The Future of Capitol Hill's New Autonomous Zone Is Predictable

Comments

1

The homeless in Seattle already have dozens of Moral Improvement Centers to choose from. They do not need yet another one of these institutions.

They need homes.

2

The CHAZ is a good deal larger than the El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill and therefor less likely to be conceded. Also, who owns most of the real estate in the CHAZ? Is it the city? If not does the city even have the authority to concede control of that part of town to Sawant & Co?

5

I love how the RW wannabee armchair quarterbacks are so quick to make all these dire prognostications given how amazingly prescient they were about the imminent crushing of the entire demonstration movement beneath the insurmountable jackboot heels of SPD just a few days ago...

6

Comparisons to El Centro are just dopey. The Seattle of the 1970’s is not the Seattle of today. The former Beacon Elementary was one big parcel with a building no one wanted, in a neighborhood no one cared about. Most of the Chaz is privately owned. The precinct is owned by SPD, of course. And Cal Anderson is owned jointly by SPU and the parks department. While they might possibly find a way to repurpose the precinct, it will still stay city property. And The reservoir underneath Cal Anderson is critical infrastructures.

But the fate of this will really come down to the property owners, who have been remarkably patient.

My prediction is that the city will form yet another effete Public Development Authority that will join the galaxy of social service organizations in the city that no one wants to touch.

7

@5 And let's not forget how absolutely and loudly certain they were that the protesters would burn the precinct to the ground if they ever got past the riot squad.

A regular conference of Kreskins, these guys.

8

@5b Uh huh. Aother Moral Improvement Center it is, then.

Dipshit.

9

@7 No major property damage, so far, seems like the decision to pull the police out was the right one. Wait a few months until folks get back to work and the weather is colder, then come in with clubs and tear gas.

10

@5a: Apparently not as quick as your windmill chasing.

11

CHAZ -
Declare statehood!
Get 2 Senators and 1 Representative.
And a very teeny weeny tax base.

12

@3 writes "Of course Charles and Chase chose to ignore..."

Chase had nothing to do with this piece. For someone as consistent and obnoxiously obsessed with every single piece of irrelevant minutiae that goes into a fucking blog post you need to do better at fact checking your own bizarre tantrums. Though at least you spared us your overwrought excretion about how The Stranger is dragging the state of modern journalism into the gutter because they're not living up to every single one of your arbitrary and subjective measures of what constitutes responsible journalism.

Also, in Today's AM thread you erroneously whined about Nathalie not making reference to a random fact which she clearly did in the five sentence summation within her thread. You just might not be very good at this.

13

There's ridiculously tiny sections of Auburn that aren't part of Auburn, but are islands of unincorp. And they have their own fire districts and elect their own fire commissioners (usually less than half the board). While seemingly just pointless indignance in their cases, in retrospect a community being able to choose their own management doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Cities and states and nations are getting way too big as the human population keeps growing, and trying to centrally manage so many more people year after year is eventually going to hit an upper limit, if it hasn't already.

Seattle's historic penchant for manifest (cough*ballard*cough) destiny is long since antiquated, maybe it's time for devolution.

14

@3,

And Charles chose two examples to cite in his piece, one that was relatively successful, one that wasn't. Why he didn't cite your chosen example doesn't fucking matter. I worked in a wildly successful co-op back on the east coast that sprung up in the 60's spontaneously and by similar means, and he didn't choose it as an example either. If you want to see a piece about your Danish example write it yourself you lazy fuck.

15

While we're at it, let's not forget to free the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zones of the Mind.

16

The 1871 Paris commune came after a crushing loss to Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War. The French army performed so poorly in that war that in a matter of weeks the city of Paris was surrounded by Prussia and under siege. All communication, food, water you name it, was cut off from the city for months on end. The population was starving and when the surrender was announced, people in Paris rose up in revolt of the old system. Prussia left Paris to the French to deal with, but not before negotiating a victory march through Paris and getting the territory of Alsace/Lorraine. This war resulted in the creation of the German Empire, or the second reich as it is also known.

17

This feels like the Occupy Wall Street movement, just a different message ....

18

@17 Occupy started with protesters standing about in public trying to figure out what to do next, and ended with riot police firing tear gas and brandishing batons. They're doing it the other way around this time.

19

@18 The demands seem similarly nebulous.

I might be a bit cynical, but I'm pretty sure this is all going absolutely nowhere. Already the protesters seem to be getting listless without phalanxes of cops to face off against. Pretty clear now that there was entirely no reason for the phalanxes of cops to be out there to begin with.

20

And boomers reminisce about Woodstock.

21

@19 - I think that is exactly what Durkin and Best are hoping for. It took way longer than it should have, but they final got SPD out of there to stop being a foil for continued energy. There are LOTS of real issues in the justice system that need to get resolved and hopefully that will still take place. But by getting the police out of there they've stopped pouring gas on the protests. Predictably Sawant and others who have long-established agendas are stepping in now to try and fill that void, but all they are going to do is ultimately dilute and muddle the message. Without police to stare down daily, the crowds will thin down over the next week or two, during that time things will be further co-opted into a socialist/anarchist movement rather than BLM, and then eventually the residents of the area will push for things to return to normal, which will hopefully happen incrementally through SDOT, Parks and other non-SPD agencies. It's one thing to fight with police, but an SDOT crew coming in armed just with yellow vests to re-open the public streets at the request of local residents and business better not get harmed by the "CHAZ mililia" or the whole BLM movement nationwide is going to get a black eye.

22

The Urbanists, like Sawant, are attempting to co-opt and hijack the BLM movement. Mudede's suggestion of a homeless transitional and training center, particularly for homeless of color (including Native Americans), combined with transitional housing, would be a much better use of space than selling out to developers again, and again, and again ... Just look at the Slut-fest that was formerly known as South Lake Union to see what Seattle has become. Durkan on the take, like every other Seattle mayor this side of Norm Rice, the last competent and ethical mayor the city had.

