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Seattle Anti-Police Demo Report Back (NEW)

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This is a very short, incomplete recap of the most recent events in Seattle. It concerns only the anarchists, not the protests organized by the family of the deceased. Undoubtedly, someone else will write a more thorough analysis for those of you who don't live in Seattle.

FIRST NIGHT (picture below)

http://media.komonews.com/images/110217_Seattle_Police_Shooting_5.jpg

On the night of Tuesday, February 15, the media began reporting that the City Prosecutor had decided not to prosecute police officer Ian Birk for the murder of John T. Williams. Soon after, an event appeared on Facebook, calling for people to meet at 6pm on Wednesday, February 16, for a night of protest at Westlake Plaza, a busy shopping district in the heart of Downtown Seattle. The next day, anarchists leafletted for the demonstration throughout Capitol Hill and into downtown. The first protest brought 600-700 people into the street, all marching without a permit. The crowd marched up to Capitol Hill and met a line of riot police guarding the East Precinct. The crowd was angry and volatile but there were no major incidents that evening, and the march was unable/unwilling to break the police line.

SECOND NIGHT (picture below)

http://media.king5.com/images/021811protest2.jpg

Another Facebook event appeared that night, urging further action despite Ian Birk's resignation from the police force. The second protest, on Friday, February 18th, brought a fluctuating group of about 150 people out onto the streets, most of whom marched behind anarchist banners and some of whom held black flags.

Once again, the march took off without a permit. Thousands (literally) of anarchist leaflets were thrown into the air. Chants such as "An eye for an eye, the pigs gotta die" and "Cops and judges, we don't need 'em, all we want is TOTAL FREEDOM!" were yelled at the police.

http://media.komonews.com/images/600*347/spdprotests16.jpg

Meanwhile, it was overheard on the police scanner that at around 6 PM, the West Precinct's outside gas line was disconnected and the entire building had to be evacuated. It is unknown whether this was related, or if it is true.

http://media.komonews.com/images/600*335/spdprotests15.jpg

The anarchist block numbered about 50. There were perhaps 15 RCP acolytes, but they remained marginal throughout the protest (at one point, the chant "boring leader" was directed at them by the crowd). Most of the crowd was supportive and gravitated towards the anarchist block. The dozens of flags on wooden poles that were passed out by the anarchists were gladly accepted, as were stacks of leaflets to be thrown into the air.

http://media.komonews.com/images/600*341/spdprotests4.jpg

The anarchist block pushed out the media when they tried to get inside their space during the beginning of the march. Road flares illuminated the march as it wound through the Belltown district. At one point, a Bank Of America had one of its windows smashed out. When the march reached Downtown again, the crowd had grown to just over 200. After the march took a turn into oncoming traffic, the rear window of a police cruiser was smashed out. The pig inside got out of the car but forgot to put it in park. The cruiser then smashed into the police van ahead of it, making the crowd go wild in applause and jubilation. In a panic, the police flooded the area and began to pepperspray people and back them up with their horses. Multiple cops were observed getting hit by objects and fists from the crowd. In one notable instance, undercover cops were outed by the crowd and then one was hit in the skull with the butt of a flag pole. A smoke bomb was thrown at the horse cops, causing even more confusion. At this point, the crowd in the area left and resumed the march.

http://media.komonews.com/images/600*335/march_patrol_car.jpg

Later, as the march continued, one person was arrested for (according to mainstream media reports) allegedly breaking the cruiser window. The march went to the jail and about 70 people held a noise demo for the people inside. After that, the marchers proceeded to Pioneer Square where they broke through a police line, fought with the police, and then marched up to Capitol Hill. There, it circled the streets and drew people out of the bars with chants of "Out of the bars, into the streets!". The march again went to the East Precinct, the place where a police cruiser had been smashed a week earlier in a smaller march. The precinct had been under siege and guarded by 60 riot police for the entire evening from 6 until at least midnight. When the march arrived, they yelled and threw objects at the police. After this, they left and continued onward. It is unclear when it ended, exactly.

The composition of the crowd that began the demo at 6 PM differed considerably from the crowd that confronted the police at the precinct at 10:30 PM, meaning that many hundreds of people participated in the march. The only things that remained consistent were the black flags, the anger, and the determination. The march functioned autonomously for 6 hours, drawing in members of the population who, at this point, do not hesitate to chant "What do we want? DEAD PIGS! When do we want them? NOW!"

