Just as the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed territory in Iraq and Syria, antifa militants have claimed territory in Seattle, Wash. According to reports on the ground from The Post Millennial’s Andy Ngo and Townhall’s Julio Rosas, protesters and antifa instigators have seized land in the Capitol Hill area around the Seattle Police East Precinct. Like ISIS, the rioters appear to have decided on setting up a government in their occupied territory, naming it “Free Capitol Hill.”
“Seattle [Mayor Jenny Durkan] is allowing a dangerous situation to fester. [Antifa] militants have taken over & created an ‘autonomous zone’ in city w/their own rules. Police precinct abandoned. Antifa set up barricades to create a border. Calling for volunteers to provide armed guard,” Ngo tweeted.
Seattle @MayorJenny is allowing a dangerous situation to fester. #Antifa militants have taken over & created an “autonomous zone” in city w/their own rules. Police precinct abandoned. Antifa set up barricades to create a border. Calling for volunteers to provide armed guard. pic.twitter.com/ksQI4NI5kP
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 9, 2020
His message included tweets from rioters and pictures of the “Free Capitol Hill” poster on the side of a barricade, along with a map of the area antifa had taken over.
“The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Folks in Seattle have secured six block of city [at the moment], barricaded it, and gotten local businesses and residents to agree to, well, disaffiliate from Seattle basically. It’s a flux state in the making,” Alex Humva tweeted.
“Speaker at the autonomous zones advocating folks with firearms take shifts defend the barricades. Sh*t is getting organized,” another inside the barricades tweeted.
The map Ngo tweeted claims to represent Seattle on the night of June 8. Antifa rioters claim to have taken over the “Capital Hill Free Zone (Protester Occupied Seattle)” in yellow. The zone includes the “Captured Regime East Precinct (Abandoned Police Station with doors left unlocked lol),” along with areas marked “Commune Food Stations,” “CHFZ Commune Barricades,” “Relaxation & Dining Field (food regularly handed out + coffee bar),” and a “Stoa (Informal Congregational Area).”
The map also denotes a “Regime encampment off Broadway” a “Regime Occupied Safeway (Police holed up here).”
The antifa rioters appear intent on creating an automonous state, not unlike the ISIS-run territories in the Middle East or the surrounded proto-communist experiment of the Paris Commune in 1871. (The Paris Commune was a key moment in the history of socialism and communism. It lasted between March and May 1871, after the Prussians had defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian War and were besieging Paris. Karl Marx called it an example of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”)
The rioters’ use of the Greek term “Stoa” appears to hearken back to classical Greece while their reference to police as the “regime” sets them in contrast with a supposedly oppressive government force. The map has an undeniably bohemian theme, promising a “coffee bar” in this militant alt-Seattle.
Julio Rosas also reported from the scene. “I’m outside of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for [Townhall]. Police have pulled out of the area and protesters have set up barricades in the streets. They have declared it a ‘Cop Free Zone,'” he tweeted.
I’m outside of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for @townhallcom. Police have pulled out of the area and protesters have set up barricades in the streets. They have declared it a “Cop Free Zone.” pic.twitter.com/iYFQ9B4jhz
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 9, 2020
Rosas also shared posters with demands from the rioters. “Some of the signs posted around the area. One calls for the defunding of the Seattle PD and the dropping of all charges against protesters,” he tweeted. “Another says, ‘The cops will always be racist because capitalism requires inequality.'”
Some of the signs posted around the area. One calls for the defunding of the Seattle PD and the dropping of all charges against protesters. Another says, “The cops will always be racist because capitalism requires inequality.” pic.twitter.com/hhmHL9q113
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 9, 2020
Meanwhile, antifa groups have celebrated the “autonomous zone.”
SOLIDARITY WITH THE SEATTLE AUTONOMOUS ZONE!!! 🏴 🖤 🏴
— Los Angeles Antifascist Bloc (@LAAB213) June 9, 2020
Ngo compared the situation to Portland in 2018 when Mayor Ted Wheeler allowed a similar antifa “zone” to exist inside that city for five weeks. “Not only did it become a biohazard site w/intravenous drug abuse, the local businesses & residents were terrorized. Tax payers had to pay for the extensive cleanup.”
Neither Mayor Durkan nor the Seattle Police Department have yet addressed the emergence of “Free Capitol Hill.”
“In an effort to proactively de-escalate interactions between protestors and law enforcement outside the East Precinct, Chief Best and [Seattle Police] officers have removed barricades surrounding the East Precinct while safely securing the facility,” Durkan reported last night. “In addition, [the Seattle Fire Department] has several vehicles stationed near the Precinct to ensure emerging medical needs and fires are addressed if necessary. Keeping this area safe is critical, as there are approximately 500 residential homes in this block.”
In addition, @SeattleFire has several vehicles stationed near the Precinct to ensure emerging medical needs and fires are addressed if necessary. Keeping this area safe is critical, as there are approximately 500 residential homes in this block.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 9, 2020
If keeping that area safe is “critical,” then Durkan has arguably experienced a “critical” failure.
Naturally, the mayor made tremendous concessions to the rioters even while claiming she would keep the area safe.
“As the Chief takes this operational step, we will continue to remain focused on what we can and must do to address the systemic inequities that continue to disproportionately impact our Black residents,” she tweeted. “Yesterday, we announced a commitment to invest $100 million dollars into community – in addition to existing city programs — and to work with community to create a Black Commission that will help to amplify black voices in City Hall.”
She concluded her Twitter thread by expressing hope that “tonight, with these operational changes, our city can peacefully move forward together.”
Yet it appears the city cannot move forward together — the rioters are declaring independence from the city itself. No concessions will be enough for these instigators, who consider the police an occupying “regime” force and demand the end of the very capitalistic system that enables them to enjoy goods and services like a coffee bar. (As Bernie Sanders might say, “Why do you need more than one type of coffee?”)
Antifa is now running an insurrectionary state inside Seattle itself. This revolt is cause for State Police and arguably the National Guard to restore order to an American city. President George H.W. Bush used the Insurrection Act to quell the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and this antifa “free state” is arguably cause for Trump to do the same here and now. But don’t you dare say that within earshot of The New York Times.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.