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In case Seattle didn’t make the nightly news in your town, once again May 1 has been an excuse for anarchists to make mayhem in the evening, after the more credible and coherent (and peaceful) demonstrators did their May Day thing earlier in the day (and the mayor announced plans for a $15 minimum wage).

Here is what I gathered from the safety of my home by obsessively following the #SeaMayDay twitter feed this evening (because I live and work a few blocks aways from where the anarchists started their May Day festivities this afternoon, and I really wanted a heads up if they headed down my street):

  1. Beginning around 6:15 p.m., a couple of groups left their starting point at Seattle Central Community College and, after some unpredictable walking directions, coalesced on the southwestern corner of Capitol Hill.  Guy Fawkes masks.  Someone arrested for grafitti, I think.  News media feeding frenzy well under way.
  2. Anarchists marched downtown en masse toward Niketown.  Reporter silly-stringed.  Anarchist vs. superhero fight.  Police intervened.  Bus window smashed.
  3. Anarchists milled around downtown, then headed north grumbling about (expletive)ing with Amazon.  (iPhone-wielding anarchists, mind.)
  4. Sometime after 8, things got uglier kinda near the Space Needle.  Convertible BMW messed with.  Cops intervened.  Shortly thereafter, bottles, rocks, pepper spray.  A few more arrests.
  5. Costume change for some anarchists .  (Reputed to be into suits.  Huh?)
  6. Anarchists marched back up Capitol Hill. Some stopped for burgers at Dick’s on Broadway.
  7. Thus fed, anarchists started to head back down the hill near point of origin of this evening’s journey, but police had set up a barricade.  Stand-off with cops, some on bikes, some in riot gear.
  8. Sometime after 10:30 p.m., anarchists lit a fire in a trash can.  Drum circle.
  9. More fires at nearby intersection (Broadway and Pine), and sheesh, now the helicopters are back overhead again.
  10. Quiet again, though the twitter feed’s still pretty excited.
  11. A brick thrown at police.  Missed, thankfully.  Right…

What message was/is intended by the people who participated in this evening’s demonstration, other than they hate cops, people with incomes, and news media? One of their banners said only “(EXPLETIVE) OFF.”

Aw, crap, more helicopters…

I totally get being angry about the 1%, and the state of the economy, but don’t get how a “demonstration” like this helps improve matters in any way.

It’s now 11:20 p.m.  Still helicopters.  Apparently the cops have surrounded a small group in front of the art supply store (where the Jimi Hendrix statue is), and arrests are under way, so hopefully sleep will soon be possible.




  1. Your description of their activities is almost funny, though I’m sorry you didn’t get much peace and quiet last night. It sounds like this particular group’s protest fell apart, so they decided to roam around the city, looking for something to trash. They aren’t happy when mainstream government makes progress in things like raising the minimum wage: it takes away their thunder, and “this allows workers to sell out for higher wages instead of fighting for true revolution.” (Really. I have sat in on many an anarchist presentation, and they say things like this. You wonder if they’re really doing this for the workers, or for their own reason to exist.)

    It makes me glad my son was home yesterday trying to figure out how his email account was hijacked. A couple of his friends went to Seattle, but they’re so fed up with the random “let’s mess up some shit” that takes place on May Day, they usually leave after the regular demonstration is over. I hope they didn’t damage your neighborhood. :(

    • You hit the nail on the head with random “let’s mess up some shit.” That faction detracts from the efforts of the organized demonstrators; the news media is much more interested in sensationalizing the potential for violence than the issues.

      My neighborhood blog interviewed one of the anarchists who admitted their marching isn’t particularly effective, but that it’s more like a ritual. I find the idea of it being a ritual easier to comprehend than the idea of it being a catalyst for positive change. But I still wish they would take their urban Beltaine bonfires and stag-killing urges someplace where people (or animals for that matter) aren’t put into danger and those of us who work and pay taxes aren’t footing the bill to clean up their mess.

    • p.s., I’m glad your son was home, too, and that his friends aren’t part of that cohort.

      And it really didn’t make sense for me to throw in the reference to Beltaine, which I believe is more of a fertility-focused reason for ritual, rather than destruction.

      This particular group’s approach to sharing their anti-cops attitude seems counter-productive. The fear they create only generates a larger police response.

      This annual event is a really hot button for me, so I’m probably not very coherent in my own rants and response.

      • I’ve wondered if the Seattle anarchists are from Evergreen State, where one of the professors teaches political science course in anarchism. (It really is an academic political theory with a history rooted in the Enlightenment. I tend to think of it as the left wing version of libertarianism, but either way I’m not a fan.) The first time I went to Olympia to visit both my son and the college, I was startled by what I thought was an unusual percentage of residents who called themselves anarchists. They were active in the antiwar movement and the Port of Olympia protests, which my son also participated in. My son remained politically active in the community but was disenchanted by the behavior of some of his fellow activists, who seemed more determined to break windows and provoke attacks from the police. The Olympia police department’s behavior wasn’t stellar, either—there’s a lawsuit in the works, charging them with police brutality and with harassment of citizens who just happened to be at the protests and were marked as “troublemakers.” But there are some guys who keep appearing at protests just to eff things up. It really irritates me—they’re so arrogant and full of themselves. I can understand their anger at the economic injustice of the last five years and how the federal government seems dysfunctional at times. But why smash the windows on the federal courthouse or on a bank branch where people with no agency or power are working? That’s not revolutionary, that’s thuggery.

        Sorry, end of my rant….

  2. All drum circle participants should’ve had their bongos confiscated. Down with drum circles!

    • Peaceful drum circles are cool with me as long they don’t mean one has to inhale patchouli, body order, or weed, and they don’t prevent sleep.

      • I would argue that there’s never been a drum circle that didn’t feature at least some patchouli, body odor, or weed stank. I’m guessing that at least two of the three come standard.

  3. I hate helicopters hovering at night time – were they flashing around those huge beams of light?

    • I know! They can be extra scary when you don’t know why; what horrible thing just occurred in my neighborhood that warrants the birds-eye search? I didn’t see any beams of light from the helicopters but I live a few blocks east of where they were hovering, so probably wouldn’t without stepping outside.

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