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2011/02/18/2014272743.jpg

Later that night, at 3:30 AM, the mainstream media reported that a community police station had been set on fire.

More info forthcoming.

Cheers!

http://media.komonews.com/images/600*332/spdprotests7.jpg

Footage of cruiser collision and arson: http://www.kirotv.com/video/26925128/index.html

Raw video:

http://www.q13fox.com/ ... kcpq-protesters-take-to-the-streets-again-in-antipolice-march-20110218,0,1728864.story


Co-opted 19.Feb.2011 18:51

Karma Lita

I have heard from Native friends who organized this demo that there is much anger felt toward the white anarchists who started fucking shit up and in essence co-opted the event. They feel that they and the family of John T. Williams were completely disrespected.

Comments?

no 19.Feb.2011 20:41

wrong

the native community or johns family did not organize the event that was "co-copted." this kind of crap has been spreading around. there WAS an event organized today by the family and various tribes which was not co-opted. while i can't speak for the RCP, no anarchists have disrespected anything that was organized directly by the family. so tell your friends to stop spreading this crap, please. thank you.

arson attack 19.Feb.2011 21:21

anarcho

There was an arson attack on a Seattle police substation.
 http://www.pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/214

THIS is honorable 19.Feb.2011 23:04

Karma Lita

Saturday gathering honors woodcarver, disavows violence

 http://www.komonews.com/news/local/116538618.html?tab=video

Bullies Takeover March for John T Williams 20.Feb.2011 00:31

repo repost

By Swaneagle Harijan

A call came Wednesday February 16 for people to come to a rally at Westlake Park in Seattle for justice in the killing of Native American wood carver, John T Williams by Seattle Police officer, Ian Birk. Having the evening free, i decided to hop the ferry, then the bus and attend. I missed one ferry but caught the next.

By the time i made it downtown, it was getting dark. Hundreds of people crowded around the permanent concrete stage where Indian people were speaking using megaphones. I couldn't hear what was being said, so i took some pictures.

I noticed a masked "anarchist" yelling at an older Revolutionary Communist Party die hard who was leafletting. "You're a cultist!" he yelled at the RCP guy several times. Wished my camera was good enough to capture the image. I felt like it was the pot calling the kettle black.

Then the Indian people formed behind a lovely banner of John T Williams heading into the streets with everyone else following into the midst of traffic chanting "Whose Streets, Our Streets". I was moved deeply and people on the sidewalks joined us as we marched around downtown with police behind on motorcycles and bike cops along each sidewalk. No attempt was made to stop us.

The diversity was unusual for Seattle. Many African American people augmented the strong Indian presence. For once, it appeared that white people were not the majority.

A young man with a harmonica on the sidewalk asked me what was going on. I told him and he joined us as did other people along the way.

We stopped at the site where John was shot 4 times in the back by Ian Birk. Indian drummers sang in the midst of so many i could only hear the mourning songs and drum beats. Where i stood on the sidewalk, several people held a die in. The gathering included an array of creative signs reflecting a unified call to justice.

It was shortly after this as we moved back towards town that 2 columns of about 30 or so uniformly dressed people wearing dark brown hoods, pants and black face masks came racing thru the crowd forcing people to the side, knocking down a stationary sandwich sign and taking over the march at the very front. It was aggressive, domineering. These people threw flyers in the air as they sped along leaving a mess behind that few bothered picking up to read. I did, as i wanted to confirm my suspicions that these might be the paramilitary style crimethincers or other so called anarchists tied into white male (and women followers) macho radical direct action with no regard for those they mow down along the way. Always have seemed to me to be into peers rather than community.

These self appointed warriors of the lazy left succeeded in driving away most of the Indian people who called the march in the first place. The hooligan flyers called for vengeance against the cops and "off the pigs" as if these techniques hadn't already been tried, worn out and proven to be counterproductive. Their dogmatism is legendary. I suspect these are among those who back violent, disturbed criminals such as Ted Kazinsky among others. When i was able to spend time reading the flyers, i saw them using Maurice Clemmons as an example of taking revenge upon the police. Tho Maurice Clemmons' history is tragic, he was no struggler for justice. He did receive unjustifiably harsh sentences for his juvenile felonies which were undeniably racist. But his life was a cycle of felonies and prison. His mental state seemed to be broken down by the time he carried out the planned killings of 4 Washington State Police in November of 2009. Elevating such people as Kazinski and Clemmons as examples of vengeance that more should aspire to is downright ridiculous. Integrity is what we need in these times, not another jackboot, fashion friendly tho it may be.

