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June 20, 2020

“You Are Leaving the USA”–Lessons From CHAZ (EP.241)

“You Are Leaving the USA”–Lessons From CHAZ (EP.241)


“You Are Leaving the USA” is the sign greeting anyone at the border of CHAZ (CHOP?), AKA Antifastan, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in downtown Seattle. And the sign is 100% correct. 

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode. 


There is absolutely nothing American about CHAZ, its leaders or followers. They do, however, bastardize many of our principles in the name of their cause–whatever that may be on any given day. Here are a few examples:

  • They have borders, and they enforce them. 
  • They have armed police, just not the trained ones with body cameras.
  • They act in the name of “the people”, but no one has been elected–they simply assert the authority they claim at any given moment. 

And further, they:

  • Rip American flags from the hands of those who dare wave them.
  • Deny entrance to business establishments to those suspected of anti-CHAZ thinking.
  • Challenge many of the occupants of the 500 living spaces in the occupied zone as they go about their daily lives.

I do not believe this group of disorganized anarchists, radical ideologues and partiers will have a long-term, negative effect on Seattle in particular, or America as a whole. But if allowed to grow, or even tolerated, this kind of thinking can spread. And the mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, has gone on record as saying this is a “Patriotic block party.” They will likely dry up and blow away as did the Occupy Wall Street gang a decade ago.

But beware of the underlying thinking that says it is okay to seize private and government property on behalf of a cause. The same thinking that claims their cause to be “autonomous” while expecting free services, all paid for by real life voting taxpayers.

Is any of this beginning to sound familiar? Let me help with that:

  • They want to be completely free, to be autonomous, while being supported by others.
  • They want to cancel, to shut out, those with whom they have known or suspected philosophical or political differences.
  • They want authority without accountability; power without a voting democracy. 
  • All while claiming the moral high ground.

Here is an example of what being autonomous means to CHAZIans. 

Can’t have a proper revolution without sunglasses and Gatorade, eh?

For those of you who ever had or ever were a teenager, does this sound familiar? I am reminded of the title of a talk aimed at the parents of teenagers, “I hate you, get out of my life; but first, drop me off at the mall!” Translated into CHAZian, “I hate you, stay out of my country, but first ship me everything in the mall!”

“Okay, Will, just how did all of this come about?” The area around East Precinct in Seattle became a battleground between protesters and police in the past few weeks, leading the governor to send in the National Guard and for the mayor to impose a curfew.

During the violence, demonstrators threw missiles at police, cars were torched and looting broke out, according to local media. At the weekend, Seattle police used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse protesters. Members of the city council rebuked the police department, accusing them of heavy-handed tactics. Then on Monday, the mayor ordered barricades to be removed near the precinct and the police building was boarded up and abandoned. This is the very same mayor who says this is a patriotic block party.

Is there any identifiable leadership? Well, no one elected or appointed by anyone elected. Solomon Simone, whose nom de CHAZ is Raz, is the self-styled leader of the CHAZians, perhaps believing the AK-47 and pistol he carries while screaming “This is war!” gives him all the right to be a leader that he requires. Critics call him a “warlord.” But it’s been discovered that he sent out ugly homophobic tweets several years ago, so he could be deposed. Raz claims “someone is creating fake tweets from my page somehow.” Basically, your guess is as good as mine as to who–if anyone–is leading.

But before we dismiss any of this as the childish antics of overly entitled youth, let’s remember that major political movements in America are firmly behind the underlying demands of the CHAZians: It is my right to have it for free, and without any responsibility.

CHAZians, leading politicians and many voters have forgotten that with every right comes an equal or greater responsibility.


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
Will Luden