Storming Heaven #6 Now Available

Included in this issue are the numerous report-backs from anti-police demonstrations and actions in the Pacific Northwest from over the last year, ending with a report-back from the anti-fascist demonstration in Olympia on May 30th of this year.

From the editorial:

“To keep something from becoming history, ‘the past,’ we must consistently speak of it in the present. We must learn to see the ways in which the moments that have passed always leave impressions on the shaping of the future. Vacuums are not real, and our actions cannot and do not live inside of them. If one were able to take a birds-eye perspective of the last five years in the Pacific Northwest, it would be clear how the demonstrations around the killing of John T. Williams, the generalized anti-police activity of 2011, May Day 2012, Grand Jury Anti-Repression organizing, and the myriad of other anarchist activities, have brought us to where we stand today. The bodies changed, the groups disbanded and reformed, people moved in and out of the region, but the sentiments carried us forward; always dropping the silt that would become our shaky but ever present grounding.”

Copies can be found at Pipsqueak in the Central District, or Left Bank Books in the Pike Place Market.

Print Version

http://www.mediafire.com/view/muz78ddsj4doxxf/SH_imposed.pdf

Computer Friendly Version

https://www.mediafire.com/?uftlzvpe5l1z55e

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Storming Heaven #5 Now Available

Articles In This Issue:

  • Grand Jury Resister Returns Home
  • Interview w/ Steve On His Return Home
  • Means To A Means To A Means…
  • May Day Round Up & Reportback
  • Why Riot? Excerpts…
  • Communiques
  • PugetSoundAnarchists Is Back!

SH#5

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3 Police Cars Smashed-Olympia, WA

found on Act For Freedom Now

 

On the night of December 16th, 3 police cruisers parked outside of Olympia’s Creighton Justice Center (home of the Olympia municipal jail and municipal court) had windows smashed out.
This particular day was picked in conjunction with the international call for solidarity with the Barcelona 5, accused of the bomb attack against the Roman-Catholic cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain.
Two, who remain in pre-trial custody, Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar, were also recently the targets of prosecution in the Chilean Anarchist Bombs Case (2010-2012). They both confronted that trial and 9 months of incarceration with dignity. They inspired the international anarchist community and so now we want to show our support for them and our hatred of the repressive forces with this act of rebellion.
Solidarity means attack! The Olympia Police are a manifestation of the same apparatus of repression that tries to control our comrades overseas. This control and repression exists in the US in abundance as well. For example, on November 19th in Durham, North Carolina, the police brutally murdered 17-year-old Chuey Huerta while he was being detained in the back seat of their cruiser.
With our action we also send a heartfelt message of solidarity to all those who are suffering the loss of a loved one at the hands of the police, particularly those in Durham, NC.
The only thing in the back of these cruisers tonight will be the shattered egos of the OPD, to whom we send a big FUCK YOU!
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Jail, Social Prison…Or?

from the 4th issue:

A Call for an Anarchist Response to the Construction of the Youth Jail at
12th and Alder

“Migration Management cannot be attacked, but what can be attacked are the
concrete embodiments, structures and people that make it possible”
           - “Nothing is Finished: Essays from the Anti-Prison Struggle in
Belgium” *

