What’s with Seattle’s CHAZ?

I’m a bit grumpy today—who isn’t getting peevish during lockdown—and so I’m going to question what the bloody hell is going on in Seattle, where protestors (Antifa, BLM activists, and assorted anarchists and hangers-on) have occupied a six-block area in a prime bit of real estate in the downtown are. The occupied bit is now called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, and the cops have abandoned the area, leaving the protestors to control it and all businesses in the area, which are mostly closed and boarded up. The occupation is proceeding with the tacit cooperation of the city, which not only provides accoutrements to the protestors, but keeps the police out—except in the two instances where there were shootings, with one person being killed.

CHAZ would seem to be what this country would look like if the young Woke took over, and it’s not that pretty, as detailed in the two articles below (click on the screenshots). During the day it’s peaceful, and there are “indigenous gardens” and, as Andy Ngo details, even acts of kindness.  At night, though, things change: as “Simple Justice” and Andy Ngo report, things get darker, with fights, armed patrols roaming the area, shootings, and bullying.

The New York Times: reported on the daytime “party atmosphere” of the area, much like what I remember in the Sixties at People’s Park in Berkeley:

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 street.

The Times piece was published before the two shootings that took place on Saturday, with a 19-year-old being killed (I can’t find a NYT report on the shootings). As the Washington Post reported more recently:

The Seattle Police Department said in a statement that officers initially had trouble getting to the scene of the shooting because they “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.” The police officers’ entry into the zone, filmed by people occupying it, didn’t appear to show violence.

Police said they are searching for the shooter or shooters and had no description or motive to share as of Saturday morning. Investigators gathered shell casings from the scene Saturday.

For if there’s any view of our future in CHAZ, it’s that the cops will be banned and there will be at least as much bigotry and divisiveness as we see in the greater society (Seattle is surely one of the most progressive cities in the U.S.).

And my question is this: why is Seattle allowing this to happen? Are they surrendering this area to the anarchists for good?  Granted, I can understand why the cops would be reluctant to remove the protestors, since that might lead to a bloody confrontation given the guns in the hands of CHAZ’s occupants, but if we can’t count on Seattle to keep control of its city, who can we count on? If the protestors were peaceful, obeying rules of civil disobedience, and the cops could simply carry them away, that would be one solution, but can we count on either of these things?

I doubt it. At any rate, CHAZ gives us a peek into the kind of world that many of the extremist protestors really want. It’s not a world of simple protest and working for peaceful change and an end to racism, but a simple taking-over of society with no obvious coherent vision except getting rid of the cops. But that’s my petulant take, and readers may differ.

Here are two pieces (the first is less captious) on what’s going on within CHAZ. “Simple Justice” is a criminal defense-website. The article decries the mainstream media’s downplaying of the darker side of CHAZ—the weapons and the killing—and ends this way:

While the New York Times has had little to say about any of this, at least Vox has provided one of its “explainers.”

CHAZ has since evolved further into a center of peaceful protest, free political speech, co-ops, and community gardens. Protesters have invited the city’s houseless population, who had been subject to a mass “clearing” of tent communities throughout the city, to come stay in the neighborhood.

Sounds wonderful. Too bad for the dead kid.

 

This article from the New York Post is by Andy Ngo, a semconservative reporter. He may be overemphasizing things; I just don’t know, but even if he’s exaggerating a bit, it’s at least one reporter’s view of what it’s like to be inside CHAZ both day and night. Have any mainstream media sent a reporter in that way? I think that would be important, for her is instantiated, at least in incipient form, the kind of society the Young Woke (who are increasingly running the NYT and the Washington Post) envision.

I give some quotes from Ngo’s piece below (click on screenshot to read it):

On June 8, Seattle police frantically loaded what they could from the east precinct onto trucks and cars. Within hours, they boarded up and abandoned the station. That night, left-wing protesters from Black Lives Matter and Antifa declared ownership of the six-block neighborhood in the middle of the Pacific Northwest’s largest city. They named their new territory the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ. No laws or rules applied here except for one: “No cops allowed.”

During five undercover days and nights in the zone, I witnessed a continuing experiment in anarchy, chaos and brute-force criminality. In order to avoid being exposed as a journalist — several reporters have been barred or expelled — I slept and showered outside the zone. (Those inside have no showers but they do have portable bathrooms.) I took meals, and most of my water breaks, elsewhere because I was reluctant to remove my mask and risk being recognized. Every day I entered the zone twice through its semi-porous borders — once in the early afternoon, and again after sundown, staying until the wee hours.

. . . CHAZ occupants, ranging from several hundred to 10,000 depending on the day, with many openly armed, control all of the Capitol Hill neighborhood near downtown. The neighborhood is the heart of Seattle’s gay and counter-culture district, and is densely filled with businesses and apartment buildings. CHAZ now claims all of it.

. . . Despite the group’s link to violent extremism, its armed members were celebrated in the CHAZ for “protecting” the new denizens. The head of CHAZ’s security is a short female named “Creature.” She and the rest of her team communicate with walkie-talkie devices and earpieces. Some of them openly carry rifles, handguns, batons or knives. Their operating base is in the open-air eating section of the Rancho Bravo Tacos Mexican restaurant. Signs posted all over their base declares: “NO PHOTOS. NO VIDEOS.” Another sign lists Venmo names for donations.

. . .But at night, a whole different side of CHAZ emerges.

