If you're not up to speed on the communist cosplay playing out in the streets of Seattle, via the creation of a so-called 'autonomous zone' by left-wing anarchists, read these on-the-ground reports from our own Julio Rosas. Posted signs decree that police are not allowed to enter this six-block area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of the city, which has been declared its own jurisdiction by the Antifa mob. A recently-abandoned police precinct has been occupied and turned into a "community center." Let's just start with the obvious: This is lawlessness on stilts, and it's an ongoing disgrace that it's being allowed to persist in any way, shape or form.
Authorities were far too lax with 'Occupy Wall Street,' which was covered sympathetically by the press, resulting in unjust double standards and a rash of sexual assaults and other crimes. And this time around -- surprise, surprise -- there's already trouble in paradise. They've been running out of food (homeless people stealing provisions), so they're requesting vegan-friendly replenishments:
And they're discovering what happens when the rule of law is abandoned in favor of roving vigilantes:
Raz Simone, a local rapper with an AK-47 slung from his shoulder and a pistol attached to his hip, screamed, “This is war!” into a white-and-red megaphone and instructed armed paramilitaries to guard the barricades in shifts. Later in the night, Simone was filmed allegedly assaulting multiple protestors who disobeyed his orders, informing them that he was the "police" now, sparking fears that he was becoming the de facto warlord of the autonomous zone.
Gosh, I wonder if the 'new police' were wearing body cams, or are accountable to a chain of command and a justice system that protects those they victimized. It's also difficult not to laugh at this, especially the "regime occupied Safeway" bit:
America deserves this pic.twitter.com/sSUH2G3WvS— Payton Alexander (@AlexanderPayton) June 10, 2020
Among the "demands" from the zone's leading anarchists are:
- The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police. At an equal level of priority we also demand that the city disallow the operations of ICE in the city of Seattle.
- In the transitionary period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.
- We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.
- We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking...
Additional 'demands' include granting felons in prison the unrestricted right to vote, the "de-gentrification" of Seattle, free college, and socialized healthcare funded by police abolition. Before you chuckle and shrug, it'll be amusing to let this thing collapse on its own, consider a few points: First, it is dangerous that this is being allowed to happen with impunity for days on end. We are a nation of laws, and once again, a local government is utterly failing in its core obligations to law-abiding citizens. The police have retreated, the left-wing mayor -- despised by the mob for not being radical enough -- is dithering, and Washington's "progressive" governor was pretending not to know anything about the situation, as of yesterday (it's a major trending story involving the abdication of official power, in his state's largest city). Second, this isn't funny for non-zealots affected by it:
Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nolette said her department and other city departments are trying to find the leaders of the CHAZ to negotiate a roadmap for the area's immediate future. She said police are receiving reports of armed people manning the check points intimidating people trying to enter. “While Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used intimidate community members," Nolette said. Nolette said operating a citizen checkpoint on a public street is illegal. “We have heard anecdotally of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area; this is crime of extortion," Nolette said.
As I mentioned on Twitter last night, imagine being a small business owner desperate to get past COVID lockdown devastation — only to see the police abandon ship and armed thugs extorting you for money just to run your business in peace. Protection money. In the middle of Seattle. Third, passivity and negligence (and proactive enabling) by authorities could encourage this sort of insanity. Indeed, it appears as though Antifa and friends in Portland are suffering from Sim City envy, and are at least attempting to replicate Seattle's model in their city. Fourth, how much harder does the restoration of law and order become if the national media starts to romanticize the dysfunction? Here's a supposed 'news' report from the increasingly lost New York Times:
Facing a growing backlash over its dispersal tactics in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, the Seattle Police Department this week offered a concession: Officers would abandon their precinct, board up the windows and let the protesters have free rein outside. In a neighborhood that is the heart of the city’s art and culture — threatened these days as rising tech wealth brings in gentrification — protesters seized the moment. They reversed the barricades to shield the liberated streets and laid claim to several city blocks, now known as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” The entire area was now a homeland for racial justice — and, depending on the protester one talked to, perhaps something more...What has emerged is an experiment in life without the police — part street festival, part commune. Hundreds have gathered to hear speeches, poetry and music. On Tuesday night, dozens of people sat in the middle of an intersection to watch “13th,” the Ava DuVernay film about the criminal justice system’s impact on African-Americans. On Wednesday, children made chalk drawings in the middle of the street.
The whole story reads as a public relations pamphlet, bordering on a love letter, bearing the headline. "Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police: Inside Seattle’s Autonomous Zone." An embarrassment. Readers would have no sense whatsoever of the dark side of the lawlessness, including the armed guards, the 'warlord,' the sporadic food shortages, or the allegations of extortion. Perhaps this disgraceful piece slipped past Times editors because they were busy scouring the opinion pages for heretical content. And if the bent of the story wasn't obvious enough, it included digs at President Trump, calling his "sinister" framing of the chaos as inaccurate and featuring a snarky clapback to a Trump tweet from Seattle's Mayor, without any mention of the mob swarming city hall after hours and demanding her resignation. I'll leave you with this succinct critique of the media's astonishing Antifa-related gaslighting, which continues apace:
Antifa is a bogeyman, little more than a figment of overheated right-wing imaginations. Also, they just declared an autonomous zone covering several blocks in Seattle, and are planning to expand their territory.— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) June 11, 2020
And this is just wild:
According to one Seattle police officer with knowledge of internal deliberations, the city’s “leadership is in chaos” and “the mayor has made the decision to let a mob of 1,000 people dictate public safety policy for a city of 750,000.” The officer said that Chief Best had dispatched high-ranking police officials to the autonomous zone to establish a line of communication, but the officials were immediately sent away by armed paramilitaries at the barricades. “The tide of public opinion is on the side of the activists and they’re pushing the envelope as far as they can,” said the officer. “It’s not hyperbolic to say the endgame is anarchy.”
You couldn't pay me to move to Seattle or Portland.