On the night of October 29th, the Occupy Seattle group moved to the campus of Seattle Central Community College. The idea of moving to the college had been circulating for over two weeks with the administration getting wind of the rumors. They immediately issued a statement saying that the occupiers would be neither welcome nor allowed to set up an encampment. However, after the General Assembly voted to officially move, it became clear the hundreds of people would swarm the college. With the occupiers being supported by the faculty union, members of student government, and hundreds of students, the administration found itself in a bind. Just a few days before the 29th, the president of the college “officially” allowed a move that would have happened anyway.
By 9:00 PM, a kitchen and over forty tents were set up in the tree shrouded plaza on the corner of Broadway and Pine, one of the busiest intersections in the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle. There was a carnivalesque, celebratory atmosphere with campers indulging in all manner of merriment and debauchery.
Sometime around bar closing, three nazis came into the camp after being told to leave. One of them had “Sieg Heil” written on his chin. The three were surrounded and still refused to leave. But very soon punches and cracks with sticks began to land on their heads and the nazis were pushed out by a crowd of arguing people, bloodied and bruised. This should have been a simple matter, but soon all of the pathologies and contradictions of liberal thought exploded into a two hour marathon of yelling, fighting, and discussion. By 5:00 AM, everyone went to bed and the rain chilled everyone out.
Despite the rough start to the occupation, there is much promise in this new base camp. Unlike Westlake Park, people will be able to sleep and build a village. A sense of community does not exist because we declare it so. The communities we desire comes through shared experiences of mutual struggle, and solidarity with those. Living in an alienated capitalist society, we have no real sense of community that isn’t mediated by an institution or state apparatus. The disagreements brought to the surface by Occupy Seattle’s encounter with fascists is people learning how to become a community. Growing pains are often uncomfortable and tumultuous, but the confrontation that took place reveals the potential of an anti-fascist, anti-racist, autonomous space actually forming.
Also, the president and the administration of the college would face severe political consequences should anything resembling Oakland or Denver take place at the occupation. Not only are large segments of the teachers supportive, but the school is facing budget cuts and many students are finding much resonance with the anarchist ideas that have been saturating Capitol Hill. It will not be very long before Seattle Central Community College is a teeming bed of rebellion.
Here’s to the future!