Lacking agreed-upon leadership, those who have naturally risen to the top have done so with force or intimidation. For example, rapper Raz Simone, real name Solomon Simone, patrols CHAZ on some nights with an armed entourage. Simone, originally from Georgia, has an arrest record for child cruelty and other charges. He usually conducts his patrols carrying a long semi-auto rifle and sidearm. Last weekend, a live stream recorded Simone handing another man a rifle from the trunk of a car.

Not everyone in CHAZ recognizes Simone’s police-like presence, but no one is willing to stand up to him and his group. There have been consequences to those perceived as challengers or threats. Independent Los Angeles-based journalist Kalen D’Ameida recorded Simone and his crew in the early hours of Monday morning. He was spotted by one of Simone’s men, who manhandled him and demanded he turn over his mobile device. Simone’s team chased D’Ameida and tried to drag him to the security tent. He escaped by hiding in a construction site outside CHAZ until police responded to his 911 call.

Those unfortunate enough to have homes or businesses within CHAZ — an estimated 30,000 residents — have no say over their new overlords. Residents have discreetly voiced their concerns to local media. Gunshots and “screams of terror” at night have been reported. A resident of an apartment building came out twice to ask protesters to leave the alley where the entrance is. They brushed him off.

Every business and property inside CHAZ has been vandalized with graffiti. Most messages say some variation of “Black Lives Matter” or “George Floyd,” but other messages call for the murder of police. Most businesses are boarded up. “ACAB” — all cops are bastards, an Antifa slogan — is written over them.

. . .Despite the pleas from those who live and work inside Capitol Hill for law and order to be restored, Seattle’s city council has determined that CHAZ should continue. On Tuesday, the city even provided upgrades to CHAZ, including street blockades that double as graffiti canvases, along with cleaning services and porta-potties.

It is difficult to decipher what CHAZ occupants want. Each faction, whether liberal, Marxist or anarchist, has their own agenda. But one online manifesto posted on Medium demands no less than the abolishment of the criminal justice system.

What will happen if demands aren’t met? Jaiden Grayson, a young black woman who has developed a large following in CHAZ, told a filmmaker: “Respond to the demands of the people or prepare to be met with any means necessary. … It’s not even a warning. I’m letting people know what comes next.”

CHAZ resembles People’s Park, an area of Berkeley designated for university student housing that was taken over by activists in April, 1969.  After a few weeks, Governor (later President) Reagan sent in the National Guard and police, and they became violent, wielding billy clubs and guns, which they fired. One bystander was killed and 128 people hospitalized (one blinded by buckshot). After this confrontation in May, 1969, the area had a checkered history. I visited it two years ago since it is a bit of our National Sixties Cultural Heritage, and the place is still occupied by hippies and the homeless.

Is there a lesson for Seattle here? Well, don’t go sending in violent cops if you want to dismantle CHAZ, for that would be even worse since the Seattle protestors, unlike those in Berkeley, are armed. The occupants of CHAZ are explicitly anti-cop, and a forced removal of residents would create a bloodbath.

Is there a solution? I don’t know of one, but it cannot be the case that a city can surrender part of its jurisdiction to anarchists permanently. The residents of the area are scared, and the businesses in the area, and some around it, are closed. This was not the situation in Berkeley.

All I know is that I don’t want to live in a world that’s like CHAZ, regardless of its so-called “party atmosphere.”

 

h/t: RIchard

151 thoughts on “What’s with Seattle’s CHAZ?

  1. Ophelia Benson posted a t***t a few days ago, insisting everybody should “chill” about CHAZ/CHOP, and that it was only about “providing food” and people “giving speeches”. Naturally, somebody got murdered in the CHAZ/CHOP area not long after.

    Remember, Ophelia claims she is a “skeptic”. Genuine skeptics would have pointed out the problematic nature and descent into anarchy of CHAZ from the onset.

    1. I’m very disappointed with the skeptic and atheist communities signing onto this uncritically, like Benson. I have as much protest cred as anyone, and I’ve seen protests go bad in small ways, in limited ways, but they were contained by organizers who knew what they were doing. I’ve also been to the Rainbow Gathering which had leaders, rules, and may I add, cooks. (Many attendees were lifelong hippies who ran collective farms or communes.) This situation in Seattle is nothing like any peaceful gathering I’ve attended and because there is no clear leader it’s going to cycle downward very quickly.

      Untreated mentally ill people are wandering around, people are taking drugs, there are probably rapes (as there were during Occupy Wall Street, but the women were told to shut up and not tarnish the movement), and from what I’ve seen there aren’t many cooks, but there are people carrying guns. (!)

      It seems I’ve always worried about the atheist movement growing so quickly with so many young people who first needed to learn comparative religion and explore before so quickly labeling themselves, and now my fears have come to fruition: SJW true believerism is filling a hole in these young people’s lives. They want to tear everything down and rebuild, but they don’t know how to cook, plant, or be cohesive.

      And they’re not even pro-science. I had an online argument with a supporter who insisted that we could “live like ants” because ants don’t have any hierarchy. (Wrong!)

      1. Part of Ophelia Benson’s reaction is just down to the fact that Trump is predictably opposed to CHAZ/CHOP.

        Not very skeptical, eh?

        PS Ofie was keen to point out she lives in Seattle…but not keen to point out she doesn’t live in the proximity of CHAZ/CHOP.