The Hooligans headed up towards the Capitol Hill police station, but were blocked every direction by hoards of police on bikes, motorcycles and in cars except back towards Broadway and Pine. By this time, i just was walking along on the sidewalk losing my inspiration quite a ways back. I saw 2 Indian people standing on a wall at the corner of Pine and 11th talking about their unhappiness with the turning of a peaceful protest into angry bickering with police by overwhelmingly white people, some even drunk. As they got down onto the sidewalk, i asked if i could talk to them about what happened. They each expressed dismay at the way the protest they participated in with friends who organized it was turned into an steaming anger fest.

We were joined by an African American organizer as we came up to Pine and Broadway. The discussion was great. As people who appeared to be mostly white anarchists along with the hooligans marched north on Broadway, i yelled out "Justice for white anarchists!" Immediately several women walked over asking what i meant. I asked them if any of them had received input from Indian people. One woman said she had an Indian friend. I asked if they talked to any of the Indians who organized the rally and march or were connected to the family of John T Williams. They said no. I told them to talk to the two young Indian people i was with. They did. I hope it helped.

I talked to the organizer, Greg Lewis, for a long time. He kept referring to those of us who are committed to nonviolent resistance as among the old people, kids, etc. who should go home or are already headed that way, when the Brown Hoodie Block shows up. This is not acceptable. All of us who show up walking freely in the streets for justice have a say in how such events are shaped, but most of all i feel responsibility is in the hands of those who do the hard work to call such action.

One of the things that really bothered me about the RCP over 28 years ago in the streets of Seattle was how they lined our Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp marches on either side of the street handing out their flyers written by Bob Avakian of course. It was upsetting because we were nonviolent resisters to pornography walking along 1st Avenue talking to sex workers and others about the part porn and degradation of woman play in war culture being made to appear to be something none of us were. The RCP has always been into vengeful bloody revolution. At least their propaganda spews include community and all oppressed people, tho i so disagree with their visions of solution. Bob's visions, i should say.

When i went to the Egypt solidarity rally a few weeks ago, there was a plethora of revolutionary socialist signs. I looked for the signs made by the person holding it that more accurately reflected the spectrum of perspectives. There is something disturbing to me how such "radical" organizations are confined by aggressive, domineering dogma. The Brown Hoodie Block struck me as upping the aggression ante.

I have been a frontline mom for over 30 years. Nonviolent resistance has called to me from the first time i took up struggle as a way of life. I have worked with entire Dineh (Navajo) families who live on the frontlines daily resisting forced relocation. Big Mountain was the first frontline i was welcomed as a mother with my homeschooled children. My friend noguns first introduced me to this way of life resisting conformity, violence, warape domination and living what we wish our children to know. This included being deeply committed allies to traditional Dineh and Hopi people. It was the gateway for me into the scope of Indigenous resistance to over 500 years of genocide across the americas as well as the struggles of land based peoples globally.

In 1998, i traveled on a human rights delegation to Chiapas 7 months after the massacre in Acteal of 45 Mayan people. We visited many communities, including Las Abejas, which was targeted in Acteal. Armed with nursing babies and sticks, the mothers of Las Abejas kept the Mexican army out of their communities after the massacre. I have been inspired by the call of the Zapatistas to the Civilians of the world to form communities of resistance. My experiences living with Pauline Whitesinger at Big Mountain was exactly that. Sadly, it is all too rare where i live. It is what i strive to be part of.

What success is generated for John T Williams really requires a unified front. I believe that trust can be built propelling effectiveness with the quality of what is carried out. Indigenous people are among the most murdered, most jailed, most silenced people in this country. Disproportionately, their suffering surpasses that of any other cultural group. When Indian people rise in response to the killing of John, they have the right to exert their methods without interference. What happened on Wednesday February 16, 2011 was serious interference. The Brown Hoodie Block is not a sacred cow. They did a disservice to Indian people. I have seen similar tactics used to lay claim to unearned glory as white people have done since invasion. It is racist, appropriational and wrong.

May we find ways to address the growing police state fascism in a manner inclusive to all those most targeted rather than hijackers who inhabit the realm of white skin privilege. Too much wisdom and experience is shut out when immediate gratification runs the show. Equality was not the outcome. Bullying was.

