The founding of any new nation is worthy of note, and so it is with the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, several blocks of Seattle that have been seized by protesters, Occupy Wall Street types and assorted opportunists. Now it’s up to the citizens of the CHAZ, adapting Federalist No. 1, to decide the important question: whether anarchies of men are capable or not of establishing good government.
This week the Seattle police withdrew from their East Precinct in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, after threats that it would be torched. The cops removed barricades and began “decreasing our footprint,” Chief Carmen Best said, as the protesters had requested. Ms. Best called it “an exercise in trust and de-escalation.” But human nature abhors a vacuum, and CHAZ revolutionaries soon declared their autonomy.
As a cardboard sign at the border of the CHAZ warns: “You are now leaving the USA.” Seattle residents report “that they have been subjected to barricades set up by the protesters,” Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said on Wednesday, “with some armed individuals running them as checkpoints into the neighborhood.” Open carry is legal in Washington state.