      2. Atheism in the US is seldom part of a commitment to naturalism or rationalism.

        Many atheists there seem to be motivated by an intense loathing of the religious right. During the Bush years, atheists shared a common enemy with George Bush who claimed that he invaded Iraq because God told him so. But with the election of Obama and Muslims becoming a PC-protected group, politics changed and Atheism+ (atheism + social justice) was invented. New atheists of Dawkinsian manner were left behind because they do not view atheism as merely a part of a political platform. Thus, PZ Myers wrote vicious diatribes against Richard Dawkins a few years after both men had a cordial relationship.

        I do view New Atheism increasingly critical. While it has achieved useful things (like reducing prejudice against atheists and helping persecuted atheists in Muslim communities), it disregarded scholarship about religion that toothless old-style atheists paid more attention to. There is alienating activism (like a lawsuit to stop a nativity scene in a townhall) and much insipid intellectualism (with daily updates on Reddit’s r/atheism). But what left me most disillusioned is that no rise of reason seems to result from the recession of religion.

        1. Which “scholarship” do you contend the New Atheists “disregarded”? Please be specific.

          1. Here are some views that are encountered in atheist communities, but
            not endorsed by expert scholars:

            Origins of Christianity: Jesus mythicism. Jesus is a rip-off of Horus.
            The birthday of Mithras became Christmas.

            Medieval Christianity: Galileo and Giordano Bruno were modern scientists
            who were persecuted because their views contradicted a literal
            interpretation of the Bible. The Church thought that the earth was flat.
            After all, it had once burned the Library of Alexandria, systematically
            eradicating all of its ancient knowledge.

            Modern History: The Nazis were inspired by Christianity and the pope
            condoned Hitler. Nobody was ever persecuted in the name of atheism,
            because it entails no dogmas. Consequently, any state-sponsored murders
            and discrimination of people due to their religious beliefs as happened
            in the Soviet Union and its satellite states can only be attributed to
            the quasi-religious doctrine of communism.

            Role of religion: If not for Islam, the Muslim world would be just as
            advanced as first-world countries, regardless of irrelevant details like
            cousin marriage or ethnic conflicts. Most wars are ultimately caused by
            religion. Because of the Religious Right, the crime rate of red states
            is higher than that of blue states.

            1. I am not sure that this scholarship you reference really exists.

              But even so, so what?

              Those few details you mention might be interesting to talk about but have little to do with being an atheist and expressing concern over all aspects of religion.

              Atheists of the Dawkins kind weren’t left behind, but there was a split in the so called community, when identity politics started interfering with actual skepticism.
              Benson being right in the middle of that.

              But what is your point?

              There is little doubt that Christianity did influence negative attitudes toward Jews as does Islam.

              Galileo was persecuted.

              Myers fell out with Dawkins because of Watson.

              Etc.

              But so what?

              Are you an atheist? There are still ridiculous things going on all over the world thanks to religion. The attack on women’s right’s in many American states is both religious and brutal, and we need whatever remains of this said community to keep up some opposition.

  2. sub

    It would be interesting to see how long this experiment would last if the police treated this as a siege.

    I think I’ve been watching too many history documentaries recently.

  3. Ngo’s report is not inaccurate as far as I know. The no-police zone is becoming more violent as rival groups fight for control. The Seattle City Council is a group of extreme leftists as exemplified by Kshama Sawant who wholly supports this sort of anarchy blaming everything on racism and capitalism. The mayor and police chief are scared to do anything, and the police have been effectively disarmed. The residents and businesses there have been hung out to dry. I think the strategy is to sit and wait and hope they all go home. Not going to happen, I’d guess. Polls show 80% of residents want it shut down. Normally some law and order candidate would campaign on shutting it down (the mayor is up for election), but this is Seattle. We want it shut down “nicely.”

    1. A world without police is a world ruled by violent gangs. This has never varied in history and it certainly won’t in this case.

      My guess?: The City of Seattle will let it heat to a boil and when the body count gets high enough, then they will act.

      As Sam Harris said in his recent podcast: Giving a monopoly on violence to the state is one of the best things humans have ever done. Right up there with keeping our shit out of our food.

      1. Possibly the body count, possibly some massive lawsuits from building and business owners for not executing their responsibilities.

        1. The lawyer Robert Barnes addressed that possibility in a livestream I watched recently and it seems as though city councils and governments don’t necessarily have that responsibility such that a law suite would succeed.

  4. A possible solution might be for the city to stop enabling the situation. Cut off water. Cut off electricity (no phone chargers? OMG!) Stop trash pick-up. Don’t service the portages-potties. Embrace your autonomy CHAZ and provide these services yourself or negotiate with the city to provide them for the same cost typically billed any other recipient of city services.

  5. CHAZ is no more; it is now CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/another-shooting-in-seattle-protest-zone-leaves-1-wounded/ar-BB15OLBH?OCID=ansmsnnews11

    I think the strategy of the Washington state officials is to allow the CHOP to wither away, as it will almost certainly do. This is better than sending in the police or National Guard to break it up. The denizens of the zone will quickly realize that a supposed leaderless society will create chaos and violence or an authoritarian will emerge to take over. In either case, life in the zone will not be what they hoped for. They will drift away disillusioned, wondering what went wrong. However, they may realize, by gosh, that police are necessary. If the communes of the 1960s didn’t work, neither will the CHOP.

    1. It was actually called CHOP before it was called CHAZ. It started as a protest zone when protest groups camped out there. Now it is a semi-permanent autonomous zone. The media here often call it CHOP/CHAZ.