For the past year the City of Seattle has been in the planning stage of
building a new “Children and Family Justice Center” (CFJC) at the site of
the current youth jail at 12th and Alder. The new facility’s name and much
of the rhetoric obscures the fact that one of the central functions of the
new construction will be creating more cages to put black and brown youth
in. Nevertheless, it would be shortsighted to simply understand this
project as the creation of another jail.  The state has already
anticipated arguments from leftist organizations and community groups that
jails ‘don’t work’. In fact, the state recognizes this reality and is
shifting its approach in response to it. Jails are increasingly becoming
an inefficient means of regulating the lives of black, brown, poor, and/or
trans* people. To critique the prison system because it ‘doesn’t work’ is
to be sucked into the states logic and to ignore the fact that a ‘working’
criminal justice system is a system that effectively reproduces a world
built on domination, violence, and racism.
For progressive bourgeois Seattlites, however, this new project looks like
a common sense approach to dealing with ‘criminals’ that is clean and
rehabilitative. In addition to the construction of a 154-room detention
center, the CFJC is proposed to “make the criminal justice system work” by
providing access to “mentoring and support services, education and
employment services for youth on probation,” as well as a number of
alternative-to-incarceration programs for young people who would otherwise
face jail time. [a full description of the project can be found at
www.kingcounty.gov/operations/FacilitiesManagement/CFJCProposal.aspx]
It is not surprising that the levy to fund the CFJC passed. The rhetoric
surrounding it fits nicely into a liberal view of prison reform and
progressive partial decarceration. It acknowledges that some people do not
‘deserve’ to be in prison because they can be reformed by either being
given better opportunities or given the skills to ‘make better choices.’
This rhetoric is appealing to liberals who congratulate themselves and
sleep well at night because its implementation in Seattle has already
significantly decreased the population of the juvenile detention center.
In the past decade, alternative-to-detention programs, ‘community courts’,
and ‘problem-solving justice’ initiatives have ‘worked,’ decreasing the
number of prisoners and lowering of the rate of recidivism.
While it would be absurd and reactionary to condemn putting less people in
prison, we refuse to listen to the deceptive lullaby that is the state’s
narrative of ‘progress.’ Let’s respond to the small concessions of the
state by spitting in its face, not by asking to suck its toes.
The product of a decreased prison population and lower rates of recidivism
is not freedom from domination, but rather domination in another form,
namely increased surveillance, monitoring, and control for the same people
who would have been filling jail cells. Family courts, drug treatment
courts, youth-led peer courts, and punitive social services all work to
rehabilitate those who can assimilate back into society to be functioning,
whitewashed productive subjects. Their stated objective is to ‘increase
youth investment’ in the criminal justice system.  This system of control
further reinforces the division between the ‘criminal’ and the ‘good
citizen’ by insisting that the ‘criminal’ can be ‘saved’ and can become a
‘good citizen’. However the mutability of these categories is a farce. The
idealized good citizen in Amerikkka has always been a white, cismale,
wealthy, and able-bodied subject. The state has defined the category of
‘criminal’ in practice as black, trans*, poor, and undocumented. It should
be no surprise then that as the prison population has decreased the
disproportionate incarceration of black and brown youth has increased.
These new methods of control often mean that instead of serving a short
sentence for getting in a fight after school, a 16-year-old kid will be
funneled into a system of punitive social services for a much longer
period of time with the threat of jail hanging over their head. The state
has no power without the threat of force. So we see that the ‘alternative
to incarceration’ is entirely dependent on the threat of force that looms
behind it – the ever-present possibility of a prison sentence. Concretely,
this looks like trading a few nights in jail for months or even years
reporting to a social worker, being in court-mandated therapy sessions,
having attendance and grades monitored, regular drug testing, and
community service. Who would engage in this kind of process without a pig
pushing them against a wall and reaching for their handcuffs? All of these
techniques make the ever-expanding snares of racist social control and
assimilation look like “progress.”
Unsurprisingly, it has been liberals and radical prison abolitionists
alike that have been the torch runners of this new expanded disciplinary
logic. Less prisons, more state-based ‘transformative justice’. Let’s just
say it. In this case, transformative justice means the further
transformation of Amerikkka into a social prison.  In the struggle against
the CFJC there have been few voices heard outside of the state, its
collaborative muses: NGO coalitions, and liberal groups that claim to
represent the community. We have no interest in justice meted out by the
state and it’s pigs, managers, and executioners. We know the state cannot
be rationally persuaded to abolish its systems of control. We don’t have
to choose between jail and social prison. Let’s refuse both.

* This is from a collection of essays against the construction of an
immigration detention center in Belgium. The struggle against migration
‘management’ is also the struggle against prison society.
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Storming Heaven Issue #4 .pdf

We changed up the format for this issue’s paper and now it can be printed on 8.5×11.

