Should Seattle's autonomous zone be allowed?


Fact Box

  • Upon establishing the autonomous zone, protesters prominently posted three demands on a wall: “one, defund the Police Department; two, fund community health; and three, drop all criminal charges against protesters.”
  • A rapper named Raz Simone has positioned himself as the leader of the so-called “No-cop, Co-op.” 
  • Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said that evacuating the East Precinct, located within the autonomous zone, was not her decision.
  • Since the establishment of the autonomous zone, hundreds of people have gathered there to participate in what has been described as “part peaceful protest, part commune, with speeches, distribution of free food, live music, a community garden and late-night movie screenings.” 

Jennifer (Yes)

A 6-block area in Seattle's Capitol Hill area has been seized as an 'autonomous zone' by BLM protesters. Also known as 'CHAZ' (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), the area has been declared 'police-free'. One police precinct, which is in the zone, has been cordoned off. This is not the first time US citizens have engaged in such actions while asserting the rights promised to all Americans in the Constitution, which guarantees rights like freedom of speech, assembly, association, and, of course, the right to revolt.

People's movements very often resort to similar tactics in times of crisis as the citizens of Paris did, in 1871, with the Paris Commune, or as the Occupy Wall Street movement did in 2011-12. Both occupations fizzled out, as Occupy's will and CHAZ's undoubtedly will. But the point will have been made, and the voice of the people heard.

So, what's the problem with CHAZ, when considering the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to all Americans? Protestors in the Seattle Autonomous Zone are asserting precisely the rights enumerated in that seminal document. And their pointed references to the people's ownership of public spaces is poignantly correct. But many seem to have forgotten who the boss is.

Perhaps it's instructive to remember that the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was similarly frowned upon by many in its day. It was illegal. It spat in the face of colonial power. Essentially, it was looting!

But it sparked an independent nation's freedom from colonial rule. To not allow CHAZ would be to shred the Constitution of the freedoms and values for which it stands.  

Stephanie (No)

It is unacceptable that local leaders have allowed the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, in Seattle, Washington, to exist as it currently does. Those running it lack any 'legal authority' to govern, and do not own the area just because they said so, as implied by a sign saying, 'This space is now property of the Seattle people.'

Although it has only existed since Tuesday, the 'Autonomous Zone' has affected locals. Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nollette said, 'We've heard, anecdotally, reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area. This is the crime of extortion.' Not to mention, it will surely prove to be detrimental to Seattle's economy.

Authority aside, it is simply dangerous to have absolute anarchy and no police presence anywhere. It begs the question, what will the people there do when they need immediate law enforcement protection? Local police reported that they 'will be responding to the area only if there is a 911 call for emergency' but will not be patrolling.

The zone's inhabitants are not going to create change by merely holding a glorified art fair and will likely make a mess of the city. There have already been 'threats to burn down the East Precinct.' Of course, leftist media seems okay with this, with the New York Times calling it 'part street festival, part commune' that also includes 'speeches, poetry, and music.'

President Trump is accurate in calling those involved, which, unsurprisingly, includes Antifa, domestic terrorists. He demanded local officials to, 'Take back your city NOW,' a necessary command, as leaders' inaction currently condones the 'self-declared' disaster zone.

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