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September 24 2022 Liberation Day of the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones

    First before all must be the true names of things.

     Words matter. They can divide us, and they can unite us. Words can exalt and defile; they can shape our images and possibilities of becoming human and create or limit the worlds to which we can aspire, they can replace stones we hurl at one another and heal the pathology of our disconnectedness.

     Always treasure words, for they represent the kinds of thoughts we are able to have and harbour imaginal creative power.  We bear them forward as memories, histories, identities, like the shells of fantastic sea creatures; so also do they bear us forward, and await their moment of wakefulness as seeds of becoming.

     On this day one year ago the people of the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones were victorious over the federal government of the United States and the forces of occupation which attempted to seize our cities using an illegal secret army of Homeland Security and their deniable forces among white supremacist terrorist organizations including the Proud Boys, the Oathkeepers, Patriot Prayer, and others created as fronts or acting under Homeland Security command and control to disrupt the Black Lives Matter protests for racial justice and equality through random abduction, torture, and assassination to repress dissent, and a national campaign of arson, looting, and violence to capture the narrative of the protests and discredit the cause of equality and the abolition of racist police violence and state terror. Over these brutal and criminal attempts to impose racist tyranny on our nation by the Fourth Reich, the people of America emerged triumphant as the federal government formally and publicly ceded control of these three key cities to the people as Autonomous Zones.

     In accord with Trump’s directive, the US Department of Justice has designated three cities, including Seattle, Portland, and New York City, as “anarchist” jurisdictions, officially ceding control to the free peoples who have seized their birthright and returned private property to the commons from which it was stolen and legitimacy from the government which has squandered it.

    Henceforth let us call those cities for which power and ownership has been transferred to us by the President of the United States, Attorney General William Barr, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, by their true names; the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones.

    May they be the first of many, throughout America and the world.

    Let us honor all those who have made the liberation of America from the grip of the Fourth Reich possible, both in their successes and in their sacrifices for the cause of democracy and humankind. Especially our hope for a better world owes a tremendous debt to the people of these Autonomous Zones which have led the charge into the future, to the largely anonymous and wonderfully diverse and nonhierarchical networks of alliance and mutual aid, resistance and revolution, including those who identify as Antifa and the Torch network of which my publication Torch of Liberty is a voice, and the visionary and transformational leaders of the New York Democratic Socialists of America including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for whom I have declared for President of the United States in 2024, Julia Salazar, Alessandra Biaggi, Jamaal Bowman, Jabari Brisport, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes, and Zohran Mamdani.

    Here is my initial response posted on September 21 2020; Thanks for official recognition of public ownership of our areas of control, federal government. Now get out of our cities and leave us in peace.

    Our next step should be establishing international community and temporary autonomous zones, waging revolutionary and liberation struggle for democracy and our universal human rights and resistance against fascism and tyranny, and conducting independent foreign policy both as Free America and as a global United Humankind to counterbalance the nationalist and imperialist militarism, capitalist plutocracy, and racist fascism of the United States.

     Each of us who in refusal to submit has become Unconquered and free is a Living Autonomous Zone, able to bring change as a bearer of Liberty, and this is a power which no one can take from us.

      And I personally want a full partnership with Cuba, and one day of America with Cuba and all the peoples of the world as brothers, sisters, and others in a free society of equals, a day I now look forward to with greater hope that I may live to see it realized. I recall with fondness a day much like today when I had opportunity to enjoy one of those marvelous Cuban cigars, during the celebrations for our victory over the South African and American forces of Apartheid at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988, and this is another such moment, to be savored with utter joy.  

     For we are many, we are watching, and we are the future.

     This in reaction to the article written by Alan Smith of NBC News; “The Justice Department released a list of cities Monday that it has deemed “anarchist jurisdictions” under President Donald Trump’s instructions this month to review federal funding for local governments in places where violence or vandalism has occurred during protests.

     That memo directed Attorney General William Barr, in consultation with Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, to identify jurisdictions “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions).”

     On Monday, the Justice Department labeled New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as such areas. It said it was still working to identify other jurisdictions that meet the criteria outlined in Trump’s memo. The president has made ridicule of those cities a regular feature of his campaign appearances, and he has mocked their top officials for their responses to the violence that has taken place during the protests.

     Barr said in a statement accompanying the announcement: “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

     As part of its rationale for labeling the cities, the Justice Department cited city councils’ voting to cut police funding, the refusal to prosecute protesters on charges like disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, the rejection of federal intervention, and injuries suffered by law enforcement officials during violent outbursts.

     New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a joint statement calling the administration’s move “thoroughly political and unconstitutional,” adding that “the president is playing cheap political games with congressionally directed funds.”

     “Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House,” the mayors said. “What the Trump administration is engaging in now is more of what we’ve seen all along: shirking responsibility and placing blame elsewhere to cover its failure.”

     New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Monday that Trump is “using the last few months of his presidency to sow more chaos, more hatred, and more fear,” and she pledged to defeat the administration in court over any such withholding of funding to the city and the state.

