Tags: George Floyd Protests | Law Enforcement | chaz | turley | seattle | precinct

Put Merit of CHOP's Ideology to the Test

chop zone in seattle washington formerly known as chaz

Registering people to vote in an area being formerly-called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), [Now known as CHOP - Capitol Hill Organized Protest], located on streets reopened to pedestrians after the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct was vacated in Seattle, Washington on June 12, 2020. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Although heartily agreeing with and supporting the vast majority of my president’s positions on most policies, I suggest a different strategy than the one he declared to forcibly, if necessary, to disband the forced takeover of a six-block area just east of Seattle’s central downtown business district as an independent nation.

This had occurred a week ago following days of violent confrontations and treats to torch their East Precinct headquarters led police to withdraw and cede control to mobs of protestors.

Originally dubbed the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" (or "CHAZ"), the now police-banning site has recently been renamed the "Capitol Hill Organized Protest" zone ("CHOP").

Police Chief Carmen Best defended the law enforcement retreat as "an exercise in trust and de-escalation." So why not see where that experiment with anarchy leads?

Taking a page from the far left playbook, why waste a perfectly good crisis that can serve as an opportunity to put the merits of their ideology to a real test? After all, and with full cooperation by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Jenny Durkan, what better way to demonstrate a supposedly better, more progressive model for governance than our current capitalistic system?

Perhaps somewhat ironically, the first thing they did in establishing that autonomous zone was to build a wall - albeit a rather porous one constructed of lightweight temporary plastic roadway barricades – with checkpoints patrolled by individuals brandishing legal open carry firearms that liberal politicians aren’t generally known to sanction.

A small sign which appears to be made of wood and cardboard proclaims "You Are Entering Free Cap Hill," and the new CHOPite nation rebranded the Seattle Police Department East Precinct entrance with graffiti renaming it the Seattle "People" Department.

Another entrance sign says “Peoples Republic of Capital Hill,” with the added letters "ACAB" meaning "All Cops are Bastxxds."

CHOPers set up medical stations and a "No Cop Co-op" to distribute snacks, sections of a sidewalk have been partitioned for a "Conversation Café" where a sign invites people to "talk about antifascism," and some areas offer movie screenings and poetry performances.

Mayor Durkan shrugged off any necessity to regain municipal control of the area, describing the worst case outcome as nothing more than a block party and a "summer of love." The city has even provided garbage cans and portable toilets in the vicinity for use by demonstrators.

However, it would be unfair to simply dismiss all of the protestors, which appear to be predominately young and white, as being there primarily to party.

Tracy Stewart, a participating African-American health therapist told USA Today, “Somebody’s dead. Why do black bodies have to be in the street for people to have to show up? These [white] people, I’m not even sure they know why they’re here.” She added, "White people need to stay in when it gets uncomfortable and stop treating this like it is a party."

It's unclear who the CHAZ leaders are, or even if there really are any or who can speak for them.

According to the Seattle Times, a protestor identified as "Rell" argued at a gathering that    "[Even] in a leaderless movement there has to be people stepping up to be leaders."

Nevertheless, someone who at least claimed to speak for the movement, established a website that explained it as " . . . an emerging community based on mutual aid." It also said,  "Although we have liberated Free Capitol Hill in the name of the people of Seattle, we must not forget that we stand on land already once stolen from the [indigenous] Duwamish People."

The movement has also issued a growing list of demands that encompass calls for reform of many aspects of civic life.

One wall inside the zone lists three demands: defund the Police Department, fund community health, and drop all criminal charges against protesters.

Other mandates range from abolishing police, the criminal justice system, and imprisonment; the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control; free college tuition for Washington state residents; and the resignation of Mayor Durkin.

The mayor has promised to invest at least $100 million into minority communities and to establish a community-driven Black Commission, and the Seattle council’s budget committee chair Teresa Mosqueda has announced a plan to slash the police department’s $400 million budget in half.

Although antithetical to traditional basic concepts of governance, mob rule was allowed to gain dominance when city officials first surrendered control of a police precinct under threats of violence. Seattle citizens must now decide whether this new model for public appeasement and officially-sanctioned lawlessness is in their larger interests.

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley argues that unwilling citizens of the captured CHAZ territory could sue over the city’s decision to surrender unlawfully seized control of their precinct. The city could also be sued for damages caused by abandonment.

Yet Professor Turley also believes that President Trump’s implied threat of pursuing federal action through the U.S. Insurrection Act to quell this invasion doesn’t apply in this case. So long as a local protest and disorder is allowed to continue by city officials, it doesn’t qualify as an unlawful obstruction, assembly or rebellion against the United States.

In other words, Turley writes that "…the disorder in Seattle is not an insurrection or a challenge to federal authority. It is rather a local protest that has now been allowed to continue by city officials."

And regarding any planned insurrection, Turley concludes, "By comparison, CHAZ has been functioning as was intended by not functioning at all."

So apart from the ad-hoc messiness of this revolutionary work in progress, so long as the governor, mayor and city council give their tacit approval by not interfering, I see no valid reason why anyone elseother than their impacted and vulnerable law-abiding citizens really should either.

I also neither doubt nor disrespect genuinely sincere motives calling for police reform and racial justice, values shared by the vast majority of all people in this country. This citizen population very much includes countless unfairly beleaguered and sadly undervalued police who risk and lose their own lives daily to protect us and their own families.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 600 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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LarryBell
Mob rule was allowed to gain dominance when city officials first surrendered control of a police precinct under threats of violence. Seattle must now decide whether this new model for public appeasement and officially-sanctioned lawlessness is in it's larger interests.
chaz, turley, seattle, precinct
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2020-37-17
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:37 PM
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