Sunday, July 15, 2012

Can't Raid This Rage! 7/13 Solidarity Demo Report-Back

On Friday, July 13, about 120 people came together for the second demonstration in solidarity with Decolonize/Occupy Seattle organizers whose home was raided by police early in the morning of July 10 as part of SPD's May Day investigation and campaign of repression against radical and anarchist activity in the city.

The demonstration began downtown at Westlake Plaza (site of the first D/OS camp) before traveling up to Capitol Hill to meet a second group at Seattle Central Community College (the second site of the camp). On the way up the hill, the march passed several cops guarding the Nike Town that was spectacularly attacked on May Day.

After leaving Capitol Hill, the march then continued on towards the Central District, passing the heavily barricaded East Precinct police station, where a formation of cops in riot gear and on horses stood looking foolishly robotic in the lovely late afternoon sunshine.

After passing through Capitol Hill, the march headed for the historically black and rapidly gentrifying Central District. There they were met with considerable support from those who are all too familiar with police harassment.

In contrast to other recent marches in Seattle, which seemed to aim mostly for a spectacular effect, this demonstration focused specifically on the dissemination of information about the raid. Demonstrators distributed thousands of copies of at least four different flyers to curious passersby. People left leaflets on cars, gave them to those dining in restaurants, and briefly explained what was happening to people who emerged from their homes along the march route.

The march also passed by The Wildcat (the anarchist social center) and the corner of 24th and Cherry, the sight of the 3-month-old Food For Everyone communal barbeque and food distribution. Anti-police chants carried the day, and the general feeling was one of solidarity against state aggression. Meanwhile, several dozen bike cops trailed the march, along with at least one police van.

As the demo passed Horace Mann school on Cherry between 23rd Ave and MLK, two suspicious characters in black bloc were identified as undercover officers and ousted from the march. They left without much protest after being questioned about their reasons for attending the march. Though there had been a call for a bloc online in the comment section of the Puget Sound Anarchists website, most demonstrators had their faces uncovered. Thus, the two stuck out like sore thumbs, looking like they bought their costumes at Halloween Adventure. They had random splotches of red and pink paint on their clothes and strips of hot pink duct tape to distinguish them from others in the march. (FYI, having these sorts of easily identifiable markers is contrary to the point of dressing in black bloc but would easily distinguish an undercover in the midst of a black bloc.)

vampire jogger
Later, two other suspected undercovers were approached by angry demonstrators. Eventually it was determined that because nothing but chanting and flyering was going on, and there was already a great number of cops tailing the march, it made more sense to ignore the suspected undercovers and continue on. One eventually left and the other (who had been quite angry at being bad-jacketed) stayed until the end.
The demo ended at the Douglass-Truth Library at Yesler and 23rd with a rally and a few speeches decrying repression and gentrification. [According to the above KIRO TV report, which also incorrectly states that the raid happened a month ago, the march continued downtown after this point--this author missed this part of the march if it happened.] Here, the main target of the police raid urged the demonstrators to continue “attacking” the system and identified the Food For Everyone project, the Wildcat anarchist space, and the Everything For Everyone Festival as “attacks.” This is indeed a good time to focus on spreading networks of complicity in the project of revolt so as to avoid becoming isolated and easy targets of repression.
This demonstration was useful in that it effectively spread news of the raid throughout Capitol Hill and the Central District. It also showed that some basic level of solidarity actually exists between a relatively large number of people. This is inspiring and reassuring.

The purpose of repression is to spread fear and distrust while discouraging disobedience to authority. The worst possible thing would be for the rebellious to bow our heads now. The police raid happened because the authorities are terrified of where our efforts could eventually lead: neighborhood autonomy, mutual support, and the total redundancy of all authority. They are not afraid of anarchist bombs and guns so much as they are horrified that thousands may discover what many already have: that they do not need or want capitalism and its courts, judges, jails, and police. This march and the support it received in the neighborhoods is proof that the worst fears of authority are slowly coming true.
just some innocent sidewalk chalking

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