    2. I agree. I don’t think the local and state governments, even if they had the will, could try to end with force without a tragedy for the people who live in the neighborhood.

    3. The authorities let the heavily armed Far Right Ranch Stupidians led by the infamous Bundy brothers occupy the Malheur Wildlife Refuge for a month and a half without retaking it by force or otherwise resorting to violence (except for the one dipwad who committed suicide-by-cop miles away).

      1. I oppose those folks (even as a western rancher), but nobody had to get used to life in Bundy-occupied territory. The people there were misguided, but were there voluntarily, as far as I know.
        People often occupy businesses or public buildings, even places like Alcatraz. Those occupations rarely lead to overwhelming retaliation by force, unless other factors are included.
        Occupying an inhabited area is a completely different prospect. The people who have homes there are not necessarily being afforded the rights guaranteed under the constitution.

        The Chazheads could build a utopian socialist society on their own land, and nobody would be likely to interfere. We have some hippies who have been doing exactly that not far from us. If they did it on uninhabited public land, they would likely get the same treatment as the Bundy cultists.

        1. I take your point regarding the burden on local Seattle residents, Max (assuming the accuracy of some of the reporting coming out of the site). But the federal park buildings occupied by the Bundy vigilantes at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge didn’t exactly qualify as “uninhabited public lands.”

          And, I gotta admit, for rugged individualists out there roughing it in the wilderness, their “wish list” seeking the donation of supplies I found kinda funny, especially when it came to “Miracle Whip® … Pall Mall Menthol 100’s [sic>/i>] and French Vanilla Creamer”:

          https://twitter.com/jjmacnab/status/685960657225793536

          🙂

          1. As far as I know, there were no civilian Inhabitants at Malheur. I suppose it is possible that one or more Fish and Wildlife employees stay on site.

            You are “preaching to the choir” about the Bundy cultists. Those sorts of people are pretty unpopular in the circles I move in, as they make the rest of us look like lunatics.

  6. This could be compared to the Occupy Wall Street event. As I recall, that was far more civil. Is American protest going down-hill? I’m worried that these worrisome protests will give tRump an excuse to pull a coup of some kind. At the least he can use it as evidence of the value of his law-and-order stance.

    1. Trump has to do nothing. People will get fed up with CHAZ (and other protests) and drift away providing Laura Nordor with worked real life examples of how ‘the left’ fails without it.

      1. I suspect between now and the election, this crisis will fade and several more will have rolled out. Let’s hope tRump is not in better shape because of it.

  7. It is a teachable moment.
    Firstly, my kid told me we should just turn off the power and water.
    So we got to discuss exactly what “autonomous” means, and how is differes from “independent”.
    Also the situation is complicated by the presence of a large number of actual residents, many of whom are holed up in their homes. They need our support, even as they are currently living without access to constitutional protections.

    An argument I have heard and am not yet able to refute is that much of this excess is primarily aimed at trying to provoke the current administration into overreacting with force, so that he will be seen as something like Franco.
    The smarter response is through the power of the law. If there is national coordination of criminal actions, that allows for pretty serious prosecution of individuals involved. People are already being prosecuted for crossing state lines to engage in riots.

    I personally wonder about the fireworks. Every single violent protest I have seen has involved people throwing commercial fireworks at law enforcement or suspected class enemies. We were in the Asheville area when the protests there started, and a vast number of commercial fireworks were thrown at police. There have to be supply chains and funding involved.

  8. Jesus, The New York Post? It’s the crown stool in Rupert Murdoch’s American dung heap. All the reactionary pro-Trump news that’s fit to print. It’s been lovin’ on The Donald since he was just a blowhard publicity-hound NY builder moving tabloid product off the shelf as a staple of its Page Six gossip section.

    I’d take its piece by Andy Ngo with a boulder of rock salt.

      1. I’ll take a local’s word for it.

        But the Post piece is written in typical Post sensationalist fashion, full of unsubstantiated assertions (which maybe can be laid off on Post editors, rather than Ngo). Keep the philistines outraged and scared, is the Post‘s motto; it’s good for circulation.

      1. a) I don’t know that much about it, but, from what I do, I’m not;

        b) I get my news from a broad spectrum of sources. But except for The Wall Street Journal (which has a top-flight news division, but a suck-ass editorial one), I don’t trust Murdoch outlets. Do you? Are you holding up The NY Post as a reliable source?

        1. “Are you holding up The NY Post as a reliable source?”

          I do not know the publication at all, I assume it is a tabloid like the Daily Mail in the UK?

          As per the Guardian vs the Daily Mail, the Guardian used to be my favorite newspaper until it went downhill about a decade ago. The Daily Mail is like a prostitute, it print’s everything mostly trash, but sometimes some detail you cannot get anywhere else.
          The Guardian lies by omission and the “Opinion” section which used to be great is now woke propaganda by mediocre activists.

          And the Times/Telegraph/Spectator/Economist etc are behind pay wall’s.

        2. Instead of asserting its unreliability, demonstrate it for readers.

          Pick a couple of articles and show us why they are so unreliable and how you know. (Not Trump related as he is a passing maelstrom…)

            1. People on this website do that regularly–provide evidence for their claims. So, does Dr. Coyne.

              1. That doesn’t mean everyone’s got an obligation to spoon-feed everyone else to back up everything last thing they say. At that point the demand for evidence is reduced to a rhetorical device to try and score points.

                And, have you ever read the New York Post?

