In Seattle, the City Council’s plan to raise tens of millions of additional dollars every year for homeless services by taxing large corporations $500 for each employee in Seattle, has been very unpopular. At $500 per employee per year, the Head Tax would raise $75 mlllion a year. Large demonstrations of construction workers opposing the tax marched on city hall, while meetings were packed with SJWs. When ultimately approved at $275 per worker with a 9-0 vote by the Council, it triggered an immediate call for repeal. At $275 per employee per year, the Head Tax would raise about $40 a year. Opposition to the tax was largely based on the long history of hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent on ill-conceived social programs that had failed to solve the problem of homelessness in Seattle: the 2016 seven year property tax levy that raised $290 million did little to solve the problem. People who need private sector jobs (the poor fools) were also very aware that punishing large employers, like Amazon.com, Starbucks and grocery stores, might see the export of jobs from Seattle. Finally, opponents note surges in crime as the homeless camps accept anyone, without any kind of identity checks: While the City was claiming the need to assure the homeless they are safe to obtain city services, a Seattle woman was raped by a felony living in a city camp. Seattle residents are aware their safety comes last. At the same times, supporters of the tax complained that it was not enough and $400 million would be needed to solve the homeless problem in Seattle.
The “No Tax on Jobs” group was set up to seek repeal [https://www.facebook.com/NoSeattleHeadTax/] but it has only until June 12 to collect about 17,600 signatures to repeal the Head Tax. The top five contributors to the group are Northwest Grocer’s Association, WA Food Industry Association, Vulcan, Starbucks and Amazon.com, but the Head Tax is very unpopular. In typical Seattle fashion, every proposal is larded with almost secret secondary programs, invariably less popular that the main proposal. The controversial Head Tax (Progressive Business Tax) includes funding for homeless housing and services, $3.7 million a year for heroin injection sites, and money to pay for RV license tabs, RV fuel and RV repairs for people living in RVs (Seattle’s fastest growing group of homeless). [https://www.facebook.com/NoSeattleHeadTax/posts/399298730553464]
Volunteers working at two locations in front of stores have reported aggressive bullying and intimidation, at one location by a gang of men. (That incident was videotaped by KIRO-TV.) It was necessary for the manager of the store to call the police to prevent an attack on a petition signer.
Bring Seattle Home and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)
The ANTIFA bullies were organized by “Bring Seattle Home.” [See Note on ANTIFA at the end of this article.] Amanda Woods, who works at a downtown shelter run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center and speaks for the Bring Seattle Home, admits that the group is aggressive, actively collects intelligence on where petitioners are so they can be confronted, but says she is unaware of any violence.
The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), founded in 1979, is a venerable, large scale homeless services and housing organization operating in Seattle. It does not publish a list of major donors on its website. (Its website notes it was paid for by Bank of America). Its board of directors includes King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen; Susan Byrnes, Director of External Communications, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Patti Cole-Tindall, Chief of Technical Services Division, King County Sheriff’s Office; John Hayes, Captain, Special Victims Crime Section, Seattle Police Department; Jon Scholes, President and CEO, Downtown Seattle Association, and many more local notables. Given the impressive membership of the Board of Directors, it is hard to imagine that such a respectable organization would engage in organizing gangs of ANTIFA to bully petitioners and potential petition signers. Such conduct is a crime under Washington State Law, if that matters any more. But is clear that lax or ideological management has allowed militants to divert time and resources into projects of their own.
Bring Seattle Home is backed by: Transit Riders Union; Working Washington; SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW; SEIU 925; SEIU 775; 350 Seattle; Real Change; Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness; Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA); Washington Community Action Network; Tenants Union of Washington State; WFSE Local 304; Nickelsville; SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort); WHEEL (Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League); Seattle Democratic Socialists of America; Socialist Alternative; Stop the Sweeps.