     “This designation is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to scare Americans into voting for a commander-in-chief who is actually incapable of commanding our nation,” she said, adding that Trump “should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about.”

     Democratic mayors and governors this month bashed Trump over his latest effort aimed at what he calls “Democrat-run” cities and states. They said that it was illegal for the executive branch to unilaterally withhold funding from their jurisdictions and that Trump was merely seeking another distraction from the U.S. coronavirus death toll, which has topped 200,000.

     “It is another attempt to kill New York City,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a late-night conference call this month, adding that Trump “better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York.”

     Of course, an army of Occupation was exactly what Trump thought he commanded, and which he later used in the failed coup of the January 6 Insurrection.

     Yet there is truth in this wild allegation of anarchy, for in these and some fifty other cities throughout America protests for equality and racial justice have triumphed over brutal repression and state terror and tyranny to seize actual control of key government administrative landmarks and business districts for over one hundred days now. And the federal government has been powerless before the solidarity and united will of the American people, and admitted defeat in their efforts to take our cities from us.

     Therefore I declare victory, and celebrate the triumph of autonomous individuals as citizens of a free society of equals, each of us a Living Autonomous Zone, wild and ungovernable as the tides like a force of nature. 

     As I wrote in my post of June 8 2021, Anniversary of the Liberation of the Seattle Autonomous Zone and the Birth of a Global Autonomous Zones Movement; A year ago today we launched the greatest experiment in liberty the world has seen since the founding of America itself in liberation from the British Empire; the Seattle Autonomous Zone. We seized and held from those who would enslave us and their police forces of tyranny and state terror six blocks of Capitol Hill.

    These were days of glory and of freedom, of luminous transgressions and the exaltation of the unconquerable human spirit, of truthtelling and revelation, of the performance of unauthorized identities as guerilla theatre and of communal celebrations of our diversity and the limitless possibilities of human being, meaning, and value, of the ecstatic rapture and vision of living beyond all boundaries, in which nothing is Forbidden.

     Within a fleeting moment of joy Autonomous Zones sprang up in Washington DC encircling the White House, Portland, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, Austin, and throughout the fifty cities across America where the Black Lives Matter protests had taken control from the government through mass action, and then throughout the world as the powerless and the dispossessed, the silenced and the erased, all those whom Franz Fanon named the Wretched of the Earth arose in solidarity and for a glorious moment spoke to Authority with one voice, a voice that said; We refuse to submit, and we are free.

     Let us question, expose, mock, and challenge authority; let us incite, provoke, and disturb; let us run amok and be ungovernable.

    Let us be bringers of chaos, joy, transformation, and revolution.

      Here is a journal entry of mine speaking as a witness of history to that time of revolutionary struggle and liberation; as I wrote in my post of June 11 2020, Utopia Now: Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone; Marvels and jubilation in the streets, a carnival of transgressions of the Forbidden and masquerades of possible identities and futures of becoming human, anarchy and chaos and joy, running amok and being ungovernable, and the frightening of the horses; come and dance with us, America. Come find your heart and be free.

     Whosoever remains unconquered is free. For each of us who defies injustice and tyranny, who resists subjugation, dehumanization, and enslavement, who questions, mocks, and challenges authority, becomes an agent of Liberty who cannot be silenced, and who passes the torch of freedom as an uncontrollable catalyst of change to everyone with whom we interact, and thereby can never be truly defeated.

     Each of us who in resistance becomes Unconquered and a bearer of Liberty are a Living Autonomous Zone, and this is the key to our inevitable victory. We ourselves are the power which state terror and tyranny cannot conquer.

     The people of Seattle have answered brutal repression and police violence, an attempt to break the rebellion against racial injustice and hate crime enacted by the police throughout America and the world led by Trump and his white supremacist terrorists both within the police as a fifth column and operating in coordination with deniable forces like the gun-toting militias now visible everywhere, by storming the citadel of city government with waves of thousands of citizens demanding the right to life and liberty regardless of the color of our skin.

      The people have seized control of six city blocks, including the police precinct and City Hall, and established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a name which rings with history as a development of the Occupy Wall Street movement and reflects both the Paris Commune and the Italian Anarcho-Syndicalists of the 1920s. For a brilliant alternate history which reimagines and illuminates the latter, and possibly the goals and motives of the young revolutionaries of CHAZ today, see Bruce Sterling’s novel Pirate Utopia.

     Such beautiful resistance by those who will not go quietly to their deaths.     To all those who tilt at windmills; I salute you.

     Let us take back our government from our betrayers, and our democracy from the fascist tyranny of blood, faith, and soil which has attempted to steal our liberty and enslave us with divisions of exclusionary otherness.

     When the people have reclaimed the government of which they are co-owners and this new phase of protest, a movement to Occupy City Hall in defiance of tyranny, has seized every seat of power in the nation and restored democracy to America, we can begin the reforging of our society on the foundation of equality and racial justice, and of our universal human rights. 

     Let us join together in solidarity and restore America as a free society of equals, and liberate all the nations of the world now held captive by the Fourth Reich.       

      There can be but one reply to fascism and state terror; Never Again.

Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling


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