Now King 5 News published an article inferring that the small arson fire extinguished at the station on 23rd and Union may have been set by someone from the "angry" protest on Wednesday. This is the aftermath of the hijacking. Shameful.

 link to www.king5.com

!!! 20.Feb.2011 02:50

!!!

this swan eagle is single handedly disseminating this. at the rally today, the family said, THIS is our way. they never condemned others. sorry.

Take It From You 20.Feb.2011 09:44

repost from http://www.pugetsoundanarchists.org

From  http://www.pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/211#comment-196

Though I am not indian, indiginous, native american, I am an Autonomous Person Of Color (APOC). There is alot of whites in the USA, proportianly there are alot of whites at protests, I and others like you, native mom, are not white. I am upset by you referring to questionably sexist, white male dominated, old pacifist and liberal activist community opinions influenced and manipulated by the propaganda of the mainstream media that the anarchists or any angry people in the streets are acting violently without forethought to what they do at an action and have no heart to the issue at hand.

Since the WTO 99 and AIM Colorado's Columbus Day Four Winds March Protest, IMF/WB, WEF, G8, G20 etc + anti-war, the whole world has embraced the reality of change that there will be and forever more a Diversity of Tactics. If you will not allow that to pass the cop in your mind, then you can kill all our historys (AIM, BPP etc) and it would be better to kill the cop-in your head. When has the RCP or any communist or socialist party ever had your back? But on your backs, pimping out your pain and struggle for their political gains and recruitment. I bet after all our pains, tear and heartbreaks, the RCP and ISO will walk away each with 10 new commited communist recruits for their agenda. If you haven't noticed, look around you, the world is very fully on fire! There's is revolutions in the streets all over the world incensed by the dictatorship, corruption, fascism, and deaths of their loved ones by the overlord/colonial powers. Sounds familiar to the reasons of Seattle's uprising?

I have worked in support and with the struggle after the Camp Anna Mae Sundance grounds in August 2001 Black Mesa, Big Mountain, I have been invited to stay at the hogan, tended their flock, sweated with the accepted hosts, rode with the chiefs son and told they have wanted uprising, but 500 years of genocide is hard to fight with the BIA and COINTELPRO. This is in their heart, not the pacifist compromise they are subjegated to. In all our hearts we want full justice, but this colonial oppression does not allow all of our peoples to truly speak their hearts truth to not the compromised cheated begging for reform, but to punish all wrong doers that exercise their apethic power over life and death and we will take us justice and revolution upon this overdue colonial power.

I do not Facebook or am as modern as to electronically socialize as the rest of you because I am busy living a human being, so please forward this to the writer.

From an honered elder 20.Feb.2011 12:47

repo repost

Onetime Portland Black Panther Percy Hampton reflects on the movement, issues that remain today

"It's two days after yet another shooting by another Portland police officer, and a collection of black-clad protesters have expressed their desire for reform within the Portland Police Bureau by hurling a brick through the window of a Hollywood bank and scrawling graffiti on storefronts. Percy Hampton sighs and rolls his eyes.

"These kids," he says. "They're just looking for an excuse to break stuff."

 link to blog.oregonlive.com

responses 20.Feb.2011 14:03

@narcho

There are some really good responses to the Swaneagle Harijan article here:  http://www.pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/211#comment-205

from 20.Feb.2011 15:22

an

from an authoritarian state communist, you mean? from a burnt out, scared ex-militant capitalizing on his cred and talking shit on the only people resisting the violence of the police OUTSIDE the "system of justice".

hmm 27.Feb.2011 09:29

local resident

Percy Hampton has some weird ideas about what black clad protesters want. I would agree that if they did want "reform within the police," then throwing a brick would be poor tactics, hands down. But if they actually want the police to go away, then this action is not so contradictory. If anything, it's mild but consistent.

It's really sad though when ex-radicals can no longer see the difference between 'wanting to break stuff' and wanting to destroy those institutions which produce and protect massive injustice.

To be clear, as a white radical myself, I do think that white radicals of all stripes often act without much consideration for the legitimate requests of indigenous and other people of color. I would not be at all surprised if some white folks really did act less than completely respectfully at the memorial event in question.
Does this mean that I think white folks need to stop being confrontational with the police? Hell no. Quite the opposite.
And I also think it's completely uncalled for and unreasonable for certain pacifist voices to decry the police station firebombing simply because it occurred in a broad sense sometime around other, primarily non-violent protests. That's absurd.