In a small matter, the photos used on the website are provided by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness [http://homelessinfo.org/] (which focuses on housing and voter registration; it provides no list of donors, but the list of members is impressive and includes three King County offices (King County Community Services Division Homeless Housing Programs, King County Housing Authority, King County Public Health Department Healthcare for the Homeless Network) and Downtown Emergency Service Center: (http://homelessinfo.org/about_us/current_members.php).
Notably, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America is a mainstream component of the Washington Democratic Party and the Seattle Democratic Party.
Socialist Alternative is the personal Trotskyist party vehicle of Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. The party is dedicated to the violent overthrown of the American government and is the United States branch of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI). It is illegal for such foreign political parties to operate as parties in American elections. (One amusing aside was the shocked reaction of local media, e.g., KIRO-TV and Seattle Times, when hundreds of construction workers opposed the Head Tax: Local media were totally convinced that the extremist Sawant spoke for “all workers” in Seattle, as she claims. Yet, there is no evidence ANY workers supporting the self-appointed leader of Seattle’s workers, other than the militants she employs with City funds. The City also pays for her posters that cover every available surface in the city, after her City paid militants glue them up. The City also pays for the glue.)
350.org is heavily financed and overseen by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and 350-Seattle is one of its hundreds of local units, and SEIU has or had a longtime interlocking directorship with the Open Society Foundation.
Bring Seattle Home’s page [https://bringseattlehome.org/report-signature-gatherers/] entitled “Have you seen repeal petitioners?” links to a Working Washington webpage [https://workingwa.typeform.com/to/u6Ahpg] at which people can compile intelligence reports on the locations of the Repeal petitioners so they can be “aggressively” confronted.
Working Washington does not list its sponsors or major contributors beyond observing that it is basically an instrumentality of SEIU. However, the interlocking directorships/policy analysts list is impressive (http://www.workingwa.org/about/leadership/): City of Seattle-Labor Standards Advisory Commission, Community Economic Revitalization Board, Economic Development Council of Seattle/King County, Economic Opportunity Institute, Harry Bridges Labor Center, M.L. King County Labor Council, National Employment Law Project (NELP), Progress Alliance of Washington, Puget Sound Labor Agency, SEIU 775, Washington State Convention Center.
It is worth adding that Brianna Thomas, VP and Secretary of Working Washington, is also the Community Relations Liaison for Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.
In addition, Working Washington uses ActBlue Civics, one of the innumerable divisions of the “official” fundraising website for the Democratic National Committee, and hundreds of Democratic Party and Soros-funded organizations. (https://secure.actblue.com/donate/working-washington-1)
ANTIFA in the Foreground But A Massive, Hidden Political Ecosystem of Support
The ANTIFA bully boys fielded by Bring Seattle Home and Working Washington/SEIU, and the (probably) hapless Downtown Emergency Service Center are only the frontline of a “revolution” with a massive NGO and local government logistical tail. Behind this small frontline are two layers of support: direct support and indirect support.
Direct support is clear: supporters who are more or less aware of what they are supporting, like Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez and Kshama Sawant, her Socialist Alternative (and its parent in London: Committee for a Workers International (CWI)), and the supporters of Working Washington: Transit Riders Union; Working Washington; SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW; SEIU 925; SEIU 775; 350 Seattle; Real Change; Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness; Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA); Washington Community Action Network; Tenants Union of Washington State; WFSE Local 304; Nickelsville; SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort); WHEEL (Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League); Seattle Democratic Socialists of America; Socialist Alternative; and Stop the Sweeps. And at least the King County Democratic Party and Open Society/MoveOn.org.
