5 questions with ‘Occupy’ supporter Dan Kaufman

“I see a greater need for civil disobedience and believe the success of the movement will mean long term safety for all vulnerable uses of our streets.”
— Dan Kaufman

Sellwood resident Dan Kaufman is no stranger to BikePortland. The man behind Crank My Chain! CycleTV has helped us with video projects in the past like coverage of the Aerial Tram and a video ad. His most recent project is a new video about the effort to ban studded tires in Oregon.

Dan Kaufman covering last weekend’s
Occupy Portland eviction rally.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Dan is a father of three boys, a professional videographer, a musician, and an entertainer — but he’s a transportation activist at heart. He has gotten swept up in the local ‘Occupy’ movement. Below he answers a few of my questions about the movement, his role in it, and why he feels it’s important…

What have you done so far to participate in the local Occupy movement?
“I attended and livestreamed the original OWS solidarity march. I have participated in and supported several meetings and discussions live and online. I videotaped part of Sunday’s rally against the eviction and then brought down the disco trike to celebrate the success of the night – knowing full well the camp would eventually be cleared. I have written poetry, music, and twitter/FB posts in support. I helped organize the bike/ped action committee which organized the swarm.”

Why are you doing it?
“I see first hand how the economic crises is effecting most of us. It is creating economic casualties and refugees. All the while, the Dow Jones continues to climb and corporate profits/CEO pay soars. Trickle down didn’t work and now the system is broken. It will take fundamental repairs and paradigm shifts. The sooner the better for all.

At the heart is of our problems is the overweight influence of money in government decisions and peak oil (which we have passed, by the way). None of our leaders can or will address the real issues so it is time for the people to lead. That has been manifested in the occupy movement, which I hope can remain peaceful and inclusive.”

Some people feel that mixing bicycling and this movement politicizes bikes. Do you see it that way?
“It is a very valid concern. We are already so overexposed as bicyclists (naked if you will) and we carry all the negative baggage of scofflaws that no other mode must. Does anybody every complain about “all you speeding motorists” for example?

However, I see a greater need for civil disobedience and believe the success of the movement will mean long term safety for all vulnerable uses of our streets. So it is imperative to me that the bicycle actions remain peaceful and civil. It should attempt to minimize the disruption for the “99%” but that won’t always be possible. No matter what measures we take, this revolution away from the status quo is going to bother and offend some people the same way people on bicycles always manage to do (sadly).”

Do you think other people who care about human-powered transportation and bicycling should participate?
“Definitely, I hope that everyone who believes the government and road systems need an overhaul will join in as much as they can. Especially in actions and the meetings. Human power is the best tool we have at our disposal.”

Where can people follow your work?
CrankMyChain! Cycle TV is the best place to see my work. My video production company is PDXK Productions – I am available for hire and need community support (volunteer, money or promotion) to continue putting the effort into this movement that I am. My knees are sore from riding the disco trike everywhere I have been working on minimum sleep and family time; but I believe the task at hand is critical if we wish to preserve our government of the people, by the people and for the people. I am very serious! I also want to plug in bike fun and music into the movement. The positive response and need for these contributions is immediately obvious and amazing.”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Dan. Good luck out there and we’ll see you in the streets.

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