StormingHeaven#4

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Hot-Spot Policing

from the 4th issue for November 2013:

WE SEE LITTLE NEED TO YET AGAIN articulate our opposition to the police or reasons for such. Years of engagement have left this conversation dry. As we watch the world change around us it has become clear that now more than ever we need to view the police not merely as a collection of individuals in uniforms but an apparatus felt beyond our smaller daily scale. Our lives, and the way we desire to live them, are diametrically opposed to the concept of living a surveilled and contained existence. We fight against all structures within this society in order to destroy such apparatuses. Such is what it means to be an anarchist inside this newly globalized political and economic society. Such is what it meant to fight 100 years ago against the structures that wished to define us in those contexts. What we are doing here is not giving explanation to things you and we already know, but creating better and more strategic fronts in which to move from and inside.

It is easy to lump police and their practices all together. To dehumanize them into the arm of a larger more dangerous beast makes sense, and is in itself a form of strategy. But to not delve more deeply into the minituae of localized initiatives is a disservice to our struggle against them.
There has been a lot of national attention on the Seattle PD in recent years. Specifically from Federal investigators being brought in to study the allegations of abuse of power and overstepping of protocol. This has made a mark on the SPD and the ways that the broader Seattle population views them. Federal investigations and Civilian Review Boards are obviously not ours, and in no way are we interested in any dialogue that strengthens this or any other police force. But the possibility lies in what can be gleaned from its findings. Trends as they emerge in law enforcement circles that can be identified in one area of a city can be applied to others, and even more broadly looking at the ways that their techniques are developed and then shared on a national basis has the possibility of creating a broader critique that may be applied in local strategies.
A current trend of “hot spot policing” or predictive policing as it is called in one such instance, has become standard in many police departments across the country. It is manifested in different ways based on different locales and deployed with a variety of maneuvers based on those locales. In short, the idea is one that smaller police departments have known for years. Places where beat cops are still common, especially in smaller municipalities have amongst themselves created means to identify “problem areas”. Neighborhoods they are called to repeatedly, corners where the most business is done. The difference in these new moves have been the mechanization of this process into a systematic decision making structure. Instead of individual cops making the call on what parts of the city need their attention the most, data is more broadly collected and the information is fed into computer GIS mapping programs. A practical black box of algorithms is stuffed with information about past crime trends, neighborhood hangouts, economic brackets, development, etc. and out comes a definitive map of where officers are most “needed”. Those neighborhoods and intersections are flooded with police and surveillance in an effort to stem the tide of crime. Patrols are increased and the number of officers available to respond to given areas skyrockets.

The data is preliminary on their end, but the results they are receiving from this tactic are astronomically in their favor. It is ‘working’, and doing so well. Their arrest numbers are increasing, and by their numbers the crime statistics are dropping radically.
Discussions amongst police chiefs on a national scale are becoming more common. We are used to the calls from departments for mutual aid in times of certain levels of upheaval. More cops coming in from outside the city for a demo, or after a few rowdy nights. But something we are possibly missing is the coordinated effort of departments to share information and strategize around people like us and other criminals on a much larger scale and duration. And all of these conversations and conference calls must originate somewhere; the idea has to grow from some local effort. In terms of this hot spot trend, now so common to most of us, the impetus was largely academic and based on the research of criminologists looking towards none other than Seattle as a model. It was investigations into Juvenile offenders in the Seattle area that pushed some of the first investigations in this field.
We never could have stopped this, the money invested and structures are too large. But we could have done something. Often we look outward, towards the places with the most activity, most demos, most sabotage. This has our gaze forever extended towards places beyond the political and geographical borders that we live inside of. Ours is a struggle articulated drastically differently depending on social (and anti-social) factors as well as the economic and cultural terrains of each place, making that outward look a worthwhile endeavor. The ability for us to maneuver more easily, to strike with more efficiency on these national and even international scales could be increased with more local vigilance. What could solidarity look like if we were able to more accurately identify trends in their policy shifts and confront them on a more intimate scale? Is it possible that the police saturation of certain neighborhoods in cities outside the northwest could have been forestalled by an ever increasing presence of conflictual elements in the places where the research was being conducted?

