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Notes from Seattle

Regarding the recent hysteria:
Notes from Seattle
If one thinks only of oneself, it is impossible to believe that one commits any errors and so one gets nowhere. That is why it is necessary to think of the others who will carry on the work. Only in this way does one prevent something being completed.
-Bertolt Brecht Since Occupy Seattle voted to endorse the international call for a General Strike on May 1st, the mainstream media has not mentioned it once. That is, until the evening of April 26th. It was not until an arsonist attempted to torch of Bank of America that the networks were abuzz with the plans of shutting down capitalism on May 1st and the dangers of anarchists. In one particular broadcast made by the Mormon-controlled Kiro 7 News, the reporter made sure to hold a detourned Frosted Flakes poster in front of the camera and point at it, indicating to the public that the posters they have been seeing for two months have something to do with a minor char on the side of a Seattle bank.

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The area around the bank, located in the Columbia City neighborhood, was filled with SPD, ATF, and FBI for hours. The pigs were on the roof making a spectacle, on the street picking up pieces of glass, and investigating what ultimately amounts to a smashed window and a scorch mark. If I were a reactionary or filled with fear, I would either start rambling on about a police conspiracy or lauding the inherent beauty of such a gesture. In my opinion, this was probably someone who was angry and had never done anything like what they were about to do. But all possible conjectures, even my own, are completely meaningless. The only important thing to focus on is how the authorities, the media, and the capitalists they protect are going to use this manufactured hysteria to their advantage.

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One of the ways they could do this is by promoting a climate of fear and distrust amongst the people who are most likely to come downtown on May 1st. Another way they could do this is by building a strong case in the public perception for a very blunt and utilitarian repression against everyone who intends to take the difficult and less traveled road away from the rituals of useless procession. There are two main groups having events on May 1st. One of them is the May 1st Coalition, a network that is planning a rally and march in the early evening, well after the city has finished its workday. This network contains many unions that are sympathetic to (if not working for) the current Democratic Party. The other group is Decolonize/Occupy Seattle, composed of a diverse cross section of people and tendencies. Unwilling to let itself be taken under the wing of the Democratic Party and its pro-capitalist agenda, Decolonize/Occupy Seattle refused to let May 1st pass in the traditional manner: long marches on the same old routes, long speeches from the same old mouths, long walks back home, back to bed, back to work, again and again. The SPD and the City clearly have an interest in pitting these groups against each other. There may even be some on the old left who want this to occur. However, it is my hope and assumption in writing this that not everyone involved wants to be tricked by the pigs. Their goal is to crush resistance and they will do so with whatever weapons they have at their disposal, especially the ones we give them. Let us not forget that Chase bank helped finance the Nazis and made themselves 50 million dollars wealthier. Nor let us forget that Wells Fargo profits off financing companies that maintain prisons and immigrant detention centers across the world. These banks exist because people still willingly give them their money and because people have not yet burned them to the ground. Remember that Bank of America was once the Bank of Italy and that it was the only bank in San Francisco that still could loan money after the great earthquake destroyed the city. Were it not for the desperation of the people wandering the rubble, there may not have been a Bank of America at all.

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During the peak of the Occupy fall, I tried to open an account at a local credit union, something that was being promoted heavily by the left. Once they checked my credit, they denied me. However, were I to have walked three blocks down the street, Bank of America would have opened their arms to me. This is a situation that thousands of other people find themselves in. I can get a one dollar burger at McDonald's and I can quickly set up a Bank of America account. If I choose to do this, I have no one but myself to blame. If I get caught stealing non-polluted meat from the co-op, the employees will get upset and call the police. If I have bad credit, the friendly credit-union will deny me membership. I do not want to have to eat filth every day, nor do I want to have to pay for organic food. I don't want to have a tobacco can filled with money hidden away in the basement, nor do I want to help the economy, either the local one or the global one. I want no economy, no money, no banks, no capitalism. Marching in circles and listening to speeches will do nothing to help any of us get rid of these things. And so, naturally, when some people try to break the mold and shut down the functioning of metropolitan capital, there are many others who want us crushed. And why would they not? We want to do away with their system of death, the system that keeps them isolated in their cocoons and high on their power, the system that exists only because we allow it to. These notes are meant to reach the right eyes and ears. Hopefully they get there. Let's all have each others' backs in the coming few days. I think its time to break out of the roles we are expected to play. On May 1st, let's create something no one has seen before. Capitalism is death. Capitalism is dying. Capitalism is boring.

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