The Politicus

Create | Share | Influence

CHAZ/CHOP is dead, long may it live

5 min read

CHAZ/CHOP is over but not gone, even if it lasted not as long as the Paris Commune. Ultimately it remains about power and autonomy. Basta ya.

The fact that the police express feeling “castrated” with the victory of the movements for Black lives, underscores the synthesis of racism, patriarchy, violence, and state power. The police, the president, and the Far Right loath the loss of the precinct and the creation of the organized protest space because it is a significant defeat of their power, their values, their way of life. In the words of one Seattle police officer, they’ve lost control of their own country.  

Their defeat is our victory.

The emergence of the autonomous zone shows that the limits of what mass movements can accomplish are shaped only by the limits of our power in the streets, and the limits of our imaginations for what is possible. The collective and humane values expressed in the zone are cause for celebration, a source of beauty. Black life can be honored when the institutions of white supremacy, like the police, are not reformed, but removed. In their absence we can create a space where Black voices are honored, where Black life truly matters.

But the legacy of the organized protest zone is more complicated than a simple and straightforward celebration. The emergence of violence in the space is a gift to the Right. They can argue that policing is necessary and that the excesses of movements must be checked.

For us, the failures demonstrate that basic meeting facilitation, lack of ability to engage with complication and complexity, and allowing for difference while working on projects of shared interest are very serious shortcomings that require quick resolution. Further, it reveals that politics are important. The ideas and visions we have in our heads are what enable us to set future horizons of freedom.

Thankfully, there is much more movement in front of us, and whatever happens to the autonomous zone, the movement for Black lives can push forward in a multitude of directions. We’ve already seen it here in Seattle. In the last week the police union has been ousted from the labor council. Armed police have been forbidden from schools. Police budgets will be cut and their use of an array of weapons banned. We must act to create sites free of police violence in the other institutions and zones of the city. We can build from one autonomous zone, to many. Even if the CHOP dies, autonomy continues to grow.

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ),[6] also known as Free Capitol Hill,[7][8] the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,[9][10] and the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP),[11][12][13][14] was an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone[1] in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, United States. The zone, originally covering six city blocks and a park,[15][16] was established on June 8, 2020 by George Floyd protesters after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) left its East Precinct building,[2] and was cleared of occupants by police on July 1, 2020.[3][17]…

Every moment in history has many constituents and is enough to make you get a reverse mortgage and explains why the Boogaloos like those shirts.


— Chris “Wear A Mask” Driver (@Jerkwheatery) June 30, 2020


— Jeffrey Lieber (@JeffLieber) July 1, 2020

…first the bird.

An animal wrangler had to be hired.

Then there was casting (what birds do you have/what can they do?).

Then there were safety meeting and rehearsals…just with the bird.

Also, the flying bird shots were done separately, possibly with a splinter unit…

…which means an extra “strip” on the “board,” necessitated its own safety meeting.

Then consider Magnum’s stunt double (used for the bird attacking the arm shot) who had his own rehearsal to make sure it was done right & we’d never seen the stuntman’s face.

Now costumes…

…there are always “multiples” of shirts and pants in case there’s a spill, but because of the blood, there would be multiples on multiples.

So, like, six to red Hawaiian shirt.

Back to the blood, there were tests and meetings to approve AND broadcast standards…

…had something to say about the AMOUNT of it, so, likely, there was an extra take just to be safe.

Speaking of safe, the guns, which came from the prop department.

More meetings to pick weapons and more more to discuss safety. Set was stopped to inspect the firearms…

…the chambers were opened to show that they were empty and then to insert the blanks. Set was stopped before and after each “shot” to make sure everything went as planned.

Props also have to deal with the feathers thrown at the end to indicate the bird is dead…

…More meetings and choices and discussion on the angle they should come from.

(I have no idea why they chose the angle).

Lastly, and this is comic, there was DEFINITELY time taken on set for John Hillerman to ask questions about what sounds he should make…

…to induce Merlin the bird to fly to his death. In modern Hollywood, we’d actually have done the research to try and make it feel vaguely REAL, but probably back then it more a discussion of “feel”; “does this FEEL authentic enough.

I’ll let you be the judge…

…So, in conclusion, that’s like 13 separate meetings with 5 different departments, involving 50 different to produce 36 seconds of INSANITY.

And now try and do the math on how we’re going to pull something like this off in masks with social distance.


And in the other stories of a tumultuous 2020:


— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) July 1, 2020


— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 1, 2020


— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 1, 2020


p class=”is-empty-p”>

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Politicus is a collaborative political community that facilitates content creation directly on the site. Our goal is to make the political conversation accessible to everyone.

Any donations we receive will go into writer outreach. That could be advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit or person-to-person outreach on College campuses. Please help if you can:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x