AP featured image
Elliot Armitage, a 2020 graduate of Ballard High School, holds his mortarboard cap that reads “Defund the Police” as he prepares to take part in a cap and gown Black Lives Matter march with other high school graduates, Monday, June 15, 2020, in Seattle. The theme of the march as “Walking for Those Who Can’t,” and organizers were calling for police funding reforms and an end to Seattle public schools’ relationship with the Seattle Police Department. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

 

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant issued a statement on Saturday about the shooting incident that occurred in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) on Friday night which left one 19-year-old man dead and one critically injured. Sawant’s statement was published by local media outlet My Northwest, and can be viewed below.

At approximately 2:30 am on Saturday morning, two individuals were shot inside of CHOP. Police arrived to the scene after receiving reports of gun shots. According to My Northwest, a crowd stopped the police before they could get to the victims. Police were told later that “CHOP-medics” drove the victims to the Harborview Medical Center. where one later died. (Did you not know they had their own medics?)

My colleague, Nick Arama, posted on this story here.

You may recall that the far-left Sawant, who had/has a key to the Seattle City Hall building, made the news less than two weeks ago after unlocking the door and allowing hundreds of protestors in. This happened on the first day of the “occupation” when the zone was called CHAD.

Following this incident, Sawant spoke to the media, telling them that her slightly more moderate colleagues were “sellouts” and “corporate politicians.”

Anyway, following this weekend’s shooting, Sawant wrote that although she does not have all of the details yet, “there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack.” She offers not one shred of evidence to support this statement.

“It is no accident that right-wing hate and violence has grown dramatically with Donald Trump in the White House,” notes Sawant. “If this killing turns out to be a right-wing attack, President Trump bears direct responsibility, since he has fomented reactionary hatred specifically against the peaceful Capitol Hill occupation.”

Babe, it’s not everyday that activist groups claim land that does not belong to them, and then holds it hostage until a three page lists of demands are met. And, oh by the way, they don’t have money to pay for food and/or supplies and have no choice but to extort money from local business owners. Her lack of self-awareness is breathtaking.

Conservative media outlets are “claiming that this shooting proves the CHOP is descending into chaos.”

She emphasizes that the group must form a self-defense committee. Oddly, she says they must demand that the Seattle Police Department “fully investigate this attack and be held accountable to bring the killer(s) to justice.” She explains that often “police have historically frequently failed to prosecute violence by the right.”

Why, if she harbors such distrust for the police would she want them to investigate the murder inside of CHOP? Would the misguided residents of CHOP even allow a Seattle police officer onto the premises? Would members of the group volunteer to answer questions?

Then, she lists the group’s primary demands.

This is such a farce. It’s like watching a group of overgrown petulant children playing house. Sunday marks the thirteenth day of the occupation. Who knows how long the city of Seattle will allow it to continue? Through the summer? What will happen when the weather turns cold? Will the mayor try to find indoor accommodations for the group?

Right now, it’s provided Republicans with the best campaign ad ever. It shouts, “This is what Democratic leadership will bring to your city.”

Good luck Seattle!

 

Kshama Sawant statement:

Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones of the black protester who was tragically killed this morning by gunfire at the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Socialist Alternative and I stand in solidarity with the family and friends of the victim, and with the injured protester now in the hospital, as well as with all community members and fellow activists.

Though we await confirmation of the details of the killing, there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack. If so, this would not be the first such attack on the Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter protest. As many recall, an armed man drove into the protest action on June 8, and shot black activist Dan Gregory, who had heroically intervened to stop the driver.

We need immediate solidarity with the protest at the CHOP, and unity in our movement against reactionary violence. Our movement refuses to be intimidated.

It is no accident that right-wing hate and violence has grown dramatically with Donald Trump in the White House. If this killing turns out to be a right-wing attack, President Trump bears direct responsibility, since he has fomented reactionary hatred specifically against the peaceful Capitol Hill occupation, and even threatened to intervene with federal troops. Also responsible are the conservative and corporate media outlets, both locally and nationally, which have themselves whipped up right-wing hate by completely misrepresenting the nature of the peaceful protest occupation, and who are continuing to do so even now, claiming that this shooting proves the CHOP is descending into chaos. Seattle’s establishment Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best also share responsibility for having portrayed our protest movement as violent.

It is crucial that the CHOP occupation has developed a self-defense committee, which has played an important role at the encampment, and that general assemblies to ensure ongoing political discussions have been taking place. Socialist Alternative and I believe we should further develop both these important initiatives and the democratic structures of the CHOP with regularly scheduled general assemblies to vote on decisions for the movement, and democratically agreed plans around self defense. Elected committees of self defense have historically played vital roles during general strikes, occupations, and in mass movements, in order for the working class and marginalized people to defend themselves and carry out necessary functions in place of the forces of the state. Our labor movement has a crucial role to play in the protest movement, and should provide people and resources to assist in the defense and organization of CHOP.

Our movement should also demand and insist that the Seattle Police fully investigate this attack and be held accountable to bring the killer(s) to justice. Because of the repressive role of the police under capitalism, and often with developed links to reactionary groups, police have historically frequently failed to prosecute violence by the right – even going as far as to shield the perpetrators. For decades in the South, law enforcement across the country did not lift a finger to stop the KKK’s lynch mobs, and often participated in them. It is being reported that police resources nationwide have been used to spy on, repress, and infiltrate the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protest movement, and to surveil protest occupations like the CHOP. But on the other side, how much time has been spent investigating the right wing, with their threats and acts of real violence? Just in recent days, neo-Nazis have been making public statements calling for the killing of protesters. Yesterday, on Juneteenth, the day of celebration of defeating the confederacy and ending the institution of slavery, many far-right and reactionary figures have made calls to start a new Civil War. We must demand accountability and justice, and if the police fail to thoroughly investigate and bring the killer(s) to justice, we may need to launch an independent community investigation.

We must show our solidarity with the victims of this violence by continuing to build our movement and fight for our demands: to defund Seattle police by at least 50 percent; for the immediate release of all protesters without charges; for the East Precinct to be permanently brought into community control; for at least 1,000 publicly-owned affordable homes in the Central District and the Amazon Tax to fund citywide affordable housing and green jobs with priority hire for marginalized communities; and for an independent elected community oversight board with full powers over the police, including hiring and firing.

Elizabeth Vaughn
Writer at RedState
MBA, former financial consultant, options trader
Mom of three grown children, grandmother
Email Elizabeth at [email protected]

 
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