SWAT team armed with automatic weaponry raids home
Around 6:00 A.M. on Tuesday, July 10th, a house where local activists from Occupy Seattle and the Red Spark group live was raided by a Seattle Police Department SWAT team. According to reports, police broke through the front door armed with automatic weaponry and used “flashbang” grenades. The police have said they were searching for “Anarchist materials” and clothing allegedly connected to the Seattle May 1st demonstrations. No arrests were made; only clothing was taken from the apartment. (http://kasamaproject.org/2012/07/10/swat-raid-organizers-of-occupy-seattle-and-e4e/)
This raid is clearly an act of political repression of left-wing activists and an attempt to intimidate activists who are fighting against the richest 1% and big business. There is absolutely nothing illegal about possessing anarchist or other radical literature. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign stand in solidarity with those affected by today’s raid, and strongly condemn the actions of the Seattle Police Department. We urge all activists, students, unions, and working people generally, to join the solidarity march today (Tuesday, July 10) at 7pm, beginning at Westlake Park.
This is not an isolated incident. This act of state repression continues a long tradition of police brutality and political repression by the SPD and police forces across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement suffered police violence where demonstrations faced attacks, pepper spray, brutality, mass arrests, and the demolition of protest encampments. Here in Seattle in recent years we have seen an out-of-control police department carrying out an almost unending number of acts of police brutality, including killings, which have gone so far that even the Federal Department of Justice has been forced to investigate and try to reign in the SPD.
It is crucial that Occupy, unions, and left-wing activists generally respond to this provocation by mobilizing for public protests to shine a spotlight on the undemocratic actions of the SPD and rally to defend our democratic rights. If the SPD is allowed to get away with this type of undemocratic repression of political activity, it will be used in the future against other movements challenging the political and corporate establishment, including the labor movement and workers’ struggles.
While the SPD and Mayor McGinn carried out this raid with the intention of intimidating activists, in reality, it will only serve to expose the true nature of the police in our so-called democracy as tools of the richest 1% who use undemocratic and violent measures to protect the interests of big business and their system of capitalism.
Democratic Mayor of Seattle Mike McGinn is ultimately responsible for the activities of the SPD. This political repression highlights the need to break with the Democratic Party and begin building a left-wing, working-class political alternative. To this end, Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative and Occupy Seattle activist, is running as an independent candidate for the 99% in the 43rd District of Seattle (position 1). The Sawant campaign and Socialist Alternative call for the creation of an elected civilian review board with full powers over the police. We also demand investment in rehabilitation, job-training, and living-wage jobs, not prisons or detention centers, and abolition of the death penalty (which is still on the books in Washington state) as elementary first steps to begin to fight the police brutality and institutional racism of the criminal justice system.
The SPD has stated that this raid was connected to investigating incidents which took place around the May 1 protests in Seattle. It is true that some property destruction was carried out by a few people around the May 1 protest. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign did not support such acts and view them as counter-productive to building mass movements of the working class that can challenge capitalism. However, police repression will in no way stop such acts from occurring and will actually make them more likely. In reality, today’s events highlight how the real criminality and violence in our society stem from the police and the corporate aristocracy that rules this country.
We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffered this raid and build massive movements of working people to defend our democratic rights and fight for our interests. We urge as many people as possible to attend the protest tonight at 7 pm beginning at Westlake park, Tuesday, July 10.