            1. Does that suffice, dd? Or do you need a Columbia Journalism Review-style takedown of The Post?

              Oh, wait, I just happen to have one right here standing next to Marshall McLuhan behind the movie poster. 🙂

              1. So what….it is known for its over-the-top headlines and illustrations.

                The question is: Is what they say factually wrong?

                The Post was the publication with likely the most famous headline ever….”Headless Body in Topless Bar”. Sensational? Yes….

                But if you read the background on that article and the headline, you will find that the reporters verified that it was indeed a headless body found in the topless bar. And apparently, it was not easy, but it would not go to print until it was verified.

              2. So what….it is known for its over-the-top headlines and illustrations.

                Really, dd?

                Were Hillary’s mortal maladies born out by her ensuing autopsy?

                And how about the two innocent bystanders The Post fingered for the Boston Marathon bombing (per the Columbia Journalism Review piece I provided you)? Where are they doing their federal prison time these days?

                Jeez, I’d’ve thought you might bow out of this kerfuffle gracefully — but, hey, keep getting your hard news from Page Six if that’s your bag, man.

              3. I don’t know much about the papers in question but as for inaccurate ‘fingering’ and the failure of the NYP, how was your favorite pick on the matter of the Covington School kids?

                Here is a headline I pulled quickly.

                “The High School Deplorables”

                I started skimming the article and it was garbage.

                So?

        3. Agreed about the Wall Street Journal’s editorial section, which is probably what prompted Gore Vidal to call the WSJ America’s greatest fascist newspaper. I check the Journal’s book reviews once a week but avoid anything by Barton Swaim.

        4. Agree on the WSJ having a top-flight news division. That is why I subscribe. It also does a fairly good job of keeping the news and opinion separate. Better than the NYT at that.

          1. The New York Times is known as the ne plus ultra when it comes to maintaining strict church-state separation between its News and Editorial divisions. (Hell, per its Handbook, it’s verboten for the news division editor ever even to speak with either the editorial-page editor OR the publisher about news coverage).

            The Times reporting may be polluted with opinion from time to time. But that opinion is coming from the the reporters covering the news stories themselves, not from anyone associated with the op-ed pages.

            1. Interesting. It seems self-defeating to have strict news-opinion separation if the reporters are free to slant the news, which they seem to me to do. But I guess the slant is more the choice of what they report and emphasize more than anything else. The WSJ does that too. Good reason to subscribe to both if you can afford it.

              1. Agreed, though it frosts my ass to line Murdoch’s pocket with the price of a WSJ subscription.

                The penurious prick won’t give up so much as a single free article.

              2. For years, the WSJ has been required reading for business types. I have only read it when it in waiting rooms and the like. My general impression is that it used to be good but is no longer worth that much. All the market data is available elsewhere, updated instantly. There is more in-depth business reporting available in alternate online publications that are able to go into much greater depth in a given industry. My guess is that WSJ is victim to many of the same forces as the rest of the newspaper world though perhaps with a bit more insulation than most.

              3. Yeah, it is not clear why they print all that financial data in the paper edition. Who looks at that? I subscribe only to the digital edition.

  9. I think unfortunately the country has become so polarized that you have little to no meaningful dissent in some areas, so both Left and Right are forced to confront the ultimate logical conclusions of their stances when there is no one standing in their way.

    Best case scenario, we say, hey, this is what democracy is all about – we give people the freedom to experiment and learn in the real world, so that they’re not silently, resentfully armchair quarterbacking from elsewhere, sure that they could have done things so much better. If you say “Ok, try that and let me know how it works out for you,” and you really mean it, that can lead to much more profound learning experiences than asking someone to take your word for it. Worst (or worse – things can always be worse, ha ha) case scenario, things destabilize to such a degree that something terrible fills that vacuum.

    I feel the parallel on the Right might be something like draconian abortion laws, although since Red states are not in the news as much, I’m not as clear on what’s going on there. A part of me wonders if, among women at least, there is a bit of a “Whoa, be careful what you wish for” sentiment on that. It’s one thing to rail against the sinfulness of abortion when you know nothing will come of it, it’s another when it becomes criminalized even in the first trimester or when there are complications with the pregnancy. I mean there was literally a bill in Ohio where doctors were going to be ordered to re-implant ectopic pregnancies. Having been through an ectopic pregnancy, it makes me tear up to think about first going through such a hard situation, then having to submit to being cut open to have your dead baby ‘implanted’ in some wackadoo, probably dangerous procedure. The fact that such a thing was ever on the table in any kind of serious way is beyond the pale.

    1. “this is what democracy is all about – we give people the freedom to experiment and learn in the real world”

      I don’t think so. I don’t think the people invading and occupying Capitol Hill have asked the actual residents (something like 30K of them) or business owners what they want.

      1. Yes, that is true, I suppose to be truly democratic it would have been the result of a vote. That said, people can still more or less support or protest this scenario with their next vote.

  10. I suppose Seattle was ripe for such a thing. Big mistake letting it go so long. Glad I do not live anywhere near the place. Maybe the virus will run through the place and finish it off.

        1. She mentioned some burning and looting a week ago. Here’s something to give a feeling for it:

      1. If memory serves, Portland is where an angry toppled statues of Washington and Jefferson. But it was crazy before now too.

        1. In San Francisco, protestors tore down a statue of Ulysses Grant. Apparently, helping to defeat the Confederacy and liberate slaves just isn’t good enough now days. He should have read up on critical race theory, I guess.

            1. ‘”San Francisco, protestors tore down a statue of Ulysses Grant . . . .”

