An Exceedingly Chill Day at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone



Fantastic reporting--these daily posts are forming an incredible journal.


So. What’s the end game here?


I believe the Stranger (and CHS blog) have run articles in favor of a few pedestrian-only blocks in the Pike-Pine corridor.
CHAZistan is born! Take down the barricades, and re-route traffic. And let those shuttered businesses reopen. You have a year-round open air pedestrian area.


@4: It will fizzle out as eventually as anarchy/autonomy subsides to practicality and common sense. It always does. Cold weather, boredom, and apathy will once again restore blessed normalcy to our beloved neighborhood.


@6, That could be what happens or something like that as a concession. Still, it may cause more problems than it's worth. And more importantly it's not needed.


I fucking love all you boomers posting from your craft rooms and paid eastern European posters. Keep that shit up and actually step it up if possible. Really turn all social media platforms into an open sewer. The faster you turn everyone off from this shit the better. Keep getting Nana worked up about druggies and she'll give up and go back to working on her planter boxes.


the fact that there are random dudes "patrolling" with guns is a little strange and off-putting, other than that it does seem fairly chill.


Not gonna 'stoop' here ... though we might damn well 'take a knee'.


CHAZ is rapidly becoming a through-the-looking glass mirror image of the Ammon Bundy "occupation" of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge--all the way down to to bros in battle dress and strapped with ARs. And for the same reasons--control of state property. I was wondering when the Trotsky left would embrace the pattern--armed confrontation with the authorities. Setting up armed "citizen check points" is raising up the risk for violence no matter how "chill" the crowd may be.


Substituting boot strapped police with random guys in masks with guns is no improvement. This is not going to end well.


I don't disagree necessarily with what is going on there but the article said they aren't checking IDs but also in the article it reported the car wanted to enter the area and was asked if they live there. It is a public street they should just let cars go as they please and if Tim Eyman wants to enter let him and be nice to him. Be nice to everyone and don't harass. If you're harassing that's what's going to get reported and seen online and on TV. I know it's chill but they need to be more chill.


I thought these guys were going to burn down the police station?


How do one make a pizza donation to the No Cop co-op?


Canada should sue them for pretending to be from the CBC.


The Dictatorship of the Proletariat isn't quite what you thought it would be?


How exactly is "'Stoop' tweeting" a "dad joke"?

It's simply referring to the misspelling that Trump used. It's not referring to an actual stoop or making some other groan-worthy pun.


Aside from whether the operation as a whole succeeds or fails, I am a little disturbed at the choice of location for the community garden. It's in middle of a highly trafficked part of the park lawn, which is not a good place for a community garden. Unless somebody is going to be patrolling the boundaries at all times, it'll get trampled. Let alone problems of keeping it watered.

And you know, lawns are there for a reason, as a public space to sit and picnic or hang out. Community gardens are great but should be in places that are not interfering with movement.


@14: Yup


I'm with Will - someone should tell the real CBC that a Fox News crew is trying to fly under their colors. The CBC still has some cred as a serious news organization, and that kind of shit puts their rep in danger.


Isn't it interesting how Sawant is the one negotiating with City Hall? Doesn't BLM have leaders? Where's Nikkita Oliver?

Sounds like Sawant and Socialist Alliance simply co-opted and leveraged BLM to advance their own agenda (of course they'll throw BLM a few bones, as long as BLM plays along and behaves themselves on SA's 'plantation').

Well played, Kshama. I can use many words to describe you, but 'stupid' is definitely not one of them.

Question for BLM: How does it feel to be Socialist Alliance's 'Useful Idiots'?


@10: What a wise & cogent statement. You are obviously very intelligent and well educated...



Sez the mewling, drooling gaffer who has to have a home care worker come in several times a week to change his Adult Depends diapers...



Because people are too stupid or lazy to walk around an obvious garden plot planted in the middle of roughly a half-acre of green space?


If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Does the CHAZ have the opportunity to prove community based policing/governing is better than our current institutions? Probably not, in reality this is likely a short lived phenomenon and the conditions are not there for any long lasting proposition.

I'm kind of for this sort of accidental experiment. I hope at the very least, that something worthwhile comes about. Really, protest organizers should think about what they can do to create institutions that promote there cause gowing forward after status quo reigns again. Since, status quo, is likely to return.

In other words, I'd like to see an independent community oriented non-profit institution come out of this that will be able to advocate for causes that SPD does not (homelessness, drug harm-reduction, etc.) address. SPD has to deal with these issues in a non-direct way, they are there for "law and order"--it is not necessarily in there purview to improve such situations. Perhaps, some greater cooperation can result between SPD and social justice advocates can come to be.

But, I'm not holding my breath. Just a rant and a hope here.


@30: I agree, DougD. As much as I loathe the rioters and oppose this 'hostile taking'. The fact that East Precinct hasn't been burnt down and that CHAZ has remained reasonably 'chill' has me keeping an open mind. Let's see how this pans out; there are definitely some learning opportunities here, and we shouldn't throw out the babies with the bathwater.

I'll keep an open mind, but I am skeptical. Just as Washington insiders used the Pandemic panic to push through tax and loan schemes that are simply enriching the already insanely wealthy, we have local profiteers of another stripe who are determined to not let this crisis go to waste. We're already seeing how Sawant and Socialist Alliance are swooping into the power vacuum, now watch as all manner of social-service providers of varying efficiency and honesty vie for the tax monies that will be transferred away from a 'defunded' SPD.

