At least five people in the last few days have contacted Stranger staff with nearly the identical set of complaints, so I'm running the letter below. In a nutshell, lots of people who have supported and camped with Occupy Seattle are getting fed up with a radical, anti-cop contingent of protesters. These folks who have contacted us—including some who slept on the pavement and risked arrest—say these agitators are swooping into meetings and forming a contingent that uses incendiary rhetoric aimed at police (not at banks, not at corruption, not at Wall Street), thereby driving away fellow demonstrators. On Wednesday, the General Assembly (GA) voted 102 to 10 to make Westlake Park "a cop-free zone to the best of our abilities." That's impossible, of course, but that's where the energy's been going. Now the Occupy Seattle folks are preparing for an anti-cop rally tomorrow, part of the October 22nd day of protest against police brutality.
So here's the latest letter:
I have been with the Occupy Movement in Seattle since the beginning, not camping and staying over night in Westlake mind you, It is hard to do that when you work full time and have a family. But we have gone down and donated tons of supplies and sat in on the GA's. That was until this week when it seemed everything fell apart, Last night was my official last night of supporting Occupy Seattle, I have come into much distressing news of internal divisions in the group and messages of violence towards members that do not agree with some of their messages. Let me explain:
Last night the POC (people of color work group) wanted to change the name of Occupy Seattle to something like Unoccupy Seattle/Occupy Seattle. Which in turn infuriated the group, you could over hear arguments about reverse racism and racism in general. I am not talking civil arguments either full on swearing and yelling and in your face with the hand arguments.
Also I have found out that a group of radicals has infiltrated the GA which is why there is so much anti-police and police confrontation with the movement. This also is the explanation of why City Hall will never be used as a base camp or the site of which Occupy Seattle will use. The radicals will "Boo" and shut out any arguments that call for compromise with city officials and the mayor. I have seen many people leave the movement because of these tactics, I fear that these are the same group of radicals that took over the John T. Williams march for their own agenda.
I also worked on the Outreach work group briefly doing designs for fliers and posters for the movement until I was asked to make a flyer for Saturdays march against police brutality. I was more than happy to do it until I saw the link for the info that lead me to the Puget Sound Anarchist site, where it stated you should wear all black and bring bandanna's and be prepared for conflict with the police. In turn I refused to do the flyer and left the Outreach group because of this radical agenda.
I am not the only one who feels this way, I think there are about a couple hundred of us that feel this way, including a moderator on the Occupyseattle.org forums. He wanted to call a special GA to city hall to address this problem of radicals infiltrating the movement and get things back into focus. He was met with death threats and threats of physical violence, he was ultimately asked to leave by a person that is apparently higher up in the movement of total democracy.
I hope you can address this in your section so more people who actually care about the movement and its original goals will become more involved and not let something this beautiful and important go down a horrible path.
Thanks for your time.