              Unbelievable ignorance.’

              Perhaps also believable-enough WILLFUL ignorance. One can’t blame ones teachers for everything.

          1. It is because the protests are not really about slavery or black lives.

            It is the hatred of meritocracy

            1. Just envy, perhaps? People of low self esteem and no accomplishments, lashing out in anger at people who have achieved enough to be memorialized in stone or bronze?
              The big picture folks might be motivated more by Mao’s edict on the destruction of the “Four Olds”, but the people providing the bulk of the “muscle” seem to be motivated by baser impulses.

              1. I’m not agreeing with them but it goes along with the Woke’s “structural racism” theme, right? It’s all racist so destroy it. If we can reboot entire police departments, why not American society itself? Bomb it back to the stone age and let’s start over. Many have had such utopian dreams.

              2. “Just envy, perhaps?”

                Yes I agree it is envy (some might rightly feel that there is not a level playing field)

                However, everyone is indoctrinated with the belief that there are not intelligence/talent differences between individuals (and groups)

          2. They also pulled down a statue of Cervantes in the music concourse at Golden Gate Park

            1. They probably thought he looked thoughtful. A gentleman and a scholar. Can’t have that.

  11. The US average murder rate is 5 per 100,000 people per year. Which is quite high for the civilized world.

    If we calculate what that should be for CHAZ, assuming an 11-day period and a population of about 30,000 (I’m going from the article, and June 11 was when the barricades went up as I understand it), that should be 0.04 murders. They’ve had one so far so….CHAZ has ~25 times the average US murder rate.

    Well done, far left. Your extreme idiocy is giving power to conservative causes everywhere.

    1. How does one commit 0.04 murders? This is what happens when you misapply simple statistical reasoning with completely inadequate sample size.

          1. “not powered to distinguish noise from signal.” Yes exactly. The conclusion that “CHAZ has [a murder rate much higher than] the average US murder rate” could be right but this calculation is not evidence for that conclusion.

      1. There were actually two shooting victims, but only one died.

        I know it’s not statistically significant yet. But for a group implicitly promising society will be better without the police, this is not a delivery on their promises.

          1. “There was another shooting, so it’s up to three victims so far.”

            May one reasonably expect CHAZ types to complain about too much media/public focus on the shootings?

        1. I’d say it is significant, because the vast majority of the US is no lawless hellhole. Murders are highly concentrated, with a few bad neighborhoods skewing the body count.

  12. For an alternative view see:
    //www.politico.com/ news/magazine/2020/06/15/dont-listen-to-fox-heres-whats-really-going-on-in-seattles-protest-zone-321507
    (blanks added so it, hopefully, won’t create a link).
    I cannot tell whether Politico or Fox/BlazeTV/NYPost is more accurate. The first shooting sure looks the fault of the shooter. He drove his car into a man behind a barricade, was surrounded by people trying to stop him, which included a scuffle for control of the car. That resulted in a punch to the driver. He had his loaded handgun ready on his lap and allegedly shot the guy who punched him. And the police took the instigator/shooter into custody inside the ‘no police’ zone. So I am very skeptical with the portrayal by right wing media. The video cameras clearly show police deeper into the ‘no police’ zone. How is that possible when police are not allowed in?
    For that matter, I am a bit skeptical about the Politico article as well.

  13. “why is Seattle allowing this to happen? Are they surrendering this area to the anarchists for good?” To take the second question first: OF COURSE NOT! This “commune” will eventually be moved and the community allowed to clean up and restore itself. As to why, it allowed the anti-police/anti-establishment protests to cool off, learn to organize its own community and to to police itself. Huh. Not so cool and easy, is it?

    1. “As to why, it allowed the anti-police/anti-establishment protests to cool off, learn to organize its own community and to to police itself.”

      I have a sneaky feeling they won’t learn from any ultimate collapse and failure.

      They will do what anarchists always do. Blame others via a rash of stupid conspiracy theories. The last thing they will do is to admit any responsibility or culpability.

  14. It is, of course, typical that the local soviet would restrict media access to the area. We can be sure that the reporters that are given access will wear their rose-colored glasses when they visit. It’s really a terrible case of government abandoning its responsiblities, but that’s practically textbook for these things, if you look at 1789 and 1917. The people running things have no right to do so; what a nightmare. Hopefully, it won’t turn into another Münster or Commune before it’s over.

      1. TLDR: Religious fanatics were allowed into a medieval city, took it over and established an anarcho-tyranny headed by their cult leader. Rampant polygamy was only one of its bizarre features. The experiment was crushed by force of arms after a year-long siege.

        1. Their gibbets are still hanging there at the church, which my son found endlessly fascinating.

      2. Read Norman Cohn’s classic and engrossing history, The Pursuit of the Millennium, in which he draws parallels between religious millenarian movements and 20th century totalitarianism.

    1. I don’t see this catching on anywhere. Everyone has been warned about it now. It really makes no sense that Seattle let this go.

      1. “It really makes no sense that Seattle let this go.”

        Look at the mayors of these places. There is a similar type mayor in Portland, where anarchists/Antifa-types are allowed to roam the streets dishing out “justice”, causing criminal damage/smashing people’s businesses up.

        The mayor(s) is/are frightened of upsetting these people. They are cowed into inaction. In some cases, they actively support their politics.

          1. For all you non-Portlanders out there, you probably are unaware that all the local news outlets report the chance of rain and the chance of protests as part of the daily weather report.