The answers to these and other questions of strategy can only only come from a broader and more thorough attentiveness on the part of anarchists in this city and well beyond. Experimentation with the focus of creative energies, and the methods employed in such endeavors are assets that the decentralized and fluid nature of our politics and their manifestations that should not be ignored. This is not a a call for another campaign against a police tactic, but a thought attempting to articulate what might be possible if we all paid a little more attention and believed in the capacity we hold as individuals and in the small crews we have been cultivating. It is a call to see what is possible.

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To Tread Troubled Waters

from the 4th issue for November 2013:

AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY the Seattle Weekly titled “Troubled Waters” by Daniel Person documents the history of how the Duwamish River was developed by early Pacific Northwest colonizers and settlers and rerouted for commercial ports, the consequent introduction and extreme rise in pollutants found in the riverbed and its devastating impacts on the communities that have depended on fishing the river to feed their families.

The Duwamish River is the last twelve miles of water that connects the Green River flowing from the Cascade Mountains into the Puget Sound just south of Seattle. According to Person’s article, the physical manipulation of the Duwamish to fit capitalism’s needs began in 1913. While noted for its beautiful winding bends, the nature of the Duwamish River “was bad for business, and what was 13 miles of river eventually became five after 20 million cubic yards of mud and sand were moved to fill in its bends.” Many shipment facilities were built in and around the Duwamish River Estuary, including a Boeing manufacturing plant that hit high production rates for its B-17’s during the second World War and continues to this day to produce unmanned drones for U.S. led aggression overseas.
What could be seen as a turning point in the pollution of the Duwamish was in the 1930’s when Monsanto developed polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a class of chemicals that made paint last longer and prevent electrical systems from overheating. It was considered the best product on the shelf at the time for high-end construction, and was also extremely carcinogenic. It wasn’t until 1979, after nearly fifty years of its production, that it was banned in the United States due to its link to causing cancer. From Person’s article: “With every rainfall in Seattle, more PCBs are washed off buildings with old coats of paint and elsewhere and into Seattle’s storm-drain pipes. In the river, the chemicals settle into the river bottoms, where they are consumed by tiny worms and other creatures in the sand. From there the PCBs travel up the food chain until they reach the resident seafood.” Despite the ban, the PCBs are continuing to have disastrous affects.
The South Park neighborhood of Seattle, located directly across the Duwamish from the airport in Georgetown, is home to a large community of immigrant families relying on fishing and crabbing for sustenance. People crab and fish the Duwamish for a multiplicity of reasons, economic and cultural amongst them. Often language barriers prevent an understanding of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) signs about the high levels of contaminants in the river.
Immigrant communities in South Park fish and crab the Duwamish as a way to maintain some sort of economic autonomy. This creates a feedback loop between government bureaucracy and those it fails to serve because the inherent nature of capitalist infrastructure requires there to be those who are pushed so far to the margins. The EPA has offered a variety of services that it perceives as helpful to families who depend on fishing the river for food, like facilitating carpools from the Duwamish to other fishing spots where the water is not contaminated and funding Duwamish Dollars, a form of fake-currency that businesses accept near the river. Both of these band-aid strategies might ease the woes of families struggling to feed themselves in the short-term, but nonetheless reinforces the dependency on government initiatives. It is never our aim to strengthen aspects of capital or the state based on understanding the long-term implications of living a life under capital.
The EPA and other environmental agencies have lined up a multitude of different strategies for cleaning up the Duwamish, with the EPA claiming its intention to make fishing and crabbing the river safe. All of the proposed strategies are caught up in a quagmire of bureaucracy between funding (with some of the projects requiring hundreds of millions of dollars) and arguments over whether or not some of these strategies will actually make the sea-life fit for consumption. It has been acknowledged as well that the Duwamish River can only be as clean as the Green River that feeds it, and so taking on cleaning up one river would mean cleaning the other.

