As antifa militants have taken over six blocks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, declaring independence from the United Stats and calling their territory the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) or the “People’s Republic of Capitol Hill,” President Donald Trump urged Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to put down this unconstitutional rebellion. Rather than taking the insurrection seriously, both Inslee and Durkan defended the rebels against Trump and condemned the president’s call for law and order as “illegal and unconstitutional.”
“I spoke with [Durkan] and her team about the situation on Capitol Hill. Although unpermitted, and we should remember we are still in a pandemic, the area is largely peaceful. Peaceful protests are fundamentally American, and I am hopeful there will be a peaceful resolution,” Inslee tweeted.
“What we will not allow are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House. The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president,” the governor declared.
What we will not allow are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House.
The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) June 11, 2020
Inslee then pivoted to the pandemic, insisting that “the Trump administration knows what Washington needs right now – the resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. If the president wants to show leadership, and that he cares about the people in this state, he should send us the PPE we’ve needed for months.”
Durkan proved even more explicit. “Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society and provide true equity for communities of color is not terrorism – it is patriotism,” the mayor tweeted.
Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society and provide true equity for communities of color is not terrorism – it is patriotism.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 11, 2020
“The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone [CHAZ] is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection – it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world,” Durkan argued. She described the rebellion as “the painting of Black Lives Matter along Pine Street, food trucks, spaghetti potlucks, teach-ins, and movies.”
“I also want to be clear as I have stated publicly previously – it is unconstitutional and illegal to send the military to Seattle. We will not allow this to happen,” Durkan declared.
I also want to be clear as I have stated publicly previously – it is unconstitutional and illegal to send the military to Seattle. We will not allow this to happen.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 11, 2020
Really, Mayor Durkan? It is “illegal and unconstitutional” to put down a rebellion? You might want to tell that to President Abraham Lincoln. I’m sure the supporters of the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy would love to hear how the Union was wrong to restore order in the face of a rebellion. Perhaps the slaves who ended up freed might have a different opinion, however.
It appears neither Inslee nor Durkan understands that the antifa rebels have indeed launched an insurrection. CHAZ has created an extortion racket to bully businesses into handing over supplies. An armed warlord presides over the rogue state, and he has illegally required people to hand over ID in order to enter CHAZ.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best stated the obvious: all of this is flagrantly illegal.
We have heard that there are armed people patrolling (she puts her hands into scare quotes) at 12th and Pine. Of course, this is very concerning, especially because we don’t know who these people are.
We’ve also received report that these armed people maybe demanding payment from business owners in payment for protection.
We’ve also heard that they may demanding to see identification from people who live in the area. This is not legal. And we ask anyone who may be experiencing this to come forward and file a police report so that we can investigate these crimes.
When a reporter asked Inslee about the rebellion on Wednesday, the governor responded with laughter. Inslee repeated that he had disbanded the National Guard, supposedly because there was no longer a threat to law and order.
But armed insurrection on the streets of Seattle is no laughing matter. The six-block CHAZ covers the homes of five hundred Americans. Sure, the rebels may watch movies and bring in food trucks, but they also consider themselves an autonomous state outside the purview of the U.S. They are enforcing their will with weapons, and they are requiring ID to enter their rebel encampment.
As Inslee noted, the “U.S. military serves to protect Americans.” These rebels have forsworn America. These rebels have usurped American land and American property in Washington State’s most populous city. They are trampling on Americans’ freedom of movement within the City of Seattle.
In other words, the rebels are acting like the Islamic State did when it seized territory and tried to set up petty rogue states. Sure, these antifa rebels are not pushing sharia as civil law and they are not beheading Christians and Yazidis, but they are seizing public property and creating a new ideological government.
In fact, it seems the CHAZ antifa rebels are trying to set up something like the proto-communist Paris Commune of 1871. The commune arose in the besieged City of Paris after the Prussians had defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian War. Karl Marx called it an example of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Contrary to Inslee and Durkan, the antifa rebellion is exactly the kind of situation where sending in the military would be constitutional and legal. This is arguably a case for the Insurrection Act of 1807, which allows the president to deploy the military and the National Guard to suppress civil disorder, insurrection, and rebellion. President George H.W. Bush last used the act in the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
While Inslee and Durkan were right to mention widespread unrest over the horrific police killing of George Floyd and the many peaceful protests across America over this issue, they are flat-out wrong to suggest the antifa CHAZ rebellion is just another example of peaceful protest. Like the destructive riots that preceded it, CHAZ represents a threat to law and order. It must be crushed.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.