The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), the antifa/anarchist movement that illegally seized control of six city blocks in Seattle, Wash., appears to have changed its name after less than a week. Some CHAZzies have already started removing CHAZ signs and replacing them with signs reading the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.”
Some have said they are “not seceding from the United States,” despite clear signs of an attempt at secession. They are now insisting that the original CHAZ signs were placed by “detractors.” Color me skeptical. While Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) appear utterly feckless and unwilling to act, perhaps President Donald Trump’s warnings that he will restore order have driven the fear of God into these lawless rebels.
“There is a growing consensus to rename the area from the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ to the ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.’ An occupier is trying to remove one of the CHAZ street signs,” Townhall’s Julio Rosas tweeted.
There is a growing consensus to rename the area from the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” to the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” An occupier is trying to remove one of the CHAZ street signs. pic.twitter.com/xgv7oiFsOF
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 13, 2020
At least one CHAZ sign has been removed.
And one more CHAZ sign is officially down. pic.twitter.com/k5KXDY9kDz
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 13, 2020
It seems no one is quite sure who exactly is in charge of CHAZ. In a scuffle Friday night involving whether or not to remove the signs reading “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” one woman asked, “Is anyone in charge here?” A man appears to have responded with something like, “This ain’t a damn democracy here!”
A Twitter account claiming to represent the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest gave a rationale for the change from CHAZ to CHOP. “Black Leadership has requested to stop calling it CHAZ as ‘Autonomous’ has specific implications and it is reported that Durkan and the media labeled it as such…Capitol Hill Occupied Protest = #CHOP.”
Why CHOP > CHAZ?
Black Leadership has requested to stop calling it CHAZ as "Autonomous" has specific implications and it is reported that Durkan and the media labeled it as such…Capitol Hill Occupied Protest = #CHOP.
— Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (@freeCapHill) June 13, 2020
“That name CHAZ, we didn’t actually come up with. We’re not sure if it was detractors or people who tried to push a false narrative, but they definitely came in with that name, came in with signs, and they had nothing to do with that movement so far,” one black man in the movement said. “The conditions of us making a clear statement that we are CHOP is in order to push the narrative that this is not an autonomous zone. We are not trying to secede from the United States.”
Ironically, this man gave the name “Capitol Hill Organized Protest,” not “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.”
— Black Lives Matter (@djbsqrd) June 14, 2020
Whatever name CHAZ settles on, its signs reading “You are now leaving the U.S.A.” could not be clearer in stating that the instigators were launching a rebellion. Local residents are insisting that their rights have been violated. Rebels appear to have engaged in a form of taxation without representation, using a shakedown racket to force local businesses to provide supplies. The rapper Raz Simone has reportedly installed himself as warlord because as one rebel of CHAZ put it, “he has all the guns.” Simone is reportedly attempting to enforce borders and prevent people from entering CHAZ without identification, although Simone himself disputes the “warlord” designation.
These are not the actions of a protest — they are the actions of a rogue state.
CHAZ is, to some degree, a rebellion aspiring to be a protest. The rebels seem more intent on changing American society than they are on setting up an autonomous state that will exist in perpetuity, but by declaring themselves outside the purview of the United States they are legally rebels.
In fact, Townhall’s Julio Rosas reported that a packet circulating in CHAZ presented suggestions about the way forward: “Permanently taking over the East Precinct, move the zone to another location, or to dissolve the zone completely.”
CHAZ can’t even decide whether or not it should exist.
While Durkan and Inslee have stood by — and Durkan even said CHAZ will be the next “Summer of Love” — President Trump has told the local leaders, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t, I will.” Perhaps Trump’s insistence has finally driven the fear of God into the rebels.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.