  15. The “leadership” in CHAZ welcomes homeless encampments, which are not deeply popular elsewhere in Seattle, so a general migration of urban campers to this utopian enclave might solve that problem. It may also be the reason the city’s provision of port-a-potties is crucial, from a public health point of view.

    Andy Ngo’s report underlines the way self-appointed “leaders” emerge to dominate a naive population, when the structures of existing society are kicked away. That this involves the presence of guns is only to be expected, in the peculiar USian situation where guns and gun fetishism are so prevalent.

    This experiment in a debased form of anarchism might be educational for the Capitol Hill district as a whole, something that will be tested at the next City Council election. But that does assume, perhaps wrongly, that citizens of CHAZistan will be allowed to vote. Maybe the “leadership” will simply declare Kshama Sawant to be their emissary in City Hall, and no longer subject to the bourgeois practice of election. But most of Capitol Hill is outside the enclave —at least so far.

  16. I agree. Even without the violence, I find these “occupations” pointless. The same goes for the many cases where protestors blockade a building.

    In some cases, the protestors have a list of grievances that must be satisfied before they’ll give up their blockade. This is at least logical but people can’t give in to such shenanigans for the same reason government’s generally don’t negotiate with terrorists. If it is seen as a successful move, it will embolden others to repeat it.

    The ones where there is no end in sight, like Occupy Wall Street and CHAZ, seem ridiculous to me. Some of the protestors portray it as some kind of demonstration of how life could be if X were the case. This is hard to take seriously.

    How should the authorities respond? That’s a tough one. First, I think they should work hard to never allow it to happen. Protesting is one thing but obstructing is another. What about the rights of businesses in that area and the people that work there?

  17. “All I know is that I don’t want to live in a world that’s like CHAZ, regardless of its so-called “party atmosphere.”

    Agreed!

    And the creepy thing about “revolutionaries” in this sense is that, like the populace currently under CHAZ control, we wouldn’t have a say in the matter either. It’s just “you are either with us or against us; if against, you will be dominated.”

  18. Brett Weinstein’s very first Dark Horse program was an interview with Andy Ngo after Ngo’s assault by Antifa (in Portland).

    Mr. Sanderson points out the similarities between the two cities

      1. Watch the video of Ngo being beaten and having stuff flung and poured on him by the “Antifa” types.

        You know they are good people (Antifa) by the way the deploy Fascist tactics and how they suppress media coverage of them. Anti-Fascist my ass.

  19. Exactly, Andy Ngo is “semiconservative* reporter” because the other half is a neo-fascist.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/andy-ngo-right-wing-troll-antifa-877914/

    His many critics may also not be the most reliable, but it became apparent that Andy Ngo is embedded in the hindgut of far right groups like the Proud Boys, from where he apparently gets his tips. In the past, he has helped such groups to become invisible in mainstream media, even though they themselves proudly show how they go into street altercations (Ngo and others made it seem antifas are by themselves and randomly set cars on fire).

    Ngo has expressed his kinship with typical identitarian ideas, and he was key in last season’s antifa moral panic, with the agenda to downplay recurring white supremacist terror. People are still spooked by “antifa” even though white supremacists have killed in recent years (including at Charlottesville) and generally lead thr charts of political violence.

    ———
    * there’s a missing i in your text, Jerry

    1. People are rightly spooked at far left extremists who want “liberals get the bullet, too”, and have a habit of trashing property and assaulting people.

      Having researched far left and far right groups for a long time, there is no doubt liberals would be threatened if they got power.

      Further, there is not an issue of people denying or downplaying the the threat from white supremacists or the far right. In fact, quite a lot of the looting and rioting was blamed on “white supremacists” and the “far right”, when that did not appear to be case. Happy to be corrected with evidence.

      PS Mass shooter and Antifa supporter Connor Betts killed nine people in Dayton, Oregon in 2019. Extremists on both fringes are dangerous, and we shouldn’t ignore either of them.

      1. Currently, right-wing terrorists appear to be mostly lone wolves with rather pathetic life histories. But left-wing terrorists like Antifa are well organized and enjoy support from some local authorities. It’s not irrational to fear them more.

        1. In the last 30 minutes, race hustler Shaun King is demanding that churches be vandalised.

          Even to my secular humanist ears…that sounds rather extreme. Shaun King is a far left agitator, and not some KKK far right knuckle-dragger.

          It really does feel like a mass moral panic, at the moment.

        2. The only reason right-wing terrorists are lone wolves is because they know their motivations are considered wrong and/or illegal by the bulk of society. As far as Antifa even existing, let alone being well-organized, I have yet to see anything definitive. We mostly hear about Antifa anecdotally. Some people wear a certain kind of mask and get labelled Antifa but are they really? Where’s the proof they exist except as a rallying point for conservatives?

          1. They have meetings, websites, shared tactics,
            and participate in public demonstrations and riots. They sometimes pose for group photos.

            https://i.imgur.com/qeyYrEE.jpg

            They appear to not issue numbered identification cards, and abstain from having a strict and official hierarchy (at least in public). But that is not evidence that they don’t exist. Sometimes, groups of them are arrested during their “direct actions”
            https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/three-antifa-group-members-arrested-for-looting-at-target-store-in-austin

            If you wish to ask them yourself, Rose City Antifa, which is one of the oldest chapters, helpfully provides a phone number and email address at the bottom of their webpage:
            http://www.rosecityantifa.org.

