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“Tell the white people to get out,” an interview with a CHOP protester

Chief Turey, Chief of the Black Hammer Times

We sat down with a former protester at CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) to find out more about what went wrong on the ground in Seattle. The interviewee has been given an alias to protect their identity. The interview has been edited for time, and for clarity.

Just to get some formalities out of the way, can we get your name and the nation you represent?

My name is KD, and I represent the Afro-Caribbean peoples of Jamaica. I live in amerikkka, unfortunately.

And what was your involvement with CHOP?

I have a non-profit that I run in Seattle. I was a part of a mutual aid project, a first aid station down there, and we were down there for a while. The People’s Community Clinic, the first aid station was the extent of my involvement. I was down there as a protester.

What does decolonization look like to you?

Returning the resources to the people!

First of all, colonized people did not ask to be here. We have to accept that there is no third world – the third world is just the ghetto of the first world. When we’re talking about the third world, we’re talking about all the places that the colonizers have punished for existing the way they do.

Therefore, decolonization would look like the radical acceptance of these people from the “third world”—to allow them to interact with us. Some people call that “globalism.” I call it internationalism.

People, not just workers, need to move the way that capital moves. That is freedom. That, to me, is decolonization.

Did you see that practice of free mobility in CHOP?

Yes, but not from the people who lived there. I want to start by saying that CHOP, initially, was a radical movement.

People were getting beat and tear gassed all fucking day. These people were putting work on the ground. It was that type of shit. They were out there facing police lines. That was militant reaction, and I respected that. But when they started to occupy the space, it became less and less radical.

The decolonization part was the willingness to stand and meet violence. Those moments were overshadowed by what it became. There was no radical revolutionary discipline there for decolonization to happen, the willingness to meet the oppressor wasn’t enough.

These people were not prepared to go all the way. If you can’t go all the way, then you’re literally a failure.

There were so many things wrong with CHOP. The thing that sticks with me about the decolonization part was the mutual aid, seeing people take care of each other. That was the most important thing in CHOP, but ultimately that falls apart when there’s no revolutionary discipline to keep it in place.

Let’s talk more about discipline. Had you heard about actual leadership at CHOP? People like Kshama Sawant and Raz Simone? The colonial media loved talking about the two of them. “Warlords and Socialists are leading CHOP!”

Kshama is not a fucking socialist.

Look, I don’t like Kshama Sawant. I support her policies because, overall, there has to be some degree of leftist solidarity. I support her politically — or somewhat politically — but I don’t support what she’s about because Kshama Sawant behaves like the colonizers.

Socialist Alternative is nothing but colonizers. You can look into the history of how these people have behaved in Seattle, and every activist will tell you that Kshama Sawant slaps her name on everything she has no business slapping her name on in the name of Socialism—in the name of “Tax Amazon”. Like, a Black man fucking died, an African died, and she’s talking about taxing Amazon!

The real game of a Revolutionary is to get people up to speed. My problem is that Kshama does not want to get people up to speed.

What do colonized people have to learn from the failures at CHOP?

Don’t trust white people. Ever. If you want something done, organize and do it yourself. If your political will is strong enough, powerful enough, it will get these niggas to listen.

We need revolutionary principles, period.

You mentioned that you were working first aid. What was the infrastructure for first aid like throughout the occupation zone?

There were many different collectives and volunteers working in the CHOP collective. There were other groups doing the same thing as me, like three or four groups that I know of for sure.

How much physical injury were they trained to treat?

General first aid. Shit for overdoses. Cuz there were a lot of homeless people in the area, people with drug issues. Standard first aid shit: cuts, bruises, CPR.

Speaking of occupation, there were a lot of pictures of protesters with AR15s.

That was the John Brown Gun Club.

Why did outsiders with AR15s have more of a chance to be security than colonized folks actually living in that community?

The outsiders determined that there was no structure in place, and they were filling a vacuum. There was no set structure of “this is how we’re doing security here, so if you come here to volunteer you’re going to do it our way.” There was none of that there. No one who lived there were stepping up in that way, and the people that were stepping up in that way weren’t listened to.

There were people who were showing up there with noble causes….? I know two gun clubs that were there. The John Brown Gun Club and the Socialist Rifle Association.

Were those gun clubs white majority?

John Brown is definitely white majority.  It wasn’t comforting really to see that they were there because they were outnumbered, the gun club folks. There weren’t enough of them on the ground to fully support the people who were there doing the work.

Then would you personally have felt safe with even more white gun clubs on the streets?

As a working class colonized person, no! Like, god damn it, why don’t you have no gun, Comrade? Why aren’t you more disciplined to stand up so that these niggas don’t got to?

Part of internal security was also taking care of those people at risk of overdosing. First aid, healthcare, those are also kinds of security. So, where did this disparity come from where so many more resources were given to white people with guns then to first aid?

We did have more mutual aid going on then there were people with guns, to be fair. There were a lot more resources for folks like food, like first aid stations that had Narcan, there were plenty of those things to go around. But they weren’t run by people of color.

Me and another Comrade, we were the only two black organizers that backed the PCC clinic, and everyone on the clinic bus was fucking white. All of our volunteers were white. And they were fucking scared as shit because they are white, and white people are fucking scared.

I want to talk about the three African children who were shot in the CHOP zone. Why was it that the CHOP gun clubs had less smoke for even the Proud Boys than for Lorenzo Anderson? Two African kids were killed, and one was sent to the hospital, but none of the Proud Boys walked away with similar injuries. Why was that?

Because of the white people in the goddamn gun club! They can see the humanity in the other white people, but immediately Black people still become a threat. When they were supposed to be that vigilant, they weren’t, and look at what that cost. The people getting shot in the area were Black!

The Proud Boys rolled up to CHOP with guns. That’s the equation: the fire power was the same. There were gun club members there to help escort them out, but my thing is why were they being escorted out? It just made me so furious. I can’t even protest because I’ll go to jail. I stayed away from CHOP as much as possible because I’m armed—I’ll shoot.

Who would be ready to take that struggle to its ultimate conclusion?

Armed revolutionary black folks. And their revolutionary Comrades. I’m not saying white people can’t be apart of it, but Black people need to be at the head of it. Black people need to be calling the shots.

It needs to be said that Seattle is built on stolen Duwamish territory. What place do Duwamish people have for a dictatorship over their own land?

I mean, it is their land. I can’t even really ponder that. First of all, it is their land, and they’re supposed to be here, but black folks are not supposed to be here. We were stolen, so there has to be some kind of negotiation of that space that is held for both people.

As a potential negotiation, what about an armed dictatorship of Duwamish people?

I would welcome that! I would join it because it’s their land. I’ll help them get back what was taken from them.

That’s the ultimate lesson of decolonization, that you could support the sovereignty of other colonized people. Would I fight to help the Duwamish reclaim their land? Yes.

If Black people in amerikkka were to take over decolonizing Africa, for us to do that we have to free the Indigenous people here. We free ourselves by freeing them. We can’t be free ourselves if we despoil ourselves with the riches of other colonized people.

So, after we liberate the land, what do we do with the populations of white people?

The correct answer would be to kick ‘em out! That’s what they did to us, right? We aren’t supposed to be here.

White supremacists are the foot soldiers of colonization, they’re the culture of it, the zealotry of it, the practice of it. And compared to that—it’s us who actually have the right to make that call. Sometimes you just have to tell the white people to get out.

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