These kinds of issues between funding different government initiatives in cleaning up a river shouldn’t be what catches our eye when examining this situation, and one should fault Person for giving that specific issue so much thought in his article. One should also fault him for leaving out an entire history of indigenous people who lived in the region long before settlers came to destroy the land, but he’s just a journalist.
Instead anarchists must do what only anarchists can do when engaging with those outside of our milieu; take what we like and forget the rest. Understanding the history of the development of the Duwamish can give anarchists in the Pacific Northwest a better understanding of the context in which we exist on these lands, and even better a deeper understanding of our enemies and why. For instance, Boeing is one of the largest companies on the river and is a leading developer of unmanned drones at home and abroad. Monsanto sent carcinogenic products into this region’s waterways and continues to poison national and international food supplies. Getting a grasp on the contexts in which these entities exist can deepen the ways in which we attack and extend solidarity to those who are also pushed to destroy what destroys this world, from comrades in Italy fighting in the No TAV struggle, those committed to animal and earth liberation struggles, or the indigenous communities much closer to home struggling against the infrastructure of coal-mining across North America.
We also cannot buy into the lies of the EPA and believe that the Duwamish River can realistically be repaired after a hundred years of pollution and industrial infrastructure. If the plans for cleaning up the Duwamish go through, it will not meet federal water-quality standards and still not be safe to eat from at the end of the proposed clean up. This must be taken as a lesson for future industrial infrastructure developments and how we can engage with and against them. If things like the proposed coal trains running through the Northwest are completed, we will see even more wild space disappear with longer reaching affects than we have yet to feel. These development projects can seem like impossible monsters not worth tackling, but only through fighting does one learn how to swing their fists. The potential comrades that lay in wait in striking against projects of industrial development can only be met if we step out of the light of interacting with the spectacle and into the shadows of negating it.

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Missed Potential In Nickelsville Evacuation?

from the 4th issue for November 2013: 

THIS SUMMER HAS SEEN yet another transitional moving period for the homeless camp formerly located in West Seattle known as Nickelsville. The camp was started in September of 2008 and was named after Mayor Nickels in commemoration of his violent police-lead eviction of a previous homeless camp. The Seattle City Council voted early this summer to evict the camp, citing general lawlessness, drug-use and pollution as reasoning. The well-being of the campers was never actually in the minds of City Council members, as they opted only to set aside a lump sum of cash for the camp to find alternative housing instead of longer term proposals that advocates for the camp were asking for.
The camp located three separate sites in which its residents were able to move to; two in the Central District and one in far south Seattle. Calling this a victory, however, would only gloss over the stress that moving all of one’s belongings many times over the last year brings, not to mention that an entire community of people who found housing together in a house-less world have now been split up between three separate locations all at the whim of the Seattle City Council.
There has been a noticeable absence in this entire scenario. The last time an illegal encampment made up of a collection of capital’s excluded seized news headlines, the camp’s name was Occupy Seattle and anarchists had a very recognizable presence in the camp’s day-to-day activities. It would be perhaps inappropriate for anarchists to start to hold a presence at the Nickelsville camp, unless they lived there. But it seems as if all notions of mutual aid have been thrown to the wayside as another illegal encampment is given the boot by the city.
Perhaps the reason why anarchists did not step up to the plate when eviction orders came down for Nickelsville was because there had been no established connection between radicals/subversives and the encampment, unlike the relationship between anarchists and Occupy where radicals had contributed to building the space and atmosphere from the beginning and therefore had very much at stake at in defending the space and making it an antagonizing force.
Is the presence of a very real relationship built on directly shared experiences and engaging with aspects of social bodies who are also crushed by the daily weight of this boring existence under capitalism the base of a social insurrectionary project? If a group of anarchists had approached the residents of Nickelsville about militantly resisting their eviction and continuing to occupy the land they were living on without previously knowing any of the residents, could anyone expect the residents to take them seriously? But if we simply lined up to offer a hand to help with moving and feeding people, what would set us part from the non-profits and charity programs who simply exist to grease the gears of capitalism?
How are we to say that Nickelsville would have been hospitable to an anarchist presence? Up until now, there has been no public anarchist discourse surrounding the homeless camp. It would be foolish to assume that an antagonizing presence would have been welcomed with insurgent hearts at the camp. But wondering at the possibilities of what may have come out of a longer-standing relationship between anarchists and the camp when faced with the eviction, we can still take this lesson to heart as we continue to look for instances of when we as anarchists can contribute to projects that happen outside of our subcultural circles. If one is to acknowledge that Nickelsville was an illegal encampment of some of the most excluded people in Seattle, it can be easy to wonder why there wasn’t at least an attempted anarchist presence.

