Reckoning with the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) #HeliumRadio
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This episode attempts to reckon with the recent and improbable Black Lives Matter-inspired phenomenon known as CHOP, the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, in Seattle.
As a direct response to excessive police violence unleashed on the neighborhood during massive Black Lives Matter protests, the people of Capitol Hill came together to establish an autonomous zone within Seattle, and succeeded in marching the SPD out of their precinct and out of Capitol Hill.
For better or for worse, from that moment on, the CHOP became a significant cultural marker in the annals recent American history. For some, the CHOP became a symbol of something powerful, hopeful, and profound. For others, it represented a horrifying specter of anarchy.
More than that, the CHOP suddenly found itself to be an impromptu experiment in a post-police society.
Now, several weeks later, the Seattle PD has cleared the last demonstrators out of the area at the behest of mayor Jenny Durkin. The encampments have been deconstructed and Cal Anderson Park reoccupied by the state of Washington. Now that the sidewalk chalk has faded in the rarefied Seattle summer sun, what can we glean from the CHOP project as a whole?
What are we to make of the very real violence that occurred within CHOP in the later days of the protest?
How does CHOP fit in with the Movement for Black Lives?
What can we learn from the mistakes that were made, and what can we do better next time an American citizenry openly decolonizes and reclaims a public space?
These are some of the knotty queries this episode seeks to confront, and my guest on this journey along the streets of Pike and Pine is Yvonne from Seattle, who went to the CHOP herself and experienced firsthand the dynamics of the movement in its early days on Capitol Hill.
So close your eyes, travel along the superhighway super-sphere of the intangible ether and tunnel-blast into the heart of the Emerald City as we unpack this unexpected and highly energized cultural outgrowth. Enjoy the conversation, y’all!
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TRACK LIST FOR THIS EPISODE
Dykotomi – Cor
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“The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca