Monday, July 16, 2012



Almost a week ago Seattle police and SWAT raided a home of several members of Seattle Occupy and persons also involved with the Kasama Project.  The cops beat down doors in the middle of the night, dragged residents from their beds, trashed the place, confiscated anything they deemed anarchist materials.  Four persons were arrested and later released.

MPN reported:

"...activist Phillip Neel was in the apartment at the time of the raid, and he said police pointed guns at the back of activists while searching the apartment. He also claimed their hands were bound by zip ties after they were awoken by the sound of officers, who he said used a flashbang grenade in the stairwell and broke down the door.

Activists were not able to see the warrant until the raid was complete — a move Neel said left those in the apartment confused throughout the event. Those within the apartment at the time of the incident are known Occupy organizers.

Neel said items taken included a black hooded sweatshirt, a scarf, a notebook, a flyer for a book signing related to anarchism in the Occupy movement and literature previously handed out at Occupy protests.

The police said the raids were meant to gather information on what they deemed a May Day riots which left some banks and other buildings damaged.  The cops are seeking seven "suspected" anarchists as a result.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression condemned the raid:
…In the United States today the forces of repression and reaction, ranging from the FBI to local police forces are trying to intimidate those who are standing up for peace, justice, equality and liberation. The examples are many, including the repression directed at Arabs and Muslims, the coordinated attacks on the occupy movement, and FBI raids on anti war and international solidarity activists.

We condemn this act of political repression and send our solidarity to all those who were targeted in this raid.

Last Tuesday supporters marched in support.  They were back out in larger numbers on Friday night.

What surprises me more than anything else in some ways is that there may actually be people, activists even, who are themselves surprised by such a raid.  This is what the cops do.  They have done it to every movement of the people since someone thought up the idea of police.  

Our duty is to resist such police tactics, however we can, and to plow on with our work.  Our duty is also not to make the work of police repression more easy by doing such nonsense as posting the type of idiotic, militant sounding, rhetorical posturing all over places like Face Book.  That sort of stuff is just juvenile and stupid.  When the police say "anything you say can, and will be used against you," they absolutely mean it.

We always advise people not to talk to cops, not to rap with the Feds.  The truth is when you post nonsense, calls for violence against individuals, or against the police, or against some facet of the State, or against some representative of Capital, you are speaking to and cooperating with the police.  Stop it!

What follows below is first a report on Friday night's march against the police raid from Puget Sound  After that is a statement about the raid from the Black Orchid Collective.

Can't Raid This Rage! 7/13 Solidarity Demo Report-Back

On Friday, July 13, about 120 people came together for the second demonstration in solidarity with Decolonize/Occupy Seattle organizers whose home was raided by police early in the morning of July 10 as part of SPD's May Day investigation and campaign of repression against radical and anarchist activity in the city.
The demonstration began downtown at Westlake Plaza (site of the first D/OS camp) before traveling up to Capitol Hill to meet a second group at Seattle Central Community College (the second site of the camp). On the way up the hill, the march passed several cops guarding the Nike Town that was spectacularly attacked on May Day.
After leaving Capitol Hill, the march then continued on towards the Central District, passing the heavily barricaded East Precinct police station, where a formation of cops in riot gear and on horses stood looking foolishly robotic in the lovely late afternoon sunshine.

After passing through Capitol Hill, the march headed for the historically black and rapidly gentrifying Central District. There they were met with considerable support from those who are all too familiar with police harassment.
In contrast to other recent marches in Seattle, which seemed to aim mostly for a spectacular effect, this demonstration focused specifically on the dissemination of information about the raid. Demonstrators distributed thousands of copies of at least four different flyers to curious passersby. People left leaflets on cars, gave them to those dining in restaurants, and briefly explained what was happening to people who emerged from their homes along the march route.

The march also passed by The Wildcat (the anarchist social center) and the corner of 24th and Cherry, the sight of the 3-month-old Food For Everyone communal barbeque and food distribution. Anti-police chants carried the day, and the general feeling was one of solidarity against state aggression. Meanwhile, several dozen bike cops trailed the march, along with at least one police van.

As the demo passed Horace Mann school on Cherry between 23rd Ave and MLK, two suspicious characters in black bloc were identified as undercover officers and ousted from the march. They left without much protest after being questioned about their reasons for attending the march. Though there had been a call for a bloc online in the comment section of the Puget Sound Anarchists website, most demonstrators had their faces uncovered. Thus, the two stuck out like sore thumbs, looking like they bought their costumes at Halloween Adventure. They had random splotches of red and pink paint on their clothes and strips of hot pink duct tape to distinguish them from others in the march. (FYI, having these sorts of easily identifiable markers is contrary to the point of dressing in black bloc but would easily distinguish an undercover in the midst of a black bloc.)

Later, two other suspected undercovers were approached by angry demonstrators. Eventually it was determined that because nothing but chanting and flyering was going on, and there was already a great number of cops tailing the march, it made more sense to ignore the suspected undercovers and continue on. One eventually left and the other (who had been quite angry at being bad-jacketed) stayed until the end.

The demo ended at the Douglass-Truth Library at Yesler and 23rd with a rally and a few speeches decrying repression and gentrification. [According to the above KIRO TV report, which also incorrectly states that the raid happened a month ago, the march continued downtown after this point--this author missed this part of the march if it happened.] Here, the main target of the police raid urged the demonstrators to continue “attacking” the system and identified the Food For Everyone project, the Wildcat anarchist space, and the Everything For Everyone Festival as “attacks.” This is indeed a good time to focus on spreading networks of complicity in the project of revolt so as to avoid becoming isolated and easy targets of repression.

This demonstration was useful in that it effectively spread news of the raid throughout Capitol Hill and the Central District. It also showed that some basic level of solidarity actually exists between a relatively large number of people. This is inspiring and reassuring.

The purpose of repression is to spread fear and distrust while discouraging disobedience to authority. The worst possible thing would be for the rebellious to bow our heads now. The police raid happened because the authorities are terrified of where our efforts could eventually lead: neighborhood autonomy, mutual support, and the total redundancy of all authority. They are not afraid of anarchist bombs and guns so much as they are horrified that thousands may discover what many already have: that they do not need or want capitalism and its courts, judges, jails, and police. This march and the support it received in the neighborhoods is proof that the worst fears of authority are slowly coming true.


Solidarity with our friends who were recently raided

We collaborated with our comrades in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle to produce this solidarity statement with those who were raided this past Tues morning. Below is an interview conducted by RT with one of the people who experienced the raid:

We are thankful to be part of a community of activists who are vigilant and get each others’ backs. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has been continually attempting to repress our movement at every turn. In the past few weeks, they have harassed us without fail.  Unfortunately for them, their actions so far have only created more opportunities for us to build, bigger and stronger.  The 200 people strong march was enthusiastic and fun, and we flyered to many working class people of color along our route who were receptive to our message. We chanted, “Activist houses get raided, we don’t get intimidated!” amongst other things.

We have to be continually vigilant against the state’s attempts to divide, repress and silence us and we do not take any of this lightly. Below is the collaborative solidarity statement with our comrades. The PDF version can also be found on Tides of Flame website!

Solidarity Statement to members of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle recently raided by the Seattle Police Department

Early Tuesday morning, the Seattle Police Department raided the home of our friends, community members, and key organizers in Decolonize/Occupy Seattle and the Red Spark Collective. They were faced with assault rifles to their heads, flash bang grenades and an armed SWAT team.

The Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) harassment of our community has been ongoing. Only two weeks ago during Pride weekend, they attacked our friends. Before that, they arrested members of the Decolonize/Occupy community for disrupting the mayor’s bogus meet and greet, a continual shielding of the SPD’s record of police brutality. The continual harassment by SPD is not surprising. It is their modus operandi. Their lousy attempts at renewing their image with the “SPD 20/20” further disgusts us.

The violent raid against our friends this week, in search of “anarchist materials” did not happen in a vacuum. These are times of mass social movements around the world. People are resisting in Seattle, across this country, and across the world. The powers that be fear these struggles will spread and they do their best to intimidate and stifle our dynamism. 

Global anti-capitalist forces face constant terrorism from police working for the global power elite. They will always find excuses to delegitimize us and to further prop themselves up as the bearer of public safety and welfare. Over the last few months, there have been several shootings in the city, in the Central District, the North end and South end. The police have used this as an excuse to militarize the streets, overcompensating through extreme policing and tactics, legitimizing their racial profiling and repression of people of color and poor folks in particular. This is the story you’ll never hear about Seattle’s militarized racist police force. We remember John T Williams and Oscar Grant and are in solidarity with anyone who has experience police/ military repression and state violence.

We do not forget for a moment that the trauma and fear our friends experienced this past week takes place often in im/migrant communities during ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids. As radicals we understand the complexities of the legal system in relation to how the state reacts to resistance. They scare us, intimidate us, arrest us, and dehumanize us, hoping that in the process that we, too, take out our anger on one another, so that our communities break down. We will not fall for that.

It is important for us to understand certain patterns in the police responses to the national Decolonize/Occupy movement. The police have justified their use of excessive force against many of us by claiming that we are all dangerous anarchists. In their book, anyone whose organizing is threatening to the status quo is depicted as “anarchists,” “black block,” and dangerous threats to public safety. They want to divide us into good protesters and bad protesters. The “good” protesters, in their eyes, do not inherently create an ideological threat to the exploitative foundations of the existing system with their organizing. The “bad protesters” however, do not follow their rules of engagement. We threaten the status quo. It is in the interest of the state to affirm the “good protesters,” so as to upkeep a pretense of free speech and democracy. Given that the facade of democracy is the excuse that the US military uses in its war efforts, it would be a shame if there was not a pretense at keeping it in the home country. Failing to understand the ideological reasons why the state props up “good protesters” over “bad protesters,” through the tactics of “anarchist baiting,” will cause us to debate endlessly about which tactic is more effective than others in changing the system. This not only causes us to attack one another, but is also a distraction. Being used by the state to delegitimize other political forces is not a sign of strength. It is a sign of being manipulated. Hopefully, the broader Decolonize/Occupy Seattle community is smarter than that and this is not a trap we will fall for. Even as we may disagree with one another’s politics and tactics, we will understand that an injury to one is an injury to all. We refuse to let our differences strengthen the legitimacy of police violence.

Generating fear and paranoia were the goals of the SPD on Tuesday, when the SWAT team broke the door with guns drawn, threw concussion grenades, and yanked people, including two female bodied people, out of their beds without allowing them to clothe themselves. Folks were held cuffed in a room while the police confiscated clothing and literature. The unnecessary trauma inflicted on these people through militarized police terrorism tactics was a result of the SPD’s goal to prevent further organizing. The organizing in this house involves building community gardens, holding community potlucks, organizing to shut down the juvenile prison (through healthy, supportive, healing alternatives), fighting gentrification, and hosting a completely free music, arts, and politics festival. The organizers in the house are resisting through creating and empowering. In opposition, the police are attempting to destroy through inflicting fear and trauma. Our community immediately mobilized to support the needs of our comrades as they dealt with the violence of the increasingly militarized Seattle Police. Our bonds and communities are only strengthening through this oppression.

We will continue to combat fear and trauma with love and resistance.

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