I'm still amazed and how adroitly Sawant is playing this; the woman is truly a genius! Just a few months ago, she was pretty much marginalized, the 'crazy aunt' in City Hall's basement. The Mayor had made it clear that she wouldn't tolerate the sort of traffic-blocking protests that were SA's bread and butter.

But then comes a 'perfect storm' of racial incidents, and thus a huge gift for Sawant. If there's one thing that totally cows White liberals, that's the thought of having a horde of pissed-off Negroes getting in their faces, especially when they have stuff to be legitimately pissed off about. Remember back in 2016 when Bernie Sanders came to town and BLM yahoos stormed the stage and took his microphone? He just stood there like an emasculated eunuch, like the little kid who not only handed over his lunch money to the school bully, but than had to sit there and watch the bully eat his lunch.

Mayor Durkan and Chief Best were in a 'no-win' situation: if they did what they needed to do to maintain order, they'd be cast as tools of a racist power elite. If they gave the City over to the mob, they'd also be condemned. In the end they chose the latter.

BLM has no leadership. This generation has no contemporary MLK, Malcolm X, or Stokely Carmichael. Sawant stepped in, leveraged these legitimate grievances and gave herself a new political lease on life.

For now, BLM and SA are enjoying the fruits of a symbiotic relationship. In time though they'll have a schism not unlike that between Trotskyism and Stalinism. It will be fun to watch.



If it doesn't have a fence, yes, particularly in the dark, people are too lazy or careless not to walk across bare ground that, they will notice too late, has small plants growing on it. It's the rough equivalent of putting a small table there with a vase on it and then complaining because somebody knocks over the vase.

That is an area that people are very used to sitting around and walking across. Expecting them to all suddenly alter behavior because somebody has unilaterally chosen to plant a garden in its middle is foolish.There's a reason that lawns are made of grass, and not nasturtiums or strawberries. Grass is tough.

And this doesn't even take into account the fact that, again, a small group has unilaterally decided to arbitrarily remove a part of a public green space from unrestricted public use.


I agree. Especially your last paragraph.


A predictable consequence. CHA(narchist)Z endangers public safety:

Best: SPD response times have tripled since loss of East Precinct


Now they're over privileged millenials. Last week they were a dangerous mob of looters. Lol.


@37: Capitol Hill has always been more upscale than downtown.


Well I just got back from a visit and a talk with the guy who is helping to organize the community garden. Briefly I take back my criticism. Currently the garden is pretty well protected from trampling by the ring of tents and camping, and the gardeners have done a pretty good job of putting in mature plants that will be less likely to be crushed.

As for the long term, the organizer (I think it was #blackstarafrica but I could be off, was pretty clear that he saw it as an art piece showing what could be done with park space and not a permanent installation. And I have to agree that in terms of commandeering public space it's no worse, and in fact easier to handle, then closing public streets.

So good luck gardeners of the community. Just don't get too tied into insisting on this particular space if other space more defendable becomes available.



Have you ever even been to Cal Anderson at night? The playfield just south of where this patch of garden has been planted is usually lit up like a freaking shopping mall parking lot most of the time, not to mention the ambient light from surrounding buildings, walkway lights, cars, etc.; one would literally have to be blind to miss it.

Also, what @40 said.



Man, I bet nobody could've predicted you'd be on here whining about totalitarianism. Nope, absolutely noone could've predicted that, no way, no how, nada, not you at least.


@41: Indeed, what @40 said.


No fees to enter - the right to engage in commerce minus the need to pay for it? Can't help but think such tactics have been tried before, and all came to a similar conclusion - that without some kind of internal funding (e.g. taxation) you'll just end up a) disorganized and collapse or b) mooching off the very territory you supposedly gained your independence from - oops there went your "independence".

Thanktully it does not sound like any leaders of the blm movent endorse this as anything more than a temporary Lord of the flies type demonstration...the buffoon Jay inslee on the other hand of course took it seriously. It is another chance for him to use someone else's struggle to engage in a pissing contest with the president as some weird kind of recompense for his own failed bid at the oval office.

Unless BLM finds intelligible leadership and direction their legacy will be one of cancel culture ; attempting to erase other people's history in lieu of making their own


And nothing they are doing hasn't been done - ten thousand times in magnitude and duration - by the Chinese in Kowloon city. Blocking government out instead of dealing with it didn't change a thing.


Nothing to see here. Please move along!


Haha! According to a tweet from lauracouc- "the homeless we invited took away all the food from at the capitol hill autonomous zone". And now she's begging for food.


@31 Ya, MrB, it does seem like Sawant is astutely profiting from these winds.

Tbh, I dont know what "SA" is. Though, I agree, the disconnect between leftist politicians and BLM was pretty palpable from Bernie's visit to Seattle.

Really, the initial match of what has lit to CHAZ, I.e. the murder of George Floyd, has been (is currently in the process of being?) co-opted into a fracas.

BLM has a coherent message that resonates with facts and history. But, your'e right, they don't really have a singular leader on par with Malcolm X, MLK, or presumably Stokely Carmichael (I'm not familiar with this individual). This probably bleeds the message into other veins.

It's funny that a quite radical thing, like what's going on for at least a few days, with CHAZ, is also quite underwhelming...because it's not gonna lead to a new status quo. And, it seems any new change will be so piece meal as to be largely ineffective.

Furthermore, as the--so to speak--white claw swilling millenials hang around, and do nothing, they, in fact, help make sure that nothing actually happens, by quieting the mood and being "chill".

Again, maybe we need some real structural change. To me, we need to imvolve SPD, or some sort of law enforcement, but they need to be ultimately accountable to the communties they police. Which is not how police departments currently run. And that's a problem that should be, hopefully will be, adjusted due to these protests.