality of its mission: “It is necessary to build the community networks that we envision for a post-revolutionary society. When people ask anarchists, ‘Who will fix the roads?’ the answer is obvious: We will.”

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