23

It’s autonomous in name only. It’s not like Christiania. Not even close. It’s a protest zone for a movement. Hopefully the movement will remain. I think the best one can hope for the real estate is some sort of pedestrian zone in the area. You’re not going to get a PNW Christiania out of this particularly in the middle of Capitol Hill.

Rather than focusing on a piece of turf the important thing is maintaining the movement. I see a greater danger of loss of interest over time by many if not most participants. I bet that’s what Durkin is counting on. She’s willing to cede a few blocks for the summer for good press in hopes this will peter out.

This would likely not have happened at this scale if not for the pandemic. The shutdown allowed people who would normally be at work to participate. As the economy reopens most of those people will return to work and whatever normal the future holds for us. The key will be keeping them engaged.

I’m not confident that interest will maintain critical mass long term. Many of these people were only observers previously and it remains to be seen if they are in it for the long haul. That’s what’s going to matter. Not next week or even through the summer but over the next few years.

24

@22 I kinda get what you're saying there man but if "The Urbanists" were the shadowy agents behind the CHAZ, they'd be demanding protected bike lanes, Dutch intersections, and more curbside planters.

26

@6, Well said.
@21, I think your pretty close.

I've protested in the late 60's and early 70's. We were young, never experienced these kinds of protests (great way to meet chicks) and thought we were the first time protests would mean immediate change. Didn't happen, took slow institutional change. But good things did happen. At least Nixon got us out of Vietnam (very poorly) and ended the draft.

This will all eventually fade away like they all do. Oh, there will be institutional concessions that will eventually fade into the system. That's just how it works. The notion that this time real change will happen now is the inexperience of youth. Loss of innocence is always ambush. Remember how Occupy Wall Street (just for recent memory) was going to change the System/Capitalism/The World? Well.

27

Hey Charles, can you put the bong down long enough to explain to me what CHAZ (aka the hostile seizure of private and municipal property) has to do with advancing the cause of equal treatment and justice for Blacks?

It took a while for people to show their hand, but now we see this for what it truly is: a thuggish grab for money and power, and Seattle's Blacks are the dupes.

The real drivers here are Sawant, Gonzales and Morales. They are leveraging the legitimate complaints of the Black community into a daring attempt to run the table and achieve Socialist Alliance's agenda while Seattle is paralyzed by White Liberal Guilt (tm). So far, they're succeeding brilliantly.

Since you're making predictions, allow me to share mine. The aforementioned troika will form an alliance of convenience with Nikkita Oliver, but in time with these four hyperambitious women, there can be only one queen. Stand by for a power struggle so ugly it will make Game of Thrones look like at Downton Abbey tea party.

Meanwhile, expect crime and vagrancy in Seattle to explode, and major tech employers to decamp to the open arms and safe streets of the Eastside. This is how Detroit became what it is now, and it will surely happen here.

28

hey look one of the guys who was wrong about every single thing he predicted is making some new predictions let's all give him some serious and thoughtful consideration

29

It shall be made into a Casino of the People, where freedom may be wagered and lost, and only fleeting pleasure of the moment may be won. Tax free.

30

Cher and Sonny's boy is demanding copyright enforcement! Imagine having your name co-opted by loons!

31

Don't think that there's any private property that has been seized. Many of the businesses in the area were supportive, providing free food, bathroom access, etc.

The municipal property seized is the street area, utilized by protesters with various awnings. A large "Black Lives Matter" is being painted (might be done, now, left a couple hours ago). There are people setting up tables and giving stuff away, and artists and musicians are performing.

Currently the precinct building is secured and guarded.

The protesters were never demanding to seize the East Precinct. They wanted to protest at the building, and in particular at the Chief and Mayor. SPD believed that the protesters wanted violence. Several days of confrontations proved that it was SPD that wanted violence.

32

Donald has something to say:

Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1270914092295950337?s=20

34

Sound & fury, signifying nothing.

35

@27 hostile seizing... HAHAHAHAHA. You goon.

37

As the days go on, the agenda of CHAZ or CHOP is beginning to look separate from Black Lives Matters. Neither the March of Silence on Friday nor Saturday’s march over the I-90 was to Capitol Hill. It looks more like an opportunistic attempt to create a commune on the back of the BLM energy, by actors who have long sought an anti-establishment platform.

If they want to maintain public support, which is what stops the mayor sending in the pigs tomorrow, they need to start articulating a message. And if that message is cynical - if what they really want is a six-block homeless camp, rather than an end to state-sponsored anti-black violence - then I think this will end with a negative effect on the socialist movement (and possibly on BLM too.)

Start winning hearts and minds now, while public sympathy is with you.

38

I am to far away to check this out for myself but I am curious. What does Chaz/Chop actually contain besides an abandoned precinct building? What businesses are there? I heard there was free food but doubt they can afford that for long. So, are there grocery stores & restaurants? Are they ok with this if so & are people using them & paying? Are there residences there like houses & apartment buildings ? If so are people renting them or squatting or living elsewhere? Just wondering what is actually there to make this a self sustaining community? Can you drive into it & park there or do you need to walk? Is there public transportation to the area? Just whatever you can tell me about businesses operating there, or even closed down. Is there property there for sale? Sorry for so many questions but you guys are the only ones I’ve seen that actually seem to know anything. The news tells me nothing pertinent or useful. Thanks again, Sage in Tx

39

Saving CHAZ is economically impossible. The constitution prohibits taking of property so the east Precinct at best will end up being a nice community center for hipsters with jobs at Amazon. No reasonable amount of money can offset market forces - same is true for the Central District.