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Storming Heaven Issue Three .pdf

This is in 11×17 format, apologies to those stuck at the 8.5×11 printers.

StormingHeaven#3

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Of Those With Fire In Their Hearts

On The Recent Burnings & Capitalist Development

from the 3rd issue in August 2013:

In the last year there have been a notable rise in fiery attacks directed against projects of capitalist development in the Pacific Northwest, ranging from the movements of the Anti-Gentrification Front in Vancouver, the claimed and unclaimed burnings of apartment complexes and a restaurant in Seattle, and nearly an entire city block under development razed to the ground in Portland which was claimed by Students For Insurrection. These targets vary in the ways in which they contribute to the ongoing war of gentrification, yet remain targets of anarchist rage all the same. These actions have spoken well to those who know how to listen to fires that burn at night, yet an ongoing dialogue around gentrification largely remains to be seen in an anarchist context. This article in no way means to critique the actions or the method of those with fire in their hearts, but instead to develop on the ideas that go hand in hand with the practice.
It must be stressed that simply fighting for an immediate halt to housing and economic development in lower-class neighborhoods cannot be the end-goal of such anarchist praxis and theory. This sentiment reeks of reformist demand and compromise, insisting that if things stayed the way they were people could be satisfied. Such a claim ignores the reality that the neighborhoods in which we live in that are largely made up of poor, excluded and working class people are already party of a much larger mechanic of social control. They are simply mechanisms in which to house workers who act merely as grease within the cogs of the capitalist machine of progress. The neighborhoods in which people inhabit in urban (and even suburban) areas cannot secede from the capitalist functions they perform without the complete and utter destruction of capitalism. Simply demanding an end to encroaching yuppie establishments and housing will not end the daily misery of capitalism.

As an excluded class overall, poor and working class people from the beginning are kept out of well-paying jobs due to lack of certification and knowledge that largely requires years in a university or other academic setting, a certainly unattainable status for those who cannot afford the price. Most of the time the excluded must find work in precarious (undependable) ways such as service work, sex work, hustling drugs, etc. Often this puts people in a small income bracket, actively pushing them out of living in the neighborhoods where so many people find themselves working in. Specifically speaking, housing and rent rates continue to soar throughout Seattle, especially in the downtown area and in Capitol Hill, where there is also a large concentration of venues in which those without an employable expertise find their income. The buses from these neighborhoods that go south at the end of the day into the Central District and Columbia City, notably more poor neighborhoods, are often filled with construction workers and service-industry workers. Those who find themselves homeless also frequent these routes, leaving the more economically abundant neighborhoods where they might convince passerby to kick down some change only so that they may head into the lesser-policed neighborhoods in hopes of a place to sleep. But that terrain is also changing, given that the Central District and Columbia City have proven to be key interest points for developers, and we are seeing an increase in police presence with walking patrols. Capitalist development deliberately separates neighborhoods based on class and financial income.

Not only is this a metaphorical policing of where people are allowed to live and spend their time, it is also accompanied by a literal policing as well. This summer Cal Andersen Park, the heart of Capitol Hill, saw an increase in police patrols as dusk fell, kicking out and harassing homeless people as well as just about anybody lingering around, as happens every summer. A more noticeable change occurred however after the Springtime increase in violent assaults, as the park was assigned two State Park Deputies for patrol. The city’s narrative around this decision was one of maintaining public safety in the wake of such ugly incidents, while shootings in neighborhoods south of Capitol Hill have continued to rise throughout the summer without any kind of similarly allotted “safety measures”. Thus it is easy to ascertain that the city of Seattle’s concern over “public safety” is applicable only insofar as it pertains to neighborhoods of wealthier inhabitants. This does not mean to infer that city officials should be protecting all of “the people” with increased police patrols in every neighborhood, nor “better use of taxpayer money”, but instead to illuminate one of the many laws that has governed class-based society, that the excluded classes have never been in the agenda of those who make decisions regarding the laws and regulations that govern them. The police actively kick out the excluded from wealthier neighborhoods with the façade of “public safety” hanging from their necks, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to violence in poorer neighborhoods. This contradiction is easy to see.

