Around 6:00 A.M. on Tuesday, July 10th, a house where local activists from Occupy Seattle and the Red Spark group live was raided by a Seattle Police Department SWAT team. According to reports, police broke through the front door armed with automatic weaponry and used “flashbang” grenades. The police have said they were searching for “Anarchist materials” and clothing allegedly connected to the Seattle May 1st demonstrations. No arrests were made; only clothing was taken from the apartment.
This raid is clearly an act of political repression of left-wing activists and an attempt to intimidate people from fighting against the richest 1% and big business. There is absolutely nothing illegal about possessing anarchist or other radical literature. The first amendment of the Washington State and U.S. Constitution protects citizens' legal right to freedom of association and freedom of press. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign stand in solidarity with those affected by today's raid, and strongly condemn these illegal actions of the Seattle Police Department (SPD). We urge all activists, students, unions, and working people generally, to join another solidarity march this Friday, July 13 at 7pm at Westlake Park and/or to express your opposition to the Mayor's Office at the number and email addresses below.
This is not an isolated incident. This act of state repression continues a long tradition of police brutality and political repression by the SPD and police forces across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement suffered police violence where demonstrations faced attacks, pepper spray, brutality, mass arrests, and the demolition of protest encampments. Here in Seattle in recent years we have seen an out-of-control police department carrying out an almost unending number of acts of police brutality, including killings, which have gone so far that even the federal Department of Justice has been forced to investigate and try to reign in the SPD.
It is crucial that Occupy, unions, and left-wing activists generally respond to this provocation by mobilizing for public protests to shine a spotlight on the undemocratic actions of the SPD and rally to defend our democratic rights. If the SPD is allowed to get away with this type of undemocratic repression of political activity, it will be used in the future against other movements challenging the political and corporate establishment, including the labor movement and struggles of ordinary working people.
While the SPD and Mayor McGinn carried out this raid with the intention of intimidating activists, in reality, it has only served to expose the true nature of the police in our so-called democracy as tools of the richest 1% who use illegal, undemocratic, violent measures to protect the interests of big business and their system of capitalism.
Democratic Mayor of Seattle Mike McGinn is ultimately responsible for the activities of the SPD. This political repression highlights the need to break with the Democratic Party and begin building a left-wing, working-class alternative political party. To this end, Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative and Occupy Seattle activist, is running as an independent candidate for the 99% in the 43rd District of Seattle (position 1). The Sawant campaign and Socialist Alternative call for the creation of an elected civilian review board with full powers over the police. We also demand investment in rehabilitation, job-training, and living-wage jobs, not prisons or detention centers, and abolition of the death penalty (which is still on the books in Washington State) as elementary initial steps to begin to fight the police brutality and institutional racism of the criminal justice system.
The SPD has stated that this raid was connected to investigating incidents which took place around the May 1 protests in Seattle. It is true that some property destruction was carried out by a few people around the May 1 protest. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign did not support such acts and view them as counter-productive to building mass movements of the working class that can challenge capitalism. However, police repression will in no way stop such acts from occurring and will actually make them more likely. In reality, these events highlight how the real criminality and violence in our society stem from the police and the corporate aristocracy that rules this country.
We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffered this raid and build massive movements of ordinary working people to defend our democratic rights and fight for our interests. We urge as many people as possible to attend the protest this Friday, July 13 at 7 pm beginning at Westlake Park at 4th Ave and Pine St.
Tell Mayor Mike McGinn's staff that his police must stop violating our Bill of Rights:
Jennifer.Cramer@seattle.gov, Kindle.Shaw@seattle.gov, Jen.Nance@seattle.gov
For more details on the raid:
This Morning, Police Raided a House in the Central District Looking for a Black Hoodie, a Pink Scarf, and "Paperwork—Anarchists" (Or, Since When Are Pamphlets Evidence of a Crime?)