Indirect support includes the infrastructure behind the direct supporters, like the Washington Democratic Party, Act Blue and the Democratic National Committee, and the ecosystem of mainly hapless and inattentive NGOs: supporters of Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), including King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, and the Downtown Seattle Association; and the hundreds of other NGOs and government offices in coalitions like the 75 or so corporate members of Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. [http://homelessinfo.org/about_us/current_members.php]
When politics and even social services are weaponized, even decent people become indirectly complicit in political crimes. And one political crime always leads to another, until the descent into violence is blocked. This assault on petitioners may have been too public to be acceptable, but every level of local law enforcement are represented on the board of directors of the group with the most direct oversight of the ANTIFA bully boys. Hopefully everyone has been asleep at the switch, but they better wake up before there is blood in the streets. (6/1/2018)
Since this was written, ten days ago, there have been no further assaults on petitioners reported by local media. In addition, there has been no repercussions for the organizers of the assault or even public statements by those involved.
And with the petition easily getting plenty of signatures, the City Council may repeal the Head Tax without admitting it was a mistake or than anyone changed their mind on it.
Silence Is Consent
We wrote to Mayor Jenny Durkan (June 1), two people at DESC (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) (June 1), the Downtown Seattle Association (firstname.lastname@example.org) (June 1), Seattle Police Department (email@example.com, and through the mayors office since SPD has no direct general email) (June 1), and the King County Sheriffs Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) (June 1). As of June 11, only one automated message (from email@example.com) has been received.
ANTIFA: A Definition
ANTIFA (“anti-fascist”) is not a group, it is a terrorist conspiracy to riot, commit vandalism and physical violence. The term itself was recently imported from Germany, and has rebranded older anarchist (2010s), Bash Back and anti-racist (2000s), Black Bloc (1990s) and other groups. ANTIFA are usually masked during actions: black masks for anarchists, red masks for Maoists, and recently green masks for Rojavists. (Non-ANTIFA groups also wear masks.) ANTIFA engages in militant actions, generally rioting in cities in which the police allow the riots, public beatings, arson and property damage. Small groups of ANTIFA often attack isolated individuals or journalists. (On rare occasions when ANTIFA are arrested, sympathetic judges release almost all of them, often immediately.) Despite frequent ANTIFA attacks on journalists, ANTIFA consistently has favorable coverage by the mainstream media on the very rare occasions there are reports. For example, in 2016, ANTIFA groups attacked the Republican events in many cities controlled by the Democratic Party: in every instance the police merely watched, allowing the riots and beatings to proceed (this right to riot without consequences is termed “riot privilege”). ANTIFA also tries to identify individuals to target for beatings, attacks, trying to get them fired, get them evicted from their homes, destroy their cars, or destroy or close their businesses. Attacks on family members of their enemies are becoming common.
ANTIFA includes anarchists, environmentalists, LGBT militants, Maoists (Red Guards), street gangs, homeless, and squatters, as well as individuals from every kind of left wing group and community. One new element in North American and European ANTIFA is the Rojava Movement. ANTIFA has no coherent ideology but rather members pick and choose from a number of issues from a large set of enemies and goals. ANTIFA actions are anti-right, anti-Christian, anti-democracy, anti-free speech (what they call “anti-hate speech”), anti-fracking, anti-global warming, anti-journalist, anti-NGO, anti-police, anti-prison, anti-TERF, anti-White, anti-“Nazi”, pro-Sex Work and often sex trafficking, and anti-Capitalist (including anti-corporate, anti-gentrification/anti-Hipster, anti-landlord, anti-tech). ANTIFA routinely attacks churches (e.g., in Portland, Oregon), but in Germany in 2018, Rojavist/ANTIFA has also attacked almost 20 Turkish “fascist” mosques. ANTIFA goals include abortion rights, Affirmative Action, censorship of the Internet, closing prisons, feminism (“proletarian feminism”), homeless rights, intersectionality, LGBT rights (especially trans rights), legalizing narcotics, neurodiversity, open borders, POC rights, public housing, expanded social services and welfare rights or every kind.
Many groups that share many of the same enemies and goals are not ANTIFA, like Black Lives Matter. There are other extreme Leftist groups that riot, commit vandalism and physical violence that are not ANTIFA, but there are no peaceful ANTIFA groups. ANTIFA groups are only peaceful when the police make them back down or they are outnumbered by the people they plan to attack.