Gentrification goes even deeper than the deliberate separation of neighborhoods based on class. As neighborhoods are witness to a rise in housing rates and commercial development, a network of individuals and committees appears that seems to be the driving force in this mad dash for progress, which can also specifically be cited in Seattle. In the Central District, there are three corners on the prominent intersection of 23rd Ave S & S Union St that are owned by one man, Ian Eisenberg; on one corner stands the restaurants Med-Mix (recently victim of a $90,000 arson) and next to it the Neighbor Lady (formerly the last black-owned bar in the Central District), across the street is a collection of small businesses and a post-office that all sit upon the entire city block that Eisenberg also owns, and across the street from there lies a large empty plot next to the now-closed Wildcat Social Center which is slated for the development of a multi-story condominium development very soon. This one man practically owns an entire intersection in the central-district, a neighborhood ripe for developing.
There is a new development going in at 25th Ave E between John St. & Madison St. by “sustainable builder” Cascade Built who flaunt the fact that their owner Sloan Ritchie has lived in the Central District for 15 years. There are a multitude of “green” certifications and guidelines the developments will pass so that they can be sold as such, but it is easy to see such blatant lies once one has come to realize that there is no such thing as “green” or “passive” development. The development company expects it to be finished around next summer.
The Central Area Land Use Review Committee (CA LURC) aim to create “a positive atmosphere of collaboration with incoming developers. We aim to facilitate community conversations to constructively shape development as it enters our neighborhood.” Earlier this week they hosted a community meeting to give Central District residents a chance to review development plans for a 160-unit housing development on S. Jackson St, headed by the development company Isola Capital, who have been largely responsible for the eviction and destruction of old houses in the Central District in order to build the new, disgusting and utterly horrid looking condos that are seen popping up all over the neighborhood. This committee wishes to facilitate and thereby mitigate conversations between those who live in the neighborhood and those who wish to develop the neighborhood. It is clear they aim to pave the way for developers to not run into widespread anger as they demolish and rebuild.
This is the policing of living conditions and the geography of inhabitance. It is not just the police and the threat of imprisonment who kick homeless people out of parks and off the streets, who violently keep those from procuring more illegal sources of income. There are names and faces to the entities, which aid in creating the suffocating conditions that force people to work, to hustle, and to spend their lives merely surviving instead of thriving. The police work hand in hand with developers and neighborhood committees in their daily assault against the excluded and unwanted and the radar of targets worthy of anarchist violence must not overlook this.
One of the more exciting attacks to occur this year in the Pacific Northwest was when a green condo-development in the Central District that was under construction was brutally burned to the ground followed up by a communiqué claiming solidarity with grand-jury resisters in Seattle. Many critiques of the current social order met at an intersection through this nighttime arson; a hatred of development, a refusal of the lies of “sustainability”, and an authentic desire for solidarity and action.
An anarchist critique of gentrification must also carry a seething hatred for the conditions that already rule our lives, the result of that being a desire for the complete and total destruction of the society that creates and reproduces work in every form, precarious or not. Our lives are delivered to us as if it were a simple board game in which there are only so many paths we may take towards an elevated state of spectacular consumerism. If neighborhood committees and business development agencies are to make 10 Year Plans for neighborhood development, why can’t we? In what ways can we plot long-term schemes in which there are constantly thorns in the sides of developers and city council members as they try their hand at ruining everything in sight? If we truly desire freedom, autonomy and war on our enemies, we must do away with the entire board game and flip the table. For capitalist and economic development in neighborhoods of excluded classes to actually cease, capitalism must cease to exist in its totality. It will always continue to police our living conditions and our modes of transport in ways in which they will grease the modes of production; we can never be truly free with the specter haunting us. Gentrification cannot be stopped as long as capitalism, the state and it’s authorities still exist.

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