              1. A very thorough and effective one. All the more impressive since they have been working this particular false flag operation since 1932.

      2. Betts killed people in Dayton Ohio. As for being an antifa supporter, that is a dubious claim. It seems to me, his very serious mental illness was the main contributor to his actions.

  20. The background to this sort of thing in Seattle is the 1999 riot against the World Trade Organization—set off when the WTO had the temerity to hold a meeting in the city. The organizers of that manifestation asserted openly that they would determine who did and didn’t have the right to use public streets—and the WTO delegates did not. The “protesters” (few of whom, I would judge, understood what the WTO actually did) blocked public streets downtown, and succeeded in paralyzing several bus lines. This posed serious difficulties for those, such as disabled people, who depend on the bus system for transportation. [But of course, now hotdog Leftists provide the disabled with the great help of banning the word “disabled”.]

    Afterward, epigones of the revolutionary posture, from Tom Hayden on down, outdid each other in chanting hosannas to the WTO blockaders. Ever since, that precedent has served the Seattle poseur Left as an inspiration to “take over” public streets whenever an opportunity presents itself.

  21. If the CHAZers were taking over some vacant lots or a field outside the city, that would be one thing. But they’ve taken over an area where thousands of people live and deprived them of safety. The government, whose job is to protect them and their property has not just failed in its duty, but has abdicated its duty and done so out of cowardice. To people outside the area CHAZ may be an abstract curiosity, but to those living there it’s real life.

    If the mayor really thinks it’s a “block party” that’ll lead to “the summer of love”, she should really live there herself. But the leaders who impose these conditions on others are always hypocrites…

    1. The mayor is completely out of touch. She thinks CHOP is an example of democracy rather than anarchy. She is no longer responding to media requests.

      1. I don’t know the details of CHOP and how the mayor is dealing with it but my guess is that she started out wanting to be supportive of the protestors but quickly found herself in a situation that’s going to be hard to extricate from. If she now orders the police to dissolve CHOP, she’s going to look bad even if it doesn’t result in violence.

        Even Black Lives Matter is suggesting that its supporters should do their protesting elsewhere.

        It’s a lesson to which other leaders should pay attention. Be supportive but set boundaries that are enforceable over the long haul.

        1. You are exactly right. Also, the protestors tend to get replaced by other groups with quite different agendas. And the mayor is reluctant to address that. She continues to believe CHOP is still all about protestors, with the trouble coming from “outside agitators”.

  22. Regarding Andy Ngo, he is a “semiconservative reporter” only if semiconservative reporters are the kind of people who actively engage in the doxxing of leftists.

    During May Day 2019, Ngo published a YouTube video that included him talking to members of the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America who were tabling for “Hands Off Venezuela.” The entire time Ngo points his camera at a sign-in sheet, not the person he is interviewing. In the video the sheet is digitally blurred. However, Connor Smith, a Portland DSA member, provided a still from what he claims is an earlier version of the video. The still includes a watermark of Ngo’s twitter handle, “@MrAndyNgo,” exactly the same as in the YouTube video. Eleven names can be seen on the sign-in sheet, including Smith’s, all of which have visible email addresses and six of which include phone numbers. Smith says at least one person on the list received threatening messages such as “Die commie.”

    Source: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/andy-ngo-right-wing-antifa-protest-portland-bigotry

    There’s more shady behavior of his which you can read about in the Rolling Stone article Aneris, above, has linked to. I would not trust a word he wrote unless corroborated by more reputable sources.

    1. “I would not trust a word he wrote unless corroborated by more reputable sources.”

      Nothing wrong being skeptical.

      My question to you: should I trust a magazine called “Jacobin”?

      1. Why don’t you check Jacobin’s reliability ratings (by any agency you trust)? It’s consistently rated as pretty reliable. More so than, say, the NY Post.

    2. “The entire time Ngo points his camera at a sign-in sheet…”

      Do you have a link to this video?

        1. Difficult for me to judge. This is the Ngo youtube page and the paper is blurred?

          However, there are a lot of mentally ill people in this video, very sad and disturbing. These people are more irrational than Christian fundamentalists.

    1. We seem to have traveled to the other side of the looking glass.
      A person wanting everyone to be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character would likely be denounced as a right wing extremist.
      Angry racist rednecks who oppose integration are no longer the ones screaming the N word at protests. Now it is White leftists shouting that at Black cops.

      I think we would all be better off watching the ducks.

      1. What I find interesting is some parallels to antisemitism from the extreme left regarding “white supremacy” .

        “White people” invented capitalism, slavery and are by nature dominating, devious and selfish.

  23. Much more important than the occupiers are the lawful residents of CHAZ. What is being done to support them?

  24. I suspect the mayor of Seattle is going to let this play out for a while because it will implode on its own. It’s a silly move, like people playing protest who don’t know how to go about it. It’s also dangerous, I’ve seen video of disputes being settled by fist fight (who stole from who, that sort of thing). Hopefully within a few more weeks the experiment will be abandoned.

  25. There was another shooting, and the mayor said it’ll be ended now. She didn’t say when, but I guess we’ll see. As a consolation, she’s agreeing to several of their demands.

  26. I’m from the area and know people living in CHOP. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we treated the protesters like grown up making real decisions with ramifications? But first the needs of legal citizens within CHOP have to be addressed. If I lived there I’d be loud and clear that I refuse to pay city taxes. I keep predicting this will turn bad. Seattle will have to decide what Seattle means when people end up dying.

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