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It Did Happen Here

November 13, 2020

It Did Happen Here is an independently produced podcast that documents the organizing and unapologetic street battles against racist white skinheads as various anti-fascist activists in Portland, Oregon struggled to defend themselves and their communities in the 1980’s and 90’s. The 11 episodes feature interviews with many people who worked together in those days and reveal the unlikely collaboration between groups of immigrants, civil rights activists, militant youth and queer organizers who came together to successfully confront neo-nazi violence and right wing organizing in the Rose City.

The podcast talks to three core groups: the Portland chapter of Anti Racist Action; SHARP- Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice; and the Coalition for Human Dignity, a Portland-based umbrella formation which used the combined tools of research, field intelligence, and community mobilizations to effectively fight the right in the Pacific Northwest. In out-and-out brawls on the streets and at punk shows, and in behind the scenes intelligence gathering to expose right wing and white nationalist organizing, the three groups united over and over to attack fascists on their home ground—and they won it back. 

The timeline of It Did Happen Here spans the mid-1980s–with the rise of white nationalist street violence in Portland–to the mid-1990s, when the sizable presence of local neo-nazi skinheads largely vanished from the streets of the Rose City. It closely examines strategies and tactics-borrowing from ACTUP organizers, meticulous lefty scholars, and punks who didn’t mind a few dirty tricks–to constrain and eventually cripple fascist impact. 

It Did Happen Here acknowledges the white supremacist origins of Oregon as a state and exposes the direct relation between those origins and the infestation of right wing organizing; it explores the consequences and repercussions confrontational direct action had on antifascist participants, and ties events of 30 years ago both to the Klan-endorsed government of 1917 and to the present-day efforts to defend Black Lives, defund police and dismantle a violent, militarized right wing. 

It Did Happen Here is produced by Anti-Racist Action co-founder, hiphop musician, activist and educator Mic Crenshaw, media activist Celina Flores and radical documentarian Erin Yanke; Celina and Mic host the podcast as well. I’ve been helping with audio editing and working on the script with Moe Bowstern, Erin, Mic, and Celina. It’s been a pleasure.

We have 11 episodes in production, dropping once a week on Fridays. The first episode is out now.

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