The Capitol Hill Organized Protest, formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, formerly known as the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, is garnering praise from folks like Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who visited the site over the weekend and lauded activists who’ve taken over several blocks of the city. Politico‘s Eric Scigliano has penned a love letter to the CHOP, imploring people not to “listen to Fox” about what’s happening in Seattle, presumably so we can trust his completely fair and unbiased reporting.
What’s going on in these four blocks that shook the world is indeed an occupation, but it looks nothing like the conquista touted on Fox. It’s also the “block party” that Mayor Jenny Durkan has compared it to, to gleeful jeers from Fox commentators. And it’s other things as well—a protean, issue-focused but conceptually sprawling formative community, at once silly and serious, spontaneous and disciplined. Over the course of two evenings and an afternoon in the zone (plus a night observing a police/protest showdown there the week before), it seemed by turns like a commune (as in Paris 1871), an anarcho-syndicalist and small-L libertarian dream, a ’60s-style teach-in, a street fair and street market, a campout and weekend party, a poetry slam and pilgrimage, a school service day, a mass healing circle, a humbler urban version of Burning Man, and of course a protest rally.